Thou that Killeth the ProphetsBy: Darrell G. Young
Mathew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Luke 19:41-44 And when he (Jesus) was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
My imagination has always been overwhelmed by the Biblical account of this occasion when Jesus, after leaving Bethany and approaching the old city of Jerusalem from the East, came to a high point where he could view the layout of the city below. It is a certainty that Jesus knew how the panorama of human history would wind and twist over the condition and fate of Jerusalem. The Bible doesn’t record many instances of Jesus weeping, (Lazarus death, praying in the Garden, on the cross) yet upon reaching the city of Jerusalem on this particular occasion (pre Passover week-before his Triumphal entry) Jesus breaks out in weeping. Even before he descended down into the city, Jesus commented about the tragic spiritual condition of the holy City. Just as had been the case in the days of the prophets, Jerusalem remained a city whoring after other gods, and a city that simply did not recognize him. Soon the city would condemn him to death and accuse him of perverting the nation. (Luke 23:2) How ironic! The Messiah savior of Israel came unto Jerusalem riding upon a donkey offering deliverance, and got charged with the heinous crime of perverting his own nation. Truly it was that Jesus was a prophet without honor in his own country. (John 4:44)
The modern city of Jerusalem has eleven gates, of which only seven gates are open. In fact the eastern gate has been sealed shut to symbolize the denial of entry to the Messiah into Jerusalem. That fact stands in stark contrast to the Biblical New Jerusalem which will have twelve open gates, gates that will never be shut. When Rome destroyed the ancient Temple of Israel, it left only the outer retaining wall of the Temple Mount platform and complex. This outer wall shell, is known to Jews as the Kotel ha-Ma'aravi, and to most Westerners as the Western Wall. (wailing wall) Jews have flocked from around the world to pray at the Wailing Wall for centuries. Jews place many scraps of paper (kvitlach) containing prayers into the crevices of the 65-foot high wall, hoping for answers to prayer. Like Israel’s prophets of old, Jews continue today to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Three times a day for thousands of years Jews have prayed "To Jerusalem, thy city, shall we return with joy," and have repeated the Psalmist's oath: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning."
I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, and I and II Chronicles, as well as almost every one of the Old Testament prophets of Israel convey to us an enormous amount of information detailing why it came to pass that Israel was taken into exile in Babylon and why the magnificent First Temple came to be destroyed. The terrible loss of life and all the associated suffering which took place in Jerusalem on the 9th of Av, 586 B.C. were followed by a gradual restoration that culminated in the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Finally, by the time of Yeshua (Jesus), 600 years later, Israel once again enjoyed a modest place among the nations of the Middle East. Gone was the great military prowess she had enjoyed under King David. Gone was the Kingship for Israel had been a vassal state under foreign dominion for centuries. (the times of the Gentiles) However, a respectable Temple again stood in Jerusalem. Sacrifices and offerings and the externals of her religion were in place. The priesthood was corrupted and the number of the godly who were faithful to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was very few. There was little evidence of real spiritual life from God. The internal politics of a once unified people were divided into factions amongst the Herodians, Hellenists, Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Scribes. Thankfully there was a small believing remnant that remained faithful to the Holy One of Israel, and were concerned about Jerusalem and the people. The four Christian gospels say very little about the Temple in the days of Jesus, except for the words of the Disciples bragging about its splendor to Jesus as he met with them on the Mount of Olives. Except for a few brief words from Jesus there was no extensive public warning that the Second Temple was to be destroyed. The analysis of why this happened would be explained afterward, after the resurrection of Jesus. It was then that the Apostles (all Jews) confronted the nation with her grievous sins, and the fact that Israel had totally missed the special appointed time of her visitation from God, a visit personified in the manifestation of his only begotten son, Jesus Christ! After the death and ascension of Jesus, it wasn’t long until the faithful followers were driven out of Jerusalem and found refuge in Antioch. In just a short while after the death and resurrection of Jesus, the mad Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus, nicknamed Caligula desecrated the Holy Temple. Everywhere else in the Roman Empire subjugated peoples had been forced to conform to the cult of Rome and acknowledge not only Caesar as Lord but also fall into line by adopting the Roman pantheon of gods. The Jews had been left alone and now with the crucifixion of Jesus, it was decreed by Rome time the Jews begin to conform. Thus, Caligula gave an order to set up his statue in the Holy of Holies in the Temple, thus establishing a precedent for the Last Days act of the Antichrist known as the “abomination of desolation.”
The Fall of Jerusalem In 70 A.D.
"And Jesus went out, and departed from the Temple: and His disciples came to Him for to shew Him the buildings of the Temple. And Jesus said unto them, "See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (Matthew 24:1-2 )
About 40 years later, (32AD-70AD) and exactly as prophesied by Jesus Christ, the magnificent "Herod's Temple" was completely destroyed, leaving not one stone upon another. It was an event that marked the beginning of the long and arduous Jewish Diaspora. Yet, it was definitely an event foreseen in Bible prophecy. Jesus not only prophesied about the destruction of Jerusalem and its Holy Temple, but added the following statement: (Luke 21:24; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.)
The Jewish zealots, reacting in opposition to
Caligula’s campaign began a revolt against Rome, a revolt which led to Roman
legion soldiers from Syria destroying the food stocks of the Zealots and the
local Jewish population. The inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem died in great
numbers via starvation. (Luke 21:20-23) Roman General Titus encircled the city,
(later became Caesar) and began the siege of Jerusalem in April, A.D. 70. He
posted his 10th legion on the Mount of Olives, directly east of and overlooking
the Temple Mount. The 12th and 15th legions were stationed on Mount Scopus,
further to the east and commanding all ways to Jerusalem from east to north. On
the 10th of August, in A.D. 70 – (the 9th of Av) -- in Jewish calendar
reckoning, the very day when the King of Babylon burned the Temple in 586 B.C.,
the Temple was burned again. Titus took the city and put it to the torch,
burning the Temple, leaving not one stone upon another.
With the decline of the Greek Empire during the first century B.C. (again, exactly as prophesied by another prophet long before, (Daniel-leopard beast) the Romans began to expand their territorial holdings in the Mid-east. In 63 B.C., Roman forces under Pompey, a highly successful general and the son-in-law of Emperor Julius Caesar, captured the city of Jerusalem.
In 40 B.C., the Roman Senate appointed Herod, later known as Herod the Great, as the "client king" of Judea. Herod had previously served as the governor of Galilee, and was a personal friend of Mark Antony, before Antony was defeated by Octavian at Actium in 31 B.C., and then later a friend with Octavian himself. Octavian became the first Roman emperor as "Caesar Augustus" a man famous in Bible history for ordering the tax census that caused Joseph and Mary to travel to Bethlehem where the Messiah was born. Herod the Great ruled Judea for the next 36 years, during which he oversaw many grand building projects, including the magnificent Temple (referred to as "Herod's Temple"), and the fortress of Masada, among others. He is most infamous to Christians for his attempt to have the infant Christ killed, and failing that, then resorting to the slaughtering all of the male children, 2 years of age and under, in the Bethlehem vicinity (Matthew 2:1-28). Herod the Great died not long thereafter, upon which occasion Joseph brought his family back from Egypt and settled in Nazareth. Despite being under Roman occupation, the Jews, or more accurately the religious leadership of that time, the Pharisees and Sadduceees, were given near autonomy in religious matters. After the death of Herod the Great, Judea was reduced to a Roman province under a Roman appointed procurator. It was under the fifth procurator, Pontius Pilate, that Jesus Christ was crucified.
In 41 A.D. Herod the Great's kingdom was temporarily re-established (for about 3 years) for his grandson Herod Agrippa I. Like all of the rest, Herod Agrippa I had a very high opinion of himself, and issued a decree about 44 A.D., in which he went so far as to, in effect, claim to be divine, a blasphemous act for which God struck him down: "And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms." (Acts 12:21-23)
After the death of Herod Agrippa I, the procurators were put back in charge, however in 66 A.D. the Jews instigated a rebellion against Roman rule. In 70 A.D., after a 143-day siege which began at Passover, a Roman military force consisting of about 30,000 troops under the command of Titus battered the walls and entered the city. They destroyed everything, including Herod's Temple, exactly as spoken by Jesus Christ 40 years earlier. The population and the great number of Passover visitors who had been trapped there were brutally slaughtered, with an estimated 600,000 to 1,000,000 people killed. Roman General Titus took the precious booty and treasury of the Jerusalem Temple back to Rome, where many suspect it remains to this day. (arch of Titus)
The Roman army then moved over to the city of Caesarea (named after Caesar) on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea where a great many more Jews were killed. Over 90,000 were taken captive, including the famous historian Flavius Josephus who recorded the events of that era in his work, Wars of The Jews.By 70 A.D., Jerusalem and Judea were left desolate, most of the people either killed or being held in captivity, or had become refugees fleeing to remote lands. All that remained in Israel was the defiant little garrison atop the mount at Masada, a fortress complex south of the Dead Sea, which was built by Herod the Great. Thus when the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 the period of the second exile began. (Diaspora) The Jewish people were soon to be scattered throughout the earth. For the next 1900 years the Jews would have no authority in the land God gave to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The continued downtrodden history of the city of Jerusalem epitomizes the lamentations of its prophets, and the reasons that God allowed its destruction:
Isaiah 1:21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.
Lamentations 1:8 Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed: all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward.
Lamentations 2:13-14 What thing shall I take to witness for thee? what thing shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? what shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion? for thy breach is great like the sea: who can heal thee? Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment.
The Roman JerusalemAelia Capitolina was the title that the Romans gave to the quasi-city that they established on the site of Jerusalem after its destruction by Roman legions under Titus in 70 A.D. (exactly as prophesied by Jesus Christ 40 years before in Matthew 24:1-2). The name was concocted after the Second Jewish revolt of 132-135 to honor the emperor Hadrian and the pagan gods of the Roman trinity, Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. A temple to Jupiter was constructed right on the Temple Mount, and idols of Roman gods were erected throughout the city in a deliberate and malicious violation of God’s law. The area of Aelia Capitolina was walled and a varied population of foreign people was brought in, while nearly all Jews were forbidden to enter. The existing walls of the Old City today generally maintain the layout of the Roman walls of that time. Jerusalem was called by its Roman name for about 200 years until a version of Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century. Bible history and Bible Prophecy make very clear that any violation of Jerusalem, past or present, would not endure. God has very definite plans for the city that no human government or empire could ever stop. The Almighty God permitted occasional devastation of the city only as a punishment for His people who had become corrupt before Him. Many have tried, a few more are yet to try, but the result will always be the same for those who attempt to possess Jerusalem, they will ultimately find themselves fighting an impossible-to-win battle against God Himself.
A few Jerusalem facts:
Jerusalem is located on a high ridge, consisting of 3 hills. Along the east of the city is the Kidron Valley (in which runs the Brook Kidron, including the Pool of Gihon), to the south is the Valley of Hinnom, to the west is the Valley of Gehenna. The Mount of Olives, where Jesus was arrested, is just to the east, across the Kidron Valley. Archaeological studies indicate that the city is very ancient, having been established perhaps more than 2,000 years before it was captured from the Jebusites by King David of Israel, about 1,000 B.C. Jerusalem had earlier been named Salem (Genesis 14:18) and Jebus (1 Chronicles 11:4). Salem meant peace. The city is mentioned throughout the Bible, over 600 times in the Old Testament, less in the New Testament. The first mention of the name Jerusalem is found in Joshua chapter 10. The first Temple was constructed by Solomon over a period of about 12 years, with completion being around 950 B.C. The original Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar about 587 B.C. The first Temple lasted only about 360 years. The Herodian Temple, as constructed later by Herod the Great, existed at the time of Jesus Christ. It was a continuation of the earlier reconstruction work done by Jews who had been allowed to return by the Persians after the Babylonian Captivity. The second Temple was destroyed by the Roman Army under Titus in 70 A.D. at the conclusion of the Jewish War.
Lamentations 4:11-12 The Lord hath accomplished his fury; he hath poured out his fierce anger, and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath devoured the foundations thereof. The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem SyndromeEvery year, many people travel to Israel as tourists. Most have no problems, they stay for a little while, see the historical sights, and go home after a safe and enjoyable holiday. For a very small number of them however, their actual presence in the Holy Land is a traumatic experience. Suddenly, they fully realize that all of the places that they've read about for so long in the Bible are real, and they are quite overwhelmed by it. Ironically, the reality causes them to lose touch with reality.
Mental health officials in Israel, who have named the condition Jerusalem Syndrome, estimate that it affects about 1% of visitors to some degree. The condition is usually temporary and mild, and passes without notice, but a few actually begin to claim that they are one of the well-known people from Bible history, even Jesus Christ Himself. On top of all of their genuine security concerns, Israeli police and military forces occasionally find themselves having to deal with disturbances caused by these unfortunate individuals. Bible Prophecy speaks of a not-too-distant future visitor to Jerusalem who is also going to lose touch with reality. He isn't going to be suffering from Jerusalem Syndrome however, as much as he is going to be directly possessed by Satan. This individual isn't going to just think that he's some human from the Bible, he's going to claim to be God. Because of the great military and political power that he will possess beforehand, and his ability to perform actual "miracles" (as made possible by Satan) through his "Great False Prophet," hundreds of millions of people around the world will believe what he blasphemously claims. Here is just a little of what the Bible says about him:
But the prophets have foretold that Jerusalem shall rise again and once more become the home of a King. Isaiah informs us that the Lord has not forgotten the city that he chose for his name. Today it has become the locality that is at the heart of a cosmic controversy between the god of this world and the God of creation. God has chosen the city of Jerusalem to become yet again, as in the days of old, the habitation of his throne. (Jeremiah 25:30 and Zechariah 3:2)
Psalms 48:1-2 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth
were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new
Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for
Revelation 21:10-19 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
Zechariah 8:3 Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain.
Psalms 137:5-6 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.
Isaiah 62:1 For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.
Isaiah 62:6-7 I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
Psalms 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
There are presently about 200 independent countries in the world, each with its own capital city. Each nation rightly considers its capitol city to be the "center of the world" by its own citizens. Today, the United Nations forms the backdrop and inspiration for an international world capitol, and someday the Antichrist will likely formulate an effort to fashion his world capitol, and perhaps even in the city of Jerusalem. The city of Rome is known historically as the “eternal city.” But it is not going to be an eternal city. Ancient Babylon, which was the epitome of the world’s grandest urban utopia was known as the “golden city.” But Babylon will never be golden again, and its golden grandeur cannot rival the majestic beauty of the New Jerusalem. Yes, a new capitol city is coming, a city in which God will rule with absolute power and authority, ruling with truth and justice, politically and religiously from his world capital, a city that was chosen by God long ago, according to His will and his purpose. The name of that Capital City is New Jerusalem, which in Hebrew means “City of Peace,” and that is exactly what Jerusalem will be when the Messiah returns to rule all nations, from Mount Zion.
Finally at long last, Jerusalem will become the embodiment of Abraham’s sojourn of faith.
Hebrews 11:8-10 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Focus on Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry
By: Darrell G. Young