Ellen G. White, Great Controversy.
H. H. Milman, The History of the Jews. (George Routledge and Sons, 1878): 297.
Josephus, The Jewish War. Book 6, chapter 5, page 459 (The greek of Josephus is on the even numbered pages).
Signs and wonders appeared, foreboding disaster and doom. In the midst of the night an unnatural light shone over the temple and the altar.*** Upon the clouds at sunset were pictured chariots andA men of war gathering for battle. The priests ministering by night in the sanctuary were terrified by mysterious sounds; the earth trembled, and a multitudeA of voices were heard crying: "Let us depart hence." The great eastern gate, which was so heavy that it could hardly be shut by a score of men, and which was secured by
immense bars of iron fastened deep in the pavement of solid stone, opened at midnight, without visible agency.-- Milman, The History of the Jews, book 13.
For seven years a man continued to go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, declaring the woes that were to come upon the city. By day and by night he chanted the wild dirge: "A voice from the east! a voice from the west! a voice from the four winds! a voice against Jerusalem and against the temple! a voice against the bridegroomsB and the bridesB! a voice against the whole people!"C--Ibid. This strange being was imprisoned and scourged, but no complaint escaped his lips. To insult and abuse he answered only: "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!"D "woe, woe to the inhabitants thereof!" His warning cry ceased not until he was slain in the siege he had foretold.
In the mean time wild and awful prodigies, thus the Jewish annalist relates, had filled the timid with apprehensions of the approaching desolation. But the blind and desperate multitude neglected all these signs of Almighty wrath. A comet, which had the appearance of a sword, hung above the city for a whole year.1 While the people were assembled at the feast of unleavened bread, at the sixth hour of the night, a sudden light, as bright as day, shone about the altar and the temple, and continued for about half an hour. A cow led forth to sacrifice, brought forth a calf. The inner gate on the eastern side of the temple was made of brass, and of such immense weight, as to require twenty men to close it in the evening. It was fastened by strong iron bolts, let into the stone door-posts. Suddenly this gate flew open, and it was with much difficulty that the assembled quard close it. This was vulgar considered a good omen, as indicating that god opened the gate of blessing, but the wise more sadly interpreted it as a manifest sign of the insecurity of the temple, and that it prefigured the opening of the Holy Place to the enemy. A few days after this festival, a still more incredible circumstance occurred; such, says Josephus, as would appear a fable, had it not been attested by eye-witnesses, and justified by the subsequent events. Before sunset, chariots and armed squadrons were seen in the heavens; they mingled and formed in array, so as to seem to encircle the city in their rapid and terrific career. And on the Pentecost, when the priests on duty entered by night into the temple, they said they heard a movement and a noise, and presently the voice as it were or a great host,
which said, "Let us depart hence." But more alarming still! while the city was yet at peace and inprosperity a countryman namefd Jesus, son of Ananus, began suddenly to cry aloud in the temple--A voice from the east! a voice from the west! a voice from the four winds! a voice against Jerusalem and against the Temple! a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides! a voice against the whole people. Day and night in the narrow streets of the city he went along repeating these words with a loud voice. Some of the leaders seized, and had him severly beaten. He uttered no remonstrance, no entreaty for mercy, he seemed entirely regardless about his own person, but still went on reiterating his fearful burthen. The magistrates then apprehended him, andled him before Albinus, the Roman governor; there he was scourged till his bones could be seen; he uttered neither shriek of pain, nor prayer for mercy, but raising his sad and broken voice as loud as he could, at every blow cried out, Woe, woe to Jerusalem.D Albinus demanded who he was and whence he came? he answered not a word. The Roman, at length, supposing that he was mad, let him go. All the four years that intervened before the war, he paid no attention to any one, and never spoke, excepting the same words, Woe, woe to Jerusalem.D He neither cursed any one who struck him, nor thanked any one who gave him food. His only answer was the same melancholy presage. He was particularly active during the festivals, and then with greater frequency, and still deeper voice, he cried, Woe, woe to the city and to the temple. At length, during the seige, he suddenly cried out, Woe, woe to myself! and was struck dead by a stone from a balista.
3. Thus it was that the wretched people were deluded at that time by charlatans and pretended
messengers of the deity; while they neither heeded nor believed in the manifest portents that foretold the coming desolation, but, as if thunderstruck and bereft of eyes and minds, disregarded the plain warnings of God. So it was when a star, resembling a sword stood over the city, and a comet, which continued for a year. So again when, before the revolt and the commotion that led to war, at the time when the people were assembling for the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth of the month Xanthicus, at the ninth hour of the night, so brillant a light shone round the altar and the sanctuary that it seemed to be broad daylight; and this continued for half an hour. By the inexperienced this was regarded as a good omen, but by the sacred scribes it was at once interpreted in accordance with after events. At the same feast a cow that had been brought by some one for sacrifice gave birth to a lamb in the midst of the court of the temple; moreover, the eastern gate of the inner court--it was of brass and very massive and, when closed towards evening could scarcely be moved by twenty men, fastened with iron-bound bars, it had bolts which were sunk to a great depth into a threshold consisting of a solid block of stone--this gate was observed at the sixth hour of the night to have opened of its own accord. The watchmen of the temple ran and reported the matter to the captain, and he came up and with difficulty succeeded in shutting it. This again to the uninitiated seemed the best of
omens, as they supposed that God had opened to them the gate of blessings; but the learned understood that the security of the temple was dissolving of its own accord and that the opening of the gate meant a present to the enemy, interpreting the portent in their own minds as indicative of coming desolation. Again, not many days after the festival, on the twenty-first of the month Artemisium, there appeared a miraculous phenomenon, passing belief. Indeed, what I am about to relate would, I imagine, have been deemed a fable, were it not for the narratives of eyewitnesses and for the subsequent calamities which deserved to be so signalized. For before sunset throughout all parts of the country chariots were seen in the air and armed battalions hurdling through the clouds and encompassing the cities. Moreover, at that feast which is called Pentecost, the priests on entering the inner court of the temple, by night,2 as their custom was in the discharge of their ministrations, reported that they were conscious, first of a commotion and a din, and after that of a voice as of a host, "We are departing hence."
But a further portent was even more alarming. Four years before the war, when the city was enjoying profound peace and prosperity, there came to the feast at which it is the custom of all Jews to erect tabernacles to God, one Jesus, son of Ananias, a rude peasant, who, standing in the temple, suddenly began to cry out, "A voice from the east, a voice
from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the sanctuary, a voice against the bridegroomB and the brideB, and a voice against all the people!"C Day and night, he went about all the alleys with this cry on his lips. Some of the leading citizens, incensed at these ill-omened words, arrested the fellow and severly chastised him. But he, without a word on his own behalf or for the private ear of trhose who smote him, only continued his cries as before. Thereupon, the magistrates, supposing, as was indeed the case, brought him before the Roman governor; there although flayed to the bone with scourages, he neither sued for mercy, nor shed a tear, but, merely introducing the most mournful of variations into his ejaculation, responded to each stroke with "Woe to Jerusalem!"D When Albinus, the governor, asked him who whence he was and why he uttered these cries, he answered him never a word, but unceasingly reiterated his dirge over the city, until Albinus pronounced him a maniac and let him go. During the whole period up to the outbreak of war he neither approached nor was seen talking to any of tyhe citizens, but daily, like a prayer that he had conned, repeated his lament, "Woe to Jerusalem!"D He neither cursed any of those who beat him day to day, nor blessed those who offered him food: to all men that melancholy presage was his one reply. His cry was loudest at the festivals. So for seven years and five months he continued his wail, his voice never flagging nor his strength exhausted, until in the siege, having seen
his presage verified, he found his rest. For, while going his round and shouting in piercing tones from the wall, "WoeD once more to the city and to the people and to the temple," as he added a last word, "and woeD to me also" a stone hurled from the ballista struck and killed him on the spot. So with those ominous words still upon his lips he passed away.
*** On the web page featuring Rea's work the first word is not correctly capitalized and the word "altar" is mispelled as "alter".
A If I could have used Whiston's translation I could have picked up this word too. His translation was published in 1737.
B Note that Milman and EGW use the plural while Thackery has the singular.
C Milman and Whiston also use the words "whole people" while Thackery has "all the people".
D Both Milman and Whiston have this double "woe" while Thackery uses it once.
1 Whiston also uses the phrase "for a whole year".
2 At this point Rea drops the comma and inserts a "--".