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MAP OF ANCIENT PALESTINE

Roman Roads traced by Assumptionist Fathers.

carrying fire and sword throughout the city and polluting the Temple with every form of vice.

Vespasian marched to Antipatris, to Lydda and Jamnia, accepting the submission of these cities, and laying waste and burning the villages on the way. He destroyed Bethletephon and the neighbouring places by fire, and captured Betaris and Caphartobas, villages of Idumea, and slew the inhabitants (see

R. viii. 7).

He was about to march upon Jerusalem, when the death of Nero changed his plans. That was about the end of June 68, as Nero died on the 11th of June in that year. He, therefore, waited events.

At this time one Simon, a robber, was actively carrying on a civil war in Idumea. Driving that nation before him, he compelled the greater number to enter Jerusalem, which he encompassed with his army, so that he became a greater terror to the place than the Romans (Josephus, Wars IV. ix. 7). The people of Jerusalem, suffering death at the hands of John of Gischala and one Eleazar, who had separated from him, invited Simon to enter the city. He did so, and for a time the city was divided into three factions fighting against each other. Then all combined against the unfortunate inhabitants. The result of this fighting about the Temple is related by Josephus:

“For those darts that were thrown by the engines came with that force that they went over all the buildings, and the Temple itself, and fell upon the priests and those that were about the sacred offices; insomuch that many persons who came thither with great zeal from the ends of the earth, to offer sacrifices at this celebrated place, which was esteemed holy by all mankind, fell down before their sacrifices themselves, and sprinkled that altar, which was venerable among all men, both Greeks and barbarians, with their own blood; till the dead bodies of strangers were mingled together with those of their own country, and those of profane persons with those of priests, and the blood of all sorts of dead carcasses stood in lakes in the holy courts themselves. And now .O most wretched city, what misery so great as this didst thou suffer from the Romans ?***

In the year 69 Vespasian was called to the throne. He left his son Titus to finish the war.

Titus began the siege of Jerusalem in the spring of 70. This had the effect of uniting all the rebel forces in Jerusalem. The resistance he encountered was so great that he built a wall round the city, with a view to reducing it by famine. Here we may note that at the feast of the passover A.D. 65 there were 3,000,000 Jews present in Jerusalem. Josephus says:

“Now of those that perished by famine in the city the number was prodigious, and the miseries they underwent were unspeakable; for if so much as the shadow of any kind of food did anywhere appear, a war was commenced presently; and the dearest friends fell a-fighting, one with another, about it, snatching from each other the most miserable supports of life. Nor would men believe that those who were dying had no food, but the robbers would search them when they were expiring, lest anyone should have concealed food in their bosoms, and counterfeited dying; nay, these robbers gaped for want, and ran about, stumbling and staggering along like mad dogs, and reeling against the doors of the houses like drunken men; they would also, in the great distress they were in, rush into the very same houses two or three times in one and the same day. Moreover, their hunger was so intolerable, that it obliged them to chew everything, while they gathered such things as the most sordid animals would not touch, and end ed to eat them; nor did they at length abstain from girdles and shoes, and the very leather which belonged to their shields they pulled off and gnawed: the very wisps of old hay became food to some” (Wars VI. iii. 3). (See the “ black horse,” R. vi. 5.)

In August A.D. 70 the Roman soldiers forced an entrance into the Temple, which was burnt down. The upper city was taken on the 7th September 70; then the whole of Jerusalem was given up to fire and slaughter. Many of the unfortunate Jews who survived the siege were put to death. The rest were sold into slavery, or taken to Rome to grace the triumph of Titus and the public spectacles of the amphitheatres (The second and third woes, R. xi. 14). The city was levelled with the ground. Thus perished after 600 years the Temple of the old law, the centre of true religion before the coming of Christ. It perished in the same month and on the same day, the roth of August, on which the former Temple, of Solomon, was burnt by Nebuchadnezzar.

Later on the Jews managed to return in great numbers, and occupy the city again. In the course of time, before the close of Trajan's reign in 117, they felt themselves strong enough to rebel against Rome again. A second army of Roman legions descended upon them with fire and sword. When they had recovered from this punishment, their obstinacy again led them into rebellion, in the reign of Hadrian, A.D. 134. It was during this reign that one Barcochebas, calling himself the Messias, gathered about him the remnant of the Jewish race. They flocked to his standard from all parts of Judæa.

We read in S. John's Gospel (v. 43): “I am come in the name of my Father, and you receive me not : if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive.” Jesus said this to the Jews, who sought to kill Him. And so it happened,

Barcochebas, coming in his own name as a Messias, was received. He preached the gospel of rebellion, thinking to found that earthly kingdom which the Jews both longed for and expected. The consequence was a third and last catastrophe. Hadrian sent a large army against them, under the command of Tinnius Rufus and Julius Severus, who in the space of two years, 134 to 136, destroyed 985 towns and 50 fortresses. 580,000 Jews perished by the sword alone. Many more perished by fire, sickness, and famine. Those who escaped death were dispersed, and sold like cattle about the Empire. In no country were they afterwards greater strangers than in Judæa. A ploughshare was drawn over the consecrated Temple ground as a sign of perpetual interdiction.

After the destruction of Jerusalem by Hadrian, a new city, called Ælia, after the Emperor, Ælius Hadrian, was built upon its ruins. This was inhabited by pagans, also by Roman and Syrian Christians. Jews were not allowed to come within three miles of it for about three centuries. Tertullian informs us that they paid large sums to be permitted to come near and behold at a distance the ruins of their former city.

In the year 134, Marcus, a Gentile, was made Bishop of Jerusalem. The Church was then composed mainly of Gentile Christians, who were not affected by Hadrian's edict of expulsion. Its adherents were able to point out to S. Helena, the Mother of Constantine, the sites of the crucifixion and of the Holy Sepulchre; but they were too weak to prevent the Romans from covering them up with soil. Eusebius in his “ Martyrs of Palestine,” mentions Procopius, a Christian of Ælia, showing that Christians dwelt in Jerusalem up to the time of Constantine. (See “Acts of the Passion of Procopius.")

The Nazarene Church warned by the Revelation of S. John, fled from Jerusalem and the neighbouring parts of Judæa, to Pella, when the siege of Jotapata held back the forces of Vespasian. This Church was apparently a small body. Its movements are not noticed by historians. Epiphanius says in his book,“ de Ponderibus et Mensuris," that the disciples of Christ, being warned by an angel, removed to Pella; and afterwards, when Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem, and renamed it Ælia Capitolina, they returned thither.

The fall of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Temple and the dispersal of the Jews, constituted a religious upheaval (earthquake the Apocalypse calls it, R. xi. 13) of an extraordinary character. This was the event looked forward to and predicted by the prophets of the O.T. It was a reversal of the spiritual policy heretofore existing between God and man. The covenant with the Jews was finally broken, and replaced by the Kingdom

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