Jesus' Prophecy - The Temple

Jewish Temple during Jesus time

The destruction of the Jewish Temple by the Romans in 70 A.D. was recorded by the first century historian Josephus, who witnessed the events first hand.

Josephus writes in his history entitled the 'Jewish War': "In the morning Titus commanded that the fires should be put out and that a road should be built to the gates to allow entry for his troops. His generals then came together to discuss what should be done with the temple. Some wanted to destroy it, because it would give the Jews a reason for uprising. Others argued that if the Jews would clear out of the temple it should be allowed to stand, but if they were to use it as a fortress, it should be destroyed. Titus then gave the command that no matter what happened, the temple should be spared, because it would always be a great tribute to the empire. Three of his chief generals agreed, and the meeting was disbanded.

. . . Titus then went into Antonia, intending the next morning to attack and overwhelm the temple with his entire force. But on that day, the tenth of Lous [August 30, 70 A.D.], the same day on which Solomons temple had been destroyed by the king of Babylon, the structure was doomed. The rebels again attacked the Romans after Titus retreated, and a battle took place between the temple guards and the Roman troops who were trying to put out the flames in the inner court. The Romans scattered the Jews and pursued them into the sanctuary. At the same time, a soldier recklessly grabbed a torch. He hurled the fire-stick through the doors made of gold, on the north side, which allowed entry to the chambers around the sanctuary. On seeing the flames, a cry went up from the Jews, and caring nothing for their lives, they rushed forward to put out the fire. A messenger rushed to the tent of Titus to inform him of the fire. Immediately, Titus ran to the temple to put out the flames. But because of the battle that raged on, the soldiers either could not or would not hear his commands. The wrath of his troops could not be stopped, and at the doorway many soldiers were trampled by their own forces. There among the burning ruins they fell, sharing the same fate as their enemies.

Pretending not to hear the commands of their general, and filled with hatred, the soldiers rushed on, hurling their torches into the temple.

Romans burning the Jewish temple in 70 A.D.

The helpless rebels made no attempt at defense. Fleeing for their lives, with bloodshed all around, many civilians were caught in the battle. Even the steps of the altar were stained with the blood of the dead.

When Caesar could not hold back his troops, he and his generals entered the temple and viewed for the last time the Most Holy Place. Since the fire had not yet reached the inside, but was still feeding the outside chambers, Titus made one last effort to save the structure. Ordering a centurion to club anyone if they disobeyed his commands, he rushed forward and pleaded with his soldiers to put out the flames. But because of their hatred of the Jews and their desire for riches, the soldiers disregarded the orders of their general. Seeing that all the surroundings were made of gold, they assumed that there would be great treasures inside. Titus then ran out to hold back his troops, but one of those who had entered with him thrust a torch into the hinges of the temple gate, and a mighty fire shot up inside. Caesar and his generals fled for safety, and thus, against his wishes, the sanctuary was burned. . . . The city and the temple was then leveled to the ground by the command of Caesar. Only the highest towers and part of the western wall remained to show all mankind how the Romans overpowered such a strong fortress.

Thus by the command of Caesar the following prophecy of Jesus came true:

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! "See! Your house is left to you desolate; "for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' "

Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple.

And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Matthew 23:37-24:2


Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."

Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. John 2:19-22

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Sources used in compiling data and illustrations for this article:

The Holy Bible, Author: The Lord God. Scripture is taken from the New King James Version unless noted.

The author and publisher gratefully acknowledges the following resources used in compiling data and illustrations for this publication.

Josephus The Essential Writings, Author: Paul L. Maier. ISBN 0-8254-2964-1, Pg.359-361 Account of the Temples destruction. Excerpts taken from Jewish War Book 6:236.

Artwork: The Temple Illustrated in History of the World Vol 1' (1909) Author: J.C. Ridpath. Publisher: Jones Brother Publishing Company.

Artwork: Roman Soldiers Torching the Temple Illustrated in History of the World Vol 3' (1909) Author: J.C. Ridpath. Publisher: Jones Brother Publishing Company.

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