Joe Butta and Steve Daskal
Christian Messianic Analysis and Apologetics
Even after the unexpected conquest by the Romans and their establishment of the brutal Herodian monarchy, arguably the greatest distress was yet to come. In the PAST, God warned His people through a prophet or sent a great judge or king to lead them out of the danger. We do not have a direct Biblical account of the early years of the Roman occupation. What we know about that difficult period is based upon secular histories, archaeological evidence, and parenthetical comments in the Brit Hadashah [New Testament]. However, we still need to ask if God sent a prophet, judge, or leader to the Jews to lead them out of this dangerous time between 37 B.C. [when Herod was established as a tributary king under Rome] and the destruction of the second Jewish Temple and the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
What we do have are the Mosaic pronouncements listed in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. However, the listing of blessings and woes also relate to the idolatrous period [Judges through the Babylonian exile] as well as continuing disobedience to the will of God through the Roman Period. The Prophet Daniel spoke specifically about the Roman period in chapter 9:26 when he stated, “After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One [Moshiakh] will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.”
In this prophesy Yeshua, who claimed to be the Moshiakh was killed. Judea at that time was under Caesar’s control therefore the people of the ruler are the Romans. They came against Jerusalem 40 years after the death of Yeshua and destroyed Jerusalem [city] and the Temple [sanctuary].
This latter event was significant because it marked the Jewish people losing control of Jerusalem for 1897 years. As of the writing of this piece, Allah and the followers of Islam dominate the Temple mount with the Al-Asqa Mosque and Dome of the Rock. All that is left to the Jewish people is the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount — the “Wailing Wall.”
As for the historical period dominated by the Romans and their appointed Jewish religious leadership [Caiaphas the High Priest and Sadducee] we know through the New Covenant that Yohanan [John’s] prophetic ministry fulfilled the promise that the Messiah’s arrival would be foretold by Elijah [Malachi 4:5, Isaiah 40:3]. Yeshua said of him, “And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.” [Matt 11:14, NIV84] At another time, Yeshua said of him, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” [Matt 17:11-12, NIV84; also see Mk 9:11-12] So, God DID send a prophet to warn of the coming judgment and urge the people to repent and “prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.” [Matt 3:3]
Then the one John spoke about came to the River Jordan. Yeshua never referred to himself as Prophet but mostly the Son of Man. John said he [John] was not worthy to untie His [Yeshua’s] sandals. This same Yeshua stated the following:
“Follow me,” He said, “and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19)
Yeshua said, “Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death. Then they will hand Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked, flogged, and crucified, and He will be resurrected on the third day.” Matthew 20:18-19)
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:14-15)
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. (John 12:32-33)
The Son of man predicted a violent end to his life at the hands of the Sanhedrin [Jewish religious counsel made up of Sadducees, Pharisees and Scribes], who condemned him during a show trial that was in violation of what the Torah prescribed and the Romans who were masters of the cruelest form of torture and death. Not only did Yeshua predict his own death but another event that would have ramifications for years to come.
As He was going out of the temple complex, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, look! What massive stones! What impressive buildings!” Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here on another that will not be thrown down!” Mark 13:1-2
It was at this point that Yeshua tied his prophesy to the prophesy that Daniel spoke 500 years earlier. For it was through the sin of his people, their hardness of heart and their refusal to recognize him, the destruction of the Temple would occur. Yeshua predicted accurately that he would die at the hands of the Jewish religious leaders who would conspire with the Romans. He predicted the city where he would die and that he would be savagely beaten and crucified publicly. He likened this to the snake that was impaled in Moses day. Those who looked at the impaled snake were saved so he said those who believe in his atoning sacrifice would also be saved. Since he forgave all of his executioners from the cross, even the High Priest who continued to ridicule him during the crucifixion, He signified that this was God’s plan as foretold in the Jewish scriptures as the remedy for sin to anyone who would believe. Before his passion he also stated after three days he would no longer be in the tomb. A dead body of Yeshua has never been found.
He also accurately predicted what his followers would achieve through the power of God.
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” And Jesus answered and said unto [him] … upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:16-18).
And he said unto them, “All of you go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15)
“But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them.” Mark 13:9 [NKJV]
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
He predicted that this new movement based on the truth in the Jewish Bible would grow and nothing on earth could stop its spread. He predicted accurately that his words would be preached in the Middle East but then reach every corner of the globe. Over 2000 years later his words reach a global audience through satellite technology.
Conclusion: The Prophets pointed towards the advent of Yeshua. The Prophet Daniel was very specific stating the Moshiakh’s death would precede the destruction of the Temple. This signified that God no longer accepted the old formula. With the declaration of the New Covenant predicted in Jeremiah chapter 31, Yeshua stated through His bloody death forgiveness was not only extended to his covenant people but also the pagan Romans and therefore all of humanity. The only remedy for sinful humanity was for God to become a man and suffer a death all of us deserve. Rome’s power and gods would eventually wane. The Jewish people would suffer for sure, but God’s faithfulness would bring them back as a nation after almost a 2000 year absence giving them another opportunity to recognize their Sar Shalom.