An ancient Latin inscription, dating from the time of Hadrian, and just before the Bar-Kokhba revolt of 132-135 A.D. (also known as the Second Jewish War), has recently been found in Israel, north of the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. Scholars believe it is one of the most important Latin inscriptions yet found in the city.
The inscription was a dedication by the Legio X Fretensis (The 10th Legion) to the Emperor Hadrian who planned to rebuild Jerusalem after it had been destroyed in 70 A.D. by Titus. Hadrian’s city was to be called Aelia Capitolina, and after the Bar Kokhba revolt was quelled, Jerusalem indeed became a Roman city.
The inscription itself is a stone that is the other half of a fragment that was found in the late 1800s by a French archaeologist, Charles Clermont-Ganneau. It firmly establishes that the Legio X Fretensis was in Jerusalem at this time, as historical records contend, and was in fact the legion that attacked the rebels at Masada after the fall of Jerusalem (Robin Ngo, “Rare Inscription Dedicated to Hadrian Found in Jerusalem,” Biblical Archaeology Society at BiblicalArchaeology.org, October 21, 2014).
The impact of events
The Jewish-Roman Wars of the first and second centuries A.D. also had an important impact on those who were part of the true Church of God. Some converts to Christianity during this time wanted to distance themselves from the Jews, with whom Rome was at war, so the beginning of a shift away from the Jewish connections of the true faith began. The result became what we refer to as “mainstream Christianity” which mixed elements of Greek philosophy into what remained of the true faith, making a distinct departure from what Jesus Christ and His disciples taught.
Inscriptions and other archaeological finds like this help fill in and verify historical details of Biblical history. Through faith in God we know that the Bible is accurate, and in due time physical evidence often comes to light. These details help to strengthen our faith as well as help us appreciate the difficulties faced by those who came before us.
The Jewish-Romans War of the early 2nd century A.D. pushed the Jews as well as those of the Body of Christ out of Judea and further abroad. In the latter case that helped spread the truth to those in Europe, Asia, Africa and other parts of the Middle East in the following centuries. Eventually that truth came down to us today, through the small number of faithful believers who understood and followed the true teachings of the Bible. We are here because they were faithful and because God cared for them, just as He cares and will provide for us in the years to come.