Who Were the Měḥaššěbê ̉ittōts?

Měḥaššěbê ̉ittōts. This is a technical word for Rabbinic Bible teachers and their enthusiasts.  These arose sometime after the A.D.70 Destruction of Jerusalem.  As the seventh decade (i.e., A.D.132) loomed they began to harold a false and misleading message to the Jewish world about the triumph of Judaism against the Roman Empire in a do-or-die military contest. The Měḥaššěbê ̉ittōts—Jewish “calculators of the time”—planned and then plunged the post-A.D.70 Jewish State into a cataclysmic war, a war that caused the immediate oblivion and disappearance of the nation for eighteen long centuries. No narrative of New Testament eschatology could or would be complete without the second century end of the political state of Judaea (which completion came about by the egregious errors and willful lies that caused the destruction of Jerusalem in the first place).

 Recommended reading. . . 

The Bar Kokhba Syndrome: Risk and Realism in International Relations 1st Edition

Harkabi describes a desperate, but ill-timed second century Jewish revolt against the mighty Roman Empire.  The Jewish people had lived for nearly seven decades with the stinging reality of the failure of Bible prophecy to bring the promised kingdom of God into the hands of the Zealots and other Jewish nationalists.  The middle of the second century (according to their lights) was the right time to strike out and bring a sorely needed victory to their aspirations, but the timing was not at all ideal.  The entire empire was at peace and all of its military resources were available to meet the dangers of any war.  Yet Rabbi Akiva and his prophecy enthusiasts chose to launch a risky and unrealistic rebellion; aiming to completely destroy the young and powerful empire, not so much by marshall skill as by sheer determination and audacity. 

It was a major mistake and so serious that it caused the Jewish state, which had survived the invasion of the Babylonians, the rule of the Persians, the reign of the Ptolemies and the Seleucids to disappear from the stage of world history after a mere two years of success and a total of forty-two months of fighting for its life. 

This book is very different from most accounts of what Bar Kokhba conspired and adds new historical material about this leader's daring and disrespectful attitude towards the Most High God and disregard for the physical well-being of two-hundred thousand volunteers who were his own countrymen.