The Destruction of the Second Temple: Harmonizing the Gospels and insights from Philip Mauro


A Bible study


Matthew 23:36-38

NASB

36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Lament over Jerusalem

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38 Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!

Mark 13:1,2

1 As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”


The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus, A.D. 70, by David Roberts (1850)


Recently, Crissy of KNOWING THE TIME, because what’s coming matters quoted Gerald Stanton in a comment at Christian’s blog, Showing Ourselves Approved. The Stanton quote is the part of Crissy’s comment that I want to address. You can read all of her comment at the link below, labled: “Crissy says: August 11, 2018 at 12:31 pm.” 

Let’s Have a Real Conversation About the RAPTURE

Gerald Stanton:

[copied and pasted]

“The Tribulation does not deal with the Church at all, but with the purification of Israel. It is not the “time of the Church’s trouble,” but the “time of Jacob’s trouble.” The emphasis of the Tribulation is primarily Jewish. This fact is borne out by Old Testament Scriptures (Deut. 4: 30; Jer. 30: 7; Ezek. 20: 37; Dan. 12:1; Zech. 13:8-9), by the Olivet Discourse of Christ (Matt. 24:9-26), and by the book of Revelation itself (Rev. 7:4-8; 12:1-2; 17, etc.).

It concerns “Daniel’s people,” the coming of “false Messiah,” the preaching of the “gospel of the kingdom,” flight on the “sabbath,” the temple and the “holy place,” the land of Judea, the city of Jerusalem, the twelve “tribes of the children of Israel,” the “son of Moses,” “signs” in the heavens, the “covenant” with the Beast, the “sanctuary,” the “sacrifice and the oblation” of the temple ritual. These all speak of Israel and clearly demonstrate that the Tribulation is largely a time when God deals with His ancient people prior to their entrance into the promised kingdom. The many Old Testament prophecies yet to be fulfilled for Israel further indicate a future time when God will deal with this nation (Deut. 30:1-6; Jer. 30:8-10, etc.). Not one Old Testament passage on the tribulation refers to the church.


A foundation for understanding

All of the Bible is for all believers, Jews and Gentiles. Certainly it is crucial to know who is being addressed in a given passage, but if we keep believing and stating that “this is for the Jews” we will only add to the confusion and discouragement in the Church today. I pray that my post will not add to the confusion.


The testimony of Scripture

In studying the End Times, I’ve had many questions about how to understand Jesus’ prophecies in Matthew 24. Some Christians believe that all of these prophecies remain to be fulfilled. However in harmonizing Matthew 24 and Luke 21, we find that Jesus gave us an important key to understanding which was recorded by Luke: the timeframe, “but before all these things.” 

The Lord declared that but before all these things” the Temple would be razed. This happened when Titus and the armies of Rome left not “a stone standing.” Jesus even gave instructions to His disciples concerning what to do when they saw Rome’s armies surrounding Jerusalem. I believe that the disciples took the Lord’s warning to heart, as many have seen. About the safety of Christians during this period Albert Barnes (1832) wrote:

It is said that there is reason to believe that not one Christian perished in the destruction of that city, God having in various ways secured their escape, so that they fled to Pella, where they dwelt when the city was destroyed. The Christian Flight to Pella

And Paul Maier wrote this in Christian History magazine:

Josephus, our major source for all this information, does not name a single Christian victim in connection with great Jewish War. Why not? With immense luck—or blessing—the earliest Christians largely escaped all this horror for two reasons: (1) Only four years before the war’s outbreak, James the Just of Jerusalem (the first Christian bishop according to both Acts 15 and Eusebius) was stoned to death by the Sanhedrin, which must certainly have led the struggling Jewish-Christian community to think about leaving. (2) Eusebius, ‘the father of church history,’ also tells us that Christians were warned by an oracle to flee the city some time before war’s outbreak. In fact, they evacuated to Pella and other cities north of Jerusalem, and so escaped the Roman siege and conquest.  Not One Stone Left Upon Another

Another of the Lord’s prophesied events was the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (Matthew 24:15). This too was fulfilled when the armies of Rome brought Imperial standards (graven images) into the sacred precincts:

54. Romans occupy Temple [70 CE]
316 Now that the rebels had fled the city, and the temple itself and every thing around was burning, the Romans brought their standards into the sacred spot. And, setting them up facing the eastern gate, they sacrificed to them. And with the greatest acclaim they proclaimed Titus emperor.
JosephusJewish War 6.316

At least two prophecies then have been fulfilled. Let us rejoice for this confirms the words of the Saviour! What He said to His disciples about these matters was fulfilled to the letter.

Returning to the timeframe key in Jesus’ prophecy, please see how Luke 21 helps us to more clearly understand His words in Matthew 24:

Luke 21:10-24

10 Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, 11 and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.

12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. 13 It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. 14 So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; 15 for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. 16 But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, 17 and you will be hated by all because of My name. 18 Yet not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.

20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. 21 Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; 22 because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. 23 Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days;for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; 24 and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.


Who was Philip Mauro? 

Philip was “a famous lawyer, supreme court lawyer, [and] prepared briefs for [the] Scopes Trial.” He left Dispensationalism for a more historically Protestant view. Sadly, he failed to see (that I know of) that Israel would be reborn as a nation. However, this shouldn’t be a reason to dismiss his insights about 70 A.D.

Philip Mauro in 1926“It is greatly to be regretted that those who, in our day, give themselves to the study and exposition of prophecy, seem not to be aware of the immense significance of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, which was accompanied by the extinction of Jewish national existence, and the dispersion of the Jewish people among all the nations. The failure to recognize the significance of that event, and the vast amount of prophecy which it fulfilled, has been the cause of great confusion, for the necessary consequence of missing the past fulfillment of predicted events is to leave on our hands a mass of prophecies for which we must needs contrive fulfillments in the future. The harmful results are two fold; for first, we are thus deprived of the evidential value, and the support to the faith, of those remarkable fulfillments of prophecy which are so clearly presented to us in authentic contemporary histories; and second, our vision of things to come is greatly obscured and confused by the transference to the future of predicted events which, in fact, have already happened, and whereof complete records have been preserved for our information.”

Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation


“No matter what view of eschatology we embrace, we must take seriously the redemptive-historical importance of Jerusalem’s destruction in A.D.70.”

R.C. Sproul