What Are the Four Jewish Fast Days?

"Thus saith the Eternal of Hosts; the fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts (in the future); therefore love the truth and peace" (Zech. 8:18-19; cp. 7:4-5). The FAST of the FOURTH MONTH (Tammuz 17) occurs in late June or early July. Each occurence destroys one of God's gifts. Tradition says Moses came down from Sinai, found Israel worshipping the golden calf and broke the tablets on Tammuz 17. It is also the day the Roman army breached Jerusalem's walls, the day the daily sacrifice stopped for lack of animals, the day the Torah scroll was burned by a villain, and the day that Jewish traitors erected an idol in the Temple. The Declaration of Independence was also announced on July 4th, 1776, which is Tammuz 17. The FAST of the FIFTH MONTH (Av 9) falls in late July or early August and is called "Tisha B'Av" in Hebrew. Numbers 13:1 to 14:34 (the spies' discouraging report) occurred on this day. Beginning with the second year of the Exodus, according to tradition, over 15,000 men died each year on Tisha B'Av for believing the spies rather than God. Next, Solomon's temple was destroyed on Tisha B'Av in 586 B.C. (Jer.52:12-13; 2 Ki.25:8-9). Then the destruction of the second Temple occurred in 70 A.D. by the Roman general Titus on Tisha B'Av. Roman soldiers moved every stone in order to reclaim the melted gold overlaying the cedar wood from Lebanon that had run down between the cracks in the stone (See Josephus' Wars; Matt.24:1-2; Zech. 11:1-2). In 130 A.D.,on this very day, the Romans plowed up the site of the Temple. It was then converted into a Roman colony and renamed Aeilia Capitolina. On the 9th of Av in 135 A.D., Bar Kochba's last outpost, Betar, fell to the Romans. On Tisha B'Av in 1290, King Edward I of England ordered that all Jews be expelled from the British Isles. On the 9th of Av in 1492 Columbus made his final preparations for departure from Spain. The next day he made a note in his journal about the thousands of Jews who were in boats trying to leave Spain rather than convert to Catholicism during the Inquisition. The ghetto of Florence Italy was inaugurated on Tisha B'Av in 1571. Shabbetai Tzevi, a false messiah, was born in Smyrna Turkey in 1626. When the Muslims captured him they gave him the choice of converting to Islam or dying. He converted, much to the disappointment of his followers. In 1648 three thousand Jews perished in Konstantynow in what were known as the Chmielnicki massacres on Av 9. The last group of Jews were forced to leave Austria on Tisha B'Av in 1670. On Tisha B'Av in 1882 the Turkish government, which then controlled Palestine, barred immigration of Russian and Rumanian Jews and also banned the sale of land in Palestine to Jews. World War One broke out on Tisha B'Av in 1914 and the persecution of the Jews started in Russia as she mobilized for war. A decree went forth expelling all Jews from Hungarian Ruthenia on the 9th of Av, 1941. The invasion of Kuwait by Iraq started on Tisha B'Av and ended on Purim. In 1994 on Tisha B'Av, the first of twenty-one mountain-sized parts of a comet collided with the planet Jupiter. The FAST of the SEVENTH MONTH (Tishri 3) is seven days before the Day of Atonement and is called the Fast of Gedaliah to commemorate his assassination (2 Ki. 25:25; Jer. 41:1). He was the last governor of Judea. He was appointed governor by the Babylonians after they had destroyed the first Temple in 586 B.C. (see Jer.41). The FAST of the TENTH MONTH (Tevet 10) falls in late December or early January and marks the beginning of the seige of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar.

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