Second Coming Came
To best answer the perplexing question of modern Christians regarding the oft predicted “second coming” of Jesus, we shall turn to the best, most accurate and informed journalist of the times—Josephus, who had more “access” to power at the scene in Jerusalem, than we could imagine, and whose blind prejudice toward Christians because he was a Pharisee hater of Jesus, also serves to bolster his historic credibility.
A recent book “Jerusalem, a biography,” by Simian S. Montefiore helps make this point about Josephus by simply good research and clear writing.
The other book used as basis for an earlier column at VT:
August, 2011 Marks The 1,941st Anniversary! is most vital, because it was written back in 1805 by a serious bible researcher not yet influenced by the “bought” evangelical movement.. It is a small book by George Peter Holford, published by Covenant Media Press and available on the Internet www.cmfnow.com
Here is a glean from Montifiore explaining the remarkable position of Josephus at the time of the bloodiest destruction/conquest in history (or ever will be)!:
“Titus’ entourage (as they overlooked the slaughter from Herod’s palace.) was filled with Jewish renegades, including three Jerusalemites—a historian, a king and [it seems] a double-queen who was sharing Caesar’s bed. The historian was Titus’ adviser Josephus, a rebel Jewish commander who had defected to the Romans and who is the sole source for this account. The King was Herod Agrippa II, a very Roman Jew, brought up at the court of the Emperor Claudius; he had been the supervisor of the Jewish Temple, built by his grandfather Herod the Great, and often resided in his Jerusalem palace, even though he ruled disparate territories across the north of modern Israel, Syria and Lebanon.
“The King was almost certainly accompanied by his sister, Berenice, daughter of a Jewish monarch, and twice a queen by marriage, who had recently become Titus’ mistress. Her Roman enemies later denounced her as “The Jewish Cleopatra.” She was around 40 but “she was in her best years and at the height of her beauty,” noted Josephus. At the start of the rebellion, she and her brother, who lived together (incestuously claimed their enemies). had attempted to face down the rebels in a last appeal to reason. Now these three Jews helplessly watched the death agony of a famous city” —Berenice did so from the bed of its destroyer.”
I am just starting Montifiore’s well-written and researched book, so a review must come later. However the important details covered by Josephus, and exposed by Holford, come from the earlier, much smaller book.
Holford was magnificently obsessed by Christ’s remarkable predictions for the “end times” coming for Jerusalem before that generation of disciples passed away. Josephus unwittingly but obviously honestly wrote of events as they happened—confirming them for posterity, without realizing the importance. Church historians who mused how Josephus could have failed to mention Jesus and the early church, also overlooked what Holford uncovered.
The pious author, and tireless researcher, told how Josephus wrote of the “strange” occurrences in and around Jerusalem, that you seldom encounter in church or historic literature.
Holford listed 8 “great signs,” which Josephus detailed, including “a meteor resembling a sword, which Holford references from the old testament (1Chron. 21-16).
The second great sign was reported to be a brilliant spotlight around the Temple, inside and out at the ninth hour of the night, that could not be explained away by natural phenomena as it shone “without interruption for 30 minutes.”
Number five of Holford’s list is reminiscent of the so-called “rapture” so prevalent today, but nary a word of support in the bible: Josephus would hardly have given any Christian fancies solid journalistic coverage, unless the event was documented by many sources:
“Soon after the feast of the Passover, in various parts of the country, before the setting sun, chariots and armed men were seen in the air passing round about Jerusalem’ neither could this potentious spectacle be occasioned by the aurora borealis, for it occurred before the setting of the sun; nor was it mere fancy of a few villagers gazing at the heavens for it was seen in various parts of the country.”
It is clear to me that Christians have had sound evidence here that the promises by Jesus saying he would come again in judgment, within a very short period of time, was fulfilled by the destructive events he foretold in the Olivet discourse; and thanks to Josephus, we have solid reports bearing testimony to it.
Nonbelievers will not be convinced, but that, in my view is their problem. Christians, not Zionists, will find red meat in Holford’s work. I refer to an old column here: A Lifelong Pastor Sees Where He Was Wrong
Tom Valentine (born August 20, 1935, same day as Ron Paul) is a businessman, writer, commentator and radio host with an anti-establishment perspective. He worked with Radio Free America from 1988 to 2004. He tends to align with issues from left and right ends of the political spectrum, as well as libertarianism. His main journalistic interests have been unorthodox health care methods and conspiracy theories. He is a believer in many alternatives as cancer cures, and believes that soy products are unhealthy for human consumption. All of his views are at odds with the mainstream medical community.