Like a Flood
By Wendy Wippel
Many believers don’t seem to know that the Bible actually contains a succinct, comprehensive and straightforward summary of the tribulation. It’s in the Old Testament, namely, the book of Daniel, Chapter 9, and lays out Israel’s future first through the rejection of the Messiah , and the destruction of Jerusalem. The meaning of the end of the passage, however, has always puzzled me. Until now.
The passage from Daniel goes like this: “seventy weeks[a] are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of[b] sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.
25 “Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street[c] shall be built again, and the wall,[d] Even in troublesome times.
26 “And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood.
The flood thing always puzzled me. A flood? In the desert? I realize that occasionally that can happen, but it seems that there should be some historical record of a massive flood at the time Jerusalem fell. We know what caused the destruction of Jerusalem, and it was not too much water. It was, in fact, too much Roman antipathy towards their Jewish conquests, who weren’t sufficiently humbled by Roman occupation.
In fact, the whole thing (Officially known as the first Jewish-Roman war) started in 66 A.D., when frustration with taxation led a group of Jewish citizens to begin protests, which then escalated to skirmishes with Roman forces.
In response to outright rebellion, the Roman Governer, Gessius Florus retaliated by confiscating the Temple treasury.
Jewish protestors responded in kind, which induced the Syrian Legate to call in the fearsome Syrian forces to put the Jews in their place.
But then a funny thing happened. The Jews ambushed and actually defeated the Roman forces, with 6000 Roman soldiers lost.
This meant war.
Rome sent one of their best military commanders, Vespasian (and his son Titus) to squash the Rebellion, and they took their task seriously.
They marched through Israel, razing towns, slaughtering the hated Jews (occasionally aided by one Jewish faction as it served another faction’s interests.) In the meantime, as towns were razed, the refugees made their way to Jerusalem to join the fight. But by the time Vespasian finally arrived in Jerusalem, the political situation in Rome was in Shambles, and Vespasian ringed the city with troops, but then sat back to wait for orders. In 68 A.D, he was called back to Rome.
He left Titus in Jerusalem with 800,000 men and instructions to teach the Jews a lesson.
He did. He used the troops, who already surrounded the city, to make a human wall around the city that allowed no exit. And to make matters worse, in obedience to Scripture, Jews from the surrounding countries (Babylon, Egypt, etc. streamed into the city as Passover approached). Titus officially cut off all exit from the city on the 9th of Av.
The siege was on. And with far more Jews trapped in the city that would normally be there, things got ugly in a hurry. Food ran out, and corpses began to be thrown over the walls on a daily basis. The trapped Jewish inhabitants of the city threw all former scruples aside to survive.
Read Lamentations if you want the gory details.
That went on for six months, and then things really went south. On April 3, 70 A.D. Roman forces finally broke through the city walls. The exhilaration of seeing the eradication of the enemy finally within reach overtook the Roman troops, and, as recorded by Josephus, “no exhortation or threat could not restrain the impetuosity of the legions, for their passion was in supreme command”. The troops, inevitably, headed towards the Temple, where there was spoil for the taking, slaughtering the inhabitants of the holy city on the way. Said Josephus, “Most of the slain were peaceful citizens, unarmed, who were butchered where they were caught”. As the fight continued, the heap of corpses mounted higher and higher around the altar”. Bodies that had not been merely slain, but “butchered. And as the butchered bodies piled up, mounted, blood first trickled, then streamed down the Temple steps. And then the streams became torrents, literally carrying bodies at the top down to the bottom on a river of blood.
The end did come with a flood. A flood of blood.
I attended one prophecy conference, years ago, where attendees had an opportunity to ask questions of the panel of experts and the question I asked was what the phrase “the end will come with a flood” in Daniel 9:25 meant.
“The Expert” said “well, it just means all at once. Everything happened very quickly”.
Did it, really?
Roman troops surrounded Jerusalem for a pretty long time before really setting siege to it. And didn’t Jesus say that every jot and tittle was important, to me that implies precision.
When you look at the Daniel passage again, it specifically says that the end of the sanctuary will come with a flood.
And when you look up up the root word translated as flood, sheteph, it means to flow or to run.
Done dell in my book.