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Church History Forum: Jesus and brother James

by Catherine Frakas 28 Oct 2001

Jesus and brother James QUESTION from Kelly on August 9, 2002 If Jesus was of supreme importance among his people, why did his murder pass without public comment or civil commotion? Why did the killing of his brother, James th Just provoke the complex chain of events that resulted in the destruction of the Temple and dispersion of the Jews?
ANSWER by Q & A Staff on August 24, 2002 Dear Kelly,
James the Just was not a biological brother of Jesus, as Jesus did not have any brothers (or sisters).
There was not much civil commotion among the followers of Jesus after His death because they were all afraid. However, when the Holy Spirit came, the Christians became much more public, see the Book of Acts.
The murder of Jesus went unnoticed by the Roman authorities because the Romans viewed Christians as a Jewish sect, and the crucifixion was to them merely an internal Jewish matter. As the number of Christians grew, it still did not matter to the Roman authorities, they were mostly from the lower classes of socity anyway and did arouse much concern.
I am not sure what you mean that the murder of James the Just had some sort of direct bearing on the destruction of Jerusalem. The Destruction of Jerusalem, 8 years after James’ death, was caused directly by the Zealot rebellion under John of Gischala.
It was only in 64 AD that the Roman persecutions of the Christians (under Nero) started. James the Just had died in 62 AD, murdered by Ananas son of Annas . In 64 AD there were the fires of Rome which destroyed a large part of the city. Nero decided to blame the Christians. The persecutions subsequently moved from Rome out to the provinces.
The direct cause of the destruction of Jerusalem was the rebellion of the Zealots, as I have mentioned earlier. During the Judean procuratorship of Albinus and Florus in 62 AD, a Zealot rebellion in Jerusalem was confronted by the Roman Legate in Syria’s 12th Legion. The Romans lost, and badly, losing 5000 soldiers and their standard.
Nero, mad as he was, could not do too much about it himself. But his general, Vespasian, could. Vespasian was called in to sort out the matter in 67 AD. In the winter of 68 AD, the Zealots under the leadership of John of Gischala and and Idumean contingent under the priest Eleazar slaughtered 8,500 Romans in Jerusalem. Note the date, 68 AD: The Christians who were in Jerusalem at this time sensed there was going to be big trouble when the big boys came, and fled to Pella, a region beyond the River Jordan.
It was only a matter of time before the Zealots would be punished by Rome.
Vespasian keeps going. 69 AD was to be known as the year of the Four Emperors (Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian) . In July of that year Vespasian is proclaimed emperor of Rome by his troops. Vespasian’s son was Titus, who was the general in charge of the fateful assault on Jerusalem in August, 70 AD.
In Jerusalem Simon bar Giova tried to stop the Zealots. The Zealots now start to fall apart, with a group under John of Gischala in control of the Temple area, but a group under the priest Eleazar in charge of the Sanctuary. So in summary, between Simon bar Giova, Eleazar, and John of Gischala, there was a three-way conflict in Jesusalem.
Titus arrived in the summer of 70AD and built a bank all around the city. Dr. Warren Carroll, on page 454 of his “History of Christendom, Vol. I†reports that Titus offered the Zealots generous terms if they surrendered , but they did not, and many Jews starved to death inside the city before Titus led the attack into the city, killing the inhabitants and destroying the Temple with its Holy of Holies.
Thanks, Kelly,
God bless, .
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