The end of Idumea, the Herod Dynasty and Daniel’s people – Part 6

On my last blog post I shared how the actions of the Idumeans had led to the revealing of the Apostle Paul’s Man of Sin. But the Idumeans crossed paths with another very evil Zealot. His name was Simon bar Giora and Josephus also documented his barbaric actions during the rebellion.

The Romans and Josephus believed that Eleazer ben Simon,  Simon bar Giora and John of Giscala were the three ‘homegrown’ evil geniuses of the Jewish war. However, Simon bar Giora was seen in their eyes as the worst and most ruthless of the pair.

Josephus recorded that Simon bar Giora and his army were like locusts as they ravaged Idumea.

Thence did Simon make his progress over all Idumea, and did not only ravage the cities and villages, but lay waste the whole country; for, besides those that were completely armed, he had forty thousand men that followed him, insomuch that he had not provisions enough to suffice such a multitude. Now, besides this want of provisions that he was in, he was of a barbarous disposition, and bore great anger at this nation, by which means it came to pass that Idumea was greatly depopulated; and as one may see all the woods behind despoiled of their leaves by locusts, after they have been there, so was there nothing left behind Simon’s army but a desert.

Some places they burnt down, some they utterly demolished, and whatsoever grew in the country, they either trod it down or fed upon it, and by their marches they made the ground that was cultivated harder and more untractable than that which was barren. In short, there was no sign remaining of those places that had been laid waste, that ever they had had a being.[1]

 

Later the Romans went into what was left of Idumea, torched their towns and killed whoever they could find.

…but Cerealis, one of his commanders, took a body of horsemen and footmen, and laid waste that part of Idumea which was called the Upper Idumea, and attacked Caphethra, which pretended to be a small city, and took it at the first onset, and burnt it down. He also attacked Caphatabira, and laid siege to it, for it had a very strong wall; and when he expected to spend a long time in that siege, those that were within opened their gates on the sudden, and came to beg pardon, and surrendered themselves up to him. When Cerealis had conquered them, he went to Hebron, another very ancient city. I have told you already that this city is situated in a mountainous country not far off Jerusalem; and when he had broken into the city by force, what multitude and young men were left therein he slew, and burnt down the city; [2]

 

Any Idumean who managed to stay alive was starving by this point in time. Their only hope was to either join up with Simon’s forces who were fighting in the countryside or else try and get into the city of Jerusalem. Josephus records:

The Idumeans that paid him homage (Simon) were five thousand; and had eight commanders.[3]

 


The Idumean Refugees Rebel

The inhabitants of Jerusalem wanted rid of John of Giscala because of his cruelty and the first to rebel was a group of Idumean refugees who had sought refuge inside the city. The inhabitants realised that the only person who could get rid of John and take control of the Idumeans would be Simon. So they decided that they should invite Simon to come and rule over Jerusalem.

He along with his splinter Zealot army and other Idumean supporters came into the city and Simon was welcomed like their saviour.

They fought against John’s supporters, each Zealot faction determined to exterminate the other by destroying each other’s grain stores to starve each other into submission.

 


To The Redemption Of Zion

Coins were still being minted during the Jewish war and during the early years when under the influence of John they had the inscription ‘to the freedom of Zion’.  But by the final year while under the influence of Simon new coins minted had a much more eschatological  inscription ‘to the redemption of Zion’ [4]


The Feast of Unleavened Bread

Hostilities between the zealot splinter groups only came to an end once Titus arrived on the outskirts of Jerusalem in April AD 70, on the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Eleazar ben Simon Opens The Gates Of The Inner Temple

Yet Another Mosaic Law Is Broken

The inner temple sanctuary was the place that only consecrated Priests were allowed to enter … as Josephus records:

and admitted such of the people as were desirous to worship God into it. But John made use of this festival as a cloak for his treacherous designs, and armed the most inconsiderable of his own party, the greater part of whom were not purified, with weapons concealed under their garments, and sent them with great zeal into the temple, in order to seize upon it; which armed men, when they were gotten in, threw their garments away, and presently appeared in their armor… These followers of John also did now seize upon this inner temple, and upon all the warlike engines therein, and then ventured to oppose Simon. And thus that sedition, which had been divided into three factions, was now reduced to two” (Wars 5.3.1)

 

John Gischala then killed Eleazer once he opened the gates of the Inner Temple on April 14, 70 AD, just as the Roman siege began.

The five-month Roman siege began along with the final curses of the Old Covenant (see the footnotes for details about the siege.) [5]

But many of the inhabitants inside the city felt that it was better to escape into the hands of the Romans than stay inside with the Zealots. Therefore anyone who tried to leave the city was treated as a traitor and if caught was killed by the Zealots.

 


Titus and Herod Agrippa II on Tisha B’Av

 

Jerusalem finally fell to Titus with Herod Agrippa II by his side on 10th Day of Av, AD 70 (source: Josephus). The very same feast day that the 1st temple was destroyed by the army of Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king.

Many people had fled to the safety of the Temple grounds awaiting a miracle deliverance from God, but met their death there instead. As Josephus records …

A false prophet was the occasion of these peoples 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, to impose on the people: who denounced this to them, that they should wait for deliverance from God; and this was in order to keep them from deserting; and that they might be buoyed up above fear and care by such hopes. Now a man that is in adversity does easily comply with such promises. For when such a seducer makes him believe that he shall be delivered from those miseries which oppress him, then it is that the patient is full of hopes of such his deliverance.[6]

 

‘Hailstones’ the size of a talent fell on the city as Josephus records:

Now, the stones that were cast were of the weight of a talent, and were carried two furlongs and farther. The blow they gave was no way to be sustained, not only by those that stood first in the way, but by those that were beyond them for a great space. As for the Jews, they at first watched the coming of the stone, for it was a white color.[7]

 

If you’ve ever watched Lord of the Rings you could visualise that scene so easily!

John in Revelation also wrote about those hailstones in his vision.

And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great. ~ Revelation 16:21 [8]

 

Once the Zealots knew that they were finally defeated, they tried to hide from the Roman authorities in underground tunnels. Josephus records:

A last and cherished hope of the tyrants and their brigade comrades lay in the underground passages, as a place of refuge where they expected no search should be made for them, intending after the complete capture of the city and the departure of the Romans to come forth and make their escape. But this proved to be but a dream: for they were not destined to elude either God or the Romans. [9]

 

But eventually, John of Giscala and Simon bar Giora surrendered to the Romans.

 


Simon bar Giora – An Eschatological Messiah Figure

The Jewish virtual library perceived Simon to be a type of eschatological messianic figure when he surrendered to the Romans.

The Temple was burned and the devastated city captured by the enemy. Simeon and several of his most loyal friends hid in an underground passage among the ruins, but, unable to escape, Simeon finally surrendered to the Romans and was taken prisoner. The circumstances of his surrender were extremely strange. Josephus relates that Simeon suddenly appeared among the Temple ruins, as though out of the bowels of the earth, dressed in white and covered with a purple mantle. At the sight of him the Romans were terrified, but after recovering from their fear, bound him in chains. His strange appearance was probably connected with messianic expectations on his part; or by submitting to the victorious enemy he may have deliberately invited martyrdom.

Simeon was led as a prisoner in the triumphal procession held in Rome by Vespasian and his sons to celebrate their victory over the Jews. Scourged all the way, he was taken to the Mamertine prison, at the northeast end of the Forum, and executed at the moment of the culmination of the triumph. That he and not John of Giscala played this part in the triumphal procession shows that the Romans regarded him as the most important leader in Jerusalem and as the rebel commander. [10]

 

At the end of the siege of Jerusalem Josephus records that 1,100,000 had died and 97,000 were taken off to Rome as prisoners including John and Simon. The last of the retreating Zealots committed suicide at Herod The Great’s Masada fortress in AD 73 ending the War of the Jews.


The Tullianum

Nothing else is told about John Giscala. No doubt he was brought to the same prison and placed in its notorious dungeon where important state prisoners were lowered into. Prisoners died there due to either starvation or strangulation, which was most likely John’s fate. Simon was held in this prison prior to his public execution.

This “dungeon” was located within a sewer system below the city and could only be reached by being lowered through a hole in the floor, now covered by a metal gate.

The Tullianum was the most inner and secret part of the complex and served not as a place of punishment or torture but of detention and execution for condemned criminals.  The ancient historian Sallust said it was twelve feet underground and described its appearance as: “ disgusting and vile by reason of the filth, the darkness and the stench.” 

It was in this room, measuring 6.5 feet (2 meters)  high, 30 feet (9 meters) long and 22 feet (6.7 meters) wide, that prisoners who had been condemned to die, either by strangulation or starvation, awaited their fate.  An iron door at the end of the chamber opened to the Cloaca Maxima (the city’s main sewer), where dead bodies are said to have been dumped into the Tiber River. [11]

 


So What Happened to the Idumeans?

Idumea and the Idumeans vanish from world history in AD 70 as prophesied in the Old Testament.

“Because of violence to your brother Jacob, You will be covered with shame, And you will be cut off forever. “On the day that you stood aloof, On the day that strangers carried off his wealth, And foreigners entered his gate And cast lots for Jerusalem— You too were as one of them. “Do not gloat over your brother’s day, The day of his misfortune. And do not rejoice over the sons of Judah In the day of their destruction; Yes, do not boast In the day of their distress. “Do not enter the gate of My people In the day of their disaster. ~ Obadiah 1

“For the day of the Lord draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head. “Because just as you drank on My holy mountain, All the nations will drink continually. They will drink and swallow And become as if they had never existed. “But on Mount Zion there will be those who escape, And it will be holy. And the house of Jacob will possess their possessions. “Then the house of Jacob will be a fire And the house of Joseph a flame; But the house of Esau will be as stubble. And they will set them on fire and consume them, So that there will be no survivor of the house of Esau,” For the Lord has spoken. “Because of violence to your brother Jacob, You will be covered with shame, And you will be cut off forever. ~ Obadiah 10

 


Agrippa, Bernice And The End of the Herod Dynasty

 

After the war, Herod Agrippa II and Bernice went around the Roman provinces with Titus as part of his entourage. Bernice eventually went to Rome with Titus hoping to finally become his wife. But in the end Titus chose the throne instead of her.

Agrippa II and Josephus lived out the remainder of their days in Rome. Both became great friends and Agrippa no doubt influenced Josephus and his historical writing about the war. Agrippa died childless around AD 93 and the Herod dynasty was finally over.

 


The End of Daniel’s People

The martyred Saints were ruling and reigning rather than angels, as Co-heirs as part of the Heavenly Council. They witnessed justice being carried out on their enemies as their blood had been avenged. The last days of Daniel’s people, their temple, their city, and their nation along with biblical Judaism had come to an end.

 

 


 

The Wicked Generation

The forty years that Israel had been given to enter the New Covenant were over. The Old Covenant curses had been poured out and fulfilled on its final wicked generation that refused to accept the New Covenant.

The Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32 speaks of that same wicked generation and how Yahweh would avenge the blood of His saints. John also saw this same event in Revelation 16:6  and where the Jewish land beast, met its demise.

And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, beside which stood those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name. They were holding harps from God, and they sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb: “Great and wonderful are Your works, O Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed.” ~ Revelation 15: 2-4

 

Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. (The generation of the Apostles) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, YOUR HOUSE  is left unto you desolate. ~ Matthew 23

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. ~ Luke 21:32

All the people answered, ‘Let his blood be on us and on our children ~ Matthew 27:25

 

Jesus had come in judgment against apostate Israel as He had always promised to do, in the lifetime of the apostle’s generation. Jesus was not a false prophet! [12]

 

You can read the whole Herod Dynasty series here.


Related links:
How the Pharisees lost their inheritance
The Last Days, The Rapture of The Saints and the closure of Hades
The Heavenly Council and How It Relates to The Great Commission of the Nations Divided At The Tower of Babel.


Footnotes:

[1]http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/textdoc=J.+BJ+4.9.8&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0148

[2]http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0148%3Abook%3D4%3Awhiston%20chapter%3D9%3Awhiston%20section%3D9

[3] Josephus, Wars 5.13.6

[4] https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/coins-from-jewish-revolt-found-1.5259719

[5] 

[6] Josephus. Wars 6.5.2

[7] Josephus, Wars 6.3.4

[8] Proof that Revelation was written before AD 70

[9] Josephus, Wars 6.370

[10] https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/simeon-bar-giora

[11] https://www.unrv.com/government/roman-prisons.php

[12] Was Jesus a False Prophet? Series  https://thestreetlampblog.wordpress.com/tag/was-jesus-a-false-prophet/

Wiki commons Image: Roman Triumphal arch panel copy from Beth Hatefutsoth, showing spoils of Jerusalem temple, Public domain.

2 Comments

  1. Wow you have surpassed yourself with the work you have put into this.
    I hope it gets the respect it deserves.
    Only serious students of Gods word will give this series the attention to the details you have presented.
    Just outstanding work.

    Liked by 1 person

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