Jerusalem destroyed by Rome -then Rome devastated by Volcano, Fire, Plague

Bill Federer

"Let us go up at once, and possess the land; for we are well able to overcome it," shouted Joshua and Caleb, after they spent 40 days spying out the Promised Land.

But the other ten spies gave a bad report, causing the Israelites to lose heart. This sad day was Tisha B'Av - the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av.

As a result of their doubt, the Israelites wandered in the desert 40 years.

Tisha B'Av in the year 587 BC was the day the Babylonians destroyed Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, and carried the Tribe of Judah into captivity.

Tisha B'Av in the year 70 AD was the day the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

Rome's destruction of the Jerusalem began four years earlier, in 66 AD, when Roman Emperor Nero appointed General Vespasian to put down a revolt in Judea.

Soon after Nero's order, Rome experienced chaos with the year of four emperors.

Nero committed suicide in 68 AD.

His successor, Galba, was assassinated within 8 months, in 69 AD.

His successor, Otho, committed suicide within 2 months.

His successor, Vitellius, was executed within 8 months.

Vespasian was the next Emperor and his son, Titus, continued the conquest of Judea.

Titus surrounded Jerusalem and starved inhabitants for months.

Titus ordered Jewish deserters from Jerusalem to be crucified around the walls.

By the end of July, 70 AD, the Roman Army broke through the walls.

The Second Temple was destroyed on Tisha B'Av, 70 AD.

By September 8, 70 AD, all of Jerusalem was completely conquered.

Historian Josephus recorded that over a million Jews were killed in the siege.

According to historian Eusebius, Romans hunted down and killed all descendants of the royal line of David.

The Jewish Temple was so completely destroyed that only the foundation stones of the Temple Mount were left, which are the bottom rows of the Wailing Wall.

Jewish Temple treasures were carried off to Rome, as shown on the Arch of Titus, and were used to finance the building of Rome's Colosseum.

The Colosseum was so named as it was next to Nero's 100 foot high bronze Colossus Statue depicting the Roman sun god Apollo, modeled after the 100 foot high bronze Colossus Statue of Rhodes depicting the Greek son god Helios.

France's gift of The Statue of Liberty-the New Colossus was modeled after it.

After the destruction of Jerusalem, Emperor Vespasian caught a slight illness in 79 AD which led to severe diarrhea and death. His last words were: "Oh dear! I think I'm becoming a god!"

His son, Titus, became the next Emperor and two months later Mount Vesuvius erupted.

The volcanic eruption destroyed the Bay of Naples, including the cities of Herculaneum and the immoral resort city of Pompeii.

Thousands of Romans were buried alive under feet of volcanic ash.

Then, in the spring of 80 AD, the city of Rome caught fire.

Flames burned out of control for three days and nights destroying much of Capitoline Hill, the Temple of Jupiter, Pantheon, and Pompey's Theater.

Then followed the worst outbreak of plague that Rome had yet endured.

In spite of all this, Titus insisted on dedicating the Colosseum to commemorate his victories in the Jewish wars.

For 100 days, thousands were killed in executions and gladiatorial fights, in addition to 5,000 animals.

Immediately following the games, Titus died, having been in office just two years. He is rumored to have been poisoned on orders of his brother, Domitian, who became the next emperor.

In 135 AD, on the date Tisha B'Av, Roman Emperor Hadrian had another 500,000 Jews massacred at Betar during Bar Kokhba's revolt.

Emperor Hadrian believed the source of Jewish rebellion was their faith, so he executed Jewish scholars, prohibited the Torah and the Hebrew calendar, and burned the sacred scroll on the Temple Mount.

In his attempt to completely erase Jewish history from the land, Emperor Hadrian changed the name of Judea to "Syria Palaestina."

This is the origin of the region being referred to as "Palestine."

Hadrian also changed the name of Jerusalem to "Aelia Capitolina," and banned Jews from entering on pain of death.

Eusebius wrote in his History of the Church (ser. II, vol. I, book IV, chapter VI):

"The Last Siege of the Jews Under Hadrian - The whole nation was prohibited from this time on by a decree, and by the commands of Hadrian, from ever going up to the country about Jerusalem.

For the emperor gave orders that they should not even see from a distance the land of their fathers. Such is the account of Aristo of Pella.

And thus, when the city had been emptied of the Jewish nation and had suffered the total destruc­tion of its ancient inhabitants, it was colonized by a different race, and the Roman city which subsequently arose changed its name and was called Aelia, in honor of the emperor Aelius Hadrian."

Cassius Dio wrote in Roman History (69.12):

"At Jerusalem, Hadrian founded a city in place of the one which had been razed to the ground, naming it Aelia Capitolina, and on the site of the temple of the god he raised a new temple to Jupiter.

This brought on a war of no slight importance nor of brief duration, for the Jews deemed it intolerable that foreign races should be settled in their city and foreign religious rites planted there."

Eusebius wrote in Demonstratio Evangelica (8.3; 405, circa 314 - 318 AD):

"Jerusalem ... is even now like a quarry, all the inhabitants of the city choosing stones from its ruins as they will for private as well as public buildings.

And it is sad for the eyes to see stones from the Temple itself, and from its ancient sanctuary and holy place, used for the building of idol temples, and of theatres for the populace."

Emperor Hadrian's reign saw the beginning of the end of Roman expansion.

Shortly after Hadrian , the Roman Empire transitioned to maintaining its borders, then began contracting.

Hadrian's Wall across the whole of Britain marked the Empire's furthest extent, except for the brief 20 year period of Antonine's Wall.

Around 165 AD, the "Antonine Plague" broke out which, according to Roman historian Dio Cassius, killed 2,000 a day. Particularly devastating the Roman army, an estimated 5 million died.

Jews were later allowed to enter Jerusalem once a year to pray at the Western Wall on Tisha B'Av.

Over the following centuries, the Land of Israel was invaded or occupied by:

135 AD Roman Empire

390 AD Byzantine Empire

614 AD Sassanid Persians

635 AD Umayyad Caliphate

750 AD Abbasid Caliphate

909 AD Fatimid Caliphate

1071 AD Seljuk Turks

1099 AD Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem

1187 AD Ayyubid Sultanate

1260 AD Mongolian Empire

1291 AD Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt

1517 AD Ottoman Sultanate

1660 AD Druze Dynasty

1799 AD French Napoleon

1844 AD Tanzimat Ottoman Empire

1864 AD Ottoman Vilayet of Syria

1917 AD Britain Mandate.

For centuries, people across the world desired to pilgrimage to Jerusalem, including Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln.

The Library of Congress has a scrapbook with an account by Rev. N.W. Miner of Springfield, who officiated Lincoln's burial, in which are recalled President Lincoln's last words while at Ford's Theater with his wife:

"Mrs. Lincoln informed me that ... the very last moments of his conscious life were spent in conversation with her about his future plans ...

He said he wanted to visit the Holy Land and see those places hallowed by the footprints of the Saviour. He was saying there was no city he so much desired to see as Jerusalem."

In 1917, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration establishing the Jewish homeland.

On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel came into being again.

In 1967, Jerusalem was once again under Jewish control.

Israel maintained its independence after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and Jerusalem was reaffirmed as Israel's capital with "The Basic Law: Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel," passed in 1980.

The United Nations was created, in part, to protect Jews after the Nazi holocaust, and one of the first acts of the U.N. was to recognize the State of Israel.

Despite this, the U.N. Security Council threatened to divide Jerusalem and take a third of Israel to create a "Palestinian" State.

The Roman Empire experienced a series of disasters after it forced Jews from their land.

Some consider it more than coincidental, the timing of certain disasters following attempts by the United States to force Jews to give up their land.

On October 30, 1991, President George H.W. Bush signed the Oslo Accord pressuring Israel to give "land for peace."

The next day, "The Perfect Storm" hit New England causing damages over $100 million, including 30 foot waves demolishing the home of President George H.W. Bush at Kennebunkport, Maine.

On August 23, 1992, President George H.W. Bush pressured Israel with the Madrid "land for peace" agreement.

The same day, Hurricane Andrew smashed into Florida causing $30 billion in damages, destroying over 180,000 homes.

On January 16, 1994, President Bill Clinton met in Geneva with Syria's President Hafez el-Assad to discuss Israel giving up the Golan Heights in exchange for peace.

Within 24 hours a 6.9 Earthquake devastated Southern California.

On January 21, 1998, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was snubbed at the White House when President Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright refused to have lunch with him. The same day, the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal erupted.

On September 28, 1998, Secretary of State Albright detailed another "land for peace" agreement requiring Israel to surrender 13 percent of the West Bank and Gaza.

President Clinton met with Yasser Arafat and Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, followed by Arafat telling the United Nations there would soon be a Palestinian State.

The same day, Hurricane Georges hit the Gulf Coast causing $1 billion in damages.

On October 15, 1998, Yassar Arafat and Benjamin Netanyahu met in Maryland to discuss Israel giving up 13 percent of the West Bank and Gaza in exchange for "peace."

Two days later, tornadoes hit Texas leaving $1 billion in damages.

On December 12, 1998, President Clinton arrived in the Palestinian area to discuss Israel giving up "land for peace."

The same day, President Clinton was impeached.

On May 3, 1999, Yasser Arafat had scheduled a press conference to announce a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital.

The same day, the most powerful tornado storms to hit the United States whipped through Oklahoma and Kansas.

On June 8, 2001, President George W. Bush sent Secretary Tenet to Jerusalem with a proposal to exchange land for a "Roadmap to Peace."

The same day, tropical Storm Allison hit Texas causing $7 billion in damage and closing George Bush Airport for two days.

As part of a U.S. brokered "disengagement" deal, on Tisha B'Av, 2005, Jews began to be forcibly evacuated from Gaza.

The last Jewish residents were dragged out on August 22, 2005. The very next day, a tropical depression in the Atlantic turned into Hurricane Katrina and headed straight for New Orleans, forcing tens of thousands to evacuate.

Property damage in New Orleans exceeded $81 billion.

Nearly 2,000 people died. It was one of the deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history.

The word "Islam" means submission to the will of Allah. A "Muslim" is one who has submitted to the will of Allah.

The Islamic concept of "peace" is when the world submits to will of Allah.

In other words, to a fundamental Muslim, "world peace" means "world Islam."

The Islamic concept of "treaty" is "hudna," which means, when you are weak make treaties until you grow strong enough to disregard them."

When an enemy is willing to negotiate, it is a sign of their weakness.

The fundamentalist concept is - when your enemy shows fear and weakness, that is Allah giving them to you -- it is an indicator Allah wants you to attack them.

Instead of "land of peace," when Hamas took over Gaza, they began digging more tunnels and firing thousands of rockets into Israel.

Just two weeks after Jewish residents were forcibly removed from Gaza, followed by Hurricane Katrina, President Bush delivered a Day of Prayer and Remembrance address, September 8, 2005:

"Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters in our Nation's history and has caused unimaginable devastation and heartbreak throughout the Gulf Coast Region ...

Communities ... decimated ... Lives ... lost ... Hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans are suffering great hardship."

Though not a call to repentance, as past Presidents had proclaimed, President Bush did end his Day of Prayer and Remembrance with:

"To honor the memory of those who lost their lives, to provide comfort and strength to families of the victims ...

I call upon all Americans to pray to Almighty God and to perform acts of service ... Across our Nation, many selfless deeds reflect the promise of the Scripture:

'For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in.'"


World History