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Christogenea on Talkshoe, August 12th, 2011 – Matthew Chapter 24
Last week we saw at the end of Matthew Chapter 23 that Christ exclaimed to the Judaeans “Behold, your house is left to you desolate!” We then saw from Daniel 9:24-27 that Christ was really only confirming something that Yahweh had long ago prophesied through Daniel. Here I shall repeat Daniel 9:24-27 once again, which is Daniel's 70-Weeks Prophecy concerning the advent of the Messiah: “24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Christ then exclaimed “For I say to you, by no means may you see Me from now until you should say ‘Blessed is He coming in the name of Yahweh’!” But His triumphant march into Jerusalem had already happened prior to this statement, and therefore those words must have yet another fulfillment.
Matthew 24 1 And departing Yahshua went from the temple, and His students came forth to point out to Him the buildings of the temple. 2 Then He responding said to them: “Do you see all these things? Truly I say to you, by no means should there be left here a stone upon a stone which shall not be thrown down!”
We have just heard Daniel's prophecy that the destruction of Jerusalem would follow the cutting off of the Messiah. Paul of Tarsus understood this. When he wrote his epistle to the Romans circa 56 AD, he closed it by stating “Now Yahweh of peace will crush the Adversary under your feet quickly. ” The Romans destroyed Jerusalem, killing 1.1 million Judaeans in a five-year war, according to Josephus, about 14 years later. Evidently very few of them could have been Christians.
Matthew 24 3 Then with His sitting upon the Mount of Olives the students came forth to Him by themselves, saying: “Tell us, when shall these things be?” and “What is the sign of Your coming, and of the consummation of the age?”
The version of this exchange in Mark's Gospel states at 13:3: “And upon His being seated in the Mount of Olives opposite the temple they questioned Him by themselves, Petros and Iakobos and Iohannes and Andreas: 'Tell us, when shall these things be? And what is the sign when all these things would be about to be accomplished?'” Luke's account also has only two questions, at 21:7: “Then they questioned Him, saying “Teacher! So when shall these things be?” and “What is the sign when these things are going to come?””
Here we see from Matthew that the apostles asked Christ three separate questions:
“Tell us, when shall these things be?”, in reference to His statements concerning the destruction of Jerusalem.
“What is the sign of Your coming...?” in reference to the ultimate return of the Christ, and
“...and of the consummation of the age?” in reference to Christ's many statements which mention the end of the age, or world as the King James Version has it, such as at Matthew 13:40 and the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares where Christ says “Therefore just as the tares are gathered and burn in fire, thusly it shall be at the consummation of the age.”
Yet Mark and Luke each recorded only two of the questions. This is not to say that Mark's or Luke's Gospels conflict with Matthew's. We should only observe that Mark's and Luke's accounts are from different perspectives, and facts were remembered differently. Note that Mark describes only four apostles engaged in this dialogue with Christ, a fact which Matthew and Luke omitted. One person remembers three parts of an event, out of perhaps three or four or five or more, and another person either remembers or feels it only matters enough to record two of the three parts, or three parts of a four-part event where one of those parts is not recorded by the first person who related the event.. That is not a discrepancy, rather it is human, and happens all the time when various people recollect the same event. We may have parts of an event that we can label A, B, C, D,and E, and one person recalls and records A, C and D while a second records B, D and E. Both accounts are true, yet neither is complete by itself. Thus is the nature of the Gospel accounts.
The apostles could not have known that the answers to these questions would describe separate events, which would occur many years apart from each other. They imagined the end of Jerusalem to mark the end of the age and the return of Christ. Many Christian Preterists hold that same errant conclusion today. Christ did not clarify the matter for us, giving one long discourse in a single answer to all three questions. It is a challenge for us to sort it out, and it must be said that none of us are going to be able so do so clearly.
Matthew 24 4 And replying Yahshua said to them: “Watch lest anyone should deceive you! 5 For many shall come by My Name saying ‘I am the Christ’, and they shall deceive many.
Mark 13:5 Then Yahshua began to speak to them: “Watch that not anyone would deceive you! 6 Many shall come in My Name saying that ‘I am He’, and they shall deceive many.
Luke 21:8 And He said “Watch that you are not deceived. For many shall come by My Name saying ‘I am’ and ‘The time has come near.’ You should not go after them.
In the first few centuries of Christianity many men were preaching false Christs, meaning that they were attributing teachings to Yahshua Christ which He did not actually intend for us. But it is not evident in the records which we have that they were claiming to actually be Christ. Yes, there was Apollonius of Tyana, who was probably only a neo-Pythagorean philosopher, but much of what is related about him comes from a century-later biographical novelist named Philostratus, and the emendations of fanciful writers of tales from the fourth century and later. There were also several minor would-be Messiah figures in Jerusalem around the time of Christ, such as Judas the Gaulonite, who was described by Josephus, and who was really just a tax-protestor. None of these fits the circumstances which Yahshua Christ relates here. Here Yahshua tells us specifically that many would come claiming to be Him, and that has not happened until this present era.
In the present era, over the last two centuries, there have been many figures specifically claiming to be the Christ, meaning an advent or reincarnation of Yahshua Christ. Among these are the Korean named Sun Myung Moon, another Korean named Ahn Sahng-Hong, Marshall Applewhite, Jim Jones, Bahá'u'lláh, and a host of several dozens of other assorted freaks. Therefore if this prophecy can only be seen to have been realized in more recent times, because there is no such attestation of its having happened in the early centuries of Christianity, then this entire discourse must also be applicable to these more recent times, as well as what obviously applies to the past and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. In other words, Christ's answers to all three of the questions posed by the apostles must be in and throughout this entire discourse.
Matthew 24 6 And you are going to hear of wars and reports of wars. See that you are not troubled. For it needs to happen, but not yet is the end. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 And all these things are the beginning of travails.
Mark 13:7-8 reads nearly identically to this. But Luke 21:9-11 read thus: “9 But when you hear of wars and disturbances, you should not be scared. For it is necessary that these things come first, but not immediately is the end.” 10 Then He said to them: “Nation shall arise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There shall be both great earthquakes and famines and plagues in various places. There shall be both terrors and great signs from heaven.”
First, we see in Luke's version that there is the additional clause, “great signs from heaven”: it is impossible to quantify such a prophecy until it happens. It was demonstrated, when we covered Revelation chapter 8 here, that there really was a year where the sun and moon were notably less bright, right at the same time that matches the historic prophecies surrounding Revelation 8:12, as recorded by the ancient historian Procopius. So with this also, a literal fulfillment cannot be ruled out.
Repeating Matthew 24 “6 And you are going to hear of wars and reports of wars. See that you are not troubled. For it needs to happen, but not yet is the end. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 And all these things are the beginning of travails.
The period from about 27 BC to 180 AD was described by Gibbon as the Pax Romana, and many other historians have followed. Aside from the border wars in Germany and Parthia, the conquest of Britain under Claudius in the 5th and 6th decades of the first century, and the war in Judaea from 65-70 AD, and the battles for succession as emperor in 68-70 AD, there was relative peace throughout the Roman Empire. None of these events which happened leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem could meet the description given by Christ here, that “you are going to hear of wars and reports of wars” and “nation shall rise against nation”, since none of them could be seen as extraordinary in life under Roman rule.
Yet while we have always had war in some degree, over the past two hundred years we have never had so much war! And while it seems remote to us now, only 70 years ago 63 million people died in World War Two alone, where practically every single nation on earth was involved. And Christ says but not yet is the end. And while we have not had a lot of famine in White Adamic lands lately, we saw 20 million Ukrainians and Russians die from famine during the Stalin regime, and on a much smaller scale many died from starvation during the Dust Bowl and Depression era here in North America. Many Europeans died due to famine and disease in post-War Europe. It was a famine, organized by certain elements in France, which enticed the common people into supporting the famous revolution there which initiated the modern era. And we cannot really say that it won't happen again.
Matthew 24 “9 Then they shall hand you over into tribulation and they shall kill you, and you shall be hated by all of the heathens [or nations] on account of My Name. 10 And then many shall be entrapped and they shall betray one another and hate one another.
Now there were doubtless persecutions of Christians, instigated by the Jews, in the years leading up to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem. But those persecutions also continued long after the destruction of Jerusalem, all the way to the 4th century AD. So this can not relate to the first century alone, and since it is talking more specifically in anticipation of the time of the end of the age, it cannot really be referring to the early persecution of Christians at all, although they are part of the overall picture. Many of the apostles and their followers were slain by or on account of the jews in the years leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem, but the persecution of Christians certainly did not end there.
During the French Revolution, for the first time in Europe we saw an organized slaughter of the clergy. While it is without doubt that the Catholic clergy was vastly rich and powerful, the reaction was not a turn to Protestantism, but was rather a de-Christianization of France and the organization and institution of an atheist state religion. This was accompanied by an emancipation of the jews in France. By the fruits of a revolution its true instigators are fully revealed. The Christian clergy, and Christians in general, have been persecuted in every revolution since the French Revolution, and all of these revolutions have been inspired and organized by jews. The only reason that Christians have not really been persecuted here in America, is that most Christians are now so-called Judeo-Christians, and therefore they are not really Christians at all, but whores for the jews. It was not that way during the first decades of our nation's history. Now, every once in awhile, when anyone seeks to uphold true Christian values or morals, we see that tyrannical government steps in to squelch them, and so the true nature of our governments as they are now is revealed. Today there have been many court rulings against Christians in the United States, and especially in Europe and in Britain. Therefore we cannot rule out the possibility of still further persecutions of Christians, right here in our own Christian nations, if and when the government tyranny feels threatened by Christians. Today some government officials have already slanderously characterized certain Christians as terrorists and enemies of the state, for no good reason.
Yet we cannot forget that the Catholics, while they may have been Christians of a sort, in order to maintain their own power over Christendom had already slaughtered many of their own Protestant brethren. In Germany, the 30 Years' War of the Romish Church against Protestantism killed half of the adult men of Germany, three-tenths of the overall population, and a third of Czechs. France under di Medici rule persecuted the Huguenots, killing many thousands of them. This is the fulfillment of those who sought the Word of God in the opening of the little book described in Revelation Chapter 10. In a great way, we can see a major fulfillment of these verses at Matthew 24:9-10 in the Reformation and its aftermath. But simply because the Reformation is perceived as having come to a close, that does not mean that those same forces are not at work today. For today we see that the daughters of the Reformation, those various Protestant church organizations which ultimately sprung from it, have again fallen totally under the sway of those same powers who had once persecuted their founders!
Of course, the true Christian should know that vengeance belongs to Yahweh our God, and should never want to run into confrontations with the governments of this world, which we cannot ever win anyway. Yet no true Christian should ever want to deny Christ, or the truth of the Gospel. Whenever it comes down to the two, Christians must choose allegiance to Christ. Christ said, as we see it at Mark 8:38: “For whoever should be ashamed of Me and My words among this adulterous and sinful race, also the Son of Man shall be ashamed of him, when he should come in the honor of His Father with the holy messengers!” This was also recorded at Luke 9:26, and was a sentiment often uttered by Paul in his epistles. At 1 John 2:28 we read “And now, children, you abide in Him, that if He should appear, we would have freespokenness and would not be dishonored by Him at His presence. 29 If you know that He is righteous, you also know that each who is practicing righteousness has been born from of Him.” Christians should not ever be dissuaded from the Gospel and the commandments of Christ. So if persecutions of Christians do come here, and they indeed may come yet, we see that we must do our best to abide them and to remain in our faith.
Matthew 24 11 And many false prophets shall arise and they shall deceive many, 12 and for reason that lawlessness is multiplied, the love of many shall grow cold.
While this also is evident throughout history, it is no more evident in history than it is today. Today we have a million preachers and clergymen professing to be preaching the Gospel, and not one of them is preaching the truth. For that reason, we are besieged with jewish perversions, pornography, sexual deviancy, and all sorts of other abominations. The family unit, in most places, is destroyed, and women are liberated from men that they may become slaves to sexual perversions, just as we see that is one primary goal of the jewish Communist Manifesto. Compared to Medieval times, when all real Whites were Christians, now comparatively few Whites are Christians, and most of those who claim to be actually worship the jews rather than the Christ!
Although we have not yet gotten to a discussion of verses 13 and 14 here, in order to treat this passage fairly, we must compare all of Matthew 24:9-13 to the equivalent passages in Mark and in Luke:
Matthew 24 “9 Then they shall hand you over into tribulation and they shall kill you, and you shall be hated by all of the heathens [or nations] on account of My Name. 10 And then many shall be entrapped and they shall betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall arise and they shall deceive many, 12 and for reason that lawlessness is multiplied, the love of many shall grow cold. 13 But he who endures unto the end, he shall be preserved. 14 And this good message of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the Nations, and then shall the end come.
Mark 13 “9 But you watch out for yourselves. They shall hand you over to councils and you shall be beaten in assembly halls and you shall be made to stand before governors and kings because of Me for a testimony to them. 10 And in all the Nations it is first necessary for the good message to be proclaimed. 11 And when they bring you handing you over, do not practice beforehand what you should say, but that which should be given to you at that hour, this you shall say. For it is not you who are speaking but the Holy Spirit. 12 And brother shall hand over brother unto death, and father child, and children shall rise up against parents and shall slay them, 13 and you shall be hated by all on account of My Name. But he abiding to the end, he shall be saved.
Luke 21 “12 But before all of these things they shall lay their hands upon you and persecute you, being handed over to the assembly halls and prisons, being led before kings and governors because of My Name. 13 It shall result in a testimony for you. 14 Therefore you set it in your hearts not to practice speaking in defense beforehand. 15 For I shall give to you a mouth and wisdom which all those opposing you shall not be able to withstand or contradict. 16 But you shall be handed over even by parents and brethren and kinsmen and friends, and they shall kill some of you, 17 and you shall be hated by all on account of My Name. 18 Yet a hair from your heads shall by no means be lost. 19 In your endurance must you gain your lives.”
It must be noted, that Mark's version of Yahshua's discourse connects the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom more closely to the persecutions of Christians as they have always occurred, where from Matthew's version one may be lead to believe that the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom would follow those persecutions. Luke's version of the discourse does not mention the Gospel of the Kingdom specifically, however that does not mean that it was not inferred, for Luke certainly mentions the Gospel often. The point in discussing this is that some would attempt to distinguish the “Gospel of the Kingdom” with that Gospel always known to us as it has always been preached. While today many of us may have a deeper understanding of Scripture as it relates to the covenants, there is only one gospel.
Matthew 24 13 But he who endures unto the end, he shall be preserved. 14 And this good message of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the Nations, and then shall the end come.
Mark 13:13 states “and you shall be hated by all on account of My Name. But he abiding to the end, he shall be saved.” Luke 21:17-19 states “17 and you shall be hated by all on account of My Name. 18 Yet a hair from your heads shall by no means be lost. 19 In your endurance must you gain your lives.”
We have many other promises that all Israel shall be preserved, that all of the seed, or offspring, of the children of Israel shall be saved. But we are not all tried in the same manner. We have not all been forced to choose between life and death on behalf of Christ. So this promise that “he who endures unto the end, he shall be preserved” must indicate something else: that only those of us who are destined to face such a trial, must live up to it.
Here is Revelation 14, verses 9 through 12: 9 And another, third messenger followed them saying with a great voice: “If one worships the beast and its image and receives an engraved mark upon his forehead or upon his hand, 10 then he shall drink from the wine of the wrath of Yahweh which is poured unmixed into the cup of His anger, and he shall be tormented in fire and sulfur before the holy messengers and before the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends for eternal ages, and they who worship the beast and its image and one who receives the engraved mark of its name shall not have rest day and night. 12 Thus is the patience of the saints, they keeping the commandments of Yahweh and the faith of Yahshua!”
Now this passage is in the aftermath of the fall of Babylon, which we see in verse 8, so it cannot be taken out of that context. Here we see that at Babylon's fall, those who worship the beast shall be punished with the wrath of God. Some of us are tried in the Faith, and we are destined for a higher reward when we overcome our trials. Some of us worship the things of this world, and we shall be punished with the wrath of God, and that is our trial. All of us are saints, as we see here in Revelation 14:12 where it speaks of those who face His wrath. Peter discusses the trial by fire of this life in his first epistle, at 1 Peter 1:7: “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” Paul states at 1 Corinthians chapter 3: “12 Now if anyone builds upon that foundation gold, silver, precious stones, timber, fodder, straw, 13 the work of each will become evident; indeed the day will disclose it, because in fire it is revealed; and of what quality the work of each is, the fire will scrutinize. 14 If the work of anyone who has built remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If the work of anyone burns completely, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be preserved, although consequently through fire.”
For those of us whose lot it is to face trials in this world because of our own disobedience, so be it, we can do nothing about it when they do not heed the call. But we who profess to know better should nevertheless do our best to pull our brethren out of the sins of the world when we can. James said at the end of his epistle “19 My brethren, if one among you should stray from the truth and one should correct him, 20 you must know that he correcting a wrongdoer from the error of his way shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of errors!” But for those of us destined to face trial on behalf of Christ, we must abide in our profession, and in that we shall gain our lives. Truth and an adherence to the Gospel bear a greater responsibility. Revelation 13:9-10 is but one passage which teaches us such predestination, where it says: “9 If one has an ear, he must hear! 10 If one is for captivity, into captivity he goes. If one is to be slain by the sword, he is to be slain by the sword. Thus is the patience and the faith of the saints.” We must realize this: that Yahweh alone is Sovereign.
At Luke 12:41 Peter asks about a certain parable, and Yahshua answers thus: “41 Then Petros said “Prince, to us do You speak this parable, or also to all?” 42 And the Prince said “Who then is the faithful, sensible steward, whom the master appoints over his attendants, to give the allotment of grain at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant, who coming his master finds doing thusly. 44 Truthfully I say to you that he shall appoint him over all his belongings. 45 But if that servant should say in his heart ‘My master delays coming’, and he begins to beat the menservants and maidservants, then to eat and to drink and be drunken, 46 the master of that servant shall arrive in a day in which he does not expect, and at an hour in which he does not know, and he will cut him in two, and he shall set his portion with the faithless! 47 “Now that servant who knowing the will of his master and not preparing or doing according to his will shall be clubbed much. 48 But he not knowing yet doing such worthy of blows shall be clubbed little. All to whom much is given, much shall be sought from him, and to whom much is committed, far more shall be demanded of him.”
Will there be further persecutions of Christians? The jews, having come to the forefront of our society, persecute Christians whenever they get the chance, and if they have the opportunity again, they will openly persecute Christians just like they did in old Rome and during all of the revolutions of Europe. We should certainly anticipate the possibility of further persecutions of Christians.
Matthew XXIV “15 Therefore when you should see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place – he reading must understand – 16 then those who are in Judaea must flee into the mountains; 17 he upon the house-top must not go down to take his things from the house, 18 and he in the field must not turn back to take his garment. 19 But woe to those being pregnant and those with infants in those days! 20 And you must pray that your flight should not be in winter nor on the Sabbath. 21 For at that time there shall be great tribulation, such as has not happened from the beginning of Society until now, nor by any means should happen! 22 And unless those days would be shortened, there would not be any flesh saved. But on account of the elect shall those days be shortened.
This statement, that “when you should see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken by Daniel the prophet”, can be perceived as referring to several different things. First we must remember that Christ was answering three questions, “when shall these things be?”, in reference to His statements concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, and then “What is the sign of Your coming and of the consummation of the age?” in reference to Christ's many statements which mention the end of the age. First let us note how Mark and Luke recorded these statements in the corresponding portion of their Gospels:
Mark 13 “14 Then when you should see the abomination of desolation standing where it is not proper – he reading must understand – then those in Judaea must flee into the mountains, 15 he upon the house-top must not go down nor enter in to take anything from his house, 16 and he who is in the field must not turn back to the things behind to take his garment. 17 But woe to those being pregnant and with infants in those days! 18 And you must pray that it would not be winter. 19 For there shall be tribulation in those days of a sort that has not happened such as this from the beginning of the creation which Yahweh had created until now, and shall not happen! 20 And unless Yahweh has shortened the days, not any flesh would be saved! But on account of the elect whom He has chosen, He has shortened the days.”
Luke 21 “20 But when you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, then you know that her desolation has come near. 21 Then those in Judaea must flee into the mountains, and those in her midst must leave the land, and those in the countryside must not enter into her! 22 Because these are the days of vengeance, by which all the things written are to be fulfilled! 23 Woe to those having conceived and to those with sucklings in those days! For there shall be great violence upon the earth, and wrath for this people! 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword and they shall be taken away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem shall be tread upon by the heathens until the times of the heathens should be fulfilled. 25 And there shall be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth an affliction by the heathens, the sea and the waves roaring in difficulty, 26 men fainting from fear and the expectation of that coming upon the inhabited earth. For the powers of the heavens shall be shaken! 27 And then they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud in the midst of power and much effulgence. 28 And upon the beginning of these things happening, straighten up and raise your heads, since your redemption approaches.”
The version of Yahshua's discourse given here by Matthew and Mark must refer to that “abomination that maketh desolate” prophesied in Daniel chapters 11 and 12. This apparently has little to do with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD., and more to do with the future end of the age. The version recorded here in the Gospel of Luke refers to the desolation of Jerusalem foretold in Daniel 9:26-27. This does not mean that Yahshua did not originally explain both, for it is evident that He certainly did, but two of the apostles recorded only one aspect of Yahshua's discourse, while the third concentrated on the other. However both are perfectly legitimate! Yet because Luke's version of the account has a clear fulfillment in history, we shall discuss that first. The version presented by Matthew and Mark shall be discussed in the next part of this presentation.
Luke wrote “20 But when you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, then you know that her desolation has come near. 21 Then those in Judaea must flee into the mountains, and those in her midst must leave the land, and those in the countryside must not enter into her! 22 Because these are the days of vengeance, by which all the things written are to be fulfilled! 23 Woe to those having conceived and to those with sucklings in those days! For there shall be great violence upon the earth, and wrath for this people! 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword and they shall be taken away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem shall be tread upon by the heathens until the times of the heathens should be fulfilled.”
During the Judaean war with Rome, the Roman general Cestius had Jerusalem under siege, and almost took the city, when for no apparent reason he lifted the siege and departed. This is what the historian Josephus records:
Wars of the Judaeans, Book 2: “538 And now it was that a horrible fear seized upon the seditious, insomuch that many of them ran out of the city, as though it were to be taken immediately; but the people upon this took courage, and where the wicked part of the city gave ground, there did they come, in order to open the gates and to admit Cestius as their benefactor, 539 who, had he but continued the siege a little longer, would have certainly taken the city; but it was, I suppose, owing to the aversion God had already at the city and the sanctuary, that he was hindered from putting an end to the war that very day. 540 It then happened that Cestius was not conscious either how the besieged despaired of success, nor how courageous the people were for him; and so he recalled his soldiers from the place, and, by despairing of any expectation of taking it, without having received any disgrace, he retired from the city, without any reason in the world.”
Cestius, having had the upper hand and for no apparent reason withdrawing from Jerusalem, then suffered a great loss, and a great deal of his army, to the pursuing Judaeans while he was moving his army away from the city. After recording this, Josephus then goes on to relate, in Wars of the Judaeans, Book 2: “556 After this calamity had befallen Cestius, many of the most eminent of the Judaeans fled from the city, as from a ship when it was going to sink; Costobarus, therefore, and Saul, who were brothers, together with Philip, the son of Jacimus, who was the commander of King Agrippa's forces, ran away from the city, and went to Cestius.” So while it may have been apparent that the city was spared, many fled contrary to expectation, and some even fled to join themselves to a Roman general who had just suffered a great defeat at the hands of the Judaeans. This is not understood unless one knows what is going on inside the city. Josephus in his account of these events often spoke of the “good” and “bad” parts of the city. He credits a high priest of the time, Ananus, with having uttered these words: “Certainly, it had been good for me to die before I had seen the house of God full of so many abominations, or these sacred places, that ought not to be trodden upon at random, filled with the feet of these blood shedding villains.” Just as Josephus testified, Daniel had prophesied, that “for the overspreading of abominations he [meaning Yahweh] shall make it desolate”. Any Christian in Jerusalem who had the Words of Christ also had his chance to escape the coming carnage. It is therefore highly unlikely that any Christian remained in Jerusalem at this time, or that any Christian even considered himself to be a Judaean at this time, since Paul clearly taught that in accepting Christ, they were to lose their identity as Judaeans, becoming “all one in Christ”.
While Luke 21 verses 20-24 can only really refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the latter part of Luke's record seems to relate not to 70 AD, but with that part of Yahshua's discourse that has to do with the end of the age, where He states, from verse 25, “And there shall be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth an affliction by the heathens, the sea and the waves roaring in difficulty, 26 men fainting from fear and the expectation of that coming upon the inhabited earth. For the powers of the heavens shall be shaken! 27 And then they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud in the midst of power and much effulgence. 28 And upon the beginning of these things happening, straighten up and raise your heads, since your redemption approaches.” With this we shall pick up in Part Two of this presentation.