Insect and moon at night (Photo by Bloack)
Locust army: Jews imprisoned within city walls
April 12, 70 A.D. Jerusalem
Roman armies surround Jerusalem (Luke 21:20) and imprison Jewish rebel fighters and non-combatants within its walls. With almost all of the city's corn reserves burnt by the warring Jewish factions and no way to escape, severe famine and pestilence (Luke 21:11, Revelation 6:8) overtakes the Jews until the five-month long siege ends with the destruction of the city and its 3rd (Herod's) temple (Luke 21:6).
This event brings to pass the apostle John's vision of locusts which "looked like horses prepared for battle... horses rushing into battle" (Revelation 9:7-9, see also Jeremiah 51:27, Judges 6:5, 7:12). Similarly, the Lord describes locusts as "my great army" that he prophesied to send against rebellious Jerusalem (Joel 2:25) on the "day of the Lord" (Joel 2:1, 2:11, 2:31). The prophet Jeremiah uses locusts to describe an enormous invasion of troops that will "shout in triumph over you [Babylon]" (Jeremiah 51:14).
These commanders and their armies came from various regions of the Roman Empire-governed world including Egypt, Cesarea, Syria, Arabia, Macedonia, Italy, in addition to troops that guarded the great Euphrates river (Revelation 9:14). A conservative estimate of the entire army numbered about 70,000 fighters (Revelation 9:16). The death toll that followed the Roman-Jewish war (66-70 AD) equaled one-third of the 3 million (Revelation 9:15) that did not flee like Jesus instructed (Luke 21:21-22) and were imprisoned by the Roman armies at the beginning of the conflict which began on April 27, 66 AD.
Additionally, John reveals that the army of locusts "were not allowed to kill them [those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads] but only to torture them for five months" (Revelation 9:4). Josephus records that Roman general Titus began his siege against Jerusalem in the year 70 AD during the feast of unleavened bread , which began on April 12th and ended on the 19th (Nisan 15-22). Josephus reports that the march of the Roman armies "seemed to the Jews to be a flight." Titus succeeded in the desolation of Jerusalem and its 3rd (Herod's) temple and took full control of the city about 5 months later on August 31, 70 AD (eighth day Elul). During the five month long siege, Jerusalem was transformed into a concentration camp as the apostate Jews (i.e., "those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads") were imprisoned therein by the Roman soldiers and forced to endure famine and mass starvation. Humans can survive near-starvation (with hydration) for many months to years. This has been shown historically in concentration camps and during famines.
Jewish historian, Josephus, documented the dire condition of Jewish residents who remained inside the city. For example, he describes people cutting off their arms and legs in order to prevent infections from spreading throughout their body. He also states their hunger was so unbearable, that people gnawed on shoes and belts and ate things "the most sordid animals would not touch." Still, one of the more gruesome atrocities involved a wealthy Jewish woman who "slew her son, and then roasted him, and eat[sic] the one half of him, and kept the other half by her concealed."