The Destruction of the Jewish Temple
In Luke 21, Jesus predicted an event that took place approximately 33 years after he had been gone from earth, which gives some evidence to His divine ability to predict the future and may give some doubtful skeptics something to chew on. The event is an actual historical event that Christ told his disciples about when he predicted the destruction of the Jewish temple.
Luke 21:5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”
Matthew 24:34, leads me to believe he was talking about this event when he said, “34 I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” 33 years later his prediction indeed came true as as the Jews formed a united attack and rebelled against Roman occupation in 66 AD
Luke 21:20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles (Non Jews) until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
One of my sources describes it this way, “The Jewish Wars began in 66 A.D. and they were a direct revolt by the Jews against Rome’s authority. Titus with his Roman legions arrived at the outermost northern Wall of Jerusalem, the Passover of 70 A.D. The Romans built embankments of earthenwork, they placed battering rams and the siege began. The Roman army numbered 30,000; while the Jewish army numbered 24,000. According to Tacitus they were 600,000 visitors crowding the streets of Jerusalem for the Passover. After five months the walls were battered down, the great Temple was burned down, and the city was left ruined and desolate, except for Herod’s three great towers at the northwest corner of the city. These served as a memorial of the massive strength of Jerusalem’s fortifications which Titus of Rome had brought to rubble.
The legions of Rome brought the captives to Caesarea and after over one million Jews were killed, 95,000 captives were taken as prisoners, and among them was Josephus, the ancient Jewish historian. According to Eusebius, the Christians saw the might of the Roman army and through prophetic warning, fled to Pella.”
Another source http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/jewishtemple.htm describes the event in these such ways
(“In the year 66 AD the Jews of Judea rebelled against their Roman masters. In response, the Emperor Nero dispatched an army under the generalship of Vespasian to restore order. By the year 68, resistance in the northern part of the province had been eradicated and the Romans turned their full attention to the subjugation of Jerusalem. That same year, the Emperor Nero died by his own hand, creating a power vacuum in Rome. In the resultant chaos, Vespasian was declared Emperor and returned to the Imperial City. It fell to his son, Titus, to lead the remaining army in the assault on Jerusalem.
The Roman legions surrounded the city and began to slowly squeeze the life out of the Jewish stronghold. By the year 70, the attackers had breached Jerusalem’s outer walls and began a systematic ransacking of the city. The assault culminated in the burning and destruction of the Temple that served as the center of Judaism.
In victory, the Romans slaughtered thousands. Of those sparred from death: thousands more were enslaved and sent to toil in the mines of Egypt, others were dispersed to arenas throughout the Empire to be butchered for the amusement of the public. The Temple’s sacred relics were taken to Rome where they were displayed in celebration of the victory.) —http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/jewishtemple.htm)
Luke 21:24 They will fall by the sword and (will be taken as prisoners to all the nations.) Jerusalem will (be trampled on by the Gentiles) until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
(The rebellion sputtered on for another three years and was finally extinguished in 73 AD with the fall of the various pockets of resistance including the stronghold at Masada.
“…the Jews let out a shout of dismay that matched the tragedy.”
Our only first-hand account of the Roman assault on the Temple comes from the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius. Josephus was a former leader of the Jewish Revolt who had surrendered to the Romans and had won favor from Vespasian. In gratitude, Josephus took on Vespasian’s family name – Flavius – as his own. We join his account as the Romans fight their way into the inner sanctum of the Temple:
“…the rebels shortly after attacked the Romans again, and a clash followed between the guards of the sanctuary and the troops who were putting out the fire inside the inner court; the latter routed the Jews and followed in hot pursuit right up to the Temple itself. Then one of the soldiers, without awaiting any orders and with no dread of so momentous a deed, but urged on by some supernatural force, snatched a blazing piece of wood and, climbing on another soldier’s back, hurled the flaming brand through a low golden window that gave access, on the north side, to the rooms that surrounded the sanctuary. As the flames shot up, the Jews let out a shout of dismay that matched the tragedy; they flocked to the rescue, with no thought of sparing their lives or husbanding their strength; for the sacred structure that they had constantly guarded with such devotion was vanishing before their very eyes.)-http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/jewishtemple.htm
Some skeptics say that Luke is not a valid source, because it was written years after Christ lived. However, it is widely believed by many scholars Luke wrote Acts as well, which was written as a sequal to the gospel of Luke in 60-62 AD.
In the intro of Acts the author Luke says in reference to the gospel of Luke (Acts 1:1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach )
If indeed this is correct, than Luke accuratly portrayed the destruction of the temple and the Jewish wars well before they occured. Since the Jewish wars began in 66 AD and the resistence was squashed aroud AD 70.
The book of Mark which is believed to be written anywhere inbetween 55-59 AD gives this account.
Mark 13:1-2 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
Both Matthew and Mark are believed to be written well before 70 AD and the Jewish wars. According the the photo below and another web source.
http://www.gotquestions.org/Gospel-of-Mark.html .Date of Writing: The Gospel of Mark was likely one of the first books written in the New Testament, probably in A.D. 55-59.
The idea that the disciples wrote about the destruction of Jerusalem after the fact does not seem to pan out