Headline: First Jewish-Roman War / Great Jewish Revolt, Flavius Josephus, Year of the Four Emperors, Destruction of the Second Temple, Masada, Vesuvius Eruption, and Chronology of the New Testament Books (66 AD – 79 AD).
Date Range: 66 AD – 79 AD
People: James, Jesus, John the Apostle, John the Baptist, Josephus, Nero, Pontius Pilate, Titus, Vespasian
The First Jewish-Roman War / Great Jewish Revolt began in 66 AD as religious tensions between Greeks and Jews, which escalated to protests and open revolution against Roman taxes. In 68 AD, Roman Senator Gaius Julius Vindex led an open revolt against Emperor Nero (who committed suicide with assistance). Galba was declared emperor by the Roman Senate, but he could not hold onto power. After the death of four emperors within a very short time, Vespasian of the family Flavius rose to power in 69 AD. The Flavian dynasty encompassed Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian, and lasted until 96 AD. It was Titus under the authority of Vespasian that desecrated the Second Temple and destroyed the city of Jerusalem in 70 AD. In 79 AD, Mt Vesuvius, near the city of Naples, erupted and poured ash 21 miles into the air at a rate of about 1.5 million tons per second. The artifacts found at Pompeii and Herculaneum give us a glimpse as to what life was like at this time.
Bible Verses: Daniel 9:25-26, Daniel 11:31, Daniel 12:11, Matthew 17:24-27, Matthew 24, Luke 19:41-44, Luke 21:5-28, Acts 12:1-3, 2 Corinthians 11:32, Revelation 1:9
– Antiquities of the Jews: Book 18 Chapter 3
– Antiquities of the Jews: Book 18 Chapter 5
– Antiquities of the Jews: Book 20 Chapter 9
– Chronology of the New Testament Books
– Destruction of the Second Temple
– Great Jewish Revolt (66 AD – 70 AD)
– Pompeii Artifacts
– Year of the Four Emperors
1. Excluding the books written by John, when were the books of the New Testament written?
2. What was Judea like between 66 AD and 70 AD?
3. Compare the lives of John and Josephus.
4. What was the importance of Mt. Vesuvius?
Two famous Jews lived very different lives during this time period: John the apostle of Jesus and Flavius Josephus the military leader. Josephus was born c. 37 AD into wealth and status. He was the second-born son of Matthias of the Jewish priestly line of Jehoiarib. His mother was from the former ruling Hasmonean dynasty (140 BC – 37 BC). He was a descendent of the High Priest of Israel Jonathan Apphus (161 BC – 143 BC), who was a leader of the Maccabean Revolt (167 BC – 160 BC). The 47-day Siege of Yodfat (Jotapata) led by Roman General Vespasian resulted in the destruction of the town, death of most of its inhabitants, and the enslavement of the rest (including its military commander Josephus) on July 2, 67 AD. Josephus eventually served under Vespasian and Titus. He published The Jewish War c. 78 AD and the Antiquities of the Jews c. 93 AD, which are primary historical records of the 1st Century AD in the region of Judea.
John the Apostle was a first-cousin of Jesus. His father Zebedee was a fisherman, and his mother Salome was the sister of Jesus’ mother Mary. Based on Biblical text and cultural context, we know that John was over 13 years of age when Jesus called him to be a disciple and less than 20 when Jesus paid the temple tax described in Matthew 17:24-27. Church tradition places him as one of the youngest of the disciples. This would place his birth c. 15 AD in Bethsaida on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. He moved to Ephesus some time after Paul established the church there (after 55 AD) and before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. He wrote John, 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John in Ephesus. He wrote Revelation while exiled on Patmos by Emperor Domitian. Thus, he penned 5 of the 27 books of the New Testament between 80 AD and 100 AD. Both Flavius Josephus and John the Apostle died c. 100 AD.
Timeline and Chronology:
100 AD: Death of John the Apostle and Flavius Josephus
96 AD, September 18: Death of Emperor Domitian
94 AD: John the Apostle exiled to Patmos. Revelation written.
c. 93 AD: Antiquities of the Jews published by Josephus
– John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John written in Ephesus by John the Apostle
81 AD, September 13: Death of Emperor Titus
79 AD, August 24: Mount Vesuvius erupted
79 AD, June 23: Death of Emperor Vespasian
c. 78 AD: The Jewish War published by Josephus
73 AD: Capture of Masada from the Sicarii zealots
70 AD, September 8: Destruction of the Second Temple
69 AD, December 20: Death of Emperor Vitellius
69 AD, April 16: Death of Emperor Otho
69 AD, January 15: Death of Emperor Galba
68 AD, June 9: Death of Emperor Nero
67 AD, July 2: Siege of Yodfat (Jotapata) ended, Capture of Josephus
67 AD, May: Vespasian invaded Galilee
66 AD: Beginning of the Great Jewish Revolt / First Jewish-Roman War