BOOKS: BIBLICAL STUDIES (1500BC-AD70) / EARLY CHRISTIAN PRETERISM (AD50-1000) / FREE ONLINE BOOKS (AD1000-2008)
David S. Clark -The Message From Patmos: A Postmillennial Commentary on the Book of Revelation (1921) "This early twentieth-century Postmillennial commentary on the Book of Revelation, written by the father of theologian Gordon Clark, offers an easy-to-read alternative to the popular Pre-millennial/Dispensational views of the best-selling Scofield Reference Bible and a multitude of other dissertations on end-time prophecy that litter the shelves of Christian bookstores. "
Prophecies of the Destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70
The second prophecy warning of the holocaust in A.D. 70 falls within Daniel's larger prophecy of the seventy weeks.
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
For scoffers at the supernatural, this prophecy must be one of the most indigestible in the Old Testament. With utmost transparency, it says that soon after the death of the Messiah, the Jews would suffer a great disaster. The aftermath of His death falls into four distinct stages.
Critics sidestep the many prophecies in the Book of Daniel by denying that is an authentic work from the sixth century B.C. Rather, they imagine that it is a piece of fiction written in about 165 B.C. to encourage Jewish patriots in their hard struggle against the cruel Syrian tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes. They say that the prophecy in Daniel 9:26 merely recalls events in the recent past: namely, the events attending Antiochus's assaults on Jerusalem in 169 and 168 B.C.
Yet, in Jesus' day and even much earlier, the Jews regarded the Book of Daniel not only as authentic, but as a sacred writing (1). How did a second-century work falsely representing itself as hundreds of years older gain almost immediate acceptance?
Moreover, in several particulars, Daniel 9:26 does not fit the days of Antiochus. A brief account of his conflict with the Jews will help us reach a correct interpretation of the prophecy. In 169 B.C., to avenge Jewish rejoicing at a false report of his death, Antiochus Epiphanes came to Jerusalem and slaughtered its citizens (2). The Second Book of Maccabees, a generally reliable but by no means infallible source, says that 40,000 people died in three days (3). The tyrant fumed against the religion of the Jews no less than against the Jews themselves, for their religion had been the great obstacle thwarting his attempts to foist Greek ways upon Jewish society. With furious impiety he therefore entered the Temple precincts and took away the sacred vessels (4). Some months later, in 168, the Syrian army burned and pillaged Jerusalem again (5). Subsequently, Antiochus forbade worship of any god but his, and he rededicated the Temple to Jupiter (6). Many who defied his proscription of the Jewish religion were put to death (7). The devout who had retreated into caves to keep the Sabbath were burned alive (8). Mothers who had circumcised their sons were thrown from the city wall (9). Under the leadership of a family called the Maccabees, the Jews rose up in revolt, igniting a fierce civil war (10). Eventually, Jewish patriots regained control of Jerusalem. Their first business upon entering the city was to cleanse the Temple so that it could be used again as the house of the Lord (11).
These events cannot be construed as the historical context of Daniel 9:26. Several considerations leave no doubt that the prophecy points not to the period of Antiochus, but to some other period in Jewish history.
But if we reckon backward sixty-nine weeks of years from 168 or 169 B.C., the year we obtain is nowhere near the date of any such decree.
Evidently, he is thinking of Daniel's prediction that the Messiah would be cut off, for elsewhere he remembers that in consequence of violence springing up, the city would be taken and the sanctuary burned.
For there was a certain ancient oracle of those men [the prophets], that the city should then be taken and the sanctuary burnt, by right of war, when a sedition should invade the Jews, and their own hand should pollute the Temple of God (21).
In his later work Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus named Daniel as the source of this oracle.
In the very same manner Daniel also wrote concerning the Roman government, and that our country should be made desolate by them (22).
This prophecy fits only one disaster in Jewish history after the nation returned from captivity in Babylon, and that disaster was the war which engulfed the Jews in A.D. 6673, about forty years after the death of Jesus. The disaster unfolded in four stages exactly as prophesied.
1. Invasion. In the decades after Jesus' death, relations between the Jews and their Roman overlords steadily worsened until the Jews revolted in A.D. 66 (23). The Romans, at first overpowered, chose the expedient course of withdrawing their forces from Palestine (24). Soon, however, the Roman general Vespasian began a campaign of reconquest in the north (25). His advance was slowed by stiff opposition, seasonal delays, and political instability back in Rome, but finally, after he had made himself emperor, a Roman army under the leadership of his son Titus reached Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (26).
2. Flood. The end of Jerusalem indeed came with a flood. After a siege of about three months, the Romans were able to storm the Temple and the lower city (27). Both were destroyed rapidly by a great conflagration (28). As Psalm 69 foresaw, a great host of Jewsten thousand in alllost their lives in the Roman assault upon the Temple (29). A month later, the upper city, which was the last bastion of the rebels, fell in a single day (30). Victory was swift because war, famine, and wanton bloodshed had already killed many of the inhabitants. Few among the survivors had the will or the strength to fight. The legions pouring in through breaches in the walls met little effective opposition.
3. Destruction. The Romans then proceeded to raze the city. They tore down every building except three towers and the western wall, which Titus left as monuments to his victory (31). No trace of the Temple complex remained. According to Josephus, the toll of Jewish casualties in the holocaust exceeded one million (32). Many of the ninety-seven thousand that were taken alive later died in Roman arenas (33).
4. Desolation. The war was not over when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. They had to deal with several remaining pockets of resistance. One was at Masada, a mountaintop fortress held by a band of zealots (34). Even the mighty legions of Rome could not subdue the fortress by any ordinary means of assault. The narrow passes to the top were easily defended by a handful of men (35). Therefore, having no shortage of manpower, the Romans built a huge earthen ramp up one side of the mountain (36). When the ramp was completed and the Romans had set fire to the makeshift defenses at the perimeter of the fortress, the defenders could see that they were doomed (37). Resolving that it was better to die at their own hands than at the hands of the Romans, they implemented a plan that soon left all 960 dead (38). First, the men killed the women and children. Then ten men slew their fellows, and one of the ten slew the other nine. The last committed suicide. When the Romans penetrated the fortress, they were amazed to find no one alive except two women and five children, who had managed to escape the slaughter by hiding in a cavern underground (39).
What do YOU think ?
Email PreteristArchive.com's Sole Developer and Curator, Todd Dennis
(todd @ preteristarchive.com)
Opened in 1996