Saturday, January 24, 2009

Julian the Apostate and the Jerusalem Temple

Julian the Apostate is a curious figure in Christian history. Raised as a Christian, he was a self-proclaimed Apostate later in life. He took a bath in bull's blood (the taurobolium) in order to wipe out his Christian baptism as a child. Julian is intriguing because of how much he knew about Christian beliefs (vs. the earlier pagan writers). Warren Carroll, in his second volume of his History of Christendom series (titled: Building of Christendom), discusses Julian's plans to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.

"He, Julian the Apostate, unchallenged autocrat of the Western world, would rebuild the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, overriding and cancelling out Christ's prophecy of its destruction which had been so memorably fulfilled." (Pg 52)

He then cites a Roman historian who was a contemporary of Julian (he served on the Persian frontier with Julian in 363 - ibid), Ammianus Marcellinus:

"Though Alypius (JM: The man in charge of the operation under Julian) pushed the work forward energetically and though he was assisted by the governor of the province, frightful balls of fire kept bursting forth near the foundations of the temple and made it impossible for the workmen to approach the place, and some were even burned to death. And since the elements persistently drove them back, Julian gave up the attempt"


Anonymous said...

If I recall my history a temple to Jupiter was later built on the site as well as one to Emperor Hadrian with apparently no "angelic" hinderance. By the way something similar may have happened in Constantinople...

Interesting, the events (and fullfilled prophecy of Jesus) that preceeded Jerusalem's destruction and divine judgment upon that city in "that generation" and at the end of that age. No wonder that while it was standing that it was likened not to a holy city but rather to Sodom and Egypt (marked for destruction from which the righteous should flee).

The early church knew of the immanence of this coming in judgement (Daniel 9/ Matt 24). Even by the admission of Tim LaHaye and other premillenial-dispensationalists the apostles (the writers of Scripture) and the early church were Preterists. What if they were right and that first century generation would not pass away until all of those things (Matt. 24) were fullfilled?

Anonymous said...

MP3 or Streamed

It is the best audio description that I have heard on the matter