Yeshua commanded us to rejoice when others rejoice and mourn when others mourn. We are very good at rejoicing, such as in the festive holidays throughout the year such as Passover when we celebrate the redemptions from Egypt and the spiritual freedom of being in Messiah. However, we are poor at mourning. It’s hard and not nearly as exciting. Also, there is a general lack of knowledge of what The Three Weeks is among those who call themselves Messianic. It is rather inconsistent as we join Israel in Holocaust Memorial Day and other times of mourning, yet The Three Weeks are missing from this yearly routine.
I can hear some objections to this. “Well, we have Messiah and don’t need a Temple anymore”. I would answer that Yeshua himself, as Messiah will be reigning in the Temple as King to come as the Scripture teaches. There is a very common belief, even in Messianic circles, though less common than in the Christian world, that the Temple is no longer needed, and we will never have that system again. The Book of Hebrews, which was written before the destruction of the Temple, holds great importance to the Temple as some of the promises of HaShem (G-d) are linked to it such as the Tribe of Levi and the sons of Aaron are promised that they will always have a covenant to perform in the Temple until the world to come. Though Messiah’s work takes care of our sin nature, there is much more than just sin sacrifice in the Temple.
There is more that could be said on this topic but that could be a whole other post. There are a couple other reasons that messianic believers should mourn the three weeks along with Israel. First, I already mentioned that Yeshua told us to mourn with those that mourn. Second, these fasts are found in Zachariah, having their roots in the Scripture is reason enough to practice them. Thirdly, it shows respect for the place that Israel has in the plan of HaShem. Gentiles in the Messianic movement could use the three weeks to show non-believing Israel how they have repented of their pagan father’s ways (so to speak) and have a love for the G-d of Israel and the people of Israel. Jews of the Messianic movement would be showing that they still see themselves as a part of their people and are not separated from the faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
In Summary, I think it is very important for both Gentile and Jewish believers in the Messianic movement to not only educate themselves regarding these weeks of mourning, but too fast and pray with Israel for the restoration of the Kingdom and the coming of Mashiach. For those of you who are not familiar with this time, the easiest place to go and learn would be Chabad.org. If you go there today, you will see several articles on the three weeks. I will just mention a few key points here. Today is the 18thof Tammuz which normally is not a fast day; however, this year because the 17thfell on a Shabbos, the fast is put off till the following day, which is today. We abstain from all food and drink from sun up to sun down. Women who are pregnant or nursing do not have to fast, and minors do not fast (boys under 13, and girls under 12). According to traditional today was the day that the walls of Jerusalem were breached and the tablets which Moses brought down where destroyed. For the next three weeks, we do not listen to music, cut our hair, or have weddings or joyful celebrations. There are exceptions to this if it is for the sake of a mitzvah (commandment) such as a circumcision on the 8thday. During the 9 Days from Rosh Chodesh of Av (in a couple of weeks from now) we do not eat meat (except for Shabbos) and do not wash our clothes and a few other mourning customs. On the 9thof Av, it is a complete fast from sunset to sunset. We will write another post on that when it gets a little closer. We hope that this article has been helpful and that you will consider joining Israel in their time of mourning.
May you have an easy fast!
May Messiah come quickly!
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