God's Hand in History
Benjamin Franklin, speaking at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in June, 1787, asserted: "The longer I live the more convincing proofs I see that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice [Matt. 10:29], is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?" Winston Churchill clearly perceived God's hand in history. In an address before the U.S. Congress December 26, 1941, the British prime minister asserted that "he must indeed have a blind soul who cannot see that some great purpose and design is being worked out here below." On another occasion in Britain some 10 months later, he said, "I sometimes have a feeling of interference. . . . I have a feeling sometimes that some Guiding Hand has interfered."
The following is a miniature history course -- "His Story 101" -- the way it should have been taught in grade school to every child growing up. But historical evidence to support God's hand in history has been LEFT OUT of our history classes. MIRACULOUS intervention and circumstances with PRECISE TIMING at crucial dates in the story of nations and empires point unmistakably to the GUIDING HAND of God. But God has been "kicked out" of school text books. "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind" (void of judgment) (Romans 1:28). "For the material man rejects spiritual things, for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).
Adam and Eve Were Created in 3960 BC
In 3960 BC Adam and Eve were created. "Spring was forever" (Ovid Metam. 1:108) from pole to pole due to a water vapor canopy which protected earth's inhabitants from harmful cosmic rays and ultraviolet radiation, so the aging process was much slower. It was like a giant hyperbaric chamber. Cuts healed quickly. Men lived to be nearly 1000 years old (Gen. 5:27). It will be that way again (Isa. 65:22). Plants and animals grew larger than they do today (Gen. 6:4). In short, "it was very good" (Gen. 1:31). There was no rain. Instead, a "mist went up from the ground and watered" the plants (Gen. 2:4-6; Job 38:4,9). Noah is praised for believing a warning about rain -- something "not seen as yet" (Heb. 11:7). But the rest of the people "could not abstain from mutually inflicting violence on eachother, nor would they worship the immortals, nor sacrifice to the blessed ones on their altars. Therefore Zeus (in Latin Jove, which is short for Jehovah) removed them, because they would not give honor to the blessed gods who inhabit Olympus" (Hesiod, Works and Days, v.126-128).
Noah's Flood, Mentioned in Secular History, Occurred 2304 BC
Then 1656 years later came Noah's Flood in 2304 BC. (Gen. 7) resulting in "this present evil world" (Gal. 1:4) with "seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter" (Gen. 8:22) due to the earth's axis now being tilted 23.5 degrees. "Jove made the springtime shorter, added winter, summer and autumn" (Ovid's Meta. 1:116-117). The water-vapor canopy condensed out of the sky and rained down "forty days and forty nights" (Gen. 7:12). The earth was no longer a greenhouse. Longevity decreased with more radiation entering the atmosphere (Gen. 11:10-26). Rain and rainbows became common (Gen. 9:13). The Chaldean account of the Flood, copied by Berosus from the archives of the temple of Belus at Babylon says "After the death of Ardates (the ninth sovereign), his son Xisuthrus reigned ... In his time happened a great deluge ... a flood by which mankind would be destroyed. (God) ... therefore enjoined him ... to build a vessel, and take with him into it his friends and relations ... together with the different animals ... Xisuthrus sent out birds ... which ... returned to him again.... he sent them forth a second time ... a third time ... but they returned to him no more ... the earth had appeared above the waters. He therefore made an opening in the vessel, and, upon looking out, found that it was stranded upon the side of some mountain ... Xisuthrus then ... constructed an altar, offered sacrifices to the gods ... the place wherein they then were was the land of Armenia ... they returned to Babylon" (Cory's Fragments, pp.26-29). The Greek account was preserved by Lucian, Plutarch and others. Lucian says, "all those of that former generation perished.... Being of a violent and ferocious temper, they were guilty of every sort of lawlessness (cp. Gen. 6:5). They neither regarded the obligation of oaths, nor the rights of hospitality, nor the prayers of the suppliant; wherefore a great calamity befell them.... the whole world was inundated ... Deucalion alone was left ... on account of his extraordinary wisdom and piety.... he caused his sons and their wives to enter into a large ark which he had provided ... while he was embarking, swine, and horses, and lions, and serpents, and all other animals ... came to him in pairs.... they injured him not; but, on the contrary, the greatest harmony subsisted between them through the influence of the Deity. Thus they all sailed together ... so long as the waters prevailed.... Deucalion ... erected altars" (Lucian De Dea Syra). Plutarch adds that "Deucalion sent a dove out of the ark; which, when it returned to him, showed that the storm was not yet abated; but when he saw it no more, he concluded that the sky was become serene again." (Plutarch De Solert. Animal.) Many other similar accounts of Noah's Flood exist from around the world.
Tower of Babel, Mentioned in Secular History, Occurred in 2203 BC
Henry Rawlinson shows that the chronology of Ctesias makes the beginning of the reign of Ninus (Nimrod) 2231 B.C. (Rawlinson's Herodotus vol.1, pp.434-435). Then at the Tower of Babel mankind was divided into linguistic groups around 2203 BC when Peleg ("Division") was given his name, "for in his days was the earth divided" (Gen. 10:25). Berosus, as quoted by Abydenus, informs us: "They say that the first inhabitants of the earth, glorying in their own strength and size, and despising the gods, undertook to raise a tower, whose top should reach the sky, in the place in which Babylon now stands; but when it approached the heaven, the winds assisted the gods, and overthrew the work upon its contrivers: and its ruins are said to be still at Babylon: and the gods introduced a diversity of tongues among men who, till that time, had all spoken the same language" (Cory's Fragments, p.34). Eupolemus wrote to the same effect: "The city of Babylon owes its foundation to those who were saved from the catastrophe of the Deluge. They were the giants, and they built the tower which is noticed in history. But the tower being overthrown by the interposition of God, the giants were scattered over all the earth" (ibid., p.57). Ancient Sibylline oracles also testified: "When the tower rose to the skies upon Assyria's plain, and all mankind one language only knew; A dread commission from on high was given to the fell whirlwinds, which with dire alarm beat on the tower, and to its lowest base shook it, convulsed. And now all intercourse, by some occult and over-ruling power, ceased among men: by utterance they strove perplexed and anxious to disclose their mind; but their lip failed them, and in lieu of words, produced a painful babbling sound: the place was hence called Babel; by the apostate crew named from the event. Then severed far away, they sped uncertain into realms unknown: thus kingdoms rose, and the glad world was filled" (Bryant's Ancient Mythology, vol. 4, p.103). Hestiaeus says, "The priests who escaped" (from the Deluge) "took with them the implements of the worship of the Enyalian Jove, and came to Senaar in Babylonia. But they were again driven from thence by the introduction of a diversity of tongues; upon which they founded colonies in various parts, each settling in such situations as chance or the direction of God led them to occupy" (Cory's Fragments. p.50).
Abraham Entered Canaan in 1876 BC
Later, Abraham entered Canaan when he was 75 (Gen. 12:4) in 1876 BC. Isaac was born 25 years after that when Abraham was 100 (Gen. 21:5) in 1851 B.C. Isaac was age 60 when Jacob was born (Gen. 25:26) in 1791 B.C. When Jacob was 130, he entered Egypt (Gen. 47:28) in the second year of the famine (45:6) when Joseph was 39 in 1661 B.C. Therefore "Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh" (41:46) in 1670 B.C. at the beginning of the seven years of plenty. Joseph was "seventeen years old" (37:2) in 1683 B.C. when he was sold into Egypt. Furthermore, Joseph was born in 1700 B.C. when God "opened her (Rachel's) womb" (29:22) and Jacob was age 91.
Joseph's Seven-Year Famine, Mentioned in Secular History, Ended in 1656 BC
Manetho's king lists were CONTEMPORANEOUS as well as SUCCESSIVE. "There were many kings in Egypt at the SAME TIME... some of them were kings of Thinis, some of Memphis, some of Sais, and some of Ethiopia; and there were yet others in other places ... It is very unlikely that they ruled in SUCCESSION to eachother. Rather, some of them ruled in one place, and others in another place" (p.137-138, Eusebius' Chronicon). The framework of all history, which now originated from Egypt, was distorted: “In the arrangement of …Egyptian materials within a framework of consecutive dynasties, all modern historians are dependant upon an ancient predecessor. This was an Egyptian priest and writer Manetho who lived under Ptolemy II Philadelphius (285-246 B.C.). Much of his material has been preserved by Josephus. It is found in "Against Apion" book 1 chapter 14, parts 73-92. Manetho was born at Sebennytus (now Samannud) in the Delta. He rose to be high priest in the temple at Heliopolis. Berossos of Babylon was practically a contemporary, and the two priests became RIVALS in the proclamation of the ANTIQUITY and greatness of their respective lands.” (Jack Finegan, Light for the Ancient Past, pages 65-66). Manetho summarized the history of Egypt under the rule of 30 dynasties, or ruling houses, from the royal cities of Thinis, Thebes, Memphis, Tanis, Elephantine, Heracleopolis, Abydos, Xois, Bubastis, and Sais. It was made to appear that each city and family dominated all Egypt, and each ruler governed a unified Egypt at any given time. This teaching FALSELY established the antiquity of Egypt, but DISTORTED the dating of historical events, and implied a unity in Egyptian political affairs that did not in reality exist. Isaiah warned against trusting in Egypt for help (Isa. 31:1). Just as throughout the history of man in other nations, Egypt was a confederation of several dynastic families from different cities. In any given time, only one being the supreme Pharaoh or several engaged in struggles for balances of power. In biblical accounts, many lands and empires had not one king, but several: “Lo the king of Israel hath hired against us the KINGS of the Hittites and the KINGS of the Egyptians.” (II Kings 7:6). “At that time did king Ahaz send unto the KINGS of Assyria to help him.” (II Chronicles 28:16).
Dynasty III and Dynasty IV of Manetho mention Joseph under the name Suphis (or Souphis or Saophis) -- different Greek spellings from Manetho's commentators. Joseph in Hebrew, is not pronounced with an English "J" sound, but with a "Y" sound. In Manetho's Egyptian transcription of the name only the consonents "s" and "ph" appear -- hence the Greek Souphis or its variant forms. Eratosthenes wrote that the Egyptians had designated Suphis as a "money-getter" or "trafficker" (Fragment 17, "Manetho", by W. G. Waddell, page 219). Dynasty III in Manetho is made up of many rulers which do not appear in the Turin Papyrus. Only the two Djosers appear in each list, and in each case the full length of reign is preserved in Manetho. In Dynasty IV Suphis or Joseph is given 66 years by Manetho. This makes it clear that Dynasty IV -- a foreign dynasty -- parallels Dynasty III. The two records together tell the full story. Only the latter portion of Joseph's reign is preserved in the list of rulers in Dynasty III. The entire period of Joseph's public service is contained in the parallel account. The 66 years of Joseph's public service cover the years 1670-1604. The famine ended in 1656 after the rise in Upper Egypt of the new Nile during the summer of 1657 in Djoser's 18th year. He thus served till 96 years of age, and died at 110 (50:26). Sanchoniathon quotes Manetho as saying that Suphis built the Great Pyramid and also wrote a sacred book (Job) (p.443).
The Exodus in 1446 B.C. was 430 years after Abraham entered Canaan in 1876 B.C. "Now the sojourning (in Canaan and Egypt -- 215 years each) of the children of Israel (which here includes Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- see footnotes in both the Companion Bible and Jerusalem Bible), who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt" (Ex.12:40-41). Josephus says the same thing: "They left Egypt ... on the fifteenth day of the lunar month (Num. 33:3), four hundred and thirty years after our forefather Abraham came into Canaan" (Ant.2:15:2). Both the Samaritan Pentateuch and Septuagint add "and in Canaan" in verse 40. The Septuagint, quoted by Paul in Galatians, says "the sojourning of the sons of Israel who dwelt in the land of Egypt and Canaan was 430 years" because they dwelt in Canaan before they dwelt in Egypt.
Were Athenians, Spartans, Trojans and Cretans All Israelites? Did Trojans Found Rome, Paris and London?
In 1474 BC Danaus seized upon the kingdom of ARGOS. Petavius in his "History of the World" says, "Danaus was the son of Bela, a sojourner in Egypt. Bilhah was a wife of Israel, and the mother of Dan, who was directed to say to Pharaoh, "for to sojourn in the land (of Egypt) are we come.'" Hecatoeus of Abdera says, "The most distinguished of the expelled foreigners followed Danaus and Cadmus into Greece from Egypt; but the greater number were led by Moses into Judaea." W.E. Gladstone says, "The Danai of Greece, and the Dardanai of Troy were originally one family." According to Homer's Odyssey, the Danites were in Britain in 1200 BC. Perseus who was descended from Danaus, formed the kingdom of MYCENE. In 1455 BC, Cadmus sailed from Sidon and seized a part of the country called BOEOTICA in Greece in which he built the city of THEBES, and named the citadel Cadmea. Cadmus also migrated to THESSALY (Strabo 9:2:3). Cadmus was the great grandson of Chalcol (1 Ki.4:31; 1 Ch.3:6), brother of Darda, who was the great great grandson of Judah. The Milesian royal family came from Crete to MILETUS. CRETE was Jewish (Tacitus' History 5:2) and gave their laws to SPARTA (Her.1:65). Agenor and Phoenix also led colonies from Phoenicia to Greece.
They were called Pharez and Zarah. ZARAH had no children when he went down into Egypt with his grandfather Jacob (Gen.46:12). The descendants of ZARAH, both sons and grandsons, are mentioned in 1 Chronicles 2:6-8 and 1 Kings 4:30-31 as "ETHAN the Ezrahite (i.e. Zerahite), and HEMAN, and CHALCOL, and DARDA, the sons of MAHOL" (1 Ki.4:31). But the biblical geneology of ZARAH ends with this third generation indicating the departure of ZARAH'S line from Israel while Israel was in Egypt 400 years (Gen.15:13). Where did they go? In Crete we find Mount IDA and inhabitants called IDAEANS which sound similar to the word JUDAEANS (Tacitus' History 5:2). A YARDANUS River (Jordan) was also in Crete. They became known as the MILESIANS of Istria (Herod. 2:33) after MAHOL. They settled in a seaport called MILETUS in IONIA, in Asia Minor. When the Persians destroyed this city in 494 B.C., many MILESIANS escaped to Ireland and Scotland. One of the islands west of Scotland is called IONA.
When the city of TROY was overthrown in the famous "Siege of TROY," Aeneas, the last of the royal blood, took what was left of his nation and traveled with them into Europe. His son Brutus, on going to Malta, was there advised by an oracle to re-establish his people in "The Great White Island" (BRITAIN so-called because of the white cliffs of Dover). The oracle said, "the whole earth shall be subject" to the race of Brutus (Milton's History of Britain). This advice was recorded in the archaic Greek on the Temple of Diana in Caer TROIA (New TROY), and was later verified by the "pope." The king landed at Torbay. An historic stone still stands in the town of Totnes commemorating his coming. He built a new capital city and named it "Caer TROIA" or New TROY (1100 B.C.), later called TRINOVANTUM. Still later the Romans called it LONDINIUM, now known as LONDON. Brutus-the-Trojan named BRITAIN after himself (Historia Britonum, Nennius 10; also Geoffrey of Monmouth). Caesar's Commentaries tell of a people called TRINOBANTES (Gaul 5:20) living in Middlesex and Hertfordshire which seems to confirm this story.
After the Trojan War, Phrygia was utterly devastated by Cimmerians. The Phrygians migrated into Europe. The Greek name Phryges was gradually changed to Phraggoi. When the Romans encountered them, they applied the Roman word for Freemen -- Franci -- Franks in English. Procopius, in his Roman history, called the Franks Phraggoi (III, 3, 1). They finally settled in France. Is it only a coincidence that the capital of their new land is called Paris -- the name of the famous Trojan or Phrygian hero Paris, son of Priam? Just as we find the city of TROY in PHRYGIA next to GALATIA, so also we find TROYES in France. Just as PARIS was a Trojan war hero, so also we find PARIS, France. The Greeks called the Franks FRAGGOI. "GOI" means "People" in Hebrew and "FROEG" means "Hebraic" in Saxon (p.24, Senior's British Israelites). Hence the slang term "FROG" for a Frenchman. The Greeks would pronounce FRAGGOI as "FRANCI" today since they put an "n" before a double "g."
The (Seven) "Times of the Gentiles" (Lev. 26:28; Luke 21:24) Begins With Babylon
All ancient nations began to reckon their separate histories from the Tower of Babel when mankind was divided into linguistic groups around 2203 BC (Gen. 10:25;11:10-16,32). Ptolemy's Canon only goes back as far as the king of Babylon known as Nabonassar who ascended the throne Feb. 26, 747 B.C. (Ptolemy's Almagest). If we add 1222.5 solar years (1260 lunar years x 354.37/365.24 = 1222.48), we arrive at the fall of Romulus Augustulus, Aug. 22nd, 476 A.D. Adding 1260 lunar years more brings us to 1698 when the two treaties that limit the two "little horns" are bisected: the completion of the Protestant Revolution at the Peace of Ryswick Sept. 20, 1697 and the Peace of Carlowitz Jan. 26th, 1699 A.D. If we add 1260 solar years to 747 B.C., we arrive at the accession of Hormisdas in 514 A.D., the first d (Gen. 10:25; ope to speak of papal supremacy. Adding 1260 solar years more brings us to 1774 -- the royal accession of Louis XVI who lost his life in the French Revolution. Also the defeat of the Turkish army by Russia resulting in the Peace of Kainarge occurred in 1774; and the Roman Catholic Jesuits were banished by Clement in 1774.
Isaiah Foretold Cyrus Conquering Babylon -- 539 B.C.
Isaiah predicted the Babylonian Empire would fall to the Medes and the Persians (Isaiah 13; 21:1-10). He also called Cyrus by name (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1-5), and said the protective waters of the Euphrates would "dry up" (Isa. 44:27) (Herodotus 1:185–191) and Babylon's "two-leaved gates" would "not be shut" (Isa. 45:1). "That I may open before him the valves; and the gates shall not be shut" - The gates of Babylon within the city descending from the streets to the river, were providentially left open, when Cyrus's forces entered the city in the night through the channel of the river, in the general disorder occasioned by the great feast which was then celebrated. Otherwise, says Herodotus, 1:191, the Persians would have been shut up in the bed of the river, and taken as in a net, and all destroyed. And the gates of the palace were opened imprudently by the king's orders, to inquire what was the cause of the tumult without; when the two parties under Gobrias and Gadatas rushed in, got possession of the palace, and slew the king (Xenophen's Cyropedia. 7:22-23 p. 528). Herodotus 1:179 says, "In the wall all round there are a hundred gates, all of brass; and so in like manner are the sides and the lintels." "The gates likewise within the city, opening to the river from the several streets, were of brass; as were those also of the temple of Belus" (Herod. 1:180, 181).The Chaldean scribe who recorded the story on a clay tablet (which was secured by the British Museum in 1879) closed his record with these words: "On the sixteenth day, Gobryas, pasha of the land of Gutium, and the troops of Cyrus, without a battle, entered Babylon." -- From tablet "Annals of Nabonidus" quoted by C.J. Ball in "Light From the East."
The Lord will "subdue nations before him" and "loose the loins of kings" (Isa. 45:1). Xenophon gives the following list of the nations conquered by Cyrus: "the Syrians, Assyrians, Arabians, Cappadocians, both countries of the Phrygians, Lydians, Carians, Phoenicians, Babylonians. He moreover reigned over the Bactrians, Indians, Cilicians, the Sacae, Paphlagones, ldariandyni or Megadinians; likewise the Greeks that inhabit Asia, Cyprians and Egyptians." (- Cyrop.1:4), All these kingdoms he acknowledges, in his decree for the restoration of the Jews, to have been given to him by Jehovah, the God of heaven (Ezra 1:2). He was obliged to acknowledge this because Josephus says that Cyrus read this prophecy himself, which Isaiah had delivered: "This was known to Cyrus by his reading the book which Isaiah left behind him of his Prophecies. For this Prophet said, that God had spoken thus to him in a secret vision: 'My will is, that Cyrus, whom I have appointed to be King over many and great nations, send back my people to their own land, and build my temple.' This was foretold by Isaiah one hundred and forty years before the temple was demolished. Accordingly when Cyrus read this, and admired the divine power, an earnest desire and an ambition seized upon him, to fulfil what was so written." (Antiquities 11:1:2) Herodotus says, that he ruled over all Asia (Clio, sive 1:130.). To "loose the loins of kings" such as Croesus king of Lydia, and Belshazzar king of Babylon, by divesting them of their dignity, power, and government" was not the full meaning. Belshazzar was thrown into such a panic that "the joints of his loins were loosed" literally (Daniel 5:6).
Amazingly, Isaiah’s prophecy was made roughly 150 years before Cyrus was born (Isaiah prophesied in about 700 B.C.; Cyrus took the city of Babylon in 539 B.C.). To add to Cyrus’ significance, Isaiah predicted that Cyrus would act as the Lord’s “shepherd” (44:28) to return Israel to their land a second time (Isa. 11:11-12; Isa. 51:9-11). The Exodus from Egypt was the first. Justin (Hist. ex Trogo 1:5) says, he had this name given him, while he was among the shepherds, by whom he was brought up, having been exposed in his infancy. Shepherd was an epithet which Cyrus took to himself. Cyrus himself compares a king to a shepherd, and observes a likeness between them (Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 8:18). In fact, Isaiah recorded these words of the Lord concerning Cyrus: “And he shall perform all My pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, you shall be built; and to the temple, thy foundation shall be laid" (44:28). This is said with great exactness since only the foundation was laid in Cyrus's time; the Jews being discouraged and hindered by their enemies from going on with the building in his reign, until the times of Darius, king of Persia. (See Ezra 1:1).
Jaddua the High Priest Showed Alexander the Book of Daniel Before the Battle of Arbela in 331 B.C.
Daniel was given a vision regarding a goat that ran from the west and attacked a ram coming from the east. "The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king" (Dan. 8:20-21) -- Alexander the Great. King Darius was defeated three times -- from 334-331 B.C. -- at the Battles of Granicus, Issus and Gaugemela (Arbela). This vision was given about 538 B.C.
The fall of the House of Israel and its capital, Samaria, was in 721 BC. Adding 390 years (Ez. 4:5) brings us to 331 BC. when Alexander the Great conquered Persia at the Battle of Arbela or Gaugamela on October 1, 331 B.C. King Darius III of Persia had offered Alexander half the Persian kingdom if he would sign a peace agreement, but the offer was refused. Alexander's general, Parmenion, told him "If I were you, I would accept Darius' very generous offer." Alexander replied, "I would too if I were Parmenion!" Nothing would stand in the way of the complete and total conquest of Persia. Alexander overslept on the morning of battle, and was awakened by his concerned generals. He told them not to worry because the battle was already won! Alexander was inspired with the belief that he had a Divinely-ordained mission to overthrow Persia. He was correct! This conquest was predicted in Daniel chapter 8 and Ezekiel Chapter 4 long before. This large Persian force of over 250,000 soldiers was defeated by only 47,000 Greeks, who were outnumbered over 5 to 1.
The lost ten tribes of Israel were largely held captive by Assyria, Babylon and Medo-Persia till the alotted time of punishment ended with the conquest of the Persian Empire in 331 B.C. (exactly 390 years after their kingdom collapsed -- Ez. 4:5). Still, it was the Scythian Massagetae (who were Israelites), ranging free on the Asian steppes west of the Caspian Sea, who killed the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great when he tried to conquer them. It should also be mentioned that there were still Israelites dwelling under the dominion of Alexander and then of his successors, the Seleucids. These would gain their independence the next century as the Parthians. "Your seed shall be as the dust of the earth. You shall spread abroad to the west, to the east, to the north and to the south. In you and in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 28:14). "Israel wandered like a flock" (Zechariah 10:2).
Our Lord Predicted the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
In 66 A.D. Cestius Gallus, the Roman governor of Syria, arrived at Jerusalem on Tishri 22, the 8th day sabbath after the festival of Booths (October A.D. 66), to restore Roman rule over the rebellious Jewish people. According to Josephus, the Jewish nation had refused to offer sacrifices and prayer at their temple for the emperor's well being. This sacrifice was a sign of subjection to, and acknowledgement of, the ruler. Therefore, Jerusalem (including Christians) was surrounded by the legions of Cestius Gallus. The "Abomination of DESOLATION" (Matt. 24:15) is defined in Luke 21:20 as "Jerusalem compassed with ARMIES" that cause "DESOLATION." Cestius took the temple wall on Heshvan 5, 66 A.D. He burnt three divisions of the city. At this time he (Cestius) constituted the abomination that caused desolation standing where it ought not in 'a holy place' in the temple and the daily sacrifice had been removed since no one felt like offering up a sacrifice in front of Cestius. The Roman armies carried the images of their gods and emperors on their standards also. The principal figures on their ensigns were gold eagles, which, however obnoxious to the Jews, were at length planted in the midst of the holy city, and finally on the temple itself. As our Lord said, "Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together" (Matt. 24:28). At that time, on that very day, "It then happened that Cestius was not conscious either how the besieged despaired of success, nor how courageous the people were for him, and he recalled his soldiers from the place, and by despairing of any expectation of taking it, without having received any disgrace, he retired from the city, without any reason in the world" (Wars 2:19).
Jewish Zealots pursued and attacked the army ferociously, and, with little loss to themselves, slew of his army nearly six thousand men. On this day, Heshvan 5, 66 A.D. we have a fulfillment of the conditions for beginning the 1290 days of Daniel 12:11. Christians were given a brief opportunity to obey our Lord's advice and "depart out of the midst of" Jerusalem and "flee to the mountains" (Luke 21:20-22). "The whole body of the church at Jerusalem having been commanded by a divine Revelation ["Let us remove hence." -- Wars 6:5:3] ... removed from the city, and dwelt in a certain town beyond Jordan, called Pella" (Eusebius 3:5:2). After this calamity had befallen Cestius, many of the most eminent of the Jews SWAM away from the city, as from a ship when it was going to sink (Wars of the Jews, book 2 ch. 20). Returning Zealots didn't tolerate "deserters," so escaping had to be done that very day. Fleeing to the hills in the Bible occurs just before the great tribulation.
"Christ Jesus said ‘When you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies (literally or in a supernatural sign), then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them who are in Judea (not just Jerusalem) flee to the mountains; and let them who are in the midst of it depart; and let not them that are in the countries enter into it’ (Luke 21:20-21). How can Christians flee Jerusalem when Jerusalem is completely surrounded with armies? How did Christians in other parts of the country even know that armies were surrounding Jerusalem?
"On the twenty-first of the month Artemisium (the last day of the 2nd Passover season In A.D.66), there appeared a miraculous phenomenon, passing belief. Indeed, what I am about to relate would, I imagine, have been deemed a fable, were it not for the narratives of eyewitnesses and for the subsequent calamities which deserved to be so signalized. For before sunset throughout all parts of the country [everywhere throughout Judea] chariots were seen in the air and armed battalions hurtling through the clouds and encompassing the cities" (Wars of Jews 6.5.3).
And then, about two weeks later, Josephus tells us: "Moreover, at the feast which is called Pentecost, the priests on entering the inner court of the temple by night, as their custom was in the discharge of their ministrations, reported that they were conscious, first of a commotion and a din, and after that of a voice as of a host, We are departing hence" (War, 6.209,300). With these two signs, what did the Christians in Jerusalem and Judaea do? Eusebius tells us that this is the time they began to leave the region because of the command of Christ and went to a city called Pella on the east side of the Jordan River (Ecclesiastical History, 3.5). They and the apostles obtained safety from the Great Tribulation that soon enflamed Jerusalem and Judaea.
Nero, having been informed of the defeat of Cestius, immediately appointed Vespasian, a man of tried valour, to prosecute the war against the Jews, who, assisted by his son Titus, soon collected at Ptolemais an army of sixty thousand men. From hence, in the spring of 67 A. D. he marched into Judea, every where spreading the most cruel havoc and devastation; For fifteen months Vespasian proceeded in this sanguinary career, during which period he reduced all the strong towns of Galilee, and the chief of those in Judea, destroying at least one hundred and fifty thousand of the inhabitants. In 69 A.D. Vespasian became emperor and returned to Rome. But Titus his son arrived in Jerusalem around 14th Nisan 70 A.D. (Antiquities 5.13.7). Titus besieged the city with four legions of soldiers. The time between October of A.D. 66 and April of A.D. 70 is three and a half years or the "time, times and a half" "to scatter the power of the holy people" (12:7). The day on which Titus encompassed Jerusalem, was the feast of the Passover; at this season multitudes came up from all the surrounding country, and from distant parts, to keep the festival. Titus allowed the pilgrims into the city, but refused to let them leave, in order to deplete the rebel food reserves. Our Lord warned, "Let not them that are in the countries enter into Jerusalem" (Luke 21: 21).
The Great Tribulation of the Jews, Matthew 24, occurred during the period from the exit of Cestius until the arrival of Titus and his siege. Three walls surrounded Jerusalem on every side, except that which was deemed inaccessible, and there it was defended by one wall only. Romans took the first wall on the 15th day of the siege -- Iyyar 7. Romans took the second wall indicated by a red radius line -- Iyyar 16. A siege wall of pointed stakes all around the city was built in three days by the end of Sivan 4. Escape was now impossible (Luke 19:43-44). Titus was able to make his inspection of this completed and fully garrisoned pointed-stake wall -- Sivan 5. Now Sivan 5, 70 A.D. is 1290 days after Heshvan 5, 66 A.D. Also, Sivan 4 was the last day of possible escape, before the wall was garrisoned and inspected by Titus. This was the first century fulfillment of Daniel 12:11. This pointed-stake wall was accompanied by a trench of 39 furlongs in circuit and strengthened with 13 towers. "Thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round about, and keep thee in on every side" (Luke 19:43). As no supplies whatever could now enter the walls, the famine spread rapidly.
After this, Josephus, in the name of Titus, earnestly exhorted John and his adherents to surrender; but the insolent rebel returned nothing but reproaches and imprecations, declaring his firm persuasion that Jerusalem, as it was GOD'S own city, could never be taken: thus literally fulfilling the declaration of Micah, that the Jews, in their extremity, notwithstanding their crimes, would presumptuously "lean upon the LORD, and say, 'Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us" (Micah 3:11). The third wall fell down -- Tammuz 2. Romans took the tower of Antonia -- Tammuz 5. Those who had defected to the Romans and had been saved in Gophna, by Caesar's decree, were paraded around the wall unharmed -- Tammuz 19. Counting 1335 days from Cestius' invasion of the temple, on Heshvan 5, 66 A.D., which was the beginning of the flight to the hills, we end up on Tammuz 19, 70 A.D. This was also the day when Titus ordered the final assault on the temple to start at the 9th hour of the night (which was in the next Hebrew day -- Tammuz 19). A Roman soldier, urged, as he declared, by a divine impulse, regardless of the command of Titus climbed on the shoulders of another, and threw a flaming brand into the golden window of the Temple, which instantly set the building on fire -- Av 10 (cp. Jer. 52:12,13). Jerusalem was finally taken after nearly 5 months (ending Elul 8, 70 A.D.) (135 days from Nisan 23). The above is taken from Josephus 'Wars of the Jews' 2:19 and books 5 & 6. In book 6 chapter 2, 'in the meantime' of section 7 is 7 days, and the 'in the meantime' of section 9 is that day. Notice that the significant dates in the siege of Jerusalem correspond to the significant dates of Daniel chapter 12. Our Lord pronounce a woe on "them that should give suck in those days" (Matt. 24: 19.). "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but for yourselves and for your children; for, behold, the days are coming in which they shall say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the breasts that never gave suck" (Luke 23: 29). He was referring to cannibalism (Deut. 28:56-57). Finally, Elul 29 is traditionally the last day that Jews fast before Rosh HaShanah. Jerusalem survivors may have been given their first good meal on this date.
The gold melted and ran down through the crevices of the bricks so the Roman soldiers tore it down stone by stone to get the gold and the silver out. That fulfilled the words of Jesus when He said there wouldn't be a stone of the Temple left standing one on top of the other (Matt. 24:2). Then to further defile it, Titus, the Roman prince went to the high altar of the Temple, planted the standards of the Roman legions by it and then proceeded to sacrifice a pig on the altar in the Holy of Holies. He fulfilled Daniel 11:31 that he should defile the sanctuary, take away the daily sacrifice and place there the abomination. Romans then burned the Lower City. Approximately September 2, Romans assaulted Herod's Palace and entered the Upper City. Resistance ended on September 26. The 1290-day period (Daniel 12:11) runs from the abomination of Cestius (Heshvan 5, 66 A.D.) to finishing of the wall of pointed sticks ending escape (Sivan 4, 70 A.D.)(Luke 19:43 fulfilled). The 1335 days (Daniel 12:12) runs from the abomination of Cestius (Heshvan 5, 66 A.D.) to the parading of escapees from Jerusalem (Tammuz 19, 70 A.D. -- Eridanus).
This great city, which only five months before, had been crowded with nearly two million people, who gloried in its impregnable strength, was entirely depopulated, and levelled with the ground. Our Lord predicted that Rome would "lay her even with the ground," and "should not leave in her one stone upon another" (Luke 19:44). This fact is confirmed by Eusebius, who asserts that he himself saw the city lying in ruins. It is recorded, in the Talmud, and by Maimonides, that Terentius Rufus, captain of the army of Titus, absolutely ploughed up the foundations of the Temple with a ploughshare. "Therefore shall Zion, for your sakes (i.e. for your wickedness) be ploughed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the LORD's house as the high places of the forest" (Micah 3:12).
Josephus reckons not less than 1,100,000 Jews were destroyed during the siege, to which must be added, above 237,000 who perished in other places, and innumerable multitudes who were swept away by famine, and pestilence, of which no calculation could be made. Not less than 2,000 laid violent hands upon themselves. Of the captives the whole was about 97,000. Of the two great leaders of the Jews, who had both been made prisoners, John was doomed to a dungeon for life; while Simon, together with John, in triumph at Rome was scourged, and put to death as a malefactor. All above the age of seventeen were sent in chains into Egypt, to be employed there as slaves, or distributed throughout the empire to be sacrificed as gladiators in the amphitheatres; whilst those who were under this age, were exposed to sale. Our Lord foretold, generally, that they should "fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations; and that Jerusalem should be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). During every successive age and in all nations, the Jews have been constantly persecuted, enslaved, contemned, harassed, and oppressed; banished from one country to another, and abused in all; while countless multitudes have, at different periods, been barbarously massacred, particularly in Persia, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt; and in Russia, Germany, Hungary, France, and Spain. Jerusalem only recently became a possession of the Jews. It has been successively occupied by the Romans, Arabs, Franks, Turks, and British. It has always been trodden down.
Our Lord stated that there should "be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world, no, nor ever shall be" (Matt. 24:21). Josephus declares its fulfillment in parallel language: "If the misfortunes," says he, "of all nations, from the beginning of the world, were compared with those which befell the Jews, they would appear far less in comparison;" and again, "No other city ever suffered such things, as no other generation, from the beginning of the world, was ever more fruitful in wickedness." These were, indeed, "the days of vengeance," that all things which are written (especially by Moses, Joel, and Daniel,) might be fulfilled" (Luke 21:22). Nor were the calamities of the Jews even now ended; for there were still other places to subdue; and our Lord had thus predicted, "wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together" (Matt. 24:28).
After the destruction of Jerusalem seventeen hundred Jews who surrendered at Macherus were slain, and of fugitives not less than three thousand in the wood of Jardes. Titus having marched his army to Caesarea, he there, with great splendour, celebrated the birthday of his brother Domitian; and according to the barbarous manner of those times, punished many Jews in honour of it. The number who were burnt, and who fell by fighting with wild beasts, and in mutual combats, exceeded two thousand five hundred. At the siege of Massada, Eleazer, the commander, instigated the garrison to burn their stores, and to destroy first the women and children, and then themselves. Dreadful as it is to relate, this horrid design was executed. They were in number nine hundred and sixty. Ten were chosen to perform the bloody work: the rest sat 'on the ground,' and embracing their wives and children stretched out their necks to the sword: one was afterwards appointed to destroy the remaining nine, and then himself. The survivor, when he had looked round to see that all were slain, set fire to the place, and plunged his sword into his own bosom. Nevertheless, two women and five children successfully concealed themselves, and witnessed the whole transaction. The period of time from the first attack of the Jews upon the Romans at Masada, in May of A.D. 66, to the final resistance of the Jews at Masada in April of A.D. 73, encompassed seven years. “For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen ... Thy men shall fall by the sword and thy mighty in the war. And her gates shall lament and mourn, and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground” (Isaiah 3:8, 25-26). The mournful and desolate condition of Judea, at this time, is exactly described by the prophet Isaiah: "The cities were without inhabitant, and the houses without a man, and the land was utterly desolate, and the LORD had removed men far away, and there was a great forsaking in the midst of the land." (Isa. 6:11-12).