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#240: NO MORE Tish’ah b’Av REPEATED 2


It is time to learn what the Bible has to say about man’s destiny prophetically. We are surely being plunged into the end time period about which the Bible has more to say than any other period in history. ...
Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.’ Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, ‘Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.’ The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: ‘By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.’
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the LORD, ‘Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.’ But the LORD replied, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?’…
But God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?’ ‘It is,’ he said. ‘And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.’ But the LORD said, ‘You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left – and also many animals?’ JONAH 4:1-4, :9-11.

This year the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) in Jewish autumn feasts was observed in the evening of Tuesday, 22nd Sept. and ended in the evening of Wednesday, 23rd Sept.
On this holiest day in the Jewish calendar, 15 sacrifices were to be offered (twelve burnt offerings and three sin offerings), according to Leviticus 16:5-29 and Numbers 29:7-11. If the goat Azazel, a scapegoat was counted, the total of sacrifices was 16. According to the Torah, among the Lord’s appointed feasts, this solemn day was the only time the Israelites proclaimed a fast, reminding them of Yahweh’s holiness compared to their own sinfulness.
In the synagogue, the Book of Jonah is read as a prophetic lectionary at the afternoon service on the Day of Atonement, with Isaiah 57:14- 58:4 being read at the morning service. The major themes of the book, ―sin, divine judgment, repentance and divine forgiveness― very appropriately fits the significance of the Day of Atonement. 
On the Sabbath, morning services in the synagogue include readings from the Torah and the prophets, while in the afternoon services, readings are taken only from the Torah. However, according to rabbinic sources, there are two exceptions, the first being on “Tish’ah b’Av”, commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples and other national Jewish tragedies as discussed in Huldah Letter last month, and the second being on “Yom Kippur”. Reading the book of Jonah after the Torah lectionary as part of the afternoon service on Yom Kippur seems to have become a universal Jewish custom ever since the days of the Mishnah around 200 CE.

Concerning the choice of the Book of Jonah as a prophetic lectionary, Nahum Sarna puts it: 
‘What is remarkable is that the work is not at all about Israel. The sinners and penitents and the sympathetic characters are all pagans, while the anti-hero, the one who misunderstands the true nature of the one God, is none other than the Hebrew prophet. He is the one whom God must teach a lesson in compassion. It is precisely these aspects of this sublime prophetic allegory, and in particular the subthemes of the book, that inform Yom Kippur. These motifs attracted the ancient Jewish sages and led them to select Jonah as one of the day’s two prophetic lectionaries. Its universalistic outlook; its definition of sin as predominantly moral sin; its teaching of human responsibility and accountability; its apprehension that true repentance is determined by deeds and established by transformation of character (Jonah 3:10), not by the recitation of formulas, however fervent; its emphasis on the infinite preciousness of all living things in the sight of God (Jonah 4:10–11); and, finally, its understanding of God as “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in loving-kindness” (Jonah 4:2)—all these noble ideas of the Book of Jonah constitute the fundamentals of Judaism and the quintessence of Yom Kippur’ (

Since the loss of the Temple in 70CE, it is understood that the God-centered observances of the Torah have tragically been replaced with a man-centered good works, system of appeasement through prayer, charity and penitence. Without the temple, Yom Kippur sacrifices have not been performed for almost two thousand years. But according to some recent news, a return to the traditional ways is on the horizon with the plans to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. 
In March this year the Temple Institute in Jerusalem announced that the Altar of the Lord had been reconstructed and that it was essentially “ready for use” in sacrificial services. The altar is a central component to the Biblical sacrificial service. “Breaking Israel News” reported last March:
‘According to the Bible, the altar may not be made out of stones hewn by metal implements. The altar prepared by the Temple Institute, under the direction of architect Rabbi Shmuel Balsam, follows this requirement. It is constructed instead from bricks fired at roughly 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 degrees Fahrenheit), to withstand the immense heat of the Temple’s eternal flame and the weight of the sacrificial animals. Its measurements conform to the interpretation of Maimonides. What makes the altar so unique is that it can be disassembled and reassembled easily, allowing it to be transported quickly and efficiently from its current location, on display at the institute, to the Temple Mount when the time comes. It was inaugurated in December 2014 and is now ready for use’. (

As referred to in my last letter, on 26th July this year, Jewish people around the world observed Tish’ah b’Av, i.e., “The Ninth Day of the Month of Av” (July - August), the saddest day in the Jewish calendar when they fast and mourn because so many tragedies occurred on this day.
In Japan, this year is the 70th after the A-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, both of which took place in August, i.e., the Month of Av. in the Jewish calendar. All of these reminds us of the terrible outcome of man’s sinfulness. 
In this letter I would like to present the rest of a brief summary over what happened in Nagasaki on 9th August 1945, by quoting from “The Atomic Bomb 60 Year Questionnaire” carried out by Asahi Shimbun newspaper.
'What Happened On This Date'? Did the sun explode? - Nagasaki 8/9 Recreated
(August 9, 2005, The Asahi Shimbun Newspaper Morning Edition).
Time was quietly passing under the burning sun. People looked up at the sky, interrupting whatever they were doing - manufacturing weapons, engaged in household chores, or playing on the beach. At that moment, a flash, a blast, heat rays and radiation took everything away. Yet this gone forever daily life has remained engraved in the memories of those people ever since. Among 13,204 individuals from all over Japan who responded to "The Atomic Bomb 60 Years Questionnaire" carried out by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, 4,167 were survivors of the atomic bomb in Nagasaki, including those who were hit both in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What happened on that day? We reconstructed "August 9, 1945" based on these people's testimonies.
…B-29 planes flying from the Kokura area to Nagasaki, blue sky above, children playing, repeated alarms throughout the morning. It was August 8, 1945, two days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported on the front page of its morning edition, "The enemy has dropped a new bomb on Hiroshima." The 240,000 citizens of Nagasaki were unaware of the full reality of the "substantial damage" mentioned in the article.
At 2:49 on the morning of August 9, a B-29 named Boxcar, laden with the atomic bomb, took off from Tinian, 2,700 kilometers south of Japan. It headed to its first target, Kokura City in Fukuoka Prefecture (current Kita-Kyushu City). … In Nagasaki City, an air-raid alert had been repeatedly issued and lifted since the morning. Having been aerially bombed five times since August 1944, people in Nagasaki called the alarm bell the "regular service".
First two reconnaissance planes arrived. … Planes passed over amidst the sound of air raid sirens. Something white, dropped without a sound, opened in the air. "There was something cylindrical hanging, twinkling in the sunlight. … "The cloud changed color from red to black to purple, gradually becoming larger and spreading throughout the entire sky." It was the mushroom cloud. …
The city had vanished. … What happened? The students working at the Mitsubishi Arms factory did not know either. … The city was crowded with war plants owned by Mitsubishi factories making things such as ships, weapons, steel, and electrical goods. At the Mitsubishi Arms Factory, 2,273 people out of a total of 17,792 employees died.
"The next target is the mainland." Ominous leaflets from the U.S. army. The U.S. army scattered leaflets over Nagasaki City from their airplanes. It was "a psychological strategy to deprive the citizens of their fighting spirit." Many people mentioned it in their responses to the survey. … A few hours later the atomic bomb was dropped.
The day of the atomic bombing
02:49 Boxcar, loaded with the atomic bomb, takes off from Tinian.
07:00 Thick fog clears in Nagasaki City.
07:50 Air-raid alert issued.
08:30 Air-raid alert lifted.
08:56 Boxcar passes over Yakushima.
09:45 Boxcar reaches Kokura City, Fukuoka Prefecture.
Due to poor visibility, destination changed to Nagasaki.
10:38 The last train before the bombing leaves Nagasaki station for Mojiko.
10:58 Radio reports, "Enemy airplane approaching northwest towards Shimabara Peninsula."
11:00 Airplane reaches Nagasaki City.
11:02 Atomic bombing. The bomb explodes 500 meters above Matsuyama-machi.
11:09 Air-raid alert issued.
11:30 Two rescuers leave Nagasaki Prefecture air defense headquarters by bicycle.
12:05 Air-raid lifted.
12:30 Fire breaks out at Nagasaki Prefectural Government Offices and other places in the city.
12:51 Boxcar lands at Yontan airfield in Okinawa.
13:50 First rescue train starts transporting injured people.
14:45 Western District Army Command announces, "Enemy plane entered Nagasaki City and used what seems like a new bomb."
15:00 The Nagasaki Prefectural Government Office completely burnt down. Fire spreads further.
18:00 Nagasaki Prefectural Police requests rescue units from surrounding offices including Saga Prefectural Police. (Extracted from materials including "Records of the Nagasaki Atomic Bombing and Wartime Damage".)
'For Those Who Pray for Peace'. … Both the Japanese and English texts are presented here as they were published in 2005, with no further editing by the Asahi Shimbun. Please take a look at these accounts and what they tell us about that day.

In Japan, a controversial bill to expand the role of Japan’s armed forces in a doctrine called collective self-defence passed the upper house on 19th Sept., despite unprecedented physical and vocal protests and polls showing that the majority of Japanese citizens oppose this notion. Unfaithful to the spirit of Japan’s Peace Constitution, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, known for his right wing nationalist views, has pushed the bill through. 
Although Japan’s post World War Two constitution bars her from using force to resolve conflicts except in cases of self-defence, Mr. Abe’s government has changed its interpretation by passing the bill and effectively allowing Japan’s military to mobilise overseas under some conditions. Their action is rationalized by their argument that this is to ensure regional peace and security in the face of rising Chinese assertiveness and to enable Japan to participate more widely in global peace. However, the legislation apparently violates Japan’s Peace Constitution and the protesters apprehend that the prospect that what Japan has long cherished would be destroyed and that the country could be dragged into US-led conflicts.

Japanese people once again must remember the fatal defeat of Japanese militarism in
World War Two seventy years ago and the fact that Japan is the world’s only atomic bombed
country and so, Japan should take the lead in appealing to the whole world of the importance of the spirit of pacifist constitution and its observance as the only way to keep world peace and security, and above all, which alone would make God of peace side with us.

It is time to learn what the Bible has to say about man’s destiny prophetically. We are surely being plunged into the end time period about which the Bible has more to say than any other period in history. We need to stay tuned into God’s Word because the fulfillment of His Word is very close at hand. As God gave the very cruel and most idolatrous people in Nineveh an opportunity to repent and ultimately forgiveness, so He will do the same for Japan as well as other nations who are in need, if only they repent and obey His merciful rule.