Despair in the First Century
What went wrong? What went right???
Picture yourself around 75 or 80CE. You are a Jewish person standing on the street, observing the remaining ruins of the Temple. You get a tear in your eye. You had such great hopes! Your parents had told you that a fellow named Yeshua had come some 50 years ago, with great promises of regathering the Jewish people and defeating the oppressive power of the Roman armies. He performed miracle to validate his claims. He taught, both implicitly and explicitly, that he was the heir of David, and rightful king of Israel.
He never succeeded in accomplishing the primary mission any claimant to the messianic title should complete. He not only failed in his primary task, but he got himself executed and buried. Oh, to be sure, we got past that fact by focusing on the resurrection. But there was always that little niggling concern in the back of your mind, reminding you now and then that Yeshua never quite did all that the sages of Israel had said he would do.
But your parents were so sure, so confident that Yeshua would return soon, and finish the task of liberating Israel, defeating the Romans, setting Israel at the top of the national food chain, and re-establish the national worship of Hashem at his throne in Jerusalem, just as the prophets had predicted. With such a grand and glorious career all mapped out, who could doubt that the heir of David could accomplish his mission… eventually. Meanwhile, there was always the Temple of Adonai, where followers of Yeshua could gather, pray, and sing songs to the soon-to-be king.
But now? Now, that hope was also destroyed.
The Romans had finally tired of the rebellion that always simmered beneath the surface of Jewish society, and finally erupted in 66CE. As a result, Caesar Vespasian sent General Titus to quell the rebellion. He had besieged Jerusalem, and ultimately demolished the defenses of Israel’s capital city. Titus brought in some 20,000 troops, who destroyed the Temple, the last fortification to stand solitary watch over the onslaught. The one place on the whole planet from which Hashem had assured us he would always hear our prayers—gone.
How do we respond to the questions? How do we answer the challenges presented by those who never believed Yeshua was the Messiah, at all? Had they been right all along?
Stay tuned here at the Mishkan as we start walking through the process of resolving the issues created for the first century Messianics by the fall of the Temple!