Confronting a Prejudicial Aversion to the Historic Extent of the Ancient Jewish State
by Mark Mountjoy
New Prologue and My Sincere Apology to Max R. King (Dated June 7, 2020)
After publishing this piece several weeks ago it came to my attention, through a review of The Nichols-King Debate, that I had unintentionally misrepresented Max R. King's actual beliefs and position on the meaning of the millennium. What you see below is the conventional view that the millennium of Revelation 20 fits into the A.D.30 to A.D.70 period, but that is not Max King's position, if I now rightly understand what he was saying at his 1973 debate with Gus Nichols, he believes something slightly different.1
I want to say I am sorry for ascribing to this brother something he apparently does not believe. I also want to point out that the very fact that he does not hold to the view that the Revelation 20 millennium began on the Day of Pentecost, releases him from a lot of the problems embracing that stance entails. It lets me and everyone else see that he actually perceives going that far back does not solve the problems Revelation 20 makes us have to face.
Reading Gus Nichols' comments and objections to Max King's explanation of the millennium seems to indicate that King really believes the millennium of Revelation 20 began sometime around A.D.66, or at any rate, before A.D.70. Now, this, too, makes no sense, but it is (in its own odd way) an improvement from going all the way back to Pentecost and then standing there as if that makes sense. Having Satan bound in A.D.66 might be explained by pointing out his apparent fall from heaven during the Revolt (as pictured for us in Revelation 12:9-15).
But it still fails to account for a time during the civil war when Satan could legitimately be "absent." There is no absence in the texts of Revelation 12 or 13 or any other chapter before 20 where we can, with any authority say, Satan was in the bottomless pit from this chapter to that chapter.
No such window of absence here exists!
So the upshot of this apparent King solution, though it relaxes the tension of claiming an entire inter-advent period stretching from Pentecost/ 6 Sivan, ca. A.D. 33 to the Destruction A.D.70, still comes off as unintelligible in light of anything said from Revelation 12:9 up to Revelation 20:5-6.
Finally, moving the beginning the millennium up to A.D.66 still can't explain to us why active, militant Jewish hopes for their Messianic future and their decisive militarism under Lucious Quietus and, finally, Emperor Hadrian, was so hardy and robust. And it still does not tackle, head-on, the phenomenon of Bar Kokhba. It also does not explain why there was a serious renewed Jewish persecution of the second-century Church.
Finally, it cannot tell us why the Jewish State vanished in the second century (not the first). Just as the Bible indicates, that momentous occasion happened in a "historically juxtapositional angle" from the A.D.70 catastrophe. So the standard explanation can only look on in silence and simply refuse to integrate these developments into the Revelation narrative, and that, to us, is silent complicity. To us, it is an unfortunate strategy that ends up denying closure and doctrinal legitimacy to a subject that, short of a complete exegesis to the very last verse, could prove troubling to Christian efforts to have these issues taken seriously.
In the final analysis, stopping short of the ultimate end, the subject is left hanging with open questions that invite speculations that can end up leading to tangents that go far and away from the complete founding of the great mountain that fills all the earth (Daniel 2:35).
The ability to stand back and look at our own assumptions objectively and with as little sympathy as possible is, in my opinion, a great asset in developing models that, when inspected by others, meet standards of logic, congruity, and predictive value. For without logic what we promote could actually, on the face of it, look and sound crazy, and under pressure from closer inspection, it could actually hold no water (and really be crazy!).
If the model lacks inner congruity, we can unintentionally end up denying what we definitely are saying, and affirming what we vehemently deny. In terms of predictive value, a theory cannot be true if, for example, it claims finality of Jewish ambitions within the framework of a first-century window (e.g., A.D.66-70), only to ignore, denigrate and bypass an almost complete, but a grander replay of those same dreams, hopes and ambitions a mere seven decades later (A.D.132-136). The troubling issue we are going to address in this talk is the prejudicial aversion to the historic extent of the ancient Jewish State, found mainly in Full and Partial Preterist circles.
Our need to address this important problem arises because the Bible actually indicates the necessity of what ended up happening to Judæa in at least twelve places: Daniel 2:35 cf. Revelation 20:11; Daniel 7:12; Daniel 12:6-7; Micah 3:12; Matthew 12:43-45; Matthew 22:1-14; 24:22 and Mark 13:20; Luke 2:34 and John 5:43 and Revelation 10:1-4. In the context of Revelation 20 itself, the order of Satan's binding and releasing completely discredits Brother King's claim that the timeline of the devil's incarceration stretched from some unknown starting point in A.D.66 and ended in A.D.70; the suggestion is not even there!
Abiding by King's schedule, therefore, will effectively mitigate and stunt the full scope and grandeur of the Revelation of Jesus Christ and make it appear as if contradictory and nonsensical events and conclusions pile up and ricochet, backward and forwards, up and down and around between A.D.33 and A.D.70. We want Christians, all over the world, to understand that nothing could be further from the truth!
Vivacity, Hope and Truculence Characterized a Second Century
Israel On its Way Out, But Was it a Part of the Bible Prophecy Calendar?
Many do not now realize that the unity, order, and progress in the Revelation 20:1-15 narrative parallels the unity, order, and progress of Eretz Israel in the sixty-three-year Judæa Capta period of A.D.73—136. For far too long a fallacy about a forty-year generation has been maintained as a mantra in Preterist circles. But it is important not to make a complete parallel between what happened to the generation of the Exodus and the generation of Jesus' day. That is a bad MISTAKE because there are also important differences.
For example, God disallowed Moses (then 120 years old - Deuteronomy 34:7) to enter the land of milk and honey. Likewise, others as old, older, or slightly younger (e.g., Mariam, Aaron, etc) were allowed to perish (Numbers 20:1 comp. Exodus 2:4). But Joshua and Caleb, who were both above eighty years old, went into the Promised Land, but concerning the first century, there is no proof God killed everyone from the generation of Jesus' day on or by A.D.70—far from it!
Instead, as Luke 21:24 and Romans 11:25-26 indicate, God gave the survivors a SECOND CHANCE before they became liable to judgment, punishment, and cutting off in the blast of events that saw the end of the Jewish State (Revelation 20:8-9). Josephus, himself, tells us that ninety-seven thousand people were carried away into the Roman Empire as captives when the holy city fell.2
Consequently, Christians sorely need to forsake Max R. King's and Full Preterism's two-age "wedding ring" analogy so that efforts to corroborate, elucidate and authenticate Revelation chapter 20 as the end of Jewish State history will (at last) be apparent to all.
Otherwise, the very end of Jewish efforts to take the kingdom of God by force of arms (and the failure to do so) will never be recognized by all of God's people as an irrefutable public token of the success of the cause of Christ in the face of overwhelming aggression at the hands of hopeful, but recalcitrant ideologues and their Gentile sympathizers in Rabbinic antiquity!
The Main Talk
In the main body of this talk, I want to sketch an argument and present old and new reasons why Christians are better off leaving behind Brother King's and Full Preterism's paradigm of Revelation chapter 20 as it is self-contradictory and satisfies ideological imperatives but comes nowhere near the realities of the path of Jewish salvation history as it rolled forth sanguinely from the Masada disaster, through the reigns of Domitian and Nerva. While we hear of no significant disturbances in the reigns of Domitian and his successor, Jewish history quickly turned extremely turbulent again under Trajan's watch and, finally, blossomed into the largest and most audacious insurrection this world has ever seen under that infamous debacle fomented by Simon Bar Kokhba in the eighteenth year the reign of Hadrian.
To make Revelation chapter 20 work as a precursor to the A.D.66-70 events, a truckload of evidential prevarications and outright falsehoods have to be smuggled past the attention of students, investigators, and exegetes. What are these prevarications and falsehoods? It has to be prevaricated that the Temple fell in A.D.70 and that has to mean the total end of the Jewish age. But that is not true! In 587 B.C. Solomon's Temple was completely destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the Jewish age did not end with it, but within decades they were able to rebuild and restore its operations again.
Likewise, it is said that the genealogical records of the Jewish people were destroyed in A.D.66, therefore the priesthood could not be resumed after the destruction. However, the Jewish people knew by memory which tribe they were from and the destruction of those records did not erase from memory something they undoubtedly rehearsed again, and again, as a point of pride in their pedigree throughout their lives. By the time of their second attempt against the Romans they were doubtlessly fully aware of who could work in a brand new third Temple and who could not, all this would have been still available from oral, written private records and recent memory, regardless of the destruction of the public archives.
Archaeological evidence from the Bar Kokhba period suggests that the Jews knew full well who was who and set about to resume priesthood courses to function as before the Destruction.
A more brazen claim maintains that the last war of the Jewish state was the A.D.66-70 revolt against the Romans, which is patently false.3 Furthermore, it has to be alleged that Jewish persecution against Jewish Christians ended abruptly and finally in A.D.70 mainly due to the shock and surprise of the unexpected Fall and Destruction of Jerusalem. But this, too, is also patently untrue! Bar Kokhba and the Sanhedrin are on record in the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius for initiating cruel persecutions against Christians starting in A.D. 133.4 So it is not true that Jewish persecution against Christians and their churches ended once and for all in A.D.70!
Next, it has to be maintained that a generation in the Bible is a mere four decades. This is inaccurate in the extreme and can be shown to be so using the Bible alone. A generation in the Scriptures could be the approximate extent of the lifetime of individuals allowed by God. We will give three examples to bring this point home: The time it took Noah to build and board the Ark (120 years - Genesis 6:3), and the lifetime of Moses (120 - Deuteronomy 34:6), Mariam (126 - Exodus 2:5-8), Aaron (123 - Numbers 33:39)—all four examples amount to 120 years or slightly more.5
But there is much more!
Now, we want to explain what is meant when we indicated post-Masada Judæa was vivacious, hopeful, and truculent.
We are talking about a change of mood during the Trajan years where the Romans seemed to be on the brink of losing control, but still manfully handled the Jewish expressions of militant messianism in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Crete, and Cyrenaica. Hundreds of thousands of Roman citizens died in these upheavals and the Romans, determined not to be bested by the Jewish warriors, put to death multiplied thousands of rebels who, in Crete alone, managed to kill two hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants of that island!
This liveliness was animated by none other than the belief that God was ready and willing to bestow the kingdom of Daniel 7:27 on the Jewish people and one of these leaders (nobody was absolutely sure who) was the "real" messiah.
One of the main purposes of the messiah (according to popular nationalist Jewish thought) was to inflict punishment and vengeance upon the Gentiles.
But the Romans were keeping up with the buildup of events, not actually knowing the Biblical logic behind them, nor could they foresee that these violent and bloody outbursts were leading to the manifestation of a newly independent second-century state of Israel, stellar turmoil, a staggering loss of human lives. But in the end, a hard-won victory against Jewish secession, from the Roman Empire was to be denied, once again, and the final victory, with great effort, went to the Romans.
Now, according to the Anchor Bible Dictionary, the cause of all this was a reliance of Rabbinic students on Bible calculations and the conviction that what God promised to Israel was unconditional, carte blanche and written on a blank check for Judæa whether she was good or bad, submissive or wayward, repentant or wicked. We read:-
"Typically, Greco-Roman sources do not mention another aspect of the Jewish situation which may well have been equally significant in provoking conflict: messianic speculation and eschatological calculations. It is said in rabbinical literature that Rabbi Akiba, one of Bar Kokhba's principal supporters, was among the měḥaššěbê ̉ittōt, "calculators of the (end) times." In other words, he was taken up with messianic speculations and the attempt to calculate when the Messiah would appear based on hints in the Scriptures.
The pseudepigraphic work Apocalypse of Baruch, now extant only in Syriac, is a writer from the period immediately after the destruction of the temple in 69 C.E., one with many connections with rabbinic Judaism in terms of concept and legal interpretations. It is therefore not unreasonable to suggest that it represents the type of thinking which was going on in some circles of nascent rabbinic Judaism in the period between the revolts.
The dominant typology of Baruch involves the temple: it draws parallels between the destruction of the first temple at the time of Jeremiah and that of the second in 69 C.E. Just as there was a rebuilding of the first temple under Ezra and Nehemiah 70 years after its destruction, Baruch promises a future rebuilding, a third temple, to inaugurate messianic times. For a people saturated in scriptural knowledge such as these circles of ancient Jewry, who were convinced of such typologies, it was natural to think that another seventy-year period would be involved. And thus the date of the outbreak of the revolt is perhaps connected to an understanding of its causes: here the Bar Kokhba material may be helpful."6
To achieve success in inverting and squeezing Revelation chapter 20 back into pre-70 first-century history, exegetes have to turn a blind eye to military numbers in terms of Jewish and Roman troop sizes. For example, in the A.D.66-70 imbroglio, the Jewish forces were fractured into three factions—the anti-Roman Zealot army under John Gischala and the Zealot army under Simon Bar Giora's control and the third faction of robbers, the Sicarii, who initiated the revolt. This last group withdrew and remained atop Masada for the duration of the war, while the two Zealot groups fought against each other and with the pro-Roman Jewish forces tried to save the temple and the city from unrecoverable sacrilege and oblivion.
Ok, let's talk about numbers:
John of Gischala had twenty thousand troops under him.
It is verified in Josephus' Complete Works, under The Wars of the Jews, that twenty thousand Idumeans came up from Idumea to help John Gischala's Zealots who were trapped by the Aristocracy in the Temple (reference Wars 4.4.2:233-235).7
Simon Bar Giora, had twenty-thousand armed troops under him along with forty thousand that were unarmed, which makes up a force of sixty thousand people.8
After the Idumeans killed the eight thousand five hundred people in the Temple of God, they proceeded to break open the prisons and two thousand prisoners were released. These freed criminals did not flee to John Gischala, but instead fled to Simon Bar Giora - see Wars 4.6.1:353.
About the Aristocracy's forces, see 9 in notes.
According to Adam Maarschalk, sixty thousand Roman troops began military operations in Galilee and killed or deported one hundred thousand Jews into slavery.10
Now, the Sicarii, who submitted to the authority of Eleazar Ben Yair, the grandson of Judas of Galilee, died with 959 others at Masada in April of A.D.73—and 960 people is the casualty total from a war all parties agree started in earnest in the autumn of A.D.66.
Now, look at those numbers!
A lot of people fought, but at the very end of the conflict (Revelation 19:21) 960 people died.
But if Revelation 20:8-9 is really supposed to be a repeat of Revelation 19:21, we've got some really big problems! You can't take a fortress of just short of a thousand people, in one chapter, and then turn around in the very next chapter to inflate their numbers to billions without seeming ridiculous or extremely biased!
Now, let's look at Roman troop size for this broad campaign against all the three Jewish seditious armies: According to my sources, Titus and Vespasian's numbers [in the first Jewish war] only reached about seventy-five thousand men. So here we are not even talking about a half-million or even millions of Roman soldiers, only thousands—even if you combine all of them.
Now, to make Revelation 20:8 fit into first-century circumstances something has to be obviated to inflate the numbers to convey the impression that Satan's horsemen and footmen were a vast cloud covering the land, but whose troops and which side are we going to say they belong to?
If we say the doomed horde is on the Jewish side, their totals certainly had the inferior army size in the A.D.66-70 war theater (and their final suicidal stand at Masada, don't forget, was a mere nine-hundred and sixty people).
So whichever way we turn (Jewish or Roman), the expression "number as the sand of the sea" makes little sense.
So the army with numbers as the sand on the seashore, no matter where we turn, means numbers in the millions and billions, not hundreds and thousands.11
In the same way, the Roman troop size in the first century precludes that John has Rome's military forces in mind. This is true for the simple fact that the Roman army suffered NO catastrophic overthrow but actually won the war, took the loot, and banqueted and paraded in grand and lavish style12 to the dismay of Jewish survivors everywhere.
And the Roman civilization did not decline or collapse anywhere near the first century, let alone in their confrontation with the feisty and overconfident first century Hebrew warriors.
Now going back and forth between what was Judæan and what was Roman, and around and around between what happened in A.D.33 and what happened in A.D.70, and bouncing around a theoretical landscape about when Satan was bound and when he was not (even in an A.D.66-70 'opportunity window') makes what the King model requires Scripturally unfeasible, historically impossible and logically unjustifiable.
Nobody can explain it from a Scriptural, historical, or even logical standpoint because it is purely imaginary and fanciful—as if the events of Revelation 20:1-4 happened, basically, fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead (!!!), and the events in Revelation 20:7-15 happened in A.D.70.
But Revelation 20:1-4 really reads like it is the Jewish war [and if it is], tracing a straight line (as per the popular Preterist timeline) means the First Jewish War (with Satan, the sea beast, and the false prophet, in A.D.33) led to the First Jewish War (without the sea beast and the false prophet) in A.D.70!
This arrangement creates a compound and extremely complicated tangle of claims that is itself self-refuting and maddening to contemplate, to wit, the characters (I mean the bad actors) in Revelation 20:3—Satan, the false prophet, the beast—do not even appear as subjects or villains in the Acts 2:1-47 narrative, but the Full Preterist paradigm insinuates or implies that they should be there anyway!
The other side of this equation has to do with the fact that the Jews and their sympathizers, during the last three and a half years of the Jewish State, had armies with numbers far, far superior to the Romans. All the citizens were enlisted in what was considered a major national emergency where even Jewish Christians became liable to death for refusing to join the national struggle.
We are also told that Godfearing sympathizers, from Ethiopia, Persia, and elsewhere contributed manpower on behalf of Bar Kokhba's ambitions. The standing army itself was said to exceed something better than two hundred thousand soldiers and these men were sadistically maimed by Bar Kokhba before the Rabbinic authorities, alarmed by this, stepped in and put a stop to it. And we are told that, besides these, thousands of others joined Israel's army.
The unarmed civilian participants are said to have been 585,000 persons—a staggering number that would have been unthinkable in the First Jewish War!
Villages, cities, towns, fortresses, and caves were manned and equipped and, we are told, no less than five Roman legions disappeared off the face of the earth!
Now, for the Romans, these terrifying and unthinkable developments suggested that the early Roman Empire stood in distinct danger of being destroyed; for the Christians, there was no less trepidation and dismay, for it suggested something even scarier: If successful Bar Kokhba, through the sheer force of his will and the strength of Jewish military might, could have reversed the kingdom of God's establishment that took place in the autumn of A.D.66. If, in the end, he beat the Romans, then he could have reversed what already happened and made it null and void!
Then Judæa would indeed be an earthly kingdom, then the Messiah would indeed conquer the Romans in a carnal contest, then the sacrifices and oblations by the Aaronic priesthood would indeed resume—without, of course, the permission or the Presence of Almighty God!
But had not John, the Revelator, already told the seven churches that Satan must be loosed a little season? Had he not said, When the thousand years are expired the nations would compass the camp of the saints and the beloved city? But, the doom of Sodom and the fate of Gomorrha was waiting in the wings!13
But here's the big problem: The Full Preterist scenario has to pretend that a threat of this kind was never in the Bible prophecy calendar to begin with! It has to read ancient Israel's final war out of Daniel 2:35; out of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 and out of Revelation 20:8-10 as if the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) happened before the beast and false prophet were cast into the lake of fire; before Satan was apprehended, bound, shut up and sealed; before the saints refused the mark of the beast, were beheaded, raised and received thrones and judgment, lived and reigned; before the rest of the dead lived again; before the thousand years were expired and Satan was loosed out of his prison; before Gog and Magog encompassed the camp of the saints and the beloved city began (which is the direct opposite of what the Apostle John wrote!).14
Reversing, recapitulating, turning inside out, and even passing over what does not fit without so much as a comment are strategies employed to keep interpretive progress tied up and in an undecipherable holding pattern. And it is this holding pattern that is now keeping eager students of the Bible stuck in incongruity or too apprehensive to venture into the history of second-century Israel.
King's protégés have an awful lot going for them (recognizing, as they do, the first-century return of our Lord) but they are still in a dilemma, they are still fostering a flawed interpretive model and, even though we can be almost certain that these errors are unintended and unintentional, at the very same time this impasse (indeed, this faux pas) is a major emerging viewpoint, which is itself a stumblingblock, a stumblingblock that poses as a "reasonable" solution over Amillennialism and from which it shares many assumptions and misconceptions and from which it heavily borrows.15
In order to make headway and see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, Christians must courageously question assumptions and not take even what Realized Eschatology savants say for granted.
It would be tragic to come so very far; realize the coming of the Son of man, the kingdom of God; the realization of national judgment against the Temple cult and the Jerusalem Aristocracy, fathom the Zealot and Sicarii and Idumean confederacy's diabolical role in the downfall and destruction of Jerusalem, reach the marriage of Christ to his Bride, the Church; witness the sad disappointment of the hopes of Sicarii in an impregnable and intimidating fortress and then get in the very next chapter and completely squander and lose all sense of direction and wherewithal about what is going on or whether or not the narrative is going forward or backward or should be seen standing on one's hands, upside down!
To follow the Full Preterist or Max R. King's Transmillennial schema is to slowly spin in circles and to flout and flounder a pregnant bridge or causeway, a link which points in a trajectory towards the spine-tingling end of the Jewish State, and end with vivid contrasts and distinctions and potent meaning.
Why will Christians continually confuse what happened at the beginning with what came true at the end? Why should it be insisted that a small group of Sicarii malcontents at Masada, is really all about the downfall of the entire Roman army, and then, later on, an innumerable multitude of Israelite State malcontents may not be identified only because their downfall happened in the second century?
When we endorse this interpretive madness we are also guilty of overstating and exaggerating first-century events while wholly shrinking second-century Jewish history to an insignificant dot, smaller than an atom and, in the process, denying closure to a topic many could only pray to God and hope to understand.
If it were not for the vague traditions and conventional impressions bequeathed to us this would already be common knowledge. But now we must be about our Father's business and speak as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11). If we blow this opportunity to make a positive academic impact upon the Christian world, this chance may never be given to us again!
1 The Max King-Gus Nichols Debate which was held in Warren, Ohio on July 17th, 1973 states in First Proposition A;
"The Holy Scriptures teach that the second coming of Christ, including the establishment of the eternal kingdom, the day of judgment, the end of the world and the resurrection of the dead, occurred with the fall of Judaism in 70 A.D." - Clarke, David, Max King-Gus Nichols Debate 1973 Fulfilled Prophecy, first circulated by the Parkman Road church of Christ and republished by Bierton Particular Baptists of Fareham, Hampshire, United Kingdom.
At issue against this proposition is whether or not the resurrection was a binary or solitary event? In other words, did a general resurrection happen before the millennium of Revelation chapter 20 began? Based on Revelation 11:7-18 the answer would have to be, 'Yes.' However, does the Bible also posit a general resurrection after the binding of Satan (as per Revelation 20:5-6)? IF THE BIBLE IS TO BE BELIEVED THE ANSWER HAS TO ALSO BE 'YES,' AGAIN. And it is here that oral tradition, King's Transmillennial theology, and Full Preterism will declare a solitary resurrection event where the Bible bifurcates the event.
2 Josephus' Wars of the Jews 6.9.3:420 shows, without fear of contradiction that nearly one hundred thousand people from Jesus' generation continued to live to see another day past the destruction of Jerusalem and into the infamy of the Roman Captivity period known as Judæa Capta, from which they would, once again, eventually revolt.
3 Anyone who claims A.D.66-70 Great Jewish War was the "last" war against the Romans has to be given the benefit of the doubt as not knowing their Jewish history, but history says otherwise.
4 Eusebius quotes from Justin Martyr, a contemporary of the Bar Kokhba revolt, that the charismatic arch-deceiver "particularly persecuted Christians" because they would neither be persuaded to renounce Jesus Christ or join Israel's State army - Yadin, Yigael, Bar Kokhba p. 22, Random House, 1971.
5 Despite conflicting reports which say Rabbi Joseph ben Akiba was born in A.D.50, Jewish tradition maintains that he was really born in A.D.15, and through his endorsement, Israel was deceived into accepting Bar Kokhba as its promised Messiah. Borchsenius states that Akiba was 114 years old when he announced Bar Kokhba to be Israel's promised Messiah. See Borchsenius, Poul, The History of the Jews Volume 1:the Son of a Star, p. 182 and p. 161, Simon and Schuster, 1965, New York, New York. In his 120th year, Akiba was executed by Hadrian. See, .
6 Wise, Michael O., Bar Kokhba, The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Volume 1 A—C, p.603, Doubleday, New York, New York, 1992.
7 It is interesting to note that when these Idumeans finally arrived at the Temple and were able to get in, they brutally killed 8,500 innocent Jewish pilgrims - see Wars 4.5.1:313.
8 Simon Bar Giora by far had the largest army of the seditious, (Wars of the Jews 4.9.6:534), and Idumea's betrayal by a certain Jacob (Wars 4.9.6:521-7:529) resulted in five thousand of that country's army and eight commanders capitulating to Simon Bar Giora - Wars of the Jews 5.6.1:248.
9 Moderate Jews, under Ananias ben Ananias and Joseph ben Gorion, formed a war council, divided Judæa into seven regions: Idumaea, Jericho, Perea, the Western region, the Central region, Galilee, and Jerusalem. It appears that the strategy of this war council was to fight, side-by-side with the radical anti-Roman forces and then comes to terms with the Romans by dialing down the war.
But this likelihood did not sit well with the Jewish nationalists, who suspected them of this ulterior motive. The nationalists ended up trying, torturing, and killing these moderates and taking the direction of the revolt off a cliff, head-long. Roman troops, on the other hand, came down from Syria into the Judæan theater of war and, through strategies, got the Jewish civil war under control - Wars 4.5.4:334-4.6.1:346. See description of the Roman army and its orderly habits - Wars of the Jews 3.5.1:70-8:108.
11 It might be the case that an interpreter could not accept that anyone's army in antiquity could have these kinds of numbers related to them. But could we compromise and agree that it might mean an 'astronomical' figure (see Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews 11.5.2:131-133)? In any case, I believe the evidence of what the Bible says in Romans 9:27, Hebrews 11:12, and Revelation 20:8 strongly points to Israel, not the Romans or the whole world.
12 Roman celebrations about the outcome of the war would not take place if God defeated the Roman Empire in the first century - Wars of the Jews 7.5.4:123—6:162. A consistent thread through all these Jewish conflicts with the Romans, from A.D.66 to A.D.136 is this: In no case did the Romans ultimately lose, so the losing forces cannot be conceived as Romans.
In the A.D.132-136 Jewish-Roman war we hear of no celebrations on Rome's side (though she won) because Bar Kokhba was able, in two years of victories, to inflict heavy damage on five Roman legions, from which they would never forget: It is reported, "The Romans suffered heavy casualties as well and Hadrian did not send his usual message to the Senate that “I and my army are well.”—source: Jewish Virtual Library.
13 The Bible is clear in Matthew 10:11-15 that every city and town and house in Judæa would be liable before God and in real danger of a horrifying overthrow, like that of Sodom and Gomorrah (see also Matthew 11:24 and Romans 9:29). God gave hundreds of thousands of Judæans and several billions of their Gentile sympathizers the chance and opportunity to witness the unlikely A.D.70 Destruction of Jerusalem and, this time around all who disregarded what was only too obvious, were to be removed from this physical plane of existence to stand guilty before the risen Christ, whom they rejected (Matthew 19:23-28 cf. Philippians 2:5-11; Revelation 20:12, 15).
14 If Daniel 2:35 and Revelation 20:11 are parallels it would mean that no Temple was permanently established and also that Gentile nations were judged (disincarnated) in the final catastrophe.
15 An awful lot is going on in the Scriptural narrative, but because Full Preterism and King's imperative dismisses them entirely, the feeling is that there is an 'elephant in the living room'; this is a subject that should not be discussed around 'polite company,' and there is much more to be desired and the Full Preterist paradigm does not help the Bible student get out of a rut that the only things that matter in Bible prophecy are events in Israel only leading up to Tisha B'Av in the summer of A.D.70.
* Map caption credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Map_Barkochva-heb.svg.
You might also like: More Information About Bar Kokhba
For further reading:
Rabbi Akiba's Messiah: The Origins of Rabbinic Authority Daniel Gruber 1999 Elijah Publishing.
The Bar Kokhba War A.D. 132-136 The Last Jewish Revolt Against Imperial Rome Lindsay Powell 2017 Osprey Publishing.
The Jewish Revolts Against Rome A.D. 66-135 A Military Analysis James J. Bloom 2010 McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers.
The Rise and Fall of Jewish Nationalism Jewish and Christian Ethnicity in Ancient Palestine Doron Mendels 1992 William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
The Jewish War Under Trajan and Hadrian William Horbury 2014 Cambridge University Press.
Bar Kokhba The Rediscovery of the Legendary Hero of the Second Jewish Revolt Against Rome Yigael Yadin 1971 Random House
The Bar Kokhba Syndrome Risk and Realism in International Politics Yehoshafat Harkabi 1983 Rossel Books.
Jesus and the Spiral of Violence Popular Jewish Resistance in Roman Palestine Richard A. Horsley 1993 Fortress Press.
Jews and Christians The Parting of the Ways A.D.70 to 135 James D.G. Dunn 1992 William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
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