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Emperor Julian begins to rebuilt the Temple in 362 C.E.

The accounts of Philostorgius (c. 430 C.E.) and Theodoret (c. 440 C.E.)

Philostorgius, ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY, Book VII, Chap. 9.
          ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF PHILOSTORGIUS, translated by Edward Walford, 1855.

The apostate Julian endeavouring to convict of falsehood the prophecies of our Saviour, in which he declared that Jerusalem should be so utterly overthrown that "one stone should not be left upon another," not only failed in his attempt, but also was compelled against his will to give a most irrefragable proof of their truth. For having collected together all the Jews from every quarter, and having Supplied them with money from the imperial treasury and with other resources, he enjoined upon them to set about the rebuilding of their temple. But a panic repeatedly inspired in their minds, such as no tongue of eloquence can describe, put a check to their attempts, and also covered with shame and disgrace as well the emperor as the Jews, and drove them into the greatest straits. Hence flames came down and destroyed those who dared to set a hand to the work ; hence an earthquake came and swallowed them up, while others perished again by some other calamity. So the audacity which dared to cast discredit upon the prophecies of our Lord, was overruled to show their venerable truth and efficacy.


Julian, who had made his soul a home of destroying demons, went his corybantic way, ever raging against true religion. He accordingly now armed the Jews too against the believers in Christ. He began by enquiring of some whom he got together why, though their law imposed on them the duty of sacrifices, they offered none. On their reply that their worship was limited to one particular spot, this enemy of God immediately gave directions for the re-erection of the destroyed temple, supposing in his vanity that he could falsify the prediction of the Lord, of which, in reality, he exhibited the truth. The Jews heard his words with delight and made known his orders to their countrymen throughout the world. They came with haste from all directions, contributing alike money and enthusiasm for the work; and the emperor made all the provisions he could, less from the pride of munificence than from hostility to the truth. He despatched also as governor a fit man to carry out his impious orders. It is said that they made mattocks, shovels, and baskets of silver. When they had begun to dig and to carry out the earth a vast multitude of them went on with the work all day, but by night the earth which had been carried away shifted back from the ravine of its own accord. They destroyed moreover the remains of the former construction, with the intention of building everything up afresh; but when they had got together thousands of bushels of chalk and lime, of a sudden a violent gale blew, and storms, tempests and whirlwinds scattered everything far and wide. They still went on in their madness, nor were they brought to their senses by the divine longsuffering. Then first came a great earthquake, fit to strike terror into the hearts of men quite ignorant of Godís dealings; and, when still they were not awed, fire running from the excavated foundations burnt up most of the diggers, and put the rest to flight. Moreover when a large number of men were sleeping at night in an adjacent building it suddenly fell down, roof and all, and crushed the whole of them. On that night and also on the following night the sign of the cross of salvation was seen brightly shining in the sky, and the very garments of the Jews were filled with crosses, not bright but black. When Godís enemies saw these things, in terror at the heaven-sent plagues they fled, and made their way home, confessing the Godhead of Him who had been crucified by their fathers. Julian heard of these events, for they were repeated by every one. But like Pharaoh he hardened his heart.

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