Paul Speaks of This Coming Vengeance
In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, he writes to encourage them in the current trouble and persecution they are experiencing. He writes,
2 Thess. 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
Who was troubling the Church at Thessalonica? Was it the Roman government? Guess again. It was the unbelieving Jews, the synagogue of Satan. It might be helpful to have a quick summary of what happened when Paul came to Thessalonica and preached.
Brief History Lesson
On his second missionary journey, Paul preached in the synagogue here, the chief synagogue of the Jews in that part of Macedonia, and laid the foundations of a church (Acts 17:1 4; 1 Thes 1:9). The violence of the Jews drove him from the city, when he fled to Berea (Acts 17:510). [Easton’s Bible Dictionary]
What happened when Paul went to Berea?
Acts 17:11 -- These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.
The unbelieving Jews of Thessalonica were not satisfied with just driving Paul from their city, but when they heard of his preaching in Berea, they went and stirred up the people in that city. He was forced to leave Berea, going to Athens.
The point here is that those who were troubling the believers in Thessalonica were the unbelieving Jews, who are also called the synagogue of Satan(assembly of the Adversary). Among the dispersed Jews, the party of the Pharisees held the most sway over the Jewish people. Likely more so in the diaspora, because the center of life among the dispersed Jews was the synagogue, which was generally ruled by Pharisees.
The same group of Jews who assaulted and fought against Jesus and His Church in Judea, is the same group that persecuted the churches throughout the empire. Roman persecution of the Church in the first century was not a constant, but usually sporadic and local, such as Nero’s persecution of Christians in Rome around AD 64-66.
This is not the first instance in which Paul sought to bring comfort and encouragement in the midst of the persecution of these Thessalonian believers. In his first letter, likely written from Corinth in about AD 51, Paul writes,
1 Thess. 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: 16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
Paul assures them that the suffering they are experiencing at the hand of the Jews is shared by those of Judea, who are also suffering at the hands of their own fellow countrymen, the Jews. Paul reaffirms the Jews obstinance toward the Lord and His gospel, stating they “killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us.” By so doing, “they please not God” and prove themselves to be “contrary to all men.” This contrariness is no small matter. This word can also be translated ‘antagonistic, adversarial.’ These unbelieving Jews are adversarial to ALL MEN! How does Paul claim this? He goes on to say,
Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
They proved their antagonism to all men, in that they would not allow the apostles to freely preach the gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles. They wanted to prevent the Gentiles from being saved and entering the kingdom of the Messiah. Why? They were jealous.
Acts 17:5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
Because they were "moved with envy," they constantly fought the spread of the gospel, desiring to prevent both Jews and Gentiles from entering the kingdom of God, they were filling up their sins. For this reason, “the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” Again here, Paul speaks of the coming judgment and wrath upon this people.
We can safely say that the main persecutor of the Church in the first century was the party of the Pharisaic Jews. This is at least true for the period from AD 27-70. After AD 70, there was a wave of anti-Jewish sentiment among the rulers of Roman due to the Jewish War of AD 66-73. Hence, the Pharisaic Jews were more interested in self-preservation than persecuting their sworn enemy, the followers of the Nazarene.
End of brief history lesson
Paul said, “It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you.” The word here ‘trouble’ is the same as the word ‘tribulation.’ So Paul is saying, It is a righteous thing with God to repay tribulation to those who are tribulating you. However, since ‘tribulating’ is not a proper word, we can more correctly say, It is a righteous thing with God to repay trouble to those who are troubling you. Notice it is a matter of righteousness for God to repay those who trouble the saints. This means when He repays the troublers, He is acting completely righteous.
Paul continues his exhortation,
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Paul desired the Thessalonian Church to not be troubled, but rest (relax) with him, because the time was coming when the Lord Jesus would be revealed (unveiled) from heaven, and in flaming fire take vengeance upon those who were troubling them. These troublers were those who “know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” One cannot disobey the gospel unless you were given a chance to obey it. These who knew not God, had been presented with the good news of Jesus their Messiah in their synagogues and in the temple, but they refused to receive the only Hope of Israel.
The “flaming fire” speaks to the judgment of God, and the end of their rebellion, with Jerusalem and its temple going up in flames. This fire of judgment has been mentioned many times before: the burning of the chaff (Matt. 13:40,42), Jerusalem as the furnace of fire (Isa. 31:9), et al.
Paul’s encouragement to the Thessalonians, as well as all the churches who suffered at the hands of these unbelieving Jews, was that God is righteous to make a recompense to those who have troubled you. God will trouble them on your behalf. This is why the apostolic admonition to not take revenge on their enemies, for God says, “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord” (Rom. 12:19; Heb. 10:30). He can repay in ways that we never can.
Luke 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
When Paul speaks of Jesus being “revealed from heaven,” does he mean that He will be physically seen in heaven at that time? No, this is not his point. Paul uses this phrase of being “revealed from heaven” to describe the fact that what will be seen on earth, the “in flaming fire taking vengeance” is the means through which He is revealed. This act of vengeance will be seen as the judgment of God. This judgment had been the constant subject of Jesus during His earthly ministry and continued in the apostolic preaching.
The apostles continued to preach “the coming of the Lord Jesus,” not as His physical, bodily coming as will be at His Second Appearance(Heb. 9:28), but as His coming in judgment upon the unrepentant, unbelieving Jews. Paul is stating that the fulfillment of the coming fiery judgment is the vindication of the exaltation and enthronement of Jesus as the true King of Israel, sitting at the right hand of God. It is this fiery judgment that unveils/reveals Jesus Christ from heaven. It is in this visible fiery judgment that Jesus will be, “glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe” (2 Thess. 1:10). This is essentially the same thing Jesus says in Matthew 24, when He refers to the downfall of the Jewish State and the destruction of the city and temple, as “the sign of the Son of man in heaven.”
The Sign of the Son of man in heaven
Matt. 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
After the tribulation of those days, meaning the days during which the people face annihilation and the temple is being destroyed, there is described by Jesus what is usually called cosmic upheaval. At least, this is what it sounds like. After this cosmic upheaval, which we will discuss momentarily, the sign would appear of the Son of man in heaven. Then all the tribes of the land would mourn and they would see “the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
There is much debate about what is this “sign” of the Son of man. Some believe that Jesus Himself would be seen in the heavens during this time. Some think it might be a star, a cross or some other heavenly sign. However, if we allow the context to speak to us, the meaning of the sign should be clear.
The word “sign” is the Greek word, σημεῖον (sāmei´on), which means,
- I. a sign, mark, token
- A. that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and is known
- B. a sign, prodigy, portent, i.e. an unusual occurrence,transcending the common course of nature
- 1. of signs portending remarkable events soon to happen
- 2. of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him, or by which men prove that the cause they are pleading is God’s.
It is a sign by which God validates whom He sent or a word He has spoken. This same word, ‘sign,’ is used in Matthew 12:38-40 when the scribes and Pharisees ask a sign of Jesus. His response was no sign would be given except the sign of Jonah the prophet. This sign was that Jesus would be raised from the dead three days and three nights after His crucifixion. He fulfilled this sign to the exact time, rising from the dead a full three days after He was buried. This was the sign Jesus gave that vindicated Him as the Messiah of God.
So what was the validating sign of the Son of man? We were told in the previous verse.
“the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:”
“In speaking of the sun and moon going dark, and stars falling (Matt. 24:29), Jesus describes the nation of Israel under judgment. Here is how one writer depicts it: ‘The signs in the heavens, the darkening sun and the falling stars, refer to the falling Jewish dignitaries, casting down of authorities and powers, long established, and signifies the darkness that settled upon the Jewish state. The sun of the Hebrew temple was darkened, the moon of the Jewish commonwealth was as blood, the stars of the Sanhedrin fell from their high seats of Authority.’ Remember, Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem because He foresaw it destruction (Matt. 23:37-39)”
[DeMar, Gary. Last Days Madness, Obsession of the Modern Church. Powder Springs, GA, American Vision, 1999. 147]
This destruction of the Jewish Nation, its city, Jerusalem and its crown-jewel, the Temple, was the sign, the divine vindication that the Son of man, Jesus the Messiah, was enthroned and ruling from heaven. The multiple warnings of the coming destruction of the Jewish State, and the center of its life, the Jerusalem Temple, found their mark and fulfillment in AD 70, a mere forty years after they were spoken.
If we look at the progression of events, this may become more clear.
1. “After the tribulation of those days” - This is the same as the great tribulation spoken of in vs. 21. After this period of great tribulation,
2. Events described as great cosmic upheaval - This is common prophetic language penned by the OT prophets. It is descriptive of the fall of nations, governments and peoples. After this great upheaval,
3. “Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven” - It is only after the upheaval depicted previously does the sign appear. It is the ending of the Jewish state and its religious system centered in the temple, that is the sign to those who can see, that the Son of man is enthroned and ruling in heaven.
4. “All the tribes of the earth mourn” - According to the words and grammar, this can also read, “all the tribes of the land shall beat their breasts in grief.” This is much more expressive than mourn, as though they were simply sad or feeling sorrow. Tribes relate specifically to the whole of the Israelite nation. It was not just a disaster for those Jews of Judea, but Jews who lived everywhere would have deeply felt the loss of their twin jewels, the holy city of Jerusalem and it magnificent temple. The Jewish nation as it was known was dissolved and left desolate.
This symbolism of the cosmic bodies representing powers and governmental authorities, may be made clearer by seeing their first instance of use.
In Genesis 37, it is recorded that Joseph had several dreams. One of those dreams was that the sun, moon and eleven stars bowed down before him. He told this dream to his father, Israel (Jacob), who said, "What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?"
Jacob immediately understood the meaning of the dream. He did not think that the literal sun, moon and eleven of the billions of stars would come and bow down before Joseph. He knew that it meant the whole structure of the clan or tribe would recognize his supremacy and bow before him in honor. This of course came true when Joseph became the ruler of Egypt, being only second to Pharaoh himself (Gen. 43:28).
John Gill notes,
By the "sun" he understood himself, the principal and head of the family, the active instrument of the generation of it, the light, life, and support of it; and by the "moon" his wife, the passive instrument of generation, who had the lesser share of rule in the family, yet contributed much to its good and welfare . . . and by the eleven "stars" he understood the eleven brethren of Joseph, who were as stars that receive their light from the sun . . . according to the doctrine of the Persians and Egyptians, that if anyone should dream that he rules over the stars, he shall rule over all people.
For those who have a hard time understanding this prophetic language as described, lets ask this question. What would happen to the earth and the whole of the cosmic system, if the sun truly burned out and went dark? Then of course, the moon could no longer give her light. But what would happen if the stars, many calculated to be tens, or hundreds of times the size of our sun, were to fall to the speck of dirt that is the earth? If the sun dies, all life would die with it. If the stars were to fall to the earth, the earth would of course be ground to powder. In essence all creation would cease to exist.
Bible Scholar Milton Terry, rightly remarked concerning this,
“The coming on clouds, the darkening of the heavens, the collapse of the elements, are, as we have shown above, familiar forms of apocalyptic language, appropriated from the Hebrew prophets.”
Concerning the use of this type of OT prophetic language as found in the writings of the NT, he remarks,
“The language and style in which certain New Testament teachings are expressed are so manifestly modeled after Old Testament forms of statement, that they cannot be properly explained without a minute and thorough apprehension of the import of the older Scriptures.”
It is obvious that Jesus was speaking to His disciples in the language of the Hebrew prophets. It was a language that would have been quite familiar to them. Our problem when faced with this type of language, is we tend to be more literalistic than is required. If we are going to be able to properly understand the language of the Bible, we must be able to recognize the different styles of language it uses.
Does it not make more sense in keeping with this Biblical language’s usage, to understand it as the ancient fathers and prophets understood it?
As It Was In The Days of Noah
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
It is important for our purpose of examination of this section, to quote from Luke’s Gospel also.
Luke 17:26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
In both Matthew’s and Luke’s account, Jesus is giving instruction and warning to the disciples about the day of His Parousia, or Presence. Luke refers to it as, “the day when the Son of man is revealed.” He is using the illustration of Noah’s days and Lot’s days, to teach them about the days that lie ahead for Judea. In both Noah’s days and Lot’s, life was going along as usual, eating, drinking, marrying, buying, selling, planting and building. Life could not be more normal, until.
In Noah’s case, life was normal until “the day that Noe entered the ark.” In Lot’s case, everything was normal until “the same day that Lot went out of Sodom.” In both cases, life was as normal as can be, until the righteous was removed from this normal life. Noah entered the ark and Lot left the city.
In the day when, “the Son of man is revealed” there will be a separation of the righteous from the unbelieving. In Noah’s day, there was a separation of the righteous and believing from the unrighteous and unbelieving. This separation occurred also in the days of Lot.
This is intimately connected with the admonition of Jesus for His followers to remove themselves from the scene, when they see armies surrounding Jerusalem (Luke 21:20-22).
20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
The disciples were instructed when they saw armies surrounding Jerusalem, they were to flee out of it. If they were on the rooftop, don’t stop to go down into the house to get your “stuff” (Luke 17:31). The point to these admonitions was urgency. Since,
Matt. 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Jesus told the disciples that no man knows the day or hour when His coming would happen. What He was able to tell them was when they saw armies surrounding Jerusalem, they were to immediately leave Jerusalem and Judea, and head for the mountains. These mountains were those across the River Jordan. This is exactly what happened. When the company of believers saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies, they left for Pella, in the trans-Jordan area. According to the Church Historian, Eusebius, not one Christian was killed in the Jerusalem destruction.
But the people of the church in Jerusalem had been commanded by a revelation, vouchsafed to approved men there before the war, to leave the city and to dwell in a certain town of Perea called Pella. And when those that believed in Christ had come thither from Jerusalem, then, as if the royal city of the Jews and the whole land of Judea were entirely destitute of holy men, the judgment of God at length overtook those who had committed such outrages against Christ and his apostles, and totally destroyed that generation of impious men.
[Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 3.5.3]
As it was in the days of Noah and Lot, Eusebius notes that when “those that believed in Christ Jesus had come thither from Jerusalem,” then the judgment of God began to fall. Just as when Noah entered the ark, the judgment of rain began to fall. Just as when Lot and his family left Sodom and Gomorrah, the fire began to fall. Also when the believers in Christ were safely out of Jerusalem and Judea, the judgment of God began to fall.
In this same context, Jesus said,
Matt. 24:40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
There is much debate and controversy on whether being taken or being left is good or bad. I believe we miss Jesus’ point here. He does not tell us whether one is good and the other is bad. His point is that there was going to be a separation. Just as one of the main points of the parable of the wheat and the tares, is that at the end of the age, there would be a separation. The wheat would be safe in the storehouse and the chaff would be burned up in the fire.
A good case can be made for viewing this being taken and being left behind to be both good and bad. The point here is that Jesus did not give us the interpretation. The whole point was not for us to figure out which was which. The point was for the disciples to know that at that time there would be a separation. They were to leave Jerusalem and Judea the moment they saw the sign of armies surrounding Jerusalem. The sign of armies surrounding Jerusalem was a sign to them that judgment was soon to follow.
This day of judgment was the day of the revealing of the Son of man. These were the “days of vengeance” when,
The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
As we will see later, there was a heavenly sign given to all in Jerusalem and Judea, that judgment was about to fall. Before the Roman General Vespasian came with his armies into Judea, Josephus reports a heavenly portent was seen. He reports it in this way.
A certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. [Wars, 6.5.3]
It is possible that this heavenly portent of the coming invasion could have been given by God as the signal to depart Jerusalem and Judea, for it was barely a month later when Vespasian entered Judea with his armies. However, most think it was when Cestius was “president of Syria.” He had come against the rebellious Jews and encamped against Jerusalem.
According to Josephus, Cestius had good success against the Jews, but for some unknown reason he left off with the siege and left. He states,
6. And now it was that a horrible fear seized upon the seditious, insomuch that many of them ran out of the city, as though it were to be taken immediately; but the people upon this took courage, and where the wicked part of the city gave ground, thither did they come, in order to set open the gates, and to admit Cestius as their benefactor, who, had he but continued the siege a little longer, had certainly taken the city; but it was, I suppose, owing to the aversion God had already at the city and the sanctuary, that he was hindered from putting an end to the war that very day.
7. It then happened that Cestius was not conscious either how the besieged despaired of success, nor how courageous the people were for him; and so he recalled his soldiers from the place, and by despairing of any expectation of taking it, without having received any disgrace, he retired from the city, without any reason in the world.
Many believe it was when Cestius lifted the siege on Jerusalem when the Christians would have fled the city and country. This makes sense if we understand that the aforementioned heavenly portent occurred after the siege of Cestius. Regardless, the fact remains that the Body of Christ in Judea vacated the land and the cities before the war began in earnest. Truly, not a hair on their head perished.
We have looked closely at all the main elements that the Bible speaks of when referring to the coming of the Son of man. This is what we have learned.
The event around which this coming concerns itself with is the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and its center of life and culture, the temple. We have seen that much of the teaching of Jesus concerned itself with this events. He warned the people and the political elite of His day of its certainty. These warnings began with the preaching of John the Baptist, the whole ministry of Jesus and were carried on by His apostles in their preaching and writings.
We see the Son of man receive the Kingdom from the Ancient of Days. This Kingdom “is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Isaiah 9:7 says of this Kingdom,
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.
This Son of man ascended to the throne of His Kingdom when he ascended on high from the Mount of Olives,
Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
Peter affirmed this on Pentecost.
Acts 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
Stephen saw this just before they stoned him to death.
Acts 7:55. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and(even) Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
Jesus began the rule of His Kingdom when He ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. It is erroneous to relegate the Kingdom of God/Kingdom of Heaven/Messianic Kingdom to some future thousand year period. He has been ruling and reigning from heaven since He ascended to His throne ten days before Pentecost in AD 30. As a side note, there is no where in the Bible where Jesus is said to rule for a thousand years. This is an erroneous deduction from Revelation 20. The saints are said to reign "with him for a thousand years," but His reign is forever and ever.
This is why Jesus said He would come in His kingdom, “in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” The phrase “clouds of heaven” speak to His coming in the power and authority of heaven, or as stated here, power and great glory.
This coming in the clouds with power and great glory was to occur before the end of that present generation, before all the original apostles had passed away.
Also, as stated at the beginning, it is incorrect to equate this coming of the Son of man with what we have called, the Second Coming. This term, Second Coming, is not a Biblical term. It is a phrase we have invented to express an idea we gleaned from Scripture. The Bible speaks of a Second Appearance (Heb. 9:28),
28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
The Second Appearance of Jesus occurs when He brings salvation and deliverance to His people. He appeared the first time “to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” He is appearing a second time to bring a final and full deliverance.
“The end of his first appearance was to obtain salvation for his people, and he has obtained it, and there is a comfortable application of it made unto them by the Spirit of God; but the full possession of it will be hereafter, and into this will Christ put them, when he shall appear.” [Gill]
Keeping this in mind, the usage of the phrase “coming of the Son of man,” or any of its similar uses, has a meaning all to itself. The sign that this coming had been accomplished was the dissolution of the entire Jewish polity, evidenced by the destruction of the city, and its temple. This destruction was so complete that even the national archives were destroyed by fire. This included the genealogical records, so that from that point forward, no one would be able to officially reckon their genealogy. They would never be able to validate any Messianic claim in the future. The prophecy of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel required that the Messiah Prince should come before the temple was destroyed, which He did.
This, in effect, wiped out any evidence of existence of the Jewish Nation. Where are their records? Gone. Where is the proof of their own written history? Gone, except for what we have in the Bible, the writings of Josephus, and a few scattered mentions in pagan historical records. However, we have nothing in their own "handwriting". All of it wiped from history. There were only two remnants of the Jewish nation from that time. The first was the Messianic Community, aka the Israel of God or the Ekklesia and secondly, the community of surviving pharisees, in the NT called the synagogue of Satan. That is all that survived the fires of Jerusalem.
When the temple was destroyed, the whole structure and life of natural Israel/Judah went into oblivion. Those claiming to be Jews ever since, do so only based on their adherence to a religion. It is not based upon a genetic history, for those records have long since been destroyed.
This is the completeness with which the Son of man fulfilled His word to those who rejected God’s word and His Anointed One.