“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?…when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be…then those in Judea must flee to the mountains….truly I say to you this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” Mark 13:4; 14; 30
When Jesus talks about the abomination of desolation as being the sign that the temple will be destroyed, he is referencing an event that happens in Daniel’s seventieth ‘seven.’ He says that this would all be fulfilled in the generation He was speaking to. So what happened?
A Jewish rebellion to Rome occurred in 66 AD causing the emperor, Nero, to send his general, Vespasian, to subdue it using whatever means were necessary. Vespasian first went to Galilee where he took some of its cities “by treaties, and on terms.” (Josephus, The Jewish War, Preface 8). Josephus tells us that “Sepphoris, the largest city of Galilee, received Vespasian, the Roman general very kindly, and readily promised that they would assist him.” (III:ix:8)
But most of the Jews dug in their heels, so Vespasian pursued them through war. In 69 AD there were three Roman emperors after Nero’s suicide – Galba, Ortho, and Vitellius who eventually gave way to Vespasian – the fourth emperor in one year. The Jewish war continued with Vespasian’s son, Titus, leading the charge on his behalf. In 70 AD, at the three and a half year point of the war, Titus destroyed and burned the temple so completely that not one stone was left upon another. A Roman ensign with Vespasian’s image on it was set up in the wing of the temple area declaring Caesar to be Divine (the outer wing, not part of the temple itself, was all that was left at the time).
Even though the temple was destroyed and all sacrifices ceased, the war continued for three and a half more years as Titus ran down the Jews to wherever they went. The final siege was in the stronghold of Masada. When Titus broke through in 73 AD almost 1,000 Jews had already committed suicide ending the pursuit, and the war against the Jews. Josephus wrote that over a million Jews died during that seven year span by sword, famine, crucifixion, or suicide. All this was completed 40 years from when Jesus said, “this generation will not pass away until all these things happen.”