Monday, October 25, 2021

Apocalyptic? #35: Where Have All the Mountains Gone?


Mountains and Islands Disappear!

Great Men Hide in Caves and Rocks of Mountains!

What a HEADLINE that would have made in First Century Judea!  And it was true!  Revelation 6:14-16 (NKJV) prophesied that, when the sixth seal was opened:

[E]very mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!”


I promised in an earlier post that I would have more to say about mountains and islands” disappearing, and great men hiding “in caves and the rocks of mountains. 

:  As I have previously commented, in discussing the sea battle at Joppa at the first of the Jewish-Roman War, John’s comment about every mountain and island being moved out of their places (in Seal 6, Rev. 6:14) might be a reference to this sea battle at Joppa, since the Jews had no land masses (mountains or islands) to which they could flee in the tumult at sea.  I also commented that it is possible that John, himself, was one of the few Jews to have found a suitable “island” to which he could flee—the Isle of Patmos—as the Christian Jews followed the instructions of Jesus to leave Jerusalem and Judea.  John’s pertinent comment on the matter is found in Revelation 1:9 (NKJV): “I, John . . . your brother and companion in the tribulation . . . was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.  While this comment has been used frequently to suggest that John was in exile on Patmos, there is nothing in the statement that would preclude the interpretation that, due to the “tribulation” (the Great Tribulation, lasting from 66 to 73 A.D.), John had taken refuge on the island of Patmos, because he believed “the word of God and . . . the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Caves and Caverns
:  In the same way in which Saddam Hussein hid in a spider hole in 2003, following his loss in the first Iraq War, it was a common practice for prominent Jewish leaders to take refuge in caves and underground hiding places.  Josephus comments that, near the beginning of the Jewish-Roman War: “But on the next day the high priest was caught where he had concealed himself in an aqueduct; he was slain” (Wars II.XVII.9).

In Jotapata, the first major battle between Vespasian and the Jews, underground hiding places were employed: “[O]f those that fled into the caverns, which were a great number . . . the Romans . . . searched the hiding-places and fell upon those that were under-ground, and in the caverns, and went thus through every age, excepting the infants and the women . . . gathered together as captives twelve hundred; and . . . those that were slain . . . forty thousand” (Wars III.VII.35-36).

After Jerusalem had been lost to the Romans, Josephus observes: “So now the last hope which supported the tyrants . . . was in the caves and caverns under-ground . . . [but] they were not able to lie hid either from God or from the Romans (Wars VI.VII.3). “The Romans . . . made search . . . under ground and when they found where they were, they broke up the ground and slew all they met with.  . . . John [of Gischala] . . . in these caverns . . . begged . . . the Romans . . . Simon [son of Giora] . . . was forced to surrender” (Wars VI.IX.4).


: During the second half of Daniel’s “week of years” = 3 ½ years = 1260 days = 42 months, after the cessation of the sacrifice in Jerusalem, the remaining Jews in Judea fled to the mountains, but as John had predicted, even the most fortified of the mountains afforded no ultimate safety.

The land of Judea contained several mountain fortresses.  When Jesus, in his Olivet discourse, suggested, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her” (Luke 21:20-21 NKJV), was he suggesting that the inhabitants of Judea flee to the several mountain fortresses IN JUDEA?  Not likely. 

If one is fleeing FROM JUDEA, why would one flee TO a mountain IN JUDEA?  Yet, that is precisely what many Jews did. When Vespasian defeated Taricheae on the Sea of Galilee, resistance moved to Gamala and Mount Tabor.  Gamala “was situated upon a rough ridge of a high mountain” (Wars IV.I.1).  It was called the Masada of the Golan Heights.  (Masada, of course, was where the war began in 66 A.D. and would end in 73 A.D.)   Josephus writes: “[S]ome . . . [that wanted to] go to war, made an assault upon a certain fortress called Masada . . . and slew the Romans that were there” [Wars II.XVI.2]).  Vespasian’s armies “slew a great number of them” that were in Mount Tabor, with the rest of the Jewish fighters fleeing to [another mountain fortress] Jerusalem (Wars IV.X.8).  Titus returned to Gamala where the Romans slew 4000, but an additional 5000 committed suicide, so that “blood ran down over all the lower parts of the city, from the upper” (Wars IV.I.10).

After Jerusalem fell, there were three final mountains to which the resisters fled:[T]he Herodium, along with Machaerus and Masada were the last three fortresses held by Jewish fighters . . . during the Great Jewish Revolt” (  Josephus records two of these final attempts of the Jews to obtain safety:

Lucilius Bassus was sent . . . into Judea and there he received the army and took that citadel which was in Herodium . . . after which he . . . with the tenth legion . . . resolved to make war upon Macherus; for it was highly necessary that this citadel should be demolished . . . for the nature of the place was very capable of affording the surest hopes of safety to those who possessed it . . . walled in . . . rocky hill, elevated to a very great height . . . ditched about with . . . valleys on all sides, and to such a depth, that the eye cannot reach their bottoms . . . Macherus had the tallest top of its hill elevated above the rest . . . also . . . a great many reservoirs for the reception of water . . . a large quantity of darts and other machines of war . . . that might in any way contribute to its inhabitants’ security, under the longest siege possible.  . . . Here are also fountains of hot water . . . some bitter . . . others . . . sweet . . . also . . . cold waters (Wars VII.VI.1-3).


The “fountain that is very cold, and the other . . . one that is very hot . . . when they are mingled together,” comments Josephus, “compose a most pleasant bath; they are medicinal” (Wars VII.VI.3).  We Americans might say that aspect of Macherus is reminiscent of Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Regarding the battle, Josephus reports:

[T]he Jews that were caught in this place . . . seized upon the upper citadel, and held it . . . they made sallies every day, and fought . . . in which conflicts there were many of them slain, as they . . . slew many of the Romans . . . but the conclusion of the siege did not depend upon these bickerings, but a certain surprising accident . . . forced the Jews to surrender the citadel (Wars VII.VI.4).


A young Jewish hero, named Eleazar, from an “eminent and numerous family” in the city managed to get himself captured while attempting another heroic feat.  The Romans stripped him naked and whipped him in public and were preparing to crucify him, when he persuaded his fellow Jews to surrender to the Romans, “since all other people were now conquered by them.”  The Jews agreed to surrender, but the surrender agreement fell apart.  Some fled away “but those men that were caught . . . were slain, to the number of one thousand seven hundred, as were the women and children made slaves” (Wars VII.VI.4).  Of those that fled away, Josephus writes: “When Bassus . . . heard that a great many of those that had fled from Jerusalem and Macherus” had gotten together in the forest of Jarden, he “surrounded the whole place with his horsemen; and . . . cut down the trees,” forcing the Jews to come out to battle.  “[N]ot one of the Jews escaped . . . they were all killed,” 3000 in all (Wars VII.VI.5).

: Marking the very last battle in the Jewish-Roman War is the Battle of Masada.  Wikipedia summarizes the story of Masada:

In 66 [AD], a group of Jewish rebels, the Sicarii [probably, the political party of Judas Iscariot], overcame the Roman garrison of Masada . . . After the [Fall of Jerusalem] in 70 [AD], additional members of the Sicarii fled Jerusalem and settled on the mountaintop after slaughtering the Roman garrison . . .

In 73 [AD], the Roman governor of Iudaea, Lucius Flavius Silva . . . laid siege to Masada . . . The Roman legion surrounded Masada, built a . . . wall and then a siege ramp against the western face of the plateau . . . The ramp was complete in the spring of 73 . . . allowing the Romans to finally breach the wall of the fortress . . . on April 16. The Romans employed the X Legion and a number of . . . Jewish prisoners of war . . . in crushing Jewish resistance at Masada . . . According to Josephus, when Roman troops entered the fortress, they discovered that its defenders had set all the buildings but the food storerooms ablaze and committed mass suicide or killed each other, 960 men, women, and children in total. Josephus wrote of two stirring speeches that the Sicari leader had made to convince his men to kill themselves. Only two women and five children were found alive.


Thus, in apocalyptic language, every mountain and island was, indeed, moved out of its place.  As with the plagues of water being turned to blood, hail, darkness on the throne of the Beast, frogs, and locusts, this prophecy of mountains and islands being moved out of their place is another example of physical plagues being transformed apocalyptically into war terminology.  Being “moved out of place” means simply that they are no long available for refugeWith the total elimination of caves, islands, and mountains to which they might flee, the Jewish-Roman war ended in seven years—the precise time frame predicted by Daniel, six hundred years earlier, with the midst of the week (the end of the first 3 ½ years) being marked by the cessation of sacrifice in Jerusalem and the final 3 ½ years ending (as John predicted) with the disappearance of mountain fortresses—the final one being Masada.  This all occurred within Jesus’ predicted time frame of one generation (40 years).  My skeptical university professor asked me: “Stan . . . don’t tell me that you believe in predictive prophecy?”  Yes, I think I do.


In my next post, I look at the Disappearance of the Jewish Church and the Rapture.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Apocalyptic? #34: After Armageddon—Disney, Daniel, Jesus, and John


The Biblical Pattern of “Overview-Followed-by-Details” 
and Even Longer-Term Prediction

From the very first chapters of the Bible, there is a literary pattern pertaining to history.  Genesis provides, in chapter one, a rapid-fire synopsis of creation events, followed, in chapters two and three by a more detailed explanation of day six, explaining the situation in which the first female (Eve) was brought into being and the circumstances that led to the command to “Be fruitful and multiply.”  In chapter one, the six “days” of creation are presented rapidly, sequentially, from the creation of mass and light energy to waters and firmament to land and vegetation to seasons and years to elemental-then-advanced animal life to God’s crown of creation, man, both male and female, to whom He commanded: “Be fruitful and multiply.”  Then, in chapters two and three, Genesis backs up to the sixth day—even after the part of day six in which He creates the beasts, cattle, and creeping things—and focuses more intently on the creation of Adam, bringing Eve, and the Fall, and then projects far into the future, in apocalyptic fashion, by God “put[ting] enmity Between [the serpent] and the woman, And between [the serpent’s] seed and her Seed; He [the seed of woman] shall bruise [the serpent’s] head, And [the serpent] shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15 NKJV).

By way of comparison, in now-closed Disney attractions, the “Universe of Energy” at EPCOT visually traced the same rapid-fire sequence from a secular perspective--starting with the “Big Bang.” If you search online for “youtube universe of energy,” in a very short span of time near the first of the video, you will view a sequence of events that many scientists believe occurred over a period of 13 to 14 billion years, but which is very similar in sequence to the Genesis 1 account.  What you are viewing is Disney’s visual interpretation of the origins of the universe, according to secularly-accepted views in physics.  If you search online for “youtube living seas preshow film,” you will view a more detailed sequence from a secular perspective of the development of the seas, the eventual visibility of the sun, moon, and stars, and the beginning of life forms (plant to animal), which is very similar in sequence to the Genesis 1:9-22 account, providing further details skipped over by the Universe of Energy exhibit.  Disney, thus, provides a representative anecdote for understanding the “biblical pattern of overview-followed-by-details.” 

Returning to the bible, in layer upon layer of apocalyptic chronological sequence, Jeremiah begins, counting from the year Nebuchadnezzar became king of Babylon and, subsequently, captured Daniel and his fellow-Jews and carried them away into Babylon.  Jeremiah 25:12 (NKJV) prophesies: “Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,” says the Lord“and I will make it a perpetual desolation.  Jeremiah 29:10 (NKJV) states: “For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place [i.e., Judea].” Counting seventy years from when Nebuchadnezzar became king in Babylon (in 605 B.C.) brings us to 535 B.C.  The Persian king Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon (the land of the Chaldeans) and freed the Jews from exile in 538 B.C. 

The proverbial seventy years may have been considered an overview for Daniel, realizing that he is living near the end of the prescribed “seventy years,”
for the process of “return[ing] to this place,” the land of Israel.  Daniel considers the proverbial seventy years in order to prophecy concerning seventy sabbatical years, i.e., 490 years.  Daniel 9 describes in greater detail than Jeremiah regarding that process of “return[ing] to this place,” i.e., the land of Israel: “I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem” (Daniel 9:2 NKJV).  Daniel, however, receives an updated and more detailed prophetic explanation in Daniel 9:24-27 (NKJV):

Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint [same Hebrew root as Messiah/Christ] the Most Holy.

“Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem UNTIL MESSIAH the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.
“And after the sixty-two weeks
MESSIAH SHALL BE CUT OFF, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”


Notice that, in Daniel 9:2 (cited above) the seventy years of Jerusalem’s desolation would not be the last of Jerusalem’s desolations, according to Daniel 9:27.  Daniel points to another, future abomination of desolation in Jerusalem.


A total of 69 (7 + 62) weeks of years (or 483 years) would be needed to “finish . . . transgression [and] to make an end of sins” (which Jesus did), to “make reconciliation . . . [and] bring in everlasting righteousness” (which Jesus did), and “to anoint the Most Holy” (Jesus).  Daniel is told to begin counting the 69 weeks of years at the “going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem.”  But which command to do so?  According to


In the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, we find four royal commands issued by Median and Persian kings that could possibly qualify as the “commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem.” The first command was by Cyrus in Ezra 1:1-11. The second was by Darius in Ezra 4:24 and 6:1-12. The third was by Artaxerxes in his 7th year in Ezra 7:7-26. The fourth was also by Artaxerxes in his 20th year in Nehemiah 2:1-8.


Without becoming endlessly bogged down by debates among these possibilities, I simply observe that, of these commands, the command of Artaxerxes in his 20th year (Nehemiah 2:1-8), for example, occurring approximately 456 B.C., when added to by the 483 years of Daniel 9, brings us to 27 A.D., near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.  The final one “week of years”= 7 years (“in the middle of” which He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.  And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate), Jesus in his Olivet discourse expands and provides details: “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place . . . .” (Matthew 24:15, et. al. NKJV). 


Jesus then, knowing that he is living near the end of the prescribed “seventy weeks of years,” puts a time limit on when this final week of years will occur: “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place” (Matthew 24:34, et. al. NKJV). 


John, in Revelation, then, realizing that he is living near the end of the prescribed “generation,” writes in much greater detail of things that must happen soon.  John repeats his consciousness of the “what must SOON take place” throughout Revelation.  John predicts that the "time" is "near" (Revelation 1:3, 22:10), that Jesus is "coming soon" (Revelation 3:11, 22:20), that the dragon’s "time is short" (Revelation 12:12), and that these things “must soon take place" (Revelation 22:6).  As I have demonstrated in previous blogposts, John’s and Jesus’ predictions concerning all that was prophesied to occur up through the Battle of Armageddon were amazingly precise!  Even though I have not previously taken the opportunity to mention the more minute detail about the Plague of the Sun Burning in Revelation 16:8 (NKJV), “Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire,” I find that it is mentioned by Josephus in terms of the Samaritans in Mt. Gerazim, prior to the Battle of Armageddon:  The Roman armies under Vespasian’s commander Cerealis killed 11,600 Samaritans on Mt. Gerazim by laying siege to the mountain.  Josephus writes: “[T]he Samaritans, who were now destitute of water, were inflamed with a violent heat (for it was summer-time, and the multitude had not provided themselves with necessities) insomuch that some of them died that very day with heat,” the rest of them being slain by the Romans (Wars III.VII.32).

John, furthermore, does not stop with the first half of the week of years (=3 ½ years) that concluded with the end of the Battle of Armageddon and the “end to sacrifice and offering” as prophesied by Daniel.  He writes of the second half of the week of years (=3 ½ years), and then continues to project history for more than 1000 years into the future.

Is There Human History on Earth “After Armageddon”?

Revelation 20:9-15 does not seem to allow time for ANY human history on Earth (at least, on the first Earth) following the Battle of Gog and Magog. Instead, it moves, rapid-fire, from sending down fire to consume Gog and Magog to casting the devil into the Lake of Fire (where the Beast [Nero] and the False Prophet [Jewish High Priests] already were) to God’s judgment throne at which time God cast Death and Hell into the Lake of Fire, along with all whose names were not written in the book of life.

By contrast, there are at least 3 ½ years of human history on Earth following the Battle of Armageddon, until the “war” is over.  Then, there is that bothersome millennium, during which time (although the Beast [Nero] and the False Prophet [Jewish High Priests] had already been cast into the Lake of Fire), the dragon-serpent-devil-Satan was only “bound” and “cast into the bottomless pit.”  Many Amillennialists, as their name implies (even if that name was coined by Premillennialists in an attempt to discredit this school of interpretation), want to eliminate the millennium from Revelation altogether. Therefore, many Amillennialists equate the Battle of Armageddon with the Battle of Gog and Magog.  That equation is impossible.  The prefix A- before the term “millennium” is a prefix of negation (as in, there is NO millennium).  It compares to the A- prefix in Atheism (as in, there is NO God).  Nevertheless, the “millennium” figures prominently in Jewish teaching concerning how long the Messianic Kingdom will last, plus in Revelation itself, plus in the history of the interpretation of Revelation.  The topic of the millennium deserves its own blogpost, which I shall provide in the future.  For the present, we shall consider the remaining 3 ½ years.

Josephus’s Interpretation of Daniel’s 3 ½ Years

The language in Revelation 11:2-3, related to the "forty-two months" = "a thousand two hundred sixty days" (= three and one half years) corresponds to Daniel 9 and the times of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.  In fact, the "three and one-half years" of the testimony of the Witnesses (11:3) and the "three and one half years" of the trampling of the city by the Gentiles (11:2) appear to be either one or both halves of the "last week of years" described by Daniel in chapter 9.  In the "middle" of that last week, the desolator(?) "shall cause the offering and sacrifice to cease" (Daniel 9:27).  Dividing the final seven years in the "middle" leaves two periods of "three and one-half years" each--one before the cessation of sacrifice and one following the cessation of sacrifice.  Daniel concludes in 12:11 with the words:  "And from the time the daily [sacrifice] shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate set up, a thousand two hundred ninety days [= roughly, three and one-half years]," after which will come qeytz (a word which means "end" but is easily associated, for plays on words, with the verb "to awaken," cf. Ezekiel 7:6).  Perhaps the Semitic play on the words "end" and "awaken" has Burke's "reidentification" sense, in which the “end” and the “beginning” meet.  Alpha meets Omega.  The “first” meets the “last.”  At any rate, it is clear that Daniel saw a thousand two hundred ninety days (= roughly, three and one-half years) period of time FOLLOWING what John will call “Armageddon.”

Josephus’s Use of the Term Desolation: Josephus is well-aware of Daniel’s prophecy of a coming desolation.  He describes the desolation of the countryside of Judea:

[The Romans] had cut down all the trees that were in the country that adjoined to the city for ninety furlongs [=11 miles] . . . those places which were before adorned with trees and pleasant gardens were now become a desolate country every way . . . its trees were all cut down . . . now . . . as a desert . . . all signs of beauty quite waste (Wars VI.I.1).


After the fall of Jerusalem, Josephus comments:


[T]his was the second time of its desolation . . . the king of Babylon conquered it, and made it desolate . . . .  It was demolished entirely by the Babylonians . . . to this destruction under Titus . . . .  And thus ended the siege of Jerusalem” (Wars VI.X.1).


Josephus’s Use of the Terminology Three and One-half Years:  Josephus offers the “example [of] Antiochus . . . Epiphanes . . . this city was plundered by our enemies, and our sanctuary made desolate for three years and six months” (Wars V.IX.4). 

Josephus fixed the exact date when “’the Daily Sacrifice’ had failed and had not been offered to God” along with his statement to the Jews—“Who is there that does not know what the writings of the ancient prophets contain in them,--and particularly that oracle which is just now going to be fulfilled upon this miserable city?” (Wars VI.II.1).  William Whiston, whose translation of Josephus we are using, in his footnote commenting upon this passage in Josephus finds it:

[R]emarkable [that] . . . Daniel’s prediction . . . [was precisely accurate:] the Romans “in half a week caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease.” Dan. ix.27; for from the month of February, A.D. 66 [when the war began] . . . to this very time, was just three years and a half.

What Happened, Then, in Those Final 3 ½ Years? 

According to Daniel 12:  qeytz (a word which means "end" but is easily associated, for plays on words, with the verb "to awaken)."  The “end” of the Jewish state, but, I think, the “awakening” of many faithful Jews and Christians then in the grave (i.e., the first resurrection, according to Revelation 20:5-6).  Many unbelieving Jews would flee to the fortified mountains that remained in Judea as possible refuges.  John writes: “Then . . . every mountain . . . was moved out of its place. And the kings of the [land] . . . hid themselves . . . in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!’” (Revelation 6:14-16 NKJV).  The church that had fled Judea at Jesus’ and John’s warnings would have their “covenant” “confirmed (via Rapture?).  According to Daniel, “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week.” Nevertheless, in the spirit of the Biblical Pattern of “Overview-Followed-by-Details,” now that I have offered you a quick overview, I will supply the details in the next few blogposts, à la Disney, Moses, Daniel, Jesus, and John.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Apocalyptic? #33: Armageddon V: False Prophets, Bridle-High Blood, and Jerusalem Burning: Josephus


Jesus’ Prediction of False Prophets  

Matthew 24:11 (NKJV) records the prediction by Jesus of False Prophets after they hear of “wars and rumors of war” (See also Mark 13): Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” 

Josephus’s Confirmation Prior to the War:  Before the Jewish-Roman War began, Josephus reports, “another body of wicked men . . . deceived and deluded the people under pretense of divine inspiration . . . prevailed with the multitude to act like mad men . . . pretending that God would” help them defeat the Romans.  An “Egyptian false prophet . . . got together thirty thousand men . . . [and] led [them] . . .  to the . . . Mount of Olives, and was ready to break into Jerusalem by force” (Wars II.XIII.4-5).

Josephus’s Confirmation During the War:  Why did the Jews not, at some point, surrender and cut their losses?  Jesus had prophesied this horrible end, but they believed, instead, the False Prophets.  After the Romans had taken the temple, during which 6000 Jews were being slaughtered and burned in Jerusalem, Josephus tells us:

A false prophet was the occasion of these people’s destruction, who had made a public proclamation in the city, that very day, that God commanded them to get up upon the temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance.  Now, there was then a great number of false prophets suborned by the tyrants [Simon and John] to impose upon the people . . . that they should wait for deliverance from God . . . Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers (Wars VI.V.2-3).


Bridle-High Blood Like from a Winepress

     After describing sharp sickles that would be used by angels to “harvest” the “land” (do not translate as “earth,” rather:  as the “land” of Israel), Revelation 14:20 (NKJV) states: Then the [wine]press was trampled outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press up to the horses’ bridles for about 180 miles.”  These 180 miles would extend outside of the city (of Jerusalem).  While the state of Israel, today, is approximately 290 miles long from north to south, at the time Revelation was written, it was roughly 180 miles long from north to south; John is writing about the blood that flowed throughout all of the “land” of Israel.  By contrast, Alexandria, Egypt is roughly 300 miles from Jerusalem and Ephesus in Asia Minor (the closest of the seven churches) is at least 600 miles from Jerusalem.  We know that Jewish blood flowed exceedingly as far away as Alexandria at the first of the war and that Christians were slain in Asia Minor, as well as Rome (over 1400 miles from Jerusalem), after Nero blamed the Christians for the Roman Fire, so the extent of flowing blood was well beyond the 180 miles described by John.  The depth of the river of blood (bridle-high) is hyperbolic, but it is also described hyperbolically by Josephus when he describes places “overflowing with blood,” “bloody seas,” “bloody lakes,” “blood standing in lakes,” and burning houses being “quenched with blood.”  Certainly, houses full of dead bodies would be higher than horses’ bridles, as would thousands of bodies being dumped at the city gates and bodies floating in bloody rivers that couldn’t be crossed.


Alexandria just after the war started:
“[T]he Jews . . . were destroyed unmercifully . . . some being caught in the open field and others forced into their houses . . . which houses were . . . set on fire by the Romans; wherein no mercy was shown to the infants, and no regard had to the aged; but they went on in the slaughter of persons of every age, till all the place was overflowed with blood, and fifty thousand of them lay dead upon heaps” (Wars II.XVIII.8).

Joppa just after Vespasian entered the war:
“[T]he sea was bloody a long way, and the maritime parts were full of dead bodies; for the Romans . . . destroyed them; and the number of the bodies that were thus thrown out of the sea was four thousand and two hundred” (Wars III.IX.3).

Taricheae on the Sea of Galilee vs. Vespasian: “[O]ne might then see the lake ALL BLOODY, and full of dead bodies, for not one of them escaped.  . . . This was the upshot of the sea-fight.  The number of the slain, including those that were killed in the city before, was six thousand and five hundred (Wars III.X.9).


The Civil War in Jerusalem:
 In the civil war battle for the temple in which Ananus the High Priest was killed, Josephus writes: “And now the outer temple was all of it overflowed with blood, and that day as it came on, saw eight thousand five hundred dead bodies there” (Wars IV.V.1).  [T]he dead bodies of strangers were mingled together with those of those of their own country, and those of profane persons with those of the priests, and the blood of all sorts of dead carcases stood in lakes in the holy courts themselves” (Wars V.I.3).

The Roman Attack on the Temple in Jerusalem:While the [temple] was on fire . . . ten thousand of those that were caught were slain . . . any age . . . children . . . old men . . . the blood was larger in quantity than the fire . . . the ground did nowhere appear visible, for the dead bodies that lay on it . . . heaps of these bodies” (Wars VI.V.1).

The Roman Attack on the Rest of Jerusalem: [The Romans] went in numbers into the lanes of the city with their swords drawn, they slew whom they overtook without mercy, and set fire to the houses . . . and burnt every soul in them . . . for those that were still alive . . . they ran everyone through whom they met with, and obstructed the very lanes with their dead bodies and made the whole city run down with blood, to such a degree indeed that the fire of many of the houses was quenched with these men’s blood” (Wars VI.VIII.5).

Jerusalem Burning 

     Revelation 17:16 (NKJV) promises:And the ten horns [the ten kings of the land] which you saw on the beast [Rome], these will hate the harlot [Jerusalem], make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.  Revelation 18:8 (NKJV) confirms:Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.

     Titus began his taking of Jerusalem by giving “his soldiers leave to set the suburbs on fire, and . . . bring timber . . . and raise banks against the city . . . So the trees were now cut down immediately, and the suburbs left naked” (Wars V.VI.2). 

     When Titus had eventually reached the temple, his first inclination was to leave the temple standing, but since the Jews continued to fight from inside the temple, killing “his soldiers . . . he gave orders to set the gates on fire” (Wars VI.IV.1).  Then, due to the conductivity of silver, with which the gates were adorned, “the soldiers had already put fire to the gates, and the silver that was over them quickly carried the flames to the wood that was within it, whence it spread itself all on the sudden, and caught hold of the cloisters.”  The Jews inside made no “haste . . . to quench the fire . . . they did not grieve at the loss of what was now burning . . . .  This fire prevailed during that day and the next also” (Wars VI.IV.2).  Titus ordered his soldiers to quench the fire, but in the process, one soldier disobeyed orders.  “[He] snatched . . . out of the materials that were on fire, and . . . set fire to a golden window . . . to the rooms that were round about, on the north side” (Wars VI.IV.4).  With Titus still ordering that the fires be quenched, other soldiers approaching the temple “made as if they did not hear Caesar’s orders . . . but they encouraged those that were before them to set it on fire” (Wars VI.IV.6).  Josephus continues:

And now the Romans, judging that it was in vain to spare what was round about the holy house, burnt all those places, as also the remains of the cloisters and the gates . . . .  They also burnt down the treasury chambers . . . the cloisters that were in the outer [court of the temple] . . . whither the women and children [and others] fled . . . about six thousand . . . the soldiers . . . set the cloister on fire . . . some of these were destroyed by throwing themselves down headlong, and some were burnt in the cloisters themselves.  Nor did any one of these escape with his life (Wars VI.V.2).


After burning down the temple and its associated buildings, Titus turned his attention to the rest of the city:

[H]e gave orders to the soldiers, both to burn and to plunder the city . . . on the next day they set fire to the repository of the archives, to Acra, to the council-house, and to the place called Ophlas [Ophel]; at which time the fire proceeded as far as the palace of Queen Helena . . . the lanes also were burnt down as were also those houses that were full of the dead bodies of such as were destroyed by famine (Wars VI.VI.3).

Josephus concludes: “Accordingly, as the people were now slain, the holy house was burnt down, and the city was on fire, there was nothing further left for the enemy to do.  [M]any . . . deserters were caught . . . and were all slain” (Wars VI.VII.2).  After the Romans finally caught John of Gischala and Simon son of Giora hiding in underground caverns, “the Romans set fire to the extreme parts of the city, and burnt them down, and entirely demolished its walls” (Wars VI.IX.4).

The End of the Battle of Armageddon

     With this post, I conclude my discussion of the Battle of Armageddon.  In popular parlance, many believe that the end of this battle signifies the end of the world.  Not so.  There is still the Parousia (a.k.a., the Second Coming or Rapture of the Church), the Millennium with the Binding of the Dragon for 1000 years, the Release of the Dragon from the Abyss at least 1000 years later, the Gathering of Gog and Magog from the four corners of the land, the Final Battle, the End of the old Heavens and Earth, the Creation of the New Heavens and Earth, populated by the New Jerusalem, etc.  The end of the Battle of Armageddon is not even the end of the Jewish Roman War.  It is only the end of the first half of Daniel’s final Week of Years.  It took 3 ½ years for Rome to desolate Jerusalem, but there remains another 3 ½ years before the end of the war.  John has less to say about this period, so our progress should be considerably faster.  We turn in the next post to “After Armageddon.”