…a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable…were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds… Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner temple…they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise…

Josephus’ Pre-War Revelation

Thus, Titus Flavius Josephus described the army in the clouds just prior to the start of the First Jewish-Roman War. A man born into a priestly lineage, who later became somewhat of a prophet to the Roman Emperor Vespasian , Josephus’ account of the cloud chariots seem eerily similar to that which is dictated in the Book of Revelations : the description from Jesus that his second-coming, his judgement day, will come to earth via an army of angels, for lack of a more sophisticated description.

The occurrence of this incident in the clouds was recorded by Josephus in 66 AD on the eve of the aforementioned Jewish War —a war founded in centuries of ethnic differences, and then in financial greed, before finally escalating into the religious intolerance that led to the destruction and pillaging of the Temple of Jerusalem by the Roman army .

The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus, A.D. 70, Painter: David Roberts, c. 1850 AD (Public Domain)

Was God Punishing the Jews?

This event was later dictated by Roman historian Tacitus in his Histories, writing in 115 AD (thus hearing about the event second-hand) and Eusebius in 325 AD, when he recorded his Ecclesiastical History (again, a second-hand account). Yet that this event—aligned with the Jewish, not Roman people—has survived in historical and religious texts indicates that it might have played a significant role in the Jewish War.

Eusebius writes that by the time the Romans came to plunder Jerusalem, the “royal city of the Jews and the whole land of Judea were entirely destitute of holy men”. This has been interpreted by some scholars (and Christian leaders) as the Jews realizing that God had judged them harshly and punished the Jews by sending the Roman armies.

UFOs in the Ancient World

While in ancient times, the Jews questioned why their God had allowed the Temple of Jerusalem to be destroyed (and in doing so, enabling the Romans to have victory over the Jews). In the present day the prominent question has shifted to a debate of what Josephus and his Jewish kin actually saw in the clouds.

These chariots in the sky, recorded by various ancient historians, gathered from various “eye-witnesses” across Judea, might have been something else entirely. Rather than a sign from God, scientists have recently begun to question whether these chariots were one of many sightings of UFO’s in the ancient world.

Does the historical account of chariots in the clouds actually describe a visitation by UFOs? ( God’s hot spot )

Multiple Sightings

Similar accounts of these oddly shaped clouds have been recorded as seen during the Roman war against King Mithridates VI in 74 BC and during the Second Punic War in Rome c. 3rd century BC—both prior to the Jewish War. Interestingly, former NASA scientist, Dr. Richard Stothers, pointed out that the Romans and Jews would have been accustomed to seeing and interpreting shifting cloud formations in the skies, and that the unusualness of this particular incident, and its perpetuation in historical records furthers the oddity of its occurrence. Stothers therefore theorized that these chariots were perhaps not divine prophecy or interpretable in a religious way, but actually an early viewing of UFOs .

Army in the sky by Gustave Dore (Public Domain)

The Jewish-Roman War

The First Jewish-Roman War began under the Emperor Nero , the last of the descendants of Julius Caesar and Augustus. Josephus himself fought against the Roman armies, despite his role as a military governor in Galilee, and he eventually took refuge from the overwhelming invaders at the site of Jodapatha with 40 comrades, who one by one killed each other in a collective suicide attempt.

During the time of this entrapment, however, Josephus claimed to have been given a divine revelation from God Himself. This epiphany dictated that Vespasian would soon rise to the position of Emperor. When this came to pass, Vespasian—who had captured Josephus and one other Jew after the suicide attempt failed—released Josephus, recognizing the divinity in his gift. It was then announced by Josephus that the Jews were being punished by God and that God was on the side of the Romans.

Josephus is led by Nicanor before Emperor Vespasian ( Public Domain )

The Mystery of the Chariots in the Clouds

It has been debated among scholars whether these chariots were an attempt on Josephus’ part (a man who was already valued by the Roman Emperor for his gifts) to endear the Romans to the Jewish misgivings. As the Romans were incredibly tolerable of various external religious sects, it would not have been unusual if they had, eventually, decided to cut the Jewish people some slack.

However, Josephus’ account of the army of angels riding in chariots through the skies was written down after the Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed, more likely to explain why God allowed such destruction to happen.

Whether or not those chariots were UFOs, actual divine armies, strange cloud formations in the skies, or mere myth to aid Josephus’ stories, they did play an important role in the Jewish interpretation of the eve of one of the greatest wars in ancient Jewish history.

Top Image: An artistic depiction of the army in the clouds as reported by Josephus. Source: Revelation Revolution

Dennis, Todd. 1996. “Chariots in the Clouds.” PreterArchive. Accessed June 7, 2017.

Eusebius. The History of the Church from Christ to Constantine. (trans. G.A. Williamson) 1984. Dorset Press: New York.

Josephus. The Works of Flavius Josephus. (trans. William Whiston.) 1895. Perseus. Tufts University. Accessed June 7, 2017. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0148%3Abook%3D6%3Awhiston+chapter%3D5%3Awhiston+section%3D3

Maclsaac, Tara. 2014. “NASA Reports on Credible UFO Sightings in Ancient Times.” The Epoch Times. Accessed June 9, 2017.

Sabz, S. 2014. ” Armies of angels in the clouds.” Science and Bible Research . Accessed June 8, 2017. http://scienceandbibleresearch.com/angels-in-the-clouds.html

Tacitus. “The Histories.” (trans. Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb) 2009. Classics MIT . Accessed June 7, 2017. http://classics.mit.edu/Tacitus/histories.html

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