How the words of Jesus were fulfilled in 70ad (Historicism)

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Puritan Board Doctor
Source: Keys To The Great Tribulation - (source moved, was a website now it's a YouTube channel)


Judea had always been one of the most restless and rebellious parts of the Roman Empire, and from 60 A.D. onwards the situation began to deteriorate rapidly. Felix the Roman governor was succeeded by Festus, Albinius and then Gessius Florus, a brutal tyrant whose cruelty and maladministration was bound to result in an uprising; which it soon did; Florus was driven out of Jerusalem, the fortress of Antonio was seized by the Zealots and the pro Roman faction in the Holy City was slaughtered. The revolt spread like wildfire, and when Cestius Gallus the Roman governor of Syria who had advanced on Jerusalem, suddenly retreated for no apparent reason, the Jewish Zealots went on the offensive, convinced that God was on their side.

However, over the next three years, under the command of Vespasian who subsequently became Roman Emperor, and then of his son Titus, the Imperial Legions systematically subdued Palestine, gradually tightening the net around the Holy City, in which anarchy reigned as rival Jewish groups fought each other for control. Gabara, Jotapata, Tarichaea, Gischala, and Gamala all fell to the Romans with great slaughter, as the defenders and citizens were exterminated or engaged in mass suicide. These events are recorded for us by the Jewish historian Josephus, who was at first a commander of the rebels in Galilee before going over to the Romans.

The account of the Siege of Jerusalem, as given by Josephus makes gruesome reading. Over one million Jews perished in the siege by famine and the sword. The defenders were reduced to eating human flesh, and chewing grass and leather for sustenance. Those who ventured outside the walls by night in search of food, if captured were scourged, then crucified by the Romans in full view of the defenders. Sometimes hundreds met their fate in this manner during the space of one day. Perhaps some recalled the words of Jesus, when making His way to Calvary and crucifixion. He said to the women of Jerusalem:-

"Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me but for yourselves and for your children."
Luke 23:28

Josephus writing of the conflict says:-

"Our city of all those which have been subjected to the Romans, was advanced to the highest felicity and was thrust down again to the extremist misery; for if the misfortunes of all men from the beginning of the world, were compared to those of the Jews, they would appear much inferior upon the comparison . . . to speak in brief, no other city every suffered such things, as no generation from the beginning of the world was ever more fruitful of wickedness."

As the plight of those within the walls grew worse, many attempted to escape, swallowing their money so that it would not be taken by the Romans. When this was discovered, any subsequent deserters were ripped open and disemboweled by the Romans in search of gold. Eventually most of the city and the Castle of Antonio had fallen to the invaders, and the Jews took refuge within the Temple precincts. They prepared to make a final stand there, still believing that God would intervene and save them. Finally the Holy Temple fell to the soldiers of the Roman Prince Titus; fire brands were used by the Roman soldiers to set the Sanctuary ablaze, and soon the magnificent temple ot Herod was a heap of smoking ruins. The Roman Legions now carried their standards, the Eagle and the Serpent into the Temple and sacrificed before them in the traditional Roman manner, an ox, a sheep and the ultimate abomination a pig. It has been estimated that at least one milion perished in the Siege of Jerusalem, and some ninety thousand survivors were sold into slavery, whilst seven hundred of the tallest most handsome captives were reserved for the March of Triumph through Rome by 'Titus and his Legions. Thus were fulfilled the predictions of the Lord Jesus, a generation earlier, and also of the prophet Daniel several hundred years before, when he had foretold concerning Titus and the armies of Imperial Rome:-

"And the people of the Prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined . . . and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."
Daniel 9:26-27


One of the most amazing aspects of the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. was that not one single Christian perished in the conflict, the reason for this being as we shall see, that they heeded a warning prophecy of Jesus uttered over forty years earlier, concerning the Abomination of Desolation. Let us trace the events as they are outlined for us in the writings of Josephus.

Strange events and portents of doom had begun to take place in the city of Jerusalem as early as 62 A.D. Strange sounds were heard and lights seen shining over the Temple in the dead of night. The huge Eastern Gate which had been barred for years with iron planks had opened at midnight and during the Feast of Pentecost that year there had been a minor earth tremor. Then there appeared in the city a seemingly demented prophet, the son of Ananius, who daily cried out a message of warning and impending doom in the city streets:-

"A voice from the East, a voice from the West, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, a voice against this whole people. Woe, Woe to this holy house and to this people."

When the Jews subsequently broke into revolt some four and a half years later, his previously apparently insane ravings began to have a ring of truth to them and when the Roman armies of Cestius Gallus surrounded Jerusalem and prepared to lay siege to it, the Christians recalled the warning prophecies of Jesus, uttered a generation earlier. Here are three accounts of His message as recorded in the Gospels.

A) "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand). Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains. Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house. Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days. But pray ye that your flight be not in winter neither on the Sabbath day for then shall be great tribulation."
Matthew 24:15-21

B) "But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not (let him that readeth understand) then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains. And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house neither enter therein to take anything out of his house. And let him that is in the field not turn back again to take up his garment. But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days. And pray ye that your flight be not in winter, for in those days shall be affliction:'
Mark 13:14-19

C) "When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains and let them which are in the midst of it depart out . . . for these be the days of vengeance.,"
Luke 21:20-22

By harmonising these three Gospel accounts we see that where Matthew and Mark referred to the Abomination of Desolation, Luke referred to the Roman armies; they were one and the same thing. The Christians in Jerusalem realised this, but surrounded by the Legions of Cestius Gallus, flight seemed to be impossible. Then by a miracle, or as Josephus puts it, "for no apparent reason," the Roman commander and his forces withdrew. The forces of the Jewish Zealots pursued the retreating Romans, attacking them with such ferocity that they were faced with total destruction. The Jews believed they had won a great victory, but the Christians knew that the

Legions of Rome would return, and that now was their chance to heed the words of Christ. They fled the city of Jerusalem and its neighbourhood, not even taking time to gather their possessions. They took to the mountains, and eventually according to the historians Eusebius and Ephiphanius they reached safety at Pella and other places beyond the River Jordan. Not one Christian perished in the bloody siege which followed.

What became of the prophet of woe? Josephus tells us that after proclaiming his message for some seven and a half years, he was killed by a stone from a Roman siege engine as he stood on the walls of the embattled city, still proclaiming woe to it and to the Holy Temple.
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