ROME DESTROYS JERUSALEM
Rome encouraged plunder from the conquered cities and states. It became a parasite feeding on its dependencies. Its legions marched into Palestine, and destroyed Jerusalem, as Christ had prophesied. He declared:
“They (the Jewish people) shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).
In A.D. 68, war broke out between Rome and Judah. It was a most sanguinary conflict in which quarter was neither asked nor given on either side. Jerusalem was besieged, and the city reduced to terrible straits. Over a million Jews perished in the holocaust. In A.D. 70 it fell, to be ultimately destroyed by the Romans, and its people, the Jews, were taken captive into all nations.
But they were never destroyed; they retained their identity. This, also, is in accordance with the purpose of God. Notice that Jesus limited the period of the down-treading of Jerusalem, and the scattering of its people, by the use of the word, “until. . . ” Today, the Jewish people are returning to the land, and Jerusalem itself has been freed from foreign domination. For the first time, in over 2,000 years, the Jews are again masters of the city, indicating that “the times of the Gentiles” are about to “be fulfilled.”
Why was Rome permitted to gain the ascendancy over Jewry and Jerusalem?
Because of their opposition to the Lord Jesus Christ. When even Pilate wanted to free him, they demanded his crucifixion, impiously declaring: “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15), “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matt. 27:25).
They were given into the hands of Caesar, and paid the terrible penalty in blood.
They were mistaken in Christ. They desired a Messiah who would deliver them from Rome; they did not comprehend that though Christ will ultimately reign from Jerusalem as King, and will “rebuke strong nations” (Micah 4:1-3), brining all dominions into subjection to his rule (Isa. 60:12; Zech. 14:9; Rev. 11:15), he had first to provide the means for individual salvation. At his first advent, he came as “the lamb of God” to take away “the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He will come again (Acts 1:11), to reward the faithful (Rom. 2:7,16), to bring about national redemption (Acts 15:16-17; Jer. 23:6-8), and to establish the Kingdom of God upon the earth.
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