Who Were the Měḥaššěbê ʾittōts?

Second Edition

Ancient Bible-believing Jews Were a Direct Driving Force

Behind Catastrophic Jewish Revolts Against the Romans

by Mark Mountjoy

Introductory Remarks

Měḥaššěbê ʾittōts: 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 herold 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. These “calculators of the time”—planned and then plunged the post-A.D.70 Jewish State into a series of cataclysmic wars, wars that occasioned the deaths of over a quarter of a million Romans in the Mediterranean basin alone. 

But it would not end in any long-term successes for the Jews because in the finale the Romans were with difficulty able to claim victory and hand the time calculators a humiliating loss: Oblivion and the disappearance of the Jewish nation for eighteen long centuries.

Indeed, no narrative of New Testament eschatology could or would be accurate or complete without the second century end of the political state of Judæa (which completion came about by the egregious errors and willful lies, and heroic efforts 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 (or better yet, the beginning of the seventh decade after the Destruction, according to their lights) was the right and proper time to strike out and bring a sorely needed victory to their Messianic and kingdom aspirations, but the timing was not at all ideal. 

Now, the reason why their timing was not ideal is this: 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.