posted on Mar, 10 2014 @ 02:05 AM
Our modern scholars and religious authorities consistently state that we cannot accept as truth the plain words of Josephus in the important
descriptions he provides regarding the shapes of buildings and their dimensions. We will discover it is the scholars and religious leaders who are
wrong -- not Josephus.
The early Jewish historian/priest, in places that scholars say he exaggerated, was stating the exact truth. The fact is, the Jerusalem of the Jews and
the Temple of Herod were indeed totally destroyed and not a stone of them was left in place. This problem we face today is not Josephus. It is modern
scholarly opinion that the Haram esh-Sharif was the Temple Mount. But this evaluation is NOT true.
That facility known as the Haram was officially reckoned as being beyond and outside the limits of Jewish Jerusalem. It was NOT reckoned as being part
of the municipality of Jerusalem.
Josephus was Not Exaggerating
Modern scholars are wrong, not the eyewitness accounts of Josephus and Titus. Jewish Jerusalem and the Temple were certainly destroyed to the bedrock
just as they relate. While the Haram retained it’s four walls, Josephus was keen on telling his readers that all the walls around Jerusalem were
leveled to the ground. Note his observation:
“Now the Romans set fire to the extreme parts of the city [the suburbs] and burnt them down, and entirely demolished it’s [Jerualem’s]
Those walls surrounding the Haram were NOT city walls, they were walls that protected something else altogether. The Haram area was not even a part of
To reinforce the matter, Josephus buttressed his account:
“When he [Titus] entirely demolished the rest of the city, and overthrew it’s walls, he left these towers [the three towers mentioned above] as a
monument of his good fortune, which had proved [the destructive power of] his auxiliaries, and enabled him to take what could not otherwise have been
taken by him.”17
These two accounts by Josephus, along with the other previous observations, confirm that there was a literal destruction of all the walls surrounding
Jerusalem. We will see even the small section of the western wall of the Upper City was later demolished. Indeed, not a trace of it was mentioned by
later eyewitnesses, nor has any part of it been found by modern archaeologists. Simply put, after 70 C.E. there is no word in any historical record
about a continuance of those three fortresses that Titus at first thought he would retain as monuments to the power of Rome over the Jews.
But these descriptions of Josephus and Titus of total ruin of the Temple and Jewish Jerusalem seem at variance with what we witness today. Let’s
face it. From the Mount of Olives we behold the four walls of the Haram still erect in all their glory, and they are prominently displayed with a
grandeur that dominates present-day Jerusalem. The lower courses of those walls clearly have 10,000 Herodian and pre-Herodian stones still on top of
one another. As a matter of interest, those rectangular walls are even functioning ramparts of Jerusalem today. They have been in constant use
throughout the intervening centuries to protect the buildings that were constructed in the interior of the Haram esh-Sharif.
Again, if those rectangular walls of the Haram are those which surrounded the Temple Mount (as we are informed by all authorities today), why did
Josephus and Titus leave out any mention about this magnificent Haram structure? They spoke of the utter ruin and desolation of Jewish jerusalem and
Temple, not the survival of any buildings that Jewish authorities once controlled.
On the other hand, it is certain that Josephus and Titus were aware that the walls of the Haram survived the war. After all, the walls are there for
all to observe. Then why did Josephus and Titus not refer to the walls of the Haram that remained standing in their time? This book will soon explain
the reason why, and clearly.
A Quandary for Modern Christians
These facts present a major problem for Christians. If those rectangular walls of the Haram are the same walls in their lower courses that formerly
embraced the Temple Mount (as we are dogmatically informed), why are these stones still firmly positioned on top of one another? The continued
existence of those colossal stones shows that Titus did not destroy the walls of the Temple after all -- if those were the same walls. Why is this a
difficulty for Christian belief? The reason is plain.
Christians are aware of four prophecies given by Jesus in the New Testament that not one stone would be left upon another either of the Temple and
it’s walls, or even of the City of Jerusalem and it’s walls (Matthew 24:1-2; Mark 13:1-2; Luke 19:43-44; Luke 21:5-6). But the walls encompassing
the Haram still remain in their glory with the 10,000 Herodian and pre-Herodian stones in place in their lower courses. If those stones are those of
the Temple, the prophecies of Jesus can be seriously doubted as having any historical value or prophetic merit in any analysis made by intelligent and
Indeed, the majority of Christian visitors to Jerusalem who first view those huge stones surrounding the rectangular area of the Haram (and who know
the prophecies of Jesus) are sometimes perplexed and often shocked at what they see. And they ought to be. The surprise at what they observe has been
the case with numerous people I have guided around Jerusalem and Israel. They have asked for an explanation concerning this apparent failure of the
prophecies of Jesus. Why do those gigantic walls still exist when Jesus prophesied that not one stone would remain upon another? If those walls of the
Haram represent the stones around the Temple, then the prophecies of Christ are invalid.
The usual explanation to justify the credibility of the prophecies is to say Jesus could only have been speaking about the stones of the inner Temple
and it’s buildings, NOT the outer Temple and it’s walls that surrounded it. This is the customary and conciliatory answer most scholars friendly
to Christian principles provide as their explanation. It is the same type of reasoning I adopted to explain this anomaly to my students and
The truth is, however, this explanation will not satisfy when one looks at what Jesus prophesied. Observe the prophecies carefully. They plainly state
that one stone would not rest on another of the Temple buildings, and his prophecies included it’s outer walls. The Greek word Jesus used in his
prophetic context to describe the Temple and it’s buildings was heiron. This means the entire Temple including it’s exterior buildings and walls.
Notice what Vincent says about the meaning of heiron.
“The word temple (heiron, lit., sacred place) signifies the whole compass of the sacred enclosure, with it’s porticos, courts, and other
subordinate buildings; and should be carefully distinguished from the other word, naos, also rendered temple, which means the temple itself -- the
‘Holy Place’ and the ‘Holy of Holies.’ When we read, for instance, of Christ teaching in the temple (heiron) we must refer it to one of the
temple porches [outer colonnades]. So it is from the heiron, the court of the Gentiles, that Christ expels the moneychangers and cattle
The exterior buildings of the Temple including it’s walls were always reckoned within the meaning of heiron that Jesus used concerning the total
destruction of the Temple. There were several outer divisions of the Temple distinguished from the Inner Temple, and these outer structures were
accounted as cardinal features of the Sanctuary. Note the New Testament account stating that Satan took Jesus to the “pinnacle of the Temple”
(Matthew 4:5). The pinnacle section was the southeastern corner of the outer wall that surrounded the whole of the Temple complex. The wording in the
New Testament shows that this southeastern angle was very much a part of the Temple -- it was a pinnacle [a wing] “of the Temple.” That area was a
cardinal attachment to the sacred edifice itself and an integral section of the Temple Jesus referred to when he prophesied that not one stone would
remain on another.
15 Though Professor Williamson, who translated Josephus, did not use the term “wild” (it was another highly respected scholar), Williamson would
have thought the evaluation appropriate (as did I before 1997). He remarked that the thorough desolation that Josephus recorded and Titus supposedly
saw in front of him was:
“An exaggeration. A great deal of the southern part of the Temple enclosure was spared. The whole of the south wall of it’s successor , the
present wall round the Haram esh-Sharif, the southern section of the west wall (the ‘Wailing Wall,’ where the fall of Jerusalem is still lamented)
and a short stretch of the east wall running up from the southeast corner are Herodian to a considerable height” (The Jewish War, p.454, n.2).
16 War (War of the Jews) VI.9,4.
17 War VI.9,1.
18 Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. I., p.50.