Again, the fall of Jerusalem is depicted symbolically by the plagues of Egypt. The reason? Because they have shed the blood of the Prophets and of the saints. This can be no other than Jerusalem in the days of John, the first century AD.
It corresponds exactly with Jesus’ warning, “Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to Gehenna? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.” (Matthew 23:32-36) It’s the bitter words of the false prophet of Jerusalem that bring these plagues upon themselves. That is how wars start today, when our leaders speak hostile words and the people of our nations have bitterness and propaganda in their hearts towards others. We all separate into our social, religious, racial, economic and opinionated “tribalisms.” This is depicted in Revelation as frogs coming out of our mouths. It’s our own words and pride that gather us together to injure one another. This happens when our hearts harden, and we refuse to extend mercy to others.
The nations under Rome are gathered together to the great battle of God. It is called Armageddon. It literally means Mount Megiddo.
Megiddo stands for the Old Testament valley of the kings, where the kings fought each other. But this is not the valley, but the mount, standing for the temple mount of Jerusalem. The temple mount has become the enemy of God, the place of the curse, of the battle. It will be cast into the sea, just as Jesus prophesied when he cleansed the temple. It will be cast down and the new temple would be cast among the nations to heal the world.
Armageddon corresponds to the Gehenna of Jesus’ teachings. Jesus said they would be thrown into Gehenna, speaking of the Roman invasion of Jerusalem he warned them about in all his teachings.
And what is the reason for this? In all Jesus’ teachings, the reason this came upon that generation was because they refused to serve each other. They rejected those from their table, pretending it was because of their holiness. They refused to heal, saying it was because of the sabbath. They said the poor were cursed and the Samaritan and blind were sinners, worthy of punishment. They refused to heal their communities, love their neighbour and reach out to reconcile their enemies. So, the nation went to destruction, by their own bitterness and lack of restoring hospitality.
This is so relevant for our time, when our world divides into a kind of nationalist fascism, just like Jesus warned us against. Our suburbs divide into social and ethnic classes. Our religious people divide into intolerant sections, claiming each other are the antichrist. We reject the ways of peace, saying they are compromise with our convictions. We are spurred on by opportunist leaders in our faiths and politics. We “sanctify” our lack of love and care for others, the exact opposite of the nature of God seen in the incarnation in Christ, who came to our homes to love and save the sinner. Each side says they are the people of God, and the others are Gog and Magog. Each side says God is using them to punish the sinner.
Gehenna and Armageddon were the same thing, that which came upon that generation because they killed their enemies and cast out the weak. It was the fires of hell that Jesus warned about in his teaching on Lazarus and the rich man. The lesson to us is that we must help one another, or terrorism takes over our lives. Jerusalem fell after years of terrorism, finally quenched by the power and brutality of Rome. The city was set on such intense fire, that it burned images onto melting rocks, like an image is brunt onto a film.
Apocalyptic language of earthquakes, lightening, islands fleeing, etc, all show the fall of Jerusalem. Never had such a destruction come to the city before. Hail stones of fire fell upon the city, each weighing one talent. These were the hailstones Rome catapulted into the city of Jerusalem. The Roman hailstones of that day each weighed one talent. The inhabitants of the city cursed God.
Josephus recorded this, the curses of the people, as Roman hail stones destroyed the city and their lives and burnt everything.
Josephus says the people called out, “Here comes the Son,” referring to the promised judgement of God that the Prophets said would come upon them. He said the people of Jerusalem unwittingly brought upon the themselves the very words of the Prophets.
This was the judgement James spoke of in his letter, because the people wouldn’t care for the weak. He said, the coming of the Lord was near, and the judge was standing at the door of Jerusalem, in that day, when James wrote.