SHORTLY before his death in 33 C.E., Jesus called Jerusalem “the killer of the prophets and stoner of those sent forth to her.” The city as a whole followed the pattern of its past and rejected the Son of God.—Mt 23:37.

Jesus foretold what would happen: “The days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification with pointed stakes.” (Lu 19:41-44) He also said: “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then . . . let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains.”—Lu 21:20, 21.

In 66 C.E., following a Jewish revolt, Roman armies under Cestius Gallus came against Jerusalem. But, as Josephus notes, Gallus “suddenly recalled his troops, . . . and, contrary to all calculation, retired from the city.” This afforded Christians the opportunity to flee from Jerusalem, which they did. Soon the Roman armies under Titus returned. This time they built “a fortification with pointed stakes,” an encircling fence 7.2 km (4.5 mi) long. After a siege of about five months, the city was thoroughly destroyed and the temple reduced to ruins. Three years later, in 73 C.E., the Roman armies captured the last Jewish stronghold, the mountaintop fortress of Masada. (See below.)

Jerusalem’s destruction emphasizes the importance of paying attention to Bible prophecy.

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Roman coins commemorating destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.

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Roman conquest and destruction of Jerusalem, 70 C.E.

Arch of Titus in Rome showing Roman soldiers with temple loot