Dates Around 70 AD -- Jerusalem Falls

The fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD was predicted in various places in the Bible. Jesus used the Sign of Jonah to warn the people around him, linking that sign to the visit of the Queen of Sheba. Gabriel suggested the destruction as measured from his visit to Mary at Jesus’ conception. Finally Matthew provides a chronology in his introduction. In this article we look at each of these and how they triangulate.

Jerusalem Invasion History

In July of 70 AD the Roman Army, led by Titus, attacked and overran the city of Jerusalem.

History records that Titus did not intend to destroy the temple, who’s porticos had only been completed in 64 AD. God, though, had different plans and the temple was set ablaze. In fulfillment of Jesus’ Olivet Discourse prophesies not one stone was left atop another as the Roman army scavenged the site for the Gold that melted out of the fire.

By 72 AD the Roman army had marched south to the desert hill top fortress of Masada. After building an earthen ramp to the top, the Romans conquered the last remaining Jewish hold out in the ancient lands.

Our focus here is to look at the various chronological prophesies that exist in scripture to point out the dates surrounding this military campaign.

When Did Jerusalem Fall?

Since this entire era is now past for us we can use the exact dates around the fall of Jerusalem to work back and see what stories were prophetic regarding its fall. The first thing we need to do is find out when it fell, exactly.

This campaign is considered one of the most accurately dated in the ancient Roman world. We can take the historical record of July in 70 AD with some certainty, though there had been several years of war leading up to this point.

Since we have cross calendar tools for looking at such dates we can start our investigation by looking up the date of the fall of ancient Jerusalem in 70 AD. The goal here is to learn the dates of the fall on the Bible's calendar. The following is the report.

Fall of Jerusalem, July of 70 AD
History records July
Sun11059-01-14 AA29 Jun 70 NS1 Jul 823 AUC4033964 AAN
1559-01-14 FE1 Jul 70 OS1 Jul 70 AD1746807 JDN
Which runs through:
Tue11059-02-14 AA29 Jul 70 NS31 Jul 823 AUC4033994 AAN
1559-02-14 FE31 Jul 70 OS31 Jul 70 AD1746837 JDN

The interesting information from this report is that the month of July, a 31 day long month, began on 11059-01-14 AA and ended on 11059-02-14 AA. These two dates are given in the Mosaic Law as the primary and alternate dates for celebrating Passover. Recall also that at the first Passover that the first born of Pharaoh were killed.

This report also gives us the year on the Bible Calendar when this happened, early in 11059 AA. Any year based predictions most likely point at this year.

In 70 AD the Roman armies are reported to have killed off those who remained in the city out of fear of the Roman armies. Josephus estimated over 1,000,000 people were killed by the Roman armies.

Few if any Christians remained in the city as they had recalled the warning of Jesus about fleeing to the hills when armies surrounded Jerusalem. His warning, given as part of the Olivet Discourse did not include a time. There was a time, though, when Jesus did give the time. We look at Jesus’ warning about the timing next.

The Sign of Jonah

Jesus was asked to give a miraculous sign to prove who he was. Of course he had given many, having announced a year of this sort of power ministry. The Gospels record many such miracles and signs that supported his identity. When it came to a formal request, though, he would not give one. Instead he said that only one such sign would be given, the sign of Jonah. The following is the relevant text.

38Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 39But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. 42The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. Matthew 12:38-42 KJV

38Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you."

39He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here. 42The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here. Matthew 12:38-42 NIV

This sign actually continues with more but for our purposes here we are only focusing on Jerusalem and this is the relevant passage for the city alone.

In this passage Jesus says that the only sign will be his own burial and resurrection at the end of 3 days, just like Jonah was in the belly of a fish for the same amount of time.

This, of course, happened. The rest of the passage gives us the specific clues that change Jonah’s story reference of 40 days into a 40 year long prophecy. The specific clues are three direct references to generation.

Jesus is likening his listeners to the most famous 40 year long generation, the wicked generation in the wilderness of Sinai. That generation took 40 years to die off. By referencing them like he does here Jesus indicates that this is to be another 40 year time before this "generation" is wiped out as well. He is not implying a simple 40 days.

Unlike the Sinai generation that died off slowly, this Sign of Jonah implies a disaster of the same form that awaited Nineveh if they had not repented. As with any national prophecy of destruction this one points at a military catastrophe where the nation will fall like Nineveh could have.

Start Point

So, what is the start point for the 40 years in Jesus’ warning? His crucifixion was 11019-10-09 AA and the city fell 11059-01-14 AA or so. The difference in years is just under 40. If we make it a complete 40 years the start point appears early in the year of his public ministry.

Does this agree with the pattern of Jonah? Jonah was told to walk the city, warning it that in 40 days the city would fall. Instead the king and all the others in the city repented at this warning, earning themselves accolades from heaven and a promise that they would condemn the generation living at Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ visit.

If Jonah’s statement of 40 days was the statement he made on his first day into the city of Nineveh, it would agree with the years we have laid out here. The year of Jesus’ public ministry is the first year in a 40 year count down. That count down ends earlier, near the time of Passover in the year 70 AD, as Jesus’ own ministry started in 30 AD near Passover.

The sign of Jonah works perfectly to describe the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Jesus also gave another sign, the Sign of the Queen of Sheba, one that also implied a date. We look at that next.

Queen of the South

In the passage were Jesus said that the sign of Jonah would be the only sign given to the generation of his day, Jesus followed up with another sign. This sign involved the Queen of the South, also known as the Queen of Sheba.

This Queen had come to hear Solomon’s wisdom and as part of that entire visit appears to have helped institute delivery of Gold from Ophir to Solomon. 666[1] [2] talents of Gold were delivered each year to Solomon through his fleet of sailing ships.

By bringing in the Queen of Sheba’s journey to visit Solomon, Jesus is also bringing in the idea of a long journey to the capital city as a prophecy regarding the time when this fulfills.

By the time this does fulfill the primary city in the world is not Jerusalem, as it was in Solomon’s day, but Rome, far across the sea from Jerusalem. Instead of a prophecy regarding a journey to Jerusalem, this is a prophecy regarding a journey to Rome, replacement for Jerusalem throughout most of the age.

Working the Math Behind 666 Years

King Nebuchadnezzar made Jehoiakim his vassal starting at 10391-01-14 AA. This was done because of the nation’s disobedience to God and his covenant with them. 666 years later, or 11057-01-14 AA, this application of 666 years is up. This hits the summer of 68 AD, the year emperor Nero died.

Titus who would later become Emperor himself had to pull out of Palestine in order to return to Rome to deal with the political situation and the lack of a ruler. Like the Queen of Sheba he was going on a long journey to another Jerusalem.

When Titus returned to rejoin the attack on Jerusalem two years later he would cause most of the surviving residents of the area to be sold into the Roman slave markets, the Gold, if you will, would be taken to Rome too.

Nero’s death, 666 years after Nebuchadnezzar made Jerusalem a vassal state also coincides with an ancient belief about the meaning of the number 666 given in Revelation. We look at that now.

Nero and 666

We have already shown the chronological importance of Emperor Nero’s death in 68 AD. This death fell 666 years after Nebuchadnezzar made Jerusalem a vassal state. Nero, though, has long been known to also represent the "mark of the beast" as found in Revelation. This long standing interpretation involves the numeric value of his name.

Before the introduction of specific digits for writing numbers, most languages including Greek and Hebrew used numeric values assigned to the standard letters in their various alphabets. Because of this assignment every word written in Hebrew had an equivalent numeric value. The numeric value for Nero is relevant to our story here because the value for the letters in his name totals 666, the same as the number of years from Nebuchadnezzar’s rule over Jerusalem.

The following table shows his name in Hebrew as well as the numeric values for each letter.

Numeric value of Nero’s Name.[3]
N 50
r 200
w 6
n 50
Q 100
s 60
r 200
Total: 666

There are many people who have looked for the numeric values of certain names to align with the value of 666. This particular candidate has the feature that his death aligns with a chronological interval of 666 years from the date when a similar beast did similar things as recorded in the Old Testament.

Jesus was likening the visit of the Queen of Sheba to the events 40 years future from his public ministry. She was a world traveler, and the people taken prisoner at Nebuchadnezzar’s time and at the period 68 AD through 72 AD were also world travelers.

Jesus’ life, if he had been a king like David, pointed at this same period. We look at that next.

King’s Life

The angel Gabriel who had prophetically foretold his own visit to Zechariah and Mary was into the number "70". This number is the length of a generation and is also the natural length of a king’s life.

If Jesus had been a simple earthly king like those who were expecting him thought they would get he would have been expected to live 70 years. One of Gabriel’s 70’s.

The following report shows Jesus’ birthday.

Jesus’ Birthday
Fri10989-08-29 AA16 Feb 1 NS17 Feb 754 AUC4008629 AAN
1489-08-29 FE18 Feb 0 OS17 Feb 1 AD1721472 JDN

70 years forward from this date lands at the same place as the recorded destruction of Jerusalem in July of 70 AD. The following gives some precision to this idea.

But note, there are 2 ways to compute an interval of 70 years. This can be the same calendar date, 70 years later. Or, it can be by contract counting each individual years.

Jesus’ Birthday + 70 years
70 years By Calendar Date
Mon11059-08-29 AA9 Feb 71 NS11 Feb 824 AUC4034189 AAN
1559-08-29 FE11 Feb 70 OS11 Feb 71 AD1747032 JDN
70 years = 25530 Days By Contract Counting
Sat11059-07-29 AA10 Jan 71 NS12 Jan 824 AUC4034159 AAN
1559-07-29 FE12 Jan 70 OS12 Jan 71 AD1747002 JDN

As Measured by Gabriel’s Visit to Mary

Since the object of this story is Gabriel, and since Gabriel foretold the destruction of the city we can run the same numbers using Gabriel’s visit to Mary as the starting point instead. The following shows the date of Gabriel’s visit to Mary:

Gabriel’s Visit to Mary
Jesus’ Birthday
Fri10989-08-29 AA16 Feb 1 NS17 Feb 754 AUC4008629 AAN
1489-08-29 FE18 Feb 0 OS17 Feb 1 AD1721472 JDN
Gabriel’s Visit, 40 weeks earlier
Fri10988-11-19 AA12 May 0 NS13 May 753 AUC4008349 AAN
1488-11-19 FE14 May 0 OS13 May 1 BC1721192 JDN

Using the same math as before, running forward 70 years we can see when Gabriel’s 70 times destruction falls on the calendar.

Gabriel’s visit to Mary + 70 Biblical Years
If 70 years on the calendar are used
Mon11058-11-19 AA5 May 70 NS7 May 823 AUC4033909 AAN
1558-11-19 FE7 May 70 OS7 May 70 AD1746752 JDN
If days(70 years) = 25530 days are used
Sat11058-10-19 AA5 Apr 70 NS7 Apr 823 AUC4033879 AAN
1558-10-19 FE7 Apr 70 OS7 Apr 70 AD1746722 JDN

A predicted fall of the city of Jerusalem in May of 70 AD is very close to the recorded fall of the city in July. The Roman armies working this project actually took many months to finish their work so this is a direct hit on the fulfillment.[4]

Measured from David

The first chapter of Matthew provides a condensed Genealogy from Abraham to David, from David to the Exile to Babylon and from that to the Christ. This genealogy has a chronological component that we look at here.

From a head-count birth order perspective the story appears to be point us at the sequence of births from Abraham through David and onto Jesus. This form of genealogy, as all other genealogies, provides us with men in the list, but not all men in the list.

To see this discrepancy consider the following table. The left column contains the men who ruled the Southern Kingdom as recorded in Kings and Chronicles. The right column contains Matthew’s rendition of the same list.

Kings’ Chronology Matthew’s Chronology
David - 1 1 - David
Solomon - 2 2 - Solomon
Rehoboam - 3 3 - Rehoboam
Abijah - 4 4 - Abijah
Asa - 5 5 - Asa
Jehoshephat - 6 6 - Jehoshephat
Jehoram - 7 7 - Jehoram
Ahaziah - 8 ** No Entry **
Joash - 9 ** No Entry **
Amaziah - 10 ** No Entry **
Uzziah/Azariah - 11 8 - Uzziah
Jotham - 12 9 - Jotham
Ahaz - 13 10 - Ahaz
Hezekiah - 14 11 - Hezekiah
Manasseh - 15 12 - Manasseh
Amon - 16 13 - Amon
Josiah - 17 14 - Josiah
Various - 18 15 - Jeconiah and brothers

We must presume that Matthew knew what he was doing when he deliberately left three names out of this list. There having been at least 3 more generations in the list than that recorded in Matthew. In addition we’ve left out Queen Athaliah, which makes the list even longer on the left.

What was Matthew trying to tell us?

This genealogy adds something that is new, something we cannot glean from reading the genealogies themselves. That 14 generations make up these times. He asserts this by selecting 14 names from the list at each period, and then reinforces that selection by telling us specifically that 14 generations make up each of three periods. By realizing that he is butchering the actual history we come to understand that this is not history, but something else. What?

What is so special about these periods that he needs to tell us this new thing. What is so special about these three periods and their 14 generations?

The Chronological Key

The solution to this problem comes from our understanding of the time the Bible assigns to a generation. 70[5], 80[6] and 120[7] years are the three time spans given for how long a generation will live. 70 and 80 are the current numbers, in use even today, the 120 year number does appear to be an upper bound that most humans cannot pass, but it was given at Noah’s time and appears deprecated.

Before continuing I need to state that often people include 40 years in such a list. 40 years is the amount of time God takes to kill off a generation that has already reached adult age but it is never given as the total length of life of a generation.

By inspection we need to take the possible number of years in a generation and see which length maps to the time from Abraham to David. This will give us our first chronological clue.

In the first case the time from Abraham to David, we find that a generation of 70 years, run out 14 times exactly fits the period from Abraham’s call to Canaan until David becomes king in Hebron. Here is the math:

70 years/generation * 14 generations = 980 years.
Abraham’s last year is 8959 AA.
The first year in this gap is 8960 AA.
The last year in this gap is 9860 AA + 980 - 1 = 9939 AA.
The first year of David’s reign is 9940 AA.

From looking at this list it should be clear this works perfectly. We should expect the same for the other intervals on this list.

The problem many quickly hit when they do this is trying to find a length of a generation that fits from David to the first Babylonian exile in 10409 AA. The difference in years between 9940 AA and 10409 AA is 470 years. This, divided by 14 is a little over 33.5 years. Not a length assigned anywhere in the Bible to the length of a generation. Other lengths don’t work either. Say we start at David’s death? 9980 AA through 10409 AA is 430 years. 430 divided by 14 is about 30.7 years. If we back up even further, and use the last year before Nebuchadnezzar makes a son of David into a vassal? 9980 AA through 10390 AA is 410 years. 410 years divided by 14 is 29.3 years. The answer focusing on about 30 years, but nowhere do we have scripture in support of a 30 year long generation. Generations live longer, and when we did Abraham to David we did it end-to-end.

What is overlooked in this analysis is that Babylon has moved and there is a later fulfillment. The following is the math:

80 years/generation * 14 generations = 1120 years.
David’s first year is 9940 AA, also the first year of this period
    (this running end-to-end from the first set of 14 generations).
9940 AA + 1120 - 1 = 11059 AA the last year of this period.

This year, 11059 AA, begins late June in 70 AD, almost exactly at the start of the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. It ends a year later as the Roman army was advancing towards Masada.

Matthew is telling us that the Exile to Rome is the same as the exile to Babylon so many years before. Matthew is giving us a picture for understanding the two events and he is giving us the chronology for these two events.

The exile to Rome in 70 AD is an exile to Babylon and Babylon has moved.

Babylon will move again before the end of the age, but in 70 AD Rome was Babylon.

1. S. Chronicles 9:13
2. F. Kings 10:14
3. The Last Days According to Jesus
4. Daniel 9:26
5. Psalms 90:10
6. Psalms 90:10
7. Genesis 6:3