I decided to start this thread to give people the opportunity to see all the many ways God intervened both to CAUSE the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD, and also to WARN people about it in advance. (Please note these are not in *strict* chronological order.)
**** (1) The Unexpected Withdrawal Of Cestius Gallus
You are probably already familiar with the most famous one, in which Cestius Gallus, the President of Syria ("king of the north") beseiged rebellious Jerusalem in 66AD, and then for no apparent reason, withdrew... even though at that time he could have retaken it easily. This allowed Christians and others to escape, as reported by Josephus:
"After this calamity had befallen Cestius, many of the most eminent of the Jews swam away from the city, as from a ship when it was going to sink."
This fulfilled Jesus' words, that "when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place, (let the reader use discernment,) then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains." (Matt 24:15,16)
They had to be quick, because the rebels chased the Romans and then returned to the city and began preparations for war. By that time, anyone who tried to leave would be considered a deserter, and probably killed. This was in 66AD, before the great tribulation kicked off. (You can read all about this withdrawal of Cestius in Wars Of The Jews, Book 2, Chapters 19 and 20.)
**** (2) The Prophet Pronouncing Woe From The Four Winds
Four years before this, in 62AD, a man suddenly appeared in Jerusalem (named Jesus, although not OUR Jesus) who began to suddenly cry aloud:
"A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against this whole people!"
He went all around Jerusalem and spoke nothing but THIS. The Romans considered him mad and even flogged him... but he wouldn't stop repeating this message. He was killed 7 years and 5 months later, by a stone from a Roman seige engine.
I associate this with Revelation 7, in which the FOUR WINDS are held back to allow God's sealed ones to escape that tribulation. The guy also started FOUR YEARS before the tribulation upon Judea. (Wars Of The Jews, Book 6, Chapter 5, Part 3)
**** (3) The Half Hour Light Around The Temple
Before the war broke out, at the festival, in the night, "so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright daytime; which light lasted for half an hour". (Wars Of The Jews, Book 6, Chapter 5, Part 3)
I believe this corresponds with the "half hour" pause in heaven, recorded in Revelation 8:1:2, in which incense and fire are mixed from the ALTAR of God, and hurled to earth... just before the great tribulation commenced.
**** (4) Nero's Suicide, Vespasian's Rise To Emperor And Josephus' Prediction
Josephus had a dream in which he saw both Vespasian AND his son Titus as emperor. He reported this to Vespasian, the general in charge of recapturing Jerusalem, who was understandably skeptical, since as a mere general, he was not in line for being emperor.
Vespasian finally arrived in the mountains around Jerusalem, ready to recapture the city, when Nero suddenly committed suicide in 68AD, with no one on his side any more, marking the end of the founding Caesars (the "Julio-Claudian" line from Julius Caesar).
This, I believe, fulfilled Daniel 11:44-45, with the "he" in the prophecy being Nero. However, upon Nero's death, the Roman world was plunged into chaos and anarchy, and the famous "Year Of The Four Emperors", which resulted in civil war and the near end of the Roman empire.
Surprisingly, the Roman legions loyal to Vespasian proclaimed him emperor, and reluctantly at first, and then keeping in mind the words of Josephus, he accepted... and went back to Rome to secure power, becoming emperor in 69AD.
I believe all of this was by Divine intervention, God appointing Vespasian as emperor in the same way he earlier appointed Nebuchadnezzar as King, who was commissioned to destroy Jerusalem. (In this manner, Revelation 11 was fulfilled, in which the holy city was trampled in 70AD for 3 1/2 years, demonstrating Jehovah's rulership of the earth... just as he did in the days of Nebuchadnezzar.)
**** (5) The Night Of The Thunderstorm And Earthquake
Before the war kicked off, the rebellious Zealots had holed themselves up in the Temple, and had called for the aid of the Idumeans, who were related to the Jews. The Idumeans came, but the high priest closed the gates of Jerusalem to them.
They took this as a personal insult, and so camped outside the gates that night. Then... "there broke out a prodigious storm in the night, with the utmost violence, and very strong winds, with the largest showers of rain, with continual lightenings, terrible thunderings, and amazing concussions and bellowings of the earth, that was in an earthquake. These things were a manifest indication that some destruction was coming upon men, when the system of the world was put into this disorder; and anyone would guess that these wonders foreshadowed some grand calamities that were coming".
Under the cover of the noise of the storm, the Zealots slipped out of the Temple and let the Idumeans in, while the city guards were asleep. That night, THOUSAND were slaughtered caught of guard, causing great wailing voices throughout the city.
Josephus considers THIS night to be the true BEGINNING of the downfall of Jerusalem. I believe it also corresponds with Revelation 8:1-5, when after the half hour pause, the incense is hurled to the earth, "And thunders occurred and voices and lightnings and an earthquake. And the seven angels with the seven trumpets prepared to blow them."
It was the REAL start of the great tribulation upon Jerusalem.
*** (6) The Son Cometh
Josephus reports a very strange incident at the time Titus was beseiging Jerusalem for the final time. The Romans began hurling stones at the Jews with their seige engines. Listen to what he says, and see if you can spot the strange part:
"As for the Jews, they at first watched the coming of the stone, for it was of a white color, and could therefore not only be seen also before it came by its brightness; accordingly the watchmen that sat upon the towers gave them notice when the engine was let go, and the stone came from it, and cried out aloud in their own country language, "THE SON COMETH:" so those that were in its way stood off, and threw themselves down upon the ground; by which means, and by their thus guarding themselves, the stone fell down and did them no harm. But the Romans contrived how to prevent that by blacking the stone, who then could aim at them with success, when the stone was not discovered beforehand, as it had been till then; and so they destroyed many of them at one blow." (Wars Of The Jews, Book 5, Chapter 6, Part 3)
This reminds me of Jesus' saying: "The person falling upon this stone will be shattered. As for anyone upon whom it falls, it will pulverize him." (Matt 21:44)
Here, at the final seige of Jerusalem, the Jews were crying... THE SON COMETH!
I don't think that's entirely a coincidence. I also think this period corresponds to Revelation 10, where shortly afterwards Titus gave the Jews one last opportunity for peace, and allowed some to escape before he surrounded the city with fortifications. (Thank goodness Josephus wrote the description of these events down in SEVEN THUNDEROUS volumes of his Wars Of The Jews.)
Of course, it's difficult to PROVE that God's hand was in any of these events. However, we know it was Jehovah's purpose to bring the Temple and Jerusalem to desolation...
(1) Had Cestius recaptured Jerusalem in 66AD, it likely would not have been desolated, because at that time the Jews would not have been able to resist.
(2) Had the prophet not gone around Jerusalem pronouncing a voice from the "four winds", the people would have had less warning. As it was, this prophet continued his same message for over 7 years, starting from 62AD.
(3) Had the half hour of light not occurred, I might be less easily convinced that Revelation was partly fulfilled in the 1st century.
(4) Had Nero not died, it wouldn't look like God was in control of events. As it was, Vespasian was an UNEXPECTED emperor, and Josephus was given a dream by God that he and his son would become emperor (sounding very similar to Joseph to Pharaoh, or Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar, in that sense).
(5) Had the night of the thunders, lightnings and earthquake not occurred, the Idumeans may simply have gone home the next day, and saner minds might have regained control of Jerusalem again. As it was, Jerusalem was doomed from that moment on.
(6) Had they not cried out THE SON COMETH, I might be *slightly* less adamant that Jesus DID indeed come against Jerusalem at that time.
I wanted to write this post to show how God intervenes, often in subtle ways, to control or demonstrate mastery of events... and also to perhaps show you WHY I believe the events of 66-73AD fulfilled most of the prophecies, including Daniel 8:9-12, 23-25; Daniel 9:24-27; Daniel 11:31-12:13; Matt 24:1-42; Luke 21:5-36; and Revelation 6-11.
It was Daniel's final "week", the 7 years in which the Romans gained mastery over the Jews (as Dan 9:27 implies in the Hebrew), and finally devasted their holy city and temple.
On Revelation... why would John "foretell" events that were already past?
Well, that presupposes Revelation was written AFTER the fall of Jerusalem. I think there is strong internal evidence it was written before... perhaps around 67AD in the last year or two of Nero.
Even so, why foretell things that were ABOUT TO happen?
Well, that's PRECISELY what the account says! "The appointed time is NEAR." (Rev 1:3). "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the appointed time is NEAR." (22:10)
Things were ABOUT TO kick off.
But then... why did the congregations of Asia Minor receive the revelation, and not those more directly affected, ie. Jerusalem?
Well, the Jerusalem congregation DID NOT EXIST by 67AD!!!... at least, not in its usual meeting places. They would have already fled to the mountains, in obedience to Jesus' earlier words.
So by that time, those in Jerusalem were already SAFE... if they had fled to the mountains.
Revelation 6-11, which I believe primarily refer to the fall of Jerusalem, was not written for the congregations to take ACTION upon every little detail, but mainly to show them the Divine drama playing out, ie. that the fall of Jerusalem was an act of DIVINE WALL... a divine drama, as it were... played out in seven trumpets, as with the fall of Jericho.
Of course, they had to take some action, i.e. avoid worshipping the wild beast. However, much of it is written PASSIVELY, ie. in Revelation 12 we are simply presented with the DRAMA of the dragon chasing the woman's seed. The audience didn't need to take action here, because it was being played out elsewhere... specifically, in Jerusalem (until the dragon roped in the empire to take part in the war.)
In other words, while it WAS prophecy in the sense that it hadn't happened yet (i.e. in 67AD, Jerusalem and the Temple were still standing), the first half of Revelation is more a PROPHETIC DRAMA... a commemoration of Jerusalem's fall, portrayed in richly symbolic and language that would be familiar to anyone who knew Jewish history.
For example, Revelation 11 is FULL of Jewish allusions... the "seven thousand persons" alluding to the 7,000 who didn't bow to Baal in Elijah's day... John measuring the Temple, like Zechariah measured Jerusalem... "two witnesses" also like in Zechariah... references to Jerusalem as Sodom like in Ezekiel... etc.
It is also full of Christian allusions, such as Jesus' death (the wild beast kills the "two witnesses"), the resurrection of Jesus (the "two witnesses" are resurrected after 3 1/2 days), the Transfiguration (going up in a cloud), the ascending of Jesus into heaven (also up in a cloud).
I believe it's written like that for a couple of reasons...
(a) to force the reader to only understand AFTER they have studied the rest of the Bible (making it incomprehensible to "outsiders"),
(b) to commemorate the passing away of the Jewish system, and the full commencement of the Christian one.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post.