I sincerely believe "The A.D. 70 Doctrine" to be another in a long line of perverted gospels that has plagued the Lord's church since I began preaching in May 1953. As a young preacher, I never dreamed that disgruntled and false brethren could dream up so many false doctrines. Since that time I have come to realize the truth of what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 11:18-19: "...I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you." When an error is mixed with truth, truth is much like the ocean. The ocean is never still, it is continually in motion moving along with its waves. As the waves roll onto the shoreline, the water recedes back into the ocean. But it leaves the trash behind. In the same way, truth is continually exposed to the false that opposes it. But when the battle is over, the truth has cleansed itself and remains triumphant while falsehoods and error are left lying in the dust.
At this date, my contribution against "the A.D. 70 Doctrine" may not amount to very much in opposing this hideous doctrine that is destroying the hope of so many looking for a better life in the hereafter. But I want to do my part in my stand for the truth. I sometimes see myself much like a woman during the Revolutionary War. When she heard the cry that the British were coming she grabbed a poker leaning next to the fireplace and ran out with it and took a stand in the middle of the bridge leading into town. Someone asked her what she expected to do with the poker against an army, She replied, "Not much, but at least they will know which side I am on."
The A.D. 70 Doctrine - Introduction
During my years of preaching, I have seen the rise and spread of many false doctrines among the people of God. Those who have taught and promoted these unscriptural concepts, for the most part, have been preachers who seek to free the Lord's church from the "moss-bound" Bible bound shackles of the past in order of the church of Christ to become a more viable part of the religious community today. They are not willing to "endure sound doctrine" but "according to their own desires ... turn away from the truth and ...are turned aside to fables" (II Timothy 4:3-4). They are able to make big inroads into the Lord's church because they find a ready-made audience for their erroneous teachings, unlearned and unstable brethren, who are dissatisfied with the New Testament pattern for the Lord's people and are always wanting something new and novel.
But, thankfully, no false doctrine has ever been allowed to continue unopposed for very long because faithful brethren who recognize their responsibility to "hold fast to the pattern of sound words" (II Timothy 1:13). Over and over they rise up to rebuke sin, refuse error, and defend "the faith once for all delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). They teach brethren to "note those who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple" (Romans 16:17-18).
So it is with "The 70 AD Doctrine." It is one of the most strange and bizarre I have encountered. It bewilders me how anyone professing to know the Bible could come up with such ideas. For over 40 years it has disturbed and divided God's people. In some places brethren who have promoted it, and some who have embraced it, have left for greener pastures among liberal churches or denominationalism. In other places, churches have been split. Because this teaching has affected and is affecting, brethren in various places it is necessary to examine it very carefully and fairly to see if it is true or false. We are taught to "prove all things..." (I Thessalonians 5:21-22), and be able to "...discern between good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14). If it is true we must embrace and defend it (Jude 3). If it is false we must expose and reject it (I Timothy 1:18-20; Titus 1:13-14). We are "to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them" (Ephesians 5:11). In some following articles and sermons, I plan to show why I believe this "70 AD Doctrine" is false. I do not claim originality in these lessons. I am using resource material gleaned from other brethren who have studied and written on the subject before me. I just ask those who hear and read my words to examine what is said or written using the light of God's word. For it is the most important source for all truth and that is what counts in the long run (John 17:17; John 8:31-32; Proverbs 23:23).
The historical background of this movement can be traced back to the 17th century teaching of a Spanish Jesuit Friar, Luis de Alcazar (1554-1613). The more modern seeds were sown by James Stuart Russell (1816-1895) a Congregational minister, in his work entitled "The Parousia: A Careful Look at the New Testament doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming" (1878). From these seeds, "The 70 AD Doctrine" grew. Among brethren, it was first preached by Max R. King in a lectureship at the Brookwood Way Church of Christ, Mansfield, OH, in the summer of 1970, and then in April 1971 King and his father-in-law, C. D. Beagle, introduced it in a preacher's meeting, at Cuyahoga Falls, OH. King popularized this movement and in publishing his first book, The Spirit of Prophecy (1971), he set forth the false concepts of "the 70 AD Doctrine." This book has since been revised and updated with a second edition published in 2002. Since the inception of "The A.D. 70 Doctrine" by Beagle and King, their followers have established the Northeast Ohio Bible College (1977) and a journal entitled "Studies in the Bible" (1978). King added a second book to his "70 AD Doctrine" in 1987 called The Cross and the Parousia of Christ. In more recent years, Max's son, Tim King seems to have assumed the leadership mantle of this cult and has drifted into a closer association with various denominational misfits, all holding the common bond of "realized eschatology." It is my understanding that this movement has now founded "Presence Ministries International" with Tim King serving as President. They have even placed a trademark on their teaching. Their website (Presence.tv) explains that "...our intent is for this worldview to be studied and written about widely, but not to be redefined or misused by sectarian upstarts, seeking to forward their own interests." God's word needs no such trademark to protect it. It is the truth (Psalm 119:89-90; Romans 3:3-4).
What Is the A.D. 70 Doctrine?
Just What Is "The A.D. 70 Doctrine"? It is, to say the least, one of the strangest, most bizarre, bewildering doctrines ever introduced into the Lord's church in all my years of preaching. The most common name for it is The A.D. 70 Doctrine. More accurate names are "Realized or Fulfilled Eschatology."
Eschatology is a study of the Bible doctrine of last things, or end times, such as the establishment of the Kingdom, the second coming of Christ, resurrection of the dead, the Day of Judgment, the end of the world. "Realized" or "fulfilled" means that these things have already happened or been completed. Thus the idea is that all the Biblical events pointing to the end time, both Old Testament and New Testament, have already happened in the past, not in the future.
The A.D. 70 doctrine was introduced into the Lord's church during the 1970s and 80s by C.D. Beagle and his son-in-law, Max King. They base their strange and bizarre doctrine on a false concept about what the Bible teaches about "the last days" (Hebrews 1:1-3; Acts 3:19-24) and the timing of Christ's second coming.
The A.D 70 doctrine is pretty well explained in the proposition Max King, the chief proponent of this doctrine, affirmed in a debate with Gus Nichols in July 1973. King defended the proposition that "The Holy Scriptures teach that the second coming of Christ, including the establishment of the eternal kingdom, the day of judgment, the end of the world, and the resurrection of the dead, occurred with the fall of Judaism in A.D. 70."
In a nutshell, A.D. 70 was the pivotal point of Bible history. It marked the consummation (the final outcome) of all things predicted by the prophets, i.e., that A.D. 70 was the subject of much Old Testament prophecy, the heart of the teaching in the Gospels, and the message of Revelation. Their concept of "the last days" requires a completely new way of looking at the Scriptures concerning the Lord's second coming, the resurrection of the dead, the judgment day and the end of the world.
What do the proponents of the A.D. 70 doctrine mean when they say that A.D. 70 marked the consummation of all things? We (those who oppose this doctrine) would say, "Yes, A.D. 70 was the end of the OT Jewish state, but surely not the end of the world." To this, King explains in his book "The Spirit of Prophecy" (p. 181) that he is teaching the end of God's divine plan and purpose expressed in the Bible, not the material world.
In his book he writes "the destiny of the material universe shall be left to the hidden counsel of the Creator" then paraphrases Deuteronomy 29:29 to justify his view. To him, the end of the material world is untaught history.
But as for Bible events, after A.D. 70 there does not remain even a single prophecy in the Bible that has not been fulfilled. Nothing in the Bible pertains to future days after A.D. 70. Christ will not come again, His promised coming happened in A.D. 70. All the dead were raised at that time, so don't expect a future resurrection. That is when Judgment Day occurred. The world ended at that time. The kingdom of Christ was fully set up at that time, not in A.D. 33 as we had thought.
To them, all the things spoken of that were to occur after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70, are spiritual in nature. It has been estimated that more than 25% of the New Testament deals with one or more of the end time concepts. If so, according to this doctrine most of us have never understood a significant part of the New Testament.
I agree that it is true that some of these scriptures may not be easily understood but they surely do not teach anything close to the A.D. 70 doctrine. Their teaching falls under the condemnation of II Peter 3:16-17.
The A.D. 70 Method of Interpretation
What is the A.D. 70 method of interpretation? If the things they teach seem ridiculous to you it is because King, the major proponent, and defender of this doctrine plays fast and loose with sound principles of Bible hermeneutics (interpretation). He has taken many common Biblical terms that refer to the end time and redefined them to fit his doctrine. King has invented a whole new Bible vocabulary to justify his conclusions, and his application of Bible terms is certainly not based on established hermeneutical principles and Biblical evidence.
He has invented a predetermined method of spiritualizing all New Testament prophecy. He first redefines and then forces the meaning of Bible passages that should be interpreted literally into his spiritualized concept, regardless of their context or resulting contradictions it causes. He contends that most of the end-time things are spiritual in nature, not material.
In the introduction to his book The Spirit of Prophecy (which is more or less the Bible for the A.D. 70 advocates, King writes, "The spiritual method of interpretation is firmly established in the Bible, and it is the basic and primary method of interpretation involved in end-time prophecy." But he switches terms when it comes to Old Testament fleshly Judaism.
"Many prophecies have a material fulfillment. This is especially true of Christ's first coming to fleshly Israel, and also to the last days of fleshly Israel. Since prophecy involves the two Israels of God (fleshly and spiritual) in the last days one can expect to find a two-fold application of prophecy. One must, however, recognize the fact that the spiritual method of interpretation prevails in regard to the establishment and development of spiritual Israel,and to her is given a larger position of OT prophecy. It is with respect to her that the spiritual method of interpretation is championed" (pages 1-2).
An example of this is seen on page 26 of his book (TSOP) he writes:
"Abraham had two sons, and the difference between Ismael and Isaac is the difference between the old and new economy. The spiritual principle of interpretation receives the support of Isaac, just as the literal or fleshly principle inheres with Ismael, and cannot be applied to Isaac."
King is referring to the allegory Paul makes in Galatians 4:21-31. I will explore his misconception of this later.
Warning: When people become their own "Bible dictionary" they can teach any sort of doctrine they desire (Isaiah 5:20-21). Such usage falls under the condemnation of II Peter 3:15-17.
The Coming of Christ
History reveals that Old Testament Judaism ended when the Roman army conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the Jewish temple. This happened in A.D. 70 and it is this date that The A.D. 70 doctrine is built around. They contend that at this time God’s divine plan and purpose ended. The basic premise of this false doctrine is the assumption that the promised second coming of Christ occurred at that time. King writes in his book The Spirit of Prophecy (which has more or less become the A.D. 70 adherent’s Bible):
"No distinction is made in Scripture between what we might call the ‘second coming’ and the fall of Jerusalem. The physical and spiritual results, and the significance of that event, fill every need and purpose of the coming of Christ" (172).
So, according to King, anyone looking beyond A.D. 70 for Christ’s personal return and our bodily resurrection does so without a scriptural basis. He writes; “There is no scriptural basis for extending the second coming of Christ beyond the fall of Judaism” (105). “…the end of the Jewish world was the second coming of Christ” (8). “Prophecy found its complete fulfillment in the second coming of Christ, and now may be regarded as closed and consummated” (65).
To an honest Bible student, King’s contention that Christ’s second coming occurred in A.D. 70 is incredulous. But those familiar with the A.D. 70 dogma know that King and his followers have little regard for proper hermeneutics and scriptural context. They have concocted a whole scheme of teaching that attempts to interpret scripture as they think it ought to read, not what the scripture actually says. They find a phrase in the Bible and assume it means the same thing each time it is used. This is mighty poor Bible exegesis (interpretation, explanation). It is a fact that some phrases have different meanings in different contexts. Let me give you an example of how one phrase changes meanings in different contexts. Note the phrase, “laid hands on them” Acts 4:3 (to arrest), Acts 13:3 (to commend), Luke 13:3 (to heal), Acts 8:17; 19:6 (to impart spiritual gifts). The same phrase - different contexts - different meanings.
The A.D. 70 people arrive at the idea that Christ’s second coming happened in A.D. 70 by ignoring the context when they see phrases concerning the “coming of Christ.” They assume that every time they see the phrase it always means the “second coming of Christ.” But they are dead wrong with this assumption. The fact is, that the Bible teaches there are different “kinds” of “comings” of Christ mentioned in the New Testament. Some are literal and some figurative (symbolic or spiritual). Failing to see this distinction leads to the fallacies of the A.D. 70 movement.
When Jesus promised His generation that they would see Him coming in His kingdom (Matthew 16:28) and that it would come with power (Mark 9:1), He was not speaking of His literal coming. A careful reading of these scriptures does not require Jesus to come literally in person. His coming was to be a figurative coming with His presence being seen when His promised kingdom was established. This occurred on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4, 33). In Matthew 24:29-34 we learn that Jesus made another promise of His coming. The context shows this to be a coming in judgment against the Jewish nation, which occurred in A.D.70. But it was not a literal, personal coming, rather a fulfillment of His spoken word. He did not come in person but the Jews felt His presence as the clouds of judgment fell upon them and their city.
There are only two literal comings of Christ taught in the scriptures. There is no dispute, even from the A.D.70 crowd, that Jesus’ first literal coming was when He entered the world as a human being, to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin. But, Jesus also promised a second coming which is also to be literal. There is only one passage that specifically speaks of the “second coming of Christ” (Hebrews 9:28). Jesus came the first time to be a sin offering, but He will “appear a second time apart from sin, for salvation.” Notice that it says, “He will appear a second time.” This means the second time will be an appearance in the same manner, or in the same way, He appeared the first time. If His first appearance was physical and literal, so will His second appearance be. King admits that Jesus’ first coming was physical, but will not admit the second. By his insistence on making the second coming a “spiritual” coming differing from Jesus’ first literal coming King reveals his dishonesty by ignoring the text’s plain teaching to defend his false doctrine. What do the scriptures actually teach about His second, literal, bodily coming?
In John 14:1-3 Jesus promised His disciples that He was going to leave them so He might prepare a place for them in His Father’s house. Where was He going? To heaven, the dwelling place of His Father (1 Kings 8:30). He then said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again (bolding mine –t.t.) and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” The word “again” implies that this coming was to be of the same nature as the first coming. King denies this. He says this promise is not literal, but a new “spiritual” coming. To arrive at this conclusion he reinterprets Jesus’ words by ignoring the context as well as rules of grammar. There is NO compelling contextual reason for making this coming spiritual in nature.
In this same vein, contending that Jesus’ second coming is to be literal, not spiritual, turn to Acts 1:9-11. For 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus has been with His disciples. He is now assembled with them on Mt. Olivet. His earthly ministry is finished and He is ready to leave the earth and return to heaven. After giving them final instructions He begins to ascend. As they “looked steadfastly toward heaven” watching Him depart, two angels asked “why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner (emphasis mine - t.t.) as you saw Him go into heaven.” The phrase “in like manner” means that when He returns it will be just as visible and literal as His departure. If people, with physical eyes, saw Jesus leave the earth, then people, with physical eyes, will see Him return. But the A.D.70 doctrine denies this. They tell us that Jesus’ second coming occurred with the destruction of Jerusalem. I ask them, “Was Jesus seen when the Romans destroyed the temple and brought a final end to the Old Testament Jewish economy?" King admits that Jesus was not visibly, literally seen as that time. So, Jesus’ second coming did not occur at that time. According to the New Testament scriptures, we have studied He is yet to come again, and it will be in His time, not ours.
A Change in Covenants
Another pillar of the A.D.70 doctrine is what its adherents term “covenant transition.” They refer to this as the “eschaton” (last times) period, the 40 years (30-70 AD) between the cross and the destruction of Jerusalem. They contend that the crucifixion of Christ did not end the Old covenant, it only began a transition period that was not completed until the end of the “eschaton” in A.D. 70. To them, this date marked the true end of the Old Covenant and the full establishment of the New. So, the Old Covenant remained in force until Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. They want us to believe that Jesus’ death did not end the Old Covenant, it was only “ready to vanish away” Hebrew 8:13. In his book, King explains: “the words ‘ready to vanish away’ are very significant in this passage (i.e. Hebrews 8:13) showing that the Old Covenant world continued for several years after the cross. The final end came with the fall of Jerusalem, and this event marked the passing of heaven and earth.” (SOP p.26). So, during the “eschaton” period there was an “overlapping” or “co-existence” of both the Old and New Covenants. The Old continued to be in force, alongside the New, until A.D. 70 when Jerusalem was finally destroyed by the Roman armies. King further teaches along this line that “out of the decay of Judaism arose the spiritual body of Christ” (SOP p.200). After the cross, the Old covenant began “to die” in order that it might be “resurrected” as the New Covenant in A.D. 70. This is absurd. To have two covenants in force at the same time is unscriptural and is in reality “spiritual adultery.”
Why do I call this A.D. 70 doctrinal teaching “spiritual adultery”? God’s word clearly teaches one cannot be under two different laws at the same time Romans 7:1-4. In the passage, Paul begins his point by using the illustration of a married woman, showing that while her husband lives if she marries another man it is adultery. But if the husband is dead she is “released from the law of her husband” and is free to marry another man. After this illustration, he then turns to man’s present relationship to the Law of Moses. It is dead and man has been released from it. He is now under the law of Christ (the New Covenant). If King is right that both covenants overlapped and were in force at the same time for 40 years then Paul’s application would mean nothing.
To defend the idea of two laws “overlapping” or “co-existing” at the same time King and his followers' abuse and terribly distort Paul’s allegory in Galatians 4:21-31. In his book, King writes,
“Christianity is a fulfillment of the prophecies, types and shadows of the law and not merely a “fill-in” between Judaism and another age to come. Abraham had two sons, and there was no gap between them. They “overlapped” a little, but Isaac “came on” when Ismael “went out.” The son born of the spirit was given the place and inheritance of the son born of the flesh. Hence, this simple allegory (Gal. 4:21-31) establishes the “Spirit of Prophecy,” confirming prophecy’s fulfillment in the spiritual seed of Abraham through Christ (Gal. 3:16, 26-29), and beyond the fall of Jerusalem these prophecies cannot be extended” (SOP p 239).
The background for this allegory is Galatians 3:23-29. When Paul wrote these words in A.D. 59-60 Christians (both Jew and Gentile) were not under the Law of Moses (Galatians 3:25). They were justified, not by the Law of Moses, but by faith in Christ. But before Christ came the Law of Moses was in effect (Galatians 3:23). It had served as a tutor to bring men to Christ (Galatians 3:24-25), but now that Christ has come there is no further need for a tutor. It was finished. Now we are children of God and heirs according to Abraham by faith in Christ, not by physical birth (Galatians 3:26-29).
Paul states the purpose of the allegory in (Galatians 4:21) – to show that the Old Law is invalid now that the New Law of Christ has been established. In the allegory Hagar (the bondwoman) represents the Mosaic Law, and her child, Ishmael (born according to natural law) represents Old Testament Israel, the children of bondage (Galatians 4:24). Sarah (the freewoman) corresponds to the new covenant and Isaac (born miraculously, and according to promise) corresponds to Christians, the children of promise (Galatians 4:26-28). In Galatians 4:29 the children of bondage (Jews) are seen as persecutors of the children of promise (Christians), just as Ishmael persecuted Isaac. Ishmael was not the child of promise. After Isaac (the child of promise) was born Ishmael was cast out. After Isaac (the child of promise) was born Ismael was cast out. King, by using subjective applications and arbitrary definitions, but also very unscriptural, tells us that Ishmael remained in Abraham’s house for a period of time alongside Isaac, thus contending Paul’s allegory proves that the Old Law co-existed with the Law of Christ during the “eschaton” period (30-70 AD) alongside the Law of Christ. This is not what Paul is teaching. He is telling Christians, do not turn back to the Law of Moses, and live under it. Cast it out, for one will not find justification there (Galatians 4:31; 5:4). A rule of proper exegesis is that no one has the right to apply and force the allegory beyond where and how inspired men applied it. Beware of the convoluted wisdom of men (Colossians 2:8; II Peter 3:16; I Corinthians 3:22).
Notice other passages that refute the idea of the Old and New Covenants overlapping (Colossians 2:13-15). This passage clearly indicates that Jesus dying on the cross marked the end of the Old Covenant. King and his followers twist the teachings of these verses (see SOP p.154), just as do the Seventh Day Adventists, other Sabbatarians, and even some brethren who seek to justify unscriptural remarriages. They seek to evade the plain teaching by claiming “the handwriting of requirements” (Colossians 2:14) that was wiped out (removed) at the cross was not the Mosaic Law but only the bond or agreement by the Jews to keep the ordinances. They err by ignoring the parallel passage in Ephesians 2:14-16. Paul identifies “the enmity” that Jesus “abolished in His flesh” as the “law of commandments contained in ordinances.” This is parallel to “the handwriting of ordinances” of Colossians 2. Those who advocate that “the handwriting of requirements” Colossians 2 was not the Mosaic Law may deny the parallel, but they cannot in all honesty deny the fact that Ephesians 2:13-15 teaches that the Law of Moses ended at the cross. “Indeed, let God be true and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).
Another consequence of teaching that both the Old and New Covenants were in force at the same time would also mean that two priesthoods also existed at the same time. Shades of Mormonism! Hebrews 7:11-14 disputes this. Let me show you. Under the Old Law, they had the Levitical priesthood (Hebrews 7:11). While the Law of Moses was in effect Jesus Christ could not serve as the high priest since He came from the tribe of Judah and not Levi (Hebrews 7:13-14; 8:4). If, as the A.D. 70 advocates teach, both laws existed at the same time, this means Jesus had to wait until A.D. 70 to become our High Priest. But Jesus became our High Priest as soon as He ascended back to heaven and was seated at His Father’s right hand (Hebrews 8:1-2; 6:20; 10:21). If Jesus became High Priest when He ascended back to heaven, then the Law of Moses also ended before A.D. 70.
Earlier I pointed out that one of the terms used by the A.D.70 doctrine is “realized or fulfilled eschatology (Bible doctrine of last things or end time).” By this, they mean that everything the Bible has to say about the last things or end time has already happened or been completed in A.D. 70. They contend there is nothing in the Bible that pertains to the future days, for Christ has already come, the dead have been raised, the judgment day has taken place and the world ended. A.D. 70 marked the end of God’s divine plan and purpose as expressed in the Bible. As far as they are concerned the end of the material world is untaught history. King writes “the destiny of the material universe shall be left to the hidden counsel of the Creator” (SOP p.81). He then paraphrases Deuteronomy 29:29 to justify his teaching.
Then I dealt with their false teaching about the second coming of Christ. Their contention is that Jesus came, not literally, but spiritually, as represented by the invading Roman army in A.D. 70. In examining the scriptures we learn that Jesus' second coming is to be literal, visible, and audible and this has not yet happened. The Bible does not reveal when Jesus will return, but it has not yet happened, it is still in the future. But we do know that when He comes, the dead will be raised. The false doctrine we are studying contends that it has already happened. They teach that the resurrection is not to be taken in a literal sense, but must be understood in a spiritual sense. They also believe that this spiritual resurrection was a process that began with Christ’s resurrection but not completed until A.D. 70. And it certainly did not involve the physical body.
So, how do the proponents of this absurd doctrine defend their claim that the bodily resurrection as taught in the scriptures happened in the period between A.D. 30-70? First, keep in mind that King, in promoting his A.D. 70 doctrine, has redefined biblical words and phrases to make them fit his wild and fanciful ideas. This is what he does with the Bible teaching about the bodily resurrection of the dead. He teaches that the body that was to be resurrected was a spiritual body, not a human body. He defines the body to be resurrected as the church (as in the body of Christ). So the Max King view of the resurrection is that while the church came into existence on the day of Pentecost, ca. A.D. 30, it was not perfected at that time. It was being suffocated by persecuting Judaism. As was pointed out earlier, they contend the “handwriting of ordinances” nailed to the cross Colossians 2:14, was simply the bond or agreement of the Jews to keep the Law, but the Old Testament Law itself continued to be in force “co-existing” alongside the New Testament Law of Christ until A.D. 70. The church/kingdom was not yet fully operative and was being smothered by the dominating Jewish system. However, by A.D. 70, when the Jewish system was destroyed by the Romans, the “body” (the church - the body of Christ) was in a spiritual sense resurrected as the old decaying Jewish system was dying and this transition was completed by A.D.70. King explains; “Thus, out of the decay of Judaism arose the spiritual body of Christianity that became fully developed or resurrected by the end-time.” (A.D.70 –t.t.) (SOP p.200). According to them, this was the bodily resurrection spoken of in the Bible. It was not a resurrection of the physical human body, rather the bodily resurrection of the church (the body of Christ) rising out of the ashes of the now-dead Judaism. So, when Christianity was resurrected, the eternal kingdom of God was then fully established and the saints were perfected and received their adoption, redemption, and inheritance. This brought to a close everything that God had purposed about the end time. All of God’s prophecies and promises revealed in the Bible were then completed. The world ended and the new heavens and earth were inherited. As for the future after A.D. 70, it remains an unrevealed mystery so we should not concern ourselves about it.
When I first read of King’s explanation, that the bodily resurrection spoken of in the Bible is not the physical resurrection of the human body, but the body of Christ (the church/kingdom) my mind went to John 5:28-29, “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” This sure doesn’t sound like a resurrection of Christianity as a system. It sounds like a multiplicity of individuals whose physical bodies were raised from graves. In fact, I understand that the phrase “all who” in the Greek is translated literally as “all those” and is a plural masculine term referring to a multiplicity of individuals, not a system. Thus Jesus was referring to individuals who are to be raised, not Christianity.
In case you don’t get it, King and his followers are teaching that what came forth from the graves was the church. The logical consequence is that the church had been dead, that Christianity, as it existed between A.D. 30-70, was dead – a dead religion raised in A.D. 70. Who can believe that? But that is what they believe. They say the church/kingdom established on Pentecost did not come into its full glory, power, and completeness until after A.D. 70 because the kingdom was being hindered and suffocated by persecuting Judaism. Thus, it could not be alive until Judaism died. Since they contend that the body (church/kingdom) was the spiritual body resurrected, this means the church was dead or in a state of dying from A.D. 30-70 while Judaism was still alive. The church could not be alive until Judaism died. They don’t say it like that, but how can there be a resurrection of the dead if there are no dead?
Just as with the previous tenets examined, the A.D. 70 doctrine on the bodily resurrection is not some harmless conviction held by a few people. It is a total perversion of God’s word, ignoring the context while forcing scripture to say what they think it ought to say. It is false teaching and must be exposed and refuted. As Paul wrote; “But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some” (II Timothy 2:16-18). So, what does the Bible really say about the resurrection of the dead? Has it already occurred?
We examined the contention of the A.D. 70 proponents that the resurrection of the dead was completed in A.D. 70, so it is useless to look for a future, literal bodily resurrection. They are as wrong in this as they are about the second coming of Christ and so many other things they would have us to believe. Their absurdities can clearly be seen as we study Biblical passages and notice what is actually taught about a future bodily resurrection?
I pointed out that Jesus’ teaching in John 5:28-29 dealt with a resurrection that is to be a physical bodily, future resurrection of individuals. The phrases “all who” (John 5:28), and “those” (John 5:29), in the original Greek, are plural, masculine terms referring to a multiplicity of individuals, not a unified system.
In addition, Jesus said that two classes of people (good and evil individuals) would be raised. If the body to be raised is the church, and not individuals, as King contends, that would mean there was a good church and an evil church, both of them being raised together out of the influence of dominating Judaism. Who can believe that? No Bible student with a simple knowledge of words, grammar, and honest attitude would ever conclude the text teaches what the A.D. 70 people teach?
Let’s notice another passage where Jesus was teaching that the resurrection of the dead is to be a bodily, physical resurrection. In Matthew 22:23-32, Jesus affirms a future bodily resurrection which the Sadducees denied (Matthew 22:23; Acts 23:8). The Sadducees present their argument to Jesus in the form of a story, telling of a woman (following the levirate law – Deuteronomy 25:5-6) who had been the wife of seven brothers (one at a time of course). The woman dies. After they finished they asked Jesus “Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be?” (Matthew 22:28). Jesus answered by telling them they were mistaken, “not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God” (Matthew 22:29). He goes on to affirm the resurrection which the Sadducees did not really believe in. He answers “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven” (Matthew 22:30). He continues, “But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:31-32). “I am” is present tense, and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are physically dead, but if God is the God of the living, and not the dead, they are still alive in their spirits (Ecclesiastes 12:6). This is the design of His argument, to prove “the resurrection of the dead” (Matthew 22:31).
Another thing to consider about this incident is that the resurrection is that of the physical body. It cannot be the soul for it does not die. Not only that, if as the A.D. 70 crowd contends, this was the resurrection of the church as a body, how do they explain Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the text? They were not members of the church. Jesus was teaching about the resurrection of the physical body, the body that is now physical but will exist in a non-physical form in the resurrection.
Another thing we learn from the passage. Jesus said about this resurrection of the dead, “in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Matthew 22:30-31). Yet, today people still marry and die. King asserts that Jesus didn’t literally mean that marriage and death in the natural world would actually end. Jesus just wanted to emphasize the non-physical nature of this present age. How preposterous can one get? The Sadducees had raised the issue of marriage, death and the resurrection in the literal sense, but here we have, according to King, Jesus using the same words as the Sadducees, but putting an entirely different meaning on them without even giving the smallest hint that he is doing so. There is no textual, grammatical, or linguistic reason to take Jesus’ words as any less literal than the Sadducees’ words. Jesus said there would be no literal marriages, death, or resurrection in the age to come, and that age is still in the future. The A.D. 70 doctrine is not some harmless opinion as they would have us to believe. It has disastrous consequences to the faith (Jude 3; II Timothy 2:16-18).
I Corinthians 15 is the most complete treatment of the future, bodily resurrection of the dead, yet the A.D .70 adherents contend the primary meaning of I Corinthians 15 is the resurrection of Christianity out of Judaism, not the personal return of Jesus and the bodily resurrection of mankind from the graves. They contend that Paul in I Corinthians 15:35-44 is answering questions concerning how the dead are raised and with what body they will come forth. And it is dealing with the development and rise of the Christian system itself. The natural body sown in I Corinthians 15:44 answers to fleshly, carnal Judaism and the spiritual body is the resurrected Christian system. The natural body received its death-blow at the cross and was passing away and finally died in A.D. 70. Thus out of the decay of Judaism arose the spiritual body of Christianity, fully developed at the end time. To come to this conclusion they twist the scriptures to teach their foregone conclusion. The truth is that the thing that is resurrected in the same thing that has died. If, as they teach, Judaism died, then in the same vein it is Judaism that was raised. If it is Christianity that was resurrected, then it is Christianity that died. But King says Judaism died and Christianity was raised. This is senseless, to say the least. Peter had it right (II Peter 3:15-17).
In actuality, Paul in this chapter is dealing with the physical body that dies and will later be raised. He is refuting the teaching of those who say there is no resurrection of the dead (I Corinthians 15:12). Note that Paul compares our future resurrection with Christ’s. In I Corinthians 15:3-4 he declares Jesus bodily died, so our resurrection will be the same body type (I Corinthians 15:12-13). Paul begins the chapter by establishing the validity of Jesus’ bodily resurrection (I Corinthians 15:1-11). Then in I Corinthians 15:12-34 he shows Christ’s resurrection guarantees our own after first presenting the consequences of denying this bodily resurrection. Jesus is the firstfruits I Corinthians 15:20. Firstfruits were the token of a future harvest, which will be of the same type as firstfruits (I Corinthians 15:23). “Those who are fallen asleep,” “those who are Christ’s” (plural, personal pronouns).
Jesus is the first fruits (I Corinthians 15:20). Firstfruits were the token of a future harvest, which will be of the same type as firstfruits (I Corinthians 15:23). “Those who are fallen asleep,” “those who are Christ’s” (“those” is a plural, personal pronoun). This pronoun indicates that the final resurrection involves people individually, not a resurrection of the body (church) as the whole of Christianity like the A.D. 70 doctrine teaches. Also note that the part of man that sleeps is the body to be resurrected, not the soul. Paul continues in I Corinthians 15:24-28 to point out that after the individual bodily resurrection takes place at Christ’s second coming, Christ delivers the kingdom back to the Father because the last enemy, death, has been destroyed. Jesus then returns the kingdom to the Father and becomes subject to Him.
Paul then asks a question in connection with the bodily resurrection of individuals - “Otherwise, what will they do, who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?” (I Corinthians 15:29). What Paul meant in mentioning the “baptism for the dead” would have been clear to Paul’s first-century readers even if it is not as clear to us today. It was in some way connected with Paul’s discussion of the bodily resurrection, not salvation. Whatever the meaning, it has nothing to do with one person being baptized for another, so that person might be saved, even though he died unsaved. Bible teaching is abundantly clear that each person is responsible for his own obedience or disobedience. No one else can believe, repent, confessor be baptized for anyone else. Each must do these things for himself.
I do want to make a brief point about I Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’.” Many use this verse with a secondary meaning, (which is not a wrong usage), but we need to keep in mind that its primary meaning is in the context of the discussion of the bodily resurrection. There will be a future bodily resurrection of individuals as affirmed by Christ’s bodily resurrection. Paul is warning believers not to taken in by, and associate with, those who deny the resurrection. To have fellowship with such people is dangerous for it can lead them astray and shipwreck their faith (Ephesians 5:11; II John 9-11).
Paul continues in I Corinthians 15:35-49 to answer questions concerning how the resurrection will happen, and what the resurrected body will be like. I Corinthians 15:35 is clear that he is discussing individual bodies (plural pronoun “they”). He first points out that the seed planted must first die, then given a different body, but it will have an identity with the seed planted. He next points out there are different types of fleshly bodies (men, animals, fish, birds), different environments (celestial, terrestrial), different glory (sun, moon, stars). The flesh, environment, glory is given a body suitable to exist in its environment, (birds fly in the air, fish swim in the water, animals live on the land). So the body to be resurrected must be changed to fit its new environment. Our present earthly bodies are not suitable for eternity, physical bodies wear out and die. So the bodies will be changed, from corruptible to incorruptible, fleshly to spiritual, dishonorable and weak (age and wear out) to honor and power. We do not know what the body will look like, but it will look like Jesus’ body when He returns (I Corinthians 15:49; I John 3:2). Finally Paul, in I Corinthians 15:50-59, concludes with the praise of our victory over death, gained thru Christ’s resurrection.
A careful study of this chapter thoroughly refutes the false doctrine we are studying. Max King by his redefinitions of words, and ignoring proper grammar certainly plays very loose with what I Corinthians 15 actually teaches. He has spiritualized it over and over, showing utter disregard for text or hermeneutical rules of interpretation. Nowhere in this chapter can we find a Judaism-Christianity contrast. It is found only in the imagination of those who advocate A.D. 70.
Just as with the previous tenets examined, the A.D.70 doctrine on the bodily resurrection is not some harmless conviction held by a few people. It is a total perversion of God’s word, ignoring the context while forcing scripture to say what they think it ought to say. It is false teaching and must be exposed and refuted. We need to know what is true and what is false so we will not be like children “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Ephesians 4:14).
Previously it was pointed out that the promised second coming of Jesus is to be literal, not spiritual in nature, and is yet to happen, not something that spiritually happened in A.D. 70. We also learned that when He returns the graves will be opened and all the dead will be raised. It will be a literal, bodily resurrection of individuals, not a system as the A.D. 70 doctrine teaches. After this occurs then comes the judgment day and the end of the world. So, we ask the question; Do the expressions “judgment day” and “the end of the world,” as used in the Scriptures, refer to the final day of human history and the end of the material universe, or do these expressions refer to the termination of the Jewish state in A.D. 70 as taught by King and his disciples?
It has already been shown that the A.D. 70 doctrine is false and deceptive when they contend that Jesus’ second coming and the resurrection of the dead has already happened in A.D. 70. The same is true, as we shall show, concerning the judgment day and end of the world. They are still in the future, yet to happen, not things that have already happened in a spiritual way in A.D. 70 when the Roman armies destroyed the Jewish economy. The A.D. 70 position is unstable, resting on a foundation of sand, and like the foolish man of Matthew 7:26-27, it falls, for it cannot withstand the force of truth. What is the truth? The Bible teaches that after Jesus’ second coming, and the dead are raised, this present universe will be destroyed and the judgment day will take place. But the A.D. 70 advocates tell us that the world to be destroyed was the Old Testament Jewish world, not the material world. This is not what the scriptures teach as we shall see in our next article when we study what the Bible actually teaches about the judgment day and the end of the world.
The Bible teaches that after Jesus’ second coming and all the dead in the graves are resurrected, all will then stand before God to be judged (Revelation 20:11-15). Jesus will be the judge (Acts 17:31). The judgment standard will be His word (John 12:48). This day of judgment has not yet happened, it is still in the future. But the doctrine we are examining denies this. They tell us the judgment day is already past. According to Max King, it took place in A.D. 70 so there is no need to wait for it in the future. King says: “A future judgment is no more needed than a future cross.” (SOP p.80). How does he arrive at such a conclusion?
He argues that all the prophecies concerning Jesus second coming centers on the Greek word mello which appears in such passages as Matthew 16:27; Acts 17:31; II Timothy 4:1. In these passages “mello” is translated “will” as in “will come,” “will judge”. So King responds by referencing Acts 17:31,
“Paul said God was about (mello) to judge the world. This word ‘mello,’ where found in the present active, indicative tense signifies, not only intention of purpose but also nearness of action, meaning at the point of, or ready to do what had been stated. Had Paul meant to teach judgment of 2000 or more years’ future he certainly would not have used ‘mello’ in any tense, especially in the present sense. Therefore the judgement [sic] of the habitable world (oikoumene) was about to take place in Paul’s day, and in view of other related Scriptures we have every reason to believe Paul’s choice of words conveyed the meaning intended by the Holy Spirit.” (SOP p.157).
He tries to use the word “mello” translated “to be about to do, to be on the point of doing” and limits its meaning to mean at the point of happening now, leaving no room for a long extended time. It is true the word can indicate nearness in the sense of a short duration of time, but it is not always true. Thayer’s Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament translates “mello” “…to be on the point of doing, or suffering something…to intend, have in mind, think to…of those things which will come to pass by fixed necessity or divine appointment…in general, of what is sure to happen.” [Pgs.396-397]. Considering King’s use of mello, he is forcing Paul to say something that is not true. With consideration to Thayer’s definition, Paul is teaching Jesus is on the point of coming. He intends to come because He is divinely appointed to come. But it is God who made the appointment and it will be God who determines the time when Jesus comes to judge the world. Notice a couple of scriptures that use the word “mello,” showing that a short duration is not under consideration. In Matthew 4:11 Jesus is pointing out that John the baptist is the prophesied “Elijah that is to come” (Malachi 4:5) (literally the about to come one). Yet there is a period of 400 years between the prophecy and its fulfillment. In Romans 5:14 Paul, in contrasting Adam (type) with Christ (antitype), writes: “… Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come” (was – “mello”). Christ had been about to come for several thousand years, all the way back to the time of Adam. That sure was not just a short duration away. King’s insistence that “mello” means just a short duration away rings hollow. Other scriptures using “mello” could be mentioned, showing just how far in the wrong King is. But the above should be sufficient for those who want the truth.
There are a number of scriptures that teach a future judgment, and they do not fit the A.D. 70 contention that the judgment was a localized event confined to the Judean area, and was a spiritualized judgment between the Judaism and Christianity. In Matthew 13:24-29 Jesus teaches the parable of the wheat and tares, He then explains it in Matthew 13:36-39. The sower is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seeds are sons of the kingdom, and the bad seeds (tares) are sons of the wicked ones. The enemy is the devil and the harvest is the end of the age (world) when the judgment takes place. As the angels (reapers) harvest the field (the whole world) they separate the good from the bad. This separation will be a complete, final separation between all the good and bad of the world, past, present, and future. Jesus taught the same thing when He told of the final day of judgment in Matthew 25:31ff. All mankind is assembled and judged. They are separated into two classes, sheep and goats. On that day the sheep (the righteous ones) will be eternally separated from the goats (the wicked ones) (Matthew 25:46). The righteous will have an eternal home in heaven and the wicked will live eternally in Hell.
A careful reading and application of these scriptures clearly show the fallacy of the A.D. 70 doctrine. The Bible just does not fit their idea of a localized judgment between Judaism and Christianity. But, as with the other things we have studied in this series, they simply ignore the context and twist the scriptures so they will fit their fanciful ideas. They force the word of God to say that the judgment day was only a spiritual separation between Judaism and Christianity, not a worldwide judgment of a final separation between the good and the bad. But do the righteous and wicked still co-exist? If so the judgment has not yet happened.
Jesus emphasized that on the day of punishment and reward will be meted out and a final separation will take place. The judgment day will be for all men and not a localized event confined to Palestine as they teach. The judgment will be a universal judgment for all men, including Athens (Acts 17:30-31). Think: of what interest would Athens have in a judgment that just involved the Jews in Palestine? (Romans 14:10; II Corinthians 5:10-11). Paul, knowing “the terror of the Lord,” sought to persuade all men, mostly Gentiles, about the coming judgment in which all mankind are held accountable, not just the Jews of Palestine (Revelation 20:11-15). Here John describes the final judgment of mankind. All the dead will be raised and assembled before God’s throne to be judged. The text says all mankind, “small and great” to be judged from “the book of life.” Did this happen in A.D. 70? No! Also, we are told in Revelation 20:10 that the devil, along with the beast and false prophet (Revelation 19:20) were cast into the lake of fire forever. But I can assure you the devil is still our adversary, and he is still active (I Peter 5:8). So the judgment is still in the future. When the scriptures are carefully studied and kept in the context they do not in any way support the contention of the A.D. 70 doctrine.
The End of the World
The A.D. 70 proponents not only teach that the final judgment spoken of in the Bible occurred in A.D. 70, but this date also marked the fulfillment of II Peter 3:10 in which Peter had declared that “the heaven will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat, both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” According to King, “the world marked for destruction in prophecy, the end of which involved the second coming of Christ and resulted in the true redemption of Israel was the Jewish world, Therefore it is the end of the Jewish world and not this material earth on which we live today.” (SOP, p.83). In other words, the world Peter talked about that was to “pass away,” along with the elements being melted with “fervent heat” and “the earth and the works in it “burned up” is not the literal, material world, but the Old Covenant Jewish world, which included the Law of Moses and the Jewish system, was destroyed in A.D. 70.
As with the previous events discussed, Max King simply redefines words in II Peter 3 to force them into supporting his ideas. He sees the “fire” of II Peter 3:7 as symbolic, as opposed to the literal “water” in the flood (II Peter 3:5-6). He makes the word “world’ refer to the Jewish/Mosaic age of past time, destroyed in A.D. 70, rather than the literal, material world that we live in. In fact, he finds “three worlds in II Peter 3” (SOP p.130), i.e., the world that perished in the days of the flood, the “Jewish world,” and the third one which was that perfect, complete something that followed after Judaism fell. He also twists the word “elements” to mean the rudimentary principles of the Old Mosaic Law, and the “works” to be the works of that law. Needless to say, his imaginary definitions do not fit the context, nor are they the proper use of Biblical hermeneutics.
Just what does II Peter 3 really teach about the end of the world? II Peter 3:10 teaches that when Jesus returns it will be destroyed by fire. In fact, God has determined that the whole universe will be burned up at that time. Just as in the days of Peter, there are those today who don’t believe what is written, so they laugh at the idea of universal judgment and destruction of the world. But Peter reminded his readers that the passing of time does not disannul the truth. For those who doubt, an examination of Peter’s words should dispel that notion. In II Peter 3:1-4 he addresses those who scoff at the idea Jesus will be returning again. He reminds them of the universal flood of Noah’s day (II Peter 3:5-7). If God destroyed the world once He can do it again. Then he deals with the delay (II Peter 3:8-9). The passage of time does not void Jesus’ promise. Time is not the consideration as to when He returns but the longsuffering of God is. The salvation of souls is at stake. But it will happen one day (II Peter 3:10-13).
Note also Hebrews 1:10-12 in this connection. Here the writer is drawing a contrast between Christ, the Creator, and the material universe. Christ the creator is eternal, the universe is material. The material will perish (Hebrews 1:11). What will perish? The things He created in the beginning (Hebrews 1:10).
So, when the world ends it will be in God’s time, His decision, not man’s. Those who speculate with doomsday scenarios as to how this world will end, whether by plague, asteroid, nuclear bomb, exploding sun, or something else, all contradict biblical truth. The Bible reveals how this world will end. God created it (Genesis 1:1) and He will end it with literal fire when He decides since He controls this universe (Colossians 1:16-17). He proved His ability to do this when He set the time for the destruction of the world by water (Genesis 7:23; II Peter 3:5-7). Now, He has also determined the day for the complete destruction of the world by fire. Yet, people read these words and tell us the earth will not be destroyed, it will remain. They read II Peter 3:13 and “look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
Isn’t it amazing that Max King and his crowd, along with the Jehovah's Witnesses and other millennialists, ignore the context of II Peter 3:10-13, and conclude that the present earth will simply be renovated for God’s people to dwell on, just as after the flood? The context does not teach a renovation of the present earth for it will be “burned up” (II Peter 3:10) and “dissolved” (II Peter 3:12). The text is teaching the creation of new heavens and a new earth where God’s saints will live forever. The expression “new heavens and a new earth” is a figurative expression that describes a new spiritual and moral order or arrangement. Isaiah foretold there would be a new order after the present order (the Jewish dispensation) passed away (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22). His prophecies were fulfilled in the present dispensation (order) of Christ, i.e. Christianity (Ephesians 1:10; II Corinthians 5:17). Peter is looking beyond the present time in which we now live, to the future time when Christ returns. At that time the present order of things will be “burned up” and “dissolved“ and “a new heaven and earth in which righteousness dwells” (II Peter 3:13) will be ushered in.
This new order is beyond the judgment after the present world is destroyed, but where? The answer is found in Revelation 21:1-2 where Peter’s fellow apostle John, in a vision, sees “a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away…and I saw the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” John says that the first heaven and earth are passed away, Peter says they will be burned up (II Peter 3:9). Where will the new order be? It will be in heaven, not on the earth. The text is not teaching a renovation; rather the passing of one thing to make way for a new. The new is new, not renovated; it is a new home for the resurrected saints, dwelling in heaven. Notice also Revelation 20:11, “the earth and the heaven fled away and there was found no place for them.” In other words, the heavens and the earth and all its inhabitants vanished.
If this transpired in A.D. 70 why are the heavens, earth, and people still around? Certainly, it was not a localized event since it involves the whole of mankind, not just Jerusalem II Peter 3:12. Not only this but consider the fact that if the water is literal, then so is the fire. The flood was universal and so is the fire that destroys the world. It was not localized. Then they try to twist the word “elements” to simply mean the rudimentary principles of the Old Law, and “works” to be the works of the law. What a travesty. Elements are the things from which all things come, the material cause of the universe. fire, air, earth, water as well as the planets. Of course, the works of the law were ended at the cross.
Deficiencies and Inconsistencies of the A.D. 70 Doctrine
We have been studying the A.D. 70 doctrine. I believe I have given enough evidence to show it to be false, misleading, and dangerous to one’s faith (II Timothy 1:16-18). Next, I want to point out some of its deficiencies and inconsistencies.
One of the deficiencies of this doctrine is that all of the New Testament books had to have been written before A.D. 70 if their doctrine is true. If there is one New Testament book written after A.D. 70 that mentions one or more of the last time events that the A.D. 70 advocates contend happened before or at A.D. 70 their doctrine is dealt a death blow. It is true that none of the writers gave a precise date for the composition of their books, yet by examining the internal (content) and external (outside the book) evidence, men can arrive at the probable time of writing. A criteria necessary for the New Testament books to be authentic and inspired is that each of the books had to have been written sometime during the lifetime of the author. If any New Testament book was written after A.D. 70 their doctrine is destroyed. A doctrine based on assumptions is at best resting on a very precarious foundation. How foolish it is to base one’s faith in something that cannot be proved with absolute certainty. The precise dating of any of the New Testament books ultimately comes down to one’s opinion based on the internal and external evidence one has available to him. While it is most probable that most of the New Testament books were written prior to A.D. 70, there is a great weight of evidence that indicates that the Gospel of John, I, II, III John, Jude, and Revelation were written after A.D. 70. The majority of commentators of these books feel very strongly that the weight of evidence favors the dating of these five books to be sometime after A.D. 70. Some date Jude somewhere between 62 and 80 A.D., but most lean more toward the latter date. Most place the gospel of John between 80-96 AD, the books of I, II, and III John between 90-96 A.D. and Revelation between 90-96 A.D. To argue that all the New Testament books must have been written before A.D. 70 is strictly an opinion, not fact. It is one thing to think or want something to be true, it is quite another to know it for certain. When all is said and done it is still an opinion, not a fact. I believe with the utmost certainty that all of the New Testament books were written by inspired men during their lifetime, and the things they wrote are the word of God, to be accepted and obeyed by all men. But to claim an exact date for their writings is an opinion – pure and simple.
Another deficiency of this doctrine is its lack of respect for proper rules of hermeneutics. D.R. Dungan in his authoritative work on hermeneutics writes: “Many seem disposed to regard themselves at liberty to make anything out of the Bible which their theology demands or their whim requires. And, if at any time, they find a passage that will not harmonize with that view, then the next thing is to find one or more words in the text used elsewhere in a figurative sense, and then demand that such be the Biblical dictionary meaning of that word, and hence that it must be the meaning in that place.” (Hermeneutics p.217). People wonder how anyone can get caught up with such a doctrine as A.D. 70. Well, just do what Max King did, invent a new way to look at scripture, so it makes sense. When he finds a scripture that does not say what he thinks it ought to say, he simply redefines the words to fit his preconceived ideas. He becomes his own Bible dictionary. He and his followers do not approach God’s word with an open mind. They are deceptive and subtle, using sophistry (deceptive subtle reasoning or argumentation) to shift reasoning, to play-on-words, so as to make the error attractive to the undiscerning. If a Scripture doesn’t agree with their hobby, they play fast and loose with the sound principles of Bible interpretation. They read into Scripture what they want or think it ought to say. When they do this they lead the undiscerning and ignorant away from the truth by appealing to their desire to find and hear something new and exciting. Many people would rather speculate than to take time to examine the facts.
They encounter a problem harmonizing their view of the resurrection with the Bible. They contend that the resurrection of the dead occurred in A.D. 70 and that the resurrected body was the church/kingdom, a system, and not that of individual bodies being resurrected. Jesus contradicts their view when He affirmed in Matthew 22:23-32 and Luke 20:27-40, a literal bodily resurrection of individuals. He also pointed out that in the resurrected state there would no longer be any marriages or death, for all would be as the angels in heaven who “neither marry nor are given in marriage.” But today people are still marrying and dying. So, the final resurrection and judgment did not take place in A.D. 70.
The A.D. 70 people contradict Paul’s view of the resurrection and his hope in God. In Acts 23:6 Paul and the Pharisees looked for the same bodily resurrection. Later as Paul stood before Felix he talked of this resurrection as being one for both the just and the unjust (Acts 24:15). The only way the A.D. 70 crowd is able to justify their denial of Paul’s view is to use their redefinition of words and ignore the context. They try to say Paul had in mind the end of the Jewish world, not a bodily resurrection. But, think, Paul was talking with Felix, a Roman governor, who had no reason to be afraid concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, he was a friend of Rome. King’s doctrine does not fit the reality of these New Testament passages. Felix trembled of the judgment to come because he knew it had a bearing upon his eternal soul.
They have problems with human redemption. Their concept is that forgiveness of sins was not fully accomplished until A.D. 70, that maturity and completeness were not possible before A.D. 70 because that was when the eternal church/kingdom became fully established. To them, baptism today is a take it or leave it command, which doesn’t jive with Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16.
They encounter problems concerning worship to God. Jesus established the Lord’s Supper to be a memorial of His death until He returns I Corinthians 11:26. The A.D. 70 people have two options available. They can conclude the Lord Supper no long proclaims Christ’s death till He comes, which removes the central reason and effect of it. Or they can conclude it is no longer applicable, and cease to practice it. I find both of these options unacceptable. If Christians are still eating it today, then Christ has not yet come or people are eating it without authority. Some of them teach that it a matter of indifference whether one eats it today or not. Another thing is that if Christ has already returned then we have to eliminate every song in our songbooks that talk of a future return of Christ, since He has already returned, according to them. Why sing songs that have no meaning, or teach something untrue? Some of them ignore these consequences and remain miserable about it, or they just sink further and further into error. Much more could be written about this pernicious doctrine but I feel these written are sufficient to expose the falseness of their doctrine. It destroys faith and removes any hope for the future.
I wrote at the beginning of the article that I have relied on the material of several who have written on this subject before me. The arrangement of the material is mine, but I lay no claim to originality for the thoughts presented.
References materials used:
- “A Study of the A.D. 70 Doctrine” (booklet collection of articles-edited by Mike Willis).
- “The A.D. 70 Theory (review of the Max King Doctrine)" by Wayne Jackson.
- Florida College Lectures 1986 - "A.D 70 The End?" Lecture by- Almond Williams, pgs 207-230.
- Internet articles by Stan Cox, editor of Watchman Magazine.
- Craig Thomas’ Internet tract, “Examining Realize Eschatology.”