Rome came in to power in 146 B.C after they defeated the Carthaginians in the Third Punic war 149-146 B.C. in a 3 year siege Rome burned Carthage to the ground and gained control of everything west of the Mediterranean sea. They also controlled Greece, north Africa, Spain and western Europe. Now the Romans where finally able to confidently set their eyes on their conquest towards the east. Prior to Pompeii coming into Jerusalem, there were civil wars between John Hyrcanus II (63-40 B.C) and Alexander the Great’s two sons Janneus (103-76 B.C) and Aristobulus II 66-63 B.C. who battled over kingship of the Hasmonean throne of Judea. Rome saw this as a strategic opportunity to take Jerusalem and turn it into a Roman province. Pompeii took the side of Hyrcanus because he would make a good puppet to control the Jews when Rome would come to conquer Judea. In 63 B.C Pompeii came and besieged Jerusalem 3 months and took it and killed many Jews and pillaged Jerusalem (Josephus : Ant.14.4.1). The book Judea Trembles Under Rome on page 25-26 states that “over 10, 000 Jews were killed in the siege thus was the end of Judea independence”.
During the Roman occupation of Israel they made Herod the Great (37-4 B.C an Idumaen (Edomite/Caucasian) procurator (governor) of Galilee. He then crowned himself king of the Jews (37 B.C) after he exterminated the Hasmonean Dynasty (the family of the Maccabees). Herod in the 33 years as king of Judea he committed many cruel acts against the Jews by violating the laws of God. When he invaded Jerusalem he killed all the Jews which were trying to flee from the city and did not regard age or sex and murdered all in his path. In his retaliation of all those who supported Antigonus the true heir to the Hasmonean throne, he burned 2,000 Jews alive. Herod also renewed the Greek Olympic games in Judea to gain the favor of the Romans and Greeks. He built up Caesarea and Jerusalem for these events and summoned all nations to take part in the games (this is Origin of the modern Olympic games). Those that were made to participate fought, wrestled and played while naked. Because of the natural strength, physique and ability of the Jews, many of them were forced to fight to the death as gladiators and made to fight wild beasts (Josephus Ant of Jews: 15.8.1).
In the last year of Herod’s reign of terror he ordered the execution of every child in Judea 2 years old and under when he heard the prophecies of the coming Messiah (Matt 2:1-15). After the death of Herod 22 years later Rome placed Pontus Pilate (26-36 A.D) as Governor of Palestine. He was the 5th procurator of the country. He also oppressed many of the Jews and provoked them by violating the laws of their fathers by setting up a Roman ensign in the temple of Jerusalem. He also killed many that were against the Roman’s oppressive system, namely the Galileans who were a political sect of Jews. Pilate also condemns Jesus Christ to die and had him crucified. Out of his own mouth spoke these words to Christ “Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? (John 19:10) So Pilate delivers Christ up to be killed. While Christ hung on the cross he prophesied of the coming destruction and the afflictions that the Jews would have to endure at the hand of their oppressors.
Luke 23:28-30 “Jesus spoke these word to the Jews: But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, fall on us; and to the hills, and Cover us.”
As the gospel of Christ began to spread in to the four corner of the empire the persecution of Christians (Israelites Acts 11:26) became worse as time went on. Emperor Claudius (41-54 A.D) in Acts 18:2 expelled all Jews from Rome and many Israelites were forced from their homes and out of the country. Later, Nero became Emperor (54-68 A.D) and set fire to Rome and blamed the Israelites for the fire. He persecuted many Jews in so much they sought refuge underground In catacombs (Hebrews 11:38) to survive and keep their laws. Nero killed the Apostles Paul and Peter in 68 A.D but Jerusalem was already in full rebellion against Rome. By 66 A.D the Jews had enough of the taxations implemented by the Romans. Because of the oppression, the priests stopped their sacrifices on behalf of the Emperor. After the death of Nero, General Vespasian became Emperor of Rome (69 -79 A.D) and sent his son Titus to ultimately seize Jerusalem and crush the rebellion. In the year 70 A.D Jerusalem was violently besieged 143 days. In those days there was a great slaughter of Jews: according to Josephus:
“The slaughter within was even more dreadful than the spectacle from without. Men and women, old and young, insurgents and priests, those who fought and those who entreated mercy, were hewn down in indiscriminate carnage. The number of the slain exceeded that of the slayers. The legionaries had to clamber over heaps of dead to carry on the work of extermination.”
Josephus gives acount that 1,100,000 people were killed during the siege, of which a majority were Jews, and that 97,000 were captured and enslaved, including Simon bar Giora and John of Giscala. When the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, Titus Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and Temple of Jerusalem.
Mark 13:2 “And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? There shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.”
Many Israelites fled into Africa from the Roman persecution and slavery fulfilling the prophecies which Jesus Christ and the prophet Daniel spoke of in the bible.
Luke 21:20-24 “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. v21. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. v22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. v23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. v24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Dan. 9:26-27 “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. v27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
The Prophecy of the Siege of 70A.D
Ezekiel 4:2-3 “And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about. v3 Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.”
Read all of Ezekiel Chapter 4,and 5 for full understanding)
Deuteronomy 28:52 “And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.”