Discussion All Areas Of Systematic Theology
I got some sources of information which I thought you should check them out. I don't know if they mean anything to you but we should see the Bible as face value, i.e. "this generation", "at hand", "shortly", "quickly", "about to", etc. The judgment was upon the apostate Israel (Matt. 19:28; Luke 21:22-23, 32; Luke 22:30) during AD 66-70 which last for 42 months (3 and half years). What surprised me is that many Christians do not aware about these events.
1. Josephus (Jewish historian in the 1st century) Wars Book 6, Chapter 5, Sections 2 and 3:
(18.104.22.1686) Now, there was then a great number of false prophets suborned by the tyrants to impose upon the people, who denounced this to them, that they should wait for deliverance from God: and this was in order to keep them from deserting, and that they might be buoyed up above fear and care by such hopes.
War 6:288 (22.214.171.1248) Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such as belied God himself; while they did not attend, nor give credit, to the signs that were so evident and did so plainly foretell their future desolation; but, like men infatuated, without either eyes to see, or minds to consider, did not regard the denunciations that God made to them.
War 6:289 (126.96.36.1999) Thus there was a star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year.
War 6:290 (188.8.131.520) Thus also, before the Jews’ rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war, when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus [Nisan], and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright day time; which light lasted for half an hour.
War 6:291 (184.108.40.2061) This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskillful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes, as to portend those events that followed immediately upon it.
War 6:296 (220.127.116.116) So these publicly declared, that this signal foreshowed the desolation that was coming upon them. Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the twenty-first day of the month Artemisius [Jyar],
War 6:297 (18.104.22.1687) a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it,
War 6:298 (22.214.171.1248) and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sunsetting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen
War 6:299 (126.96.36.1999) running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise,
and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, “Let us remove hence.”
2. Eusebius (Christian historian in the 4th century), Ecclesiastical History, Book 3, Chapter 8, Sections 1-6:
1 Taking, then, the work of this author, read what he records in the sixth book of his History. His words are as follows:94 “Thus were the miserable people won over at this time by the impostors and false prophets;95 but they did not heed nor give credit to the visions and signs that foretold the approaching desolation. On the contrary, as if struck by lightning, and as if possessing neither eyes nor understanding, they slighted the proclamations of God.
2 At one time a star, in form like a sword, stood over the city, and a comet, which lasted for a whole year; and again before the revolt and before the disturbances that led to the war, when the people were gathered for the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth of the month Xanthicus, at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone about the altar and the temple that it seemed to be bright day; and this continued for half an hour. This seemed to the unskillful a good sign, but was interpreted by the sacred scribes as portending those events which very soon took place.
3 And at the same feast a cow, led by the high priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple.
4 And the eastern gate of the inner temple, which was of bronze and very massive, and which at evening was closed with difficulty by twenty men, and rested upon iron-bound beams, and had bars sunk deep in the ground, was seen at the sixth hour of the night to open of itself.
5 And not many days after the feast, on the twenty-first of the month Artemisium, a certain marvelous vision was seen which passes belief. The prodigy might seem fabulous were it not related by those who saw it, and were not the calamities which followed deserving of such signs. For before the setting of the sun chariots and armed troops were seen throughout the whole region in mid-air, wheeling through the clouds and encircling the cities.
6 And at the feast which is called Pentecost, when the priests entered the temple at night, as was their custom, to perform the services, they said that at first they perceived a movement and a noise, and afterward a voice as of a great multitude, saying, ‘Let us go hence.’
3. Tacitus (Roman historian in the 1st century), Histories, Book 5:
Prodigies had occurred, which this nation, prone to superstition, but hating all religious rites, did not deem it lawful to expiate by offering and sacrifice. There had been seen hosts joining battle in the skies, the fiery gleam of arms, the temple illuminated by a sudden radiance from the clouds. The doors of the inner shrine were suddenly thrown open, and a voice of more than mortal tone was heard to cry that the Gods were departing. At the same instant there was a mighty stir as of departure. Some few put a fearful meaning on these events, but in most there was a firm persuasion, that in the ancient records of their priests was contained a prediction of how at this very time the East was to grow powerful, and rulers, coming from Judaea, were to acquire universal empire.
4. Sepher Yosippon (A Mediaeval History of Ancient Israel) translated from the Hebrew by Steven B. Bowman. Excerpts from Chapter 87 "Burning of the Temple":
For one year before Vespasian came, a single great star shining like unsheathed swords was seen over the Temple. And in those days when the sign was seen it was the holiday of Passover and during that entire night the Temple was lit up and illuminated like the light of day, and thus it was all seven days of the Passover. All the sages of Jerusalem knew that it was a malevolent sign, but the rest of the ignorant people said that it was a benevolent sign.
…Now it happened after this that there was seen from above over the Holy of Holies for the whole night the outline of a man's face, the like of whose beauty had never been seen in all the land, and his appearance was quite awesome.
Moreover, in those days were seen chariots of fire and horsemen, a great force flying across the sky near to the ground coming against Jerusalem and all the land of Judah, all of them horses of fire and riders of fire. When the holiday of Shavu'oth came in those days, during the night the priests heard within the Temple something like the sound of men going and the sound of men marching in a multitude going into the Temple, and a terrible and mighty voice was heard speaking: "Let's go and leave this House."
5. Pseudo-Hegesippus, Chapter 44. (Translated from the Latin by Wade Blocker. This excerpt taken from the Latin edited by Vincente Ussani):
Also after many days a certain figure appeared of tremendous size, which many saw, just as the books of the Jews have disclosed, and before the setting of the sun there were suddenly seen in the clouds chariots and armed battle arrays, by which cities of all Judaea and its territories were invaded. Moreover in the celebration itself of the Pentecost the priests entering the interior of the temple at night time, that they might celebrate the usual sacrifices, assered themselves at first to have a felt a certain movement and a sound given forth, afterwards even to have heard shouted in a sudden voice "we cross over from here."
I found another one:
6. The "Bet Kol" and the Destruction of the Temple at AD 70:
During Judah's apostasy during the 6th century BC, the prophet Ezekiel saw the Glory Cloud depart from the Temple and travel east, to the Mount of Olives (Ezek. 10:18-19; 11:22-23); later, in his vision of the New Jerusalem, he sees the Glory-Cloud returning to dwell in the new Temple, the Church (Ezek. 43:1-5). This vision was fulfilled when Christ, the incarnate Glory of God, ascended to His Father in the Cloud from the Mount of Olives (Luke 24:50-51) and sent His Spirit to fill the Church during the Feast of Pentecost--around AD 30.
A later image of this transfer of God's Glory can be found in Jewish historical writings. At Pentecost at AD 66, as the priests in the Temple were going about their duties, there was heard "a violent commotion and din" followed by "a voice as of a host crying, 'We are departing hence!'" This departure of the Deity from the temple at Pentecost of AD 66 was exactly 36 years after the Holy Spirit was first given in power to the apostles and the others at the first Christian Pentecost recorded in Acts Chapter Two. And now, again on Pentecost day, the witness was given that God himself was abandoning the Temple at Jerusalem. This meant that the Temple was no longer a holy sanctuary and that the building was no more sacred than any other secular building.
Remarkably, Jewish writings state that the Jews had come to recognize that the Shekinah glory of God left the Temple at this time [AD 66] and remained over the Mount of Olives for 3.5 years. During this period a voice was heard to come from the region of the Mount of Olives asking the Jews to repent of their doings (Midrash - Lam. 2:11). This has an interesting bearing on the history of Christianity because we know that Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected from the dead on the Mount of Olives -- the exact region the Jewish records say the Shekinah glory of God remained for the 3.5 years after its departure from the Temple on Pentecost, AD66. The Jewish reference states that the Jews failed to heed this warning from the Shekinah glory (which they called "Bet Kol", the voice of God), and that it left the earth and retreated back to heaven just before the final seige of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD70.
From Pentecost AD 66, no thinking person among the Christians who respected these obvious miraculous signs associated with the Temple could believe that the structure was any longer a holy sanctuary of God. Josephus himself summed up the conviction of the many people who came to believe that God "had turned away even from his sanctuary" (Wars, 2.539), and that the Temple was "no more the dwelling place of God" (Wars, 5.19), because "the Deity has fled from the holy places" (Wars, 5.412).
7. Another one from other source:
Writing while these events were still uppermost in the minds of the Jews, St. John declares that the Shekinah, the Glory of God, rests on the true Holy Temple/City and consummate Paradise: the Bride of Christ (Revelation 21:9-11).
YEHOVAH's "Shekinah" remained in the Temple all through the life and death of the Messiah and up to the year 66 A.D. -- when it was seen leaving the Temple and alighting on the Mount of Olives. Notice!
There is also another reason why Christians in the first century were very interested in the Mount of Olives. This is because it was believed that the Shekinah Glory of God which supposedly dwelt inside the Holy of Holies at the Temple left the sanctuary and went to the Mount of Olives and hovered over that spot at the time of the Roman/Jewish War which ended in A.D. 70. The fact that the Shekinah Glory left the old Temple and migrated to the top of the Mount of Olives was an important event to Eusebius [church historian and scholar A.D. 260?-340?]. -- Secrets of Golgotha, by Ernest L. Martin. 1988: ASK Publications, Alhambra, CA. P. 83.
8. In Eusebius' book Proof of the Gospel we find this passage –
Believers in Christ congregate from all parts of the world, not as of old time because of the glory of Jerusalem, nor that they may worship in the ancient Temple at Jerusalem, but...that they may worship at the Mount of Olives opposite to the city, whither the glory [the Shekinah Glory] of the LORD [YEHOVAH, YHVH] migrated when it left the former city. (Book VI, Chapter 18 (288)).
According to Eusebius the "Shekinah" Glory left the Temple and hovered over the Mount of Olives during "the siege of Jerusalem" (66 A.D. to 70). However, Eusebius was not the only observer who mentioned that the "Shekinah" Glory left the Temple before the destruction of the Temple and hovered over the Mount of Olives. A Jewish rabbi named Jonathan -- who was an eyewitness to the destruction of Jerusalem -- said the "Shekinah" Glory left the Temple and for three and a half years
"abode on the MOUNT OF OLIVES hoping that Israel would repent, but they did not; while a Bet Kol [a supernatural voice from heaven] issued forth announcing, Return, O backsliding children [Jer. 3:14]. Return unto Me, and I will return unto you [Mal. 3:7], when they did not repent, it said, I WILL RETURN TO MY PLACE [Hosea 5:15]" (Midrash Rabbah, Lamentations 2:11). -- Secrets of Golgotha, by Ernest L. Martin. 84.
There was yet another writer who recorded the fact of the "Shekinah" presence of YEHOVAH God moving from the Temple in Jerusalem just before the war with the Romans. Josephus mentioned that in the Spring of 66 A.D. some astonishing events took place within the Temple. He recorded three miracles associated with YEHOVAH's "Shekinah" and the Temple -- and each one showed clearly that the "Shekinah" was departing from the Holy of Holies. In War VI, 290 he stated "that a GREAT LIGHT shone over the altar for thirty minutes at 3 o'clock in the morning (a week before Passover in A.D. 66) and then it DEPARTED. He said the sacred scribes interpreted this sign as a bad omen for the Temple. It was like the Shekinah Glory moving away from the Tabernacle in the wilderness as a sign to disassemble the Tabernacle and transport it to another location" (ibid.).
Josephus goes on to say that "a few days later (during Passover itself) the enormous brass gates of Nicanor, requiring twenty men to open and close them, opened at midnight of their own accord (War VI, 293-295). This was also interpreted as showing a desolation coming upon the Temple. And then, about fifty days later, on Pentecost, the final sign was given which definitely showed that the Shekinah Glory was departing the Temple as the other signs indicated (ibid.):
Moreover, at the festival which is called Pentecost, the priests on entering the inner court of the Temple at nightfall, as their custom was in accomplishment of their ministrations, stated that they first became aware of a commotion and a roar, and after that the voice of a great multitude saying "We are departing hence" (War VI, 299).
When we couple Josephus' information with that of Rabbi Jonathan (also an eyewitness) we can see that the "Shekinah" went directly to the Mount of Olives and remained over the top of the mountain for 3 and 1/2 years -- from late Spring in 66 A.D to about December of 69 A.D, some eight months before the Temple was destroyed by the Romans. It then went back to heaven and had not returned to earth up to the time he wrote.
The Son of Man (Jesus) already came in the glory with his holy angels in 66 AD as he and the Apostles predicted: Matt. 13:41-43; 16:27-28; 24:29-31; 25:31; Mark 8:38; 9:1; 13:26-27; Luke 9:26-27; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; 2 Thes. 1:4-10; Jude 14-15.
All these things were upon Jesus and the Apostles' generation: Matt. 11:16; 12:38, 41-45; 16:4; 23:36; 24:34; Mark 8:38; 9:1; 13:30; Luke 7:31; 11:29-32, 50-51; 17:25; 21:32; Acts 2:40; Phil. 2:15; Heb. 3:9-11.