Sunday, January 16, 2011

Titus states "We have certainly had God for our assistant in this war.”

1. Now when Titus was come into this [upper] city, he admired not only some other places of strength in it, but particularly those strong towers which the tyrants in their mad conduct had relinquished; for when he saw their solid altitude,... and the largeness of their several stones, and the exactness of their joints, as also how great was their breadth, and how extensive their length, he expressed himself after the manner following: "We have certainly had God for our assistant in this war, and it was no other than God who ejected the Jews out of these fortifications; for what could the hands of men or any machines do towards overthrowing these towers?" At which time he had many such discourses to his friends; he also let such go free as had been bound by the tyrants, and were left in the prisons. To conclude, when he entirely demolished the rest of the city, and overthrew its walls, he left these towers as a monument of his good fortune, which had proved his auxiliaries, and enabled him to take what could not otherwise have been taken by him. The Works of Flavius Josephus War of the Jews Book 6 Chapter 9

As Rome's power grew and its sphere of influence expanded, the Roman Empire encountered the older and richer religious beliefs of the Greeks.

The Romans also came into contact with the beliefs of other eastern Mediterranean Sea cultures. As a result, Romans began to adopt various foreign gods and religious customs. In many cases, gods and heroes from foreign cultures were given temples in Rome. The acceptance of Greek gods had the biggest influence on Roman religion. The earliest Greek gods adopted by the Romans were Castor and Polydeuces in 484 BC. Later in the 5th century BC, the Greek god Apollo was introduced. Apollo would eventually symbolize Roman virtue and austerity. Other Roman gods that took on Greek characteristics included Diana (Artemis), Mercury (Hermes), Neptune (Poseidon), Venus (Aphrodite), and Vulcan (Hephaestus).

We are not told by Josephus if Titus believed in Jehovah or not. However when Jehovah came in judgement He always used a nation or people as "instrument to judge” a nation.

The Lord said that He would ride into Egypt on a cloud to punish them: Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud, and is about to come to Egypt. The idol of Egypt will tremble at His presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them. (Isa. 19: 1). In the above verse. the Lord did NOT literally ride on a cloud. However. Egypt did receive this judgment at the hands of the Assyrians (Isa. 20:1-6) . When God used the means of a nation or people to carry out a judgment. He was said to come on the clouds.

In biblical language "clouds" are symbolic of God's wrath and judgment against the enemies of God's people. In Psalms 18 David described in graphic detail how God had delivered him from his enemies. He said God descended on the clouds, the earth was shaken, all creation was moved. This did not literally happen but is highly symbolic language to describe God's actions. Of course clouds also speak of God's divine presence and power.

This apocalyptic language was well known to all within the Jewish communities. This language was studied by all the congregation of Israel on the Sabbath in the synagogue. It was spoken in homes and by the rulers of Israel. This is the reason Jesus chose to use apocalyptic language as He described His SOON return to the people of His day.

The Apocalyptic language was never intended to be taken literally and leads to direct contradictions when literalized. When Jesus promised Caiaphas the high priest that he would see Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. (Matthew 26:57-65) He was using standard apocalyptic language to describe the time when he would put a full end to the Old World of Judaism. Caiaphas understood this highly symbolic language that describes God's actions. That is why tore his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. Why did Caiaphas believe the language Jesus was using was blasphemy? vs. 65 Caiaphas was a high priest of Israel, and he know the Old Testament. He know only the God of Israel can ride the clouds of heaven judgement.

In 70 AD Jesus destroyed the Old World of Judaism that had stood for over 1500 years. Remenber the real purpose of the whole episode, to accuse Stephen of the crime was that Jesus will destroy the Temple and the Mosaic law handed down to them. Acts.

The temple was the only place on earth where sacrifices could be offered; and only genealogically confirmed Levites could offer those sacrifices. National Israel had been God's chosen people to bring Messiah and his word. That purpose was now accomplished and Israel had rejected her own Messiah and kingdom. Concurrently, God was establishing a New Covenant and a New People.

When Christ came in judgment. He took that Old Nation out of the way. When Jerusalem was destroyed Jesus' claims were fully vindicated by the fulfillment of all prophecy, Luke 21:22. He was "seen" to be true when his predictions came to pass. He was revealed to be at the right hand of power on high when his prediction of Jerusalem's fall came to pass. This was the coming of the Lord. In short, Jesus never predicted to bodily return to this earth.

"The year A.D. 70 marked a turning point in the history not only of Judaism but also of Christianity. The military defeat which ended in the destruction of the Temple effected the young Jewish Church in several ways: It detached the Jewish Church from the old religious system, and thus allowed a greater measure of freedom and independence. The overthrow of the Jewish state served to confirm to the world that the saints were the true children of Abraham and son’s of God.

The only way to maintain a belief in the inspiration of the scriptures and Jesus is to be willing to believe he kept his words; this means a change in our beliefs about the nature of the coming.

All this occurred in Jesus’ contemporaries..