Bible Only Revelation Commentary: Josephus on the First Jewish War
1. Revelation written in AD 66
2. Flee Jerusalem or be destroyed in AD 70
3. The central synchronism is the Ezekiel’s account of the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC.
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Flavius Josephus Chronology of the Destruction of Jerusalem’s: AD 62-70
First Jewish War: AD 66-74
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Josephus’ Chronology of Jerusalem’s destruction: 66-AD 74
How the First Jewish war Started and ended
It is entirely possible that Josephus was used as a providential agent of God to record his histories, including partial inspiration. On the other hand, Josephus must be considered as a purely human document and potentially flawed history. We do know that Josephus made several mistakes.
Quick summary of War:
1. Jerusalem Passover, Monday 28th April AD 66 (Wars 2.280) The war started in the mind of Roman appointed governor of Judea, Florus on Passover, when the Jews complained bitterly about his treachery to Syrian governor Cestius.
2. 17th May AD 66: Florus travels immediately down to Caesarea and deliberately pollutes a Jewish synagogue on the Sabbath of. The uprising spreads to Jerusalem.
3. Tuesday 6th Aug 66 The war to Liberate Jerusalem begins on the festival of Xylophory on Tuesday 6th Aug 66 [15th Ab] It is nothing short of incredible that the beginning of the destruction of Jerusalem by fire was by Jews who used the wood donated during the festival of Xylophory for the Altar of Burnt offerings in the temple. Talk about creating their own “literal Holocaust” with the wood used for the Jewish temple Altar!
4. Jerusalem Liberated 15th September AD 66: Wars 2.433-440] Manahem surrounds Jerusalem with his armies fulfilling Lk 21:20.
5. Late September AD 66: Herod Agrippa II sends Syrian Governor Cestius and his Roman army to set up camp 6 miles outside Jerusalem to attempt to restore peace but the Jews attack and repel the Roman army. (Wars 2.516)
6. October AD 66: Agrippa sent two ambassadors named Phebus and Borceus to apologize to the Jews of the city in an effort to end the war. The Jews killed Phebus and wounded Borceus who escaped the city. (Wars 2.521)
7. Nov 3, AD 66 While the Jews in the city were in a state of disorganization, Syrian Governor Cestius Gallus sets up his army on mount Scopus, 1 km from the temple mount but did not attack for three full days to see if the deliberate pause in the fighting might cause the Jews to calm down and stop the war. (Wars 2.528)
8. About Nov 10, AD 66: Roman Syrian Governor Cestius Gallus, withdraws his armies secretly to Antipatris and stops attacking Jerusalem: The Romans begin attacking the city walls but Cestius devised a trick to secretly retreat his army to Antipatris. (Wars 2.551). The Jews took possession of many mechanical war machines like the Ballista (see below for photo), that the Roman’s left behind. (Wars 2.554).This was likely when most of the Christians fled the city. While the Jews would have felt safe, the Christians would have likely fled now.
9. December AD 66 Nero sends Vespasian to destroy Jerusalem: “So Nero esteemed these circumstances as favorable omens, and saw that Vespasian’s age gave him sure experience, and great skill, and that he had his sons as hostages for his fidelity to himself, and that the flourishing age they were in would make them fit instruments under their father’s prudence. Perhaps also there was some interposition of Providence, which was paving the way for Vespasian’s being himself emperor afterwards. (7) Upon the whole he sent this man to take upon him the command of the armies that were in Syria; but this not without great encomiums and flattering compellations, such as necessity required, and such as might mollify him into complaisance. (8) So Vespasian sent his son Titus from Achaia, where he had been with Nero, to Alexandria, to bring back with him from thence the fifth and tenth legions, while he himself, when he had passed over the Hellespont, came by land into Syria, where he gathered together, the Roman forces, with a considerable number of auxiliaries from the kings in that neighborhood.” (Josephus Wars 3.6-8)
10. Titus arrives to destroy Jerusalem: 7th March AD 70
11. 6th August AD 70: Temple burned.
Chronology of the start of the 1st Jewish war:
See detailed account of the destruction of Jerusalem by Josephus.
1. AD 65 to before Passover AD 66: Florus begins provoking the Jews into war as a pretext of stealing their money. The First Jewish War (66-74 AD) was started by Roman governor of Judea, Gessius Florus, who was appointed by Agrippa II in the fall of AD 64. He was known to be a shameless greedy thief of individuals who also looted entire cities, next set his eyes on the treasures of the Jerusalem Temple and was deliberately provoking the Jews to war as a pretext to personally enrich himself. (Josephus Wars 2.331) “He [Gessius Florus] indeed thought it but a petty offense to get money out of single persons; so he spoiled whole cities, and ruined entire bodies of men at once, and did almost publicly proclaim it all the country over, that they had liberty given them to turn robbers, upon this condition, that he might go shares with them in the spoils. (279) Accordingly, this his greediness of gain was the occasion that entire toparchies were brought to desolation; and a great many of the people left their own country, and fled into foreign provinces.” (Wars 2.278-279) These are the events before Passover of AD 66, which Gessius Florus (Roman appointed Governor of Judea) had been provoking the Jews to anger so they would rebel.
2. Passover in Jerusalem: AD 66 Monday 28th April AD 66. Florus determines to start the war when Jews complain about him to Cestius. (Wars 2.280): Passover AD 66, Syrian governor Cestius Gallus travels to Jerusalem and the Jews complain to him about the abuses of Florus over the previous year. “And truly, while Cestius Gallus was president of the province of Syria, nobody dared so much as send an embassage to him against Florus; but when he [Cestius] was come to Jerusalem, upon the approach [ie. before] of the feast of unleavened bread, the people came about him not fewer in number than 3,000,000 [3 Million]. these besought him to commiserate the calamities of their nation, and cried out upon Florus as the bane of their country. (281) But as he was present, and stood by Cestius, he laughed at their words. However, Cestius, when he had quieted the multitude, and had assured them that he would take care that Florus should hereafter treat them in a more gentle manner, returned to Antioch” (Wars 280-281) Florus and Cestius travel to Caesarea where Florus says but Cestius continues north to his home at Antioch, the home town of Apostle Paul. Florus stays in Caesarea to start the war by getting the Jews to rebel 18 days later on 17th May AD 66.
3. Sabbath 17th May AD 66: Desecration of Caesarea synagogue: Josephus marks the beginning of the war: 18 days after the Jews complained to Cestius about Florus in Jerusalem at Passover and the third Sabbath after Passover, Florus triggers the beginning of the war by desecrating the synagogue at Caesarea. “Now at this time it happened that the Grecians at Caesarea had been too hard for the Jews, and had obtained of Nero the government of the city, and had brought the judicial determination: at the same time began the war, in the 12th year of the reign of Nero, and the 17th of the reign of Agrippa, in the month of Artemisius [Iyar] (Jews begin to rebel the next day which was a sabbath: 17th May AD 66). (Wars 2:284-289) It began when Florus deliberately provoked the Jews to War in Caesarea by desecrating the synagogue on the third sabbath after Passover. “Now at this time it happened that the Grecians at Caesarea had been too hard for the Jews, and had obtained of Nero the government of the city, and had brought the judicial determination: at the same time began the war, in the 12th year of the reign of Nero, and the 17th year of the reign of Agrippa, in the month of Artemisius [Iyar] (Jews begin to rebel 17th May AD 66). (285) Now the occasion of this war was by no means proportionable to those heavy calamities which it brought upon us; for the Jews that dwelt at Caesarea had a synagogue near the place, whose owner was a certain Cesarean Greek…” (Wars 2.284) First he allowed a gentile to erect a building that hindered the Jews from getting to the synagogue entrance, except through a long narrow passageway. (Wars 2.286) Next another gentile put a clay pot full birds he had sacrificed against the doorway of the synagogue while it was crowded with worshippers around on the Sabbath during Passover. (Wars 2.289) This triggered a great rebellion of the Jews in Caesarea who transported their synagogue Septuagint to a nearby city. When the 13 Jews bribed Florus with 8 talents of gold to give them protection, Florus took their money and had them arrested and thrown in jail. (Wars 2.292) Florus then fanned the Jew’s anger by taking 17 talents of gold out of the synagogue treasury. (Wars 2.293) Meanwhile in Jerusalem, news of this triggered a mass gathering at the temple where the Jews called out to Caesar to free them from the tyrannies of the Judean Governor who respond by ordering his army to plunder the upper city market and houses resulting in the murder of 3600 Jews in Jerusalem. (Wars 2.307)
4. Friday 30th May AD 66: Bernice (Agrippa II’s sister) comes to Jerusalem and rebukes Florus in vain. “This happened upon the sixteenth day of the month Artemissus [Jyar].” (Wars 2:315)
5. Sabbath 31st May AD 66: Now on the next day [31st May AD 66], the Jews calm down and even give more bribes to keep peace but the effort failed. Florus attempts to break into the temple to steal the riches, through the Antonia fortress but failed. (Wars 2.331) Next Florus falsely accuses the Jews of starting all the trouble that he had actually caused. (Wars 2.333) The Jews write King Agrippa who investigates and calms down any rebellion of the Jews against Rome. (Wars 2.341) After a string of events, Agrippa fully quenched the Jewish uprising started by Florus but told the Jews to submit to Florus until Caesar Nero replaced him as Judean Governor. (Wars 2.406) But Agrippa’s order to continue to submit to Florus incited the Jews again even more, so that Agrippa finally left the city and went home. (Wars 2.407). On an historical note, the Jewish war officially began (AD 66) and ended at Masada (74 AD). (Wars 2.408)
6. In the summer of AD 66, the Jews captured Masada slaughtered the Romans and refurbished the Masada synagogue on the summit that Alexander Jannaeus had built in 78 BC.
7. Tuesday 6th August AD 66 [15th Ab]: Liberation of Jerusalem begins on festival of Xylophory then a literal Holocaust: It is nothing short of incredible that the beginning of the destruction of Jerusalem by fire was by Jews who used the wood donated during the festival of Xylophory for the Altar of Burnt offerings in the temple. Talk about creating their own “literal Holocaust” with the wood used for the Jewish temple Altar! “Now the next day [14th wood was brought, 15th was the actual festival day of Xylophory] was the festival of Xylophory; upon which the custom was for every one to bring wood for the altar (that there might never be a want of fuel for that fire which was unquenchable and always burning).” (Wars 2.425) On August 5th, using the wood brought for the priests used for the Altar of Burnt Offerings, the Sicarii sect of Zealot Jews the burn down the palaces of Ananias the high-priest and King Agrippa, and likewise the city financial records and archives of debts, hoping to gain the favor of the poorest Jews who were suddenly debt free. (Wars 2.427) Then on August 6th, the festival of Xylophory, the Jews stormed the Antonia fortress and killed the entire garrison of Roman Soldiers. (Wars 2.430)
8. LIBERATION OF JERUSALEM: 15th September AD 66: [6th Elul AD 66, Wars 2.433-440]: Synchronism between the Two Witnesses preaching 42 months starting when Jerusalem fully liberated till the arrival of Nebuchadnezzar/Titus. Jewish Manahem surrounds Jerusalem with his armies fulfilling Lk 21:20 and then the High priest executed. A Jew named Manahem (son of Judas “the Galilean” a Gaulonite who worshipped at the Gamala Synagogue) went to Masada with a large group of men and broke into the armoury of King Agrippa on the summit. (Wars 2.435) Manahem returned to Jerusalem like a king in formal array and pomp and became the new commander of Jerusalem, with his new fully equipped army. Manahem’s army patrolled the perimeter of the city to protect it from Roman invasions. This fulfilled Luke 21:20 where Jesus warned the Christians to flee when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies. The remaining Roman soldiers in the fortified towers abandoned their posts and tried to flee the city but were captured and killed by Manahem. For the first time since 605 BC and for 47 short years under the Maccabees (110-63 BC) the Jews had once again liberated the city of Jerusalem. Looters broke out and killed Ananias the High Priest in an aqueduct where he was hiding. (Wars 2.441) Manahem became a “barbarously cruel tyrant” seeking money and power. The remaining Jews attacked Manahem while he was “arrogantly worshipping” at the Temple and he fled the city and hid himself in Ophla. The Jews captured, tortured and executed him. (Wars 2.448) This marks the beginning of the 42 months of the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11. It is also a synchronism with 593 BC when Zedekiah rebels against Nebuchadnezzar and the beginning of the condemnation of Ezekiel. In this way there is a triple timing synchronism between the role of Ezekiel and the two Witnesses of Revelation 11 as to when they began saying “Woe, Woe, Jerusalem” on Monday 15th September AD 66.when the Jews rebelled against God’s chosen king of the Jews (Babylon, Rome: Daniel 2:44). There also a synchronism between the 42 months of the Two Witnesses and Ezekiel because from the time Ezekiel began preaching on Monday July 31 593 to the arrival of Nebuchadnezzar in January 589 is exactly 42 months. Both Ezekiel and the Two Witnesses began preaching on a Monday.
9. Late September AD 66: Herod Agrippa sends Cestius and his Roman army to set up camp 6 miles outside Jerusalem. (Wars 2.516) The Jerusalem Jews attacked the Roman army on the Sabbath day and killed 515 Romans. (Wars 2.520). When the Romans counterattacked “the front of the Jewish army had been cut off and the Jews retreated into the city” the Jews organized a successful defensive attack on the Romans and plundered their supplies. (Wars 2.521) Herod Agrippa feared that his Roman army led by Cestius was in grave danger from the Jews who had set up an army surrounding the perimeter of Jerusalem. The Jews seized upon the elevated parts of the city, and set [army] watches at the entrances into the city … immense multitude of Jews (Roman enemies) had seized upon the mountains surrounding Jerusalem” (Josephus Wars 2.522-523f).
10. October AD 66: Agrippa sent two ambassadors named Phebus and Borceus to apologize to the Jews of the city in an effort to end the war. The Jews killed Phebus and wounded Borceus who escaped the city. (Wars 2.521)
11. Nov 3, AD 66 While the Jews in the city were in a state of disorganization, Syrian Governor Cestius Gallus sets up his army on mount Scopus, 1 km from the temple mount but did not attack for three full days to see if the deliberate pause in the fighting might cause the Jews to calm down and stop the war. (Wars 2.528) It is possible that this is when Christians fled the city during this pause fulfilling Luke 21:20.
12. Nov 7, AD 66 After a three day pause in fighting, on the fourth day, the “thirtieth of the month Hyperbereteus [30 Tisri = Nov 7, AD 66], when Cestius put his army in array, he brought it into the city” (Wars 2.528) and burned the Cenopolis (newest) district of the city outside the city wall with fire. (Wars 2.528)
13. About Nov 10, AD 66: Roman Syrian Governor Cestius Gallus, withdraws his armies secretly to Antipatris and stops attacking Jerusalem: The Romans begin attacking the city walls but Cestius devised a trick to secretly retreat his army to Antipatris. (Wars 2.551). The Jews took possession of many mechanical war machines like the Ballista (see below for photo), that the Roman’s left behind. (Wars 2.554).This was likely when most of the Christians fled the city. While the Jews would have felt safe, the Christians would have likely fled now.
14. December AD 66. Nero sends Vespasian to destroy Jerusalem: “So Nero esteemed these circumstances as favorable omens, and saw that Vespasian’s age gave him sure experience, and great skill, and that he had his sons as hostages for his fidelity to himself, and that the flourishing age they were in would make them fit instruments under their father’s prudence. Perhaps also there was some interposition of Providence, which was paving the way for Vespasian’s being himself emperor afterwards. (7) Upon the whole he sent this man to take upon him the command of the armies that were in Syria; but this not without great encomiums and flattering compellations, such as necessity required, and such as might mollify him into complaisance. (8) So Vespasian sent his son Titus from Achaia, where he had been with Nero, to Alexandria, to bring back with him from thence the fifth and tenth legions, while he himself, when he had passed over the Hellespont, came by land into Syria, where he gathered together, the Roman forces, with a considerable number of auxiliaries from the kings in that neighborhood.” (Josephus Wars 3.6-8)
15. Spring AD 67: Rebel leader Josephus visits fellow Rebel leader John of Gischala in John’s home town and synagogue at (Gush Halav) Gischala:
Home synagogue of Rebel leader John
a. Josephus records visiting John at Gischala, and both likely worshipped on the Sabbath in the synagogue at Gischala. (Josephus Life 70-76).
b. Josephus did not like or trust “John of Gischala” because of his trickery and self-serving deceptions from the beginning.
c. “From thence I and my fellow legates went to Gischala, to John, as desirous to know his intentions, and soon saw that he was for innovations, and had a mind to the principality, (71) for he desired me to give him authority to carry off that corn which belonged to Caesar, and lay in the villages of Upper Galilee; and he pretended that he would expend what it came to in building the walls of his own city. (72) But when I perceived what he endeavored at, and what he had in his mind, I said I would not permit him so to do; for that I thought either to keep it for the Romans or for myself, now I was entrusted with the public affairs there by the people of Jerusalem: (73) but, when he was not able to prevail with me, he betook himself to my fellow legates; for they had no sagacity in providing for futurity, and were very ready to take bribes: so he corrupted them with money to decree, That all that corn which was within his province should be delivered to him: while I, who was but one, was outvoted by two, and held my tongue. (74) Then did John introduce another cunning contrivance of his…” (Josephus Life 70-74).
The synagogue at Gischala
which has been fully excavated by professional archeologists. It features the
unique “Heart Shaped” double columns found in many of the Galilean synagogues that
surely would be familiar with.
16. July-Aug AD 67. Josephus captured at Jotapata
a. Battle at Jotapata where Josephus was captured is described: “But still Josephus and those with him, although they fell down dead one upon another by the darts and stones which the engines threw upon them, yet did not they desert the wall, but fell upon those who managed the ram, under the protection of the hurdles, with fire, and iron weapons, and stones; (241) and these could do little or nothing, but fell themselves perpetually, while they were seen by those whom they could not see, (242) for the light of their own flame shone about them, and made them a most visible mark to the enemy, as they were in the daytime, while the engines could not be seen at a great distance, and so what was thrown at them was hard to be avoided; (243) for the force with which these engines threw stones and darts made them hurt several at a time, and the violent noise of the stones that were cast by the engines was so great, that they carried away the pinnacles of the wall, and broke off the corners of the towers; (244) for no body of men could be so strong as not to be overthrown to the last rank by the largeness of the stones; (245) and any one may learn the force of the engines by what happened this very night; for as one of those that stood round about Josephus was near the wall, his head was carried away by such a stone, and his skull was flung as far as three furlongs. (246) In the daytime also, a woman with child had her belly so violently struck, as she was just come out of her house, that the infant was carried to the distance of half a furlong; so great was the force of that engine. (247) The noise of the instruments themselves was very terrible, the sound of the darts and stones that were thrown by them was so also; (248) of the same sort was that noise the dead bodies made, when they were dashed against the wall; and indeed dreadful was the clamor which these things raised in the women within the city, which was echoed back at the same time by the cries of such as were slain; (249) while the whole space of ground whereon they fought ran with blood, and the wall might have been ascended over by the bodies of the dead carcasses; (250) the mountains also contributed to increase the noise by their echoes; nor was there on that night anything of terror wanting that could either affect the hearing or the sight: (251) yet did a great part of those that fought so hard for Jotapata fall manfully, as were a great part of them wounded.” (Josephus Wars 3.240-251)
b. See below for details of the who 37 commit suicide: (Josephus Wars 3.141-150; 342-344; 352; 362; 383-384; 392 )
17. September AD 67: Magdala, the home town of Josephus and Mary Magdalena, was captured by the Romans.
Home synagogue of Mary Magdalene and Josephus
a. Magdala was the home synagogue for Josephus. (Josephus Life 155-164)
b. By the time the Romans came to his home town of Magdala, Josephus had already been captured at the fortress of Jotapata.
c. The local Jews tore out the brilliant red, freestanding synagogue columns and used them to reinforce the city gate. But the city fell and today you can see it all with your own eyes!
18. Fall AD 67: John of Gischala flees to Jerusalem, (Gush Halav)
a. See above for details when Josephus visits John in the spring of AD 67.
b. (Gischala) was the home synagogue for Revolt leader John of Gischala.
c. Gischala was the last city in the Galilee the Romans captured and John flees to join the Jews who recently liberated the city of Jerusalem. (Josephus Wars 4.83-120)
d. John of Gischala and Simon become two major commanders in defence of Jerusalem against the Romans. (Josephus Wars 5.247-250).
19. The Synagogue was the Prototype of the first century Church:
a. The Synagogue was the Prototype of the Church and The Church is a replica of the Synagogue. Synagogues began in Egypt in 280 BC as a providential bridge between the Temple and the church.
b. Starting with the vision of Daniel 2, God gradually introduced synagogue worship to prepare the Jewish world for the gospel of Christ.
c. Each of the thousands of synagogue had a Greek translation of the Old Testament (Septuagint) and a Jewish full immersion baptistry (mikveh).
The Synagogue was the Prototype of the Church
The Church is a replica of the Synagogue
19. Three mass Jewish suicides: 67, 74 AD
a. July-Aug AD 67. Josephus captured, 39 Jews at Jotapata, 37 commit suicide: (Josephus Wars 3.141-150; 342-344; 352; 362; 383-384; 392 ) In AD 67 the famous Josephus himself took refuge with 40 men a large cistern in the fortress of Jotapata located beside Cana of John 2. It was a six week siege by the Romans. All 40 agreed to mass suicide instead of surrendering to the attacking Romans but Josephus used tricks to become one of the last two selected by lot, both of whom broke the oath of suicide and surrendered to the Romans. Josephus spent two years in jail until he was hired by Titus as an interpreter and to record the wars and the final siege of Jerusalem in his famous book used by Christians today. News of Josephus willing surrender infuriates the Jews in Jerusalem: “But as the truth came out in time, it appeared how the affairs of Jotapata really stood; yet it was found that the death of Josephus was fiction; and when they understood that he was alive, and was among the Romans, and that the commanders treated him at another rate than they treated captives, they were as vehemently angry at him now as they had shown their good will before, when he appeared to have been dead. (439) He was also abused by some as having been a coward, and by others as a deserter; and the city was full of indignation at him, and of reproaches cast upon him; their rage was also aggravated by their afflictions, and more inflamed by their ill-success; (440) and what usually becomes an occasion of caution to wise men, I mean affliction, became a spur to them to venture on farther calamities, and the end of one misery became still the beginning of another; (441) they therefore resolved to fall on the Romans the more vehemently, as resolving to be revenged on him in revenging themselves on the Romans. (442) And this was the state of Jerusalem as to the troubles which now came upon it.” (Josephus Wars 3.438–442)
21st October AD 67: 5000 Jews at Gamla: (Josephus Wars 4:1; 78-83). Roman
armies captured Gamla and 5000 Jews committed suicide by jumping over the
cliffs in November AD 67. The
very first coin minted during the first Jewish war was in Gamla. Here is a phot
of the ultra rare “Gamla coin” of unknown denomination.
c. 74 AD 960 Jews at Masada: Then in 74 AD 960 Jews committed suicide at Masada. The 11 pottery sherds that were used as lots were excavated at Masada in 1965 AD with the names of each of the last men written in Aramaic, including the commander Eleazar Ben Ya’ir.
All this needless death, when
Jesus the Nazarene offered them eternal life. Had they converted to
Christianity, like hundreds of thousands of their fellow Hebrews at the
preaching of Jesus the Messiah and his 12 apostles, none of them would have had
to commit suicide. Instead of having their names written on death lots, they
could have had their name written on white life stones. "‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the
churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna,
and I will give him a white stone [jury stones: white
not-guilty, black guilty] , and a new name
written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’"
(Revelation 2:17) These white stones, which have
puzzled countless commentators, were judgement stones used by first century
juries to cast a guilty or innocent vote at the end of the trial. Each juror
had a small white and black stone and he would drop his stone into a pail. The
judge would then count the stones and pronounce the jury’s decision.
20. First Jewish
War Coins minted 67,68,AD 69: Simon bar Giora is the most likely
candidate of the three Rebel leaders who minted the bronze coins in Jerusalem in years 67, 68 and AD 69. The year two coins (AD 67)
can be distinguished from the year three coins (AD 68) by noting the balls
hanging from the rim of the amphora pot. Both coins feature inscriptions “Year
2 or 3 the freedom of Zion” in the Paleo-Hebrew script that has been extinct
for 500 years, before the time of Ezra. It was Ezra who translated the
Paleo-Hebrew script into the Aramaic script used in the first century, the Dead
Sea Scrolls and modern Israel.
“Bronze coins of the Jewish War differ from the silver coins in many respects, and there is an increasing body of research that points to a mint for bronze coins at a separate location and operated by a different political faction. The bronze coins, especially the prutot, were of very small value and were principally used as small change in the market-place alongside other circulating coins. Rappaport suggests that Simon bar Giora's party most likely minted the bronze coins. He observes that their slogans "represent a more radical ideology"" than the slogans on the silver coins. "Jerusalem the holy" proclaimed on the sheqels is less extreme than the "freedom of Zion" slogan on the bronze coins dated to the second and third years, which is less radical than the "for the redemption (or salvation) of Zion" on the coins of the fourth year. Furthermore, Rappaport points out, the bronze coins were dated only to the years 2, 3, and 4, which is consistent with Simon's activity. "In the first year of the revolt Simon was occupied with the stabilization of his party, moving from one place to another and chased by the Hanan government. Only in years two and three was he able to initiate minting in bronze somewhere outside of Jerusalem. In year four Simon occupied the greater part of the city and became the most powerful and important leader. In year five the two camps, of Simon and of John and the Zealots, were united, and Jerusalem was besieged. Even the Temple minted few sheqels and bronze was not minted at all. Goldstein and Fontanille examined various aspects of the symbols and legends on the Jewish War coins and also suggest that the fourth year bronze coins were not struck by the same mint that issued the silver sheqels." The year four bronzes vary from the sheqels in that they have a different symbolism, different legends, and a slightly different epigraphy for some letters. Rappaport argues that all of the bronze coins were issued at a mint under Simon bar Giora's rule, although he suggests that some technical differences between the earlier dated bronzes and the year four bronzes "may have been a result of bar Giora's moving the mint from its temporary location in his camp to a more stable and better equipped setting in Jerusalem... Also, it may be explained by Simon's elevation to the more important leader in Jerusalem and the subsequent Roman siege of the city. The upgrading of the message of his bronze coins from 'freedom' to 'salvation' may also be connected to the decision to mint heavier denominations. As discussed, the Jewish War was fought during five calendar years, according to the Jewish calendar. The bronze coins of the fourth year coins date to 69/70 CE and comprise the first series of "siege coins" ever minted.” (Guide to Biblical coins, David Hendin, p343, 2010 AD)
21. December AD 67: Extinction of priesthood: New High Priest chosen by lot (Antiquities 4:147-8, 4:153-156) Zealots abolish Herodian appointed High priest dynasty and cast lots, asking God to chose their new High Priest who was about as fit as a high school drop out being a brain surgeon. Within a few months, the two legitimate High Priests Ananus ben Ananus and Jesus ben Gamaliel are killed, (Josephus Wars 4:315,325). Notice again the Jews, not the Romans brought about the extinction of the priesthood. The lot was cast and “Hereupon they sent for one of the pontifical tribes, which is called Eniachim (cf. “Jakim” in 1 Chr. 24:12), and cast lots which of it should be the high priest. By fortune, the lot so fell as to demonstrate their iniquity after the plainest manner, for it fell upon one whose name was Phannias, the son of Samuel, of the village Aphtha. He was a man not only unworthy of the high priesthood, but that did not well know what the high priesthood was; such a mere rustic was he! (156) Yet did they hale this man, without his own consent, out of the country, as if they were acting a play upon the stage, and adorned him with a counterfeit face; they also put upon him the sacred garments, and upon every occasion instructed him what he was to do.” (Wars 4.155-156)
22. Jan AD 68: VIOLENT DIVINE OMEN STORM: Ananus son of Ananus: Moderate, Former high priest, gives a speech to the people and says the Zealots must be defeated. (Josephus Wars 162-192) but the Zealots catch wind and attack first. The Zealots are routed and retreat back inside the temple. John of Gischala is asked by Ananus to negotiate with the Zealots but instead lies to them that Ananus is secretly planning on a new attack with the personal help of Vespasian. (Josephus Wars 4:208-223). The Zealots seek help of Idumeans (at Petra) and they agree and bring and army of 20,000 to Jerusalem. (Josephus Wars 4:225-235) Ananus locks them out of the city and they become enraged but camp over night outside and endure a violent lightening storm which the Josephus viewed as a bad omen. He records that the Jews inside the city viewed the event as God fighting against the army outside the wall. Here again we have Jerusalem surrounded by an army of 20,000! (Josephus Wars 4:235,283-287) The Idumeans cut through the city gate during the storm and kill 8500 inside the city during random looting. (Josephus Wars 4:305-314). The Idumeans and Zealots join forces and the two high priests, Ananus ben Ananus and Jesus ben Gamaliel are killed, (Josephus Wars 4:315,325) but the Idumeans learn they were lied to about Ananus being a traitor, they leave the city. (Josephus Wars 4:345-352) The departure of the Idumeans back to Petra triggers a massive killing spree of the Zealots against anyone who opposes them. (Josephus Wars 4:354-365) All this internal was is reported to Vespasian who decides to let the Jews kill themselves off a bit longer and he delays attacking the city. (Josephus Wars 4: 366-376) The irreligious of the city attack religion itself as the problem. (Josephus Wars 4:377-388). John of Gischala breaks off from the zealots to form his own rebel group. (Josephus Wars 4:389-397).
23. Feb AD 68: Some Jews from Jerusalem and Judea plead with Vespasian to come and save the city from its own destruction. (Josephus Wars 4:410)
24. March AD 68: Without Roman oversight and Jerusalem embroiled in civil war and chaos, small Jewish militias are free to attack fellow Jews in surrounding towns including an attack during Passover at En-Gedi. (Josephus Wars 4:399-405)
25. 9 June AD 68: Nero commits suicide: There was a delay by the Romans in prosecuting the war, (Josephus Wars 4:491) because there was a rebellion in Gaul and Nero committed suicide on June 9, AD 68. Galba, Otho and Vitellius and were temporary emperors until July AD 69 when Vespasian was formally appointed Caesar by the Roman Army. The three rebel Caesars were all killed.
26. 17th April AD 69: Vitellius succeeds Otho. Otho is murdered and Vitellius becomes the next unofficial Caesar. “But now sedition and civil war prevailed, not only over Judea, but in Italy also; (546) for now Galba was slain in the midst of the Roman marketplace; then was Otho made emperor, and fought against Vitellius, who set up for emperor also; for the legions in Germany had chosen him; (547) but when he gave battle to Valens and Cecinna, who were Vitellius’s generals, at Betriacum, in Gall, Otho gained the advantage on the first day; but on the second day Vitellius’s soldiers had the victory; (548) and after much slaughter, Otho slew himself, when he had heard of this defeat at Brixia, and after he had managed the public affairs three months and two days. (549) Otho’s army also came over to Vitellius’s generals, and he came himself down to Rome with he army” (Josephus Wars 4.545-549)
27. Late April AD 69: The Zealots capture the wife of Simon ben Gioras and he “becomes like a wounded beast”: “he grew very angry at them for seizing his beloved wife; so he came to the wall of Jerusalem, and, like wild beasts when they are wounded, and cannot overtake those that wounded them, he vented his spleen upon all persons that he met with. (541) Accordingly, he caught all those that were come out of the city gates, either to gather herbs or sticks, who were unarmed and in years; he then tormented them and destroyed them, out of the immense rage he was in, and was almost ready to taste the very flesh of their dead bodies. (542) He also cut off the hands of a great many, and sent them into the city to astonish his enemies, and in order to make the people fall into a sedition, and desert those that had been the authors of his wife’s seizure. (543) He also enjoined them to tell the people that Simon swore by the God of the universe, who sees all things, that unless they will restore him his wife, he will break down their wall, and inflict the like punishment upon all the citizens, without sparing any age, and without making any distinction between the guilty and the innocent. (544) These threatenings so greatly affrighted, not the people only, but the zealots themselves also, that they sent his wife back to him,—when he became a little milder, and left off his perpetual bloodshedding.” (Josephus Wars 4.540–544)
28. Late April AD 69: Galilean cross-dresser assassin-looters terrorized the city!
a. “Now this Simon, who was without the wall, was a greater terror to the people than the Romans themselves, as were the zealots who were within it more heavy upon them than both of the other; and during this time did the mischievous contrivances and courage [of John of Giscala] corrupt the body of the Galileans; (559) for these Galileans had advanced this John [of Giscala], and made him very potent, who made them a suitable requital from the authority he had obtained by their means; for he permitted them to do all things that any of them desired to do, (560) while their inclination to plunder was insatiable, as was their zeal in searching the houses of the rich; and for the murdering of the men, and abusing of the women, it was sport to them. (561) They also devoured what spoils they had taken, together with their blood, and indulged themselves in feminine wantonness, without any disturbance till they were satiated therewith; while they decked their hair, and put on women’s garments, and were besmeared over with ointments; and that they might appear very comely, they had paints under their eyes, (562) and imitated, not only the ornaments, but also the lust of women, and were guilty of such intolerable uncleanness, and they invented unlawful pleasures of that sort. And thus did they roll themselves up and down the city, as in a brothel house, and defiled it entirely with their impure actions; (563) nay, while their faces looked like the faces of women, they killed with their right hands; and when their gait was effeminate, they presently attacked men, and became warriors, and drew their swords from under their finely dyed cloaks and ran everybody through whom they alighted upon.” (Josephus Wars 4.561-563)
b. Cross dressing during war was considered unlawful for the for Jew. “Take care, especially in your battles, that no woman use the habit of a man, nor man the garment of a woman. (Josephus Antiquities 4.301).
c. It speaks volumes that the Jews were more concerned with the ceremonial “uncleanness” of the cross dressers than their own massive bloodshed and looting.
29. Late April AD 69: The Idumaeans abandon their alliance with John (Zealots) in Jerusalem try to kill him. The Idumaeans attack the Zealots, loot his supplies drive the Zealots into the temple. (Josephus Wars 4.566-570)
30. May 1st AD 69: Simon ben Gioras invited inside the city and rules most of the city. High priest Matthias bands together the moderates of the city (other chief priests and the wealthy) with the Idumaeans and to proclaim Simon ben Gioras as the people’s “savior and protector” in an attempt to overthrow John of Giscala.(Josephus Wars 4.571-576).
a. “The people also made joyful acclamations to him, as their savior and their preserver; (576) but when he was come in with his army, he took care to secure his own authority, and looked upon those that invited him to be no less his enemies than those against whom the invitation was intended. And thus did Simon get possession of Jerusalem, in the third year of the war, in the month Xanthicus [Nisan-April 12th - May 12th]; whereupon John, with his multitude of zealots, as being both prohibited from coming out of the temple, and having lost their power in the city” (Josephus Wars 4.575-577)
b. Simon was camped outside the city walls of Jerusalem fulfilling Luke 21:20.
c. The Jews inside the city invite him in to overthrow John.
d. As soon a Simon enters the city makes himself the mayor and he turns on the moderates who invited him in as “Saviour and protector”.
e. Simon will kill Matthias the high priest the following year. (Josephus Wars 4:527-532)
f. The moderates, submit to Simon and help him fight the Zealots who are inside the temple.
g. The zealots set up four large towers on the perimeter of the tower and use the elevated position to attack with the help of the “engines” (catapults, ballistae) along with skilled archers and slingers who rarely miss their targets.
31. June AD 69 Vespasian comes to Jerusalem (Josephus Wars 4:549-555)
a. Ephraim of John 11, was the last city destroyed by Vespasian in AD 69 before he reaches Jerusalem. See Josephus Wars 4:551. (Kh. Maqatir, Cav1, 2013 AD)
32. June AD 69, the Roman armies stationed at Caesarea and Alexandria both formally proclaim Vespasian as Caesar. (Josephus Wars 4:601-621)
a. “Upon the whole, the case may be such, that if we ourselves make farther delays, the senate may choose an emperor, whom the soldiers, who are the saviors of the empire, will have in contempt.”(Josephus Wars 4:600)
33. August AD 69 Vespasian retreats to Caesarea and makes plans to return to Rome, when he learns Vitellus leaves Germany and occupies Rome (17 April AD 69) as a self indulging tyrant. Vespasian’s army commanders decide together to return to Rome and be “officially proclaimed by the Senate” as Caesar.
a. “Vespasian Now, about this very time it was that heavy calamities came about Rome on all sides; (586) for Vitellus was come from Germany with his soldiery, and drew along with him a great multitude of other men besides. And when the spaces allotted for soldiers could not contain them, he made all Rome itself his camp, and filled all the houses with armed men; (587) which men, when they saw the riches of Rome with those eyes which had never seen such riches before, and found themselves shone round about on all sides with silver and gold, they had much ado to contain their covetous desires, and were ready to betake themselves to plunder, and to the slaughter of such as should stand in their way. And this was the state of affairs in Italy at that time. 2. (588) But when Vespasian had overthrown all the places that were near to Jerusalem, he returned to Cesarea, and heard of the troubles that were at Rome, and that Vitellus was emperor. (589) This produced indignation in him, although he well knew how to be governed, as well as to govern, and could not with any satisfaction own him for his lord who acted so madly, and seized upon the government as if it were absolutely destitute of a governor.” (Josephus Wars 4.585-589)
34. September AD 69: Josephus released from prison like Daniel and Jeremiah, travels to Alexandria. Josephus, a prisoner of war of the Roman Army in Judea, had predicted that Vespasian would succeed Nero. Vespasian releases Josephus from Jail in Judea. (Josephus Wars 4:622-629) Vespasian begins his trip to Rome via Alexandria.
a. “It is a shameful thing (said he) that this man who hath foretold my coming to the empire beforehand, and been the minister of a divine message to me, should still be retained in the condition of a captive or prisoner.” So he called for Josephus, and commanded that he should be set at liberty; (627) whereupon the commanders promised themselves glorious things from this requital Vespasian made to a stranger. Titus was then present with his father, (628) and said, “O father, it is but just that the scandal [of a prisoner] should be taken off Josephus, together with his iron chain; for if we do not barely loose his bonds, but cut them to pieces, he will be like a man that hath never been bound at all.” For that is the usual method as to such as have been bound without a cause. (629) This advice was agreed to by Vespasian also; so there came a man in, and cut the chain to pieces; while Josephus received this testimony of his integrity for a reward, and was moreover esteemed a person of credit as to futurities also.” (Josephus Wars 4:626-629)
b. “As Daniel was preferred by Darius and Cyrus, on account of his having foretold the destruction of the Babylonian monarchy by their means, and the consequent exaltation of the Medes and Persians, Dan. 5:6; or rather, as Jeremiah, when he was a prisoner, was set at liberty, and honorably treated by Nebuzaradan, at the command of Nebuchadnezzar, on account of his having foretold the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, Jer. 40:1–7; so was our Josephus set at liberty and honorably treated, on account of his having foretold the advancement of Vespasian and Titus to the Roman empire. All these are most eminent instances of the interposition of Divine Providence, and of the certainty of divine predictions in the great revolutions of the four monarchies. Several such-like examples there are, both in the sacred and other histories; as in the case of Joseph in Egypt, and of Jaddua the high priest, in the days of Alexander the Great, etc.” (The Works of Josephus, William Whiston, p694, 1987 AD)
35. October AD 69: 3-Way civil war: 5th Trumpet/1st Woe: 5 month civil war. 7th Bowl: “The great city was split into three parts” (Rev 16:19)
b. The three Jewish rebel leaders, Eleazar ben Simon, Simon ben Giora and John of Gischala each had exclusive control of different parts of Jerusalem and were constantly attacking each other with Roman made Ballista and Scorpions (catapults).
c. Revelation 16:19: FULFILLED on 1 Jan AD 70: “City split into three parts”: Three-way civil war for control of Jerusalem between Eleazar, Simon and John as Titus marches from Alexandria to Jerusalem via Caesarea.
i. Eleazar son of Simon: Headquarters inside the temple with 2400 troops. He set up four towers on the corner of the Jerusalem Temple and used the elevation to his advantage to use the “Engines” to throw large rocks, and arrows down upon both John and Simon.
ii. John of Giscala, Galilee: Zealot 6,000 troops controlled the lower city and the Temple's outer court. Threw catapults, slings and arrows down to Simon below and also to Eleazar whose men are above inside the temple. Many worshippers were killed this way by John.
iii. Simon ben Gioras: Zealot (Josephus Wars 2.652; 4:121) with 15,000 troops controlled the upper city and part of the lower city. “Now this Simon, who was outside the wall [with his army], was a greater terror to the people than the Romans themselves”. (Josephus Wars 4.558)
d. “the sedition at Jerusalem was revived, and parted into three factions, and that one faction fought against the other; which partition in such evil cases may be said to be a good thing, and the effect of divine justice. (3) Now as to the attack the zealots made upon the people, and which I esteem the beginning of the city’s destruction, it hath been already explained after an accurate manner; as also whence it arose, and to how great a mischief it was increased; (4) but for the present sedition, one should not mistake if he called it a sedition begotten by another sedition, and to be like a wild beast grown mad, which for want of food from abroad, fell now upon eating its own flesh.” (Josephus Wars 5:4-6)
e. “And now there were three treacherous factions in the city, the one parted from the other.” (Josephus Wars 5:21)
f. The city was literally divided up into three geographic camps. Speaking of the three rebel camps when the Romans arrive: “What are we doing here, and what do we mean, when we suffer three fortified walls to be built to coop us in, that we shall not be able to breathe freely?” (Josephus Wars 5.73)
g. The incredible statement by Josephus (Wars 5:4-6) was that the destruction began when the city was split into three factions that fought each other like wild unreasoning BEASTS just as in Rev 16:19.
h. FULFILLED: Revelation 16:19: 1 Jan AD 70: "Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.” And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe." (Revelation 16:17–21)
i. Inside Jerusalem "there were three generals and three armies, and between these three there was constant fighting, treachery, and arson" (Tacitus, Histories 5.12.3)
j. Josephus describes the three way battle of the civil war and echoes the words of Jesus, “Where the [dead] body is, there also the vultures will be gathered.” Lk 17:37 “But now the tyrant Simon, the son of Gioras, whom the people had invited in, out of the hopes they had of his assistance in the great distresses they were in, having in his power the upper city, and a great part of the lower, did now make more vehement assaults upon John and his party, because they were fought against from above also; yet was he beneath their situation, when he attacked them, as they were beneath the attacks of the others above them. (12) Whereby it came to pass, that John did both receive and inflict great damage, and that easily, as he was fought against on both sides; and the same advantage that Eleazar and his party had over him, since he was beneath them, the same advantage had he, by his higher situation over Simon. (13) On which account he easily repelled the attacks that were made from beneath, by the weapons thrown from their hands only; but was obliged to repel those that threw darts from the temple above him, by his engines of war; (14) for he had such engines as threw darts, and javelins, and stones, and that in no small number, by which he did not only defend himself from such as fought against him, but slew moreover many of the priests, as they were about their sacred ministrations; (15) for notwithstanding these men were mad with all sorts of impiety, yet did they still admit those that desired to offer their sacrifices, although they took care to search the people of their own country beforehand, and both suspected and watched them; while they were not so much afraid of strangers, who, although they had gotten leave of them, how cruel soever they were, to come into that court, were yet often destroyed by this sedition: (16) for those darts that were thrown by the engines came with that force, that they went all over the buildings, and reached as far as the altar, and the temple itself, and fell upon the priests, and those that were about the sacred offices; (17) insomuch that in any persons who came thither with great zeal from the ends of the earth, to offer sacrifices at this celebrated place, which was esteemed holy by all mankind, fell down before their own sacrifices themselves, and sprinkled that altar which was venerable among all men, both Greeks and Barbarians, with their own blood; (18) till the dead bodies of strangers were mingled together with those of their own country, and those of profane persons with those of the priests, and the blood of all sorts of dead carcases stood in lakes in the holy courts themselves. (19) And now, “O most wretched city, what misery so great as this didst thou suffer from the Romans, when they came to purify thee from thy internecine hatred! For thou couldst be no longer a place fit for God, nor couldst thou longer continue in being, after thou hadst been a sepulchre for the bodies of thine own people, and hadst made the holy house itself a burying-place in this civil war of thine! Yet mayest thou again grow better, if perchance thou wilt hereafter appease the anger of that God who is the author of thy destruction.” (20) But I must restrain myself from these passions by the rules of history, since this is not a proper time for domestic lamentations, but for historical narrations; I therefore return to the operations that follow in this sedition.” (Josephus Wars of the Jews 5.11-20)
k. Jesus and John’s words fulfilled: sun darkened, moon turned to blood from smoke, plague, looting, chaos, famine, "And huge hailstones [catapult balls], about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe. (Mt 24; Revelation 16:21) “And now there were three treacherous factions in the city, the one parted from the other. Eleazar and his party, that kept the sacred firstfruits, 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 oppositions to the seditious. (22) 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 his engines of war; (23) 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; (24) 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 other provisions. The same thing was done by Simon, when, upon the other’s 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. (25) 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. (26) So they were taken by the means of the famine, which it was impossible they should have been, unless they had thus prepared the way for it by this procedure. 5. (27) And now, as the city was engaged in a war on all sides, from these treacherous crowds of wicked men, the people of the city, between them, were like a great body torn in pieces. (28) 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 domestic miseries. (29) The citizens themselves were under a terrible consternation and fear; nor had they any opportunity of taking counsel, and of changing their conduct, nor were there any hopes of coming to an agreement with their enemies” (Josephus Wars 5.21-29)
36. 20th December AD 69: Vitellius is beheaded by the people of Rome in the streets and the senate officially appoint Vespasian to the emperorship while he is in Alexandria. Word reaches Vespasian by passenger pigeon in Alexandria and he appoints his son Titus to prosecute the war in Judea. (Josephus Wars 2:655-663)
a. “Then did Vitellius come out of the palace, in his cups, and satiated with an extravagant and luxurious meal, as in the last extremity, (652) and being drawn along by the multitude, and abused with all sorts of torments, had his head cut off in the midst of Rome, having retained the government eight months and five days; and had he lived much longer, I cannot but think the empire would not have been sufficient for his lust…. so the people being now freed from their fears, made acclamations of joy for Vespasian, as for their emperor, and kept festival-days for his confirmation, and for the destruction of Vitellius.” (Josephus Wars 4:651-655)
37. 21th December AD 69: Titus gathers armies at Alexandria and send messages to other armies to meet him in Jerusalem.
a. Titus travels up the coast stopping at Rhinocolura, Raphia, Gaza, Ascalon, Jamnia, Joppa, Joppa and finally at Cesarea. (Josephus Wars 4:662-663)
b. From Caesarea, Titus travels inland to Samaria, Gophna, then marches past Khirbet el-Maqatir (biblical Ephraim of John 11) to camp at Gibeah of Saul (Saul’s palace and royal city), from which he sent 600 equestrian scouts to Jerusalem. The report came back that Jerusalem was in chaos and the residents were greatly wanting peace.
c. “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: (51) 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 Gabaothsaul, which signifies “the Hill of Saul,” being distant from Jerusalem about thirty furlongs. (52) 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; (53) 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.” (Josephus Wars 5:50-53)
38. 7th March AD 70: TITUS ARRIVES IN JERUSALEM 5 MONTH SIEGE BEGINS. Jesus son of Ananus, one of the witnesses of Rev 11 is killed by the jews at the time the final siege begins. Titus and his forces began the siege of Jerusalem just a little before Passover AD 70. (Wars 5.67-108).
a. “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 Kidron.” (Josephus Wars 5:70)
b. Notice the Witness of Revelation named JESUS son of Ananus (same name as High priest who killed Jesus, possibly his son) was killed by a ballista stone while the three waring Jewish rebel leaders were fighting but the Romans were not. “Woe, woe, to the city again, and to the people, and to the holy house!” And just as he added at the last,—“Woe, woe, to myself also!” there came a stone out of one of the engines, and smote him, and killed him immediately; and as he was uttering the very same presages, he gave up the ghost” (Wars 6:309)
c. Titus travels from Alexandria arrives at Gibeah of Saul in Early March AD 70 and send scouts to view Jerusalem. He notices the three factions fighting each other. (Josephus Wars 5.51-53)
d. Titus comes to Jerusalem without helmet or armour to personally observe the state of the city but not fight. The Jews use the engines (catapults) to try to kill him but he calmly keeps coming then returns back safely to his camp. The Jews take false courage, thinking they have won the first battle causing Titus to retreat. Josephus notes that this was wrong because Titus came to observe NOT fight… yet. (Josephus Wars 5.63-66)
e. Titus is joined by other legions stated at Emmaus and he moves the entire army to Mount Scopus and Mount of Olives in full view of the temple mount from a higher elevation.
39. Passover, 14th April AD 70 [Nisan 14]: ONLY TWO REBEL LEADERS REMAIN: Eleazar surrenders the temple Eleazar opens temple gates for worshippers but John sends in assassins who kill many worshippers, defeat Ezeazar and capture the temple fortress.
a. John defeats Eleazar and captures the temple, reducing the division from three to two.
b. After the defeat of Ezeazar, John now turns all his attacks on the one remaining opposition: Simon.
c. “As now the war abroad ceased for a while, the sedition within was revived; (99) and on the feast of unleavened bread, which was come, it being the fourteenth day of the month Xanthicus [Nisan], when it is believed the Jews were first freed from the Egyptians, Eleazar and his party opened the gates of this [inmost court of the] temple, and admitted such of the people as were desirous to worship God into it. (100) But John made use of this festival as a cloak for his treacherous designs, and armed the most inconsiderable of his own party, the greater part of whom were not purified, with weapons concealed under their garments, and sent them with great zeal into the temple, in order to seize upon it; which armed men, when they were gotten in, threw their garments away, and presently appeared in their armor. (101) Upon which there was a very great disorder and disturbance about the holy house; while the people who had no concern in the sedition, supposed that this assault was made against all without distinction, as the zealots thought it was made against themselves only. So these left off guarding the gates any longer, and leaped down from their battlements before they came to an engagement, and fled away into the subterranean caverns of the temple; while the people that stood trembling at the altar, and about the holy house, were rolled on heaps together, and trampled upon, and were beaten both with wooden and with iron weapons without mercy. (103) Such also, as had differences with others, slew many persons that were quiet, out of their own private enmity and hatred, as if they were opposite to the seditious; and all those that had formerly offended any of these plotters, were now known, and were now led away to the slaughter; (104) and, when they had done abundance of horrid mischief to the guiltless, they granted a truce to the guilty, and let those go off that came out of the caverns. These followers of John also did now seize upon this inner temple, and upon all the warlike engines therein, and then ventured to oppose Simon. (105) And thus that sedition, which had been divided into three factions, was now reduced to two” (Josephus Wars 5.98-105)
40. 7th May AD 70, Monday [7 Iyyar]: Romans break through the outer first city wall using their battering rams and engines.
a. “And thus did the Romans get possession of this first wall, on the fifteenth day of the siege, which was the seventh day of the month Artemisius [Jyar], when they demolished a great part of it, as well as they did of the northern parts of the city, which had been demolished also by Cestius formerly.” (Josephus Wars 5.302)
b. They tear down the wall and move their camp inside. (Josephus Wars 5.303-316)
41. 12th May AD 70, Sabbath [12 Iyyar]: Romans break through the center second city wall five days after the first. (Josephus Wars 5. 331-347)
a. Incredibly Titus takes 1000 of his best soldiers through the small breech in the wall into the open city market and asks the residents to surrender in peace to spare loss of life and destruction of the city.
b. “They [rebels] also threatened death to the people, if they should any one of them say a word about a surrender. They moreover cut the throats of such as talked of a peace, and then attacked those Romans that were come within the wall.”
c. He is attacked by the Jews in the small city streets and retreats after some of his solders are killed: “Thus did the Jews grow more numerous perpetually and had great advantages over the Romans, by their full knowledge of those narrow lanes; and they wounded a great many of them, and fell upon them, and drove them out of the city.” (338)
d. The Jews fill the hole in the wall with dead bodies of their own Jewish soldier who had been killed by the Romans: “prevented the Romans, when they were trying to get into the city again, and made a wall of their own bodies over against that part of the wall that was cast down.” (Josephus Wars 5.346)
e. After four days, Titus repels the Jews, recaptures the second wall, then makes plans to break through the third inner wall.
f. Titus is angry that his offers of peace were answered this way by the Jews and moves forward with a full attack.
42. 16nd May AD 70, Wednesday: Romans fully demolish the second wall. (Josephus Wars 5.347) Titus then lifts the siege for five days, in hope the Jews will surrender. When this doesn’t happen, Titus sends Josephus to personally as his fellow Jews to surrender in peace or die. Josephus was the official “war recorder” of Titus. Ironically, Josephus tells the Jews the Romans are making more efforts to save the Jerusalem Temple from destruction than they are. (Josephus Wars 5.360-419)
a. Josephus was the official “war recorder” of Titus and an eye witness of the destruction of the city: “However, I married another wife at Alexandria, (416) and was thence sent, together with Titus, to the siege of Jerusalem, and was frequently in danger of being put to death,—while both the Jews were very desirous to get me under their power, in order to have me punished; and the Romans also, whenever they were beaten, supposed that it was occasioned by my treachery, and made continual clamors to the emperors and desired that they would bring me to punishment as a traitor to them: (417) but Titus Caesar was well acquainted with the uncertain fortune of war, and returned no answer to the soldiers’ vehement solicitations against me.” (Josephus Life 415-417)
b. “A resolution was now taken by Titus to relax the siege for a little while, and to afford the seditious an interval for consideration, and to see whether the demolishing of their second wall would not make them a little more compliant, or whether they were not somewhat afraid of a famine, because the spoils they had gotten by rapine would not be sufficient for them long; so he made use of this relaxation, in order to compass his own designs.” (Josephus Wars 5.348)
c. “Thus did the Romans spend four days in bringing this subsistence money to the several legions; but on the fifth day, when no signs of peace appeared to come from the Jews, Titus divided his legions, and began to raise banks, both at the tower of Antonia and at John’s monument” (Josephus Wars 5.356)
43. 22nd May AD 70, Tuesday AD 70 Josephus synchronism with Jeremiah: Do not rebel, Surrender or die!
i. Jeremiah wears a yoke to advise Judah to continue its submission to Babylon. In response, Hananiah the false prophet breaks the yoke to symbolize the divine breaking of the Babylonians’ rule.
ii. "In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying— thus says the Lord to me—“Make for yourself bonds and yokes and put them on your neck, and send word to the king of Edom, to the king of Moab, to the king of the sons of Ammon, to the king of Tyre and to the king of Sidon by the messengers who come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah." (Jeremiah 27:1-3)
iii. "I spoke words like all these to Zedekiah king of Judah, saying, “Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him and his people, and live!" (Jeremiah 27:12)
iv. "Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from the neck of Jeremiah the prophet and broke it. Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Even so will I break within two full years the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all the nations.’ ” Then the prophet Jeremiah went his way. The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah after Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “Go and speak to Hananiah, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “You have broken the yokes of wood, but you have made instead of them yokes of iron.” ‘For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “I have put a yoke of iron on the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they will serve him. And I have also given him the beasts of the field.” ’ ” Then Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah the prophet, “Listen now, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie. “Therefore thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. This year you are going to die, because you have counseled rebellion against the Lord.’ ” So Hananiah the prophet died in the same year in the seventh month." (Jeremiah 28:10-17)
b. Both Jeremiah and Josephus were messengers to the Jews in Jerusalem to surrender, put the yoke of submission back on that they took off OR DIE.
i. Titus sends Josephus, the official war recorder for Titus, into the city to talk his fellow Jews into surrendering for peace.
ii. “Titus, knowing that the city would be either saved or destroyed for himself, did not only proceed earnestly in the siege, but did not omit to have the Jews exhorted to repentance; (361) so he mixed good counsel with his works for the siege; and being sensible that exhortations are frequently more effectual than arms, he persuaded them to surrender the city, now in a manner already taken, and thereby to save themselves, and sent Josephus to speak to them in their own language; for he imagined they might yield to the persuasion of a countryman of their own” (Josephus Wars 5.360-361)
iii. “but for them that have once fallen under the power of the Romans, and have now submitted to them for so many long years, to pretend to shake off that yoke afterward, was the work of such as had a mind to die miserably” (Josephus Wars 5.365)
iv. “which profit of theirs lay not in leaving the city empty of inhabitants, nor the country a desert; on which account Caesar did now offer them his right hand for their security.” (Josephus Wars 5.373)
v. “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” (Josephus Wars 5.375)
vi. Josephus directly sets up the synchronism between 587 BC and AD 70, Nebuchadnezzar and Titus, Jeremiah whom they mocked and Himself, the moral crimes in 587 BC and AD 70: “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! (392) For when Jeremiah cried out aloud, how very angry God was at them, because of their transgressions, and told them that they should be taken prisoners, unless they would surrender up their city, neither did the king nor the people put him to death; (393) 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.” (Josephus Wars 5.391-393)
vii. Josephus draws another synchronism between 587 BC and AD 70 in that the springs of Jerusalem dried up until the arrival of those who would destroy the city (Nebuchadnezzar, Titus) and with their arrival water began to flow abundantly for them. “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; (410) 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. (411) The same wonderful sign you had also experienced of formerly, when the fore-mentioned 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.” (Josephus Wars 5.409-411)
viii. “This drying up of the Jerusalem fountain of Siloam, when the Jews wanted it, and its flowing abundantly when the enemies of the Jews wanted it, and these both in the days of Zedekiah and of Titus (and this last as a certain event well known by the Jews at that time, as Josephus tells them openly to their faces) are very remarkable instances of a Divine Providence for the punishment of the Jewish nation, when they were grown very wicked, at both those times of the destruction of Jerusalem.” .” (The Works of Josephus, William Whiston, p718, 1987 AD)
44. 24th May AD 70, Thursday Famine and desperation as city residents sell their possessions for gold and swallow it then flee the city to the Romans who let them free instead of killing them. Remember that the Rebel leaders had burned their opponents food stores in the previous year’s battle against each other.
a. Titus let these initial deserters go free: “accordingly, some of them sold what they had, and even the most precious things that had been laid up as treasures by them, for a very small matter, and swallowed down pieces of gold, that they might not be found out by the robbers; and when they had escaped to the Romans, went to stool, and had wherewithal to provide plentifully for themselves; (422) for Titus let a great number of them go away into the country, whither they pleased” (Josephus Wars 5:421-422)
b. However the two remaining revel leaders kill their fellow Jews who try to escape, “John and Simon, with their factions, did more carefully watch these men’s going out than they did the coming in of the Romans; and, if any one did but afford the least shadow of suspicion of such an intention, his throat was cut immediately.” (Josephus Wars 5.423)
c. The rich of the city who did not desert also became targets of thieves who would kill them just to steal their money, under the false pretense that they were caught trying to defect to the Romans. (Josephus Wars 5.424)
d. House to house searches for food: “for when they saw any house shut up, this was to them a signal that the people within had gotten some food; whereupon they broke open the doors, and ran in and took pieces of what they were eating, almost up out of their very throats, and this by force; (433) the old men, who held their food fast, were beaten; and if the women hid what they had within their hands, their hair was torn for so doing; nor was there any commiseration shown either to the aged or to infants, but they lifted up children from the ground as they hung upon the morsels they had gotten, and shook them down upon the floor; (434) but still were they more barbarously cruel to those that had prevented their coming in, and had actually swallowed down what they were going to seize upon, as if they had been unjustly defrauded of their right.” (Josephus Wars 5.432-434)
45. 26th May AD 70, Sabbath: Josephus shows the Fulfilment of Daniel & Jesus prophecy: Dan 12:1 = Mt 24 = Josephus Wars 5:11-20; 5:442-445
a. Josephus sums up the wickedness of his fellow Jews and how the suffering of the city was the worst in history:
b. ”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. (443) 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, (444) 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; (445) 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.” (Josephus Wars 5.442-445)
c. "“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone [the Christians] who is found written in the book, will be rescued." (Daniel 12:1)
d. “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. [Wars in Judea and three fighting factions inside the city] See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. [savagery of the Jews murdering, looting in search of gold and food] “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. “Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION [Jewish Zealots using the temple as a fortress of war, this couples with Lk 21:20 “Jewish armies surrounding Jerusalem”] which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. “Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. “Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! “But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. [Josephus records the fulfillment directly in Wars 5.442-445] “Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. “Behold, I have told you in advance. “So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. “For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. “Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather." [Josephus records how spiritually depraved and dead the Jews in the city are in Wars (Josephus Wars of the Jews 5:11-20 & 5:442-445] (Matthew 24:6–28)
e. GOD’S JUSTICE: MASS CRUCIFIXION OF THE VERY JEWS WHO CRUCIFIED JESUS:
God’s Justice System: Crucifixion for crucifixion
"But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise." (Exodus 21:23–25)
Josephus Wars of the Jews 5:446-451
i. “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.” (Josephus Wars of the Jews 5.451)
ii. “Reland very properly takes notice here, how justly this judgment came upon the Jews, when they were crucified in such multitudes together, that the Romans wanted room for the crosses, and crosses for the bodies of these Jews, since they had brought this judgment on themselves by the crucifixion of their Messiah.” (The Works of Josephus, William Whiston, p720, 1987 AD)
iii. "“Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you [Jews who rejected Jesus] may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. “Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation [40 years=30-AD 70]. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!" (Matthew 23:34–38)
iv. "“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. “Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. “Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." (Luke 21:20–24)
46. 29th May AD 70, Tuesday [29 Iyyar/Artimesius 29]: The Jews vow to fight to the death and destroy a Roman ramp built of timber by digging under the foundation and coating them with tar and setting them on fire. Thick black smoke filled the city.
a. “Now, as the Romans began to raise their banks on the twelfth day of the month Artemisius [Jyar], so had they much ado to finish them by the twenty-ninth day of the same month, after they had labored hard for seventeen days continually; (467) for there were now four great banks raised, one of which was at the tower of Antonia; this was raised by the fifth legion, over against the middle of that pool which was called Struthius. Another was cast up by the twelfth legion, at the distance of about twenty cubits from the other. (468) … John had from within undermined the space that was over against the tower of Antonia, as far as the banks themselves, and had supported the ground over the mine with beams laid across one another whereby the Roman works stood upon an uncertain foundation. Then did he order such materials to be brought in as were daubed over with pitch and bitumen, and set them on fire; (470) and as the cross beams that supported the banks were burning, the ditch yielded on the sudden, and the banks were shaken down, and fell into the ditch with a prodigious noise. (471) Now at the first there arose a very thick smoke and dust, as the fire was choked with the fall of the bank” (Josephus Wars 5.466-471)
47. 31th May AD 70, Thursday: Two days later, the Jews launch a ferocious attack on the Romans outside the city. They set fire to the engines (catapults etc.) and burned down two other wooden ramps the Romans had built to attack the city. (Josephus Wars 5.473–490)
48. 1st June AD 70, Friday: Synchronism between Nebuchadnezzar and Titus: Titus prayed to God and blamed the Jews for their own death in spite of his own efforts to not destroy the city. Nebuchadnezzar brought Zedekiah to Riblah rebuked him for breaking the vow of submission Zedekiah had made to the God of Israel (YHWH) in the presence of the Babylonian king. When Zedekiah was captured, Nebuchadnezzar “passed judgement” on him: Here is how it probably went: “You swore and oath by the God of Judah, not my gods (Bel and Nebo) and you broke it.” Nebuchadnezzar therefore, like Titus, blamed the destruction of the city on the Jews, not themselves.
a. “However, when Titus, in going his rounds along those valleys, saw them full of dead bodies, and the thick putrefaction running about them, he gave a groan; and spreading out his hands to heaven, called God to witness that this was not his doing” (Josephus Wars 5.516)
b. OATH BREAKER: “Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. He did evil in the sight of the Lord his God; he did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet who spoke for the Lord. He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar who had made him swear allegiance by God. But he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the Lord God of Israel." (2 Chronicles 36:10-13) see also 2 Kings 24:17-25:7
c. “Say now to the rebellious house, ‘Do you not know what these things mean?’ Say, ‘Behold, the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, took its king and princes and brought them to him in Babylon. ‘He took one of the royal family and made a covenant with him, putting him under oath [ie. swore submission to Babylon to YHWH as a witness]. He also took away the mighty of the land, that the kingdom might be in subjection, not exalting itself, but keeping his covenant that it might continue. ‘But he rebelled against him by sending his envoys to Egypt that they might give him horses and many troops. Will he succeed? Will he who does such things escape? Can he indeed break the covenant and escape? ‘As I live,’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘Surely in the country of the king who put him on the throne, whose oath he despised and whose covenant he broke, in Babylon he shall die." (Ezekiel 17:12-16)
49. 2nd June AD 70, Sabbath: Synchronism between six trials of Jesus, Pilate and Titus: There were 6 trials Jesus went through (on Nisan 14) from about 10 PM Thursday night to 7AM Friday morning. The Jews found Jesus guilty during the first three trials but the Romans proclaimed Jesus innocent in each of the last three trials. Pilate even washed his hands and said, “I find no guilt, I am free from the blood of this man” The people replied, “His blood be upon us and our children.” (Matthew 27:22-25; John 18:38) Both Pilate and Titus showed compassion for the Jews.
a. Contrary to the false notion that the Romans wanted to destroy all the Jews, Titus, like Pilate (and like Nebuchadnezzar) made specific efforts to save the people of the city from death: “However, when the seditious still showed no inclination of yielding, Titus, out of his commiseration of the people that remained, and out of his earnest desire of rescuing what was still left out of these miseries, began to raise his banks again” (Josephus Wars 5.522)
b. Both Titus and Pilot tried to save the lives of Jews: "As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.”" (John 19:12)
c. The Roman commander protected Apostle Paul from the lawless Jews who wanted to lynch him: "And as a great dissension was developing, the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them and ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks." (Acts 23:10)
d. Clearly then, Pilate and Titus were more righteous than the Jews of Jerusalem who crucified Jesus.
50. 3rd June AD 70, Sunday: All trees cut down within 18km of Jerusalem. First Trumpet: Rev 8:7. Mass deforestation of Judea because of the First Jewish war (66-74 AD).
a. "The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up." (Revelation 8:7)
b. Titus “began to raise his banks again, although materials for them were hard to be come at; (523) for all the trees that were about the city had been already cut down for the making of the former banks. Yet did the soldiers bring with them other materials from the distance of ninety furlongs (18km, 11 miles), and thereby raised banks in four parts, much greater than the former, though this was done only at the tower of Antonia.” (Josephus Wars 5:523)
51. 4th June AD 70, Monday The Jews wanted to kill both Josephus, and Jeremiah, who made efforts to save them from death.
a. Josephus in AD 70 was a synchronism with Jeremiah in 587 BC.
b. Both Jeremiah and Josephus were attacked by the Jews but both returned again to “preach” to them to surrender or die which was in their best interest.
c. "Then they said, “Come and let us devise plans against Jeremiah. Surely the law is not going to be lost to the priest, nor counsel to the sage, nor the divine word to the prophet! Come on and let us strike at him with our tongue, and let us give no heed to any of his words.” Do give heed to me, O Lord, And listen to what my opponents are saying! Should good be repaid with evil? For they have dug a pit for me. Remember how I stood before You To speak good on their behalf, So as to turn away Your wrath from them." (Jeremiah 18:18–20)
d. "“Thus says the Lord, ‘He who stays in this city will die by the sword and by famine and by pestilence, but he who goes out to the Chaldeans will live and have his own life as booty and stay alive.’ “Thus says the Lord, ‘This city will certainly be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and he will capture it.’ ” Then the officials said to the king, “Now let this man be put to death, inasmuch as he is discouraging the men of war who are left in this city and all the people, by speaking such words to them; for this man is not seeking the well-being of this people but rather their harm.” So King Zedekiah said, “Behold, he is in your hands; for the king can do nothing against you.” Then they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchijah the king’s son, which was in the court of the guardhouse; and they let Jeremiah down with ropes. Now in the cistern there was no water but only mud, and Jeremiah sank into the mud." (Jeremiah 38:2–6)
e. “In the meantime, Josephus, as he was going round the city, had his head wounded by a stone that was thrown at him; upon which he fell down as giddy. Upon which fall of his the Jews made a sally, and he had been hurried away into the city, if Caesar had not sent men to protect him immediately; (542) and, as these men were fighting, Josephus was taken up, though he heard little of what was done. So the seditious supposed they had now slain that man whom they were the most desirous of killing, and made thereupon a great noise, in way of rejoicing. (543) This accident was told in the city; and the multitude that remained became very disconsolate at the news, as being persuaded that he was really dead, on whose account alone they could venture to desert to the Romans; (544) but when Josephus’s mother heard in prison that her son was dead, she said to those that watched about her, that she had always been of opinion, since the siege of Jotapata, [that he would be slain], and she should never enjoy him alive any more. (545) She also made great lamentation privately to the maidservants that were about her, and said, that this was all the advantage she had of bringing so extraordinary a person as this son into the world; that she should not be able even to bury that son of hers, by whom she expected to have been buried herself. (546) However, this false report did not put his mother to pain, nor afford merriment to the robbers long; for Josephus soon recovered of his wound, and came out, and cried out aloud, that it would not be long ere they should be punished for this wound they had given him. He also made a fresh exhortation to the people to come out, upon the security that would be given them. (547) This sight of Josephus encouraged the people greatly, and brought a great consternation upon the seditious.” (Josephus Wars 5.541-547)
52. 5th June AD 70, Tuesday: Jews who swallowed gold had bellies cut open by the Syrians and Arabs but Titus forbad his troops to do the same and executed the offending Syrians and Arabs:
a. Once again the honour, moral uprightness and justice of the Romans exceeded both the Jews and the nations around them.
b. “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; 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; (551) 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. (552) 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. When Titus came to the knowledge of this wicked practice, he had like to have surrounded those that had been guilty of it with his horse, and have shot them dead; and he had done it, had not their number been so very great, and those that were liable to this punishment would have been manifold, more than those whom they had slain.” (Josephus Wars 5.550-553)
53. 5th June AD 70, Tuesday: Abomination of Desolation fulfilled in John of Gischala “the beasts” who desecrates the Jerusalem Temple.
a. Ironically, While the Jews (John of Gischala) were desecrating the temple, it was the Romans who were trying to preserve it.
b. Notice Josephus, like John in Revelation 11:8 calls Jerusalem “Sodom”.
c. Josephus notes that the pagan Roman Caesars showed more respect for the temple than the Jews of Jerusalem:
d. “But as for John, when he could no longer plunder the people, be betook himself to sacrilege, and melted down many of the sacred utensils, which had been given to the temple; as also many of those vessels which were necessary for such as ministered about holy things, the caldrons, the dishes, and the tables; nay, he did not abstain from those pouring-vessels that were sent them by Augustus and his wife; (563) for the Roman emperors did ever both honor and adorn this temple; whereas this man, who was a Jew, seized upon what were the donations of foreigners; (564) 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 off the temple, (565) 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 and in of them: (566) and here I cannot but speak my mind, and what the concern 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 than were those that suffered such punishments; for by their madness it was that all the people came to be destroyed.” (Josephus Wars 5:562-566)
e. “there were none of the Roman soldiers who did not look with a sacred horror upon the holy house, and adored it, and wished that the robbers would repent before their miseries became incurable”(Josephus Wars 6:123)
f. “Now Titus was deeply affected with this state of things, and reproached John and his party, and said to them, “Have not you, vile wretches that you are, by our permission, put up this partition-wall before your sanctuary? (125) Have not you been allowed to put up the pillars thereto belonging at due distances, and on it to engrave in Greek, and in your own letters, this prohibition, that no foreigner should go beyond that wall? (126) Have not we given you leave to kill such as go beyond it, though he were a Roman? And what do you do now, you pernicious villains? Why do you trample upon dead bodies in this temple? And why do you pollute this holy house with the blood both of foreigners and Jews themselves? (127) I appeal to the gods of my own country, and to every god that ever had any regard to this place (for I do not suppose it to be now regarded by any of them); I also appeal to my own army, and to those Jews that are now with me, and even to you yourselves, that I do not force you to defile this your sanctuary; (128) and if you will but change the place whereon you will fight, no Roman shall either come near your sanctuary, or offer any affront to it; nay, I will endeavor to preserve you your holy house, whether you will or not.” (Josephus Wars 6:124-128)
54. 28th June AD 70, Thursday [1 Tammuz/Panemus]: The body count of dead Jews between May 1 to July 20 AD 70 is 115,880 carried through the gate and another 600,000 still inside.
a. Titus appoints a Jewish deserter named Mannaeus ben Lazarus the task of counting the dead Jews.
b. “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 the gate, which was entrusted 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 Xanthicus [Nisan], when the Romans pitched their camp by the city, and the first day of the month Panemus [Tamuz].”(Josephus Wars 5.567)
c. “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; (570) and they told him farther, 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.”(Josephus Wars 5.569)
55. 28th June AD 70, Thursday: Fulfillment of third seal, synchronism with Ezekiel’s sign act of famine using dung to cook food in 593 BC: (Ezek 4:9-17).
a. A talent = 1200 Denarii. 37 quarts to a bushel. The situation in Jerusalem was far worse than John predecited!
b. “a medimnus (bushel) 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 dung hills 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.” (Josephus Wars 5.571)
c. "When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”" (Revelation 6:5–6)
d. Ezekiel eats rationed portions of food and water to represent the scarcity of food during the siege; he bakes his bread on dung to symbolize the unclean food of the exile: “But as for you, take wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet and spelt, put them in one vessel and make them into bread for yourself; you shall eat it according to the number of the days that you lie on your side, three hundred and ninety days. “Your food which you eat shall be twenty shekels a day by weight; you shall eat it from time to time. “The water you drink shall be the sixth part of a hin by measure; you shall drink it from time to time. “You shall eat it as a barley cake, having baked it in their sight over human dung.” Then the LORD said, “Thus will the sons of Israel eat their bread unclean among the nations where I will banish them.” But I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I have never been defiled; for from my youth until now I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has any unclean meat ever entered my mouth.” Then He said to me, “See, I will give you cow’s dung in place of human dung over which you will prepare your bread.” Moreover, He said to me, “Son of man, behold, I am going to break the staff of bread in Jerusalem, and they will eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and drink water by measure and in horror, because bread and water will be scarce; and they will be appalled with one another and waste away in their iniquity." (Ezekiel 4:9-17)
56. 28th June AD 70, Thursday [1 Tammuz/Panemus]: Romans begin to try to capture the Fortress of Antonia
a. The Romans guard the newly completed wooden ramps “banks” leading to the Antonia tower adjacent and north of the Temple Mount. (Josephus Wars 6:9-14)
b. John tries to thwart the Romans advances and fails to destroy the new wooden ramp.
c. “This attack was made upon the first day of the month Panemus (Tamuz=20th July). (23) So, when the Jews were retreated the Romans brought their engines, although they had all the while stones thrown at them from the tower of Antonia, and were assaulted by fire and sword, and by all sorts of darts, which necessity afforded the Jews to make use of; (24) for although these had great dependence on their own wall, and a contempt of the Romans engines, yet did they endeavor to hinder the Romans from bringing them. (25) Now these Romans struggled hard, on the contrary, to bring them, as deeming that this zeal of the Jews was in order to avoid any impression to be made on the tower of Antonia, because its wall was but weak, and its foundations rotten.” (Josephus Wars 6:22-25)
57. 30th June AD 70, Sabbath [3 Tammuz/Panemus]: synchronism between Nebuchadnezzar and Titus as anointed servants of YHWH:
a. “And now Titus, upon consideration that the alacrity of soldiers in war is chiefly excited by hopes and by good words, and that exhortations and promises do frequently make men to forget the hazards they run, nay, and sometimes to despise death itself, got together the most courageous part of his army, and tried what he could do with his men by these methods:—(34) “O fellow-soldiers,” said he, … it is unbecoming you, who are Romans and my soldiers, who have in peace been taught how to make wars, and who have also been used to conquer in those wars, to be inferior to Jews, either in action of the hand or in courage of the soul, and this especially when you are at the conclusion of your victory, and are assisted by God himself; (39) for as to our misfortunes, they have been owing to the madness of the Jews, while their sufferings have been owing to your valor, and to the assistance God hath afforded you; (40) for as to the seditions they have been in, and the famine they are under, and the siege they now endure, and the fall of their walls without our engines, what can they all be but demonstrations of God’s anger against them, and of his assistance afforded us? (41) It will not therefore be proper for you, either to show yourselves inferior to those to whom you are really superior, or to betray that divine assistance which is afforded you… These things were done upon the third day of the month Panemus [Tamuz].” (Josephus Wars of the Jews 6.33-67)
b. God indeed used both Titus and Nebuchadnezzar as his “anointed servants” to destroy Jerusalem.
c. The speech of Titus that God was with the Roman army and not with the Jews was exactly correct. God had used several pagan kings in the past as his “anointed agents” including Neco II, Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus.
730 BC Isaiah 45 Cyrus is called God’s “anointed” who will build the New
Jerusalem temple in his decree of 536 BC: "Thus
says the Lord to Cyrus His anointed, Whom I have taken by the right hand, To subdue nations
before him And to loose the loins of kings; To open doors before him so that
gates will not be shut: “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth;
I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars. “I will
give you the treasures of darkness And hidden wealth of secret places, So that
you may know that it is I, The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your
name. … "“I have aroused him in righteousness And I will make all his ways
smooth; He will build My city and will let My exiles
go free, Without any payment or reward,” says
the Lord of hosts." (Isaiah 45:1-3,13, 730 BC)
ii. In 609 BC, Pharaoh Neco II kills the righteous Judean king Josiah after warning him “I am on a mission from God, don’t fight me”: "After all this, when Josiah had set the temple in order, Neco king of Egypt came up to make war at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah went out to engage him. But Neco sent messengers to him, saying, “What have we to do with each other, O King of Judah? I am not coming against you today but against the house with which I am at war, and God has ordered me to hurry. Stop for your own sake from interfering with God who is with me, so that He will not destroy you.” However, Josiah would not turn away from him, but disguised himself in order to make war with him; nor did he listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, but came to make war on the plain of Megiddo. The archers shot King Josiah, and the king said to his servants, “Take me away, for I am badly wounded.”" (2 Chronicles 35:20-23)
iii. In 587 BC, Nebuchadnezzar is called “My Servant” for destroying Jerusalem: “Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and I have given him also the wild animals of the field to serve him. “All the nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson until the time of his own land comes; then many nations and great kings will make him their servant." (Jeremiah 27:6-7, 595 BC).
iv. In 574 BC, Nebuchadnezzar: God talked directly to Nebuchadnezzar: "The king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’ “While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.’" (Daniel 4:30-32)
v. In 571 BC, Nebuchadnezzar was on “God’s payroll” as the direct agent of God in conquering Egypt. “I [YHWH] have given him [Nebuchadnezzar] the land of Egypt for his labor which he performed, because he acted for Me,” declares the Lord God." (Ezekiel 29:17-20, Tues April 26, 571 BC)
58. 2nd July AD 70, Monday [5 Tammuz/Panemus]: 12 Roman soldiers capture Antonia Fortress in covert night attack.
a. This brave and daring act by the 12 soldiers was inspired by Titus’ “God is with us” speech echoes many times in the past that small numbers of Jews have won battles.
b. Jonathan alone at Geba is a perfect example:
i. "Then Jonathan said to the young man who was carrying his armor, “Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; perhaps the Lord will work for us, for the Lord is not restrained to save by many or by few.”" (1 Samuel 14:6)
ii. "Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. Then Saul blew the trumpet throughout the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear.”" (1 Samuel 13:3)
c. “Now two days afterward, twelve of these men that were on the forefront, and kept watch upon the banks, got together, and called to them the standard-bearer of the fifth legion, and two others of a troop of horsemen, and one trumpeter: these went without noise about the ninth hour of the night, through the ruins, to the tower of Antonia; and when they had cut the throats of the first guards of the place, as they were asleep, they got possession of the wall, and ordered the trumpeter to sound his trumpet.”
59. 14th July AD 70, Sabbath [17 Tammuz/Panemus]: Synchronism with Daniel 9:27 Abomination of Desolation= John stops temple sacrifices: Dan 12:1 = Mt 24 = Josephus Wars 6.93-129
a. The 70 weeks of Daniel 9 end at the resurrection, but it goes on to say that after, will be a complete destruction of the temple in AD 70. Dan 12:1 jumps from the Greek kingdom (Dan 11) to the end in AD 70.
b. The temple had been totally defiled and desecrated by the Jews themselves with 8500 dead bodies in temple: Wars 4.201,313; 6:110
c. Wars 6.93-129: In this absolutely stunning moment in history, Josephus identifies Revolt leader John of Gischala as the specific object that makes the temple unclean. Josephus chastises John for the ceasing of the temple sacrifices, due to the fact that no one was able or willing to do it among the priesthood, being either afraid, sick or dead. Josephus orders John out of the temple not only because he is making it unclean but to fight away from the temple to avoid it getting destroyed. John replies that God will not allow HIS CITY to be destroyed, in spite of the fact that Nebuchadnezzar with God’s approval, destroyed Jerusalem in 587 BC. Many of the people listening are moved by Josephus’ words and defect to the Romans. Finally, Titus himself identifies John of Gischala as the “Abomination of Desolation” (without using those words) and the one who defiled God’s holy temple. Like Nebuchadnezzar, the pagan Titus is shown to be more righteous than the Jews in control of the Temple. Titus accuses John of defiling the temple with the bodies of dead gentiles, who were forbidden to enter or be killed. Titus demands John fight outside the temple to keep it from being destroyed.
d. “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; (94) while he himself had Josephus brought to him (for he had been informed that on that very day, which was the seventeenth day 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) (95) 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 pleased, offer the sacrifices which were now discontinued, by any of the Jews whom he should pitch upon. (96) Upon this, Josephus stood in such a place where he might be heard, not by John only, but by many more, and then declared to them what Caesar had given him in charge, and this in the Hebrew language. (97) So he earnestly prayed them to spare their own city, and to prevent that fire that was just ready to seize upon the temple, and to offer their usual sacrifices to God therein. (98) At these words of his a great sadness and silence were observed among the people. But the tyrant himself [John of Gischala] cast many reproaches upon Josephus, with imprecations besides; and at last added this withal, that he did never fear the taking of the city, because it was God’s own city.” (Josephus Wars 6.93-98)
e. “Now Titus was deeply affected with this state of things, and reproached John and his party, and said to them, “Have not you, vile wretches that you are, by our permission, put up this partition-wall before your sanctuary? (125) Have not you been allowed to put up the pillars thereto belonging at due distances, and on it to engrave in Greek, and in your own letters, this prohibition, that no foreigner should go beyond that wall? (126) Have not we given you leave to kill such as go beyond it, though he were a Roman? And what do you do now, you pernicious villains? Why do you trample upon dead bodies in this temple? And why do you pollute this holy house with the blood both of foreigners and Jews themselves? (127) I appeal to the gods of my own country, and to every god that ever had any regard to this place (for I do not suppose it to be now regarded by any of them); I also appeal to my own army, and to those Jews that are now with me, and even to you yourselves, that I do not force you to defile this your sanctuary; (128) and if you will but change the place whereon you will fight, no Roman shall either come near your sanctuary, or offer any affront to it; nay, I will endeavor to preserve you your holy house, whether you will or not.” (Josephus Wars 6:124-128)
f. Dead bodies in temple: “you trample upon dead bodies in this temple” see Wars 4.201,313; 6:110,126
refers to this inscription: Here is the “No Gentiles permitted” temple
warning stele discovered in Jerusalem in 1871 AD. Paul was falsely accused of
bringing Greeks into the temple in Acts 21:28. The blood of Jesus abolished the
Law of Moses and the Jewish temple and this barrier that separated Jew from
Gentile in Eph 2:14-15, "by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is
the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace"
60. 15th July AD 70, Sunday A variety of small battles take place. (Josephus wars 6:130-163)
61. 19th July AD 70, Thursday [22 Panemus/Tammuz] Jews defensively burn the cloister (open arched patio) that adjoins the Antonia Fortress to protect access to the temple.
a. “In the meantime, the Jews were so distressed by the fights they had been in, as the war advanced higher and higher, and creeping up to the holy house itself, that they, as it were, cut off those limbs of their body which were infected, in order to prevent the distemper’s spreading farther; (165) for they set the northwest cloister, which was joined to the tower of Antonia, on fire, and after that brake off about twenty cubits of that cloister, and thereby made a beginning in burning the sanctuary” (Josephus Wars 6:164-165)
b. Notice the prophecy of the square temple Josephus notes: “for the Jews by demolishing the tower of Antonia, had made their temple foursquare, while at the same time they had it written in their sacred oracles,—“That then should their city be taken, as well as their holy house, when once their temple should become foursquare.” (312) But now, what did most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, “about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth.” (Josephus Wars, 310-312)
c. The prophecy of the square temple indicating the city would be destroyed came from Ezekiel: "He measured the court, a perfect square, a hundred cubits long and a hundred cubits wide; and the altar was in front of the temple." (Ezekiel 40:47) "And it was like the appearance of the vision which I saw, like the vision which I saw when He came to destroy the city. And the visions were like the vision which I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face." (Ezekiel 43:3)
62. 21st July AD 70, Sabbath [24 Panemus/Tammuz] Two days later the Romans burn the other cloister which separates the Temple from the Antonia.
a. “two days after which, or on the twenty-fourth day of the forenamed month [Panemus or Tamuz], the Romans set fire to the cloister that joined to the other, when the fire went fifteen cubits farther. The Jews, in like manner, cut off its roof, nor did they entirely leave off what they were about till the tower of Antonia was parted from the temple, (167) even when it was in their power to have stopped the fire; nay, they lay still while the temple was first set on fire, and deemed this spreading of the fire to be for their own advantage. (168) However, the armies were still fighting one against another about the temple; and the war was managed by continual sallies of particular parties against one another.” (Josephus Wars 6:166-167)
63. 24th July AD 70, Tuesday [27 Panemus/Tammuz] Jews fill the western cloister with flammable materials like wood and bitumen then draw the Romans into the area as a trap, the set it on fire killing all but one of the Roman soldiers.
a. “But now the seditious that were in the temple did every day openly endeavor to beat off the soldiers that were upon the banks, and on the twenty-seventh day of the forenamed month [Panemus, or Tamuz], contrived such a stratagem as this:—(178) They filled that part of the western cloister which was between the beams, and the roof under them, and dry materials, as also with bitumen and pitch, and then retired from that place as though they were tired with the pains they had taken; (179) at which procedure of theirs, many of the most inconsiderate among the Romans” (Josephus Wars 6:177-190)
b. More of the structures surrounding the temple are burned by both Jews and Romans.
64. 24th July AD 70, Tuesday [27 Panemus/Tammuz] CANNIBALISM: Mother eats her living baby (famine). Josephus describes cannibalism because of the famine. (Josephus Wars 6:193-219)
a. “She [Mary] then attempted a most unnatural thing; (205) and snatching up her son, who was a child sucking at her breast, she said, “O, thou miserable infant! For whom shall I preserve thee in this war, this famine, and this sedition? (206) As to the war with the Romans, if they preserve our lives, we must be slaves! This famine also will destroy us, even before that slavery comes upon us:—yet are these seditious rogues more terrible than both the other. (207) Come on; be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets and a byword to the world, which is all that is now wanting to complete the calamities of us Jews.” (208) As soon as she had said this she slew her son; and then roasted him, and ate the one half of him, and kept the other half by her concealed. (209) Upon this the seditous came in presently, and smelling 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 withal uncovered what was left of her son. (210) Hereupon they were seized with a horror and amazement of mind, and stood astonished at the sight; when she said to them, “This is my own son; and what hath been done was mine own doing! Come, eat of this food; for I have eaten of it myself! (211) Do not you pretend to be either more tender than a woman, or more compassionate than a mother; but if you be so scrupulous and do abominate this my sacrifice, as I have eaten the one half, let the rest be reserved for me also.” (212) After which, those men went out trembling, being never so much affrighted at anything as they were at this, and with some difficulty they left the rest of that meat to the mother. Upon which the whole city was full of this horrid action immediately; and while every body laid his miserable case before their own eyes, they trembled, as if this unheard-of action had been by themselves. (213) So those that were thus distressed by the famine were very desirous to die; and those already dead were esteemed happy, because they had not lived long enough either to hear or to see such miseries.”
b. Synchronism: Cannibalism in 587 BC and AD 70:
i. "‘Therefore, fathers will eat their sons among you, and sons will eat their fathers; for I will execute judgments on you and scatter all your remnant to every wind." (Ezekiel 5:10)
ii. “I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they will eat one another’s flesh in the siege and in the distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life will distress them.” (Jeremiah 19:9)
65. 4th August AD 70, Sabbath [8 Lous/Av] Final assault on temple begins by using engines and iron rams against the wall on the west side of the Temple court.
a. “And now two of the legions had completed their banks on the eighth day of the month Lous [Ab]. Whereupon Titus gave orders that the battering-rams should be brought and set over against the western edifice of the inner temple; (221) for before these were brought the firmest of all the other engines had battered the wall for six days together without ceasing, without making any impression upon it; but the vast largeness and strong connection of the stones were superior to that engine, and to the other battering-rams also.” (Josephus Wars 6:220-221)
b. Titus orders the gates of the temple to be burned. (Josephus Wars 6:233-236)
66. 5th August AD 70, Sunday [9 Lous/Av] Titus then order fire extinguishers to save the temple and then holds a conference with his generals about destroying the temple or not. (Josephus Wars 6:236-243)
a. Titus and his generals decide NOT to destroy the temple but to put out the fires.
b. “Titus proposed to these that they should give him their advice what should be done about the holy house. (239) Now, some of these thought it would be the best way to act according to the rules of war [and demolish it]; because the Jews would never leave off rebelling while that house was standing; at which house it was that they used to get all together. (240) Others of them were of opinion, that in case the Jews would leave it, and none of them would lay their arms up in it, he might save it; but that in case they got upon it, and fought any more, he might burn it; because it must then be looked upon not as a holy house, but as a citadel; and that the impiety of burning it would then belong to those that forced this to be done, and not to them. (241) But Titus said, that “although the Jews should get upon that holy house, and fight us thence, yet ought we not to revenge ourselves on things that are inanimate, instead of the men themselves;” and that he was not in any case for burning down so vast a work as that was, because this would be a mischief to the Romans themselves, as it would be an ornament to their government while it continued. (242) So Fronto, and Alexander, and Cerealis, grew bold upon that declaration, and agreed to the opinion of Titus. (243) Then was this assembly dissolved, when Titus had given orders to the commanders that the rest of their forces should lie still; but that they should make use of such as were most courageous in this attack. So he commanded that the chosen men that were taken out of the cohorts should make their way through the ruins, and quench the fire.” (Josephus Wars 6.238-243)
67. ROMAN DESTRUCTION ON SAME DAY OF THE YEAR AS BABYLONIAN: 6th August AD 70, Monday [10 Av AD 70] Temple destroyed by burning after Jews attack Romans.
a. Fire was cast into the inner Temple, essentially completing the destruction of the city (Josephus Wars 6:244-264).
b. “So Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, and 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; and now that fatal day was come, according to the revolution of ages; it was the tenth day of the month Lous [Ab], upon which it was formerly burnt by the king of Babylon” (Josephus Wars 6.249-250)
c. “Now although anyone would justly lament the destruction of such a work as this was, since it was the most admirable of all the works that we have seen or heard of, both for its curious structure and its magnitude, and also for the vast wealth bestowed upon it, as well as for the glorious reputation it had for its holiness; yet might such a one comfort himself with this thought, that it was fate that decreed it so to be, which is inevitable, both as to living creatures and as to works and places also. (268) However, one cannot but wonder at the accuracy of this period thereto relating; for the same month and day were now observed, as I said before, wherein the holy house was burnt formerly by the Babylonians. (269) Now the number of years that passed from its first foundation, which was laid by king Solomon, till this its destruction, which happened in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, are collected to be one thousand one hundred and thirty (1130 years - 70 + 1 (no year zero) = 1061 BC | Actual is 967 BC + 70 - 1 = 1036 years), besides seven months and fifteen days; (270) and from the second building of it, which was done by Haggai, in the second year of Cyrus the king, till its destruction under Vespasian, there were six hundred and thirty-nine years (639 years - 70= 569 BC| Actual 531 BC + 70 = 601 years) and forty-five days.” (Josephus Wars 6.267-270) Note: When Josephus says that the construction of the Second Temple was started “by Haggai, in the second year of Cyrus the king,” he has confused Cyrus (539 – 530 BC) with Darius I Hystaspes (522 – 486). It was in second year of Darius that reconstruction began, i.e. in Elul (Aug/Sep) of 520 BC (Haggai 1:15). (Rodger Young)
d. “Jewish tradition is that both Temples were burnt on the 9th of AB, not the 10th. I think the reason for this inaccuracy is because Rabbi Akiba saw the fortress of Bethar taken, and his false Messiah bar-Kozeba slain, on the 9th of Ab in AD 135. Jewish tradition to this day has imposed the ninth of Ab on the date of destruction of both Temples. But this cannot be; we have an eye-witness, Josephus, that the second Temple was burnt on the 10th, not the 9th. For the First Temple, Nebuzaradan did not actually enter the city until the 10th day of the month (Jer 52:12), and so the Temple could not have been burnt by the Babylonians before that date.” (Rodger Young, 2018 AD)
68. BABYLONIAN DESTRUCTION ON SAME DAY OF THE YEAR AS ROMAN: 10 Av 587 BC [Monday 28 August 587 BC] Solomon’s temple burned and destroyed by Edomites (1 Esdras 4:45; Ps 137:7) and Babylonians: Jeremiah 52:12-13; 1 Esdras 4:45; Josephus Antiquities 10:144-150. Solomon’s and Herod’s temples were burned on the same day of the month: 10th Ab.
c. “And now it was that the king of Babylon sent Nebuzaradan, the general of his army, to Jerusalem, to pillage the temple; who had it also in command to burn it and the royal palace, and to lay the city even with the ground, and to transplant the people into Babylon. (145) Accordingly he came to Jerusalem, in the eleventh year of king Zedekiah, and pillaged the temple, and carried out the vessels of God, both gold and silver, and particularly that large laver which Solomon dedicated, as also the pillars of brass, and their chapiters, with the golden tablets and the candlesticks: (146) and when he had carried these off, he set fire to the temple in the fifth month, the first day of the month, in the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah, and in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar; he also burnt the palace, and overthrew the city. (147) Now the temple was burnt 470 years, 6 months, and 10 days, after it was built. It was then 1062 years, 6 months, and 10 days, from the departure out of Egypt; and from the Deluge to the destruction of the temple, the whole interval was 1957 years, 6 months, and 10 days; (148) but from the generation of Adam, until this befell the temple, there were 4513 [Niese & Marcus read 4513] years, 6 months, and 10 days; so great was the number of years hereto belonging; and what actions were done during these years, we have particularly related. (149) But the general of the Babylonian king now overthrew the city to the very foundations, and removed all the people, and took for prisoners the high priest Seraiah, and Zephaniah, the priest that was next to him and the rulers that guarded the temple, who were three in number, and the eunuch who was over the armed men, and seven friends of Zedekiah, and his scribe, and sixty other rulers; all whom, together with the vessels they had pillaged, he carried to the king of Babylon to Riblah, a city of Syria. (150) So the king commanded the heads of the high priest and of the rulers to be cut off there; but he himself led all the captives and Zedekiah to Babylon, He also led Josedek the high priest, away bound. He was the son of Seraiah, the high priest, whom the king of Babylon had slain in Riblah, a city of Syria, as we just now related.” (Josephus Antiquities 10.144-150)
d. Notice Josephus in Ant 10:148 sets creation at 5300 BC, a date very close to 5554 BC using the Septuagint.
e. Read details of Josephus calculation of the age the earth.
69. 6th August AD 70, Monday [10 Av AD 70] Jesus’ prophecy about false prophets fulfilled: Mt 24:11 = Josephus Wars 6.281-288
a. Jesus said of the destruction of Jerusalem: "Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many." (Matthew 24:11)
b. 6000 Jews are burned alive after obeying a false prophet: “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. (286) 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. (287) 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. 3. (288) Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such as belied God himself.” (Josephus Wars 6.285-287)
c. All the riches of the Jews burned: “And now the Romans, judging that it was in vain to spare what was round about 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. (282) 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]. (283) 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. (284) 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 them escape with his life.” (Josephus Wars 6.281-284)
d. Jesus and the Rich young ruler: "Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”" (Mark 10:21)
e. Was this same ruler, now age 60 among the dead who lost everything?
70. 14th August AD 70, Tuesday [18 Lous/Av]: Romans sacrifice to their pagan gods in the Jewish Temple: Josephus Wars 6:316-322
a. Titus executes the remaining Jewish priests.
b. It is ridiculous when this is pointed to as the fulfillment of Daniel’s and Jesus’ prophecy about the “Abomination of Desolation” since it was a sign to flee the city, and here it is the end when all are killed.
71. 2nd September AD 70, Sunday [Gorpiaeus/Elul 8]: 1.1 million Jews died including the now famous Jews hiding under the ascent stairs drainage tunnel
a. “And truly so it happened, that though the slayers left off at the evening, yet did the fire greatly prevail in the night; and as all was burning, came that eighth day of the month Gorpieus [Elul] upon Jerusalem” (Josephus Wars 6.407)
b. Notice that Josephus tells his readers that his number of dead agrees with a separate Roman census of the dead by Cestius.
c. Josephus then goes on to describe the number of worshippers at Passover (2.7 million) and the number of sacrifices (256,500 animals).
d. Josephus also tells us that the Passover lambs were killed starting at the 9th hour (3PM) to the 11th hour (5PM). This shows us the time that Jesus died on the cross was exactly the same time the priests were killing the Passover lamb in the temple for the Holy of Holies. "Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed." (1 Cor 5:7)
e. “Now the number of those that were carried captive during this whole war was collected to be 97,000; as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege 1,100,000 [eleven hundred thousand], (421) 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, which, at the very first, occasioned so great a straightness among them that there came a pestilential destruction upon them, and soon afterward such a famine, as destroyed them more suddenly. (422) And that this city could contain so many people in it is manifest by that number of them which was taken under Cestius, who being desirous of informing Nero of the power of the city, who otherwise was disposed to contemn that nation, entreated the high priests, if the thing were possible, to take the number of their whole multitude. (423) So these high priests, upon the coming of their feast which is called the Passover, when they slay their sacrifices, from the ninth hour till the eleventh, but so that a company not less than ten belong to every sacrifice (for it is not lawful for them to feast singly by themselves), and many of us are twenty in a company, (424) found the number of sacrifices was 256,500; (425) which, upon the allowance of no more than ten that feast together, amounts to 2,700,200 persons that were pure and holy; (426) for as to those that have the leprosy, or the gonorrhea, or women that have their monthly courses, or such as are otherwise polluted, it is not lawful for them to be partakers of this sacrifice (427); nor indeed for any foreigners either, who come hither to worship.
f. “Now this vast multitude is indeed collected out of remote places, but the entire nation was now shut up by fate as in a prison, and the Roman army encompassed the city when it was crowded with inhabitants. (429) Accordingly the multitude of those that therein perished exceeded all the destructions that either men or God ever brought upon the world; for, to speak only of what was publicly known, the Romans slew some of them, some they carried captives, and others they made search for underground, and when they found where they were, they broke up the ground and slew all they met with. (430) There were also found slain there above two thousand persons, partly by their own hands, and partly by one another, but chiefly destroyed by the famine; (431) but then, the ill savor of the dead bodies was most offensive to those that lighted upon them, insomuch that some were obliged to get away immediately, while others were so greedy of gain, that they would go in among the dead bodies that lay in heaps, and tread upon them; (432) for a great deal of treasure was found in these caverns, and the hope of gain made every way of getting it to be esteemed lawful. Many also of those that had been put in prison by the tyrants were now brought out; for they did not leave off their barbarous cruelty at the very last; (433) yet did God avenge himself upon them both, in a manner agreeable to justice.” (Josephus Wars 6.428-433)
g. In 2005 AD Archeologists working at the Pool of Siloam, discovered the actual hiding place of the 2000 Jews mentioned by Josephus in Josephus Wars 6.430. The Pool of Siloam is where the 3000 were baptized for the remission of their sins by full immersion on Pentecost AD 33. (Acts 2:41)
72. 2nd September AD 70, Sunday [Gorpiaeus/Elul 8]: John of Gischala and Simon captured and surrender.
a. Simon and John of Gischala were paraded in Rome. John received lifetime prison and Simon was executed.
b. “As for John, he wanted food, together with his brethren, in these caverns, and begged that the Romans would now give him their right hand for his security, which he had often proudly rejected before; but for Simon, he struggled hard with the distress he was in, till he was forced to surrender himself, as we shall relate hereafter; (434) so he was reserved for the triumph, and to be then slain: as was John condemned to perpetual imprisonment; and now the Romans set fire to the extreme parts of the city, and burnt them down, and entirely demolished its walls” (Josephus Wars 6.433-434)
73. Final destruction of city ordered by Titus who leaves the 10th Legion behind to keep order. Titus sails to Rome
a. “Now, as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be objects of their fury (for they would not have spared any, had there remained any other such work to be done) Caesar 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.” (Josephus Wars 7:1)
b. “But Caesar resolved to leave there as a guard the tenth legion, with certain troops of horsemen, and companies of footmen. So, having entirely completed this war, he was desirous to commend his whole army, on account of the great exploits they had performed, and to bestow proper rewards on such as had signalized themselves therein.” (Josephus Wars 7:5)
c. “He [Titus] then went down with his army to that Cesarea which lay by the seaside, and there laid up the rest of his spoils in great quantities, and gave order that the captives should be kept there; for the winter season hindered him from sailing into Italy.” (Josephus Wars 7:20)
74. Winter AD 70: The Triumphant march of Titus in Rome, parading the two rebel leaders Simon and John in the streets:
a. On Monday, 6th August AD 70, Titus burned Herod’s temple to the ground. Josephus reports that over a million Jews were killed by the Romans and almost as many died of famine. John of Gischala and Simon were captured by Titus in Jerusalem and deported to Rome and paraded as seen in the Titus Arch and possibly even depicted in the stone relief.
b. Josephus, the official “war recorder” for
Titus and fellow former rebel leader records, “as for the leaders of the captives, Simon and John, with the other seven hundred men, whom Titus
had selected out of the rest as being eminently tall and handsome of body, he
gave order that they should be soon carried to Italy, resolving to display them in his triumph.” (Josephus Wars of the Jews
1. Revelation written in AD 66
2. Flee Jerusalem or be destroyed in AD 70
3. The central synchronism is the Ezekiel’s account of the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC.
Bible Only Revelation Commentary
Steven Rudd Feb 2018
DOWNLOAD: FREE PDF
Preface: Completely understand Revelation in 5 minutes
Intro 1: Ezekiel Decodes Revelation
Dating and Chronology
Daniel and Revelation
By Steven Rudd, Feb 2018: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections
By Steve Rudd 2018: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.