Saturday, August 2, 2014

Flavius Josephus describes the destruction of Jerusalem.

 Josephus recorded, in great detail, Jewish history, 1st century Judaism.  In a book called, "Wars of the Jews", Josephus describes the destruction of Jerusalem as Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24.  In 70 Titus captured and completely destroyed Jerusalem with great slaughter.  

Josephus was a priest, a soldier, and a scholar. He was born Joseph Ben Mattathias in Jerusalem in 37 CE, a few years after the time of Jesus, during the time of the Roman occupation of the Jewish homeland. In his early twenties, he was sent to Rome to negotiate the release of several priests held hostage by Emperor Nero. When he returned home after completing his mission, he found the nation beginning a revolution against the Romans. 

Despite his foreboding that the cause was hopeless, he was drafted into becoming commander of the revolutionary forces in Galilee, where he spent more time controlling internal factions than fighting the Roman army. When the city of Jotapata he was defending fell to the Roman general Vespasian, Josephus and his supporters hid in a cave and entered into a suicide pact, which Josephus oddly survived.

Taken prisoner by Vespasian, Josephus presented himself as a prophet. Noting that the war had been propelled by an ancient oracle that foretold a world ruler would arise from Judaea, Josephus asserted that this referred to Vespasian, who was destined to become Emperor of Rome. Intrigued, Vespasian spared his life. When this prophecy came true, and Vespasian became Emperor, he rewarded Josephus handsomely, freeing him from his chains and eventually adopting him into his family, the Flavians. Josephus thus became Flavius Josephus.

During the remainder of the war, Josephus assisted the Roman commander Titus, Vespasian's son, with understanding the Jewish nation and in negotiating with the revolutionaries. Called a traitor, he was unable to persuade the defenders of Jerusalem to surrender to the Roman siege, and instead became a witness to the destruction of the city and the Holy Temple.

Living at the Flavian court in Rome, Josephus undertook to write a history of the war he had witnessed. The work, while apparently factually correct, also served to flatter his patron and to warn other provinces against the folly of opposing the Romans. He first wrote in his native language of Aramaic, then with assistance, translated it into Greek (the most-used language of the Empire). It was published a few years after the end of the war, in about 78 CE. He was about 40 years old.

Josephus subsequently improved his language skills and undertook a massive work in Greek explaining the history of the Jews to the general non-Jewish audience. He emphasized that the Jewish culture and Bible were older than any other then existing, hence called his work the Jewish Antiquities. Approximately half the work is a rephrasing of the Hebrew Bible, while much of the rest draws on previous historians. This work was published in 93 or 94 CE, when he was about 56 years old.

Josephus wrote at least two smaller books, including his autobiography, in which he recounts his life from birth until the writing of the Antiquities. The year he died is unknown.
 

Ancient Rome was the superpower of its day. Yet, when the Romans conquered the tiny province of Judea and quashed the First Jewish Revolt in 70 C.E., it was actually a pretty big deal.

The spoils of war from Judea—the riches of the Temple treasury, the golden vessels from the Temple, the seized personal treasures of Jewish citizens and the sale of the Jewish captives themselves—provided an enormous wealth for the emperor and the plundering army commanded by his son Titus. Thus did the conquest of Judea fund the most recognizable structure of imperial Rome.


The Temple treasures were stolen by the Romans, even the menorah was stolen and taken back to Rome. By September 7, the city was once again back in Roman hands. The Temple lay in ruins, almost all the Temple walls were destroyed.
 The Arch of Titus in Rome bears many inscriptions and engraved pictures. Some include images of victorious Roman soldiers marching back to Rome carrying the Temple Treasures. 

Many Jews who were not exiled yet fled to Masada and held out for three more years fighting against the Roman Empire, but in the end they were defeated and the nation of Israel would be no more.

How The War Of The Jews With The Romans Began.


Titus Flavius Vespasianus in the picture to the left led the siege that razed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., then went on to succeed his father Vespasian as Roman emperor. Titus was the eldest son of Vespasian, who ruled as emperor from 69-79. Titus spent his early career on military campaigns in Britain and Germany, but he became a Roman hero after he destroyed Jerusalem and put down the Jewish revolt.

The Jewish War began in 66 AD and culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70. When under the proconsul Gessius Florus in  the injustice, oppression and tyranny had reached a climax. The Jews were confident that God would come to their rescue and vindicate their cause. There is no doubt that this Zealot rebellion movement was filled with a theocratic ideal and fervent Messianic hope. By dissatisfaction turned into open rebellion.

Rome did not initiate the war against Jerusalem.  Jerusalem was already under the authority and control of Rome. Headstrong men in Jerusalem who thought the (time was right to throw off the Roman yoke) kept irritating the and inciting them to rebel against Rome. They believed the (time had come for God to establish his earthly kingdom in Palestine) and thus the people quit paying their taxes and removed the connecting “cloisters” from between the Temple and the tower of Antonia where Roman soldiers were stationed.  This would have been sufficient in itself to cause Rome to go against Jerusalem.

The conflict started up in Caesarea and above all in Jerusalem. In November of 66 Jewish Zealots had driven all Roman forces from Jerusalem and had actually slain more than 600 Roman troops. The Roman occupation forces, but also the high priest who tried to smother the rebellion, were no longer equal to the situation and were slaughtered.

The bull-necked emperor Nero gave two simple commands - destroy Jerusalem - level the temple.   Nero picked the fifty seven year old commoner, Vespasian, who would be assisted by his energetic son Titus. The conquered nations comprising the Roman Empire watched with incredulity as the Jews, single-handed, fought the Roman Goliath. Josephus was given the task to command the Jewish forces.

The Jews were so close to winning the war that Rome was forced to use her full military weight against them to insure victory. The Romans knew the world was watching and knew that the stakes were high. If the Jews were to win their independence the whole empire would be in revolt.

The extreme Jewish patriots were not satisfied with the tame manner in which Josephus conducted his preparations; they had grounds to suspect that the aristocrat, who had formally belonged to the peace party, had not his heart in the undertaking. The bloody business of massacre and counter-massacre succeeded one another with unrelenting horror.   Jews were killed in Caesarea, Scythopolis, Ascolon, Tyre, Alexandri. Josephus ends up turning collaborationist for the Romans.

Josephus tells us that when Cestius Gallus had earlier come with his army against Jerusalem, after some time he raised the siege.   After he had left, many of the oldest of the Jews went out from Jerusalem as from a sinking ship. He says that a few years later, when Vespasian come with his troops against Jerusalem, a great multitude fled from Jerusalem to the mountains for security. 

It is reasonable to suppose that some Christians were among these. When Jerusalem was surrounded, the Christians were to think of their safety, and seize the first opportunity for flight. Jesus had warned them when these things started happening to flee into the mountains

Luke 21:20-22 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.  Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.  For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

After the entire land had been subdued by Vespasian, the siege of Jerusalem itself was finally under-taken in the spring of 70 by his son Titus to end the war and destroy them.  The Temple swam with the blood of more than 8000 Zealots. Suffice it to say, that the Jews, deceived by false prophets who promised them a temporal deliverer, persevered in their rebellion long after reasonable chance of success had disappeared; they were divided into hostile factions, who fought against each other in the streets of Jerusalem, while the walls of the city quivered under the battering engines of the common enemy.

The temple was leveled to the ground and utterly destroyed.  Jesus had warned His followers "Verily, I say unto you, There shall not be left here (Temple) one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

After bitter fighting and frightful massacres, in September of 70, after a stubborn and desperate resistance, the city fell and the national existence of the Jews came to an end. The Holy City was taken and burned, and the Tenth Legion encamped in the ruined temple.

After the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, the Sadducees disappear - no temple meant no sacrifices, no place, therefore for a priestly class; total national humiliation.

The Makeup of the Roman Army That Came Against Jerusalem.

6. Thus did John hope to be too hard for his enemies by these engines constructed by his impiety; but God himself demonstrated that his pains would prove of no use to him, by bringing the Romans upon him, before he had reared any of his towers; for Titus, when he had gotten together part of his forces about him, and had ordered the rest to meet him at Jerusalem, marched out of Cesarea. 

He had with him those three legions that had accompanied his father when he laid Judea waste, together with that twelfth legion which had been formerly beaten with Cestius; which legion, as it was otherwise remarkable for its valor, so did it march on now with greater alacrity to avenge themselves on the Jews, as remembering what they had formerly suffered from them. Of these legions he ordered the fifth to meet him, by going through Emmaus, and the tenth to go up by Jericho; he also moved himself, together with the rest; besides whom, marched those auxiliaries that came from the kings, being now more in number than before, together with a considerable number that came to his assistance from Syria. 

Those also that had been selected out of these four legions, and sent with Mucianus to Italy, had their places filled up out of these soldiers that came out of Egypt with Titus; who were two thousand men, chosen out of the armies at Alexandria. There followed him also three thousand drawn from those that guarded the river Euphrates ; as also there came Tiberius Alexander, who was a friend of his, most valuable, both for his good-will to him, and for his prudence. He had formerly been governor of Alexandria, but was now thought worthy to be general of the army [under Titus]. 

The reason of this was, that he had been the first who encouraged Vespasian very lately to accept this his new dominion, and joined himself to him with great fidelity, when things were uncertain, and fortune had not yet declared for him. He also followed Titus as a counselor, very useful to him in this war, both by his age and skill in such affairs.    Book V, Chapter I, Section 6 (Entire)

How Titus Marched To Jerusalem, and How He Was in Danger as he Was Taking a View of the City of the Place Also Where He Pitched His Camp

1. Now, as Titus was upon his march into the enemy's country, the auxiliaries that were sent by the kings marched first, having all the other auxiliaries with them; after whom followed those that were to prepare the roads and measure out the camp; then came the commander's baggage, and after that the other soldiers, who were completely armed to support them; then came Titus himself, having with him another select body; and then came the pikemen; after whom came the horse belonging to that legion.

All these came before the engines; and after these engines came the tribunes and the leaders of the cohorts, with their select bodies; after these came the ensigns, with the eagle ; and before those ensigns came the trumpeters belonging to them; next these came the main body of the army in their ranks, every rank being six deep; the servants belonging to every legion came after these; and before these last their baggage; the mercenaries came last, and those that guarded them brought up the rear. Now Titus, according to the Roman usage, went in the front of the army after a decent manner, and marched through Samaria to Gophna, a city that had been formerly taken by his father, and was then garrisoned by Roman soldiers; and when he had lodged there one night, he marched on in the morning; and when he had gone as far as a day's march, he pitched his camp at that valley which the Jews, in their own tongue, call "the Valley of Thorns," near a certain village called Gabaothsath, which signifies "the Hill of Saul," being distant from Jerusalem about thirty furlongs. There it was that he chose out six hundred select horsemen, and went to take a view of the city, to observe what strength it was of, and how courageous the Jews were; whether, when they saw him, and before they came to a direct battle, they would be affrighted and submit; for he had been informed what was really true, that the people who were fallen under the power of the seditious and the robbers were greatly desirous of peace; but being too weak to rise up against the rest, they lay still. 
Book V, Chapter II, Section 1 (Entire)

Book V, Chapter II, Section 2 (Entire)

2. Now, so long as he rode along the straight road which led to the wall of the city, nobody appeared out of the gates; but when he went out of that road, and declined towards the tower Psephinus, and led the band of horsemen obliquely, an immense number of the Jews leaped out suddenly at the towers called the "Women's Towers," through that gate which was over against the monuments of queen Helena, and intercepted his horse; and standing directly opposite to those that still ran along the road, hindered them from joining those that had declined out of it. 

They intercepted Titus also, with a few other. Now it was here impossible for him to go forward, because all the places had trenches dug in them from the wall, to preserve the gardens round about, and were full of gardens obliquely situated, and of many hedges; and to return back to his own men, he saw it was also impossible, by reason of the multitude of the enemies that lay between them; many of whom did not so much as know that the king was in any danger, but supposed him still among them. So he perceived that his preservation must be wholly owing to his own courage, and turned his horse about, and cried out aloud to those that were about him to follow him, and ran with violence into the midst of his enemies, in order to force his way through them to his own men. And hence we may principally learn, that both the success of wars, and the dangers that kings are in, are under the providence of God; for while such a number of darts were thrown at Titus, when he had neither his head-piece on, nor his breastplate, (for, as I told you, he went out not to fight, but to view the city,) none of them touched his body, but went aside without hurting him; as if all of them missed him on purpose, and only made a noise as they passed by him. So he diverted those perpetually with his sword that came on his side, and overturned many of those that directly met him, and made his horse ride over those that were overthrown. 

The enemy indeed made a shout at the boldness of Caesar, and exhorted one another to rush upon him. Yet did these against whom he marched fly away, and go off from him in great numbers; while those that were in the same danger with him kept up close to him, though they were wounded both on their backs and on their sides; for they had each of them but this one hope of escaping, if they could assist Titus in opening himself a way, that he might not be encompassed round by his enemies before he got away from them. Now there were two of those that were with him, but at some distance; the one of which the enemy compassed round, and slew him with their darts, and his horse also; but the other they slew as he leaped down from his horse, and carried off his horse with them. But Titus escaped with the rest, and came safe to the camp. So this success of the Jews' first attack raised their minds, and gave them an ill-grounded hope; and this short inclination of fortune, on their side, made them very courageous for the future. 


 Book V, Chapter II, Section 3 (Entire)

3. But now, as soon as that legion that had been at Emmaus was joined to Caesar at night, he removed thence, when it was day, and came to a place called Seopus; from whence the city began already to be seen, and a plain view might be taken of the great temple. Accordingly, this place, on the north quarter of the city, and joining thereto, was a plain, and very properly named Scopus, [the prospect,] and was no more than seven furlongs distant from it.

And here it was that Titus ordered a camp to be fortified for two legions that were to be together; but ordered another camp to be fortified, at three furlongs farther distance behind them, for the fifth legion; for he thought that, by marching in the night, they might be tired, and might deserve to be covered from the enemy, and with less fear might fortify themselves; and as these were now beginning to build, the tenth legion, who came through Jericho, was already come to the place, where a certain party of armed men had formerly lain, to guard that pass into the city, and had been taken before by Vespasian.

These legions had orders to encamp at the distance of six furlongs from Jerusalem, at the mount called the Mount of Olives which lies over against the city on the east side, and is parted from it by a deep valley, interposed between them, which is named Cedron.

The Great Slaughter And Sacrilege that were In Jerusalem.

But as for John, when he could no longer plunder the people, he betook himself to sacrilege, and melted down many of the sacred utensils, which had been given to the temple; as also were many of those vessels which were necessary for such as ministered about holy things, - the caldrons, the dishes, and the table; nay, he did not abstain from those pouring-vessels that were sent them by Augustus and his wife; for the Romans emperors did ever both honour and adorn this temple: whereas this man, who was a Jew, seized upon what were the donations of foreigners; and said to those that were with him, that it was proper for them to use divine things while they were fighting for the Divinity, without fear, and that such whose warfare is for the temple should live of the temple; on which account he emptied the vessels of that sacred wine and oil which the priests kept to be poured on the burnt-offerings, and which lay in the inner court of the temple, and distributed it among the multitude, who, in their anointing themselves and drinking, used [each of them] above an hin of them; and here I cannot but speak my mind, and what the concerns I am under dictates to me, and it is this: - I suppose that had the Romans made any longer delay in coming against these villains, the city would either have been swallowed up by the ground opening upon them, or been overflowed by water, or else been destroyed by such thunder as the country of Sodom perished by, for it had brought forth a generation of men much more atheistical that were those that suffered such punishments ; for by their madness it was that all the people came to be destroyed.   Book V, Chapter XIII, Section 6 (Entire)

The Great Slaughters And Sacrilege In Jerusalem

Book V, Chapter XIII, Section 7 (Entire) 

7. And, indeed, why do I relate these particular calamities? while Manneus, the son of Lazarus, came running to Titus at this very time, and told him that there had been carried out through that one gate, which was intrusted to his care, no fewer than a hundred and fifteen thousand eight hundred and eighty dead bodies, in the interval between the fourteenth day of the month Xanthieus, [Nisan,] when the Romans pitched their camp by the city, and the first day of the month Panemus [Tamuz]. This was itself a prodigious multitude ; and though this man was not himself set as a governor at that gate, yet was he appointed to pay the public stipend for carrying these bodies out, and so was obliged of necessity to number them, while the rest were buried by their relations; though all their burial was but this, to bring them away, and cast them out of the city. After this man there ran away to Titus many of the eminent citizens, and told him the entire number of the poor that were dead, and that no fewer than six hundred thousand were thrown out at the gates, though still the number of the rest could not be discovered; and they told him further, that when they were no longer able to carry out the dead bodies of the poor, they laid their corpses on heaps in very large houses, and shut them up therein; as also that a medimnus of wheat was sold for a talent; and that when, a while afterward, it was not possible to gather herbs, by reason the city was all walled about, some persons were driven to that terrible distress as to search the common sewers and old dunghills of cattle, and to eat the dung which they got there; and what they of old could not endure so much as to see they now used for food. When the Romans barely heard all this, they commiserated their case; while the seditious, who saw it also, did not repent, but suffered the same distress to come upon themselves; for they were blinded by that fate which was already coming upon the city, and upon themselves also. 

Concerning A False Prophet

2. And now the Romans, judging that it was in vain to spare what was round the holy house, burnt all those places, as also the remains of the cloisters and the gates, two excepted; the one on the east side, and the other on the south; both which, however, they burnt afterward.

They also burnt down the treasury-chambers, in which was an immense quantity of money, and an immense number of garments, and other precious goods, there reposited; and, to speak all in a few words, there it was that the entire riches of the Jews were heaped up together, while the rich people had there built themselves chambers, [to contain such furniture.] 

The soldiers also came to the rest of the cloisters that were in the outer [court of the] temple, whither the women and children and a great mixed multitude of the people fled, in number about six thousand. But before Caesar had determined anything about these people, or given the commanders any orders relating to them, the soldiers were in such a rage, that they set the cloister on fire; by which means it came to pass that some of these were destroyed by throwing themselves down headlong, and some were burnt in the cloisters themselves. Nor did any one of these escape with his life.

A false prophet* was the occasion of these people's destruction, who had made a public proclamation in the city that very day, that God commanded them to get up upon the temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance.

Now, there was then a great number of false prophets suborned by the tyrants to impose upon the people, who denounced this to them, that they should wait for deliverance from God; and this was in order to keep them from deserting, and that they might be buoyed up above fear and care by such hopes. Now, a man that is in adversity does easily comply with such promises; for when such a seducer makes him believe that he shall be delivered from those miseries which oppress him, then it is that the patient is full of hopes of such deliverance.  
Book VI, Chapter V, Section 2 (Entire)

Commentary.

Matthew 24:23 "Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it.  "For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  "See, I have told you beforehand. "Therefore, if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or, 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it.

All of the New Testament scripture fits together like hand and glove when we connect the dots of “all the events” together.   Why would Jesus tell the disciples “beforehand” that Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect?   Because most of Israel did not believe the Messiah had come in the first place  The Jews for the most part were expecting the Messiah to be more like a military who will win battles for Israel and help overthrow the Rome yoke and restore the nation of Israel back to her former place in the world.   The Messiah would be a great political leader a descended from King David. (Jeremiah 23:5)  But above all, he will be a human being, not a god.


There were many false prophets in Jesus’ day that claimed to be the Messiah.   In fact, during this period there were many false Christs like no other time in the history of Israel.  It was probably due to the prophesies timeline for the coming of the Messiah. Galatians 4:4  But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law. The people of that day knew it was about time for Messiah to make His appearing. And there were many who tried to fill the role of the Messiah.

The book of Acts lists a number of these impostors just as Jesus predicted.  Simon is probably the best known.   Now there was a certain man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city, and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great; and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, ‘This man is what is called the Great Power of God.’ And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts (Acts 8:9-11). 


Jerome quotes Simon Magus as saying "I am the Word of God, I am the Comforter, I am Almighty, I am all there is of God." (Kik, An Eschatology of Victory, 92).    Gamaliel, who was a Pharisee mentions “Theudas who claimed to be somebody” He also mentions another false messiah, Judas of Galilee, who drew away some people after him. (Acts 5:37)  After Theudas another false messiah, rose up named Judas of Galilee, who drew away some people after him (Acts 5:37). There also was an Egyptian impostor, who lead thirty thousand men into the wilderness to be murdered. Thirty thousand followed him, under the persuasion that from mount Olivet they should see the walls of Jerusalem fall to the ground at his command, for their easy capture of the Roman garrison there; and their taking possession of Jerusalem. They were attacked by the Roman governor; four hundred were slain; and the rest dispersed. The Egyptian importer escaped for his life. (Acts 21:38)

Secular historians record other examples of false messiahs who rose up soon after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Josephus tells of a certain false prophet who made a public proclamation in the city that God commanded them to get up upon the temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance (Josephus War of the Jews Book 6/Chapter 5- 2). This occurred in Jesus’ generation.

In 1805 a man named Peter Holford wrote a book called “THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM” He had this to say about the period:

The necessity for this friendly warning soon appeared; for within one year after our Lord's ascension, rose Dositheus the Samaritan, who had the boldness to assert that he was the Messiah, of whom Moses prophesied; while his disciple Simon Magus deluded multitudes into a belief that he, himself, was the "GREAT POWER OF GOD." 


About three years afterwards another Samaritan impostor appeared, and declared that he would show the people the sacred utensils, said to have been deposited by Moses, in mount Gerizim. Induced by an idea that the Messiah, their great deliverer, was now come, an armed multitude assembled under him, but Pilate speedily defeated them, and slew their chief. While Cuspius Fadus was procurator of Judea, another deceiver arose, whose name was Theudas. [4] This man actually succeeded so far as to persuade a very great multitude to take their effects and follow him to Jordan, assuring them, that the river would divide at his command.

Fadus, however, pursued their with a troop of horse, and slew many of them, and among the rest the impostor himself, whose head was cut off and carried to Jerusalem. Under the government of Felix, deceivers rose up daily in Judea, and persuaded the people to follow them into the wilderness, assuring them that they should there behold conspicuous signs and wonders performed by the ALMIGHTY. Of these Felix, from time to time, apprehended many, and put them to death. About this period (A.D. 55) arose Felix the celebrated Egyptian impostor, who collected thirty-thousand followers, and persuaded them to accompany him to the Mount of Olives, telling, them that from thence they should see the walls of Jerusalem fall down at his command, as, a prelude to the capture of the Roman garrison, and to their obtaining the sovereignty of the city. The Roman governor, however, apprehending this to be the beginning of the revolt, immediately attacked them, slew four hundred of them, and dispersed the rest; but the Egyptian effected his escape. At the time of Porcius Festus (A.D.60), another distinguished impostor seduced the people, by promising them deliverance from the Roman yoke, if they would follow him into the wilderness; but Festus sent out an armed force which speedily destroyed both the deceiver and his followers. In short, impostors, to a divine commission, continually and fatally deceived the people, and at once justified the caution, and fulfilled the prediction of our LORD.

If it be objected that none of these impostors, except Dositheus, assumed the name of Messiah, we reply, that the groveling expectations of the Jews was directed to a Messiah who should merely deliver them from the Roman yoke, and "restore the kingdom to Jerusalem;" and such were the pretensions of these deceivers. This expectation, indeed, is the only true solution of these strange and reputed insurrections; which will naturally remind the reader of the following prophetic expressions of our LORD: "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not; if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." " If they shall say unto you, 'Behold he is in the desert!' Go not forth. They will show [5] (or pretend to see) great signs and wonders,"'

In conclusion, we see that false messiahs were abounding in the first century. In fact, when we come to understand the Jewish concept of the false Messiah, we see that this phenomena was unique to the first century and not to our modern times.

At the time of Felix the governor (who is mentioned in the book of (Acts 23:24), said the country of the Jews was filled with impostors who Felix had put to death EVERY DAY—a statement which indicates that there were "many" of such in those days!





 

The Jews Were Crucified Before the Walls of the City.

So now Titus's banks were advanced a great way, notwithstanding his soldiers had been very much distressed from the wall. He then sent a party of horsemen, and ordered they should lay ambushes for those that went out into the valleys to gather food.

Some of these were indeed fighting men, who were not contented with what they got by rapine; but the greater part of them were poor people, who were deterred from deserting by the concern they were under for their own relations; for they could not hope to escape away, together with their wives and children, without the knowledge of the seditious; nor could they think of leaving these relations to be slain by the robbers on their account; nay, the severity of the famine made them bold in thus going out; so nothing remained but that, when they were concealed from the robbers, they should be taken by the enemy; and when they were going to be taken, they were forced to defend themselves for fear of being punished; as after they had fought, they thought it too late to make any supplications for mercy; so they were first whipped, and then tormented with all sorts of tortures, before they died, and were then crucified before the wall of the city.

This miserable procedure made Titus greatly to pity them, while they caught every day five hundred Jews; nay, some days they caught more: yet it did not appear to be safe for him to let those that were taken by force go their way, and to set a guard over so many he saw would be to make such as great deal them useless to him.

The main reason why he did not forbid that cruelty was this, that he hoped the Jews might perhaps yield at that sight, out of fear lest they might themselves afterwards be liable to the same cruel treatment. So the soldiers, out of the wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest, when their multitude was so great, that room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses wanting for the bodies. Book V, Chapter XIII, Section 4 (Entire)

Cricifixion was a favorite of Rome. This practice against the Jews & Christians was by no means a new invention, nor only specific to the latter Jewish wars as recorded by Josephus. Rome had a special passion for killing that involved as mu...ch torture & pain the victim could bear before finally expiring.  Book V, Chapter XI, Section 1 (Entire)

Josephus Sent By Titus To Discourse With Countrymen.

Josephus pleas with the Jews spare the city of Jerusalem and the temple.

 4. While Josephus was making this exhortation to the Jews, many of them jested upon him from the wall, and many reproached him; nay, some threw their darts at him: but when he could not himself persuade them by such open good advice, he betook himself to the histories belonging to their own nation, and cried out aloud, O miserable creatures! are you so unmindful of those that used to assist you, that you will fight by your weapons and by your hands against the Romans?

When did we ever conquer any other nation by such means? and when was it that God, who is the Creator of the Jewish people, did not avenge them when they had been injured? Will not you turn again, and look back, and consider whence it is that you fight with such violence, and how great a Supporter you have profanely abused?

Will not you recall to mind the prodigious things done for your forefathers and this holy place, and how great enemies of yours were by him subdued under you? I even tremble myself in declaring the works of God before your ears, that are unworthy to hear them; however, hearken to me, that you may be informed how you fight not only against the Romans, but against God himself. In old times there was one Necao, king of Egypt, who was also called Pharaoh; he came with a prodigious army of soldiers, and seized queen Sarah, the mother of our nation. What did Abraham our progenitor then do? Did he defend himself from this injurious person by war, although he had three hundred and eighteen captains under him, and an immense army under each of them? Indeed he deemed them to be no number at all without God's assistance, and only spread out his hands towards this holy place, which you have now polluted, and reckoned upon him as upon his invincible supporter, instead of his own army.

Was not our queen sent back, without any defilement, to her husband, the very next evening? - while the king of Egypt fled away, adoring this place which you have defiled by shedding thereon the blood of your own countrymen; and he also trembled at those visions which he saw in the night season, and bestowed both silver and gold on the Hebrews, as on a people beloved by God. Shall I say nothing, or shall I mention the removal of our fathers into Egypt, who, when they were used tyrannically, and were fallen under the power of foreign kings for four hundred ears together, and might have defended themselves by war and by fighting, did yet do nothing but commit themselves to God! Who is there that does not know that Egypt was overrun with all sorts of wild beasts, and consumed by all sorts of distempers? how their land did not bring forth its fruit? how the Nile failed of water? how the ten plagues of Egypt followed one upon another? and how by those means our fathers were sent away under a guard, without any bloodshed, and without running any dangers, because God conducted them as his peculiar servants?

It was God who then became our General, and accomplished these great things for our fathers, and this because they did not meddle with war and fighting, but committed it to him to judge about their affairs. ...And, to speak in general, we can produce no example wherein our fathers got any success by war, or failed of success when without war they committed themselves to God. When they stayed at home, they conquered, as pleased their Judge; but when they went out to fight, they were always disappointed: for example, when the king of Babylon besieged this very city, and our king Zedekiah fought against him, contrary to what predictions were made to him by Jeremiah the prophet, he was at once taken prisoner, and saw the city and the temple demolished. Yet how much greater was the moderation of that king, than is that of your present governors, and that of the people then under him, than is that of you at this time! for when Jeremiah cried out aloud, how very angry God was at them, because of their transgressions, and told them they should be taken prisoners, unless they would surrender up their city, neither did the king nor the people put him to death; but for you, (to pass over what you have done within the city, which I am not able to describe as your wickedness deserves,) you abuse me, and throw darts at me, who only exhort you to save yourselves, as being provoked when you are put in mind of your sins, and cannot bear the very mention of those crimes which you every day perpetrate. For another example, when Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes, lay before this city, and had been guilty of many indignities against God, and our forefathers met him in arms, they then were slain in the battle, this city was plundered by our enemies, and our sanctuary made desolate for three years and six months . And what need I bring any more examples?

Thus it appears that arms were never given to our nation, but that we are always given up to be fought against, and to be taken; for I suppose that such as inhabit this holy place ought to commit the disposal of all things to God, and then only to disregard the assistance of men when they resign themselves up to their Arbitrator, who is above. As for you, what have you done of those things that are recommended by our legislator? and what have you not done of those things that he hath condemned? How much more impious are you than those who were so quickly taken! You have not avoided so much as those sins that are usually done in secret; I mean thefts, and treacherous plots against men, and adulteries. You are quarrelling about rapines and murders, and invent strange ways of wickedness.

Nay, the temple itself is become the receptacle of all, and this Divine place is polluted by the hands of those of our own country; which place hath yet been reverenced by the Romans when it was at a distance from them, when they have suffered many of their own customs to give place to our law. And, after all this, do you expect Him whom you have so impiously abused to be your supporter? To be sure then you have a right to be petitioners, and to call upon Him to assist you, so pure are your hands! And it is plain madness to expect that God should appear as well disposed towards the wicked as towards the righteous, since he knows when it is proper to punish men for their sins immediately; accordingly he brake the power of the Assyrians the very first night that they pitched their camp.

Wherefore, had he judged that our nation was worthy of freedom, or the Romans of punishment, he had immediately inflicted punishment upon those Romans, as he did upon the Assyrians, when Pompey began to meddle with our nation, or when after him Sosius came up against us, or when Vespasian laid waste Galilee, or, lastly, when Titus came first of all near to this city; although Magnus and Sosius did not only suffer nothing, but took the city by force; as did Vespasian go from the war he made against you to receive the empire; and as for Titus, those springs that were formerly almost dried up when they were under your power since he is come, run more plentifully than they did before; accordingly, you know that Siloam, as well as all the other springs that were without the city, did so far fail, that water was sold by distinct measures; whereas they now have such a great quantity of water for your enemies, as is sufficient not only for drink both for themselves and their cattle, but for watering their gardens also. The same wonderful sign you had also experience of formerly, when the forementioned king of Babylon made war against us, and when he took the city, and burnt the temple; while yet I believe the Jews of that age were not so impious as you are. Wherefore I cannot but suppose that God is fled out of his sanctuary, and stands on the side of those against whom you fight .

Now even a man, if he be but a good man, will fly from an impure house, and will hate those that are in it; and do you persuade yourselves that God will abide with you in your iniquities, who sees all secret things, and hears what is kept most private? Now what crime is there, I pray you, that is so much as kept secret among you, or is concealed by you? nay, what is there that is not open to your very enemies? for you show your transgressions after a pompous manner, and contend one with another which of you shall be more wicked than another; and you make a public demonstration of your injustice, as if it were virtue. However, there is a place left for your preservation, if you be willing to accept of it; and God is easily reconciled to those that confess their faults, and repent of them. O hard-hearted wretches as you are! cast away all your arms, and take pity of your country already going to ruin; return from your wicked ways, and have regard to the excellency of that city which you are going to betray, to that excellent temple with the donations of so many countries in it.

Who could bear to be the first that should set that temple on fire? who could be willing that these things should be no more? and what is there that can better deserve to be preserved? O insensible creatures, and more stupid than are the stones themselves! And if you cannot look at these things with discerning eyes, yet, however, have pity upon your families, and set before every one of your eyes your children, and wives, and parents, who will be gradually consumed either by famine or by war. I am sensible that this danger will extend to my mother, and wife, and to that family of mine who have been by no means ignoble, and indeed to one that hath been very eminent in old time; and perhaps you may imagine that it is on their account only that I give you this advice; if that be all, kill them; nay, take my own blood as a reward, if it may but procure your preservation; for I am ready to die, in case you will but return to a sound mind after my death. 

 Book V, Chapter IX, Section 4 (Partial)

















Now trapped inside the city of Jerusalem.

Now trapped inside the city of Jerusalem the people of Israel destroyed their own food supply that would have been sufficient for a siege of Roman for many years.

Fighting broke out inside the city between the warring factions of Jews. The innocent were killed. Nothing was done for the wounded. And Dead bodies lay unburied. The madness in side the city of Jerusalem was so great they set houses on fire that were full of corn, and all other provisions. They polluted their own drinking water

4. And now there were three treacherous factions in the city, the one parted from the other. Eleazar and his party, that kept the sacred first-fruits, came against John in their cups. Those that were with John plundered the populace, and went out with zeal against Simon.

This Simon had his supply of provisions from the city, in opposition to the seditious. When, therefore, John was assaulted on both sides, he made his men turn about, throwing his darts upon those citizens that came up against him, from the cloisters he had in his possession, while he opposed those that attacked him from the temple by engines of war; and if at any time he was freed from those that were above him, which happened frequently, from their being drunk and tired, he sallied out with a great number upon Simon and his party; and this he did always in such parts of the city as he could come at, till (he set on fire those houses that were full of corn, and of all provisions).* (1) The same thing was done by Simon, when, upon the others' retreat, he attacked the city also; as if they had, on purpose done it to serve the Romans, (by destroying what the city had laid up against the Siege), and by thus cutting off the nerves of their own power.

Accordingly, it so came to pass, that all the places that were about the temple were burnt down, and were become an intermediate desert space, ready for fighting on both sides; and that almost (all the corn was burnt, which would have been sufficient for a siege of many years). So they were taken by the means of famine, which it was impossible they should have been, unless they had thus prepared the way for it by this procedure. Josephus Book V, Chapter I, Section 4 (Entire)

This destruction of such a vast quantity of corn and other provisions, as was sufficient for many years, was the direct occasion of that terrible famine, which consumed incredible numbers of Jews in Jerusalem during its siege.

Commentary.

These unbelieving Jews did not heed the warning of Jesus.  Jesus said "But pray that your flight may not be on a Sabbath" Matthew 24:20.   The reason Jesus said to pray that the city would not be destroyed beginning on Sabbath day is obvious to anyone living within the city of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem was a Jewish dominated town which kept 100% of the law of Moses up to 70AD.  The Gates of the city would be closed on the Sabbath: (Nehemiah 13:15-22) This would hinder the Lord's instructions to the Christians to GET OUT OF THE CITY before the Roman armies destroyed the city as Jesus said in Luke 21:20 NKJV “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Jesus lists 3 things that would hinder fleeing the city: Matthew 24:15-21 Pregnant or Nursing mothers hindered for obvious reasons. Winter would hinder because of exposure to cold and snow. Sabbath day because the gates of the Jewish controlled city of Jerusalem would be locked and they could not get out!





Hailstones One Hundred Pounds in Weight Thrown Upon City.

Now the stones that were cast were of the weight of a talent (1), and were carried two furlongs and further. The blow they gave was no way to be sustained, not only by those that stood first in the way, but by those that were beyond them for a great space.

As for the Jews, they at first watched the coming of the stone, for it was of a white color, and could therefore not only be perceived by the great noise it made, but could be seen also before it came by its brightness; accordingly the watchmen that sat upon the towers gave them notice when the engine was let go, and the stone came from it, and cried out aloud, in their own country language, THE STONE COMETH so those that were in its way stood off, and threw themselves down upon the ground; by which means, and by their thus guarding themselves, the stone fell down and did them no harm.

But the Romans contrived how to prevent that by blacking the stone, who then could aim at them with success, when the stone was not discerned beforehand, as it had been till then; and so they destroyed many of them at one blow. Yet did not the Jews, under all this distress, permit the Romans to raise their banks in quiet; but they shrewdly and boldly exerted themselves, and repelled them both by night and by day.

"The missiles shot by the catapults, stone-throwers, and "quick-firers" flew all over the temple, killing priests and worshipers at the very altar itself. For despite war, the sacrifices went on..." (Josephus The Essential Writings p.329)

"All the Roman engines were well built, but those belonging to the Tenth legion were most powerful. Their stone -projectors hurled boulders weighing a talent (75-85 pounds) a quarter mile, and the Jews set lookouts on the towers to spot the fired stones which, being white, shone and whizzed as they flew. When they saw the stone discharged, these watchmen would call out,'Sonny's coming!' ("The stone" in Hebrew is ha-eben, which is easily corrupted to ha-ben, "the son.") - at which those in the line of fire dropped down to let the stone pass through harmlessly. When it occurred to the Romans to blacken them, the stones were more effective, destroying many with a single shot." (Josephus The Essential Writings p.340)

Commentary

Scripture fulfillment.  Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. 20 Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And great (hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent). Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great. (Revelation 16:19-21, NKJV)  (emphasis added)

It might be of interest here to mention that the stones that were thrown from the Roman ballista were the exact weight of the hail stones (a talent) John mentions in (Revelation 16:21)

"As with the other plagues of Revelation, imagery is borrowed from the plagues that were brought upon Egypt by Moses. (In the current case, the seventh plague: Exodus). "Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now. "Therefore, send now and gather your livestock and all that you have in the field, for the hail shall come down on every man and every animal which is found in the field and is not brought home; and they shall die."

He who feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his livestock flee to the houses. But he who did not regard the word of the LORD left his servants and his livestock in the field. Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt—on man, on beast, and on every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt." And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy that there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail. Exodus 9:18-26

The plague of hailstones also calls up associations with "the large stones from heaven" that God threw down upon the Canaanites when the Land was being conquered under Joshua. Joshua. 10:11 And it happened, as they fled before Israel, and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the LORD cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword.

In association with their destruction Jesus made a clear declaration of himself by saying: "And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it (will grind him to powder)." (Matthew 21:44) There can be little doubt that the chief priests and Pharisees who heard these words were indeed ground into powder. Matthew 21:45-46 Now when the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.

In Revelation 6, John saw a vision of the same scene playing out ... The thorn and thistle shall grow on their altars, and they shall say to the mountains, “Cover us! ...
·

Roman soldiers searched the bellies of the Jews looked for gold.

Any deserters that was caught trying to leave the City of Jerusalem their bellies were cut open by the Roman soldiers who looked for gold.

Hereupon some of the deserters, having no other way, leaped down from the wall immediately, while others of them went out of the city with stones, as if they would fight them; but thereupon they fled away to the Romans.

But here a worse fate accompanied these than what they had found within the city; and they met with a quicker despatch from the too great abundance they had among the Romans, than they could have done from the famine among the Jews; for when they came first to the Romans, they were puffed up by the famine, and swelled like men in a dropsy; after which they all on the sudden overfilled those bodies that were before empty, and so burst asunder, excepting such only as were skillful enough to restrain their appetites, and by degrees took in their food into bodies unaccustomed thereto.

Yet did another plague seize upon those that were thus preserved; for there was found among the Syrian deserters a certain person who was caught gathering pieces of gold out of the excrements of the Jews' bellies (1); for the deserters used to swallow such pieces of gold, as we told you before, when they came out, and for these did the seditious search them all; for there was a great quantity of gold in the city, insomuch that as much was now sold [in the Roman camp] for twelve Attic [drams], as was sold before for twenty-five.

But when this contrivance was discovered in one instance, the fame of it filled their several camps, that the deserters came to them full of gold. So the multitude of the Arabians, with the Syrians, cut up those that came as supplicants, and searched their bellies. Nor does it seem to me that any misery befell the Jews that was more terrible than this, since in one night's time about two thousand of these deserters were thus dissected. Book V, Chapter XIII, Section 4





The miseries that were within the city during the Roman siege of Jerusalem.

The miseries that were within the city during the Roman siege of Jerusalem, Josephus reported that a heifer being led to the altar in the temple gave birth to a lamb; he reported that a bright light shined about the altar in the middle of the night and gave the appearance of daylight. The Works of Flavius Josephus War of the Jews Book 6 Chapter 5

A star resembling a sword, stood over the city, Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such as belied God himself; while they did not attend nor give credit to the signs that were so evident, and did so plainly foretell their future desolation, but, like men infatuated, without either eyes to see or minds to consider, did not regard the denunciations that God made to them.

Thus there was a star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year. Thus also before the Jews' rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war, when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus, [Nisan,] and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright day time; which lasted for half an hour. This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskillful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes, as to portend those events that followed immediately upon it. The Works of Flavius Josephus War of the Jews Book 6 Chapter 5

At the same festival also, a heifer, as she was led by the high priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple. The Works of Flavius Josephus War of the Jews Book 6 Chapter 5

Tacitus, a Roman historian, also says, "There were many prodigies presignifying their ruin which was not averted by all the sacrifices and vows of that people. Armies were seen fighting in the air with brandished weapons. A fire fell upon the Temple from the clouds. The doors of the Temple were suddenly opened. At the same time there was a loud voice saying that the gods were removing, which was accompanied with a sound as of a multitude going out. All which things were supposed, by some to portend great calamities."1

A gate to the inner court of the temple opened by itself ~ The Moreover, the eastern gate of the inner [court of the] temple, which was of brass, and vastly heavy, and had been with difficulty shut by twenty men, and rested upon a basis armed with iron, and had bolts fastened very deep into the firm floor, which was there made of one entire stone, was seen to be opened of its own accord about the sixth hour of the night. Now those that kept watch in the temple came hereupon running to the captain of the temple, and told him of it; who then came up thither, and not without great difficulty was able to shut the gate again. This also appeared to the vulgar to be a very happy prodigy, as if God did thereby open them the gate of happiness. But the men of learning understood it, that the security of their holy house was dissolved of its own accord, and that the gate was opened for the advantage of their enemies. So these publicly declared that the signal foreshowed the desolation that was coming upon them. The Works of Flavius Josephus War of the Jews Book 6 Chapter 5

The eastern gate, called in the Talmud Nicanor's, or the great gate, was made of Corinthian brass and was regarded as the principal gate on account of its greater height (being 50 cubits) and width (40 cubits) and from its being more richly decorated with precious metals. It is undoubtedly the "gate of the temple which is called Beautiful" (Acts 3:2)

Chariots of soldiers seen running in the sky ~ Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the one and twentieth day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar,] a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. The Works of Flavius Josephus War of the Jews Book 6 Chapter 5

The Desolate Nature Of Jerusalem And All Of Judea That The Miseries Of The Jews Still Grew Worse.
  
Book VI, Chapter I, Section 1 (Entire) 

1. Thus did the miseries of Jerusalem grow worse and worse every day, and the seditious were still more irritated by the calamities they were under, even while the famine preyed upon themselves, after it had preyed upon the people. And indeed the multitude of carcases that lay in heaps one upon another was a horrible sight, and produced a pestilential stench , which was a hinderance to those that would make sallies out of the city, and fight the enemy: but as those were to go in battle array, who had been already used to ten thousand murders, and must tread upon those dead bodies as they marched along, so were not they terrified, nor did they pity men as they marched over them: nor did they deem this affront offered to the deceased to be any ill omen to themselves; but as they had their right hands already polluted with the murders of their own countrymen, and in that condition ran out to fight with foreigners, they see to me to have cast a reproach upon God himself, as if he were too slow in punishing them; for the war was not now gone on with as if they had any hope of victory, for they gloried after a brutish manner in that despair of deliverance they were already in. 

And now the Romans, although they were greatly distressed in getting together their materials, raised their banks in on-and-twenty days, after they had cut down all the trees that were in the country that adjoined to the city, and that for ninety furlongs round about, as I have already related. And truly the very view itself of the country was a melancholy thing; for those places which were before adorned with trees and pleasant gardens were now become a desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down : nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judea, and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now see it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change: for the was had laid all signs of beauty quite waste: nor, if any one that had known the place before had come on a sudden to it now, would have known it again; but though he were at the city itself, yet would he have inquired for it notwithstanding. 

The terrible famine within the city of Jerusalem.

WARNING this status gives very graphic in details as recorded in history on the judgement of unbelieving Israel.

The background leading up to the terrible famine within the city of Jerusalem. The historical setting around AD 30, Jesus had been arrested and led to Pilate, then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck Him with their hands. (John 1:1-3)

Pilate found no fault in Him. When the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him." The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God."

Pilate goes back an questions Jesus. But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate says do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?" Jesus answers "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin."

Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you let this Man go, (you are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar)." vs. 12. The Jews used the threat of telling Caesar of Pilate let Jesus go. Pilate heard (that threat) and brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.

It was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And Pilate said to the Jews, "Behold your King!" But the Jews cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!" (John 1-19) it is interesting to note Jesus said, "But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.' (Luke 19:14)


Jewish women wept as Jesus was led to the place of his crucifixion. There were women mourning his impending death. Jesus turning unto them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” (Luke 23:28), In Luke 21:23 Jesus says, "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and (wrath upon this people).

What does Jesus mean by these above verses? God speaks through the prophet. Notice the consequence was going to be the punishment of the iniquity of the (daughters of God’s people) and there was going to be cannibalism! 

 Lamentations 4:6  The punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people Is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, Which was overthrown in a moment, With no hand to help her!  

Lamentations 4: 9: 12  Those slain by the sword are better off Than those who die of hunger; For these pine away, Stricken for lack of the fruits of the field.  The hands of the compassionate women Have cooked their own children; They became food for them In the destruction of the daughter of my people. The Lord has fulfilled His fury, He has poured out His fierce anger. He kindled a fire in Zion, And it has devoured its foundations. The kings of the earth, And all inhabitants of the world, Would not have believed That the adversary and the enemy Could enter the gates of Jerusalem.

Lamentations 4:9-10 Those slain by the sword are better off Than those who die of hunger; For these pine away, Stricken for lack of the fruits of the field. The hands of the compassionate women Have cooked their own children; They became food for them In the destruction of the daughter of my people.

Ezekiel 5:10 Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgment among you and all of you who remain I will scatter to all the winds.

Ezekiel 5:16-17 When I send against them the terrible arrows of famine, which shall be for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, I will increase the famine upon you and cut off your supply of bread.  So I will send against you famine and wild beasts, and they will bereave you. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I, the Lord, have spoken.’”


First Century historical fulfillment. 

One woman who had lost everything but her baby to blood-thirsty Jews, then killed her baby son, “and then roasted him, and ate the one half of him, and kept the other half by her concealed.” When the seditious men smelled “the horrid scent of this food, they threatened her, that they would cut her throat immediately if she did not show them what food she had gotten ready. She replied, that she had saved a very fine portion of it for them and uncovered what was left of her son. She said this is my own son and he was killed by my own doing. Come, eat of this food; I have eaten of it myself. The men left, trembling and frightened and the all the city came under distress when they heard about it. (Josephus pp. 443-444.)

The Destruction Of A Vast Quantity Of Corn That Led To Famine During The Siege.

Book V, Chapter I, Section 4 (Entire)

4. And now there were three treacherous factions in the city, the one parted from the other. Eleazar and his party, that kept the sacred first-fruits, came against John in their cups. Those that were with John plundered the populace, and went out with zeal against Simon. This Simon had his supply of provisions from the city, in opposition to the seditious. When, therefore, John was assaulted on both sides, he made his men turn about, throwing his darts upon those citizens that came up against him, from the cloisters he had in his possession, while he opposed those that attacked him from the temple by engines of war; and if at any time he was freed from those that were above him, which happened frequently, from their being drunk and tired, he sallied out with a great number upon Simon and his party; and this he did always in such parts of the city as he could come at, till he set on fire those houses that were full of corn, and of all provisions.*

The same thing was done by Simon, when, upon the others' retreat, he attacked the city also; as if they had, on purpose done it to serve the Romans, by destroying what the city had laid up against the Siege, and by thus cutting off the nerves of their own power. Accordingly, it so came to pass, that all the places that were about the temple were burnt down, and were become an intermediate desert space, ready for fighting on both sides; and that almost all the corn was burnt, which would have been sufficient for a siege of many years. So they were taken by the means of famine, which it was impossible they should have been, unless they had thus prepared the way for it by this procedure.

The Sad Consequences [of The Famine]

Book V, Chapter X, Section 5 (Entire) 

5. It is therefore impossible to go distinctly over every instance of these men's iniquity. I shall therefore speak my mind here at once briefly: - That neither did any other city ever suffer such miseries, nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, from the beginning of the world. Finally, they brought the Hebrew nation into contempt, that they might themselves appear comparatively less impious with regard to strangers. They confessed what was true, that they were the slaves, the scum, and the spurious and abortive offspring of our nation, while they overthrew the city themselves, and forced the Romans, whether they would or no, to gain a melancholy reputation, by acting gloriously against them, and did almost draw that fire upon the temple, which they seemed to think came too slowly; and indeed when they saw that temple burning from the upper city, they were neither troubled at it, nor did they shed any tears on that account, while yet these passions were discovered among the Romans themselves; which circumstances we shall speak of hereafter in their proper place, when we come to treat of such matters.

Commentary.


The historians of the day wrote extensively about famines of that day. Secular historians such as Josephus wrote that famine fell upon the entire city of Jerusalem. Now trapped inside the city of Jerusalem the people of Israel destroyed their own food supply that would have been sufficient for a siege of Roman for many years.

Josephus, the Jewish historian, describes it in his _The Wars_, books IV-VI. We summarize what he wrote: The Jews always proved to be the Most rebellious people in the Roman Empire. During the days of the apostles they were warned never again to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem or to fortify their city. But during the 60's of the first century, while Rome experienced internal troubles, the Jews rebuilt their walls and fortified the city. In the year 66 the Emperor Nero sent Gessius Florus and his legions to subdue the city. The Jews killed him and 5000 of his men. This angered Rome very much.

They sent Flavius Vespasianus with his legions to deal with the city. Vespasian and his troops moved on to Jerusalem. But Vespasian was recalled to Rome because he was elected Emperor. Titus, his son, took over as commander of Vespasian's men. At the time of the Passover in the year 70 about 1,000,000 Jews gathered in Jerusalem.

During the next five months Jerusalem was totally overcome and destroyed. They destroyed themselves. There were three parties in the city who were jealous of each other and did not trust each other. They destroyed each others' food supplies and homes. Thus the Jews were their own worst enemies.


Of course, we know that hundreds of thousands died from starvation during Titus’ final siege of Jerusalem.   When the Romans decided to destroy Jerusalem in 70 AD, they first cut off all food supplies to the walled city and allowed no one to escape. They then waited for its inhabitants to starve to death before they entered the city and destroyed it and leveled it to the ground. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, over a million inhabitants died. Josepheus described in detail the seige and famine. "The famine confounded all natural passions; for those who were just going to die looked upon those who were gone to their rest before them with dry eyes and open mouths. A deep silence, also, and a kind of deadly night had seized upon the city. And every one of them died with their eyes fixed upon the Temple." (Josephesus, War of the Jews, 5.12.3)

All this occurred in Jesus’ contemporaries.


The sacrifice called "the Daily Sacrifice" had failed.


The sacrifice called "the Daily Sacrifice" had failed.

AND now Titus gave orders to his soldiers that were with him to dig up the foundations of the tower of Antonia, and make him a ready passage for his army to come up; while he himself had Josephus brought to him, (for he had been informed that on that very day, which was the seventeenth day (5) of Panemus, [Tamuz,] the sacrifice called "the Daily Sacrifice" had failed, and had not been offered to God, for want of men to offer it, and that the people were grievously troubled at it,) and commanded him to say the same things to John that he had said before, that if he had any malicious inclination for fighting, he might come out with as many of his men as he pleased, in order to fight, without the danger of destroying either his city or temple; but that he desired he would not defile the temple, nor thereby offend against God. That he might, if he pleased, offer the sacrifices which were now discontinuned by any of the Jews whom he should pitch upon. The Works of Flavius Josephus War of the Jews Book 6 Chapter 2

Scripture fulfillment 

"And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And (the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary). The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the (end of the war) desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an (end to sacrifice and offering). And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate." (Daniel 9:26-27)

Interesting in this bit of history is the fact that a daily sacrifice was being made for Nero, the emperor. the daily sacrifice in the Jerusalem temple was offered twice daily to Caesar. It was instituted by Augustus and was appealed to by the Jews to demonstrate their loyalty to Rome when they refused to allow Caligula to put his statue ...in the temple precincts. "According to Josephus, the revolt, which began at Caesarea in 66, was provoked by Greeks sacrificing birds in front of a local synagogue. The Roman garrison did not intervene and the long-standing Greek and Jewish religious tensions took a downward spiral. In reaction, the son of Kohen Gadol (high priest) Eliezar ben Hanania ceased prayers and sacrifices for the Roman Emperor at the Temple." quote is from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Jewish-Roman_War

When this practice started, we are not told, but it speaks of the friendly relations between Rome and Israel up until the time the daily sacrifice was taken away. All came to pass as prophesied by Daniel. In the midst of the week the sacrifice and oblation would cease. According to history the the daily sacrifice actually cease sometime in July of 70 A.D. which was caused by both famine, and lack of men-power. Any effort to extend the seventieth week of Daniel beyond the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D results in a rejection of Matthew 24.