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November 26, 2014 at 5:33 am #5398
In his book Secrets of Golgotha: The Forgotten History of Christ’s Crucifixion, Ernest L. Martin states that the Shekinah or Glory of the Lord departed from the Temple at the start of the Jewish War in A.D. 66 and settled atop the Mt. of Olives for three and a half years before rising up to heaven. (Ernest L. Martin, Secrets of Golgotha: The Forgotten History of Christ’s Crucifixion, (Alhambra, CA: ASK Publications, 1988), 82-87) In support of his contention, Martin cites Josephus, Eusebius and a rabbi named Jonathan who was supposedly an eyewitness of the Jewish War mentioned in the Midrash Rabbah. However, having studied his sources, I am not completely convinced that his major source, Rabbi Jonathan, claims to have witnessed the Glory Cloud departing from the Temple in A.D. 66 as he suggests. In Ezekiel 11:23, Ezekiel sees that Glory of the Lord depart from the Temple and settle atop the Mt. of Olives before the destruction of Solomon’s temple by the Babylonians. In the Midrash, Rabbi Jonathan confirms Ezekiel 11:23 by stating that the Shekinah departed from the Temple and settled on the Mt. of Olives before the Temple’s destruction. But it is unclear from Rabbi Jonathan’s testimony if this just happened during the destruction of the first temple or if it also occurred during the destruction of the second as well. It seems likely to me that Rabbi Jonathan may have believed the Glory of the Lord departed and settled atop the Mt. of Olives just prior to the destruction of both temples but he does not appear to be relaying an eyewitness account of this having occurred at the start of Israel’s first century war with Rome. Though it should be noted that if Ernest L. Martin is correct and the Glory Cloud did, in fact, depart from the Temple in A.D. 66 and settle atop the Mt. of Olives for three and a half years, then this event would have fulfilled several end time prophecies in a surprisingly literal way. Below is a list and explanation of the various end time prophecies that would have been literally fulfilled.
The presence of God called the Shekinah or Glory Cloud was believed to be always present in the Most Holy Place of the Temple above the Ark of the Covenant. During the sixth century B.C., before the destruction of Solomon’s temple, Ezekiel saw the Glory Cloud depart from the Temple and travel east to the Mount of Olives according to Ezekiel 10:18-19; 11:22-23. As stated above, Martin claims that the departure of the Shekinah in A.D. 66 also alluded to by Tacitus and Josephus is also mentioned in the Midrash. See the commentary on Revelation 14. In the Midrash Rabbah, a Jewish rabbi named Jonathan, who according to Martin was an eyewitness to the destruction of Jerusalem, said that the “Shekinah” or Glory of the Lord departed from the Temple presumably in A.D. 66 and for three and a half years stood on the Mt. of Olives:
Three and a half years the Shechinah abode on the Mount of Olives hoping that Israel would repent, but they did not; while a Bath Kol [the voice of God] issued announcing, ‘Return, O backsliding children [Jer. 3:14]. Return unto Me, and I will return unto you [Mal. 3:7],’ When they did not repent, it said, ‘I will return to my place [Hosea 5:15]’ (Midrash Rabbah Lamentations Proems 25. Ernest l. Martin also states that the church historian Eusebius may have also mentioned the fact that the Shekinah or Glory Cloud left the Temple and settled on the Mt. of Olives in Proof of the Gospel: “Believers in Christ congregate from all parts of the world, not as of old time because of the glory of Jerusalem, nor that they may worship in the ancient Temple at Jerusalem, but . . . that they may worship at the Mount of Olives opposite to the city, whither the glory of the LORD [the Shekinah] migrated when it left the former city.” (Eusebius Proof of the Gospel 6.18.) Though Eusebius seems to echo the Midrash, these words taken in context appear to convey a different message. Eusebius means that the Shekinah left the Temple and settled on the church who he believes is represented by the Mt. of Olives, not that the Shekinah literally settled on the Mt. of Olives in A.D. 66 as Martin claims.)
As stated above, when reading this statement in its immediate context it is unclear whether Jonathan is just discussing the departure of the Glory Cloud seen by Ezekiel just prior to the destruction of the first Temple or if he means that this also occurred prior to the destruction of the second temple in A.D. 70. If in this account Jonathan did intend to relay the departure of the Glory Cloud from the Temple in A.D. 66, then this event would have literally fulfilled several end time prophecies assuming, of course, that this event did, in fact, occur.
If the Glory Cloud did, in fact, sit atop the Mt. of Olives for three and a half years then this event would have fulfilled many of the prophecies concerning the second coming. Whenever God appeared to people in Biblical history, His likeness was often masked by the smoke and cloud of the Glory Cloud. This fact is illustrated in Exodus 3:2, Exodus 13:21, Exodus 19:16-19, Deuteronomy 4:11-14, 2 Samuel 22:8-15, 1 Kings 19:11-13, Psalm 18:6-16, Psalm 50:3, Psalm 97:1-5 and Psalm 144:5, Isaiah 66:15-16 and Ezekiel 1. When Jesus promised to return during His second coming, He often said that He would come on the clouds of heaven. The expression “coming on the clouds of heaven” is an explicit allusion to His coming amidst the Glory Cloud. Thus the second coming of Christ would be expected to mirror the coming of the Lord as it is described so often in the Old Testament–in the presence of the Glory Cloud. According to Deuteronomy 33:2 and Ezekiel 1 when God was in the midst of the Glory Cloud He was typically accompanied by angelic beings. Interestingly, Jesus was also expected to return in the presence of the angelic host according to Matthew 16:27, Mark 8:38 and Jude 14-15. Thus if the Glory Cloud did, in fact, settle of the Mt. of Olives during the Jewish War, then this quintessential sign of the physical presence of God would be expected to have fulfilled prophecies concerning the second coming.
Zechariah 14:3-4 reads, “Then the Lord [Jesus Christ] will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his [the Divine Christ’s] feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem[.]” If the Glory Cloud settled atop the Mt. of Olives in A.D. 66 after having left the Temple then this supernatural event would have literally fulfilled Zechariah 14:3-4. It appears that Christ would have quite literally stood on the Mt. of Olives when the Glory Cloud marking His divine presence on the clouds of heaven departed from the Holy of Holies and settled on this mountain for three and a half years beginning on Pentecost of A.D. 66 until it rose up to heaven just before Titus and his army arrived at Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Compelling evidence that Jesus Christ already stood on the Mt. of Olives in the midst of the Glory Cloud in fulfillment of Zechariah 14:4 is found in the fact that the Mt. of Olives is, in fact, split in two today.
If Rabbi Jonathan’s testimony concerning the presence of the Glory Cloud on the Mt. of Olives transpired during the Jewish War, then this event would have also literally fulfilled much of Revelation 14. In Revelation 14:6-11 three angels issue warnings to Babylon, which is Jerusalem, to repent. Similar warnings were reportedly heard from heaven in A.D. 66 at the start of the Jewish revolt according to Rabbi Jonathan’s testimony in the Midrash: “[A] Bet Kol [a supernatural voice from heaven] issued forth announcing, ‘Return, O backsliding children [Jer. 3:14]. Return unto Me, and I will return unto you [Mal. 3:7],’ when they did not repent, it said, ‘I will return to my place [Hosea 5:15]’” (Midrash Rabbah Lamentations Proems 25 cited in Ernest L. Martin, Secrets of Golgotha: The Forgotten History of Christ’s Crucifixion (Alhambra, CA: ASK Publications, 1988), 84)
It should also be noted that during the four years before the war began, Josephus says that Jesus the son of Ananus was never seen by anyone though his voice was often heard wailing, “Woe, woe to Jerusalem!” This disembodied voice may have been a second witness contributing to the warnings in Revelation 14:6-11. (As stated in Revelation 11: A Preterist Commentary–Who are the Two Witnesses?, Jesus the son of Ananus may be Jesus Christ. As both king and high priest, Jesus is the two witnesses of Revelation 11. Perhaps the sword-shaped star and the comet that circled Jerusalem for a year before the start of the Jewish War are angelic manifestations issuing warnings to Jerusalem through the disembodied voice of Jesus Christ as Jesus the son of Ananus? After all Jesus Christ is the divine son of God and angels are messengers of God; and in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Jesus is said to have the voice of an angel. Though perhaps it could also be stated that the angelic voices emitted from the Glory Cloud alighted on the Mt. of Olives could have acted as a second witness to Jesus the son of Ananus?)
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