"The Son Cometh"
Sunday, August 04, 2013 10:00 PM
In A.D. 70, the Roman Tenth Legion unleashed a deadly hailstorm of boulders against the Jewish metropolis (Rev. 16:21). This Legion was located east of Jerusalem, across the Cedron Valley, in the direction of the Mount of Olives. Jesus Christ had prophesied, "For as the lightning cometh forth from the east, and is seen even unto the west; so shall be the coming of the Son of man" (Matt. 24:27). Josephus recalls:
"As for the Jews, they at first watched the coming of the stone, for it was of a white color, and could therefore not only be perceived by the great noise it made, but could be seen also before it came by its brightness; accordingly the watchmen that sat upon the towers gave them notice when the engine was let go, and the stone came from it, and cried out aloud in their own country language, "THE SON COMETH:" so those that were in its way stood off, and threw themselves down upon the ground; by which means, and by their thus guarding themselves, the stone fell down and did them no harm. But the Romans contrived how to prevent that by blacking the stone, who then could aim at them with success, when the stone was not discerned beforehand, as it had been till then; and so they destroyed many of them at one blow" (Josephus, Wars V. vi. 3).
William Whiston (1667-1752) was a Cambridge professor who served as assistant to Sir Isaac Newton, and then as his successor in mathematics. An Anglican priest, Whiston sought to harmonize religion and science. Among his many accomplishments, Whiston translated the works of Josephus into English. Whiston writes, "What should be the meaning of this signal or watchword, when the watchmen saw a stone coming from the engine, 'The Son Cometh,' or what mistake there is in the reading, I cannot tell. The manuscripts, both Greek and Latin all agree in this reading: and I cannot approve of any groundless conjectural alteration" (Josephus, Wars V. vi. 3 fn.). Some editions of Whiston's translation have altered "The Son Cometh" to read "the stone cometh." Such groundless conjectural alterations were not approved by Whiston. "Roland takes notice, 'that many will here look for a mystery, as though the meaning were, that the Son of God came now to take vengeance on the sins of the Jewish nation;' which is indeed the truth of the fact, but hardly what the Jews could now mean" (Ibid.). Pray tell, what other Son were the Jews expecting coming down out of heaven from the east? -DEL