Sunday, November 27, 2011

And the ten horns which you saw on a the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.

Revelation 17:16 And the ten horns which you saw on a the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. As we have seen the book of Revelation is not hard to understand as long as we keep it within its original first century setting.

During the early days of Christianity it was seen as just another sect of Judaism. In Philippians 4:22, we learn of saints in "Caesar's household," which at that time would be Nero's household. The good news of the gospel gave an impulse to the growth of Christianity. (Act 2:47) Soon after the Jewish authorities felt threatened by this new oddball religion of “righteousness without works” and convinced Rome that it was not apart of legal Judaism, and a unlawful, religion.

Because Rome had the men and ships to stomp out Christianity were every it started. Israel entered into a alliance with Roman in order to destroying the church. John uses the symbol of a women sitting on a scarlet beast to picture this arrangement between Israel and Roman to destroying the Church. (Revelation 17:2-3) The alliance between Israel and Rome against the Church had been temporarily successful.

Now God would step in to alter the course of events. God would now use the same beast, “Roman” as a instrument of judgment on the harlot women. Revelation 17:16 tells us that the beast and the ten kings will “hate the harlot” and destroy the harlot with fire. God has put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. v. 17

This was accomplished by God sending the Jews a strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 2Thessalonians 2:11 The nation of Israel thought God was going to restore a earthly throne in literal Jerusalem. They thought the world to come would consist of a literal fulfillment of all their Messianic prophecies. She wanted her types and shadows to be fulfilled in a literalistic or nationalistic manner being blinded by the earthly or carnal system of Moses. So the Jews foolishly believed the time had come for them to “throw off the Roman yoke” that they were under and thereby established the kingdom of her prophecies which proved to be her complete destruction. There is no doubt that this Zealot rebellion movement was filled with a theocratic ideal and fervent messianic hopes.

Rome did not initiate the war against Jerusalem. Jerusalem was already under the authority and control of Rome. Headstrong man in Jerusalem itself, kept irritating the people and inciting them to rebel against Rome. The people quit paying their taxes. This would have been sufficient in itself to cause Rome to turn against Jerusalem. In November of 66 Jewish Zealots had driven all Roman forces from Jerusalem and had actually slain more than 600 Roman troops. The bull-necked emperor Nero gave two simple commands - destroy Jerusalem - level the temple. The Romans knew the world was watching and knew that the stakes were high. If the Jews were to win their independence the whole empire would be in revolt.

When Jerusalem was surrounded, the Christians were to think of their safety, and seize the first opportunity for flight. The expression “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. (Revelation 8:4) Is similar to Jesus’ warning when these things started happening to flee into the mountains. (Matthew 24:16-20) Had they not left Jerusalem they two would have been caught in the judgement.

Nero picked the heavy, plodding fifty seven year old commoner Vespasian, who would be assisted by his energetic son Titus. Josephus tells us that when Cestius Gallus had earlier come with his army against Jerusalem, after some time he raised the siege many of the oldest of the Jews went out from Jerusalem as from a sinking ship. He says that a few years later, when Vespasian come with his troops against Jerusalem, a great multitude fled from Jerusalem to the mountains for security.

Titus pressed the siege of Jerusalem, which was crowded with people because of the paschal festivities, cutting off the water and food supply. The besieged were terribly hard pressed by these tactics, as well as by the insufferable heat. Those who tried to escape were captured and crucified before the very walls as an example to others. According to Josephus, such famine that a mother actually ate the flesh of her own small son. He tells of 2,500,000 assembled at the last Passover just before the city was taken by Titus. 1,000,000 perished in the siege, 347,000 perished in other places. Of the remainder, 97,000 were carried into captivity and 11,000 starved through neglect or sullen refusal of food. On July 17th the daily sacrifices were interrupted.

The Romans put to the sword all Jews whom they happened to encounter. The Temple swam with the blood of more than 8000 Zealots. Titus desired greatly that the Temple should be spared, and promised to spare the Jews if they would stop their resistance. Several times he sent Josephus to persuade his countrymen, but the providence of God directed otherwise

First the Jews themselves set fire to the court of the temple, and afterwards the Romans. Fire consumed the buildings and the temple went up. The destruction of the temple occurred on the Jewish Sabbath, August 10th, 70. When Jerusalem was captured, the temple was burned and scavengers would turn over every stone to retrieve the melted gold. The Jewish people were expatriated, and never since has sacrifice been offered up to God on Jewish altars.

After bitter fighting and frightful massacres, in September of 70, after a stubborn and desperate resistance, the city fell and the national existence of biblical Judaism came to an end. The Holy City was taken and burned, and the Tenth Legion encamped in the ruined temple. The temple was leveled to the ground and utterly destroyed. Only the Roman garrison was left. John’s prophecy that the “beast, will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire had been fulfilled.

Many years before John made his prophecy about the beast, burning the harlot with fire Ezekiel had this to say. "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 'Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so I will give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem; 'and I will set My face against them. They will go out from one fire, but another fire shall devour them. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I set My face against them. 'Thus I will make the land desolate, because they have persisted in unfaithfulness,' says the Lord GOD." (Ezekiel 15:6)