If I forget you, O Jerusalem, May my right hand forget her skill. (Ps. 137:5)
During the fourth Biblical month of Tammuz, the traditional period called the “Three Weeks” begins on the 17th. In Hebrew, the Three Weeks is bein hametzarim, literally, “within the straits” or “within the borders.” This name comes from a verse in the Book of Lamentations (Eicha), which is read on Tisha B’Av (9th of Av):
Judah has gone into captivity, Under affliction and hard servitude; She dwells among the nations, She finds no rest; All her persecutors overtake her in dire straits (bein hametzarim). The roads to Zion mourn Because no one comes to the set feasts. All her gates are desolate; Her priests sigh, Her virgins are afflicted, And she is in bitterness. (Lamentations 1:3-4 NKJV)
Hametzarim is like Mitzrayim (Egypt), a tight, narrow place of pressing. Think of being constricted or pressed. Bein Hametzarim is a traditional time period on the Jewish calendar that marks additional restrictions as a way to mourn over the destruction of the Holy Temple.
Remembering the loss of the Temple is a difficult concept for most Believers to grasp. Since we know Yeshua, a type of Living Temple, and read Paul (who described our physical bodies as a type of Temple of the Holy Spirit), there is a tendency to view the physical Temple as an unnecessary or invalid prescription for approaching YHWH (God). We must be careful of supersessionism and all its facets.
Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her. (Is. 66:10 KJV)
My hope is that you will be encouraged to recognize and observe the Three Weeks and the fasts on the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av after contemplating the significance and importance of why these events are commemorated and the Temple is mourned. The verse below demonstrates that fasting in the fourth and fifth months has Scriptural and historical value:
“Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘The fast of the fourth, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth months will become joy, gladness, and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah; so love truth and peace.’ (Zec. 8:19)
I hope you took the time to read the article I reblogged by Sue at The Lamb’s Servant. While her focus was on the kedushah (holiness) of the Temple, she also brought out some other provocative ideas that she gleaned from Joe Good’s Temple study course (of which, I also highly recommend).
If we really understood the majesty and holiness that existed during the times when the Temple stood, we too, would deeply mourn its loss. The Temple was central to Biblical worship. How one approached the Holy One of Israel was tangible and certain. A worshipper knew where to go and what was required of him. He knew where the presence of the Holy One resided, who his mediator was, and understood the various levels of kedushah (holiness). In other words, the manifestations of godliness were obvious to all who approached, regardless of one’s status or intellect.
This heavenly pattern has not changed. If we fail to learn the blueprint for YHWH’s House, we are missing the heart of worship. The Jewish people have preserved the work and worship at the Temple in the daily prayer services. Three (or four) times a day, a prayer request for the restoration of the Temple and its services is made. This does not include the many times it’s repeated in the Birkat Hamazon (Grace After Meals). Can you imagine making this petition multiple times daily to the Holy One?
Though Jerusalem and the Temple are central to Jewish prayer and thought, it is foreign to most Christians. The Temple is typically thought of as an antiquated relic, and a lesser form of approaching God. Yeshua didn’t think like this. Paul didn’t think like this. In fact, the only people that I can find in the Bible that openly spoke against the House of Adonai were enemies and adversaries of the Most High. Consider Ezekiel’s words:
And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me. And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places. (Ezek. 43:6-7)
The earthly should reflect the heavenly. Once we “see” the heavenly pattern, we should as both Joe Good of HaTikvah Ministries and Sue at The Lamb’s Servant point out, be ashamed and REPENT!
Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them. (Ezek. 43:10-11 KJV)
Join with me this year in mourning for the House of YHWH. The Three Weeks begin on the 17th of Tammuz with a fast day from dawn until nightfall; this commemorates the first breach of the walls of Jerusalem before the 1st Temple was destroyed. Mourning continues and escalates up to the 9th of Av, when another fast from sundown to sundown commemorates the actual destruction of the 1st and 2nd Temples. After the Three Weeks, a shift from mourning to rejoicing occurs. Consider reciting the Birkat HaMazon at least once a day after meals when not fasting if it’s not your practice to do so.
I had larger intentions for this post, but preparations for Revive have limited my time. I hope to share more soon. Meanwhile, take this time to focus on the House of Adonai. Measure the pattern. Study its form, its ordinances, and its laws. Weep for our captivity and exile. Be like those that dream…
Thanksgiving for Return from Captivity.
A Song of Ascents.
1 When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion,
We were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter
And our tongue with joyful shouting;
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us;
We are glad.
4 Restore our captivity, O Lord,
As the streams in the South.
5 Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
6 He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
 John 2:18-22
 1 Cor. 3:16-17
 There is a lesser known midnight prayer service called Tikkun Chatzot in honor of the matriarchs, Rachel and Leah. The three daily services are attributed to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Tikkun Chatzot focuses on yearning for God (Leah) and the destruction of the Temple (Rachel). If one incorporates these midnight prayers, then mourning and requesting the restoration of Temple totals four times in prayer services.
 Within the Amidah (both weekday and Shabbat), the Avodah is recited:
Be pleased, O Lord our God, with your people Israel and with their prayers.
Restore the service to the inner sanctuary of your Temple,
and receive in love and with favor both the fire-offerings of Israel and their prayers.
May the worship of your people Israel always be acceptable to you.
And let our eyes behold your return in mercy to Zion.
Blessed are you, O Lord, who restores his divine presence to Zion.
 For the text of the Birkat HaMazon (Grace After Meals), click here.