Your Bible Forum

                                                                             Two In The Field

Many people use these scriptures to support their theory about the rapture but let’s look at what is really being said in these versus.

Mat 24:17 
Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house.
Mat 24:18 
Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak.

Mat 24:40 
Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.
Mat 24:41 
Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

The 17th chapter of Luke also refers to the same thing but the 24th chapter of Matthew goes into more detail on this subject so we will study it.

First we need to take a look at what some believe the rapture is:

1. There are many Christians who believe that the second coming of Jesus Christ will be in two phases. First He will come for believers, both living and dead, in the “rapture”. In this view, the rapture—which is the transformation and catching up of all Christians, dead or alive, to meet Christ in the air—will be secret, for it will be unknown to the world of unbelievers at the time of its happening.

The effect of this removal, in the absence of multitudes of people, will, of course, be evident on earth. Then, second, after a period of seven years of tribulation on earth, Christ will return to the earth with His church, the saints who were raptured. He will be victorious over His enemies and will reign on the earth for a thousand years (the millennium) with His saints, the church.

After the thousand years, living unbelievers and the wicked dead now raised to life will be judged at the great white throne judgment. They will then be cast into the lake of fire, while the saved will live forever with Christ in a new heaven and earth.

2. Many other Christians believe that Christ’s return and the rapture will not occur until the seven years of the tribulation have ended. As far as the this view is concerned, the rapture will not be secret, since it will be part of Christ’s visible and triumphant return to end this present evil age. At this point, interpreters differ as to whether there will be a literal thousand year reign of Christ on earth or whether the white throne judgment and the new heaven and earth will immediately appear.

3. Rapture doctrine is widely believed today, but it did not exist before it "popped" into John Darby's head in 1830 AD. If the rapture were truly a biblical doctrine, it would agree with all other scriptural references to Christ’s coming. But it does not stand up to that test, as we will see.


Now let’s get back to these scriptures and see what Jesus is really telling us.

These versus are actually talking about an event that has already taken place which is the
destruction of  Jerusalem and the Temple. To get a full understanding we need to look at the 24th chapter of Matthew and look in more detail at what Jesus was talking about so let’s first take a look at what  happened when Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed.

During  the Passover in April of 70 AD Titus led the Romans into battle and laid siege to Jerusalem. The war lasted from April 70 AD to Sept 70 AD.
Here is a brief reminder of what the Passover is: (During the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem, Passover was a spring festival that lasted for 7 days. It was a celebration of the liberation of the Children of Israel, as commanded by God in Exodus 13 when they were led out of Egypt by Moses).

According to Josephus, 1.1 million died in Jerusalem, mainly as a result of the violence and famine. Many of the casualties were observant Jews from across the world such as Babylon and Egypt who had travelled to Jerusalem wanting to celebrate the yearly Passover but instead got trapped in the chaotic siege. He also tells us that 97,000 were enslaved.

Who was Josephus

Titus Flavius Josephus was a first-century Romano-Jewish scholar who was born in Jerusalem then part of Roman Judea. He initially fought against the Romans during the First Jewish–Roman War as head of Jewish forces in Galilee, until surrendering in 67 AD to Roman forces. Vespasian decided to keep Josephus as a slave and interpreter. After Vespasian became Emperor in 69 AD, he granted Josephus his freedom, at which time Josephus assumed the emperor's family name of Flavius.

Flavius Josephus fully defected to the Roman side and was granted Roman citizenship. He became an advisor and friend of Vespasian's son Titus, serving as his translator when Titus led the Siege of Jerusalem. He returned to Jerusalem with Titus in 70 A.D. and became an eyewitness to the final siege of Jerusalem. Josephus was made a Roman citizen by Vespasian.

Details of the destruction of Jerusalem as recorded by Josephus

It is necessary to look at the gruesome details of what actuall happened during the destruction of Jerusalem so that we can better understand Mat 24:21 which says: 
For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again.

Throughout the city people were dying of hunger in large numbers, and enduring unspeakable sufferings. In every house the merest hint of food sparked violence, and close relatives fell to blows, snatching from one another the pitiful supports of life. No respect was paid even to the dying; the ruffians [anti-Roman zealots] searched them, in case they were concealing food somewhere in their clothes, or just pretending to be near death. Gaping with hunger, like mad dogs, lawless gangs went staggering and reeling through the streets, battering upon the doors like drunkards, and so bewildered that they broke into the same house two or three times in an hour. Need drove the starving to gnaw at anything. Refuse which even animals would reject was collected and turned into food. In the end they were eating belts and shoes, and the leather stripped off their shields. Tufts of withered grass were devoured, and sold in little bundles for four drachmas.
    
  But why dwell on the commonplace rubbish which the starving were driven to feed upon, given that what I have to recount is an act unparalleled in the history of either the Greeks or the barbarians, and as horrible to relate as it is incredible to hear? For my part I should gladly have omitted this tragedy, lest I should be suspected of monstrous fabrication. But there were many witnesses of it among my contemporaries; and besides, I should do poor service to my country if I were to suppress the agonies she went through.

      Among the residents of the region beyond Jordan was a woman called Mary, daughter of Eleazar, of the village of Bethezuba (the name means "House of Hyssop"). She was well off, and of good family, and had fled to Jerusalem with her relatives, where she became involved with the siege. Most of the property she had packed up and brought with her from Peraea had been plundered by the tyrants [Simon and John, leaders of the Jewish war-effort], and the rest of her treasure, together with such foods as she had been able to procure, was being carried by their henchmen in their daily raids. In her bitter resentment the poor woman cursed and abused these extortioners, and this incensed them against her. However, no one put her to death either from exasperation or pity. She grew weary of trying to find food for her kinsfolk. In any case, it was by now impossible to get any, wherever you tried. Famine gnawed at her vitals, and the fire of rage was ever fiercer than famine. So, driven by fury and want, she committed a crime against nature. Seizing her child, an infant at the breast, she cried, "My poor baby, why should I keep you alive in this world of war and famine? Even if we live till the Romans come, they will make slaves of us; and anyway, hunger will get us before slavery does; and the rebels are crueler than both. Come, be food for me, and an avenging fury to the rebels, and a tale of cold horror to the world to complete the monstrous agony of the Jews." With these words she killed her son, roasted the body, swallowed half of it, and stored the rest in a safe place. But the rebels were on her at once, smelling roasted meat, and threatening to kill her instantly if she did not produce it. She assured them she had saved them a share, and revealed the remains of her child. Seized with horror and stupefaction, they stood paralyzed at the sight. But she said, "This is my own child, and my own handiwork. Eat, for I have eaten already. Do not show yourselves weaker than a woman, or more pitiful than a mother. But if you have pious scruples, and shrink away from human sacrifice, then what I have eaten can count as your share, and I will eat what is left as well." At that they slunk away, trembling, not daring to eat, although they were reluctant to yield even this food to the mother. The whole city soon rang with the abomination. When people heard of it, they shuddered, as though they had done it themselves.


The 24th chapter of Matthew contains a conversation between Jesus and his disciples as they left the Temple and began their walk back to Bethany where they were spending their nights. This may have been either Tuesday or Wednesday evening of the week before the Crucifixion. This was Jesus’ last visit to the Temple area. He would do no more preaching or public teaching. A casual remark by a disciple led Jesus to make a startling prophetic statement about the fate of the magnificent Temple.

Since this is a long chapter we will need to break it into sections. The scriptures are from the NIV.
It would be best to read the whole chapter first and then come back to go over it.

                                                  Jesus Foretells the Destruction of the Temple

Mat 24:1  Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call
                 his attention to its buildings.
• Although no one knows exactly what the Temple looked like, it must have been magnificent, for in its time it was considered one of the architectural wonders of the world. The Temple covered about one-sixth of the land area of the ancient city of Jerusalem. It was not one building, but a majestic mixture of porches, colonnades, separate small buildings, and courts surrounding the Temple.

Mat 24:2 
"Do you see all these things?" he asked. "Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will
                be thrown down."

• This particular prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD, when the Temple was destroyed and burned during the Siege of Jerusalem. All the gold in the temple is said to have melted down between the stone walls. The Romans then took the walls apart, stone by stone, to get the gold. The devastation of the temple by the Romans was so thorough that the precise location of the sanctuary is still unknown today. It has entirely disappeared from the face of the earth.

                                                                   Signs of the End of the Age

Mat 24:3  As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell
                 us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of
                 the end of the age?"
• First let’s remember in verse 34 that Jesus said this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened so we know he’s not talking about the end of the world.

Mat 24:4  Jesus answered:
"Watch out that no one deceives you.
Mat 24:5 
For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Messiah,' and will deceive many.
Mat 24:6 
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such
                 things must happen, but the end is still to come.

Mat 24:7 
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines
                 and earthquakes in various places.


• The map below shows that Israel was once divided into two kingdoms. Judah existed as an
   independent kingdom for about 300 years.
• We read above that the famines were so bad that a women killed and ate her own son.
• There were several earthquakes in those times to which our Lord refers; particularly one at Crete
   in the reign of Claudius, one at Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos. See Grotius. One at Rome,
   mentioned by Tacitus; and one at Laodicea in the reign of Nero, in which the city was
   overthrown, as were likewise Hierapolis and Colosse. One at Campania, mentioned by Seneca;
   and one at Rome, in the reign of Galba, mentioned by Suetonius in the life of that emperor. Add
   to all these, a dreadful one in Judea, mentioned by Josephus accompanied by a dreadful tempest,
   violent winds, vehement showers, and continual lightnings and thunders.


































Mat 24:8 
All these are the beginning of birth pains.
• Some versions use the term birth pain, some use sorrows and some use troubles but they all mean the same thing. The basic message of verses 6-8 is, whatever you do, DO NOT CONSIDER THESE DISASTERS AS SIGNS OF ANYTHING! They are not indications of the end, but of the beginning!

Mat 24:9 
"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated
                   by all nations because of me.

Mat 24:10 
At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,
Mat 24:11 
and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
Mat 24:12 
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
Mat 24:13 
but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Mat 24:14 
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to
                   all nations, and then the end will come.

•  Versus 9-14 is pretty much self explanatory.  Jesus personalized his prophecy by explaining that the disciples themselves would face severe persecution; thus, they must be on their guard in order to stay true to the faith. As the early church began to grow, the disciples’ allegiance to Jesus caused them to be hated all over the world.

                                                                   The Abomination of Desolation

Mat 24:15 
"So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,'
                   spoken of through the prophet Daniel--let the reader understand—
The line “let the reader understand” (24:15) means that those who read Matthew—which would have been written before AD 70—must be ready to flee when they see Roman armies besieging Jerusalem. Indeed, the parallel account in Luke 21 makes this point explicit: “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies . . . flee to the mountains” (Luke 21:10-24). In fact, many Christians did flee, sparing their lives, when they saw Rome's armies coming.

Take a look at Luke 21:20 -
"When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.

Mat 24:16 
then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
Mat 24:17 
Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house.
Mat 24:18 
Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak.
• This was already explained at the beginning.

Mat 24:19 
How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!
Mat 24:20 
Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.
• This means that conditions during winter travel could be rigorous and also the gates of Jerusalem would be closed on the sabbath (Nehemiah 13:19), which would make escape more difficult.

Mat 24:21 
For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until
                   now--and never to be equaled again.

• This was already discussed above in the section “Details of the destruction of Jerusalem as recorded by Josephus”

Mat 24:22 
"If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the
                   elect those days will be shortened.

• Those days are the ruthless bloodbath just described (Mat 24:21), identified as those days in which Christians must flee from Judea (Mat 24:19) at the time of the “desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place” (Mat 24:15). See also Mar 13:17; Mar 13:19 and Luk 21:23 which use “in those days” to identify this period. No flesh: Jesus is discussing only Hebrew flesh, i.e. the entire Jewish people, not all of humanity. Everyone in Israel would have been wiped out in the Roman malestrom that would take the nation and all its people with it. Jesus uses saved here, not of spiritual salvation, but in the sense of avoidance of death.

Mat 24:23 
At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Messiah!' or, 'There he is!' do not
                   believe it.

Mat 24:24 
For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders
                   to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

Mat 24:25 
See, I have told you ahead of time.
Mat 24:26 
"So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the wilderness,' do not go out; or, 'Here he
                   is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it.

Mat 24:27 
For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the
                  coming of the Son of Man.

Mat 24:28 
Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

                                                             The Coming of the Son of Man

Mat 24:29 
"Immediately after the distress of those days "'the sun will be darkened, and the moon
                   will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be
                   shaken.'

The Stars Will Fall From Heaven
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (Matt. 24:29). Premillennialists will often use this passage to "prove" that Matthew 24 is talking about the return of Christ instead of the destruction of the holy city. They will often say, "Just look outside at night -- the stars are still in the heavens right now."
To those unfamiliar with prophetic language the premillennialists sometimes sound convincing. However, a short trip through the Old Testament will show how similar language was used to describe the fall of monarchs and nations. Look at the following examples of God's righteous judgment and see how he describes the fall of national leaders:
Babylon (Isa. 13:10, 13)
Edom (Isa. 34:4-6)
The Peoples (Isa. 51:5-6)
Judah (Jer. 4:1-6, 23-28)
Egypt (Ezek. 32:7-8)
The Nations (Joel 3:15-16)
Nineveh (Nah. 1:1-5)
Israel (Amos 8:1-2, 9)

Mat 24:30 
"Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn
                  when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.


Mat 24:31 
And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds,
                from one end of the heavens to the other.


• I know many think this is referring to Jesus second coming but we know that’s not what it means because Mat 24:29 says “Immediately after the distress of those days.” which happened in 70AD. This is still referring to the destruction of Jerusalem.

• Robert Hawkers commentary explains it this way:
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (30) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (31) And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (32) Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: (33) So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. (34) Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. (35) Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
The darkening of the sun and moon, and falling of the stars, are certainly meant in a figurative way; and were intended to imply, that on the dispersion of the Jews, those awful events should follow which the Prophet foretold, when the Lord would cause the sun to go down at noon. See the whole prophecy, Amo_8:8 to the end. Neither when the Lord speaks of the Son of Man coming to judgment, could be meant, that immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem, would be the day of final judgment; but rather the judgment on the Jews, for rejecting the Lord of life and glory, and the sending of his Angels with the great sound of a trumpet, and gathering his elect, implies, his ministers going forth to preach the Gospel, which with the effect, is spoken of both by the Prophet and the Apostle. Isa_27:13; Rev_14:6. And the limitation of those events, to the then generation, in which Christ predicted them, is a plain proof to what they referred. For it was not full forty years after, when Jerusalem wan destroyed; so that consequently many lived to see the accomplishment.

•Albert Barnes commentary explains it his way:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days - That is, immediately after these tribulations, events will occur that “may be properly represented” by the darkening of the sun and moon, and by the stars falling from heaven. The word rendered “immediately” - means, properly, “straightway, immediately,” Mat_8:3; Mat_13:5; Mar_1:31; Act_12:10; then “shortly,” 3Jn_1:14. This is the meaning here. Such events would “shortly” or “soon” occur In the fulfillment of the predictions they would be “the next in order,” and would occur “before long.” The term here requires us to admit that, in order to the fulfillment of the prophecy, it can be shown, or it actually happened, that things “did” soon occur “after the tribulation of those days” which would be “properly represented or described” by the images which the Saviour employs. It is not necessary to show that there could not have been “a more remote” reference to events lying far in the future, in which there would be a more complete fulfillment or “filling up” of the meaning of the words (compare the notes at Mat_1:22-23); but it is necessary that there should have been events which would be “properly expressed” by the language which the Saviour uses, or which would have been in some proper sense “fulfilled,” even if there had not been reference to more remote events. It will be seen in the exposition that this was actually the case, and that therefore there was a propriety in saying that these events would occur “immediately” - that is, “soon, or the next in order.” Compare the notes at Rev_1:1.
Shall the sun be darkened ... - The images used here are not to be taken literally. They are often employed by the sacred writers to denote “any great calamities.” As the darkening of the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars, would be an inexpressible calamity, so any great catastrophe - any overturning of kingdoms or cities, or dethroning of kings and princes is represented by the darkening of the sun and moon, and by some terrible convulsion in the elements. Thus the destruction of Babylon is foretold in similar terms Isa_13:10, and of Tyre Isa_24:23. The slaughter in Bozrah and Idumea is predicted in the same language, Isa_34:4. See also Isa_50:3; Isa_60:19-20; Eze_32:7; Joe_3:15. To the description in Matthew, Luke has added Luk_21:25-26, “And upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; people’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” All these are figures of great and terrible calamities. The roaring of the waves of the sea denotes great tumult and affliction among the people. “Perplexity” means doubt, anxiety; not knowing what to do to escape. “Men’s hearts should fail them for fear,” or by reason of fear. Their fears would be so great as to take away their courage and strength.

                                                                      The Lesson of the Fig Tree

Mat 24:32 
"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves
                   come out, you know that summer is near.

Mat 24:33 
Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.

Mat 24:34 
Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have
                   happened.

A generation normally lasts 40 years in Scripture, and Jerusalem and its temple did fall within 40 years, as Jesus said. So his core prediction was fulfilled by AD 70.

Mat 24:35 
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

                                                            No One Knows That Day and Hour

Mat 24:36 
"But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,
                   but only the Father.

Mat 24:37 
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
Mat 24:38 
For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving
                   in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;

Mat 24:39 
and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them
                   all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

Mat 24:40 
Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.
Mat 24:41 
Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
• This was already explained at the beginning.

Mat 24:42 
"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
Mat 24:43 
But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the
                   thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be
                   broken into.

Mat 24:44 
So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do
                   not expect him.

Mat 24:45 
"Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the
                   servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?

Mat 24:46 
It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.
Mat 24:47 
Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
Mat 24:48 
But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'My master is staying away a
                   long time,'

Mat 24:49 
and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.
Mat 24:50 
The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an
                   hour he is not aware of.

Mat 24:51 
He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will
                   be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


A Short Summary

Nowhere does the 24 chapter of Matthew refer to the final return of Christ.

Jesus gave a series of clues which could be used by first-century saints to determine when Judaism’s fall would occur. A brief description of these is as follows (see versus 5-14):

• False “messiahs” would arise.
• There would be numerous military encounters.
• Famines and earthquakes would occur.
• Disciples would be persecuted.
• Some would “stumble,” i.e., depart from the faith.
• False prophets would be prevalent.
• Decreasing spirituality on the part of some saints would be evident.
• Those who endured would be delivered.
• The gospel would be published far and wide during these four decades.

Each of these was fulfilled by the time Jerusalem fell in A.D. 70.

Continuing, Christ declared that the impending invasion had been foretold in the book of Daniel (chapter fifteen). The Savior thus urged the disciples to be ready to flee the city, praying that God would providentially accommodate their departure (Matthew 24:16-19).

He described the intensity of the Roman assault and promised that God would intervene for “the elect’s” sake (vv. 21-22). The disciples were not to be swayed by false claims that Jesus had personally arrived, because, when that event actually occurred, it would be globally evident (vv. 23-27).

All of this would be a “sign” of the fact that “the Son of man in heaven” was orchestrating these events (vv. 29-30). It is important to observe that the Lord would be accomplishing “these things” from heaven, not from some position upon the earth. The result of Judaism’s demise would be a great gospel harvest, reminiscent of the Jubilee celebration of Old Testament fame (v. 31; cf. Luke 4:17-21).

Finally, just as the ancient citizen of Palestine could determine the coming of summer by the budding of the fig tree, even so, by reflecting upon the signals given by Christ, the disciples would be able to discern the approach of the promised calamity (vv. 32-33).

Judah, the southern part of the Jewish homeland

Judah - the place - refers to the southern part of the land of Israel and includes the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It covers most of the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea. Judah existed as an independent kingdom for about 300 years. This began about 2900 years ago when the country of Israel broke up into two separate kingdoms. The northern kingdom kept the name Israel and the southern kingdom became known as the Kingdom of Judah. Judah ceased as a kingdom when the Babylonians conquered it about 2600 years ago.


After a Jewish rebellion in 66 A.D., the Romans decided to quell the population once and for all. So Titus Flavius was sent with 70,000 men to siege the city, which had nearly 40,000 soldiers ready to defend it.

Surrounding the city with four legions in February, Titus tried to negotiate with the defenders, sending in the Jewish historian Josephus to talk with the leaders. However, he was wounded with an arrow, and the siege was on. The population of the city was slowly starved by the Roman blockade, and had to resort to eating whatever they could find, including leather and sewage.
Eventually, the Roman forces breached the wall, utilizing a secret, late-night attack, and began slaughtering citizens as they marched through the city. A number of buildings were razed to the ground and looted, including the Second Temple, which was destroyed against Titus’ orders. Nearly all of the surviving civilians were rounded up and sold into slavery, although a large percentage of them were just murdered in the streets. By September 7, the city was officially under Roman control.
A little more history on the destruction of Jerusalem.

“While the holy house (The Temple) was on fire, everything was plundered that came to hand, and ten thousand of those that were caught were slain; nor was there a commiseration of any age…but children and old men…and priests, were all slain in the same manner….The flame was also carried a long way, and made an echo, together with the groans of those who were slain…one would have thought the whole city would have been on fire. Nor can one imagine anything greater and more terrible than this noise.”

Jesus had warned His followers "Verily, I say unto you, There shall not be left here (Temple) one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." After the siege had lasted for 6 months, Titus captured the city and slaughtered more than a million Jews. In all, 1,356,460 Jews died and also the Roman soldiers. The famous wailing wall is part of the western portion of the retaining wall of the temple area.

Titus pressed the siege of Jerusalem, which was crowded with people because of the passover 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.

Some weeks later, after the legions had assaulted the walls and gained entrance like an irresistible stream, the Romans put to the sword all Jews whom they happened to encounter. 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. But the prophecy of the Redeemer had to be fulfilled; 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 the Jews 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. Josephus states that the Romans, having taken the city, brought their standards into the court of the temple, and placed them opposite the east gate, where they offered sacrifices to them. Many who survived were sold into slavery or taken to Rome for the wild beasts. The seven-branched candlestick, the golden table of the shew-bread and the golden trumpets were carried through the streets of Rome in triumph. The Emperor Hadrian dealt the final blow in 132, as a result of another revolt led by a so-called Messiah, Bar Cocheba (son of the star), the Jews were again massacred leaving another million victims. From then on, the Jews scattered over the face of the earth, became the wandering people, without temple or sacrifice, as predicted by the prophets.