The Antonia Fortress Today - The Protector of Jerusalem - Bible History
The Antonia Fortress - Conclusion
The Protector of Jerusalem
Proverbs 18:10 "The name of the LORD is a strong tower:
the righteous runneth into it, and is safe."
Herod the Great built the Antonia fortress to protect the city, should an enemy
breach its mighty walls. This no doubt pleased the Jews because the leaders of
the day had not trusted in the Lord to be their protector. They had trusted in
the arm of the flesh to protect them, and their wonderful city Jerusalem, the
joy of the whole earth. God had prepared them as a bride to receive their
Messiah and when He arrived their hearts were hardened. They were ruled by greed
and were envious of the Messiah’s favor with the common people.
Proverbs 18:11 "The rich man's wealth is his strong
city, and as an high wall in his own conceit."
Jesus was their true protector and they rejected Him. They turned Him over to
Pontius Pilate who was the Roman Governor of Judea from 26 – 37 A.D. He came on
the scene about the same time that Jesus began His public ministry. Although his
official residence was in Caesarea, he would reside in Jerusalem during the
Passover feast to maintain order. Pontius Pilate was a cruel and brutal man with
a thirst for blood as the other Roman rulers of his time including the emperors.
It is recorded in the Bible and in historical documents that Pilate had mingled
the blood of Galileans with their sacrifices (Luke 13:1).
It is interesting how the humble man Jesus had made such a powerful impression
upon the not so gentle ruler Pontius Pilate. Whether Jesus was a man of dark
skin with a hooked nose, according to one tradition, or a man of light skin with
long blonde hair, according to another tradition, there was no doubt something
awesome about His countenance. Even with a bloodied face and a crown of thorns
upon His head, Pilate feared Him.
Pilate did not want to crucify Jesus and would only have Him scourged, that is
until the Jewish leaders threatened to report him to Caesar. Pilate finally
consented to their pressure and ordered Jesus crucified.
Proverbs 18:12 "Before destruction the heart of man is
haughty, and before honour is humility."
The Jewish authorities were filled to the brim with greed and haughtiness and
did not want the Lord to be their protector any longer. When Pilate offered to
release Jesus, their King, they cried, "we have no king but Caesar… let His
blood be on us and on our children."
How fearfully their cry was fulfilled for in 70 A.D. Titus with his Roman
legions arrived at the outermost northern Wall of Jerusalem on the Passover of
70 A.D. The Romans built embankments of earthenwork, they placed battering rams
and the siege began. When Titus initiated his extreme assault into the Temple
area it was from the Antonia Fortress.
Over one million Jewish men women and children were killed and 95,000 were taken
The walls were battered down, the great Temple was left in ashes, the city was
burned down, ruined and desolate, and the massive strength of Jerusalem's
fortifications Titus of Rome brought to rubble.
There will come a time when the Jewish people as a whole will trust in the Lord
again and receive Jesus as their Messiah and protector. See Isaiah.
The Northwest Corner of the Temple (see picture below).
These photos are
from an archaeological reproduction of first century Jerusalem, located in Jerusalem.
The Fortress of
Antonia was built in 35 B.C. and named in honor of Herod’s friend and Roman
Triumvir Marcus Antonius also known as Mark Antony. It was actually Mark Anthony
who had requested that the Senate make Herod King of Judea as an eastern
boundary to the Roman Empire. At some point the Romans took over the Antonia
Fortress and placed a garrison there.
attacked the city of Jerusalem from the north side in 70 A.D. and overcame it.
The legions of Rome slaughtered over a million Jews and 95,000 Jewish captives
were taken away as prisoners.