More Thoughts about the Destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD
by Frank J Manasseri
First of all I would like to draw your attention to Matthew 23:34-36 (KJV)
34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
35 That upon you may come all the righteous bloodshed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
Jesus of Nazareth does not seem to be referring to a future group of religious leaders of a future generation when He tells them that all the righteous blood that was shed upon earth from Abel to the present will come upon them and their generation.
Matthew 23:36 (KJV)
Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation.
Notice in verse 36 the phase, “shall come upon this generation.”
In the past Jesus had referred to the Temple as “His Father’s House,” however in verse 38 it seems to me that Christ transfers ownership of the Temple away from His Father, and refers to the Temple and the Nation of Israel as “your house is left unto you desolate.”
In Matthew 24 Christ prophesied of the destruction of the Temple. Jesus continues to warn the Apostles of the impending doom that will come upon this generation of the Nation of Israel as a whole. History reports the desolation of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple which occurred in 70 AD. In the writings of Josephus, a Jewish historian, the records of the siege and destruction were written in graphic detail and still may be read today in the “Jewish Wars.” http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/war-5.htm
Jesus also instructs the disciples of what to look for as a sign of when to leave the city of Jerusalem with haste. Josephus reports because the Hebrew Christians were forewarned by Jesus, none of them were harmed by the Roman Army under Titus.
Evidently because of these accounts Jesus was referring to the very generation in which these things occurred and not some long off future generation thousands of years from the first century.
Now fast forward to Matthew 24:34(KJV)
“Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”
Once again Jesus emphasizes that He was referring to the present generation and not another in the future. The destruction of the Temple would occur in the very generation in which they were living.
Another clue that Christ was referring to His own present generation is in Luke 23 when He spoke to the women while on His way to be crucified.
But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.
The Roman Catholic Church has preserved what is known as the “Stations of the Cross.” There are 14 “Stations of the Cross” of which the eighth Station is known as “Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem.”
Could it be Jesus was referring to the impending doom of Israel when He spoke to the women? Christ seems to have known that the children of the women of Jerusalem would suffer through a period of destruction and desolation the likes of which the world had never experienced before.
Matthew 15-21 (KJV)
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:)
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.
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:
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.
This was not the only time Jesus prophesied of the destruction of the Temple and the city. Another time Christ spoke of this coming disaster was when He was entering into Jerusalem on a donkey:
Luke 19:43-44 (KJV)
43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
Now let’s look at the extended period of God’s Grace and Mercy towards Israel as recorded in Daniel:
Daniel 9:24-27 (KJV)
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 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.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
According to many commentaries the seventy weeks in Daniel equals 490 years. Therefore this verse in Daniel 9:24 could read “Four Hundred Ninety Years” are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Could this be the time period God had extended His Grace and Mercy upon the Nation of Israel as a whole to have an opportunity to repent and finally accept the Messiah?
Another thing to consider is the Lord’s answer to Peter when asked, “Lord how many times do I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Seven times?”
Mathew 18:21 and 22 (KJV)
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Jesus said, “Seventy times Seven” or 490. Could it be Jesus was referring to the 490 years mentioned in Daniel that Israel was given to repent and be forgiven by accepting Christ as their Messiah? It seems if they had accepted Him as Messiah the Kingdom would have been established.
Daniel 9:24 (KJV)
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.