Wars & Rumors of Wars
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…” Mt. 24:7
In Position Paper #1 we listed a number of events that Jesus told His disciples would take place during the generation of time that they were living in. In this Position Paper we will provide evidence to support the actual fulfillment of another of the statements that Jesus made on that day, wars and rumors of wars.
There is no doubt in the mind of the author of this web site that the period of time encompassing the “generation” that Jesus spoke to in the passage above was filled with activity that fulfilled the prophecy He made at that time. Listed below are a number of events that lead me to this conclusion.
A. The Roman emperor Gaius Caligula who was the procurator of Judea during the period of AD 37–41, ordered a statue of himself to be set up in the temple in Jerusalem. The Jews, quite naturally, reacted violently to this action which caused a heightened tension of war. So imminent was the threat of war that Josephus wrote that the Jews neglected to till the land because of the impending war. Before any such erruption took place, Caligula died by assassination on January 24, AD 41, and the order was rescinded thereby preventing warfare.
B. A Jewish/Syrian battle took place over the control of the city of Caesarea. The Jewish contingent claimed that the city was theirs on the grounds that the Jewish king Herod had built the city. The Syrian position was that since king Herod had set up statues and temples in the city he could not have intended it to be for the Jews, but rather, it was a Greek city. The dispute ended in open fighting where 20,000 Jews lost their lives. In follow–up to this, the Jews attacked the Syrians in their surrounding cities killing many. In return, the Syrians murdered 13,000 in Seythopolis (also known as Beisan), and 2,500 in Ascalon. Another 2,000 were killed at Ptolemais. In Damascus 10,000 Jews were killed.
C. A war took place between Herod and Aretas who was the king of Arabia.
D. In Selucia, the Greeks and the Syrians came against the Jews. 50,000 Jewish people were lost in the fighting.
E. Five years after the incident in D above, the Jews in Perea fought against the inhabitants of Philadelphia over the location of the city limits and many Jews lost their lives.
F. Four years after the events of E above, the Jewish people had gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Unleavened Bread. One of the Roman soldiers who was stationed in the area exposed himself indecently turning his backside to the Jews and making a noise as indecent as his physical exposure. The Jews appealed to the local Roman procurator, Ventidius Cumanus (48–52 procuratorship), to punish the soldier, but while the appeal was being made some of the Jews began hurling stones at the soldiers. Cumanus, who now feared for his own safety, called in reinforcements and when they arrived the Jews panicked and fled into the city so violently that more than ten thousand were crushed to death. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 20, Chapter 5, Lines 105–117).
G. About four years after the incident of F above, there was an altercation between the Galileans and Jews against the Samaritans. The event was precipitated in the city of Gema when a Galilean was murdered as the Jews were going up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. When word of the murder reached Jerusalem, the people rose up and under the leadership of Eleazer came down upon the Samaritans slaughtering them and setting fire to their villages.
H. During the Roman procuratorship of Gessius Florus (AD 64–66), the Jews broke out in open rebellion against the Romans. For many years sacrifice had been made in the temple for the Roman emperor. Eleazer, who was the temple captain at that time, ordered these sacrifices to cease. Gessius Florus in the year 66 took his military and raided the temple treasury of 17 talents which is about 35,000 ounces of silver. When the Jewish people protested and rebelled, Florus turned his troops on the people resulting in murder, rape and plunder killing about 3,600 Jews. During this skirmish the high priest was killed and his home burned along with the official archives where all Jewish public records were kept.
I. In AD 67 the Roman general Vespasian led 60,000 Roman soldiers into Galilee. They conquered Jotapata after a siege of 47 days in the summer of 67 and the remainder of Galilee after a short period of time with over 100,000 Jews being killed or sold into slavery.
Wars and rumors of wars occupied most of the time from the crucifixion of Christ until the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. The historical record of this time period more than satisfies the words that Jesus uttered to His disciples in Matthew 24:7!