Jeremiah and John the Baptist

Published March 14, 2018 by amaic
Image result for jeremiah and john baptist

“Is this all blind coincidence? Of course not! This is God’s plan from the beginning! St. John the Baptist, the last and greatest of the prophets, the new Elijah, the new Jeremiah,

is completing Jeremiah’s final work so the Kingdom of God can begin”.

 Rev Eric Culler



Reverend Culler has here drawn some compelling parallels between the ancient prophet Jeremiah (including also Elijah) and the great St. John the Baptist who came centuries later:…/Advent_C_2_-_Baptist.338114608.doc


The New Jeremiah


The greatest danger to Christians today is a type of familiarity with our faith that breeds contempt. We know about the miracles that God worked in the past, we know about the prophecies of Christ fulfilled in Scripture, and we know about the workings of the Holy Spirit in us and in the Church today. But sometimes we say “so what?” We grow bored with the drama of salvation history, and we do not see how God affects our lives. Boredom and contempt have led Christians to give up their faith and embrace strange new religions that keep them entertained with lies.


If we would only read what the Scriptures really say! If we would only study what has really happened in history! We would see the ingenious and awe-inspiring plan of God carried out to the smallest detail in the life of every human being on the planet, including each of us. We would be ecstatic with His plan to transform us into living reflections of his glory and power like the very angels in heaven by sanctifying us with his own Holy Spirit through our sacramental life in the Church.


And we would appreciate the earth-shattering appearance of St. John the Baptist today.


What began almost 900 years earlier with Elijah finishes with John, who is the last and greatest of the prophets. Elijah appeared suddenly from nowhere, wearing rough clothing and rebuking King Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel. John the Baptist also appears suddenly in the desert, wearing rough clothing and rebuking King Herod and his wicked wife Herodias.


But if we look deeper into God’s plan, we will be even more amazed by the similarities between St. John the Baptist and another prophet. Over 600 years before John lived Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a priest of the old covenant, born of a priestly family, though it seems he never served in the Temple. John was also a priest, born of his priestly father Zechariah, though he too never served in the Temple. At the start of the Book of the prophet Jeremiah, God tells him “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I sanctified you and made you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). John was sanctified by Christ in the womb before he was born, which caused him to leap for joy in his mother Elizabeth’s womb, and he became Christ’s own prophet to prepare the way. Both Jeremiah and John never married because of the difficult days ahead, and indeed, both of them were imprisoned by wicked kings and executed by their own people: John by beheading, and Jeremiah by being stoned to death. John is not only a new Elijah come to convert Israel; he is a new Jeremiah.


Mackey’s comment: While Jeremiah’s trials are sometimes described as a “martyrdom”, there is no scriptural evidence that he was “stoned to death”.

The Christian legend (pseudo-Epiphanius, “De Vitis Prophetarum”; Basset, “Apocryphen Ethiopiens,” i. 25-29), according to which Jeremiah was stoned by his compatriots in Egypt because he reproached them with their evil deeds, became known to the Jews through Ibn Yaḥya (“Shalshelet ha-Ḳabbalah,” ed. princeps, p. 99b); this account of Jeremiah’s martyrdom, however, may have come originally from Jewish sources.


Reverend Culler continues:


And if we look deeper still, we see that John shares more than outward characteristics with Jeremiah. John also completes the final work of Jeremiah. Jeremiah lived at the end of a kingdom. In his last days, Babylon was threatening to destroy the Kingdom of Judah and everything holy to the Chosen people. So Jeremiah commanded the people to hide three sacred items to preserve their bond with God before they fled into Egypt. He commanded them to take the holy fire from the altar in the Temple and to keep it burning secretly, to keep the Law of God hidden within their hearts by refusing to worship idols, and to hide the Arc of the Covenant, the seat of God’s living presence among them (see 2 Maccabees 2:1-7).


600 years later, St. John the Baptist is living at the beginning of a Kingdom—the Kingdom of God which he is heralding. The time has come to reveal those three sacred items hidden by Jeremiah—to complete his work—so that God can recreate a holy people. The holy fire from the altar consumed all offerings, giving them forever to God. John reveals to the people that the Christ will baptize them with the Holy Spirit and fire. The Holy Spirit will consume the faithful, body and soul, like offerings, giving them forever to God through baptism.

The Law of God taught the people how they ought to live. By his teaching, John reveals to the crowds how they ought to live, and prepares them for the Lawgiver himself, Jesus Christ. Finally, the Arc of the Covenant was literally a seat or throne for God in the Temple. The Holy of Holies was the room that held the Arc, which was God’s living presence among the Chosen people. John reveals to the people the real, living presence of God among them as one of them: the true man and true God, Jesus Christ himself.


Is this all blind coincidence? Of course not! This is God’s plan from the beginning! St. John the Baptist, the last and greatest of the prophets, the new Elijah, the new Jeremiah, is completing Jeremiah’s final work so the Kingdom of God can begin.


As Advent continues, we will hear about miracles and prophesies. We will hear about the ingenious and awe-inspiring plan of God which involves each one of us here. Let the Scriptures inspire you! Let human history inspire you! See God’s plan with fresh eyes, and be filled with joy that he has chosen to transform you into a reflection of His own glory—into a son or daughter of God! ….



Comparisons between Hezekiah and Josiah texts

Published March 5, 2018 by amaic
Image result for hezekiah and josiah


Damien F. Mackey


“There was no one like him [Hezekiah] among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.”  2 Kings 18:5 (NIV?) “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him …”  2 Kings 23:25 (NIV?)

Previously in this series, I wrote:


“The reigns of the goodly, reforming kings Hezekiah and Josiah are so alike – with quite an amazing collection of same-named officials – that I had actually once begun a series (but then scrapped it) in which I had attempted an identification of Hezekiah with Josiah.

But, given this new blueprint, there must have been a serious overlap between the two”.

Since writing this I have stumbled (again) on The Domain of Man’s Chart 37, which shows up some striking comparisons between Hezekiah and Josiah (though this rather extreme site may need double checking in some cases):



Comparison of Hezekiah and Josiah Narratives


Hezekiah Narrative
2 Chron. 29-32
2 Kings 18-20
Book of Isaiah
Josiah Narrative
2 Chron. 34-35
2 Kings 22-23
Book of Jeremiah
Hezekiah, “son” of Ahaz
mother:  Abijah daughter of Zechariah
Josiah, “son” of Amon
mother:  Jedidah daughter of Adaiah
25 years at ascension, reigned 29 years 8 years at ascension, reigned 31 years
“There was no one like him [Hezekiah] among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.”  2 Kings 18:5 (NIV?) “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him …”  2 Kings 23:25 (NIV?)
Jerusalem to be spared destruction in his lifetime
2 Kings 19:1; 20:2-19; 2 Chron. 32:20,26
Jerusalem to be spared destruction in his lifetime
(2 Kings 22:14-20; 2 Chron. 34:22-28)
Revival of Laws of Moses
“according to what was written”
2 Chron. 30:5,16, 18; 31:2-7,15
Discovery of the Book of the Law (of Moses)
2 Kings 22:8-10; 2 Chron. 34:14-15
Passover Celebration Passover Celebration
“For since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.”
2 Chron. 30:26
“Not since the days of the Judges (Samuel) who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, had any such Passover been observed.”  2 Kings 23:22
Year not given
14th day of the second month
Year 18
14th day of the first month
17,000 sheep and goats, 1,000 bulls
(not including the sacrifices of the first seven days)  (1 Chron. 30:24)
30,000 sheep and goats, 3,000 cattle
Participating tribes:  Judah and Benjamin,
Manasseh, Ephraim,
Asher, Zebulun & Issachar
(2 Chron. 31:1)
Participating tribes: Judah and Benjamin,
Manasseh, Ephraim,
Simeon & Naphtali
(2 Chron. 34:9,32)
Temporary priests consecrated for service Employed “lay people” 2 Chron. 35:5
“. smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles”  2 Kings 18:4; 2 Chron. 31:1 “. smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles”  2 Kings 23:14
High places and altars torn down High places and altars torn down
“. broke into pieces the bronze snake” “. burned the chariots dedicated to the sun”
Name Comparisons
Hezekiah Narrative Josiah Narrative
Sennacherib oppresses Jerusalem Assyrian oppression omitted
Name of High Priest omitted Hilkiah, “High Priest”
Eliakim son of Hilkiah, palace administrator Eliakim “son” (?) of Josiah (future Jehoiakim)
Zechariah (descendant of Asaph)
Azariah, the priest (from family of Zadok)
(variant of Azariah)
Shaban/Shebna/Shebniah, scribe Shaphan, scribe
(son of Azaliah son of Meshullam)
Hashabiah/Hashabniah  (2 Chron. 35:9)
Isaiah son of Amoz, prophet
Joshua, “city governor”
Hoshaiah (Jer. 42:1; 43:2)
Asaiah, “king’s attendant”
Ma’aseiah, “ruler of the city”
Jerimoth Jeremiah son of Hilkiah
Conaniah and his brother Shemei, supervisors
(2 Chron. 31:12)
Conaniah/Cononiah, along with his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel (2 Chron. 35:9)
Hananiah the prophet, son of Azzur/Azur (Azariah)  (Jer. 28)
Nahath Nathan-el/Nathan-e-el/El-Nathan/Nathan-Melech
2 Kings 23:11
Mattaniah, Mahath Mattaniah (future Zedekiah)
Jehiel Jehiel, “administrator of God’s temple”
Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun
2 Chron. 29:13-14
Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun
(2 Chron. 35:15)
Shallum/Meshillemoth (reign of Ahaz) Meshullam (the Kohathite)
Shellemiah son of Cushi (Jer. 36:14)
No mention of a prophetess

[Mackey: What about Judith?]

Huldah, wife of Shallam/Meshullam,
prophetess (spokeswoman of the “Lord”)
Shemaiah Shemaiah
Jozabad Jozabad
Jeiel Jeiel
Joah son of Zimmah (“wicked”)
Joah son of Asaph, recorder
Joah son of “wicked” Jo-Ahaz (King Ahaz)/
Obed, prophet (reign of Ahaz), Abde-el, Tabeel Obadiah



Assyrian King Sargon II, otherwise known as Sennacherib. Part Two: The Challenging Azekah Inscription  

Published February 26, 2018 by amaic
Image result for azekah inscription


 Damien F. Mackey

“An unusual feature of this text is the name of the god upon whom the Assyrian king calls: Anshar, the old Babylonian god who was syncretized with the Assyrian god Assur. This name was rarely used by Assyrian kings, and then only at special times and in specific types of texts, by Sargon and Sennacherib”.

William H. Shea


The difficulties with which the specialists have been confronted in trying to determine whether the Azekah text belonged to Sargon II, or to Sennacherib, is a further classical example of the confusion that arises with the failure to recognize that Sargon II was Sennacherib.


The confusion is apparent from this introductory section to William H. Shea’s article:




The Azekah Text


The “Azekah Text,” so called because of the Judahite site attacked in its record, is an Assyrian text of considerable historical significance because of its mention of a military campaign to Philistia and Judah. ….

In this article I review the question of the date of the tablet and examine a line which may be the earliest extrabiblical reference to the Sabbath.

In this tablet the king reports his campaign to his god. An unusual feature of this text is the name of the god upon whom the Assyrian king calls: Anshar, the old Babylonian god who was syncretized with the Assyrian god Assur. This name was rarely used by Assyrian kings, and then only at special times and in specific types of texts, by Sargon and Sennacherib.

The text is badly broken. In fact, until 1974 its two fragments were attributed to two different kings, Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon.

In that year, Navad Na’aman joined the two pieces, showing that they once belonged to. the same tablet. ….

When Na’aman made the join between the two fragments, he attributed the combined text to Sennacherib, largely on the basis of linguistic comparisons. …. Because the vocabulary of the text was similar to the language used in Sennacherib’s inscriptions, Na’aman argued that Sennacherib was the author. However, since Sennacherib immediately followed Sargon on the throne, it would be natural to expect that the mode of expression would be similar. In all likelihood some of Sargon’s scribes continued to work under Sennacherib, using the same language.

Since Na’aman attributed the text to Sennacharib, and knew of only one western campaign of that king, he identified the text as a description of the western campaign of 701 B.C. While that identification was feasible, the reference to two cities taken in that campaign was hardly specific enough to firmly establish the connection.

Given that indistinct connection, I proposed, mainly on the basis of the divine name of Anshar in the text, that this record came from a second western campaign, conducted some time after Sennacherib’s conquest of Babylon in 689 B.C. and before Hezekiah’s death in 686 B.C. …. Since Sennacherib used the divine name of Anshar only in texts written after the fall of Babylon in 689 B.C., it appeared that the Azekah text provided strong evidence for a second western campaign. Although he criticized my specific date for this text, Frank J. Yurco still followed Na’aman in his attribution of the text to Sennacherib.

The discussion regarding the specific date of this text within the reign of Sennacherib is now irrelevant, for G. Galil has demonstrated quite convincingly that the text does not belong to Sennacherib at all, but to his predecessor Sargon …. All future discussions of this text should start from this beginning point. ….


Or not.

There’s a big hole in Nebuchednezzar II’s ‘Egyptian campaign’

Published February 21, 2018 by amaic

 Image result for egyptian chariots


Damien F. Mackey


If Neb-2 had conquered Egypt, it would have been his greatest conquest in the minds of everyone at the time.  Not only would he and his Babylonian successors have left record of it, but other historians of the time and later would have referred to it, as they did to the actual conquest of Egypt by the Persian, Cambyses-2, 37 years after Neb-2’s death”.


Jim Reilly, who has recently attempted an overall revision of the ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian dynastic histories (, will initially appear to support a common view (like the above) that there is virtually no historical evidence for a conquest of Egypt by Nebuchednezzar II the Chaldean, despite the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel telling of its devastating and long-lasting effects upon Egypt.


Only one piece of evidence apparently exists for this:  Babylonian Chronicle BM 33041.

“In the 37th year of Nebuchadrezzar, King of Babylon, he went to Mizraim [Egypt] to make war.  Amasis, King of Mizraim, collected [his army] and marched and spread abroad”.


Reilly will introduce the anomalous situation as follows in his Volume 1 – Nebuchadnezzar and the Egyptian Exile:


Chapter 1: Nebuchadnezzar’s Wars


Rise of Nebuchadnezzar


The Egyptian Holocaust


In 564 B.C. a foreign army invaded Egypt, laying waste the country. Tens of thousands died. Thousands more, primarily the skilled and educated elite, priests and artisans alike, were taken captive and deported. A minority escaped into the surrounding desert, among them the ruling pharaoh. Only a small remnant survived.


The physical structures of the country were also decimated. Temples and tombs were destroyed and looted. Cities were burned. From Migdol in the eastern Delta to Syene near Elephantine south of Thebes, 500 miles upriver on the Nile, the country was ravaged.


It was, quite literally, a holocaust.


Twenty years passed as the land languished, raped of its treasure by garrisons left behind by the foreigners. No pharaoh ruled to restore order. Another twenty years saw limited rebuilding and the gradual renewal of religious and political life. Temples were repaired. Training began for a new generation of priests and artisans.


The few traumatized survivors of the exile, now old, had only a vague recollection of the

days when the priests were taken away and the population vanished. They told tales about the _š_, “the devastation”.


The name of the invader, familiar to even the most casual student of ancient history, was Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, at the time the dominant power in the ancient Near East.


Only one problem surfaces in connection with this unprecedented act of genocide and material destruction. Without exception, historians categorically deny it ever happened. ….


Whilst Jim Reilly’s efforts to account for this glaring problem within the context of his somewhat complex revision are commendable – but not in accordance with my own, which involves an identification of Nebuchednezzar II with the great Ashurbanipal:


Book of Daniel – merging Assyrians and Chaldeans


whose massive conquest of Egypt no historian would doubt – what is striking is the stark contrast between the general puzzlement of the historians over this matter (as mentioned above), on the one hand, and, as Reilly proceeds in his article, the fulsome testimonies of the contemporary Hebrew prophets, on the other.


Here is the relevant section from Reilly’s article:


In the traditional history the Egyptian king on whom Zedekiah relied in vain must be the

fourth king of the Sa_te dynasty, Ha’a’ibre Wahibre, known to the Greeks as Apries.

According to this history Necho died in 595 B.C., two years after Zedekiah was installed

as king, and for the balance of Zedekiah’s reign Egypt was ruled by Necho’s son Psamtik

II (595-589 B.C.) and then by Ha’a’ibre Wahibre (589-570 B.C.). Psamtik II and Apries

must have been powerful kings to tempt Zedekiah to withhold tribute from Nebuchadrezzar. Sadly they have left no monuments commemorating their struggles with Babylon. ….

While the Egyptian king was unable to prevent the fall of Jerusalem, he did open Egypt’s borders to receive Judaean refugees. The available safe harbor in Egypt appealed to the remnant that survived in Judah. When Gedaliah, soon after his appointment as governor,

was murdered by Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, a Judaean of royal blood and an officer of the king, fear of reprisal from Babylon made an Egyptian sojourn seem even more inviting. Against the advice of Jeremiah the Jewish remnant fled to Egypt. The majority settled in the fortress city of Tahpanhes (tell Defenneh – modern Daphnae) on the eastern edge of the Egyptian delta. It is in this context that we hear for the first time of an impending Babylonian attack on Egypt.


Invasion of Egypt


According to Jeremiah


The first clear statement of the impending disaster comes from Jeremiah, the reluctant refugee:


In Tahpanhes the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: While the Jews are watching, take some large stones with you and bury them in clay in the brick pavement at the entrance to Pharaoh’s palace in Tahpanhes. Then say to them, This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and I will set his throne over these stones I have buried here; he will spread his royal canopy above them. He will come and attack Egypt, bringing death to those destined for death, captivity to those destined for captivity, and the sword to those destined for the sword. He will set fire to the temples of the gods of Egypt; he will burn their temples and take their gods captive. As a shepherd wraps his garment around him, so will he wrap Egypt around himself and depart from there unscathed. There in the temple of the sun (Heliopolis) in Egypt he will demolish the sacred pillars and will burn down the temples of the gods of Egypt. (Jer. 43: 8-13)


Jeremiah supplies no specific date for the Babylonian invasion. For the refugees in Tahpanhes he provides a single clue: first the death of the pharaoh Apries; then the invasion.


‘This will be the sign to you that I will punish you in this place,’ declares the Lord, ‘so that you will know that my threats of harm against you will surely stand.’ This is what the Lord says: ‘I am going to hand Pharaoh Hophra (Wahibre in the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible) king of Egypt over to his enemies who seek his life, just as I handed Zedekiah king of Judah over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the enemy who was seeking his life.’ (Jer. 44: 29-30)


As mentioned earlier, Wahemibre Necao (610-595 B.C.) was succeeded briefly by Psamtik (II) (595-589 B.C.) and then by Ha’a’ibre Wahibre (589-570 B.C.). This Wahibre, called Apries by the Greek historians, the fourth king of the Sa_te dynasty and the object of Zedekiah’s misplaced trust, must be the Pharaoh Hophra alluded to by Jeremiah. This, of course, if the traditional Egyptian chronology is accurate. The invasion must therefore postdate the end of Wahibre’s reign in 570 B.C. Since a fifth king, Ahmose-sa-Neith (Amasis), succeeded Wahibre and ruled Egypt for 44 years, the invasion must have occurred early in his reign.


The 586 B.C. Babylonian invasion of Judah was the prototype for what was about to happen in Egypt. Jeremiah warns the Jewish refugees: “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says: ‘You saw the great disaster I brought on Jerusalem and on all the towns of Judah. Today they lie deserted and in ruins…. Why bring such great disaster on yourselves?’ ” (Jer. 44:2,7) He predicts for the Jews in Egypt the same threefold curse – “sword, famine, and plague” – that earlier decimated their homeland. (Jer. 44: 12; cf. Ezek. 5:12) Very few of the Jewish refugees would escape death. (Jer. 44: 27) Memphis, the Egyptian capital, is likened to Jerusalem. “Pack your belongings for exile you who live in Egypt, for Memphis will be laid waste and lie in ruins without inhabitant” (Jer. 46: 19) The largely mercenary army defending Egypt would flee the onslaught:


Announce this in Egypt, and proclaim it in Migdol; proclaim it also in Memphis and Tahpanhes: Take your positions and get ready, for the sword devours those around you. Why will your warriors be laid low? They cannot stand, for the Lord will push them down. They will stumble repeatedly; they will fall over each other. They will say, Get up, let us go back to our own people and our native lands, away from the sword of the oppressor. (Jer. 46: 14-16)


The anticipated destruction would be immense; the depopulation of the country almost total. From the Nile Delta five hundred miles upriver to Thebes the Babylonian army would plunder and destroy. But in Egypt, as in Judah earlier, a remnant of the poorest of

the land would survive. Others would flee to neighbouring countries and return later.


The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “I am about to bring punishment on Amon god of Thebes, on Pharaoh, on Egypt and her gods and her kings, and on those who rely on Pharaoh. I will hand them over to those who seek their lives, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and his officers. Later, however, Egypt will be inhabited as in times past,” declares the Lord. (Jer. 46:25-26)


In the case of Judah, Jeremiah had predicted a seventy-year exile. (Jer. 25:12; 29:10)

He leaves the length of the Egyptian exile unspecified. “Later” is all he will say. For more specific information on the invasion, and the nature and duration of the exile, we depend on Ezekiel.


According to Ezekiel


Ezekiel is more graphic as well as more specific in his description of the anticipated invasion. He is also less concerned with the Jewish refugees than was Jeremiah. His words are directed toward the native Egyptian population:


With a great throng of people (i.e. the Babylonian army) I will cast my net over you, and they will haul you up in my net. I will throw you on the land and hurl you on the open field. I will let all the birds of the air settle on you and all the beasts of the earth gorge themselves on you. I will spread your flesh on the mountains and fill the valleys with your remains. I will drench the land with your flowing blood all the way to the mountains, and the ravines will be filled with your flesh. (Ezek. 32: 3-6)


There is no ambiguity concerning the pervasiveness of the destruction. No part of Egypt would escape. The slaughter would proceed from Migdol in the northeastern corner of the Delta in the north of Egypt, to Syene, modern Assuan, in the south. There is no mistaking the language of the prophet. In the aftermath of the invasion the whole of Egypt would lie deserted and in ruins. “Egypt will become a desolate wasteland.” “I will make the land of Egypt a ruin and a desolate waste from Migdol to Aswan, as far as the border of Cush.” (Ezek. 29: 9-10) Included in the carnage were the neighbours and commercial allies of Egypt. This was no mere border skirmish as many critics claim. ….


A sword will come against Egypt, and anguish will come upon Cush. When the slain fall in Egypt, her wealth will be carried away and her foundations torn down. Cush and Put, Lydia and all Arabia, Libya and the people of the covenant land will fall by the sword along with Egypt. This is what the Lord says: The allies of Egypt will fall and her proud strength will fail. From Migdol to Aswan (Syene) they will fall by the sword within her, declares the Sovereign Lord. They will be desolate among desolate lands, and their cities will lie among ruined cities. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I set fire to Egypt and all her helpers are crushed. (Ezek. 30: 4-8)


Ezekiel adds to Jeremiah’s list of conquered cities. We can clearly follow the path of destruction through representative towns of the Egyptian Delta southward to Thebes.


This is what the sovereign Lord says: I will put an end to the hordes of Egypt by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. He and his army – the most ruthless of nations – will be brought in to destroy the land. They will draw their swords against Egypt and fill the land with the slain. I will destroy the idols and put an end to the images in Memphis. I will lay waste Upper Egypt, set fire to Zoan (Tanis) and inflict punishment on Thebes. I will pour out my wrath on Pelusium, the stronghold of Egypt, and cut off the hordes of Thebes. I will set fire to Egypt; Pelusium will writhe in agony. Thebes will be taken by storm; Memphis will be in constant distress. The young men of Heliopolis and Bubastis will fall by the sword and the cities themselves will go into captivity Dark will be the day at Tahpanhes when I break the yoke of Egypt There her proud strength will come to an end She will be covered with clouds and her villages will go into captivity (Ezek. 30: 10-11; 13)


And what fate befell pharaoh? Ezekiel’s language is figurative and vague on that account, but he appears to say that the pharaoh escaped both death and capture. His throne was lost but his life was spared, at least for the time being.

Son of man (God speaking to Ezekiel), set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt and prophesy against him and against all Egypt. Speak to him and say:


‘This is what the Lord God says: I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, you great monster lying among your streams You say, “The Nile is mine, I made it for myself.” But I will put hooks in your jaws and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales. I will pull you out from among your streams, with all the fish sticking to your scales. I will leave you in the desert, you and all the fish of your streams. You will fall on the open field and not be gathered or picked up. I will give you as food to the beasts of the earth and birds of the air. (Ezek 29:2-5)


“I will pull you out” from among your streams is better translated “I will drive you out (lit. cause you to leave)” from among your streams. Pharaoh would be driven from the Nile delta into the desert, possibly into the western oasis or southward into Ethiopia.

There in exile he would die.


The Forty Year Exile


How long did the devastation last? Jeremiah says only that Egypt would recover.

Ezekiel sets specific limits.


I will make the land of Egypt a ruin and a desolate waste from Midgol to Aswan, as far as the border of Cush. No foot of man or animal will pass through it; no one will live there for forty years. I will make the land of Egypt desolate among devastated lands, and her cities will lie desolate forty years among ruined cities. And I will disperse the Egyptians among the nations and scatter them through the countries. (Ezek. 29: 10-12)


The desolation that followed the invasion of Egypt was of long duration – a forty-year hiatus in the normal political life of the nation. There was for Egypt as there was for Judah, an exile, which left the land bleak and barren. For Judah the exile ended by degrees with a succession of returns of exiled Jews under Cyrus and his Persian successors. ….



‘… there shall not be left one stone upon another”. How to explain Jerusalem today?

Published February 15, 2018 by amaic


Image result for dr ernest l martin jerusalem 



 Damien F. Mackey


And as [Jesus] went out of the Temple [note that Jesus and the disciples were standing outside the Temple walls and looking back toward the Temple enclosure], one of his disciples saith unto him, ‘Master, see what buildings are here!’ 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’”(Matthew 24:1). Without the slightest doubt, when Jesus in his prophecy spoke about the destruction of the Temple, he was certainly including in his prophecy the stones of the outer walls that enclosed the Temple as well as the buildings of the inner Temple.

Dr. Ernest L. Martin


I have so far, largely following the important geographical research of Dr. Martin in Jerusalem,

compiled the following relevant articles on the layout of ancient Jerusalem and its environs:

Massive Challenge to Standard Geography of Jerusalem-Temple

‘Pinnacle of the Temple’ where Satan took Jesus


Third Temple and the Red Heifer


Golgotha Situated near Altar of the Red Heifer

Golgotha Situated near Altar of the Red Heifer. Part Two: Not Mount of Transfiguration

Newly-discovered Seleucid Fort (‘Acra’) a challenge to identity of ‘Temple Mount’


Mount Olivet as Mount Moriah


Dr. Ernest L. Martin has supplied a lot more fascinating historical and geologico-archaeological material – which seems to me to be generally irrefutable – in his brilliant article at:


The Temple Mount and Fort Antonia


We all remember the proverb that a picture is worth a thousand words. This is so true. When we are able to view a site that we have been reading or hearing about, the historical and architectural information associated with the area becomes much more meaningful and the subject better understood. That is certainly the case with the Temple built by Herod the Great that existed in the time of Christ Jesus along with the adjacent fortress that dominated the landscape known as Fort Antonia. The truth is, no one in modern history (nor for the past 1900 years) has actually witnessed the complex of buildings that comprised the Holy Sanctuary and the fort that was built to protect it. This is one of the reasons why I have wanted to present to all of you on the ASK mailing list the first general view of what the Temple and Fort Antonia looked like to the inhabitants of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. Once we recognize the actual situation of the two structures that I show in the illustrations, and once you realize their dimensions, many points of teaching that we observe in the New Testament will make much better sense to us.

In a word, a true perspective of those two buildings that occupied the greater part of northeastern Jerusalem (west of the Mount of Olives and the Mount of Offense) will provide a panoramic view that will show the sheer beauty and majesty of the Mother City of the Jews in the early part of the first century. Without doubt, it was a splendid and awesome display of architectural grandeur at its best. My new book “The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot” will present the full and interesting details.

What you are about the see in the illustrations at the conclusion of this Report is the description of the Temple and Fort Antonia as presented by Josephus, the Jewish historian. He was an eyewitness to the City of Jerusalem before the Romans destroyed it in A.D.70. I have had our artist draw both a horizontal aspect as though you would view the buildings from above (in outline form as an architect would draw the edifices), and also to show a vertical aspect that gives a three dimensional effect as seen from the east side of the buildings. The squared or rectangular stones that comprise both structures are very large but they are not drawn to exact scale. They represent an artist’s impression given with my directions in accord with the descriptions recorded by Josephus. If you will read Josephus yourself, you will find that our illustrations simply depict the eyewitness accounts of Josephus as he stated them in his literature.

The vertical sight will be that from the top of the southern part of the Mount of Olives known as the Mount of Offense which was directly east of the old city of David formerly located south of the Gihon Spring. This is the best place to view ancient Jerusalem. My new book will illustrate these points clearly.


A Panoramic View of Ancient Jerusalem

Let me start by mentioning a scene that usually occupies the attention of each person who visits Jerusalem for the first time (or who returns year after year to see the archaeological remains of the Jerusalem of Herod and Jesus). That particular scene is observed from the Mount of Olives just in front of the Seven Arches Hotel. This is where people can obtain the best over-all view of the ancient and modern City of Jerusalem. Before I present you with some details concerning this inspiring and unforgettable prospect, let me relate a little about myself for some of you who only recently have come on the A.S.K. mailing list through the Internet. This will allow you to understand my deep interest and my personal involvement with the City of Jerusalem over the past four decades.

My first visit to Jerusalem was in the year 1961. Since then I have returned to the city over thirty times from areas in Europe or America where I have lived. Though I am an American, I have professionally taught college in England where I lived for fourteen years (from 1958 to 1972). In Jerusalem, I worked personally on a daily basis with Professor Benjamin Mazar in the archaeological excavations at the western and southern walls of the Haram esh-Sharif. My working association with Professor Mazar on that site lasted for two months each summer during the years 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1973. Over that period of five summers, I was the academic supervisor for 450 college students from around the world who were digging at that archaeological excavation directed by Professor Mazar. Time magazine in its Education Section for September 3, 1973 featured my academic program for granting college credits for students who worked under my superintendence at Professor Mazar’s archaeological excavation sponsored by the Israel Exploration Society and Hebrew University. Besides this particular professional association at the excavation, I have personally guided more than 800 people around all areas of Israel explaining its biblical and secular history.

Though I am not an archaeologist by profession (my M.A. is in Theology and my Ph.D. is in Education), I have written several books and other major studies on the history and geography of Jerusalem especially in the periods of Jesus, the Roman Empire and Byzantium. I mention these brief biographical points to show that I have had considerable opportunity to study and to know the history of ancient Jerusalem.

With this in mind, let’s return to the top of the Mount of Olives to be reminded of the splendid panoramic perspective depicting the remnants of ancient Jerusalem as well as witnessing the vibrant and bustling modern City of Jerusalem. For the 450 college students and the 800 persons I have guided in their visits to Jerusalem, I have always taken them to this spot on the Mount of Olives in order for them to visualize, as a beginning lesson, what ancient Jerusalem was really like.


Observing Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

The view is spectacular. There is no scene from other areas of Jerusalem that can replicate the grandeur of the ancient archaeological remains of the city. What dominates the scene, as one looks westward, is a rectangular body of walls with gigantic stones perfectly aligned with one another in their lower courses. These four walls present to the observer a feeling of majesty and awe at what the ancients were capable of accomplishing by their architectural achievements. These walls surround the area presently known as the Haram esh-Sharif (the Noble Enclosure). The stones of the lower courses in those walls are in their pristine positions. They are still placed neatly on top of another without any major displacement from their original alignments. These lower stones are clearly Herodian in origin, and in some places in the eastern portion of the wall they are pre-Herodian. There are certainly more than 10,000 of these stones still in place as they were in the time of Herod and Jesus.

No archaeological authority has been able to count all the stones of the four walls surrounding the Haram esh-Sharif because many of the stones are still hidden from view. But at the holy site at the Western Wall (often called the “Wailing Wall”) there are seven courses presently visible within that 197 feet length of the wall in the north/south exposure. That section contains about 450 Herodian stones. There are, however, eight more courses of Herodian stones underneath the soil down to the ground level that existed in the time of Herod and Jesus. Even below that former ground level, there are a further nine courses of foundation stones. If that whole section of the “Wailing Wall” could be exposed, one could no doubt count around 1250 Herodian stones (probably more) of various sizes. Most stones are about three to four feet high and three feet to twelve feet long, but there are varying lengths up to 40 feet (with the larger stones weighing about 70 tons). One stone has been found in the Western Wall that has the prodigious weight of 400 tons (Meir Ben-Dov, Mordechai Naor, Zeev Aner, “The Western Wall,” pp.61, 215). If one could extend by extrapolating the number of stones making up the four walls surrounding the Haram, there has to be over 10,000 Herodian and pre-Herodian stones still very much in place as they were some 2000 years ago. All of these stones in those four walls survived the Roman/Jewish War of A.D.70-73.

The grand centerpiece within the whole enclosure is the Muslim shrine called the Dome of the Rock. It is centrally located in a north/south dimension within the rectangular area of the Haram. To the south of the Dome and abutting to the southern wall is another large building called the Al Aqsa Mosque with its smaller dome. And though from the Mount of Olives modern Jerusalem can be seen in the background (and its contemporary skyline of buildings is interesting), the whole area is overshadowed and dominated by the Haram esh-Sharif with those ancient walls that impressively highlight the scene.

This is the view that modern viewers are accustomed to see. But let us now go back over 1900 years and imagine viewing Jerusalem from this same spot. It is from this vantagepoint that Titus (the Roman General) looked on the ruins of Jerusalem after the Roman/Jewish War in A.D.70. The description of what Titus saw is very instructive. We should read his appraisal in the accounts preserved by Josephus because Josephus and Titus were both eyewitnesses. Notice not only what Titus observed, but also what he left out of the narrative (War VII.1,1). This omission will become of prime importance in our inquiry regarding the true location of the Temple. Titus commanded that only a part of a wall and three forts were to remain of what was once the glorious City of Jerusalem. Notice what is stated in War VII.1,1.

“Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury (for they would not have spared any, had there remained any other work to be done), Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and Temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as were of the greatest eminence; that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne; and so much of the wall as enclosed the city on the west side. This wall was spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison [in the Upper City], as were the towers [the three forts] also spared, in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valor had subdued; but for all the rest of the wall [surrounding Jerusalem], it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it [Jerusalem] had ever been inhabited. This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for innovations; a city otherwise of great magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind” (Whiston trans., italics, bracketed words mine).

This eyewitness account about the total ruin of Jerusalem has given visitors to Jerusalem a major problem in relation to what we witness of ancient Jerusalem today. The fact is, Titus gave orders that the Temple was to be demolished. The only man-made structures to be left in Jerusalem was to be a portion of the western wall and the three fortresses located in the Upper City. This was Titus’ intention at first. But within a short time, even that portion of the western wall and the three fortresses in the west were so thoroughly destroyed that not a trace of them remained (unless the so-called “Tower of David” near the present day Jaffa Gate as scholars guess is a part of the foundation of Hippicus or Phasaelus). At the conclusion of the war, the Tenth Legion left Jerusalem a mass of ruins. Stones from those ruins were finally used in the following century to build a new city called Aelia. But by late A.D.70, there was nothing left standing of the Temple or the buildings of Jerusalem. Josephus stated:

“And truly, the very view itself was a melancholy thing; for those places which were adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now become desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down. Nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judaea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change. For the war had laid all signs of beauty quite waste. Nor had anyone who had known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again. But though he [a foreigner] were at the city itself, yet would he have inquired for it” (War VI.1,1).


What the Modern Visitor Observes

These descriptions by Josephus are what he and Titus saw from the Mount of Olives. But this is NOT what we observe today. We see something remaining from the period of Herod and Jesus that is quite different. Directly to the west, we view an awe-inspiring architectural relic of the past that is splendidly positioned directly in front of us. It dominates the whole western prospect of this panoramic view. That ancient structure is the Haram esh-Sharif. Its rectangular walls are so large in dimension that the Haram effectively obscures much of the view of the present old city of Jerusalem. And certainly, without the slightest doubt, the Haram (in its lower courses of stones that make up its walls) is a building that survived the Roman/Jewish War. Indeed, it is an outstanding example of the early architectural grandeur that once graced the Jerusalem of Herod and Jesus that has withstood two thousand years of weathering, earthquakes, wars and natural deterioration.

What is strange, and almost inexplicable at first, is the fact that Josephus mentioned the utter ruin of the Temple and all the City of Jerusalem, but he gave no reference whatever to the Haram esh-Sharif or that Titus had commanded that those walls should remain intact. And through the centuries, up to our modern period, there are over 10,000 stones still in their original positions making up the four walls of the Haram. As a matter of fact, in Titus’ time there were probably another 5,000 stones that were left on the upper courses of the four walls that have been dislodged and fallen to the ground over the centuries since the first century. What must be recognized is the fact that Titus deliberately left the rectangular shaped Haram esh-Sharif practically in the state he found it when he first got to Jerusalem with his legions. Strangely, Titus must have ordered that those four walls be retained for all future ages to see.

Without doubt, the Haram esh-Sharif with its gigantic walls was a survivor of the war. But how could Josephus have failed to account for the retention of such a spacious and magnificent building that was clearly in existence in pre-war Jerusalem? The continued existence of those extensive remains of the Haram esh-Sharif seem (at first glance) to nullify the appraisal of Josephus and Titus. Remember, they said that nothing of Jerusalem was left. “It [Jerusalem] was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it [Jerusalem] had ever been inhabited.”

What is even more strange is the modern belief that the Haram esh-Sharif must be reckoned as the site of the Temple Mount. If present scholarly opinion is correct, this means that Titus and the Roman legions did not destroy the outer walls of the Temple in its middle and lower courses. The Romans left over 10,000 stones in place around the Haram. This modern belief of scholars and religious authorities (whether Jewish, Muslim or Christian) that the retention of those 10,000 stones around the Haram represents the remnants of the walls of the Temple make the above descriptions of their demolition by Josephus and Titus as being outlandish exaggerations. And true enough, this is precisely how most modern scholars, theologians, religious leaders and archaeologists view the matter.

Professor Williamson, who translated Josephus, said this was the case. He remarked that the thorough desolation that Titus was supposed to have seen in front of him was: “An exaggeration. A great deal of the southern part of the Temple enclosure was spared. The whole of the south wall of its successor, the present wall round the Haram esh-Sharif, the southern section of the west wall (the ‘Wailing Wall’, where the fall of Jerusalem is still lamented) and a short stretch of the east wall running up from the southeast corner are Herodian to a considerable height” (The Jewish War, p.454, note 2). We will see abundant evidence in my new book that Josephus was not exaggerating. This is because that enclosure known as the Haram esh-Sharif was NOT the Temple Mount, nor was the structure then officially reckoned as a part of the municipality of Jerusalem.

Our modern scholars and religious authorities consistently state that we cannot believe Josephus literally in his accounts concerning the important descriptions that he provides. We will discover, however, that it is the modern scholars and the religious leaders who are wrong and not Josephus. Josephus, the historian/priest, knew what he was talking about. Jerusalem and the Temple were totally destroyed and not a stone of them was left in place. The truth is, the Haram esh-Sharif was NOT the Temple Mount.


Josephus Was Not Exaggerating

It is time for us to realize that it is the modern scholars who are wrong, not the eyewitness accounts of Josephus and Titus. Jerusalem and the Temple were indeed destroyed to the bedrock just as they relate. Regarding this, there are other sections of Josephus’ accounts to show that he was not exaggerating. Josephus was keen on telling his readers that all the walls around Jerusalem were leveled to the ground. Note his observation: “Now the Romans set fire to the extreme parts of the city [the suburbs] and burnt them down, and entirely demolished its [Jerusalem’s] walls” (War VI.9,4.).

This reference shows that all the walls, even those enclosing the outskirts of Jerusalem, were finally leveled to the ground. To reinforce the matter, Josephus said elsewhere: “When he [Titus] entirely demolished the rest of the city, and overthrew its walls, he left these towers [the three towers mentioned above] as a monument of his good fortune, which had proved [the destructive power of] his auxiliaries, and enabled him to take what could not otherwise have been taken by him” (War VI.9,1).

These two accounts by Josephus, along with the previous observations given above, confirm that there was a literal destruction of all the walls surrounding Jerusalem (except the small section of the wall in the western part of the Upper City that was afterward destroyed because not a trace of it has been mentioned of its retention by later eyewitnesses or found by modern archaeologists). Indeed, after A.D.70 there is not a word by any historical record that even speaks of those three fortresses in the Upper City having a continuance that Titus at first thought to leave as standing monuments showing the power of Rome over the Jews.

But again, these descriptions of Josephus and Titus of total ruin seem to be at variance with what we witness today. Let’s face it. From the Mount of Olives we behold the four walls of the Haram still erect in all their glory, and they are prominently displayed with a majesty that dominates the whole of present-day Jerusalem. The lower courses of those walls clearly have 10,000+Herodian and pre-Herodian stones on top of one another. As a matter of fact, those rectangular walls are even functioning ramparts of Jerusalem today. They have been in constant use throughout the intervening centuries to protect the buildings that were built in the interior of that enclosure called the Haram esh-Sharif.

Again I say, if those rectangular walls are those which formerly surrounded the Temple Mount (as we are confidently informed by all authorities today), why did Josephus and Titus leave out of their eyewitness accounts any mention about this retention of this magnificent Haram structure? They spoke of the utter ruin and desolation of Jerusalem and of the Temple, not the survival of any buildings that the Jewish authorities once controlled. Be this as it may, Josephus and Titus were certainly aware that the walls of the Haram survived the war. Why did Josephus and Titus not refer to those walls of the Haram that remained standing in their time? My new book will explain the reason why, and very clearly.


A Quandary for Modern Christians

These facts present a major problem for Christians. If those rectangular walls of the Haram are indeed the same walls (in their lower courses) that formerly embraced the Temple Mount, why are these stones (more than 10,000 in number) yet so firmly on top of one another? The continued existence of those gigantic and majestic walls would show that Titus did not destroy the walls of the Temple, if those walls did surround the Temple. Why is this a difficulty for Christian belief? The reason is plain.

Christians are aware of four prophecies given by Jesus in the New Testament that there would not be one stone left upon another either of the Temple and its walls or even of the City of Jerusalem and its walls (Matthew 24:1,2; Mark 13:1,2; Luke 19:43,44; 21:5,6.). But strange as it may appear, the walls surrounding the Haram esh-Sharif still remain in their glory with their 10,000+ Herodian and pre-Herodian stones solidly in place in their lower courses. If those stones are those of the Temple, the prophecies of Jesus can be seriously doubted as having any historical value or merit in any analysis by intelligent and unbiased observers.

Indeed, the majority of Christian visitors to Jerusalem who first view those huge stones surrounding the rectangular area of the Haram (and who know the prophecies of Jesus) are normally perplexed and often shocked at what they see. And they ought to be. The surprise at what they observe has been the case with numerous people that I have guided around Jerusalem and Israel. They have asked for an explanation concerning this apparent failure of the prophecies of Jesus. Why do those gigantic walls still exist? If those walls represent the stones around the Temple, then the prophecies of Christ are invalid.

The usual explanation, however, to justify the credibility to Jesus’ prophecies is to say that Jesus could only have been speaking about the inner Temple and its buildings, NOT the outer Temple and its walls that surrounded it. This is the customary and the conciliatory answer that most scholars provide (and it is the explanation that I formerly gave my students or associates). The truth is, however, this explanation will not hold water when one looks at what Jesus prophesied. One should carefully observe the prophecies of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels. They plainly state that one stone would not rest on another of the Temple, its buildings, and his prophecies also embraced its outer walls. The Greek word Jesus used in his prophetic context to describe the Temple and its buildings was hieron (this means the entire Temple including its exterior buildings and walls). Notice what Vincent says about the meaning of hieron.

“The word temple (hieron, lit., sacred place) signifies the whole compass of the sacred enclosure, with its porticos, courts, and other subordinate buildings; and should be carefully distinguished from the other word, naos, also rendered temple, which means the temple itself — the “Holy Place” and the “Holy of Holies.” When we read, for instance, of Christ teaching in the temple (hieron) we must refer it to one of the temple-porches [outer colonnades]. So it is from the hieron, the court of the Gentiles, that Christ expels the money-changers and cattle-merchants”( Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, Vol. I., p.50).

The exterior buildings of the Temple including its walls were always reckoned within the meaning of the word hieron that Jesus used in his prophecies concerning the total destruction of the Temple. There were several outer divisions of the Temple that were distinguished from the Inner Temple, and these outer appurtenances were accounted to be cardinal features of the Sanctuary. As an example, note the New Testament account stating that Satan took Jesus to the “pinnacle of the Temple” (Matthew 4:5). The pinnacle section was the southeastern corner of the outer wall that surrounded the whole of the Temple complex. The wording in the New Testament shows that this southeastern angle belonged to the Temple — it was a pinnacle [a wing] “of the Temple.” That area was very much a part of the sacred edifice to which Jesus referred when he prophesied that not one stone would remain on another.

There is an important geographical factor that proves this point. When Jesus made his prophecy that no stone would be left on one another, Matthew said that Jesus and his disciples had just departed from the outer precincts of the Temple. This means that all of them were at the time viewing the exterior sections of the Temple (the hieron) when he gave his prophecy (Matthew 24:1). The Gospel of Mark goes even further and makes it clear that the outside walls of the Temple were very much in the mind of Jesus when he said they would be uprooted from their very foundations. “And as he [Jesus] went out of the Temple [note that Jesus and the disciples were standing outside the Temple walls and looking back toward the Temple enclosure], one of his disciples saith unto him, ‘Master, see what buildings are here!’ 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’”(Matthew 24:1). Without the slightest doubt, when Jesus in his prophecy spoke about the destruction of the Temple, he was certainly including in his prophecy the stones of the outer walls that enclosed the Temple as well as the buildings of the inner Temple.


The Whole City of Jerusalem Also to be Destroyed

Jesus went even further than simply prophesying about the destruction of the Temple and its walls. He also included within his prophetic predictions the stones that made up the whole City of Jerusalem (with every building and house that comprised the metropolis — including the walls that embraced its urban area). According to Jesus in Luke 19:43,44, every structure of Jewish Jerusalem would be leveled to the ground —to the very bedrock. “For the days shall come upon thee [Jerusalem], that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another.”

So, in the prophecies of Jesus, not only the stones that made up the Temple and its walls were to be torn down, but he also included within that scope of destruction even the stones that comprised the totality of the City of Jerusalem. We are left with no ambiguity concerning this matter. The prophecies about the Temple and the City of Jerusalem either happened exactly as Jesus predicted or those prophecies must be reckoned as false and unreliable. There can be no middle ground on the issue. If one is honest with the plain meaning of the texts of the Gospels, Jesus taught that nothing would be left of the Temple, nothing left of the whole City of Jerusalem, and nothing left of the walls of the Temple and the City.


Josephus and Titus Agree With Jesus

Was Jesus correct in his prophecies? Was Jerusalem with its Temple and walls leveled to the ground? What is remarkable is the fact that the eyewitness accounts given by Josephus and Titus agree precisely with what Jesus prophesied. Note what these two men observed. “It [Jerusalem with its walls] was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it [Jerusalem] had ever been inhabited” (War VII.1,1).

All the land surrounding the city of Jerusalem was a desolate wasteland. Note Josephus’ account.

“They had cut down all the trees, that were in the country that adjoined to the city, and that for ninety stadia round about [for nearly ten miles], as I have already related. And truly, the very view itself was a melancholy thing. Those places that were before adorned with trees and pleasant gardens were now become a desolate country in every way, and its trees were all cut down. Nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judaea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change. For the war had laid all signs of beauty quite waste. Nor, if any one that had known the place before, and had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again. But though he were at the city itself, yet would he have inquired for it notwithstanding” (War VI.1,1, following the Whiston translation).

After A.D.70, people would have seen utter desolation in all directions. Every stone of every building and wall in Jerusalem was dislodged from its original position and thrown down to the ground. Josephus provides reasonable accounts of later events after the war was over to show how this complete destruction was accomplished. Much of the destruction came after the war had ceased.

For six months after the war, Josephus tells us that the Tenth Legion “dug up” the ruins of the houses, buildings and walls looking for plunder. They systematically excavated beneath the foundations of the ruined buildings and houses (they had many of the Jewish captives do the work for them). They also had the whole area turned upside down looking for gold and other precious metals that became molten when the fires were raging. This caused the precious metals to melt and flow into the lower crevices of the stones. Even the foundation stones contained melted gold from the great fires that devoured Jerusalem. This plundering of every former building or wall in the municipality of Jerusalem resulted in the troops overturning (or having the remaining Jewish captives overturn for them) every stone within the city. We will soon see that this activity resulted in every stone of Jewish Jerusalem being displaced.

This continual digging up of the city occurred over a period of several months after the war. Indeed, after an absence of about four months, Titus returned to Jerusalem from Antioch and once again viewed the ruined city. Josephus records what Titus saw.

“As he came to Jerusalem in his progress [in returning from Antioch to Egypt], and compared the melancholy condition he saw it then in, with the ancient glory of the city [compared] with the greatness of its present ruins (as well as its ancient splendor). He could not but pity the destruction of the city…. Yet there was no small quantity of the riches that had been in that city still found among the ruins, a great deal of which the Romans dug up; but the greatest part was discovered by those who were captives [Jewish captives were forced by the Roman troops to dig up the stones of their own city looking for gold], and so they [the Romans] carried it away; I mean the gold and the silver, and the rest of that most precious furniture which the Jews had, and which the owners had treasured up under ground against the uncertainties of war.”


Three Years After the War

We now come to the final appraisal of the complete desolation of Jerusalem. Note what Eleazar, the final Jewish commander at Masada, related three years after the war was finished at Jerusalem. He gives an eyewitness account of how the Romans preserved Fort Antonia (the Haram) among the ruins. What Eleazar said to the 960 Jewish people (who were to commit suicide rather than fall into the hands of General Silva who was on the verge of capturing the Fortress of Masada) is very important in regard to our present inquiry. This final Jewish commander lamented over the sad state of affairs that everyone could witness at this twilight period of the conflict after the main war with the Romans was over.

Jerusalem was to Eleazar a disastrous spectacle of utter ruin. There was only one thing that remained of the former Jerusalem that Eleazar could single out as still standing. This was the Camp of the Romans that Titus permitted to remain as a monument of humiliation over the Mother City of the Jews. Eleazar acknowledged that this military encampment had been in Jerusalem before the war, and that Titus let it continue after the war. The retention of this single Camp of the Romans, according to Eleazar, was a symbol of the victory that Rome had achieved over the Jewish people. His words are recorded in War VII.8,7. Several words and phrases need emphasizing, and I hope I have done so:

“And where is now that great city [Jerusalem], the metropolis of the Jewish nation, which was fortified by so many walls round about, which had so many fortresses and large towers to defend it, which could hardly contain the instruments prepared for the war, and which had so many ten thousands of men to fight for it? Where is this city that was believed to have God himself inhabiting therein? it is now demolished to the very foundations, and hath nothing left but THAT MONUMENT of it preserved, I mean THE CAMP OF THOSE [the Romans] that hath destroyed it, WHICH STILL DWELLS UPON ITS RUINS; some unfortunate old men also lie ashes upon the of the Temple [the Temple was then in total ruins — all of it had been burnt to ashes], and a few women are there preserved alive by the enemy, for our bitter shame and reproach.”

What Eleazar said must be reckoned as an eyewitness account of the state of Jerusalem in the year A.D.73. This narrative is of utmost importance to our question at hand. This is because Eleazar admitted that the City of Jerusalem and all its Jewish fortresses had indeed been demolished “to the very foundations.” There was nothing left of the City or the Temple. This is precisely what Jesus prophesied would happen.

Eleazar even enforced this. He mentioned the “wholesale destruction” of the city. He said that God had “abandoned His most holy city to be burnt and razed to the ground” (War VII.8,6 Loeb). And then, a short time later, Eleazar concluded his eyewitness account by stating: “I cannot but wish that we had all died before we had seen that holy city demolished by the hands of our enemies, or the foundations of our Holy Temple dug up, after so profane a manner” (War VII.8,7).

Yes, even the very foundation stones that comprised the Temple complex (including its walls) had been uprooted and demolished. They were then “dug up” and not even the lower courses of base stones were left in place. According to Eleazar, the only thing left in the Jerusalem area was a single Roman Camp that still hovered triumphantly over the ruins of the City and the Temple. He said that Jewish Jerusalem “hath nothing left.” The only thing continuing to exist was the “monument” (a single monument) preserved by Titus. And what was that “monument”? Eleazar said it was “the camp of those that destroyed it [Jerusalem], which still dwells upon its ruins.”

What could this Camp of the Romans have been? This is quite easy to discover when one reads the accounts of the war as recorded by Josephus. The main military establishment in Jerusalem prior to the war was Fort Antonia located to the north of the Temple (which is now the Haram esh-Sharif). In my new book “The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot,” I will give an abundance of information to show that the Haram was considered Roman property even before the war. Because Antonia was the property of Rome, they had no reason to destroy those buildings that already belonged to the Romans. That is why Titus left Fort Antonia (the Haram esh-Sharif) and its walls in tact (as we see them today). ….


Abraham and Athamas

Published February 12, 2018 by amaic
Image result for athamas and nephele



Damien F. Mackey



“I can’t think of another pair, of ancient stories which are so similar, and yet so seldom compared! Both Abraham and Athamas were divinely commanded to sacrifice, each their own son, with a knife on a mountain top, and each was about to comply when the child was saved, each by the miraculous appearance of a ram”.

John R. Salverda




Can we find traces of Abraham (Abram) and Sarah (Sarai) also in other ancient traditions?

Indeed, it appears that we can. The pair are commonly likened to, for instance, the Hindu pair Brahma and Sarasvati. Thus we read in:

Brahma and Abraham: Divine Covenants of Common Origin

Regarding the link between Abraham and Brahma, Steven Rosen writes:


The similarities between the names of Abraham and Brahma have not gone unnoticed. Abraham is said to be the father of the Jews, and Brahma, as the first created being, is often seen as the father of mankind.

Abraham’s name is derived from the two Semitic words ab meaning ‘father’ and

raam/raham meaning ‘of the exalted….’ We might also note that the name of Brahma‘s consort Sarasvati seems to resonate with that of Abraham‘s wife, Sarah [… each one‘s identity as a wife and/or sister]. Also, in India, the Sarasvati River includes a tributary known as the Ghaggar…. According to Jewish tradition, Hagar was Sarah’s maidservant…. Both Brahmins … and Jews see themselves as the ‘chosen people of God’. The Hebrews began their sojourn through history as a ‘kingdom of priests’ (Exodus 19:6). Likewise, Brahmins are also a community of priests. ….


Now, good friend John R. Salverda claims also to have found compelling likenesses between Abraham and the Minyan Athamas (of Greek legend), and between Sarah and Nephele, the wife of Athamas:


Abraham, Athamas and the Minyans



Minyans, Kurds, Armenians, and UR.


Abraham and the Ram-Lamb?

The Almost-Consummated Sacrifice of the Son!

Competing Wives and their Allegorical Significance.

Isaac and the Mountain.

Different Hebrew Traditions Coalesced in Greek Mythology.

Minyans, Kurds, Armenians, and UR


Here I shall take what I would consider to be the most compelling comparisons in this article:


Abraham and the Ram-Lamb?


The Minyans, as Hurrians from Armenia, knew well the story of the Hebrew, Abraham, they called him Athamas. The Minyans most likely got their, only slightly tainted, version of the story, brought over by migrants from the area of Carchemish and therefore named its Greek colony at the city of Orchomenus (a plausible transliteration, and supposed by some to have been founded by Athamas himself) after the place. Even a cursory comparison of the two supposedly unrelated stories displays them as remarkably coincidental. Athamas began a movement toward, the abolition of, that age old and wide spread, religious concept, human sacrifice (as well as its companion tradition, cannibalism). Although we praise Abraham for his role in this abolition, it seems that some factions (mainly, the Achaeans) of the ancient Greeks, were of a different opinion. They considered their Abrahamic equivalent Athamas, and his descendants as well, to be cursed for their part in the civilizing of mankind (See Herodotus 7. 197 Athamas the son of Aeolus contrived death for Phrixus, having taken counsel with Ino, and after this how by command of an oracle the Achaeans propose to his descendants the following tasks to be performed: whosoever is the eldest of this race, he is brought forth to the sacrifice. This is done to the descendants of Kytissoros the son of Phrixus, because, he brought the wrath of the gods upon his own descendants.). In both cases, whether Scripture or myth, the abolition of human sacrifice in favor of animal sacrifice (the ram) is the obvious message of the story. Pausanias describes a statue depicting the sacrifice of this ram; “There is also a statue of Phrixus the son of Athamas carried ashore to the Colchians by the ram. Having sacrificed the animal, he has cut out the thighs in accordance with Greek custom and is watching them as they burn.” (Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 24. 2) Take note of the Greek custom of cutting out the thighs as if to make the sacrifice Kosher. There is no doubt in my mind as to where they got such a notion.


The Almost-Consummated Sacrifice of the Son!


Intricate details of Abrahams life appear as parts of the Greek myth as well, I can’t think of another pair, of ancient stories which are so similar, and yet so seldom compared! Both Abraham and Athamas were divinely commanded to sacrifice, each their own son, with a knife on a mountain top, and each was about to comply when the child was saved, each by the miraculous appearance of a ram. The ram was considered to have been supplied by God, and was said to have been acceptable to Him as a replacement sacrifice instead of the son of man. … The symbol of the sacrificed lamb of god, appears in the Greek Myth, complete with an association to the Hebrew story of the garden of Eden, for the quest of the Argonauts, like the Biblical quest of all mankind, hangs in (nailed to) a tree, in a sacred grove, there is a serpent, and the way is guarded. Phrixos sacrificed the golden-fleeced ram to Zeus Phyxios, but gave its fleece to Aetes, who nailed it to an oak tree in a grove of Ares.” (See Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 80) “The fleece in Colchis and the apples of the Hesperides, since they seemed to be of gold, two serpents that never slept guarded and claimed as their own.” (Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 2. 17. 6) This association begs for the conclusion that these Greeks had some knowledge about the Hebrew concept of the original sin as well as the hopeful promise of the Messiah. No doubt they did, for they knew many intricate details of the Hebrew story, including the sophisticated religious symbolism inherent in the parable of


Abraham’s two wives.


Competing Wives and their Allegorical Significance.


Both Abraham, and Athamas, are said to have had a pair of competing wives each of whom were obvious allegories of differing religious concepts. Offspring was gotten from each of the wives, and the quarrel concerned, whose offspring, and their attending religious concept, would be favored, this is true in both stories. Ino is the Greek equivalent of Hagar from the Hebrew story, while Nephele is the counterpart of Sarah. Consider the Ino, Hagar identification first; The Greeks considered Ino to be the loser of the wifely quarrel, she was exiled and had to flee from her family home, with her half dead child in her arms, (Gen. 21:14,15) to the point of her death, when god intervened, granting Ino powerful miraculous abilities over water, thus saving the lives of Ino and her son Melicertes and appointing them to become great religious icons among the People who lived in the land of her exile, which we are told in the myth, was Corinth in Greece. Except for the location and names, all of these motifs are straight from the life of Hagar, who was looked upon as symbolic of earthly Zion, the covenant with slavery and death (Gal. 4 :22-31).

On the other hand, Sarah was symbolic of freedom, the Heavenly Zion, the wife of God (also in Gal. 4:22-31). Now, Consider the identification of Nephele with Sarah; Nephele was created as a duplicate of Hera, the heavenly wife of god, “Zeus formed a figure of Hera out of cloud (Nephele) (Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 69. 4) “a Cloud (Nephele)? its form was like the supreme celestial goddess, the daughter of Kronos. The hands of Zeus set it as a trap for him, a beautiful misery (Pindar, Pythian Ode 2. 32 ff). Zeus fashioned a Cloud (Nephele) to look like Hera (Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca E1. 20). Hers were the favored offspring, who were carried off to the Egyptian land, (That Colchis [in the Caucasus] was an Egyptian land we learn from Herodotus who says:

There can be no doubt that the Colchians are an Egyptian race. Before I heard any mention of the fact from others, I had remarked it myself. After the thought had struck me, I made inquiries on the subject both in Colchis and in Egypt, and I found that the Colchians had a more distinct recollection of the Egyptians, than the Egyptians had of them. Still the Egyptians said that they believed the Colchians to be descended from the [Egyptian] army of Sesostris (Herodotus Histories 2.104) from which they eventually had a miraculous epic deliverance (Argonautica). ….



Shutrukids and Elamites

Published January 30, 2018 by amaic
Image result for elamites

Horrible Histories: Suffering Shutrukids!



 Damien F. Mackey



But, more strikingly, I draw attention to the succession of Shutrukid rulers of Elam of the era of Merodach-baladan I who can be equated,

as a full succession, with those of the era of Merodach-baladan II.



A crucial part of my revision of ancient history, of shortening it significantly so as to eliminate those unwanted ‘Dark Ages’, has been my folding of the C12th BC into the C8th BC – a logical consequence, I would think, of Dr. I. Velikovsky’s earlier folding of the C14th BC (El Amarna) into the C9th BC.

And it appears to have art-historical support. For previously I had written on this:   


Art, Architecture and Other Overlaps


Revisionist scholars have argued for an overlap of the art and architecture of both (supposedly) historical periods in question here – but eras that I am suggesting need to be fused into one. The likes of professor Lewis M. Greenberg (“The Lion Gate at Mycenae”, Pensée, IVR III, 1973, p. 28); Peter James (Centuries of Darkness, p. 273); Emmet Sweeney (Ramessides, Medes and Persians, p. 24), and others, have all come to light with art-historical observations of striking likenesses between art works of the 13th-12th centuries BC, on the one hand, and the 9th-8th centuries BC art and architecture, on the other. I, in my postgraduate university thesis,


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background



quoting P. James, wrote as follows about this art-historical overlap (Volume 1, Ch. 7, p. 181):


I should like to recall that my revision of this actual period of Mesopotamian history may have some degree of art-historical support; for, as already noted in Chapter 3 (p. 81), James claims to have found artistic likenesses between the C13th-12th’s BC and the neo-Assyrian period  – though admittedly the data is scarce [Centuries of Darkness, p. 273]: ….


Developments in art are also difficult to trace. Not only is there a dearth of material, but styles on either side of the gulf between the 12th and 10th centuries BC are curiously similar. One scholar noted that the forms and decoration of the intricately carved Assyrian seals of the 12th century are ‘clearly late’, as they ‘point the way to the ornate figures which line the walls of the Neo-Assyrian palace of Assurnasirpal [mid-9th century BC]’. The sculptors employed by this king, in the words of another expert on Assyrian art, ‘worked within a tradition that went back to the thirteenth century BC’. Not surprisingly, then, the dating of the few sculptures which might belong to this grey period has been hotly debated.

[End of quote]


The most remarkable evidence for the need of such a C12th BC into C8th BC folding are the Elamite kings, a succession of three of whom in the C12th BC appear to re-emerge, again in succession, in the C8th BC.

This sort of strange ‘afterglow’ is commonly encountered in history, but is simply accepted as a coincidence by the conventionalists.


This is what I wrote on the Elamite kings:


The Elamite/Shutrukids


In 1985, Lester Mitcham had attempted to identify the point of fold in the Assyrian King List [AKL], necessary for accommodating the downward revision of ancient history. (“A New Interpretation of the Assyrian King List”, Proc. 3rd Seminar of C and AH, pp. 51-56). He looked to bridge a gap of 170 years by bringing the formerly C12th BC Assyrian king,  Ninurta-apil-Ekur, to within closer range of his known C14th BC ancestor, Eriba-Adad I. In the same publication, Dean Hickman had argued even more radically for a lowering, by virtually a millennium, of formerly C19th BC king Shamsi-Adad I, now to be recognised as the biblical king, Hadadezer, a Syrian foe of king David of Israel. (“The Dating of Hammurabi”, pp. 13-28). And I myself have accepted this adjustment in:


Hammurabi and Zimri-Lim as Contemporaries of Solomon


Prior to all that, Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky had of course urged for a folding of the C14th BC Kassite king {and el-Amarna correspondent}, Burnaburiash II, with the C9th BC Assyrian king, Shalmaneser III, who had conquered Babylon. (Ages in Chaos, Vol. I, 1952).

And there have been other attempts as well to bring order to Mesopotamian history and chronology; for example, Phillip Clapham‟s attempt to identify the C13th Assyrian king, Tukulti-Ninurta I, with the C8th BC king, Sennacherib. (“Hittites and Phrygians”, C and AH, Vol. IV, pt. 2, July, 1982, p. 111). Clapham soon realised that, despite some initially  promising similarities, these two kings could not realistically be merged. (ibid., Addenda, p. 113). Whilst all of these attempts have some merit, other efforts were doomed right from the start because they infringed against established archaeological sequences. Thus Mitcham, again, exposed Sweeney’s defence of Professor Heinsohn’s radical revision, because of its blatant disregard, in part, for archaeological fact. (“Support for Heinsohn’s Chronology is Misplaced”, C and CW, 1988, 1, pp. 7-12).

Here I want briefly to propose what I think can be a most compelling fold; one that


(a) does not infringe against archaeology, and that

(b) harmonises approximately with previous art-historical observations of likenesses  between 13th-12th centuries BC and 9th-8th centuries BC art and architecture. And it also has the advantage – unlike Mitcham’s and Clapham’s efforts – of

(c) folding kings with the same name.


I begin by connecting Merodach-baladan I and II (also equated by Heinsohn – as noted by Mitcham, op. cit.), each of 12-13 years of reign, about whose kudurrus Brinkman remarked (op. cit., p. 87, footnote 456):


Four kudurrus …, taken together with evidence of his building activity in Borsippa … show Merodach-baladan I still master in his own domain. The bricks recording the  building of the temple of Eanna in Uruk …, assigned to Merodach-baladan I by the British Museum‟s A Guide to the Babylonian and Assyrian Antiquities … cannot now be readily located in the Museum for consultation; it is highly probable, however, that these bricks belong to Merodach-baladan II (see Studies Oppenheim, p. 42 …).

[End of quote]


My proposal here involves a C12th to C8th BC fold.


But, more strikingly, I draw attention to the succession of Shutrukid rulers of Elam of the era of Merodach-baladan I who can be equated, as a full succession, with those of the era of Merodach-baladan II. Compare:


C12th BC


C8th BC
Shutruk-Nahhunte Shutur-Nakhkhunte






Hulteludish (or Hultelutush-Insushinak)


‘Hallushu’ (or Halutush-Inshushinak).



This is already far too striking, I think, to be accidental. And it, coupled with the Merodach-baladan pairing, may offer far more obvious promise than have previous efforts of revision. ….


New evidence might even suggest that the C8th BC Shutur-Nakhkhunte, whom I have coupled with the C12th BC, Shutruk-Nahhunte, might better be named also as Shutruk-Nahhunte. This would, then, further strengthen my comparisons.

Thus we read at:


In 710 (year 12), the king of Elam came to the aid of the king of Babylonia, Merodach-baladan. There is a problem concerning his name in the Annals: he is named Humban-nikash on one occasion and Shuturnahhunte on several others. …. There are some contradictions between the Assyrian and Neo-Elamite inscriptions concerning this period, in particular the confusion between Shutur-nahhunte and Shutruk-nahhunte. …. The chronology concerning the Sargon period is now well-established: Humban-nikash I (743–717) and his successor Shutruk-nahhunte II (717–699), wrongly named Shutur-nahhunte in the Assyrian texts; Shutur-nahhunte reigned ca. 645–620. According to the Babylonian Chronicle, “Shutruknahhunte (II), his sister’s son (of Humban-nikash) ascended the throne in Elam.”97 Consequently, the name of Humban-nikash in the Annals for 710 (year 12) was a scribal error because this king had died in 717.

The sources for the reign of Shutruk-nahhunte II are the Neo-Elamite inscriptions and the Assyrian and Babylonian records, all of which differ on some points. In his own inscriptions, the Elamite king reported that he led successful campaigns to enlarge his territory, endowed temples, and set up stelae for the gods. According to the Assyrian sources, the allies of Merodach-baladan and Shutruk-nahhunte were first defeated. ….