Historical Israel, Zionism and the Messianic Age
By Owen Noome
Events Foretold by Jesus
Destruction of the Temple
"And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and His disciples came to Him for to
shew Him the buildings of the temple."
And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, there shall
not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
".....Tell us, when shall these things be (probably refering to the destruction of the temple Jesus
mentioned in verse 1 and 2) and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the
world?" Jesus replied:
There shall be false christs, wars and rumours of wars, nation shall rise against nation, famines,
pestilence, earthquakes, persecutions, betrayels, false prophets, abounding iniquity, then comes
the Abomination of Desolution, the Great Tribulation, the Coming of the Son of man.
Matt 24:1 - 51: Mark 13: 1 - 37; Luke 21: 5 - 33.
Jerusalem compassed with armies. Its destruction
"And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation
thereof is nigh."
Distress in the land and the Jews massacred
"Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst
of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto."
"For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled."
"But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days!
for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people."
Dispersion of the Jews
"And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all
nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, UNTIL THE TIMES OF
GENTILES BE FULFILLED." Luke 21: 20 - 24.
Times of the Gentiles actually commenced in B.C. 606 (Others say B.C. 587) when the Gentile Nebuchadnezzar conquered
Jerusalem. Gentile nations that captured Jerusalem: Babylonian Empire (B.C. 606), Medo Persian Empire (B.C. 536),
Grecian Empire (B.C. 336), Seleucides - Antiochus Epiphanes (B.C. 170), Roman Empire - Pompey takes Jerusalem (B.C.
63), Roman Empire - Titus (A.D. 70), Roman Empire - Hadrian (A.D. 134), Roman Empire and Roman/Byzantine Empire
(A.D. 614), Persians (A.D. 614), Saracenes or Mohammedans (A.D. 637), Seljuk Turks (A.D. 1077), Crusaders (A.D. 1099),
Jerusalem recaptured by the Mohammedans (A.D. 1187), Khorasmians (A.D. 1244), Mamelukes (A.D. 1254), Ottoman Turks
(A.D. 1517), British Forces (A.D. 1917), Jerusalem divided (A.D. 1948), Jews captured Jerusalem (A.D. 1967) and yet the
Dome of the Rock remains and so also the Palestinians and their claims.
The story of the the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, the persecution and dispersal of the Jews
The Prophecy of Jesus fulfilled
A.D. 44 - A.D.70. In the days of Titus (10th Emperor of the Roman Empire A.D.79 – A.D. 81)
6 Years after the birth of Jesus Christ, Samaria and Judea became a Roman province, under subordinate procurators, the
most famous of whom was Pontias Pilate.
The later Roman procurators (A.D. 44 - 66) were mostly corrupt and oppressive. Jews and Romans provoked each other
recklesly, and disorder became chronic. So some Jews took the systematic assassination, and kept up a terror in Jerusalem.
Society was in dissolution. At last in the spring of 66, the outrages of Florus (Gessius Florus 64 - 66) provoked a dreadful
tumult, and the governor was driven out of the city. Agrippa stilled the tumult, but only for a moment. The emperor's offerings
were cast out of the Temple, and the Roman garrison was butchered after its surrender. The revolt spread, and the
cities of Palestine were scenes of internecine strife of Jews and Gentiles. Then came Cestius Gallus, the governor of Syria,
with some ten thousand legionaries and perhaps ten thousand of cavalry and auxiliaries. He reached Jerusalem, fired its
northern suburb, but did not venture to attack the city, and on his retreat was routed in a defile near Beth-Horon (Nov 66).
The way was open and the Christians retired to Pella beyond Jordan - a desertion which was not forgiven - while the Jews
formed a government of national defence, entrusting Galilee to Josephus the historian.
It is said that not a single Christian perished in the siege because all obeyed the word of Christ.
"Let them who are in Judea flee to the mountains"....."Let them which are in the midst of it (the City) depart out."
Prior to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70 the Jerusalem Christians fled to the Decapolis city of Pella
Nero now entrusted the Jewish war to Vespasian with three legions and auxiliaries - some 60 000 men in all. The summer of
67 was spent in the reduction of Galilee. Some of the cities were easily taken. The Zealots in Jerusalem replied with a frightful massacre. At that time there was anarchy in the City. And it was engaged in a war on all sides. The aged men and the women
were in such distress by their internal calamities, that they wished for the Romans, and earnestly hoped for an external war, in
order to their delivery from their domestical miseries. The citizens themselves were under a terrible consternation and fear.
There were three treacherous factions in the city, the Sicarii led by Simon bar Giora, John of Gischala and Eleazar ben Simon
(a Zealot leader). They instigated the Great Jewish revolt. John of Gischala was instrumental in the Zealot Temple Siege. In
A.D. 68 he joined forces with Eleazar ben Simon and in that same year they took control of the City. According to Josephus,
Ananus ben Ananus, a Jewish priest and former High Priest of Israel, persuaded a multitude of Jews to rise against Eleazar
ben Simon and the Zealots who held the Temple. These men made the temple of God a strong hold for them, and a place
whither they might resort, in order to avoid the troubles they feared from the people; the sanctuary was now become a refuge,
and a shop of tyranny, and it was time to overthrow that tyranny and to inflict punishment upon these pests and plagues of
their freedom, and to purge the temple of these bloody polluters of it. So the multitude cried out to Ananus to lead them on
against those whom he had described in his exhortation to them. The Zealots got information of his undertaking. Upon this
Ananus got the populace together on the sudden, who were more numerous indeed than the Zealots, but inferior to them in
arms. Now it was John who, as we told you, ran away from Gischala, and was the occasion of all these being destroyed.
He was a man of great craft, and bore about him in his soul a strong passion after tyranny, and at a distance was the adviser
in these actions; and indeed at this time he pretended to be of the people's opinion, and went all about with Ananus when he consulted the great men every day, and in the night time also when he went round the watch; but he divulged their secrets to
the Zealots. In a crafty speech John of Giscala led the Zealots to believe that Ananus sent ambassadors to the Roman
general Vespasian for assistance in retaking control of all Jerusalem (This was part of John's lie). This made the Zealots
afraid so much so that they called in the Idumeans. Twenty thousand of them were put into battle-array, and came to
Jerusalem, under four commanders, John, and Jacob the son of Sosas; and besides these were Simon, the son of Cathlas,
and Phineas, the son of Clusothus. The night was far gone, and the storm very terrible, Ananus gave the guards in the
cloisters leave to go to sleep; while it came into the heads of the Zealots to make use of the saws belonging to the temple,
and to cut the bars of the gates to pieces. The noise of the wind, and that not inferior sound of the thunder, did here also con-
spire with their designs, that the noise of the saws was not heard by the others. So they secretly went out of the temple to
the wall of the city, and made use of their saws, and opened that gate which was over against the Idumeans. The Idumeans,
ascended through the city to the temple. The Zealots were also in great expectation of their coming, and earnestly
waited for them. In their rage the Idumeans and Zealots attacked and slaughtered many. The Idumeans was not satiated by
these slaughters; but they now betook themselves to the city, and plundered every house, and slew every one they met.
They sought for the high priests, and as soon as they caught them they slew them. Ananus, the high priest and Jesus, the
eldest of the high priests next to Artanus, were slain in the midst of the city. Now after these were slain, the Zealots and the multitude of the Idumeans fell upon the people as upon a flock of profane animals, and cut their throat. But by this time the Idumeans repented of their coming, and were displeased at what had been done. They set those that were in the prisons at
liberty, being about two thousand of the populace, who thereupon fled away immediately to Simon. After this the Idumeans
retired from Jerusalem, and went home. (The Wars of the Jews. Flavius Josephus)
The coalition failed after John distanced himself from Eleazar. As a result many of their supporters joined the Sicarii and with
their support Simon bar Giora captured Jerusalem which left John and Eleazar powerless. A.D. 69 was marked by bitter civil
war between the three factions under Simon, John, and Eleazar. Their conflicts and inability to unite and establish a united
Jewish nation are regarded as the reason for the collapse of Jerusalem and the defeat of the Jews.
Eleazar ben Simon was betrayed by John of Gischala and killed. John and Simon were not captured by Titus till September
in the year 70. John was sentenced to life imprisonment, and taken to Rome where he was paraded through the streets of
Rome in chains.
A.D. 70. Titus was already before the city; and now the furios faction fights within Jerusalem were stilled at last in desperate resistance to the Romans. Now when affairs within the city were in this posture, Titus went round the city on the outside with
some chosen horsemen, and looked about for a proper place where he might make an impression upon the walls; but as he
was in doubt where he could possibly make an attack on any side, [for the place was no way accessible where the valleys
were, and on the other side the first wall appeared too strong to be shaken by the engines,] he thereupon thought it best to
make his assault upon the monument of John the high priest; for there it was that the first fortification was lower, and the
second was not joined to it, the builders neglecting to build strong where the new city was not much inhabited; here also
was an easy passage to the third wall, through which he thought to take the upper city, and, through the tower of Antonia,
the temple itself.
Time after time their savage fury checked the assaults; but Romam discipline always prevailed in the end. First the northern
wall was stormed; then a second, then a third, and by August they were before the temple. Meanwhile the misery of the city
was horrible. He that remained was consumed by pestilence and famine, and he that went out to the Romans was crucified
or made a slave. Even the daily sacrifice had to be given up. (The Wars of the Jews. Flavius Josephus)
The Temple on fire. When Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, he resolved to storm the temple the next day, early in the morning, with his whole army, and to encamp round about the holy house. But as for that house, God had, for certain, long ago doomed it to the fire. Although these flames took their rise from the Jews themselves, and were occasioned by them; for upon Titus's retiring, the seditious lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again, when those that guarded the holy
house fought with those that quenched the fire that was burning the inner [court of the] temple; but these Romans put the Jews
to flight, and proceeded as far as the holy house itself. At which time one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and
without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through
which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house, on the north side of it. As the flames went
upward, the Jews made a great clamor, such as so mighty an affliction required, and ran together to prevent it; and now they
spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered any thing to restrain their force, since that holy house was perishing, for whose
sake it was that they kept such a guard about it. And now a certain person came running to Titus, and told him of this fire, as
he was resting himself in his tent after the last battle; whereupon he rose up in great haste, and, as he was, ran to the holy
house, in order to have a stop put to the fire; after him followed all his commanders, and after them followed the several
legions, in great astonishment; so there was a great clamor and tumult raised, as was natural upon the disorderly motion
of so great an army. (The Wars of the Jews. Flavius Josephus)
Then did Caesar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice, and by giving a signal to them with his
right hand, order them to quench the fire. But they did not hear what he said, though he spake so loud, having their ears
already dimmed by a greater noise another way; nor did they attend to the signal he made with his hand neither, as still
some of them were distracted with fighting, and others with passion. But as for the legions that came running thither, neither
any persuasions nor any threatenings could restrain their violence, but each one's own passion was his commander at this
time; and as they were crowding into the temple together, many of them were trampled on by one another, while a great
number fell among the ruins of the cloisters. Now round about the altar lay dead bodies heaped one upon another, as at the
steps going up to it ran a great quantity of their blood, whither also the dead bodies that were slain above [on the altar] fell
down. (The Wars of the Jews. Flavius Josephus)
The Temple plundered. While the holy house was on fire, everything was plundered that came to hand, and ten thousand
of those that were caught were slain; nor was there a commiseration of any age, or any reverence of gravity, but children, and
old men, and profane persons, and priests were all slain in the same manner; so that this war went round all sorts of men, and brought them to destruction, and as well those that made supplication for their lives, as those that defended themselves by
The flame was also carried a long way, and made an echo, together with the groans of those that were slain; and because
this hill was high, and the works at the temple were very great, one would have thought the whole city had been on fire.
Nor can one imagine any thing either greater or more terrible than this noise; for there was at once a shout of the Roman
legions, who were marching all together, and a sad clamor of the seditious, who were now surrounded with fire and sword.
The people also that were left above were beaten back upon the enemy, and under a great consternation, and made sad
moans at the calamity they were under; the multitude also that was in the city joined in this outcry with those that were upon
the hill. And besides, many of those that were worn away by the famine, and their mouths almost closed, when they saw the
fire of the holy house, they exerted their utmost strength, and brake out into groans and outcries again: Perea did also return
the echo, as well as the mountains round about [the city,] and augmented the force of the entire noise. Yet was the misery itself more terrible than this disorder; for one would have thought that the hill itself, on which the temple stood, was seething hot, as
full of fire on every part of it, that the blood was larger in quantity than the fire, and those that were slain more in number than
those that slew them; for the ground did no where appear visible, for the dead bodies that lay on it; but the soldiers went over
heaps of those bodies, as they ran upon such as fled from them. And now it was that the multitude of the robbers were thrust
out [of the inner court of the temple by the Romans,] and had much ado to get into the outward court, and from thence into the
city, while the remainder of the populace fled into the cloister of that outer court. As for the priests, some of them plucked up
from the holy house the spikes that were upon it, with their bases, which were made of lead, and shot them at the Romans
instead of darts. But then as they gained nothing by so doing, and as the fire burst out upon them, they retired to the wall that
was eight cubits broad, and there they tarried; yet did two of these of eminence among them, who might have saved them-
selves by going over to the Romans, or have borne up with courage, and taken their fortune with the others, throw themselves
into the fire, and were burnt together with the holy house; their names were Meirus the son of Belgas, and Joseph the son of Daleus. (The Wars of the Jews. Flavius Josephus)
And now, since Caesar was no way able to restrain the enthusiastic fury of the soldiers, and the fire proceeded on more and
more, he went into the holy place of the temple, with his commanders, and saw it, with what was in it, which he found to be far superior to what the relations of foreigners contained, and not inferior to what we ourselves boasted of and believed about it.
But as the flame had not as yet reached to its inward parts, but was still consuming the rooms that were about the holy house,
and Titus supposing what the fact was, that the house itself might yet be saved, he came in haste and endeavored to persuade
the soldiers to quench the fire, and gave order to Liberalius the centurion, and one of those spearmen that were about him, to
beat the soldiers that were refractory with their staves, and to restrain them; yet were their passions too hard for the regards
they had for Caesar, and the dread they had of him who forbade them, as was their hatred of the Jews, and a certain vehement inclination to fight them, too hard for them also. Moreover, the hope of plunder induced many to go on, as having this opinion,
that all the places within were full of money, and as seeing that all round about it was made of gold. And besides, one of those
that went into the place prevented Caesar, when he ran so hastily out to restrain the soldiers, and threw the fire upon the
hinges of the gate, in the dark; whereby the flame burst out from within the holy house itself immediately, when the comman-
ders retired, and Caesar with them, and when nobody any longer forbade those that were without to set fire to it. And thus
was the holy house burnt down, without Caesar's approbation.
And now the Romans, upon the flight of the seditious into the city, and upon the burning of the holy house itself, and of all the buildings round about it, brought their ensigns to the temple and set them over against its eastern gate; and there did they
offer sacrifices to them, and there did they make Titus imperator with the greatest acclamations of joy.
Titus gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing
as were of the greatest eminency; that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne; and so much of the wall as enclosed the
city on the west side. This wall was spared. (The Wars of the Jews. Flavius Josephus)
After this there still remained the Upper City; and John and Simon were not captured till September. It is certain that the
Romans carried away most of the treasure from the temple, especially the objects of solid gold. But there is no reliable
record of the disposition of the ark. With the Temple now burnt to the ground, and the holy City reduced to rubble, the whole
war-ravaged land of Judea was desolate. Many of its inhabitants had been killed, captured or exiled. The number of those that
were carried captive during this whole war was collected to be ninety-seven thousand; as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege eleven hundred thousand, the greater part of whom were indeed of the same nation [with the citizens of Jerusalem], but not belonging to the city itself; for they were come up from all the country to the feast of unleavened bread, and were on a sudden shut up by an army. The Jews that remained lived under the tyrannical hand of the Romans.
Jerusalem was taken in the second year (A.D. 70) of the reign of Vespasian (reigned 1 July 69 – 23 June 79),
on the eighth day of the month Gorpeius (Elul)
"Elul" is the Sixth Month of the year, counting from "Nisan," called in the Chumash, "the first month.
It is called "the month of repentance," "the month of mercy," and "the month of forgiveness."
The Wars of the Jews or History of the destruction of Jerusalem. By Flavius Josephus.
Peaks Commentary on the Bible. 1920.
The Temple before its destruction
1,100,000 people were killed during the siege, of which a majority were Jewish, and that 97,000
were captured and enslaved, including Simon bar Giora and John of Giscala
The slaughter within was even more dreadful than the spectacle from without. Men and women, old and young,
insurgents and priests, those who fought and those who entreated mercy, were hewn down in indiscriminate carnage.
The number of the slain exceeded that of the slayers. The legionaries had to clamber over heaps of dead to carry on
the work of extermination.
Many fled to areas around the Mediterranean. Titus reportedly refused to accept a wreath of victory, saying that the
victory did not come through his own efforts but that he had merely served as an instrument of God's wrath