Jesus Predicts The Destruction Of Jerusalem And The Temple In 70 A.D.

One of the most stunning proofs for the authenticity of the Bible is found in our discovery of history. Jesus told His disciples that Jerusalem and the Temple would be surrounded by an army and destroyed. Just 38 years after He spoke these words, Titus accomplished the fulfillment of Jesus’ words precisely.

Luke 19:43-44 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.

Matthew 24:34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.

The context of Jesus’ revelation to the disciples, in Luke 19:29-21:24, is directly after Palm Sunday, 32 A.D. Jesus is describing the judgment that will come upon Israel for her rejection of Him as the Messiah. The fulfillment of this prophecy occurred within one 40-year generation, in 70 A.D., as Titus brought his army against Jerusalem.[1] Titus sacked the city and destroyed the Temple, burning it to the ground. Literally, “not one stone (of the Temple) was left upon another,” just as Jesus had predicted.

Matthew Chapter 24 is essentially the same account that Luke records, as Jesus is seen at the Temple with the disciples when He tells them that “not one stone shall be left upon another….

Matthew 24:1-2 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

Luke 21:24 And they (those in Jerusalem and Judea, vs 20-21) will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Jesus’ Prophecy Is Fulfilled, Documented By Secular Writers

The Jewish historian Josephus describes the destruction of Jerusalem and the murder of 1.1 million Jews, with 97,000 others taken as captives of war. Thousands were sold as slaves, with many more dispersed all over the world. This entire event is recorded by Josephus in the “Book of Wars,” Book 5, Chapter 22, Sections 1-3.[2]

Jesus warned His disciples ahead of time to flee Jerusalem before the siege began. He told them to watch for this sign:

When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled… There will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:20-24).

The Jews who had believed in Jesus as their Messiah evacuated Jerusalem after its first siege in 66 A.D., ahead of the final Roman siege of 70 A.D. Just as Jesus had predicted, there was a massive slaughter of those who remained in Jerusalem and did not believe His words.

The Roman army general Titus, who later became the emperor, stated that he believed his actions against the Jews in 70 A.D. were an instrument of God’s wrath.[3]

“The slaughter within was even more dreadful than the spectacle from without. Men and women, old and young, insurgents and priests, those who fought and those who entreated mercy, were hewn down in indiscriminate carnage. The number of the slain exceeded that of the slayers. The legionaries had to clamber over heaps of dead to carry on the work of extermination.

Titus’ strategy against the city of Jerusalem was simple: cut off the food and water supplies to Jerusalem, and starve the people into submission.

Many people died of starvation during this siege of Titus, as the food supplies of the Jews inside the city of Jerusalem were depleted. Some people resorted to eating the flesh of their dead in order to survive. This was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 11:9: “Let those that are left eat each other’s flesh.”

Near the middle of May, 70 A.D., Titus ordered the construction of a siege wall, built around the city of Jerusalem, and he destroyed the newly-built third wall with a battering ram. The Antonia Fortress of Herod was taken just north of the Temple Mount. As fighting ensued inside Jerusalem, the Jews were forced into the Temple, as a second attempt at negotiating a cease fire failed.

The following account of the Temple destruction in 70 A.D. is from the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus’ “The Wars of the Jews,” Book 6, Chapter 4.[4]

Storming The Temple

“So Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, and resolved to storm the temple the next day, early in the morning, with his whole army, and to encamp round about the holy house. But as for that house, God had, for certain, long ago doomed it to the fire; and now that fatal day was come, according to the revolution of ages; it was the tenth day of the month Lous, [Ab,] upon which it was formerly burnt by the king of Babylon; although these flames took their rise from the Jews themselves, and were occasioned by them; for upon Titus’s retiring, the seditious lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again, when those that guarded the holy house fought with those that quenched the fire that was burning the inner [court of the] temple; but these Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the holy house itself.”[5]

A Soldier Sets Fire To The North Side Of The Temple

“At which time one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house, on the north side of it. As the flames went upward, the Jews made a great clamor, such as so mighty an affliction required, and ran together to prevent it; and now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered any thing to restrain their force, since that holy house was perishing, for whose sake it was that they kept such a guard about it.”[6]

Titus Informed Of The Temple Fire

“And now a certain person came running to Titus, and told him of this fire, as he was resting himself in his tent after the last battle; whereupon he rose up in great haste, and, as he was, ran to the holy house, in order to have a stop put to the fire; after him followed all his commanders, and after them followed the several legions, in great astonishment; so there was a great clamor and tumult raised, as was natural upon the disorderly motion of so great an army. Then did Caesar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice, and by giving a signal to them with his right hand, order them to quench the fire.”[7]

Roman Soldiers Trampled And Killed

“But they did not hear what he said, though he spake so loud, having their ears already dimmed by a greater noise another way; nor did they attend to the signal he made with his hand neither, as still some of them were distracted with fighting, and others with passion. But as for the legions that came running thither, neither any persuasions nor any threatenings could restrain their violence, but each one’s own passion was his commander at this time; and as they were crowding into the temple together, many of them were trampled on by one another, while a great number fell among the ruins of the cloisters, which were still hot and smoking, and were destroyed in the same miserable way with those whom they had conquered…”[8]

Soldiers, Not Hearing Titus’ Command, Set Fire To The Holy Place

“…and when they were come near the holy house, they made as if they did not so much as hear Caesar’s orders to the contrary; but they encouraged those that were before them to set it on fire. As for the seditious, they were in too great distress already to afford their assistance [towards quenching the fire]; they were every where slain, and every where beaten; and as for a great part of the people, they were weak and without arms, and had their throats cut wherever they were caught. Now round about the altar lay dead bodies heaped one upon another, as at the steps going up to it ran a great quantity of their blood, whither also the dead bodies that were slain above [on the altar] fell down.”[9]

Titus Attempts To Save The Holy of Holies

“And now, since Caesar was no way able to restrain the enthusiastic fury of the soldiers, and the fire proceeded on more and more, he went into the holy place of the temple, with his commanders, and saw it, with what was in it, which he found to be far superior to what the relations of foreigners contained, and not inferior to what we ourselves boasted of and believed about it. But as the flame had not as yet reached to its inward parts, but was still consuming the rooms that were about the holy house, and Titus supposing what the fact was, that the house itself might yet he saved, he came in haste and endeavored to persuade the soldiers to quench the fire, and gave order to Liberalius the centurion, and one of those spearmen that were about him, to beat the soldiers that were refractory with their staves, and to restrain them; yet were their passions too hard for the regards they had for Caesar, and the dread they had of him who forbade them, as was their hatred of the Jews, and a certain vehement inclination to fight them, too hard for them also.””[10]

Soldiers, Seeing The Holy Place Full Of Gold, Come To Take Plunder

“Moreover, the hope of plunder induced many to go on, as having this opinion, that all the places within were full of money, and as seeing that all round about it was made of gold. And besides, one of those that went into the place prevented Caesar, when he ran so hastily out to restrain the soldiers, and threw the fire upon the hinges of the gate, in the dark; whereby the flame burst out from within the holy house itself immediately, when the commanders retired, and Caesar with them, and when nobody any longer forbade those that were without to set fire to it. And thus was the holy house burnt down, without Caesar’s approbation.”[11]

One of the Roman soldiers threw a burning spear into the wall of the Temple, setting it on fire. Titus had not planned to destroy the temple; but we should remember that Jesus had predicted that not one stone would be left upon another, when He pronounced judgement on the Jews for their rejection of Him as the Messiah. Titus had originally determined that he would take the Temple and turn it into a Roman temple, dedicated to the Roman emperor. The fire that spread throughout the Temple building quickly destroyed the entire structure, resulting in an amazing fulfillment of Jesus’ prediction.[12]

As the fire accelerated into an intense heat, the Jews trapped inside the Holy Place were burned alive. The gold that lined the entire inner structure of the Holy Place melted and ran into the cracks of the foundation stones. In their greed, the Roman soldiers, seeing the melted gold now cooled and laying between the stones of the temple, pried up one stone after another until the Temple was obliterated. In this way, the literal words of Jesus—not one stone shall be left upon another—was literally fulfilled.

According to 2 Chronicles 3:8, the gold that lined the entire inner structure of the Holy of Holies was about 23 tons. At $1,500.00 per ounce, this would place the current value of the gold inside the Holy place at 1 billion, 104 million dollars.[13]

On “Tisha B’Av,” August 9th of 70 A.D., the Temple was destroyed. By September 7th, 70 A.D., Jerusalem was completely under control of the Romans. An amazing fact of history is that the first temple was also destroyed by the Babylonians on the same date,  August 9th of 586 B.C.

Although this prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D. by the Roman siege on Jerusalem and the burning of the Temple, there also appears to be a later fulfillment of this same prophecy. During the midway point of the seven-year Tribulation, the antichrist will come against Jerusalem to destroy the Jews, and they will also flee the city of Petra.

Sidebar: This is a very common occurrence in the prophecies of the Messiah and those that concern the last days. Often we will see an earlier fulfillment as well as a later fulfillment of the same prophecy. Remember this principle as we go through the various chapters of this book.

All of these events that Jesus predicted, nearly 40 years before their fulfillment, came about due to this prophecy of Zechariah 11:4-6: “When the Messiah comes, He will find false leaders in Israel.”

How can we explain a secular verification of the historical record that fully verifies an event Jesus predicted 38 years in advance, except that He knew precisely what was going to take place before it happened?

It was by the words Jesus spoke, words His disciples recorded in the pages of the four gospels, that we have evidence to believe that the writers of the New Testament have told us the truth.

These men saw and heard things that no other person on the planet has ever experienced. They were present when God revealed Himself to man in a real and tangible way. They witnessed the power of Jesus’ words and His incredible ability to comprehend what was in the heart of every person. They saw Him touch the eyes of the blind and restore sight. They heard Jesus speak the words, “Rise up and walk,” and a man born crippled stood to his feet. A grieving family and friends stood nearby, as Jesus raised His voice and commanded the corpse of Lazarus to “come forth.” They saw a man, who had been dead four days, come out of his tomb alive again.

What more would we expect from a person who had seen and heard events like these, except that they would write about them and tell everyone they meet what had happened? During the time these things took place, there were thousands of people who had firsthand knowledge of these events. There was a great deal of opportunity for any person to write that these things had not taken place, or to refute the details of these events. We find no such record of any rebuttal from this time period in the historical record.

Reading With Understanding

Many people read the Bible without understanding its true purpose. I have spoken to a number of individuals who have told me that they have read the entire Bible. When I ask them if they understood what they were reading, they usually answer in the affirmative. If further inquiry is made regarding the depth of their understanding, we quickly learn that these individuals have acquired nothing more than a basic comprehension of the stories that are recorded. Finally, they have told me that they do not believe the Bible is true or it has any relevance to human life today.

The Bible was never meant to be read in the same manner that other pieces of literature are perused. There are many tales of certain individuals that can be observed, which may bear no relevance to the reader other than old stories in a very old book. There is also a phenomenon of the Bible that is seldom discerned. Within every story the Bible holds, there is deeper spiritual significance. When we read the accounts of Abraham taking Isaac up on Mount Moriah to offer him as a sacrifice to God, if all that we see is a father offering a human sacrifice, then we are missing the true intended purpose of this event.

After waiting for the promise of God to give him a son, for nearly 25 years, Abraham finally has the object of his dreams. When we find Abraham on the mountain with Isaac, this young man is perhaps in his early thirties, and Abraham is a very old man of about 130 years of age. Although Isaac could easily overpower his elderly father, he submits himself to his authority.

Isaac has become everything Abraham has dreamed of. He is the apple of his father’s eye and the delight of his life. Abraham loves Isaac so much, that he has become a danger to his father.

We see in this example of Abraham and Isaac an incredible picture of the Son of God, who will also come to this same mountain and offer His life upon the cross. Jesus willingly submitted to His Father’s authority, humbled Himself, and carried the wood for His sacrifice the same hill that Isaac traveled.

In order for anyone to truly love God, He must be first and foremost in everything. There is no room on the throne of our heart for anyone except God. To place a son, a daughter, mother, or father, or any other person above the Lord is to commit the gravest error.

Matthew 10:37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

It is only right that the Lord demand, that He is the first love of our life. By His very nature as the Creator and Sustainer of all life, God has the right to be worshipped exclusively by all of His creation.

To give him an opportunity for growth, the Lord desires that Abraham understand, by practical experience, who is truly first in his life. This test is not for the Lord so that He can find out where Abraham’s heart is. The trial is for Abraham. One of the attributes of God is that He knows everything. There is nothing He must learn, or discover. What makes the Lord, God, is that He knows all things—from eternity. The Lord understands Abraham so well, that He is keenly aware of his love for Isaac. The problem is that Abraham does not know that his love for his son has surpassed his love for God.

God desires that Abraham would have the issue of Lordship settled in his heart, before He can take him to the next level of his spiritual growth. In our life, the importance of making and keeping Jesus as the Lord of our life is equally significant. Without allowing the Lord to be the decision-maker in all of our dreams, goals, and hopes, we become lord over Him, instead of He being Lord over us.

Genesis 22:3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

Genesis 22:4-5 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.

Abraham understands that he is taking Isaac up the hill to offer him as a sacrifice. Even so, he tells the young men who came along on the journey that he and Isaac will both be returning soon.

This is a subtle hint of Abraham’s faith. In order to carry out the Lord’s command to offer Isaac as a burnt offering to the Lord, Abraham must believe that when he kills his son, God will raise him back to life again. Otherwise, how would God be able to fulfill His promise to make one of Abraham’s descendants a great nation?

In other words, Abraham believes in the resurrection of an only son in order to obtain the promises of God.

This sounds very much like the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Another similarity between the sacrifice Jesus made and the offering of Abraham’s son is the wood for the burnt offering that is laid on the shoulders of Isaac.

Genesis 22:6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.

John 19:17 And Jesus, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.

While we stand in amazement at Abraham’s faith in being able to offer up his only son, we should not miss the equally stunning detail, that Isaac is allowing his father to tie him to the altar for the sacrifice. Isaac is not a young boy; he is a man of about 30 years of age. Isaac could easily overpower his aging father if he was not willing to be the sacrifice. Notice that Isaac, the son, was willing to give his life. Much in the same way that Jesus was willing to lay down His life for all of us.

Luke 22:42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.

Finally, as Abraham and Isaac reach the top of the mountain where the sacrifice will be offered, the question is asked: “Where is the Lamb for the sacrifice?”

Genesis 22:7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

Genesis 22:8  And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.”

Abraham tells Isaac that God will provide the Lamb for the sacrifice.

Another translation of this verse is “God will provide Himself as the lamb….”

No matter how these verses are translated or interpreted, the clear message being given to us is that Abraham’s offering of Isaac on Mount Moriah was a visual illustration of the future sacrifice that God’s only Son would make of Himself on Mount Moriah.

It is this manner of presenting the story of Jesus, through the illustrations of the Old Testament, that we understand that the entire purpose of the Bible is to reveal who Jesus is and the purpose of His presence here on earth. If we approach the text of the Bible with the knowledge that every page is seeking to communicate a message about Jesus to us, we will have apprehended the reason for the scriptures.

This is the supernatural construction of the Bible that is well known to those who have studied it for some time. After forty-one years of exploring this fact of the Bible, I have begun to realize the incredible way in which it is written. If I forget that there are forty authors for these sixty-six books, I could easily believe that there was a single author who is seeking to tell one story. The fact is, the Bible is not written by one author; it is penned by forty men. How is it that these multiple authors could write about one person who will arrive on the earth in the future, at great distance to their own lives? The answer is that they could not have possibly known unless there was one common source from where all these writers received this knowledge—God.

It is very important to understand that God has communicated a single integrated message to all of mankind by the use of multiple writers, and has preserved this record for every person. If we can believe that God is the source of the universe and all that we can see, as well as the invisible world of the atom—all came into being as a result of the wisdom and power of an eternal and unlimited Being—it is also very easy to accept that He has the technology to preserve His word for all mankind, through every generation of people.

If we read the text of the Bible with this understanding, it becomes an incredible receptacle of wisdom. By this knowledge, we gain a true understanding of the purpose of man here on this unique planet. We realize that everything that happens and every person whom these things happen to are all a part of one large and well-organized plan of God.

It is by understanding the facts of these principles that any person can confirm the honesty of the writers who compiled the text for the Bible.

Over four hundred Hebrew prophecies are ascribed to Jesus of Nazareth. These predictions were intended as His calling card. As the Messiah would appear in Jerusalem, He must fulfill the words and actions associated with the coming Messiah. God intended that we be able to validate who the Messiah is, by His fulfillment of these important predictions. As I was writing my first book, “The Prophecies of the Messiah,” I quickly realized that it would be impossible for any one person to complete all the prophecies required of the Messiah.

It is interesting that so many people miss this important fact when they are considering which religion or religious book is truly from God. The Bible is unique in its strict requirements for its own validation. Imagine writing a very large book in which you will be making the assertion that the words within these pages are those of the One True God. In order to validate what you are claiming, you will include more than four hundred predictions that must be perfectly fulfilled by the primary character of your story. If this individual does not fulfill every one of these predictions, he will be disqualified. The Bible is distinct among all books that claim divine inspiration, in that it sets a standard for verification that is virtually impossible to meet. There is no other religious book that has made and fulfilled its predictions, as a matter of history, other than the Bible.

This fact is a stunning verification of the Bible’s authorship as not from men but originating from God. No man has the capacity to predict where someone will be born, the specific words and actions of a person, hundreds of years before this individual is born. Further, we have the historical validation that all of these prophecies were literally fulfilled, in the narrative of the New Testament. It is the task of this book to display these facts to the reader.

The Preceding Is From “These Things Were Written”

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[1] 1.Historically, a generation of judgement has been defined in the Bible as 40 years. It was 40 years that Israel was in the desert. David reigned over Israel for 40 years before the kingdom was divided.
2 .So the LORD’S anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD was gone.  Numbers 32:13
3 .The period that David reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years he reigned in Hebron, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years.  1Kings 2:1
[2] Josephus in the “Book of Wars”, Book 5, chapter 22, sections 1-3
[3] Philostratus, The Life of Apollonius of Tyana 6.29
[4] Flavius Josephus, “The Wars of the Jews,” Book 6, Chapter 4. (2010-10-07). The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus (Kindle Locations 25601-25585).  . Kindle Edition.
[5] Ibid
[6] Ibid
[7] Ibid
[8] Ibid
[9] Ibid
[10] Ibid
[11] Ibid.
[120 Ibid.
[13] According to the New Living Translation by Thomas Nelson, Open Bible Commentary, Page 580.

Categories: Building the Third Temple, Historical Validity of the New Testament, Israel in the Last Days, Israel in the Last Days, Messianic Prophecies, Messianic Prophecy Bible, Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus, Rapture during Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah and the Rapture, The First Arrival of the Messiah, The Second Arrival of the Messiah, The Tribulation Period

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1 reply

  1. certainly no argument from me.. Does the approximately 70 year span between His birth and the destruction of the “fig tree” (Israel in unbelief) in 70-71 AD correlate prophetically with the restoration of this same “fig tree” in 1948 AD and the Zechariah 13.9 conversion of the surviving 1/3 of the nation of Israel. Is Psalm 90:10 the prophetic description of a generation ? This verse reads : ” The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. ” This verse is the only one I know of which looks forward to length of life outside of the context of something judgmentally specific such as the 40 years in the wilderness or the Babylon captivity.


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