Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wars and Rumors of Wars.

“You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end (Matt. 24:6)."

Perhaps we have heard the expression “Pax Romana.” This speaks of a time of peace and prosperity that Rome supposedly brought to the world from 27 B.C. to A.D. 180. However, there was one period of time during this reign that was anything but peaceful. In fact, wars and rumors of wars is a very good description of this period especially for Israel. This, of course, is the years preceding the destruction of Jerusalem.

In A.D. 60 skirmishes between the Romans and the Jews began to break out. Wars and rumors of wars increased dramatically. When the Jews stopped the daily sacrifice for Caesar and the Roman people, the conflict intensified. This was considered an act of war.

Armies surrounded Jerusalem four times in all.

In A.D. 66 Cestius led Roman armies against Jerusalem. However, for no apparent reason he broke off his attack and retreated. The Jews pursued and killed many Romans thus humiliating the Roman army. This helped create the false assumption that God was on their side.

In A.D. 67 Vespasian led armies in siege against Jerusalem. However, at Nero’s death Vespasian withdrew his armies and returned to Rome.

After the death of Nero, Rome fell into civil war. Nation did rise against nation. Rome fell into chaos as the various factions vied for power. In fact, this period was so terrible that it was believed this was the end of the Roman empire. However, Vespasian was able to seize power and regain order. Then he turned the full might of Rome to unfinished business with Israel.

In A.D. 68 Idumeans from the south of Judea camped about the city. They had come to join zealots inside the city. A battle ensued in the temple area where 8,500 people lost their lives.

A.D. 70. The final one. This of course was Titus. Over a million people died in Jerusalem alone. Biblical Judaism has not been practiced anywhere in the world since.

The Jews rebelled against Rome so often there were always rumors of wars. Josephus records the fact that Roman civil wars were so common in the empire during this time that there was no need to write about them in any great detail.

All this occurred in Jesus’ contemporaries..