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Tish’a B’Av: The Destruction of the Temple

         Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” [Matthew 24:1-2]

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         As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.” [Mark 13:1-2]

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         And while some were talking about the temple, that it was adorned with beautiful stones and votive gifts, He said, As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down.” [Luke 21:5-6]

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         When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.

         “For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” [Luke 19:41-44] [1]

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         At sunset tonight begins the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av. It was on this exact date that both ancient temples of the Jews met their complete destruction.

         Because this infamous date falls on the Jewish Sabbath this year, it will be commemorated on Sunday.

         The original Temple of Solomon, which began construction circa 966 BC, was completely destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC on the 9th of Av.

         It has now been exactly 2600 years since that date, and is a clear multiple of 13, the Biblical number of rebellion.

         A second temple was built 70 years later, completed in 516 BC, though it in no way resembled the magnificent glory of the original. This temple had degraded significantly for five full centuries until the time of Herod the Great.

         In approximately 19 BC, Herod began a massive overhaul of the entire temple mount area that was not fully completed until 64 AD.

         Regarding the second temple built in 516 BC, it was essentially completely deconstructed and rebuilt by Herod on a far grander scale, taking less than two years to complete. Though it was not referred to as a third temple, this is a mere semantic overreach insisted upon by Herod and the religious leaders of that time and has always been known as the Second Temple.

         It lasted less than 90 years.

         On this date in 70 AD, on Tish’a B’Av, it was completely destroyed by the Romans, exactly as the Lord Jesus had prophesied.

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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The Real Chosen People (Part 3)

         “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” [John 15:16]

         Most of the people who refer to themselves as some form of “Christian” choose God on their terms. But God chooses real Christians on His terms. Thus, unreal Christians create their own unholy covenant with God according to their own stipulations and provisos. It is not a real covenant, though, because God is not involved in it. He signed none of the papers. He did not agree to the terms. Such minor details do not concern the pretenders, however. They continue onward by themselves insisting God is with them. And these people preach about the Jews being stiff-necked? 

         Many “Christians” have been duped into thinking they have the power to choose Messiah Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But Christians don’t do the choosing. What they do, before they become real Christians, is have a hungry heart for truth and light. They know there must be something much more than this temporal world of sin. As a result they begin searching for that “something more.” In the process they find belief systems, gurus, false forms of Christianity, and eastern religions that look real and are quite promising. But after looking within these and practicing their tenets for a while, they continue to move on because there is no heart connection. They do not feel fulfilled. They are not satisfied. Something is missing. Knowing this, they realize they have identified yet another fake. Most people in the world are content with fakes, but real searchers of truth never allow this for themselves. They continue seeking, not knowing God is attracting them magnetically by His Spirit until they are chosen.

         For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. [1 Corinthians 1:26-29]  

         Among every pagan nation in the ancient world, each dwelling in deep darkness and rebellion, God chose one nation to represent Himself: 

         For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments; but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face. [Deuteronomy 7:6-10]

         Fifteen hundred years later, the very nation He called forth to be His own rejected Him. It became the opposite of faithful. It no longer loved Him or kept His commandments. It chose to hate its own Messiah.

         “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” [Matthew 23:37-39]

         There was always a believing Remnant, however. In the first century, the Lord Jesus managed to gather together the hungry in heart and those searching for truth among His people. He chose them because of their condition of heart. With 120 people, including the remaining original eleven apostles and His own mother, He created His own community. These were people who loved and honored Him, who recognized Him for who He is, and who pledged their lives to serve, obey, and trust Him forever. They are the chosen of the Chosen.

         “Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” [Luke 9:35]

         He chose many more after Peter delivered the first message of the Qahal:

         So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. [Acts 2:41]   

         Can you hear the echo in the writings of Isaiah?

         Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. The beasts of the field will glorify Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people. The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise.

         Yet you have not called on Me, O Jacob; but you have become weary of Me, O Israel. You have not brought to Me the sheep of your burnt offerings, nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, nor wearied you with incense. You have bought Me not sweet cane with money, nor have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices; rather you have burdened Me with your sins, You have wearied Me with your iniquities. I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Put Me in remembrance, let us argue our case together; state your cause, that you may be proved right. Your first forefather sinned, and your spokesmen have transgressed against Me. So I will pollute the princes of the sanctuary, and I will consign Jacob to the ban and Israel to revilement. [Isaiah 43:19-28]

         Was it just a coincidence that what was left of the geographic kingdom of David was utterly ruined forty years after the nation rejected their Savior? Was it coincidence that Jerusalem was razed and the Temple destroyed in 70AD?

         Prior to this, He had made a Way for His real people, whether Jew or Gentile. He established a New Covenant. For forty years He continued adding thousands of believing Israelites, creating a new spiritual nation, as He said He would do through the prophets of old:

         “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” [Jeremiah 31:31-33]

         “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” [Ezekiel 36:26-27]

         As most “Christians” reject the Lord, so did most Jews initially reject the Lord. But of those who accepted the invitation to the kingdom, Peter says:

         And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” This precious value, then, is for you who believe;

         But for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE;” for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

         But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. [1 Peter 2:4-10]

         There are only two kinds of people in the world—those who are chosen by the Lord Jesus as members of the New Covenant and those who are not. Real Christians are not only called by the Lord and chosen for His community, they are also faithful and true warriors. Non-members of the New Covenant oppose it.  

         These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the Called and Chosen and Faithful.” [Revelation 17:6-14] [1]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 3]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The Real Chosen People (Part 1)

         Many Christians have been conditioned to believe that “The Chosen People” are the Jews, regardless of whether they honor the Lord Jesus as Messiah or not. Christians have been taught that Jews are the only people on Earth who belong to God and will forever belong to God even if they deny that Jesus is their Messiah, if they deny He died to save them from their sins, if they disparage His Name and character, if they actively fight against and oppose real Christianity, especially in Israel, and if they as individuals refuse to repent of their sins and submit to His Lordship.

         For some odd reason, Christians have been taught that the New Testament teachings do not apply to the Jewish people. Why? Simply because they are Jews? We are living in a day when Messianic Judaism is very popular and growing. The followers of Messianic Judaism honor Jesus as Messiah. They are still Jews, of course, but believe in and follow the Lord Jesus as did the Messianic Jews of the first century.

         Well then, what is a Jew? What is Judaism? Historically, after the complete destruction of what was left of the Jewish homeland in 70AD when Jerusalem was invaded and destroyed by the Romans, and when the Jewish Temple was completely razed to the ground and burned, there was only one segment of traditional Judaism that remained.

         The Sadducees ceased to exist, since there was no longer any Jewish state. The Essenes, those likely responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls, also faded away. Some Jewish nationals held out after Jerusalem was destroyed, comprising segments of the Zealot Party, but committed mass murder against one another and suicide on the heights of Masada in 74AD. There were two other large uprisings against the Romans, the largest and last of which was the Bar Kochba Revolt from 132-135AD. After their defeat, there was no longer any effective and organized Jewish resistance against the Romans. It was the end of the Zealots. The Jewish homeland was lost.

         The Pharisees, however, were the one party that lived on. They did not die out as all the other major religious parties had. They continued to exist as the sole religious representatives of the Jewish people. The Pharisees became Judaism, later known as Talmudic or Rabbinic Judaism. The same people who gave the Lord Jesus so much trouble during His ministry and fought the apostles at every turn, especially the apostle Paul, never ceased to exist. They continued teaching as they always had. They continued to deny Jesus as Messiah.

         Again, Jesus was 100% a Jew (Hebrew: Yehudi; Greek: Ioudaios), from the Tribe of Judah, and a direct descendant in the kingly line of David. Every original apostle had Hebrew ancestral roots, and so had every single member of the Community of the Lord we read about in the earliest history of His Movement as recorded in the Book of Acts. For seven to ten years after the Resurrection of the Lord, the entire Qahal of the Lord Jesus was composed entirely of Hebrew descendants, members of the nation of Israel, and of the twelve tribes. It was not until the salvation of Cornelius and his group, as recorded in Acts 10, that the apostles understood that non-Hebrew Gentiles were also to be included among the Lord’s people. Prior to that time, the Hebrew followers of Jesus had somehow assumed that only Hebrews and full proselytes to Judaism would qualify for membership.

         So here we see the first great division, especially after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, of the Israeli people. One Hebrew camp saw that Jesus was indeed their long-awaited and hoped-for Messiah. The other Hebrew camp rejected Jesus as Messiah. The camp of rejecters coalesced around the Party of the Pharisees, the lone remaining representatives of overall first century Judaism. The Pharisees have existed throughout history ever since, and continued as the sole Hebrew organized religious force against Jesus the Messiah.

         What happened to the first century Jewish believers in Jesus? After Cornelius, more and more Gentiles entered the fold of real Christianity. Indeed, the apostle Paul was called by God to be the first and foremost apostle to the non-Jewish Gentiles. Later, at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15), it was decided by the Jerusalem Hebrew believers that Gentiles did not have to undergo all things Torah in order to attain official membership in the Body of Christ. As more Gentiles flooded in, ethnic differences between Hebrew and non-Hebrew believers were downplayed over time. This did not mean that Jewish followers of Jesus did not retain their Jewish identity. Such would have been tragic. These first century Jewish believers in Jesus were descended from the great Patriarchs of the distant past and represented the then-current true remnant of Israel.

         Paul, a Hebrew in very high standing, both ethnically (of the Tribe of Benjamin) and religiously (a Pharisee)[1], as well as a solid Roman citizen says this:

         “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

         “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” [Galatians 3:26-29]

         This is a very powerful statement. From this we know that strict Jewish distinctiveness no longer matters with respect to membership in the kingdom of God. Whether one can trace his or her physical lineage to Abraham is no longer an issue. One can be a descendant of Abraham whether he or she is connected by genealogy, Judaism, or Israeli national identity.

         It is not an ancestral link that makes one a seed of Abraham but a spiritual link by faith according to promise.

         The Jewish non-believers discount and reject this entire notion. To them, it destroys Jewish identity. As a result, they hated Paul with the same passion they hated the Lord Jesus (How dare these heretics dispose of our status as God’s chosen people!).

         Which brings us back to the original point: God’s chosen people are only those who honor the Lord Jesus as Messiah. Yet, even as you read this you probably cringe and think such cannot possibly be true. But it’s right there in your Bible. As is this:

         “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.” [Romans 2:28-29]

         Throughout the Gospels and New Testament writings we see, then, that the “Chosen People” are those who are in Christ, who embrace the Lord Jesus as the only Messiah and Savior, whose hearts have been circumcised, who are in spiritual relationship with Him, and who submit to His full Lordship.

         Though the Hebrew people were originally chosen by God as descendants of Abraham, the majority of the Hebrew people rejected God. All one must do is pick up the Old Testament and read a few pages to find that this is true.

         There has always been a believing Hebrew remnant, however, and there were always enough who honored God to keep the ancient nation of Israel intact though diminishing. Israel split in two after Solomon’s death, the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom went into captivity and never returned, effectively ceasing to exist, and only the Southern Kingdom of Judah remained until the time of our Lord as a national entity, which was originally also comprised of the tribes of Levi and Benjamin. After its destruction by the Romans it was the end of the Jewish nation. The unbelieving and disobedient had so outnumbered the believing remnant who dutifully followed YHWH that the geographic and religio-political nation ceased to exist.

         The Community of the Lord, however, began at the same time once the Messiah was revealed. Therefore, there is no hope for those who reject Jesus and look for another. There is no other Messiah and never will be. And without Messiah Jesus, there is no salvation, because He is salvation—it is the very meaning of His Name.

         Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:8-12] [2] 

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 1]


[1] Philippians 3:5-6

[2] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.