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Plain Talk About Realized Eschatology (AD 70 Doctrine)

What is Realized Eschatology (AD 70 Doctrine?

The realized eschatology of Preterism (that which is past, bygone) believes “that all end-time prophecy was fulfilled in the first century.  This position holds that the second coming of Christ, the judgment, and the resurrection of the dead, all found fulfillment in the period of destruction of all Judea, by the Romans, in the 70s of the post-Christ period.”

This position is based on four supposed Bible truths.

How can we come to a conclusion about the doctrine?

To come to a conclusion we must look at the “comings of Christ” (parousia), “the day of the Lord”, “the last days”, “the last day”,  “the judgment”, “the resurrection”, “the time of the end”, “apocryphal language”, “the new heavens and new earth” “redemption” and the interaction of these things.  

What are the “comings” of Christ?  Are there more than one or two?  Are they literal or figurative?  

 When you read or hear any material, but especially new material, be critical; don’t accept it until you have thoroughly examined it.  A person may be very sincere, but deceived.  The best way, I know, to test a doctrine, is to ask questions.  Reserve judgment until you are satisfied.  Check it out with the Scriptures.  For example, when people speak or write about “the coming of the Lord”, don’t assume it is the second coming or that all “comings” refer to a single event.  Don’t assume that they are similar in nature.  There are two literal comings but several figurative comings. Similar language does not necessarily indicate a single event.

“Comings” of the Lord found in the Scriptures

What basic interpretation error must we avoid?

We must differentiate the “AD 70 coming” in Matthew 24: 1-35 from the “second coming” which is described in Matthew 24: 36 through Matthew 25:46? Remember, Jesus said that the great temple buildings would be completely torn down.  Then Jesus’ disciples asked, “Tell us when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age.”   We must guard against allowing our understanding being colored by the possible presuppositions of the disciples.

Why do the proponents of the AD 70 doctrine fall into this error? 

They believe that all end time events must be viewed as figurative.  They argue that since the kingdom of God is spiritual and not literal (which is true) therefore all the language about it must be taken figuratively.  But this conclusion is simply not true.  We have already noted that Christ came once literally and that the apostles saw Him literally ascend into heaven. (Acts 1: 9- 11)  They were told that He would come again (second coming) in just the same way as He departed; that is literally.  But in addition Hebrews 1: 1 tells us that God spoke to us in many portions and many way.  He speaks in His word both literally and figuratively; He speaks in parables; He speaks in hyperbole and even sarcasm; He speaks in the calm metaphor and the highly imaginative apocalyptic language of Revelation and the Prophets.

A comparison of the AD 70 Coming and the Second Coming

Matthew 24: 1-35- AD 70 Coming

Matthew 24:36-25: 46 Second Coming

The Coming in AD 70, Matthew 24: 1-35, is radically different from the Second Coming, Matthew 24: 36- 25: 45.  I do not deny that Jesus “came” in AD 70, I do deny that that was the only coming and that it was not what is commonly referred to as the “second coming.”

Which comings were said to be near?

Is there a “coming” in which time is unknown or it is said to occur “after a long time”?

Yes, the time element of the Second Coming is unknown, unexpected, “like the days of Noah”, like a “thief in the night”, “after a long time.”   Matthew 24: 36, 37, 39, 42, 43, 44, 50; 25: 13, 19, 31, 32; 1 Thessalonians 3: 13; 4: 13- 18; 5: 2, 23; 1 Corinthians 1: 7, 8; 2 Peter 3: 3-12; 1 Timothy 6: 14; 1 Peter 1: 13; 1 John 2: 28

 

What do the Scriptures tell us about the Second Coming of Christ?

  Don’t be confused by the proponents of the AD 70 doctrine, who call the Coming in Judgment on the Jews in AD 70, the Second Coming.  It is not!

 

Which coming was associated with the resurrection?

Please note the finality of these passages: the last day, the end, the last enemy, and the last trumpet.  There is no later time.  The resurrection occurs at the second coming of Christ.

There was no resurrection (resurrection of those in the grave) at the AD 70 coming.   Therefore the AD 70 proponents invented one.  They admit there was no literal resurrection but they say there was a resurrection of a cause, the church was resurrected from the grave of Judaism.  Judge for yourself.  I can’t accept that explanation because when I read of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 and other places, it is the resurrection of the literal body that died and was buried.

Which coming is associated with the general judgment?

The Judgment of all Men

 

While I do not deny that a judgment was to occur in the first century, I do deny that that judgment was the great judgment in which all men both good and evil, including those of Tyre and Sidon, Nineveh, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Queen of the South and even the disobedient angels would appear.  Neither, I believe, was that the judgment that would be visited upon Rome.

 

The Last Days

The proponents of the AD 70 doctrine make much of the last days.  They tell us that the “last days” or “the end of the age” were fulfilled at the parousia of Christ (Matthew13: 39).  This is true only if you are speaking of the Second Advent not the AD 70 coming. But then they say “we know from numerous other Scriptures, that the “day of the Lord” was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem, in the same generation (Luke 21: 20-22, 32).   In fact, the 40 years from the cross to “the day of the Lord” were perfectly and precisely foreshown in the 40 years of wilderness wandering, in preparation for Israel’s entrance into the land of rest.” (New Testament Realized Eschatology; Todd Dennis; Preterist Archives)

You be the judge.  There are several “days of the Lord” mentioned in the Scriptures.  To assign all end time events to the AD 70 “day of the Lord” is arbitrary and incorrect.

With the exception of Genesis 49: 1 which does not seem to be speaking about the same events.  These are all the passages in the Scriptures that refer to the “last days.”  Does this sound like a period of time from the cross to the destruction of Jerusalem?   You be the judge.

What is the “last day”?

Well the “last day” is the “last day.”  There won’t be any more days after this day.  Has this “last day” happened?  I am convinced it has not. 

With the exception of Nehemiah 8: 18 and John 7: 37, which do not seem to deal with end time events, the above are all of the Scriptures that refer to the “last day.”  Surely we can agree that the “last day” will be the end of all things including the “last days.”  But the “last day” is associated with resurrection of the dead ones and judgment of all men

What is the “day of the Lord”?

The “day of the Lord” refers to a significant event, when something of note occurred.

Regardless of your opinion about several passages, over all we find that “the day of the Lord” is not a term reserved for the events of AD 70, but it is a term used over and over for any great and notable event.

The term “day of the Lord” found in 1 Thessalonians 5: 2 and 2 Peter 3: 10 is used in reference to a “thief in the night” event.  There are no signs given regarding time, therefore I conclude that they are not AD 70 events

 

The Ends

Is there more than one “end” in view in the Scriptures?  Judge for yourself.

AD 70 Coming

Second Coming of Christ

The End of the Law

The consummation of the ages

Judaism ended at the cross, when Jesus tasted death for every one.  It appeared, however to continue on undiminished.  But that was soon to change.  When Titus and his armies laid siege to Jerusalem, the temple, the center of the Jew’s religion and culture, was destroyed; the priesthood ended forever more and with it, the sacrificial offerings.  Judaism, as a recognizable religion established by God, ended.

Jesus came not to abolish but to fulfill the Law and the prophets. The smallest part of the Law and the prophets would not pass away until they were fulfilled.  When Jesus fulfilled the Law, however, it did pass away.               Matthew 5: 17, 18

Generally speaking, Christ fulfilled the Law and the prophets, making them no longer applicable as their purpose had been accomplished.

When was the law abolished?

A change of covenants

No discussion of this subject, Realized Eschatology, can be complete without a discussion of Luke 21: 31.   This is one of the primary verses used by AD 70 theorists.  This is the verse that appears to plainly say what the proponents of this doctrine teach, or does it?   Let’s look at it.

. Even so you, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near.   Luke 21: 31

First let me say I agree:

Second:

Third:

 “The kingdom of God is near” means that the dominion and sovereignty and royal power of God was near to being displayed in the judgment and destruction of Jerusalem.  With the destruction of Jerusalem, Judaism would no longer have a temple, priesthood or sacrificial system authorized by God.  Christianity, long considered to be a sect of Judaism, now like the small mustard seed in the parable grew to become a tree   Judaism ended at the cross of Jesus for it was to serve only until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made.  The outer forms remained, however, until destroyed by the Romans   Matthew 13: 31, 32; Galatians 3:15-29

 

If the AD 70 theory were true Christ reigned approximately 40 years.

Jesus’ coronation occurred at His ascension.

He was to reign until the last enemy, death, was abolished.

Death was abolished at the resurrection.

But the resurrection (according to AD 70 doctrine) was in AD 70.

Therefore Jesus reigned approximately 40 years.

 

Redemption

Those who hold this doctrine hold that the redemption we have in Christ was not completed until AD 70.  They assume that every use of the word is the same, referring to the redemption of Christ, the forgiveness of sins.  This is not the case.

What is the primary use of the word?

Primarily “redemption” refers to the purchase from sin through the blood of Jesus Christ poured out in His death.

 

When will the redemption be complete?

The redemption will be complete when the physical body is redeemed.  This will occur when the Lord gives life to our mortal bodies and the perishable body is changed to an imperishable body.  This will occur on the “last day” not AD 70.   Romans 8: 11, 23; 1 Corinthians 15: 52, 53

 

But doesn’t Luke 21: 28 say that the redemption is drawing near?

Yes it does.  However I question that the reference is to the redemption from sin by the blood of Christ because Christ had already obtained that redemption when He presented His sacrifice to the Father at His ascension.     Hebrews 9: 12

 

What then is the meaning?

I believe the meaning is that the Jews will no longer have power and the ability to persecute the church.  The kingdom will increase from that time forward.

 

Was the redemption from sin complete prior to Ad 70?

Yes it was.  Note the following prior to AD 70.

What was lacking?  Nothing!  They had all the blessing of God prior to AD 70.

 

Questions I would like to ask the proponents of the AD 70 doctrine.

Do you really believe death was abolished at the supposed resurrection in  AD 70?

Do you observe the Lord’s Supper?  1 Corinthians 11: 26

Are you married?    Matthew 22: 30

What is your motivation, since you have received all you will receive?

Brethren and friends, please be extremely careful when dealing with the AD 70 Doctrine.  It is very dangerous.  The Apostle Paul said that Hymenaeus and Philetus had gone astray from the truth, saying that the resurrection had already taken place.  The AD 70 doctrine maintains that the resurrection occurred in the first century.   2 Timothy 2: 17, 18

God bless.

Arland Pafford

 

Plain Talk 

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e-mail: arland_pafford@yahoo.com

Last Update   09/26/12