(Olivet discourse) Jesus’ prediction of the Temple’s destruction…from an eyewitness account (Part 2)

Jesus’ prediction of the Temple’s destruction…from an eyewitness account (Part 2) – National methodist | Examiner.com.

The Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, was an eyewitness to the destruction of Jerusalem and wrote about it extensively and in great detail in his historical work „The Jewish Wars.”  And when we read his account of the events of 70 AD, it gives us a whole new level of appreciation for the events Jesus warned His followers to be on the lookout for and flee the city before they were caught up in them.

Here are excerpts from Josephus’ Jewish War 6:1-406 along with relevant excerpts from the Olivet Discourse as found in Matthew 24:1-51 in bold.

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The Destruction of Jerusalem

Jewish War 6:1 Thus did the miseries of Jerusalem grow worse and worse every day, and the seditious were still more irritated by the calamities they were under, even while the famine preyed upon themselves, after it had preyed upon the people. 2 And, indeed, the multitude of carcasses that lay in heaps one upon another was a horrible sight, and produced a pestilential stench, which was a hindrance to those who would make sallies out of the city and fight the enemy… 4 but as they had their right hands already polluted with the murders of their own countrymen,

Matthew 24:10 “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other…

and in that condition ran out to fight with foreigners, they seem to me to have cast a reproach upon God himself, as if he were too slow in punishing them…6 And truly, the very view itself of the country was a melancholy thing; for those places which were before adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now become a desolate country all over, and its trees were all cut down: 7 nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change; 8 for the war had laid all the signs of beauty quite waste: nor, if anyone that had known the place before had come suddenly to it now, would he have known it again…

24:1 “Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 „Do you see all these things?” he asked. „I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.

The Famine in the City

193 Now of those who perished by famine in the city, the number was prodigious, and the miseries they underwent were unspeakable; 194 for if so much as the shadow of any kind of food did anywhere appear, a war was commenced immediately, and the dearest friends started fighting one with another about it, snatching from each other the most miserable supports of life. 195 Nor would men believe that those who were dying had no food; but the robbers would search them when they were expiring, lest anyone should have concealed food in their bosoms, and counterfeited dying: 196 nay, these robbers gaped for want, and ran about stumbling and staggering along like mad dogs, and reeling against the doors of the houses like drunken men; they would also, in the great distress they were in, rush into the very same houses two or three times in one and the same day. 197 Moreover, their hunger was so intolerable, that it obliged them to chew everything, while they gathered such things as the most sordid animals would not touch, and endured to eat them; nor did they at length abstain from belts and shoes; and the very leather which belonged to their shields they pulled off and gnawed: 198 the very wisps of old hay became food to some; and some gathered up fibers, and sold a very small weight of them for four Attic [drachmas].

6 “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

199 But why do I describe the shameless impudence that the famine brought on men in their eating inanimate things, while I am going to relate a matter of fact, the like to which no history relates, either among the Greeks or Barbarians? It is horrible to speak of it, and incredible when heard.

Resorting to Cannibalism

201 There was a certain woman that dwelt beyond Jordan–her name was Mary…[she] was with them besieged therein at this time…what food she had contrived to save, had been also carried off by the rapacious guards, who came every day running into her house for that purpose… if she found any food, she perceived her labors were for others, and not for herself; and it was now…impossible for…to find any more food, while the famine pierced through her very bowels and marrow… She then attempted a most unnatural thing; 205 and snatching up her son, who was a child sucking at her breast, she said, „O you miserable infant! for whom shall I preserve you 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 kill us, even before that slavery comes upon us; yet are these seditious rogues more terrible than both of the other. 207 Come on; be my food, and be a fury to these seditious rebels….” 208 As soon as she had said this, she slew her son; and then roasted him, and eat the one half of him, and kept the other half by her concealed. 209 Upon this the [rebels] 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 with this 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 has been done was my own doing! Come, eat of this food; for I have eaten of it myself!…the whole city was [told] of this horrid action immediately; and while everyone laid this miserable case before their own eyes, they trembled, as if this unheard of action had been done 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.

19 “How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now– and never to be equaled again.”

The Temple Fire

…271 While the holy house was on fire, everything was plundered that came to hand, and ten thousand of those who were caught were slain; nor was there a pity of any age, or any reverence of gravity; but children, and old men, and common persons, and priests were all slain in the same manner; so that this war went around all sorts of men, and brought them to destruction, and as well those who made supplication for their lives, as those who defended themselves by fighting.

15 „So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel– let the reader understand– 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

272 The flame was also carried a long way, and made an echo, together with the groans of those who were slain; and because this hill was high, and the works at the temple were very large, one would have thought the whole city had been on fire. Nor can one imagine anything either greater or more terrible than this noise…276 for the ground did nowhere appear visible, for the dead bodies that lay on it; but the soldiers went over heaps of those bodies, as they ran upon such as fled from them…

28 “Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures/eagles will gather.

By James-Michael Smith

Arch of Titus Menorah.png
The sack of Jerusalem, from the inside wall of the Arch of Titus, Rome
Date March – September 70
Location Jerusalem, Judaea
Result Siege succeeds; Temple of Jerusalem destroyed and sacked.
Territorial
changes
Jerusalem (which declared independence in 66) is returned to Roman rule
Belligerents
Roman Empire Jews of Judea
Jewish Zealots
Jewish Sicarii
Commanders and leaders
Titus Flavius Vespasianus Simon Bar Giora
Yohanan mi-Gush Halav (John of Gischala)
Eleazar ben Simon
Strength
70,000 men 60,000 men, split among three factions
Casualties and losses
Unknown 60,000 (1.1 million according to Josephus)

source for image and chart below image – Wikipedia

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