Between the Straights – Tammuz to Av
We are in a very important season in the spirit realm. We are in the midst of a three week period where a lot takes place, in us, and around us. Maybe you have felt it already, maybe you have heard others wondering what is going on. First of all lets, look at the Hebrew month we are in and what that means.
We are in the 4th Hebrew month called Tammuz. Yes that’s right this month is named after the Babylonian demi-god. He was associated with shepherds. He was also the god of fertility that embodied the power of new life. We see Tammuz in the Bible in the book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel writes in chapter 8 verse 14 Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord, and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.
The Israelite’s in the time of Ezekiel adopted many pagan beliefs one of which was about this false god Tammuz. They would weep because of his tragic death, which brought life to the world.
They kept the name they were use to in Babylonian captivity and the name stuck.
Many notable events occurred during this month.
- Joseph was born and died on the 1st of Tammuz
- Joshua stopped the sun (Joshua 10:1-15)
- Ezekiel receives his vision of the chariot (Ezekiel 1:4-26)
Along with 5 great catastrophes in biblical history have happened on the 17th of Tammuz
- Moses breaking the tablets at Mt. Sinai in response to the golden calf sin
- Daily offerings cease when the priest could no longer get animal sacrifices due to the Babylonian armies
- Walls breached just prior to the destruction of the temple by the Roman armies
- The burning of the Torah by the Roman general Apostomus
- An idolatrous image placed in the Holy Temple, an act of blasphemy and desecration
This month is linked with the sense of sight. Letting the light flood your eye.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.f]
We want to make sure during this time our eye, our sight, is healthy and full of light. We will talk more about that in a little bit.
Tammuz is also associated with the tribe of Reuben. His name means “I see a son, or a son that sees”
In Genesis Reuben had his birthright stripped because of some ill actions on his part.
3 Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might, and the firstfruits of my strength,
preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
4 Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence,
because you went up to your father’s bed;
then you defiled it—he went up to my couch!
Reubens mother was named Leah. She was said to have “weak” eyes.
17 Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance.
This was not a medical condition. The Hebrew word “rak” means: tender, soft, delicate.
The rabbi’s teach her eyes were puffy and red because of all the crying she had done. It was know back then that there was supposed to be an arranged marriage between Esau and Leah, and Jacob and Rachel. Leah wept over this arrangement. Esau went and married other woman and changed this plan. Jacob loved Rachel and went to work for her father Laban. After 7 years of working he was tricked into marrying Leah. She realized she was not Jacob’s first love, and he had to be tricked into marrying her.
Genesis 29 states
31 When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” 33 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon.
Did Reuben see the many tears of his mother and in spite defile his fathers bed, or could he just not control his lust?
In her weeping Leah’s vision was obscured, blurry.
There was redemption for Reuben. Moses reversed the curse on him in Deuteronomy 33
6 “Let Reuben live, and not die,
but let his men be few.”
So even though many things point to this as a time of weeping and mourning it does also have a redemptive quality.
Tammuz a time to check your prophetic vision. We want light flooding into our eyes which means we need to dethrone idols in our heart. Notice in Matthew 6 it ties the light of the eye with not serving more than one master. It is a time to check your heart and remove anything that has taken the place of Adonai.
A time of pressing
From Tammuz 17 to the 9th of Av is a three week time of pressing. It is a time when the heat gets turned up and spiritual warfare increases. We must PRESS to enter the promise. During this time what is in your heart will come out. Good and ugly. How will you deal with it? This is a time to press into the Lord and allow Him to help us cultivate our heart. Get rid of idols and sin. Repent. We must deal with anything ungodly in our heart this season.
This 3 week period is called Between the Straights or Dire Straights. A straight is a narrow passageway between two bodies of water or through a body of water. This is a difficult passageway, but one of extreme importance that we make our way through. There will be a squeezing that takes place in your life in this season.
The first day of this 3 week period and the last day are two fast mentioned in Zechariah 8:19
“Thus says the Lord 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 seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace.
See the redemptive quality I was talking about earlier. God does not want this to just be about judgement and destruction and mourning. This is a time period set apart to repent and ask for forgiveness for the things we allow in our lives that do not line up with the Holy Word of God.
The infamous 9th of Av
Av is an interesting, although not for good reasons, month. With it is a day that has brought destruction and exhile to the Jewish people for a long time.
The spies returned from their scouting mission into the Promised Land and 10 of the 12 gave an evil report filled with fear. Standing in doubt, they were slanderous of God’s Word and promise because He said He would go before them, fight their battles and deliver them into the land. Only Joshua and Caleb gave a report filled with faith. The Israelite’s were sentenced on the 9th of Av to wander in the wilderness for 40 years until that generation had died out. Only Joshua, and Caleb, were permitted to enter the Promised Land. (Num. 13-14)
The 1st Temple, Solomon’s Temple, was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC. 100,000 Jews were slaughtered and millions more exiled. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin were carried captive to Babylon. The actual fire was set on the 9th of Av. (2 Kings 25:8-9; Jeremiah 52:12-13)
The 2nd Temple, Herod’s Temple, was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD on the 9th of Av led by Titus. Some two million Jews died, and another one million were exiled. The Roman army laid siege to Jerusalem and on the 17th of Tammuz the Daily Sacrifice was again stopped. Roman centurions on the 9th of Av burned the Second Temple. The extreme heat of the fire caused gold of the Temple to melt and run into the cracks and crevices between the stones. When the fire cooled the Roman soldiers used wedges and crowbars to overturn every stone in their search for the gold. Luke 19:44 fulfilled. One year later on the 9th of Av the Romans plowed the Temple Mount and the city of Jerusalem to prepare the area to be turned into a Roman colony. Micah 3: 12 fulfilled
The Bar Kokhba revolt was crushed by Roman Emperor Hadrian. The city of Betar — the Jews’ last stand against the Romans was captured. Over 100,000 Jews were slaughtered. (135 AD) The Temple area and its surroundings were plowed under. Jerusalem was rebuilt as a pagan city — renamed Aelia Capitolina — and access was forbidden to Jews.
In 1290 King Edward I ordered the expulsion of all Jews from England on the 9th of Av.
During the Spanish Inquisition, Ferdinand and Isabella issued the Alhambra Decree, on March 31, 1492, ordering all Jews to leave Spain by the end of July 1492. Later was postponed until August 2nd. Aug 2nd, 1492 was Tisha B’Av (9th of Av). It was during this time August 3rd, one day later, that Christopher Columbus, who may himself have been of Jewish descent, left to ‘discover’ America.
They were forced out of their home in France on the 9th of Av
World War One broke out on the eve of Tisha B’Av in 1914 when Germany declared war on Russia. German resentment from the war set the stage for the Holocaust.
On the eve of Tisha B’Av 1942, the mass deportation began of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka.
The beginning of the end of the Warsaw Ghetto coincided with Tisha B’Av. Indeed, it was the day of Tisha B’Av itself, July 23, 1942, that the first trainload of Jews arrived at their destination, Treblinka, and sent to the gas chambers.
One year earlier, on July 31, 1941 (on the evening of the 8th of Av), Hermann Goring signed a document to implement the “final solution of the Jewish problem,” i.e. extermination.
On Tisha B’Av, August 14, 2005, 8,000 Jewish settlers were forcefully expelled from their homes in Gush Katif,
This did not all happen by coincidence. Can you see why this date is so important for the Jewish people, and why they mourn and repent and fast for 3 weeks leading up to this date.
Even though we are not all Jewish we are still affected by what is going on during this season. Take advantage of knowing the time and partner with God to get all you can out of this season.
Pay attention what is coming out of your heart during this squeezing
Cast down any idols in your life
Let the light of revelation fill your eye, cleanse your vision
Lift up your head
Pray and fast that as the heat gets turned up and spiritual warfare increases you do not get burned up but purified
Let your roar out. Av is associated with the lion. Amos 3:8
8 The lion has roared;
who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken;
who can but prophesy?
Let your roar out this season! Prophesy your promise.