The Fall Of Jerusalem
by Pastor G. Reckart
Copyright All Rights Reserved
In reading the accounts of the destruction of Jerusalem written by Preterist, you would think that from September 66AD until September 70AD there was living hell in the City. According to the Preterist all the seals were popped open and the judgments poured out on this tiny city. As soon as these ravages were ended the trumpets each sounded and there was more hell, fire, and brimstone. If this was not bad enough, according to them, the vials were poured out and at the end the city was on fire and destroyed.
Preterist paint a grisly tale taken from the writings of Josephus. From 66AD to 70AD was the great tribulation of Matthew 24 and Luke 21 they tell us. The Antichrist and beast were revealed during these years they report. There is no future tribulation, antichrist, or mark of the beast they preach. In fact, Preterist are most hateful toward any futurist view of endtime prophecy being fulfilled. The Dispensationalist take the brunt of their attacks but the Post-Tribs are not omitted from their tongue lashing. "Jerusalem is to see the vengeance of God" they cry! That generation shall not pass away till all be fulfilled they write. Ciaphas and his brood of temple crooks were to personally witness the second coming of Jesus in the clouds when he came with power and great glory with his angels. Oh, no, wait they say! Jesus is not literally physically coming back. No, he is only coming through the agency of judgment. When Titus came thundering down from Syria that was the coming of Jesus, the Preterist report. Jesus did not personally appear they tell us. And the angels, well that does not mean real heavenly ones with Jesus. No, the Preterist tell us, these angels are really ministers after 70AD who go throughout the world gathering the elect by preaching the Gospel.
These and other tales fill the minds and mouths of Preterist.
I thought it best, to give the reader a detailed account of the years between September 66AD and September 70AD, a FOUR YEAR TIME PERIOD! I want the student of the Word to see exactly what happened!
Gessius Florus, Procurator, sought to raid the Temple treasury to make up a deficit of forty talents in tribute owed to Rome. The Temple priesthood objected to this. The war against Jerusalem might have begun earlier had it not been for Agrippa II who returning from Egypt gave a provoking speech to the people of Jerusalem. He mentioned that continued resistance against Rome might be the end of the Jewish nation and also the Jewish religion. Being successful in this admonition, he gathered several men and went to the Temple to commence repairs on a faulty section that had collapsed earlier that year. He soon afterward departed to his own kingdom and never entered Jerusalem again before it was destroyed.
As soon as Agrippa departed, Eleazar, commander of the Temple began trouble. He made a proposal that henceforth no sacrifices be offered in the Temple for Gentiles. This was done in the past to ask God's blessing and favor on the Roman Emperor. The purpose of Eleazar to stop this was to insult Nero. According to history, leading Jews tried to prevent this action. The doctors of the Law pleaded with the people at a mass meeting in the Temple. They were not successful. Fanatics among the priest and Levites ceased all sacrifices at that time. Josephus reports this was the beginning of open rebellion. According to Jewish records, the Sanhedrin sent off a request to Florus and Agrippa to send military aid. No help came! But because of the trouble brewing, Roman General Cestius Gallus assembled an army of 40,000 soldiers in Antioch, Syria, and they arrived at the walls of Jerusalem in September 66AD.
The Roman General was shocked at the resistance. He thought the people would surrender. He attacked the well fortified city. But the Jews defended the city and withstood all attempts to make them surrender. While the siege was tremendous with 40,000 men camped as far as the eye could see, there was no great tribulation at this time. Not many deaths, no starvation, no famines, no water turned into blood, no earthquakes, and no seals opened, trumpets sounded, or vials poured out. Having failed in this effort, Gallus departed to Caesarea before the year was over. In his flight from the city of Jerusalem, Jews took after him and killed 6,000 of his troops.
Word of the defeat of Gallus reached Rome in the spring of 67AD. Nero picked Titus Flavius Vespasian to put Israel back under Roman tribute and control. In the spring of 67AD Vespasian amassed an army of 50,000 fresh troops took all of Galilee and then wintered the troops eighty miles from Jerusalem. In the mean time anarchy broke out in Jerusalem and a civil war of Jew against Jew raged. Vespasian used this internal war of the Jews to his advantage. He allowed the strife to bring as much disunity to the Jews as possible. He in the mean time would take Samaria, Peraea, and all Idumaea. When spring of 68AD was ending, he laid siege against Jerusalem. As the city was being attacked, different army Generals attempted to dethrone Nero. According to history he fled and was either stabbed to death or committed suicide in June of 68. This brought all activity against Jerusalem to a halt. Vespasian waited for fresh orders from Rome. Three men were emperor in turn: Galba, Otho, and Vitellius. The Roman Empire was divided. The largest contingency of military was in Israel under Vespasian. Suddenly, the army placed Vespasian as Emperor and he abandoned the Jewish war. The Romans retreated back north and Jerusalem was again a city of great activity.
Finally in the spring of 70AD the emperor appointed his son Titus as General over the Roman troops still in Syrian and Israel. Another sizable army was organized and Titus swung down through Samaria and came to the walls of Jerusalem arriving in April. In a few short weeks there was a breach in the walls of the lower city. But the tower of Antonia and the temple fortifications offered great resistance. Titus decided to build a earthen wall around the city and starve the Jews. This failed and an assault was launched against the tower of Antonia which fell into Roman hands on July 5, 70AD. The Temple came immediately under attack and fell on August 10, 70AD. The upper city fell on September 7, 70AD and the capture of Jerusalem was over.
Titus ordered Jerusalem be completely leveled and work began. However, he allowed part of the walls to remain in their place. Some believe all the stones were thrown down at that time. We now know this is not true. Eleazar, commander of the Temple along with many Jewish men, women, and children escaped from Jerusalem fled to Massada, a fortress in the wilderness built by Herod. Fighting dragged on for three more years after Jerusalem fell and ended when Massada was captured in 73AD.
Thus ends the account of the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the war of the Romans against the Jews in 73AD.
We ask ourselves some very serious questions now.
Why are we led to believe the time from 66AD to 70AD was three and a half years of great tribulation on earth for Jerusalem and Israel when this is not true?
From 66AD to 70AD, Jerusalem was surrounded by the Roman Army three months under Gallus, six months under Vespasian, and five months under Titus: for a total of 14 months. There was total freedom within Jerusalem and in Israel, free of war, from the fall of 66AD to the spring of 68AD, a whole year! In 68AD Vaspasian attacked the city until June on the death of Nero and then went to Rome. Jerusalem again had total freedom from June 68AD until until two years later in April of 70AD when Titus arrived. Now, does all this look like three and a half years of great tribulation as depicted in the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven vials?
From September 66AD to September 70AD when the Temple was captured is FOUR YEARS not three and a half!
Titus captured the Temple in September 70AD but it was not until 73AD that the city was completely leveled and Massada was captured. The removing of stones from the walls and the Temple took place after 70AD was over, outside of the alleged three and a half years of tribulation.
There does not appear to be any seals popped open, trumpets blasted, or vials poured out when Gallus laid siege.
There does not appear to be any seals popped open, trumpets blasted, or vials poured out when Vaspasian laid siege.
It is only in the five month period from April to September of 70AD that anyone can say the seals were popped open, trumpets were blasted, and vials were poured out. Yet the book of Revelation lets us believe these are accomplished over a three and one half year time frame and not over a five month one.
BUT WERE THEY ACCOMPLISHED IN 70AD IN A FIVE MONTH TIME PERIOD?
What of the text in Revelation that shows the whole world in the great tribulation and not just a tiny little city?
Where is the million man army of the east in all this? We can see less then 50,000 at all three sieges!
Where are the two prophets?
We can see easily that the Preterist lies about what took place between 66AD and 70AD, will not stand! Pastor Reckart says this heresy will not stand, and he has determined to make information available to bring to repentance all false teachers and preachers who spread this false doctrine.
Now that I have opened up this time of alleged three and a half years of tribulation, others will see the Preterist lies for what they are, LIES!
Read NOT ONE STONE, A COMPANION STUDY