Testimonies of Christ’s Appearance 
in the Clouds
in AD 66
By Bill Weather - Main Page - prophecybase

    Only partially fulfilling Matthew 24, as just a sign in AD 66, we have these testimonies at the start of Israel’s worse war with Rome. We Historicists believe this is not the resurrection, as the Preterists say, but these testimonies are just a sign to the believers to flee Jerusalem, before it’s destruction.

    On the twenty-first day of the month of Artemisius [Jyar], a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. 

Josephus The Wars of the Jews 6.5.3.

     A certain figure appeared of tremendous size, which many saw,... and before the setting of the sun there were suddenly seen in the clouds chariots in the clouds and armed battle arrays by which the cities of all Judea and its territories were invaded.

Pseudo-Hegesippus 44.

     Moreover, in those days were seen chariots of fire and horsemen, a great force flying across the sky near to the ground coming against Jerusalem and all the land of Judah, all of them horses of fire and riders of fire. 

 Sepher Yosippon - A Medieval History of Ancient Israel

   A historical witness of lightning accompanying the 66AD Jewish revolt is recorded by the 1st century Roman Historian Tacitus...

     In the sky appeared a vision of armies in conflict, of glittering armor. A sudden lightening flash from the clouds lit up the Temple. The doors of the holy place abruptly opened, a superhuman voice was heard to declare that the gods were leaving it, and in the same instant came the rushing tumult of their departure. 

Tacitus The Histories 5.13.

   These historical records of AD 66 bare witness to Jesus words in Matthew 24, that they would see the sign of the Son of Man coming in power and great glory. Considering Matthew 24's entirety, the language used indicates this to an intermingling of both eras, AD 66 and these end times. A presumptuous and dogmatic interpretation has plagued Christendom.

    To consider Matthew 24 as only his coming in AD 66 by the Preterists is a mistake. To consider Matthew 24 as only his coming at the Resurrection/Rapture by the Futurists here, is also a mistake. The language of Matthew 24, with it's parallel chapters of Mark 13 and Luke 21, considered as a whole, have I believe, an intermingling of both AD 66 and the time of the Resurrection/Rapture at the end.

V31 - And he shall send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, to gather his elect

    Verse 31 translated angel, is sometimes translated messenger. This is the argument of Preterists and some Historicists for support of their view of only one appearance of Christ applied here, the AD 66 appearance, the argument being that he would send forth his messengers to gather his elect outside of Jerusalem when they fled to the mountains of Pella to escape the Jerusalem destruction and troubles throughout Judea. However, the language used, a great sound of a trumpet appears to describe the time of the Resurrection, the last trump, but could it mean both the gathering at Pella and at the end? This appears to be so intermingled, that it's addressing both their time and our time.

    If this were a Preterist Resurrection, there would be no one left to spread the gospel. Do you know how much work Jesus did to get the gospel going? Why would he take all the believers off the planet then. That makes absolutely no sense.

    Preterists argue Matthew 24:3 is a mistranslation in some versions of the Bible. ...

Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

    They argue that it should have been translated end of the age, not end of the world. Many versions already translate it as end of the age. It was the end of that age, not of our age? I'll lean with the Preterists and some Historicists here because it appears the first portions of Matthew 24 mostly describe the AD 66-70 events, while the later portions describe judgment still to come.

And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

    This is in reference to the temple in AD 70 and the end of that age. His coming here is a coming in judgment of Jerusalem, as shown by the visions of war in the skies in AD 66.

    A huge factor to Matthew 24 is found in verse 34, which testifies against Matthew 24 being just for the end times. Listen to the words of Jesus…

V34 - Verily I say to you, THIS GENERATION shall not pass, till ALL these things be fulfilled.

    This is verified in Mark 13:30 and Luke 21:32 as well. To the insult of common sense, Futurists claim this generation could mean in 2000 years. In all honesty, that is an intellectual stretch. This portion agrees with the Preterists and Historicists fare more than the Futurists.

V16 - Then let them which be in Judea flee into the Mountains.

V20 - Pray that your flight be not in winter or on the sabbath day.

    Matching AD 66-70 historical context, Jesus here says to pray their flight would not be on the sabbath day because the Jews locked the gates of the city on sabbaths, so there would be no escape if attacked on the Sabbath. No such of a situation exists today, again proving this portion is not about our end times, but about the end of their era.

    The Abomination of Desolation in verse 15 was fulfilled in AD 66-70. Luke calls it, the armies that bring desolation (Luke 21:20). The Roman armies in AD 66 built ramps up the walls of Jerusalem, then for no apparent reason, left. Christians took this opportunity to leave the city and flee to the mountains of Pella. Then the Roman armies returned and surrounded the city, which lead to Jews being entrapped and dying of famine, pestilence, infighting and suicide.

V22 - Except those days be shortened, no flesh should be saved, but for the elect's sake, those days shall be shortened.

    This is all well recorded in the works of Josephus, the great Jewish historian. This fulfilled Matthew 24:21, 22, that there would be no greater time of tribulation for Jerusalem, proving a point, that a future fulfillment here could not be possible. The entire destruction and annihilation of almost everyone in the city is a complete destruction, making it an impossibility to be a worse time in the future. You can't get a worse destruction than a complete destruction.

Luke 21:20 - And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that desolation thereof is nigh.

    Here we see more clearly. The Abomination of Desolation is not an idol in a temple, as the Futurists say, for what desolation can a mere idol bring? And Futurist, how could a mere idol in a temple bring warning when very few would even see such an act? It takes an army to bring desolation. I also explain the Daniel 12 reference to the abomination of desolation being historically fulfilled at this same AD 66-70 time, at prophecybase.com and how it is not for these end times. To expand the subject matter beyond "this generation" for those portions of those chapters is not sound hermeneutics in any way.

    At the same time, it is not sound hermeneutics to claim it is only for the AD 66-70 time. Have we seen all the tribes of the earth mourn in verse 30? There is no historical record of such a mourning. The God painted motion pictures of war in the sky in AD 66 have not a testimony that all the tribes of the earth mourned at that time. The testimonies we do have are like people standing around observing with wonder, those angelic visions, maybe more of an awe, not a mourning. With Christ coming soon, when all the earth sees him now, they will know who he is and what they missed. They will weep and wail and mourn for missing the Resurrection/Rapture because it's now well known, whereas in the past, the message of the Resurrection/Rapture was not as well known. This supports the majority of the Historicists and Futurists view for the Resurrection to come.

    Since this portion is in the later part of Matthew 24, I would argue that this is where the intermingling has it's main conjunction between both AD 66 and the Resurrection/Rapture to come. The language used in Luke 21 confirms this in an even stronger way.

    Almost all of Christendom has never heard of these ancient testimonies of Christ coming in the clouds in AD 66 as a sign. This is one of the reasons the Futurists are confusing the issue. Now that we know these testimonies do exist, we can get past the contradictory arguments of the Preterists and Futurists and move on to believe that these chapters are an intermingling of AD 66 and the Resurrection still to come.

    However, verse 14 appears to more support an end time application...

...and this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then the end shall come.

    The Preterists argue that Hebrews often used hyperboles in their language. It's a term used implicating more than what is actually there. Paul used a hyperbole in Colossians 1:23 which appears to match verse 14 being fulfilled in his day.

for the hope of the gospel which ye heard, which was preached in all creation under heaven; whereof I Paul was made a minister of.

    We know from Christ's Resurrection into AD 70, the gospel was preached all throughout the Roman Empire and into Asia and Africa some, but is Matthew 24:14 an intermingling? Is it a Futurist literalist view or a Preterist/some Historicists view of the gospel preached in just all the known world? Several scriptures do lend some support to the Preterist and some Historicist view here.

Colossians 1:5,6... the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing…

Romans 10:16-18... But they have not obeyed the gospel.... but I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for their voice has gone out to all the earth and their words to the ends of the world.

Romans 16:25-26... according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ... and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations...

    The Hebrew use of hyperboles can sometimes lend a confusion to this intermingling. Theologians should be more honest to admit that Matthew 24 and its parallel chapters of Mark 13 and Luke 21 are not so cut and dry.

    Just two verses later from "this generation" in Matthew 24:34, we read in verse 36...

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

    Is this referring to the AD 66 appearance or the Resurrection at the end of this era, or both? I would argue more in favor of it's application to only the AD 66 time because of the great precision of how the first four feast days were fulfilled. So why would we not believe that God would also be precise with the last three feasts, trumpets, atonement and tabernacles?

    No one was to know the day or hour of that AD 66 judgment. In order to know the time, they had to watch for the sign of the Son of man coming in the clouds and the sign of the Abomination of Desolation, the Roman armies encompassing Jerusalem, to know about when he would come to judge Jerusalem.

    Now that this is more thoroughly explained, all the more, we can believe Christ would be coming on the Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Teruah, in 2028, since this no man knows the day or hour scripture, is in contradiction to God's precise timing of the first four feasts, which sets a historical precedent, that he will also be precise with the last three feasts.

    There are other scriptures that suggest we can't know the day or hour of his coming, but was spoken almost 2000 years ago. That was true, WHEN THAT WAS SPOKEN, but now that we are at the time of the end when the promise is given that more would be revealed, there is no longer a need to make such a claim, given the incredible evidence herein.

    The ideas in this chapter fly in the face of so much deeply rooted modern day misinterpretation and misunderstandings, but the evidence presented needs no further verification. The weight of the counter rebuttal now rests on the detractors, but they won't even try to rebuttal this. They will play the game of ignoring these points made and continue to declare their pre tribulation rapture, even in the face of WW3/Revelation 18 at the door.