Tammuz and Av


Zechariah 8:19 BSB “This is what the LORD of Hosts says: The fasts of the fourth, the fifth, the seventh, and the tenth months will become times of joy and gladness, cheerful feasts for the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.”

Waiting & Going at God’s Direction

Tammuz can be a time of change and shifting. It can be a time when we are faced with how we are going to set the tone for going forward. Avoiding potentially disastrous mistakes is the warning that goes with Tammuz and Av. Tammuz is linked the tablets of the covenant (wedding contract with Israel), the sin of the golden calf. Av is linked with the sin of not entering the Promise Land when God opened the door at Kadesh Barnea.

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The names of the Hebrew months as they are known today came out of the Babylonian captivity. In the Bible they are referred to primarily by number, the seventh month, the third month, etc. Tammuz is actually the name of a Babylonian idol associated with mourning and tragedy. Tammuz is the month of the sin of the golden calf.  On the anniversary of the golden calf incident, the 17th of Tammuz, begins the three-week period (ending on the 9th of Av) which commemorates the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Tammuz is the month when Moses sent out the spies into the land of Canaan. They returned on the eve of the 9th of Av. 

God has a wonderful future planned for us. There are certain pitfalls we need to avoid so we can enter the promised destiny of God for our lives. Those things associated with Tammuz and Av give a picture of those possible snares. 

The Golden Calf

The incident with the golden calf might not seem relevant to today. The reality is that the people at the foot of Sinai worshipped the golden calf had only six weeks after they professed their commitment to do all that the Lord had commanded them to do. (See Ex. 24:3) On the heels of the incredible display of God’s presence on Sinai, Moses is called up the mountain to talk to God. Moses lingers for several days. The entire nation had only weeks prior walked through the Red Sea on dry land, saw the army of Egypt destroyed and watched in awe as God descended in their midst. They all heard the audible voice of the Lord. And while these people who had just corporately experienced the greatest encounter of God on planet earth to date when faced with waiting began to wonder and question the validity of God’s having chosen them for a particular destiny. 

What to do while we’re waiting

We never expect that something like this could ever happen to us. Unfortunately it can and it does more often than we might like to think. 

1 Cor. 10:12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

Building a golden calf is really nothing more than attempting to go forward through our own means. 

Exodus 34:1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

Make it Happen

We see this all time in the world but we also see it amongst God’s people. It’s what happens to people who grow impatient waiting on God and devise a plan of their own. They may actually have a bonafide word from God but the implementation of that word is done in the flesh. That is like building a golden calf. I’ve had my share of golden calves I’ve erected over the years. When I was intent on something I did everything within my power to make it happen. When we have a hard time waiting on God’s fulfillment of His word to us we fall into the snare of building a golden calf. 

The children of Israel felt they had waited long enough. They weren’t sure what had happened to Moses. They believed they had the means to go forward on their own. They decided they would let something else (a manmade god) lead them. That one self serving act cost them the destiny of God upon their lives. They lost the commissioning of God to be a nation of priests before the Lord. (Ex. 19:6) When the dust cleared after Moses descended the mountain and dealt with the golden calf, three thousand people died and only the tribe of Levi remained set apart to fulfill the destiny commission of the Lord. 

While I don’t believe that God is holding our sins against us I do believe that there are some things which have the potential to cost us fulfilling our destiny. We won’t lose our salvation over it but we could lose our destiny. 

The Trauma of the past

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Photo by burak kostak on Pexels.com

Tammuz is associated with mourning is another snare that has the potential to prevent us from fulfilling our destiny. Trauma can be debilitating. Stress, distress, misery, sorrow and grief have the potential to freeze us in place. Trauma causes emotions which develop mindsets which can freeze us in place making it impossible for us to move forward. The trauma will have to be dealt with in order to go forward into the time of being lifted up. Everyone suffers grief and sorrow from time to time. However, there are those who are debilitated by grief and sorrow. As a result trauma can keep us frozen.giving your heart

Bringing our hearts to the Lord for healing is the first step to fulfilling our destiny. God has wonderful plans for our lives. Walking through healing from life’s woundings isn’t easy but it is worth it.

Tammuz and approaching Kadesh Barnea

I’ll try not to belabor the issue here but suffice to say that it was unbelief on the part of the people of Israel at Kodesh Barnea which prevented an entire generation from entering into the promise of God. What should have been an eleven day journey turned into a forty year delay. During the month of Tammuz, Moses sent twelve spies into the land of Canaan. Two of the twelve, Joshua and Caleb, came back with the report of the great abundance the land had to offer and the faith to step into what God had destined the people to possess. Ten of the twelve (83.33%) were crippled by fear of potential harm. Too afraid and full of unbelief that God would give them the victory they remained in the wilderness until that entire generation died off. Fear of trauma prevented them from possessing the promise God was leading them to enter into it. The Israelites were frozen with fear. They let unbelief dictate their actions and it cost that entire generation the promise of God. 

It can get a bit murky

MiniToy on Crossroads

Attempting to go forward in our own strength or being frozen in fear are both pitfalls to avoid. We cannot plow through in our own strength and determination and expect to fulfill the our divine destiny. Neither can we allow fear and unbelief to freeze us from moving forward. There is a great promise ahead. The land is full of abundance. The key is radical obedience to the Spirit of God. We go when He says, “Go.” We stay when He says, “Stay.”

We may not always fully understand God’s leading and direction but His direction is always accompanied with His grace and empowerment. 

The sin of the golden calf in Tammuz followed by the fearful report of the spies at Kadesh Barnea on the 9th Av were the source of devastating losses to the children of Israel. 

Historically the 9th of Av has been times of great loss for the Jews. 

  • The First Temple is destroyed 423 BCE
  • The Second Temple is destroyed 69CE 
  • Battle at Betar, Jews are butchered 133 CE
  • One year later the Romans plowed over the Temple Mount
  • Jews were expelled from England 1290 CE
  • On March 31, 1492, the Jews were given exactly four months to put their affairs in order and leave the country of Spain. That final date was 9th of Av
  • Germany declared war on Russia, effectively catapulting the First World War into motion, on the 9th of Av, 1914

HISTORICAL EVENTS

Fourth month – Tammuz

  • Moses broke the tablets when he saw the Jewish people worshipping the Golden Calf. 
  • During the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, the Jews were forced to cease offering the daily sacrifices due to the lack of sheep. 
  • An idol was placed in the Holy Temple. 
  • The walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans, in 69 CE, after a lengthy siege. (Three weeks later, after the Jews put up a valiant struggle, the Romans destroyed the second Holy Temple on the 9th of Av.) 
  • The Jerusalem Talmud maintains that this is also the date when the Babylonians breached the walls of Jerusalem on their way to destroying the first Temple.

Fifth month – Av

  • Jews refer to the 9th of Av as  the saddest day on the Jewish calendar. It is the date when both Holy Temples were destroyed, and an era of exile, persecution and spiritual blackness began.

Seventh month – Tishri 

  • The Fast of Gedaliah, in particular, is linked to the Era of the Redemption by the identity of the person for whom the fast is named, Gedaliah ben Achikam, the governor appointed by the Babylonians after their conquest of Land of Israel. According to some opinions, Gedaliah stemmed from the House of David and was the last member of that royal family who commanded authority over Land of Israel. This links this “day of Divine goodwill” with “the scion of David,” Mashiach, who will restore the Davidic dynasty. (see the Jewish site chabad for more details) 

Tenth month – Tevet –

  • Fast day commemorating the date on which the Babylonians laid siege around the walls of Jerusalem, leading to the eventual destruction of the Holy Temple.

A Total Change of Events is declared through the prophet Zechariah

According to Jewish history Zechariah foretold of the redemption associated with Messiah

A delegation from Babylonia put forth a query to the prophet Zechariah, asking whether the fast of the Ninth of Av was still in effect, now that the Second Temple had been built. In response, Zechariah transmitted God’s message that it was not fasting that was most important, but to uphold justice, truth, kindness and compassion.

Zechariah also foretold what will occur to the fast days in the Messianic era: “So says the Lord of Hosts: The fast of the fourth month [the seventeenth of Tammuz], the fast of the fifth month [the ninth of Av], the fast of the seventh month [the third of Tishrei], and the fast of the tenth month [the tenth of Tevet] will be to the House of Judah for rejoicing, happiness, and festivals.” (Zechariah 7-8) (quote from: chabad.org)

Zechariah 8:19 BSB “This is what the LORD of Hosts says: The fasts of the fourth, the fifth, the seventh, and the tenth months will become times of joy and gladness, cheerful feasts for the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.”

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The promise of turning our sorrow into times of rejoicing is expressed all throughout scripture

Psalm 30:11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,

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Jeremiah 31:4 Again I will build you, and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out in joyful dancing.

Palm 126:1-3  When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

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Jeremiah 29:14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore you from captivity and gather you from all the nations and places to which I have banished you, declares the LORD. I will restore you to the place from which I sent you into exile.”

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Psalm 30:5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

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Acts 3:19-20 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.

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