Decapolis is derived from the Greek word meaning Ten Cities (deka meaning ten, and polis meaning a city). They were a group of cities generally located to the east of the The Sea Of Galilee and The Jordan River. Among them was Pella, the city to which many Christians fled just prior to the Fall of Jerusalem In 70 A.D.
In one of His most famous prophecies, found in Matthew 24:1-44 and Luke 21:5-36, Jesus Christ warned the apostles, and through them, the early church at Jerusalem, of the coming fall of the city, and what they could do to save themselves:
"But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it; for these are days of vengeance, to fulfil all that is written. Alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! For great distress shall be upon the earth and wrath upon this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." (Luke 21:20-24 RSV)
This prophecy was dual. It was partially fulfilled in 70 AD, but it also clearly has an end-time application as well - it's going to happen again, just prior to The Return Of Jesus Christ, as the above verses continue:
"And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." (Luke 21:25-27 RSV)
The Christians in Jerusalem in 70 AD learned their lessons well. When they saw the Roman onslaught coming, they heeded Jesus' warning:
"Under the reign of Vespasian, Rome declared war against the Jews because of their repeated revolts, and General Titus besieged the city of Jerusalem 70 A.D. It is said that eleven hundred thousand [i.e. one million, one hundred thousand] Jews perished in the six month siege, but the church there escaped the horrors of the siege by following the instruction of Christ in Matthew 24, and fleeing to the mountains beyond the Jordan. This timely retreat was made to the small town of Pella." (Hugh Smith's History)
"In the fall of Jerusalem, few if any Christians perished. From the prophetic utterances of Christ, the Christians received warning, escaped from the doomed city, and found refuge at Pella, in the Jordan valley." (Hurlbut's Story of the Christian Church)
Fact Finder: What is meant by the term "antichrist"?
See The Antichrist
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