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Need A Bit More Theological Help


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Hey everyone,

 

I need a bit of help from you experts regarding the destruction of the the two jewish temples. I was wondering what your thoughts were regarding them being destroyed around the same time-- I believe that a number Jews commemorate this every year-- but was just curious about them supposedly being on the same date-- is this coincidence, manipulation of history, a bit of both? I know that Josephus mentions the destruction as being on the same day--but I wonder if that wasn't a plan on the part of the Romans-- or even if Josephus made up that dates so he could appear to be prophetic in a way. I also wonder how accurate the dates of the original temple destruction were. Any help you can provide will be appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Kris

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The day of which you speak is the 9th day of Av. I found this rather interesting article written from a Jewish perspective about some important events that occurred on the 9th of Av:

 

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/946703/jewish/What-happened-on-the-Ninth-of-Av.htm

 

And I also found this equally fascinating article about all the historical events that occurred on December 7th:

 

http://www.historyorb.com/events/december/7

 

In other words, there are only 365 (and 366 on every fourth year) days in a year and everything that happens must happen on one of those days. There is nothing more to the fact, assuming it's true, that both temples were destroyed on the 9th day of Av as there is that on December 7, 185 Chinese emperor Lo-Yang saw supernova (MSH15-52) and on December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese.

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Yes, I definitely understand where you are coming from on that-- but in looking at the first article-- some cite these coincidences as being proof of god directing historical events. I think that a number of the examples listed use semantics to arrive at the same date--in fact, even it you look at the Mishnah, the a number of the dates are established though tradition, etc.

 

Could it be that the Jews are trying to find dates to tie to the 9th of Av? And that possibly, even the temple destructions could have been around that date, but not necessarily on that date?

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I guess what I am really looking for is a way to dispute that all of these things happened on this same date! It is yet another one of those things that tend to get thrown my way to "prove the authenticity of god!" I want to be able to say-- not nesessarily!!

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Okay, I see what you're asking.

 

From what I'm reading concerning the destruction of the second temple, on the 9th day of Av, the Romans burnt some of the structures in the vicinity of the temple. But on that day the temple itself was still standing and had not been destroyed. Here is where I get this information:

 

The battle raged for three weeks. The Jewish warriors were starving, exhausted, and far outnumbered by the Romans, but they continued to drive off the Romans. The last battle was on the morning of the Ninth of Av. The Jews fought valiantly, killing many Romans. Many of the structures adjoining the Temple were burnt or on fire, but that morning the Temple itself was still intact.

 

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/953569/jewish/The-Destruction-of-the-Temple.htm

 

But that and other similar articles play fast and loose with language and imply that the destruction of the second temple actually happened on the 9th day of Av. However, Josephus tells us the destruction of the temple itself occurred on the next day, the 10th day of Av.

 

War 6.4.5 249-253

 

So Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, and resolved to storm the Temple the next day, early in the morning, with his whole army, and to encamp round about the Holy House; but, as for that House, God had for certain long ago doomed it to the fire; and now that fatal day was come, according to the revolution of the ages: it was the tenth day of the month Lous, [Av,] upon which it was formerly burnt by the king of Babylon; although these flames took their rise from the Jews themselves, and were occasioned by them; for upon Titus's retiring, the seditious lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again, when those that guarded the Holy House fought with those that quenched the fire that was burning in the inner court of the Temple; but these Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the Holy House itself.

At which time one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the Holy House, on the north side of it. As the flames went upward the Jews made a great clamour, such as so mighty an affliction required, and ran together to prevent it; and now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered anything to restrain their force, since that Holy House was perishing, for whose sake it was that they kept such a guard upon it. (emphasis mine).

 

I hope this helps.

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It does--thanks. I think that there were just a lot of things going on throughout history that probably occurred in July and August-- which is when the month of Av falls-- so, these historical events tend to get tied in. I did a quick study of some of the dates that Wikipedia had tied in with the 9th of Av, including the more current events-- I then looked at the corresponding event that they were mentioned and noticed that the dates were a bit off. For example, the wikipedia article states taht World War 1 started on August 1, 1914 (coincidentily the 9th of Av, but when I checked another Wikipedia article on the start of World War 1, it showed July 28, 1914 as the start of the war--not the 9th of Av. I checked a few other dates and found the same thing. The days were close, but not quite the exact dates as described in the original Wikipedia article.

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It's the typical scenario when it comes to Christians, in particular, trying to make historical events fit into a certain pattern that supports their worldview that there are prophecies that predict everything. If that square peg doesn't quite fit into that round hole, shave down the peg until it does and then declare it a perfect fit.

 

Then there is the mistake of trying to ascribe significance to certain similar events happening on the same date. There is only meaning to the actual date if the person doing whatever is at issue, chooses that date for a particular reason. But it has nothing to do with prophecies in the true sense of that word. I think you know my position on prophecies: there are none, never have been and never will be.

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It probably didn't happen on the same dates. The time line in Josephus is messed up. He does try to do this for "important" events. That said, there was a a "season" for fighting (generally summer) and if you were near the end of the season you might do something bold to make quick work of finishing the job. The war did drag out for years beyond this point so it wasn't the spear through the heart people envision. Masada was basically the end.

 

mwc

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  • 6 months later...

MWC-- just thinking about this topic again--do you think that Josephus encouraged the destruction of the temple around the same time as the 1st, as a way to help Titus appear more powerful?-- I know that Josephus was fairly influential in this sense, Josephus even seems to indicate that Titus was actually the messiah in a sense-- the jews were just not accepting of his rule, hence all the violence and oppression. Or do you think that Josephus simply used this date in his book to make it look like the destruction of the second temple was ordained by god? I am working through a natural explanation as to why these two events are tied together. Either of these possibilities seem to make sense to me-- and as we all know, if someone writes it down, someone else will simply accept it as fact!! There are many sites about Josephus that report him as being extremely accurate with history, while others report him to be fairly fanciful and loose with facts. How do you see him. Anyone else who wants to jump into the discussion besides MWC-- feel free!! I like to hear what everyone has to say!

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Josephus didn't have that kind of sway of the Romans. He did fancy himself a bit of a prophet and tended to write along those lines when it suited him. The accuracy of his reporting tends to be pretty good overall but it's the only one we really have that has any significant detail. There are bits and pieces that do survive from some of the sources he used (like Nicolaus of Damascus for example) so we can compare and they are reasonably close (taking into account his overall style and whatnot). I do recall he does dismiss Nicolaus as an apologist for Herod at one point so this also explains why he deviates from using him outright and turns to other sources and/or uses his own variants of accounts at times. This happens throughout his writings especially in those places he was not present and required other sources. As for his own recollections they're skewed by his own idea of how things happened and how they should appear to his new powerful "friends." But they appear to be generally correct based on other mentions. The accounts from Masada, for example, seem to be contradicted by archeology and he wasn't there so who knows where he got those stories. But there war did last beyond the fall of the temple until Masada about 4 years later. The exact details are pretty much lost now. What he wrote makes a fanciful story though.

 

mwc

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