Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Earnestly Contending

I just finished reading J Gresham Machen’s last sermon to students at Princeton Seminary, The Good Fight of Faith, (Valiant for the Truth, a Treasury of Evangelical Writings, 1961) which was delivered March 10, 1929. I was impressed not only with his call to arms but also, especially, with this plea:
"God deliver us from the sin of making common cause with those who deny or ignore the blessed Gospel of Jesus Christ. God save us from the deadly guilt of
consenting to the presence as our representative in the church of those who lead Christ’s little ones astray; God make us whatever else we are, just faithful
messengers, who present, without fear or favor, not our word, but the Word of God. But if you are such messengers, you will have the opposition, not only of
the world, but increasingly, I fear of the Church."
He was a prophet!

Now, for the last 80 years (for that matter, 2000 years) we, the Church, have certainly had opposition from the world, just as Jesus said we would. "Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also". Joh 15:20 I think Machen understood the opposition that would come from the world, but I think he was a visionary when he stated "...increasingly, I fear from the Church". Opposition came to Machen from within his own church that eventually put him on trial for fomenting unrest by espousing fundamentalist beliefs. Then, ultimately, suspending him from his ordination. Machen wrote prophetically concerning Princeton Theological Seminary where he was the Professor of NT: (that Princeton Seminary would become) "inclusive of those who obscure the great issue of the day; but it will be exclusive of those who have determined to warn the church of her danger and to contend earnestly for the faith." (As quoted in Calhoun, Princeton Seminary, Vol. 2, 380)

Was the trial and suspension of J Gresham Machen the last word in his life? Hardly! "Machen's confrontation with modernism and broad churchmanship at Princeton Theological Seminary and within the Presbyterian Church in the USA - ..gave rise to both Westminster Theological Seminary (1929) and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (1936)... Both institutions were founded in the effort to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). Accordingly, the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology states: "evangelical Christianity in the Western world owes a large debt to Machen and to the organizations he founded for their intelligent and courageous explanation of and stand for historical Christian truth." (Pressing toward the Mark, Greg Bahnsen) Machen was a bachelor all his life and , of course, left no children, but I am sure there are many individuals and even institutions that would consider themselves his spiritual offspring. He died in 1937 at age 55.

I say all of the above to say this. There is "increasingly" opposition in the Church today against those who, like Machen, would stand for the fundamentals, the essentials, of the faith once delivered unto the saints. See Machen’s book "Christianity and Liberalism" on line HERE
For church history buffs, this is not a new phenomenon that has recently reared its ugly head within the last 80 years or so. This is the nature of the Church. All of the great Christian creeds, statements, stands and clarifying doctrinal positions have come about simply because of opposition to orthodoxy or to basic fundamentals, whether from within or without.

Bottom line..from another who had dealt with situations not unlike those in the modern Church...his statement: "Here I stand, I can do no other" Martin Luther. God help us to stand firm for historical Christian truth! I like James 1:2-4 in the Message Bible: Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. "Through the conflicts of life, God’s grace under pressure is sure and sufficient." Ann Brooks, "Discovering Grace Under Pressure".

Monday, May 26, 2008

Moody Pastor’s Conference First Hand

Since my dad went to Moody Bible Institute as did my mom, as did my sister and as did my Pastor brother-in-law from the East, I have an interest in what goes on at this great institution. The MBI Pastor’s Conference was held last week and brother-in-law from the East was in attendance. I sent an e-mail inquiring of the conference and especially of two speakers who always have my undivided attention and interest, Alistair Begg and Al Mohler. Here is his inspirational first hand report:


It was super. I did hear both Begg and Mohler. Begg preached once and it was from 2 Corinthians 4:1-7 which was a challenge to preachers to stay true to the word. It was Ministry (source and substance), Method (words are the tools of the trade - candid - clear - confident) and Men (saved - servants - self-effacive). He made a great comment I had never heard articulated this way about servant hood which he expressed to an elder on one occasion - "I am your servant but you will never be my master." I'll have to file that one away.

Mohler was outstanding. He preached three times in the early morning main sessions. He focused on the importance of various ways of not getting caught in the trap of diluting the power of the Word of God. I think the most memorable sermon to me was his last on Luke 24:13-22 and the challenge as to whether believer's hearts burn within them after they have heard us communicate God's Word to them. His big idea was to bring every text into accountability to the "big story" of the Word. Every story in the Bible ends with Jesus and we must always have in view the "big story" of the Creation - Fall - Redemption - Consummation, as Jesus demonstrated on the road to Emmaus. Great stuff!

All of the general sessions seemed to focus on staying true to the Word and doing it through expository preaching. Mohler made the comment that in most large growing churches today the Word is preached in little stories that end up being moral teachings when they need to be always placed in the context of the"big story" to bring us face to face with Jesus Christ. I think he hit the nail on the head.

The music was great. It was a bit contemporary at times but a real inspiration to sit in the midst of over 1,100 preachers and sing. I think the highlight of the music was Keith and Kristyn Getty. They are members of Alistair Begg's church. They have a website at They have written a lot of what many call new hymns. Their worship leading was, to me, most powerful and inspiring. Stephen Newby and his praise band was there also. I must say that Newby has a real heart for worship and it comes through in spite of the overriding sound of the instruments at times.

All in all I would say it was a very worthwhile, uplifting and personally challenging experience. Being on campus for 4 days brought back many memories. As I told my Greek professor friend at Columbia International University before I went, I have many regrets about my failure to take advantage of my opportunities of education when I attended Moody and the only thing I do not regret was meeting Caris during that time. He emailed me a one liner back, "A good wife is worth more than many degrees." Quite insightful and very true.

Noble K.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Holy, Holy, Holy

In Presbyterianism submitting an "overture" is the process whereby a congregation, a presbytery or a synod can request that the denomination consider a particular subject. It is submitted to the General Assembly with a recommendation to approve or adopt. The Presbyterian Church (USA) is in the process of discussing not only a new form of government, but also overtures that abound on a myriad of subjects prior to our 218th General Assembly. I wonder if an overture and recommendation for reflection upon the Holiness of our Great God and Savior would, perhaps make a difference, if enacted, in the type of overtures submitted, the subjects discussed, and in the manner in which they are discussed.

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. Rev 4:8 God is infinite, absolute purity and moral perfection. How should or how does the Holiness of God effect you and me? How should we respond to this Holiness that scripture describes as one of God’s most excellent and awesome moral attributes?

In a computer search in "Power Bible" for the word "holy" my software program just came back with a dire warning: "WARNING: your search has returned excessive results. What would you like to do?" Holy is expressed too many times in scripture and this software program couldn’t handle it. My mind was drawn immediately to Isaiah chapter 6 and the internal warning he felt when he penned those familiar words; "Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." Isa 6:5 (KJV) Isaiah, in a vision, got a glimpse of this Holiness that causes the angelic beings to cover their faces and simply cry, "Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts".

Remember Moses wanted to see the glory of God and the Lord told him, "that no man can see my face and live...but there is a place, a cleft in the rock where you can stand and as I pass by I will cover you with my hand. Then, I will remove my hand and you can see my back, but my face must not be seen". (Ex 33: 18-23 paraphrased) Moses’ countenance was changed after his encounter with the Holiness and Glory of God in that he had to put a veil over his face to shield others from the brightness of this effulgence that radiated from his face. (behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. Ex 34:30)

Remember Job. After contending with God about things he thought he knew, he finally admits his ignorance and says, "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." (42:5) Job also got a peek at this Holiness of God, and like Isaiah was "undone".

Now, not many of us in our lifetimes are going to get this vision of the glory and Holiness of God, first hand as did Job, Moses, and Isaiah. But we surely do get to read about, study and reflect upon God’s Holiness as expressed all through the scriptures. My software program informed me the word "Holy" appears in 537 verses and just to read and study these in their context would be quite a challenge and, I suspect, even a life-changing exercise.

Isaiah could have said, "Look, compared to Micah and Hosea, I’m really not a bad guy." Sure I’ve got some faults, weaknesses, shortcomings, peccadilloes, but all in all I’m a pretty good guy, that is until he saw the vision of God’s purity, moral excellence, glory and Holiness. These were life-changing moments for these prophets of old. These were "kairos" moments. In the NT, these moments of opportunity are referred to not as "chronos" time (regular time) but kairos time, moments of life changing opportunity. Kairos time, ...... represents discontinuity when an unexpected barrier forces one to move off a planned course and adjust to new realities. (Jack Good) I wonder, are we, the PCUSA, on the verge of one of these kairos moments? We certainly need a vision, once again, of the absolute purity and the glorious excellence of the indescribable Holiness of God that was seen by Job, Moses and Isaiah in order to regain our focus and our purpose. Next month is the 218th General Assembly of the PCUSA. I fear that apart from a drastic life-changing Church-wide Kairos Moment business in the PCUSA will be "as usual". I pray that we can get beyond disputing the likes of what the meaning of the word "is" is and to commit ourselves truly "to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.." Micah 6:8

Saturday, May 17, 2008

John Calvin on The Intelligent Designer

The Institutes of the Christian Religion, book first, chap V, sec 1 (AD 1539)
(translation H. Beveridge) (my headings & paragraphs)

The Internal and External Witness
Since the perfection of blessedness consists in the knowledge of God, he has been pleased, in order that none might be excluded from the means of obtaining felicity, not only to deposit in our minds that seed of religion of which we have already spoken, but so to manifest his perfections in the whole structure of the universe, and daily place himself in our view, that we cannot open our eyes without being compelled to behold him.

A Glimpse of His Glory
His essence, indeed, is incomprehensible, utterly transcending all human thought; but on each of his works his glory is engraved in characters so bright, so distinct, and so illustrious, that none, however dull and illiterate, can plead ignorance as their excuse. Hence, with perfect truth, the Psalmist exclaims, "He covereth himself with light as with a garment," (Psalm 104: 2;) as if he had said, that God for the first time was arrayed in visible attire when, in the creation of the world, he displayed those glorious banners, on which, to whatever side we turn, we behold his perfections visibly portrayed.

His Invisible Image
In the same place, the Psalmist aptly compares the expanded heavens to his royal tent, and says, "He layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters, maketh the clouds his chariot, and walketh upon the wings of the wind," sending forth the winds and lightnings as his swift messengers. And because the glory of his power and wisdom is more refulgent in the firmament, it is frequently designated as his palace. And, first, wherever you turn your eyes, there is no portion of the world, however minute, that does not exhibit at least some sparks of beauty; while it is impossible to contemplate the vast and beautiful fabric as it extends around, without being overwhelmed by the immense weight of glory. Hence, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews elegantly describes the visible worlds as images of the invisible, (Hebrews 11: 3,) the elegant structure of the world serving us as a kind of mirror, in which we may behold God, though otherwise invisible.

His Perspicuity
For the same reason, the Psalmist attributes language to celestial objects, a language which all nations understand, (Psalm 19: 1,) the manifestation of the Godhead being too clear to escape the notice of any people, however obtuse. The apostle Paul, stating this still more clearly, says, "That which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead," (Romans 1: 20.)

A free, searchable, download of Calvin’s Institutes is available HERE

Thursday, May 15, 2008

We Get It

A group of Christian organizations have come together in a national campaign to stand united for genuine biblical stewardship of our environment and in defense of the poor. They say, "...our environmental stewardship must not be based on mere emotions, or media hype – but on firm Biblical principles, and solid scientific and economic facts." The coalition includes The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, The Family Research Council, The Institute on Religion and Democracy, Wallbuilders, and Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, among others.

"Rather than consumers and polluters, we maintain that humans are stewards and creators—co-creators with God himself in whose image we humans have been made. A biblical and historic Christian approach to the environment understands that Earth was shaped by a benevolent Creator to be the habitat that sustains and enriches human life. Human creativity and human industry sustain and enrich the Earth while allowing us to obey Jesus’ command that we love God and neighbor.
The "We Get It!" campaign is nothing more than good theology, simply stated and applied to questions of the environment. It acknowledges the sovereign God as creator of all things, humans who are in God’s image as producers and stewards, the redemption available through Jesus Christ, and the obligation to love our neighbors wisely and appropriately." Rev. James Tonkowich, IRD President

The We Get It! Declaration:
God Said It
God created everything. He made us in His own image, and commanded us to be fruitful and multiply and watch over His creation. Although separated from God by our sin, we are lovingly restored through Jesus Christ, and take responsibility for being good stewards.
We Get It
Our stewardship of creation must be based on Biblical principles and factual evidence. We face important environmental challenges, but must be cautious of claims that our planet is in peril from speculative dangers like man-made global warming.
They Need It
With billions suffering in poverty, environmental policies must not further oppress the world’s poor by denying them basic needs. Instead, we must help people fulfill their God-given potential as producers and stewards.
Let’s Do It
We will follow our Lord Jesus Christ and honor God as we use and share the principles of His Word to care for the poor and tend His creation.

You can view a short video and read more about this at They are looking for one million signatures to stand with them in their campaign for responsible Christian stewardship.

(Hat Tip: The Reformed Pastor)

Monday, May 12, 2008

An Evangelical Manifesto

More than 80 evangelicals have signed the document that was released to the general public on May 7th, 2008. Included in this group is Richard Mouw, president Fuller Theological Seminary, Os Guinness, Rick Warren, and Lieth Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals. What, in a nut shell, is the Evangelical Manifesto? This document is an attempt to redefine the term "Evangelical" into a more exact definition and to reverse the negative connotations that have come to be identified with Evangelicalism in the United States in the recent past.

This 20 page document has a two-fold stated purpose: "first to address the confusions and corruptions that attend the term Evangelical in the United States....(and) second to clarify where we stand on issues that have caused consternation over Evangelicals in public life." This purpose is outlined under three main headings:

1. We Must Reaffirm Our Identity
2. We Must Reform Our Own Behavior
3. We Must Rethink Our Place in Public Life

First "Evangelicals are Christians who define themselves, their faith, and their lives according to the Good News of Jesus of Nazareth. (Evangelical comes from the Greek word for good news, or gospel.)" Further the manifesto states that Evangelicals should be defined "theologically and not politically, socially or culturally". In addition seven foundational beliefs are affirmed. Summarized they are:
1.) Jesus Christ is fully God, fully human. 2.) The only ground for our acceptance by God is what Jesus Christ did on the cross and what he is now doing through his risen life. 3.) New life, given supernaturally through spiritual regeneration, is a necessity as well as a gift. 4.) The Bible is the supreme authority, God’s inspired Word, and that makes the Scriptures our final rule for faith and practice. 5.) Being disciples of Jesus Christ means serving Him as Lord in every sphere of our lives. 6.) Jesus is coming again as the blessed hope and provides strength and substance to what we do in the world. 7.) Followers of Christ are called to know and love Christ through worship, love Christ’s family through fellowship, grow like Christ through discipleship, serve Christ by ministering to the needs of others in his name, and share Christ with those who do not yet know him.

Second "All too often we have trumpeted the gospel of Jesus, but we have replaced biblical truths with therapeutic techniques, worship with entertainment, discipleship with growth in human potential, church growth with business entrepreneurialism, concern for the church and for the local congregation with expressions of the faith that are churchless and little better than a vapid spirituality, meeting real needs with pandering to felt needs, and mission principles with marketing precepts." In this section the document affirms the fallacies and errors of both the religious left and the religious right and seems to be an attempt to do some house cleaning as well as soul searching and looking for grace to make a better tomorrow. "We call for an expansion of our concern beyond single-issue politics, such as abortion and marriage, and a fuller recognition of the comprehensive causes and concerns of the Gospel, and of all the human issues that must be engaged in public life."

Third This section is the most controversial of the three headings and will get the most play from the news media as well as bloggers discussing the subject. Here is a quote from the section Rethinking our Place in Public Life, that is bound to cause concern from the religious right. "Christians become useful idiots for one political party or another, and the Christian faith becomes an ideology in its purest form. Christian beliefs are used as weapons for political interests." I am really surprised that someone in the steering committee didn’t come up with a less inflammatory word than "useful idiots". I suppose that this can apply to progressives, moderates, or conservatives equally as well. Although, I personally believe that this is an effort to put some distance between the "Neo-Evangelicals" and those that would identify with a Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Pat Robertson or others. This is tempered, somewhat, with the following statement: "Evangelicals see it our duty to engage with politics, but our equal duty never to be completely equated with any party, partisan ideology, economic system, or nationality." The bottom line (actually) of this document states: "With God’s help, we stand ready with you to face the challenges of our time and to work together for a greater human flourishing."

I would highly recommend that you take the time to read the entire document. (pdf link above) There is something for everyone, secular, religious, progressive, moderate or conservative, to be ashamed of or to be proud of.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Fun With Billy

Is anyone as sick of Billy Mays as I am? When Billy first hit the super cleaning advertising circuits several years ago, I was gullible enough to buy one of the products that could change a dirty baked on crusty laden stove, or slimey-soap-scummed shower stall to a like brand new, shiny clean, sparkling bright transformed condition. Guess what? It didn’t work like Billy promised! Evidently some manufacturers are still riding the wave of this first $19.95 purchase of mine, but if they are continuing to count on my dollars, I have sworn off any product that is advertised by Billy Mays. I have become a true BM skeptic!

Does Billy remind you of a shady used car dealer when promoting products? Does he have a normal tone of voice or does he scream like that even in the intimacy of his bedroom? "All for only $19.95, but WAIT, there’s more, I’ll double that!" $19.95 seems to be the magic number that folks are willing to gamble on any product that is advertised at 2:00 am. So...if it doesn’t work...we’ve always got the money-back guarantee. Steam Buddy, Mighty Putty or Awesome guarantee! I once bought a pair of socks for $4.00 that had a life-time warranty. They wore out in the same amount of time that a regular pair of socks wears out. Now, where did I put that receipt for those four dollar socks that I bought...oh ‘bout a year ago? Lets see, even if I find it, how much gas will it take and how much time will be spent getting a new pair? I know the sales clerk will look at me like I’m nuts! Forget it!

Now, we also have some tele-evangelists that must have been created from the same BM mold..or is it vice-versa? Is Billy aping the TV spiritual gurus or is it the other way around? Is $19.95 the going price for a guaranteed, never fails "prayer cloth" which contains the real sweat of your favorite "health, happiness and prosperity" prophet? Gullibility and $19.95 seems to be the common denominator that keeps both of these types screaming at you during those restless, sleepless nights at 2:00 am. Two verses from scripture come to mind:

1Co 13:7 ".......believeth all things........"
1Jo 4:1 "........ but test the spirits......."

Contradictory? Context is everything! Your assignment, should you decide to accept it...check the context! Gullibility will be dispelled and $19.95 will be saved!

This video will put you back to sleep at 2:00 am.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Truth is Stranger....

NFL Breaking News
No more rules violations! No more yellow flags. Football is defined as playing between set boundaries and if anyone goes outside the boundaries he is not really playing football so he cannot be penalized. All yellow flags will be traded in for celebratory balloons, yellow of course.

From the Business World
Man cleared of embezzling company funds. Even though he made off with over $100,000.00, the job description did not include embezzling, therefore he could not have been embezzling while doing his job.

Trainman Cleared of Negligence
The lawsuit against the railroad trainman who could have prevented a rear-end train collision was dropped recently. The trainman said it couldn’t have been his fault because he was sound asleep in the caboose at the time of the collision. In essence he was not really a "railroad trainman" at the time since trainman duties do not require sleeping in a caboose, therefore he could not have been performing trainman duties. Not my fault, mon!

Now for something completely different: (truth is stranger than the fiction above)

Truth and Reality
A PCUSA minister was cleared April 28th of performing same sex marriages, which she has done for years. Here is the RULING from the PCUSA Court:

"By the definition in W-4.9001, a same-sex ceremony can never be a marriage," the higher court said. "The SPJC [lower court] found Spahr guilty of doing that which by definition cannot be done. One cannot characterize same-sex ceremonies as marriages for the purpose of disciplining a minister of the Word and Sacrament and at the same time declare that such ceremonies are not marriages for legal or ecclesiastical purposes."

Therefore, she has committed no offense by marrying these couples since by definition she cannot be performing marriages since same-sex marriages are not marriages. She has indicated that she will continue to perform these marriages......that are not marriages according to the PCUSA.

"Kyrie Eleison"..Lord have mercy!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Comparing Josephus & Scripture

Josephus was a Jewish historian that lived between AD 37 and died sometime after AD 100. He became a Roman ctiizen and was commissioned to write a history of the Jewish People. It is absolutely mind boggling to read about Titus’ destruction of Jerusalem in all the gory details provided by Josephus in the "War of the Jews". It is, without a doubt, an "MA" (mature audiences) rated exercise. Then to compare side by side with some of the prophetic passages from scripture is, at minimum, revealing. The comparisons are too numerous to do in a single blog entry. This may be an ongoing series. Bear in mind that when I compare Josephus with scripture, I am not intending to elevate the writings of Josephus to scriptural status. All Josephus quotes are taken from Josephus Complete Works , translated by William Whiston, A.M. Here’s a few to whet your curiosity and perhaps encourage study.

De 28:15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
57 And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.

The Coming of Titus to besiege Jerusalem Books 5 & 6 (AD 66-73)
Josephus, War of the Jews Book 6 Chap 3 vs4
4. There was a certain woman that dwelt beyond Jordan, her name was Mary; her father was Eleazar, of the village Bethezob, which signifies the house of Hyssop.
............She then attempted a most unnatural thing; and snatching up her son, who was a child sucking at her breast, she said, "O thou miserable infant! for whom shall I preserve thee in this war, this famine, and this sedition? As to the war with the Romans, if they preserve our lives, we must be slaves. This famine also will destroy us, even before that slavery comes upon us. Yet are these seditious rogues more terrible than both the other. Come on; be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets, and a by-word to the world, which is all that is now wanting to complete the calamities of us Jews." As soon as she had said this, she slew her son, and then roasted him, and eat the one half of him, and kept the other half by her concealed.

Mt 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

War of the Jews Preface 4.
Accordingly, it appears to me that the misfortunes of all men, from the beginning of the world, if they be compared to these of the Jews are not so considerable as they were;

Mt 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

War of the Jews Book 5 Chap 1 vs 1
Now Titus was upon his march into the enemys’s country....after these came the ensigns with the eagle.

Mt 24:16-19 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

Josephus War of the Jews Book 6 Chap 8 vs 9
But when they went in numbers into the lanes of the city with their swords drawn, they slew those whom they overtook without and set fire to the houses whither the Jews were fled, and burnt every soul in them, and laid waste a great many of the rest; and when they were come to the houses to plunder them, they found in them entire families of dead men, and the upper rooms full of dead corpses, that is, of such as died by the famine; they then stood in a horror at this sight, and went out without touching any thing. But although they had this commiseration for such as were destroyed in that manner, yet had they not the same for those that were still alive, but they ran every one through whom they met with, and obstructed the very lanes with their dead bodies, and made the whole city run down with blood, to such a degree indeed that the fire of many of the houses was quenched with these men's blood. And truly so it happened, that though the slayers left off at the evening, yet did the fire greatly prevail in the night; and as all was burning, came that eighth day of the month Gorpieus [Elul] upon Jerusalem, a city that had been liable to so many miseries during this siege, that, had it always enjoyed as much happiness from its first foundation, it would certainly have been the envy of the world.

Book 6 Chap 9 vs 3
Now the number of those that were carried away captive during this whole war was collected to be ninety-seven thousand; as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege eleven hundred thousand. (1,100,000)

No matter what your eschatolgical views may be, I think we do a disservice to ourselves and our prophetic understandings of scripture by ignoring this historic book written during the time of our Christian New Testament beginnings. I would venture to say that more folk would be able to recall passages from the fictional Left Behind series than from the actual historical accounts laid down by Josephus of the siege of Jerusalem during this period. All would agree Josephus gives a detailed account of the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem prophesied by Jesus when he said "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." Matt 24:2 More later.