Christ's Prophetic words (in St. Matthews Gospel)
and the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem
In Matthew chapter twenty-four [v.3] The disciples came unto him privately, and asked Christ TWO different questions:
1)when shall these things be? [the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem prophesied in Matt. 24:2]
2) what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
And Jesus answered, starting with the first question, saying to them, "Take heed that no man deceive you"[Matt 24:4]. When we compare the the words of Christ's prophecy to the History of the distraction of the Temple, we note the incredible accuracy of Christ's words.
MATT. CHAPTER 24
|6. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.7. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom...||The Roman Emperors
Nero, Galba, Otho, and Vitellius suffered violent deaths, in only 18
Josephus The First century Jewish Historian Said in Antiquities 18:5:3, that Bardanes, and after him Volageses declared war against the Jews. (war) He also says that Vitellius, governor of Syria, declared war against Aretas, king of Arabia, but the death of Tiberius prevented war. (rumors)
|7....and there shall be famines, and pestilences,||Historians record: 30,000 died in Rome alone during one famine. Bible mentions in Acts 11:27 a great famine during reign of Claudius in (41-54 AD)|
|7...., and earthquakes, in divers places. 8. All these are the beginning of sorrows.||Historians record 5 Earthquakes around this time period: Crete 46 AD, Rome 51 AD, Apamaia 53 AD, Laodicea 60 AD, Campania 62 AD. The Bible mentions 2 earthquakes in Jerusalem : Mt 27:51; 28:2; Acts 16:26|
|9. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.||The first wave of persecution occurred in Palestine at the hands of the Jews. The second came at the instigation of Jewish leaders in the diaspora and unhappy pagans. third wave began in 64 AD under Nero, who blamed Christians for the burning of Rome.|
|11. And many false prophets shall rise,
and shall deceive many.
The tyrannical zealots who ruled the city (Jerusalem) suborned many false prophets to declare that aid would be given to the people from heaven. This was done to prevent them from attempting to desert (flee the city), and to inspire confidence in God." Wars VI:5:2:3
|And this gospel of the kingdom shall be
preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then
shall the end come.
|The Bible tells us
this was fulfilled before the death of the apostles:
|15. When ye therefore shall see the
abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in
the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
|The Pagan Roman
armies were the abomination which caused desolation, as Luke 21:20
says "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then
know that the desolation thereof is nigh."
When the Romans conquered the city of Jerusalem, and entered it, their pagan soldiers entered the temple, (defiling it according to Jewish Law), tore down Jewish ornaments and temple accoutrements, and raised in stead there Roman Legion standards [with pagan symbols on them]. The abomination was fulfilled when as Josephus tells us Roman standards and pagan symbols were brought to in the temple and worshiped.
Lets look at the words "spoken of by Daniel the prophet":
The Jewish historian Josephus tells us that this too was fulfiled:
This is a very remarkable day indeed, the seventeenth of Panemus, [Tammuz,] A.D. 70, when, according to Daniel's prediction, 606 years before, the Romans "In half a week caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease," Dan. ix. 27; for from the month of February, A.D. 66, about which time Vespasian entered on this war, to this very time, was just three years and a half.
|16. Then let them which be in Judaea
flee into the mountains: 17. Let him which is on the housetop not
come down to take any thing out of his house:
18. Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
|Josephus says the
Roman general Vespasian, began the siege of Jerusalem and set up
pagan symbols in the Temple. But hearing of the political tumult in
Rome, returned to Rome to become the new emperor. He then sent his
son Titus back to Jerusalem to finish the siege, and during the lull
in the siege, Christians alert to the warnings of Christ, fled the
city into the mountains.
|19. And woe unto them that are with
child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20. But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
|Christ list three
possible Hindrances to flight:
|21. For then shall be great tribulation,
such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no,
nor ever shall be.
|Josephus: "all the
calamities which had befallen any nation from the beginning of the
world were but small in comparison with those of the Jews" Wars
6:8:5; 9:2:3; 5:11:1.
Further, Josephus tells us that during the sieges grip, when there was no grain left, there was wholesale ransacking within the walls of Jerusalem; food was so short that any locked door meant someone was eating a meal inside; marauders would break down the doors, rush in, and grab the throats of those inside, hoping to squeeze a morsel of food from their throats. whole families perished during the siege. Tomb-robbing was rampant. Josephus mentions that he saw 600,000 bodies thrown out the gates of the city. One deserter was caught with gold he swallowed to smuggle out of the city. Suspecting that many Jews were attempting such, in one night the Romans killed 2000 Jews and ripped their stomachs open. Josephus tells of one mother who was so hungry that she roasted, her infant son and ate half of him, offering the other half to her neighbor. In short, there has been nothing in history to match the violence, savageness; famine, pestilence, despair present in the siege of Jerusalem. It was indeed the blackest and cruelest war in the annals of mankind, yet for those who were watchful, there was a way of escape.
|22. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.||God tells us that the Roman armies would have all most completely exterminated the entire population [Christian and Jewish] of Jerusalem. If God had not provided a lull in the siege [when Vespasian returned to Rome to become the new emperor] the Christian population [the elect] would have not been able to flee the destruction of the city|
|23. Then if any man shall say unto you,
Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25. Behold, I have told you before.
26. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
|Among the early
church there were many "false Christs, and false prophets". For
example Irenaeus (174AD) tell us about "the Nicolaitans are the
followers of that Nicolas who was one of the seven first ordained to
the diaconate by the apostles [Acts 6:5]. They lead lives of
unrestrained indulgence . . . teaching that it is a matter of
indifference to practice adultery, and to eat things sacrificed to
idols." (St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, i.xxvi.3;)
This image is from the victory arch of Titus in Rome, it depicts Roman solders caring off the spoils of the temple of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
|28. For wheresoever the carcase is,
there will the eagles be gathered together.
|The first century
historian Jewish Josephus tells us Titus's Roman Leagions marched
with standards [or ensigns] that bore the image of the Roman eagle
So we can see the most likely interpretation of this verse if taken symbolically is:
Corpse: a reference to the Jews, who were spiritually dead
Eagles: Roman armies that surrounded, the each Roman Legions carried a standard [or ensigns, similar to a flag] that bore among other things the image of the Roman eagle.
This is were Christ stops talking about the destruction of Jerusalem and moves on to the second question of the disciples "what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? "[Matt 24:3]