As our Bordeaux traveler enters the Upper City through the Sion Gate he starts north toward the Damascus Gate and records a remarkable observation: “From thence as you go out of the wall of Sion, as you walk north towards the gate of Neapolis, towards the right, below in the valley, are walls, where was the house or praetorium of Pontius Pilate”. This walled platform on Mount Moriah is a huge edifice of over 10,000 stones. This site is currently and has for almost 2000 years been the center of intense conflict and the focal point of religious passion in the birthplace of the Abrahamic religions. We need now to question whether the Jewish Temples were ever on this Moriah Platform. We need to realize that the struggle is not over the site of the Jewish Temple, but over a Roman Fort.
And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:41-44
And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
In A.D. 70, Jesus’ words were literally and precisely fulfilled when God brought to Jerusalem the Roman army under Titus Vespasian to destroy the city and the entire temple complex.
The day of their victory dawned, and they marched from the prison to the amphitheatre joyfully as though they were going to heaven, with calm faces, trembling, if at all, with joy rather than fear. Perpetua went along with shining countenance and calm step, as the beloved of God, as a wife of Christ, putting down everyone’s stare by her own intense gaze. With them also was Felicitas, glad that she had safely given birth so that now she could fight the beasts, going from one blood bath to another, from the midwife to the gladiator, ready to wash after childbirth in a second baptism.
Soldier of Christ, if thou enlisteth, thou wilt have to do hard battle. There is no bed of down for thee; there it no riding to heaven in a chariot; the rough way must be trodden; mountains must be climbed, rivers must be forded, dragons must be fought, giants must be slain, difficulties must be overcome, and great trials must be borne. It is not a smooth road to heaven. Charles Spurgeon
The Didache is, in all probability, the oldest surviving piece of non-canonical literature that we have access to today. It is not so much a letter as a handbook for new Christian converts, consisting of instructions derived directly from the teachings of Jesus.
As we read through Ephesians, Colossians, and 1 and 2 Timothy, we see that these churches were spiritually healthy as Paul last ministered in this region. But by the time Revelation was written, approximately thirty years later, five of these same churches had suffered serious spiritual decline. Ephesus had left its first love, and most of the rest had been infiltrated by false doctrine and sin. Only two of the seven that Jesus addresses are not condemned by Him in some fashion, Smyrna and Philadelphia, yet today none of the seven currently exist. So, what are we to make of this?