Masada is a great story. Today is the second time I come here to experience the patriotic
story of Jews. I came here 11 years ago and was impressed by their acts. This time I study
deeper and know more details. e.g. the eight Roman camps, the siege wall (or the wall of
circumbulation), the pot shreds with names, the palace of Herod the Great, the synagogue, the
bath room, the great cisterns, the liability of the testimony of the two women and five children,
the not-yet-found bodies of the 960 Jewish Zealots’ “heroes” etc.
Reading their story, on one hand you can follow Jews’ perspective to praise the brave
soldiers. But on the other hand, you will ask, “Does it worth to give up lives in this way? Did
they have other choices? What’s the feeling of killing one’s own wife and children? Is the
same character reflected on the Jews today? What’s the effect of passing this philosophy to
the new generations of Jews?”
Above all, how does God view their acts?
One passage of Josephus’ narration caught my eyes when I thought of all these questions,
“When the Romans set fire to the wooden wall, the wind apparently had been blowing steadily from the west, away from the Romans, toward Masada . Just as the wall flared up, the wind suddenly veered around to the east. The Romans were alarmed. The fickle wind ‘blew back the flames and drove it in their faces, and their engines seemed on the point of being consumed in the blaze.’ Then just as suddenly, the wind shifted again and ‘blowing strongly in the reverse direction, flung the flames against the wall, turning it into one solid blazing mass. ’ It was now near nightfall. The Romans returned to their camps sure they would take Masada in the morning.
Atop Masada that night, the Zealots were despondent. The incident of the changing wind had convinced the commander of the Zealot forces, Eleazar ben Yair, that God had abandoned them.”
We cannot sure God’s will on this matter. But no matter Jews or Christians, if we don’t talk
about God’s hand in the history, our faith is meaningless. What would be God’s view on these
They were religious people, but they did not receive Jesus as Messiah. At the same time,
some Jewish Christians were fighting for their faith of Messiah; and these Zealots were fighting
for their faith without the claiming of Jesus Messiah.
Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem , do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, `Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' Then " `they will say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, "Cover us! "'For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?" Luke 23:28-31
From the changing direction of the wind, the Zealots believed that God had abandoned them. Maybe I won’t say God had “abandoned” them, but I believe God was giving a lesson or discipline to Jews. One day they will repent and turn to Jesus Messiah. And they will know that it’s more worthy to fight for the Kingdom of Jesus Messiah than a Kingdom on earth.