صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

"Fadus was procurator of Judea, a certain impostor "named Theudas, persuaded a great multitude, with "their best effects, to follow him to the river Jordan; "for he said that he was a Prophet, and promised to "divide the river for their passage; and saying these things he deceived many," saith Josephus.1 "But

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"Fadus sent a troop of horse against them, who falling unexpectedly upon them, killed many, and made many prisoners; and having taken Theudas himself "alive, they cut off his head, and brought it to Jeru"salem. A few years afterwards, in the reign of Nero, and under the procuratorship of Felix, these impostors arose so frequently, that many of them were apprehended and killed every day."2


[ocr errors]


That " many false Prophets shall arise and shall "deceive many, "5 -appears verified by what has already been said, and scems also to be fulfilled by 2 Cor. xi. 13, and 2 Tim. xvii, 18, as well as from Acts v. 36, 37, where the imposture of Theudas is noticed, and this of Judas added: "After this man rose up Judas of Gali"lee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much "people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"Paul and Barnabas found in the Isle of Paphos, a "certain sorcerer, a Jewish false Prophet, whose name was Barjesus;" (he had also the additional name of Elymas, from the Hebrew, which signifies a magician) "a man full of all subtilty and all mischief, whom "the


1 “ Antiq. 20. iv. 1.” 2 Dissertation on the Prophecies. vol. ii. p. 12.

3 Matt. xxiv. 11.-Luke xxi. 8, &c.

When Felix was procurator of Judea, he seized and put to death

[blocks in formation]

those impostors every day.

Antiq. 20. viii. 5.


"the apostle struck with blindness, for endeavouring "to turn away the Roman proconsul from the Christian faith." 1

Josephus, as well as the author of the Acts, mention the Egyptian false Prophet, who coming to Jerusalem, collected a great multitude; and PROMISED to shew them, from the Mount of Olives, that at his command, the walls of the city should fall down; but Felix sent a body of soldiers against them, when being put to flight, most of them perished.2

Thus, the exact fulfilment of the various circumstances which were to precede the destruction of Jerusalem, as clearly foretold the approaching judgment of heaven, as the mission of the Baptist could intimate the coming of the Messiah; nor was the declaration of John, "that one, mightier than he, was about to come after him," more explicit, than the occurrence of these particular circumstances; in assuring the nation of the Jews, when they should see all these things happen, they might know that their destruction was near, 66 even at the doors."

1 Acts xiii. 6, 8, 10, 11.

-Vide also Newcome, p. 206.

2 Bell. Jud. 2. xiii. 4.

This is alluded to in the question of the chief captain to St. Paul,-" Art "not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and "leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers ?” Acts xxi. 38.

3 These be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.-Luke xxi 22.




HAVING, in the the foregoing Chapter, shewn the awful and literal completion of those prophecies, which related to events preceding the destruction of Jerusalem, in the exact manner and order, and at the time precisely answering to Christ's prediction; let us proceed now, to the fulfilment of this last and greater prophecy, by returning to the history more immediately under consideration.

The war into which Nero had entered, by sending Vespasian and Titus at the head of a strong army against the Jewish Nation; is said by the Romans, to have been occasioned by the refusal of the Jews to give up the town of Cæsarea to the demand of their government :1 but Josephus has declared, that it was not any unfriendly disposition on the part of the Jews towards the Romans, which gave rise to their subsequent

1 Under the oppressive administration of Gessius Florus.
Vide Tacit. Hist. v. 10.-Bell. Jud. 2, xvi. 1,

quent hostility; but that it originated chiefly, in the apparently contemptuous, though unavoidable rejection of those gifts and sacrifices, which their heathen masters were inclined to offer in their Temple. "But “that which appears principally to have encouraged "them to war," says this historian, "was an ambigu"ous oracle, found also in their sacred writings; that "about this time, some one from their country should "obtain the empire of the world: this they understood "to belong to themselves, and many of the wise men "were mistaken in their judgment about it; for the "oracle intended the government of Vespasian, who was proclaimed Emperour of Judea.”2



1 The Jews sacrificed twice a day for the Emperour and the Roman people. Eleazar, son of the High Priest, a most daring youth, who at that time commanded in the Temple, persuaded the officiating Priests not to admit the gift or sacrifice of any foreigner: this laid the foundation of the Roman war, as they rejected Cæsar's sacrifices for his people.

Bell. Jud. 2. xvii. 2. Tacitus acknowledges that the Jews, though harassed with repeated acts of oppression, gave proofs of a very patient spirit.-Hist. v. 10.

2 Bell. Jud. 6. vi. 2.

This oracle, the application of which Josephus, Tacitus, and Suetonius, have each, by way of compliment, ascribed as referring to Vespasian; related to the Messiah promised to the Jews, whom they earnestly expected to come and release them from the power and oppression of the Roman yoke. When, therefore, the obvious meaning of the oracle, was, by the Romans, fashioned and converted to meet their ambitious hopes, and to point out that universal dominion at which they aspired; it might naturally be expected, that the nation of the Jews would dispute the enjoyment of that promise, which had always been made to them, as the peculiar and highly favoured people of God; and that they would assert and support their claims to a preference, with any of the worshippers of Idolatry.

Vide Tacit. Hist. v. 13, and Suet. in vitâ Vesp. viii. 4.

It is said that the Herodians (the Parasites of Herod the Great), pretended that he was referred to by this Oracle, as the promised Deliverer. That Josephus should ascribe it to Vespasian, is not so much to be wondered at, when it is remembered, that he looked upon his country as entirely forsaken by heaven.

Independent however, of these reasons for engaging in a war with the Romans, to whom they had hitherto paid a silent, though evidently a constrained submission; their internal feuds and civil disaffection called powerfully for a strong interference of that government, to which they were tributary: particularly as the revenue, arising from their subjection, was an object of too great moment to be lost for the want of timely and effective measures. That the war, in a great degree, originated in these dissentions, was openly declared by Titus himself, in the speech he made to the priests who sued to him for mercy and protection, after the destruction of their Temple. "You have


never," said he "ceased rebelling, since Pompey first "made a conquest of your country; and at length you "have been so imprudent as to declare open war


[ocr errors]



against us. Our kindness seems only to have ex"cited your enmity; we too, who have permitted you "to live in the peaceable and quiet possession of your 'city; and as the first instance of our regard, suffered you to dwell in your own country, and appointed kings of your own nation. We have preserved the "laws of your forefathers; and, as was most congenial "to your inclinations, have allowed you to live either by yourselves or among others: and what should "have been regarded as a greater favour, we have given you leave to collect that tribute you pay your God, and such other gifts as are dedicated to him:1 "not only without prohibition, but without even call'ing those to account, whom you appointed to receive "such donations; till at length you became richer than 66 we,


[ocr errors]


1 Vide 1 Macc. x. 31, 45, where these indulgences, and many others were granted to the Jews by King Demetrius.

« السابقةمتابعة »