George Peter Holford

The Destruction of Jerusalem (1805)

9/11/12: Free TheWord module – Holford, George Peter – The Destruction of Jerusalem “Originally, this work had no chapters and no headings. The chapter divisions and headings have been inserted by the uploader (9-8-2012). This public domain text can be found in numerous places online, most of which seem to be copied/pasted from one source. Numerous OCR mistakes that existed in all the online texts were corrected. Some spelling was updated, and the book was tooltipped.”

Preterist Commentaries By Historicist / Continuists

(On Matthew 24:4-5)
“The necessity for this friendly warning soon appeared ; for within one year after our Lord’s ascension, rose Dositheus the Samaritan, who had the boldness to assert that he was the Messiah, of whom Moses prophesied ; while his disciple Simon Magus deluded multitudes into a belief that he, himself, was the ” GREAT POWER OF GOD.” About three years afterwards another Samaritan impostor appeared, and declared that he would shew the people the sacred utensils, said to have been deposited by Moses, in mount Gerizim. Induced by an idea that the Messiah, their great deliverer, was now come, an armed multitude assembled under him, but Pilate speedily defeated them, and slew their chief. While Cuspius Fadus was procurator in Judea, another deceiver arose, whose name was Theudas.”

“In short, impostors, to a divine commission, continually and fatally deceived the people, and at once justified the caution, and fulfilled the prediction of our LORD.” (The Destruction of Jerusalem)

(On Matthew 24:7,8)
“These commotions, like distant thunder, that forebodes the approaching storm, “At first heard solemn o’er the verge of heaven,”  were so frequent from the death of our Lord until the destruction of Jerusalem,that whole interval might, with propriety, appealed to, in illustration of this prophecy. One hundred and fifty of the copious pages of Josephus, which contain the history of this period, are every where stained with blood.” (ibid.)

(On Matthew 24:7)
‘And great earthquakes shall be in divers places.” Of these significant emblems of political commotions, there occurred several within the scene of this prophecy, and, as our SAVIOUR predicted, in divers places. in the reign of Claudius there was one at Rome, and another at Apamea in Syria, where many of the Jews resided. The earthquake at the latter place was so destructive, that the emperor, in order to relieve the distresses of the inhabitants, remitted its tribute for five years. Both these earthquakes are recorded by Tacitus. There was one also, in the same reign in Crete. This is mentioned by Philostratus, in his Life of Apollonius, who says, that ‘there were others at Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, and Samos ; in all which places Jews had settled.” In the reign of Nero there was an earthquake at Laodicea. Tacitus records this also. It is likewise mentioned by Eusebius and Orosius, who add that Hieropolis and Colose, as well as Laodicea, were overthrown by an earthquake. There was also one in Campania in this reign (of this both Tacitus and Seneca speak  and another at Rome in the reign of Galba, recorded by Suetonius ; to all which may be added those which happened on that dreadful night When the Idumeans were excluded from Jerusalem, a short time before the. siege commenced. “A heavy storm (says Josephus) burst on them during the night violent winds arose, accompanied with the most excessive rains, with constant lightnings, most tremendous thunderings, and with dreadful roarings of earthquakes. It seemed (continues he) as if the system of the world had been confounded for the destruction of mankind ; and one might well conjecture that these were signs of no common events.” (ibid.)

(On Matthew 24:7)
“Our LORD predicted “famines” also. Of these the principal was that which Agabus foretold would happen in the days of Claudius, as related in the Acts of the Apostles. It begun in the fourth year of his reign, and was of long continuance. It extended through Greece, and even into Italy, but was felt most severely in Judea, and especially at Jerusalem, where many perished for want of bread. This famine is recorded by Josephus also, who relates that “an assaron of corn was sold for five drachmae” (i.e. about 3 1/2 pints for 3s. 3d.) It is likewise noticed by Eusebius and Orosius. To alleviate this terrible calamity, Helena, queen of Adiabena, who was at that time in Jerusalem, ordered large supplies of grain to be sent from Alexandria; and Izates, her son, consigned vast sums to the governors of Jerusalem, to be applied to the relief of the more indigent sufferers. The Gentile Chris tian converts residing in foreign countries, also sent, at the instance of St. Paul, liberal contributions, to relieve the distresses of their Jewish brethren. (I Corin. xvi. 3.) Dion Cassius relates that there was likewise a famine in the first year of Claudius which prevailed at Rome, and in other parts of It aly ; and, in the eleventh year of the same emperor, there was another, mentioned by Eusebius. To these may be added those that afflicted the inhabitants of several of the cities of Galilee and Judea, which were besieged and taken, previously to the in vestment of Jerusalem, where the climax of national misery, arising from this and every other cause, was so awfully completed.” (ibid.)

(On Matthew 24:7)
“Our Lord adds “pestilences” likewise. Pestilence treads upon the heels of famine, it may therefore reasonably be presumed, that this terrible scourge accompanied the famines which have just been enumerated. History, however, particularly distinguishes two instances of this calamity, which occurred before the commencement of the Jewish war. The first took place at Babylon about A. D. 40, and raged so alarmingly, that great multitudes of Jews fled from that city to Seleucia for safety, as hath been hinted already. The other happened at Rome A.D. 65, and carried off prodigious multitudes. Both Tacitus and Suetonius also record, that similar calamities prevailed, during this period, in various parts of the Roman empire. After Jerusalem was surrounded by the army of Titus, pestilential diseases soon made their appearance there to aggravate the miseries, and deepen the horrors of the siege. They were partly occasioned by the immense multitudes which were crowded together in the city, partly by the putrid effluvia which arose from the unburied dead, and partly from spread of famine.” (ibid.)

(On Matthew 24:14)
“And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be. preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end (i.e. of the Jewish dispensation) come.” Matt. xxiv. 14. Of the fulfilment of this prediction of the Epistles of St. Paul, addressed to the Christians at Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse, Thessalonica ; and those of Peter to such as resided in Pontus, Cappadocia, and Bithynia, are monuments now standing ; for neither of these Apostles were living when the Jewish war commenced. St. Paul, too, in his Epistle to the Romans, informs them that ‘their faith was spoken of throughout the world ;’ and in that to the Colossians he observes that the ” Gospel had been preached to every creature under heaven.” Clement, who was a fellow-labourer with the Apostle, relates of him that “he taught the whole world righteousness, travelling from the East westward to the borders of the ocean.” Eusebius says that “the Apostles preached the Gospel in all the world, and that some of them passed beyond the bounds of the ocean, and visited the Britannic isles :” [9] so says Theodoret also.

“It appears,” says Bishop Newton, “from the writers of the history of the church, that before the destruction of Jerusalem the Gospel was not only preached in the Lesser Asia, and Greece, and Italy, the great theatres of action then in the world , but was likewise propagated as fax northward as Scythia, as far southward as Ethiopia, as far eastward as Parthia and India, as far westward as Spain and Britain.” And Tacitus asserts that “the Christian religion, which arose in Judea, spread over many parts of the world, and extended to Rome itself, where the professors of it, as early as the time of Nero, amounted to a vast multitude,” insomuch that their numbers excited the jealousy of the government.

“It is admitted that the phrase “to all the world,” “every creature,” &c. are hyperbolical, but then, taken in their connexion, they evidently import the the universality of the preaching and spread of the Gospel, previously to the destruction of Jerusalem, which is the point to be proved. (The Destruction of Jerusalem, footnote)

(On Matthew 24:16)
“And it is with reason supposed, that on this occasion many of the Christians, or converted Jews, who dwelt there, recollecting the warnings or their divine Master, retired to Pella, a place beyond Jordan, situated in a mountainous country, whither (according to Eusebius, who resided near the spot) they came from Jerusalem, and settled, before the war (under Vespasian) began. Other providential opportunities for escaping afterwards occured, of which, it is probable, those who were now left behind availed themselves ; for it is a striking act, and such as cannot be contemplated by the pious mind without sentiments of devout admiration, that history does not record that even one CHRISTIAN perished in the siege of Jerusalem.” (
The Destruction of Jerusalem)

(On the Significance of A.D.70)
“History records few events more generally interesting than the destruction of Jerusalem, and the subversion of the Jewish state, by the arms of the Romans. — Their intimate connexion with the dissolution of the Levitical economy, and the establishment of Christianity in the world ; the striking verification which they afford of so many of the prophecies, both of the Old and New Testament, and the powerful arguments of the divine authority of the Scriptures which are thence derived.” (preface)

(On Matthew 23:39)
“Having next foretold the barbarous treatment which his Apostles would receive at their hands be proceeded to denounce against Jerusalem the dire and heavy vengeance, that had for ages been accumulating in the vials of divine displeasure, expressly declaring that it, should be poured out upon the then existing generation, adding that inimitably tender and pathetic apostrophe to this devoted city, ” 0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not ! Behold ! your HOUSE is left unto you desolate ; for I say unto you, ye shall not see me henceforth, till you shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord !” (ibid.)

(On the Fulfillment of Prophecy)
“When we consider the antiquity and sanctity of the temple, its stupendous fabric, its solidity, and the uncommon magnitude of the stones of which it was composed, we may, in some measure, conceive of the amazement which this declaration of our LORD must have excited in the mind of his disciples. Nevertheless, this remarkable prediction,. as. we shall see in the sequel, was literally fulfilled, and, as our LORD had foretold, even during the existence of the generation to which he addressed it.” (ibid.)

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