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An Introduction to The Parousia: A Careful Look at the New Testament Doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming
by James Stuart Russell (1878) // Written by
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The Second Coming of Christ : Did it Already Occur ?

By Joe Price
(Originally appeared in:  Guardian of Truth - Oct. 5, 1989)

      In November, 1987, I participated in a lectureship with brethren Robert W.LaCoste and Harry Osborne at the Sierra Vista church in Enumclaw, Washington.

     We were asked by that church to present a series of lessons on the second coming of Christ, because of a doctrine which was affecting brethren in that church and that region. The doctrine which was and is having a destructive effect is formally referred to as "Realized Eschatology," or informally as the "A.D. 70" doctrine. Several brethren were confused over the Bible's presentation of the Lord's promised return as a result of this doctrine's influence. Since this lectureship, I have continued to hear of the attempted spread of this doctrine. Because of the serious effect this heresy has had upon individuals and entire churches it is necessary that it be exposed for what it is - a perversion of the gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:6-9). To engage in such an endeavor is mandated in Scripture (Jude 3-4). It is always right to expose error, protect the innocent, and turn away from divisive doctrines (Rom. 16:17-18). Our motive must be love for truth and for the souls of men. Our objective must be to warn and correct, using God's word as our standard (2 Tim. 2:24-26; 4:1-5).

     During the Enumclaw lectureship mentioned above, Harry Osborne and I had an opportunity to discuss this subject with two men who defended the A.D. 70 doctrine. On that occasion, these men set forth the basic position of the doctrine, namely, that the final coming of Christ and the promised resurrection (1 Thess. 4:16; 1 Cor. 15) occurred in 70 A.D. Such a doctrine has far-reaching consequences upon the faith of Christians! If it is true, then all who hope in the actual, bodily, personal return of Jesus are deceived (1 Thess. 4:16). If it is true, then we cannot expect our bodies to be raised to immortality when Jesus comes (1 Cor. 15:22-23, 51-54). If this doctrine is false, then those holding it have erred, and are guilty of overthrowing the faith of others, as were Hymenaeus and Philetus, who also said "the resurrection is past already" (2 Tim. 2:16-18). There is no middle ground

     What Is Realized Eschatology?  As James Orr says, "By ‘eschatology,’ or doctrine of last things, is meant the ideas entertained at any period on the future life, the end of the world (resurrection, judgment;...) and the eternal destinies of mankind" (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, James Orr, II:972). "Realized" signifies accomplishment, hence, Realized Eschatology is a doctrine of completed last things. According to its interpretation of the Bible, the end times were realized and accomplished in 70 A.D. at the destruction of Jerusalem. In fact, we are told by a major proponent of this doctrine that "the fall of Judaism (and its far reaching consequences) is, therefore, a major subject of the Bible" (The Spirit of Prophecy, Max R. King, p. 239). [For an excellent review and rebuttal of this book, see "The Preterist View Heresy (1-VIII)," Bill Reeves, Truth Magazine, Vol. XVII, No. 9-16 (4 Jan. - 22 Feb., 1973).] We are told that the second coming of Christ occurred at 70 A.D., at which time every spiritual blessing was perfected and made available to the world. Due to fundamental failures in sound, Biblical interpretation, Christians are being taught that all prophecy of end-time events was fulfilled in 70 A.D., and to look beyond that date for the personal coming of Christ and the bodily resurrection of mankind followed by a judgment, is without Biblical authority. Here is a sampling of this basic viewpoint of the doctrine from King's The Spirit of Prophecy:

"There is no scriptural basis for extending the second coming of Christ beyond the fall of Judaism." - p. 105

"...the end of the Jewish world was the second coming of Christ." - p. 81 (emp., King's)

"Prophecy found its complete fulfillment in the second coming of Christ, and now may be regarded as closed and consummated." - p. 65

     Thus, the second coming of Christ is made equal with the "fall of Judaism" (the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.). To King, and some misguided brethren today, we dare not look to our future in anticipation of the coming of the Lord! All prophecies relating to it were fulfilled in 70 A.D.! Now, when it is shown that the personal, bodily return of our Lord is described in terms which cannot apply to the events of 70 A.D., the error of this doctrine will be fully exposed.

     Did Jesus Come In The First Century Following His Ascension?
There is ample evidence in the word of God that Jesus did indeed come in some sense (or senses) in the first century. For example, He came in His kingdom (Matt. 16:28) with power (Mk. 9:1) on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:4-5, 8; 2:1-4, 33). Now, look how Jesus described the sending of the promised Comforter (the Holy Spirit) in John 14:18: "I come unto you." Surely no one will conclude that this must mean a bodily coming of Jesus! How would He come? Not bodily, but representatively, through the Holy Spirit whom He would send (Jno. 15:26). Again, in Matthew 24:29-30, Jesus taught that during that generation (24:34) "they shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." The context of Matthew 24 tells us how they would see Him. The context of the chapter is the destruction of Jerusalem. Unquestionably, Jesus did not appear bodily in 70 A.D. when Jerusalem fell. Instead, Matthew 24:30 speaks of His presence in Jerusalem's judgment. He authorized it, and brought it to pass (cf. Isa. 19:1). They would see or discern His presence when this destructive judgment occurred. Yes, Jesus Christ came in judgment in 70 A.D., but it was not His bodily return! Similar language is used to describe His coming in judgment against the powers persecuting the saints in Revelation 1:7 (cf. Rev. 19:11-21). None of these "comings" of the Lord prevent a future coming of Christ in bodily form at the end of time!

     The A.D. 70 doctrine would make every mention of the "coming of the Lord" or "day of the Lord" mean the same event, regardless of its usage in context. It is a fact of Biblical interpretation that the same phrase can have different meanings. For example, take the expression "laid hands upon." In Acts 4:3, it means to arrest. In Acts 13:3, it means to commend. In Luke 13:13, it means to heal. In Acts 8:17 and 19:6, it means to impart spiritual gifts. To arbitrarily assign one meaning to this phrase every time it is used would result in absurdity! Yet, this is exactly what the A.D. 70 doctrine does with "coming of the Lord" and "day of the Lord."

     The problem with limiting the coming of the Lord to 70 A.D. is demonstrated by at least three passages in the New Testament:

     1) Consider Acts 1:9-11, where angels tell the apostles that Jesus "shall so come in like manner as ye beheld him going into heaven" (v. 11, ASV). In what manner did Jesus go into heaven? Jesus ascended into heaven actually and personally, in His resurrected body (Lk. 24:39). In Acts 1:9-11, five words are used which emphasize that actual sight was involved on this occasion. His apostles "were looking" as Jesus was taken up (v. 9). A cloud received Jesus "out of their sight" (v. 9). The apostles were "looking stedfastly into heaven" when two men in white apparel appeared to them (v. 10). These messengers asked the apostles, "Why stand ye looking into heaven?" (v. 11). And finally, the apostles were assured that Jesus would return in like manner as they had "beheld him" going into heaven (v. 11). The apostles actually saw Jesus' bodily ascension. This is the manner in which He will return (1 Thess. 4:16-17). Jesus did not come in bodily form, nor was He personally seen in the events of the coming of the kingdom (Matt. 16:28; Jno. 14:18), the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (Matt. 24:30), or in the defeat of the persecuting powers of Revelation 1:7. Christ's personal, bodily return is yet future!
    

     2) Next, consider 2 Peter 3:5-7, 10-11, where the A.D. 70 advocate "spiritualizes" away the meaning of the word of God. By His word, God created and then destroyed the world with water. By that same word of God, the heavens and earth which now exist are stored up for fire, awaiting a day of judgment against ungodliness:

    "For this they willfully forget, that there were heavens from of old, and an earth compacted out of water and amidst water, by the word of God; by which means the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire, being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up. "(2 Pet. 3:5-7, 11)

     The A.D. 70 advocates try to make the heavens and earth (v. 7, 10), which shall meet a fiery end, the Jewish economy (as do the Jehovah's Witnesses). But, this is to no avail. The world which was overflowed with water is now stored up for fire. This fiery judgment shall occur on "the day of the Lord" (v. 10), at His "coming" (v. 4). Was the world of Noah's time actually flooded? Then the world which now exists shall actually be destroyed with fire! If this verse had been fulfilled in 70 A.D., none of us would be here!

     The abuse of this passage illustrates the error in Biblical interpretation which is present in this system of error. As D. R. Dungan notes:

    "Many seem disposed to regard themselves as at liberty to make anything out of the Bible which their theology may demand or their whims require. 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 on the meaning of that word, and hence that it must be the meaning in that place." (Hermeneutics, Dungan, p. 217)

     The A.D. 70 doctrine attempts this with "the day of the Lord" and His "coming" in 2 Peter 3:4-11, but it finds no support here!

     3) 1 Corinthians 15 teaches a future, bodily resurrection from the dead. While the A.D. 70 doctrine says the resurrection is past already (having occurred in 70 A.D.), this passage decisively refutes that claim. To the Realized Eschatologist, the primary meaning of 1 Corinthians 15 is the resurrection of Christianity out of Judaism, not the resurrection of mankind at the personal return of Jesus Christ. To briefly set forth their case, hear Max King on what is resurrected in 1 Corinthians 15:

     "Next (1 Cor. 15:35-44 - jrp), Paul answers questions concerning how the dead are raised and with what body they come forth. The primary application (emp., jrp) deals with the development and rise of the Christian system itself, with a secondary application belonging to believers and their state within the system. The natural body that was sown (verse 44) answers to the fleshly or carnal system of Judaism in which existed prophecies, types, and patterns from which came the spiritual body designed of God....The natural body (emp., King's), receiving its death blow at the cross and beginning then to wax old and decay (Heb. 8:13), became a nursery or seed-body for the germination, growth, and development of the spiritual body by means of the gospel.

    Thus, out of the decay of Judaism arose the spiritual body of Christianity (emp., jrp) that became fully developed or resurrected by the end-time. Hence, this is the primary meaning of Paul's statement (emp., jrp), ‘It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body’" (The Spirit of Prophecy, King, pp. 199-200).

     The assumed definitions and applications in that quotation alone show the subjective nature of this doctrine! The Scriptures are twisted to say what has already been decided, namely, that Christianity arose out of Judaism, an event which we are told was completed in 70 A.D.! I cannot think of a better illustration of 2 Peter 3:15-17! Can you?

     In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul answers the teaching by some "that there is no resurrection of the dead" (v. 12). He does this by first establishing the validity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ (vs. 1-11). Then, he presents the consequences of denying the resurrection of the dead (vs. 12-34). Next, he anticipates objections to bodily resurrection (vs. 35-50). Finally, he praises the victory over death God gives us in Christ through the resurrection (vs. 51-58). The very thing defined in this chapter is denied by the A.D. 70 doctrine, namely, a future, bodily resurrection! To demonstrate this as the central theme of the chapter, consider vs. 20-23. Here, the bodily resurrection of all mankind is said to be based upon the bodily resurrection of Christ! The resurrected Christ is the firstfruits of the dead (vs. 20, 23). The offering of firstfruits under the law of Moses was the choicest and earliest ripe crop (Num. 18:12; Exo. 23:16, 19), indicating that all the crop which followed belonged to God (cf. Deut. 26:2-11). Also, we should note that the crop which followed was of the same kind or type as its firstfruits. In like manner, the resurrection of Christ from the dead is an assurance and guarantee that all who die shall be raised. And, we are assured that our resurrection will be the same kind as His. As surely as bodily death comes to all because of Adam's sin (Gen. 3:19), bodily resurrection will come to all because of Christ's bodily resurrection (vs. 21-22). This reveals His power and preeminence over death (cf. Jno. 5:28-29; Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:18). Thus, Paul defends the doctrine of bodily resurrection from the dead upon the basis of Christ's bodily resurrection. The later fruit (resurrection of all the dead at Christ's coming) must be the same kind of fruit as the firstfruits, namely, bodily resurrection! Jesus’ body was raised from the dead, and our bodies shall be raised, too. Nowhere do we discover a Judaism-
Christianity contrast in 1 Corinthians 15. That can only be found in the imagination of the A.D. 70 advocates!

     The attempt to assign to 70 A.D. every end-time event (including the final coming of Christ, bodily resurrection and the judgment) cannot be supported by Scripture. it is completely refuted by Acts 1:9-11, 2 Peter 3:1-11, and 1 Corinthians 15. But, why this fascination with the date of 70 A.D.? In our next article, we will see the answer to that question. 


THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST:
DID IT ALREADY OCCUR? (II)

(By Joe Price)

 

     The doctrine which says the personal, second coming of Jesus Christ occurred in 70 A.D. is confusing some brethren, and destroying the faith of others. In our previous article, we saw how this doctrine claims that all the second coming prophecies happened in 70 A.D. While showing that Jesus came in judgment against Jerusalem in 70 A.D., we also noticed three passages which teach us that the personal return of Christ is still future. These passages are Acts 1:9-11, 2 Peter 3:4-11 and 1 Corinthians 15. He will come bringing rest to the righteous and punishment to the wicked (2 Thess. 1:7-10; Matt. 25:31-46). At His return, all mankind will be resurrected to stand before His judgment-seat, and there receive a just sentence for the deeds done in this life (Jno. 5:28-29; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:12-15). This world shall be dissolved in a fiery judgment, and a new order shall be established (2 Pet. 3:10-13). These events did not occur in 70 A.D. It is therefore right to hope for a future return of Jesus Christ. We were not begotten unto a dead hope, but a living one (1 Pet. 1:3-5; cf. 1 Cor. 15:19).

     Why has 70 A.D. been made such a focal point in this false doctrine? While several answers could be offered which address this question, I submit that the underlying reason for this doctrinal error rests upon a perverted interpretation of the allegory found in Galatians 4:21-31. In this allegory, the A.D. 70 advocate believes that he finds comfort and support for his doctrine. Instead, he finds a refutation of it!

     An Overlapping of the Covenants?   To understand how the allegory of Galatians 4:21-31 fits into the system of Realized Eschatology, consider Max King's following statement:

    "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 Ishmael ‘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." (The Spirit of Prophecy, Max R. King, p. 239. emp., King's).

     According to King (and others), this allegory establishes his view of the end times. This doctrine teaches that "out of the decay of Judaism arose the spiritual body of Christianity" (Ibid., p. 200). We are told that this occurred during the forty year period of 30 - 70 A.D. Therefore, an overlapping of the old and new covenants is believed to have occurred, and becomes crucial to this doctrine's defense. By having us believe that the old and new covenants overlapped from 30-70 AD., this heresy would have us believe that Christians were "given the place and inheritance" of the Jews. These two allegations (an overlapping of the covenants, and Christians being given the inheritance of the Jews) constitute two fatal mistakes in this false doctrine. So then, let us first look at whether or not the old and new covenants overlapped from 30-70 A.D. Then, we will consider the inheritance obtained by Christians.

     God’s word clearly teaches us that the old covenant ceased prior to 70 A.D. To suggest that the covenant remained until 70 A.D. is to deny God’s revealed truth. Consider the following evidence:

     1) Romans 7:1-6 - An overlapping of the covenants would amount to spiritual adultery. It is adultery to be married to another man while one's husband lives (v. 3). With his death, the wife is "discharged from the law of the husband" (v. 2), and is free to marry another (v. 3). With these truths, Paul illustrates man’s current relationship to the law of Moses:

    "ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ; that ye should be joined ("married" - KJV) to another, even to him who was raised from the dead,....But now we have been discharged from the law...." (v. 4, 6).

     If the old and new covenants overlapped from 30-70 AD., Paul's illustration would mean nothing! Furthermore, a Jewish Christian would be married to two husbands (covenants) simultaneously, hence, spiritual adultery! More than a decade before 70 A.D., the apostle said, "But now we have been discharged from the law!" There was no overlapping of the covenants!

     2) Colossians 2:13-15 - The focal point in the removal of the old covenant is the cross, not 70 A.D. In this passage, Paul emphasizes the cross as the means whereby one was released from the "bond written in ordinances." While the old covenant could not forgive (Heb. 10:1-4), the cross triumphs over sin and its cohorts (v. 15). At the cross, three things regarding the old covenant occurred (v. 14): (1) It was blotted out. That is, it was removed, being against or contrary to man's forgiveness. (2) It was taken out of the way. Again, its removal is stressed. (3) It was nailed to the cross. Triumph over sin occurred at the cross, not 70 A.D.!

     3) 2 Corinthians 3:14 - The old covenant is done away in Christ, not in 70 A.D. Like the Hebrews of Paul’s day, the A.D. 70 advocate fails to perceive that the old covenant was done away in Christ. The old covenant was already done away when Paul wrote this passage! Only minds "hardened" to this truth could miss the apostle's meaning.

     4) Hebrews 7:11-14 - An overlapping of the covenants would mean two priesthoods were in force at the same time. Under the old covenant, the Levitical priesthood was in force (v. 11). However, Christ is not a priest like Aaron (v. 11), but one who is "after the likeness of Melchizedek" (vs. 15, 3). Because Jesus came from the tribe of Judah and not Levi, He could not serve as a priest while the old law was in force (vs. 13-14; Heb. 8:4). The law had to change to enable Jesus Christ to serve as priest over the house of God (Heb. 7:12, 15-17; 10:21; 3:1; 5:5-6; 6:20). Jesus did not wait until 70 A.D. to become a priest. Neither did He gradually become one. He began serving as High Priest when He sat down at God's right hand (Heb. 8:1-2). Therefore, since Jesus served as High Priest before 70 A.D., the law was changed before 70 A.D. (Heb. 7:12).

     5) Ephesians 2:13-18 - Christ made peace between Jews and Gentiles in His death, not in 70 A.D. Again, we find the Bible teaching us that the cross is the focal point of God’s plan for peace and human redemption, not 70 A.D. "He is our peace" (v. 13), thus identifying Christ as the one who accomplished peace between Jews and Gentiles. When and how did He do this? He produced peace between Jews and Gentiles by removing that which stood as a barrier between them, namely, the "law of commandments contained in ordinances" (vs. 14-15). This abolition of the "middle wall of partition," with its enmity, occurred "in his flesh" (v. 15). Verse 16 confirms this as Christ's death, by teaching us that reconciliation with God was accomplished "through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby." Peace between the Jews and Gentiles, and reconciliation with God, was not achieved only after a 40-year struggle of the two covenants (with the new one finally overcoming the old one!). Salvation by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8) was available for all flesh, and preached without distinction to all flesh, long before 70 A.D. (Acts 2:17, 21, 39; 11:12-18; 10:34-35; 15:7-11). Access to God for both Jews and Gentiles is through Christ's death (v. 18).

     Were Christians Given the Place and Inheritance of the Jews?  Realized Eschatology would have you believe that Christians were given the place and inheritance of the Jews. Recall Max King’s quote, given earlier, where he said, "They overlapped a little, but Isaac ‘came on’ when Ishmael ‘went out.’ The son born of the spirit was given the place and inheritance of the son born of the flesh" (The Spirit of Prophecy, p. 239). By redefining the allegory of Galatians 4:21-31, the A.D. 70 doctrine has occasioned its own downfall.

     An assumed purpose of Paul's allegory is used as the basis for contending that Christians were given the place and inheritance of the Jews:

    "The purpose of Paul in this allegory was threefold: First, to show that Abraham had two sons which existed side by side for a time in the same household. This is a truth that is vital to the teachings of the New Testament, and will be a key factor in the study and application of prophecy. Much misapplication of scripture can be attributed to a failure to recognize this simple but vital truth. These two sons are typical of the two Israels of God, one born after the flesh (old covenant) and the other born after the Spirit (new covenant)....Ishmael was the first born and, as such, had the right of primogeniture, a right he maintained at the birth of Isaac, and even thereafter UNTIL he was cast out or disinherited" (Ibid., pp. 29-30, emp. mine, jrp).

     Realized Eschatology’s redefinition of the allegory concludes that Ishmael was the rightful heir of Abraham "UNTIL" he was "cast out." Thus, we should believe that the Jews under the old covenant were the rightful heirs of the inheritance, but were "cast out" at 70 A.D. (at which time Christians took their place and received the Jews’ inheritance). However, the Bible declares that Ishmael was never heir of the Abrahamic promises (Gen. 12:1-3)! Remember, Ishmael was Sarah's remedy for Abraham’s lack of an heir (inasmuch as she gave her handmaid Hagar to Abraham, Gen. 16.1-3), not God's. Even before Isaac was born, God made it clear that Ishmael was not heir of the promises He had made, when He declared that His covenant would be established with Isaac, not Ishmael (Gen. 17:15-21). Since Ishmael never was heir to these blessings, he could not be "disinherited" of them! Isaac did not take Ishmael’s place as heir! Neither did Christians take the Jews’ place as heirs of God’s inheritance!

     The old covenant did not contain the inheritance of God's Abrahamic promises Righteousness and justification is not through the law, but through faith in Christ (Gal. 2:16, 21; 3:7-14, 21-23; Rom. 3:20-22). The law gave a knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20), but no release from it (Gal. 3:10, 12, 22-23). It produced "children of bondage" (Gal. 4:24). It contained no inheritance (Gal. 3:18-19), only a curse (Gal. 3:10-14). The "righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ" (Rom. 3:22) is "apart from the law" (Rom. 3:21). Therefore, the "children of promise" (Gal. 4:28 - Christians) did not receive their inheritance from the Jews of the old covenant. It they did, the inheritance would be "no more of promise" (Gal. 3:18). To suggest that Christians were given the place and inheritance of the Jews is to demonstrate a woeful misunderstanding of God's promise to Abraham and how it is received. Its blessings are received through faith in Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:16-19, 23-29), not through the law. Our inheritance is "according to promise," not according to the law!

     The Allegory of Galatians 4:21-31 Denies the A.D. 70 Doctrine.  Max King's quote from page 239 of his book says "this simple allegory (Gal. 4:21-31) establishes the ‘Spirit of prophecy.’" Instead, the truth of this allegory destroys the A.D. 70 doctrine. Why was this allegory used by the apostle Paul? What does the allegory teach?

     The background of the allegory is found in Galatians 3:23-29, where the inspired teacher makes four needed observations:

1) v. 23 - The law of Moses was in force, and men were under it, BEFORE faith came.
2) vs. 24-25 - The law was a tutor to bring men to Christ, and now that tutor was no longer needed.
3) v. 25 - Paul says "NOW" faith is here (59-60 A.D.).
4) vs. 26-29 - We are children of God and heirs according to promise through faith in Christ, not through the law of Moses.

     Having used Galatians 3 to teach that Christians are not justified by the law of Moses, but through faith in Christ, Paul now addresses those Christians who "desire to be under the law" (Gal. 4:21), and shows them that the law itself contains an illustration of how their desire was out of place.

     The allegory (Gal. 4:21-31) uses Sarah and Hagar as the two covenants (v. 24), and their sons as the product of those covenants. Hagar signifies the Mosaic law, which produced "children of bondage" (v. 24). Verse 25 emphasizes this point of bondage (cf. Gal. 3:10, 22; Rom. 3:20). Sarah corresponds to the new covenant. Isaac corresponds to Christians, who are the children of promise (vs. 26-28). In verse 29, the children of bondage (Jews) are presented as persecutors of the children of promise (Christians), just as Ishmael was the persecutor of Isaac (not "the firstborn" of Abraham). What should Christians do? Should they desire to be under the law? Should they turn back to bondage by joining their persecutors? NO! The allegory teaches them (and us) to not go back to the law and live under it, for that would place them (and us) in the bondage of sin. Instead, "cast out the handmaid (old covenant) and her son (Jews with their persecutions)," and live in the freedom of the new covenant (Gal. 4:30-5:4). God says to purge yourself from turning back to the Mosaic law, and to live as the children of promise that you are! Do not live in bondage to the law and its curse, but in freedom from sin and death through faith in Christ!

     The allegory does not carry within it the arbitrary definitions and subjective applications which the A.D. 70 doctrine places upon it. We cannot apply the allegory beyond where and how the inspired apostle of Christ applied it. To make of it an "embryonic statement" of the Realized Eschatology theory is a wresting of Scripture (2 Pet. 3:16) by the wisdom of men (1 Cor. 3:18-20; Rom. 1:22).

     Such mishandling of the word of truth must be avoided (2 Tim. 2:15) and contended against (Jude 3-4). In our final installment on the A.D. 70 doctrine) we will look at some of the grave consequences of its principle tenets. (To read the final installment, click on "Time".)
 

THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST:
DID IT ALREADY OCCUR? (II)

(By Joe Price)

 

     The doctrine which says the personal, second coming of Jesus Christ occurred in 70 A.D. is confusing some brethren, and destroying the faith of others. In our previous article, we saw how this doctrine claims that all the second coming prophecies happened in 70 A.D. While showing that Jesus came in judgment against Jerusalem in 70 A.D., we also noticed three passages which teach us that the personal return of Christ is still future. These passages are Acts 1:9-11, 2 Peter 3:4-11 and 1 Corinthians 15. He will come bringing rest to the righteous and punishment to the wicked (2 Thess. 1:7-10; Matt. 25:31-46). At His return, all mankind will be resurrected to stand before His judgment-seat, and there receive a just sentence for the deeds done in this life (Jno. 5:28-29; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:12-15). This world shall be dissolved in a fiery judgment, and a new order shall be established (2 Pet. 3:10-13). These events did not occur in 70 A.D. It is therefore right to hope for a future return of Jesus Christ. We were not begotten unto a dead hope, but a living one (1 Pet. 1:3-5; cf. 1 Cor. 15:19).

     Why has 70 A.D. been made such a focal point in this false doctrine? While several answers could be offered which address this question, I submit that the underlying reason for this doctrinal error rests upon a perverted interpretation of the allegory found in Galatians 4:21-31. In this allegory, the A.D. 70 advocate believes that he finds comfort and support for his doctrine. Instead, he finds a refutation of it!

     An Overlapping of the Covenants?   To understand how the allegory of Galatians 4:21-31 fits into the system of Realized Eschatology, consider Max King's following statement:

    "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 Ishmael ‘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." (The Spirit of Prophecy, Max R. King, p. 239. emp., King's).

     According to King (and others), this allegory establishes his view of the end times. This doctrine teaches that "out of the decay of Judaism arose the spiritual body of Christianity" (Ibid., p. 200). We are told that this occurred during the forty year period of 30 - 70 A.D. Therefore, an overlapping of the old and new covenants is believed to have occurred, and becomes crucial to this doctrine's defense. By having us believe that the old and new covenants overlapped from 30-70 AD., this heresy would have us believe that Christians were "given the place and inheritance" of the Jews. These two allegations (an overlapping of the covenants, and Christians being given the inheritance of the Jews) constitute two fatal mistakes in this false doctrine. So then, let us first look at whether or not the old and new covenants overlapped from 30-70 A.D. Then, we will consider the inheritance obtained by Christians.

     God’s word clearly teaches us that the old covenant ceased prior to 70 A.D. To suggest that the covenant remained until 70 A.D. is to deny God’s revealed truth. Consider the following evidence:

     1) Romans 7:1-6 - An overlapping of the covenants would amount to spiritual adultery. It is adultery to be married to another man while one's husband lives (v. 3). With his death, the wife is "discharged from the law of the husband" (v. 2), and is free to marry another (v. 3). With these truths, Paul illustrates man’s current relationship to the law of Moses:

    "ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ; that ye should be joined ("married" - KJV) to another, even to him who was raised from the dead,....But now we have been discharged from the law...." (v. 4, 6).

     If the old and new covenants overlapped from 30-70 AD., Paul's illustration would mean nothing! Furthermore, a Jewish Christian would be married to two husbands (covenants) simultaneously, hence, spiritual adultery! More than a decade before 70 A.D., the apostle said, "But now we have been discharged from the law!" There was no overlapping of the covenants!

     2) Colossians 2:13-15 - The focal point in the removal of the old covenant is the cross, not 70 A.D. In this passage, Paul emphasizes the cross as the means whereby one was released from the "bond written in ordinances." While the old covenant could not forgive (Heb. 10:1-4), the cross triumphs over sin and its cohorts (v. 15). At the cross, three things regarding the old covenant occurred (v. 14): (1) It was blotted out. That is, it was removed, being against or contrary to man's forgiveness. (2) It was taken out of the way. Again, its removal is stressed. (3) It was nailed to the cross. Triumph over sin occurred at the cross, not 70 A.D.!

     3) 2 Corinthians 3:14 - The old covenant is done away in Christ, not in 70 A.D. Like the Hebrews of Paul’s day, the A.D. 70 advocate fails to perceive that the old covenant was done away in Christ. The old covenant was already done away when Paul wrote this passage! Only minds "hardened" to this truth could miss the apostle's meaning.

     4) Hebrews 7:11-14 - An overlapping of the covenants would mean two priesthoods were in force at the same time. Under the old covenant, the Levitical priesthood was in force (v. 11). However, Christ is not a priest like Aaron (v. 11), but one who is "after the likeness of Melchizedek" (vs. 15, 3). Because Jesus came from the tribe of Judah and not Levi, He could not serve as a priest while the old law was in force (vs. 13-14; Heb. 8:4). The law had to change to enable Jesus Christ to serve as priest over the house of God (Heb. 7:12, 15-17; 10:21; 3:1; 5:5-6; 6:20). Jesus did not wait until 70 A.D. to become a priest. Neither did He gradually become one. He began serving as High Priest when He sat down at God's right hand (Heb. 8:1-2). Therefore, since Jesus served as High Priest before 70 A.D., the law was changed before 70 A.D. (Heb. 7:12).

     5) Ephesians 2:13-18 - Christ made peace between Jews and Gentiles in His death, not in 70 A.D. Again, we find the Bible teaching us that the cross is the focal point of God’s plan for peace and human redemption, not 70 A.D. "He is our peace" (v. 13), thus identifying Christ as the one who accomplished peace between Jews and Gentiles. When and how did He do this? He produced peace between Jews and Gentiles by removing that which stood as a barrier between them, namely, the "law of commandments contained in ordinances" (vs. 14-15). This abolition of the "middle wall of partition," with its enmity, occurred "in his flesh" (v. 15). Verse 16 confirms this as Christ's death, by teaching us that reconciliation with God was accomplished "through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby." Peace between the Jews and Gentiles, and reconciliation with God, was not achieved only after a 40-year struggle of the two covenants (with the new one finally overcoming the old one!). Salvation by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8) was available for all flesh, and preached without distinction to all flesh, long before 70 A.D. (Acts 2:17, 21, 39; 11:12-18; 10:34-35; 15:7-11). Access to God for both Jews and Gentiles is through Christ's death (v. 18).

     Were Christians Given the Place and Inheritance of the Jews?  Realized Eschatology would have you believe that Christians were given the place and inheritance of the Jews. Recall Max King’s quote, given earlier, where he said, "They overlapped a little, but Isaac ‘came on’ when Ishmael ‘went out.’ The son born of the spirit was given the place and inheritance of the son born of the flesh" (The Spirit of Prophecy, p. 239). By redefining the allegory of Galatians 4:21-31, the A.D. 70 doctrine has occasioned its own downfall.

     An assumed purpose of Paul's allegory is used as the basis for contending that Christians were given the place and inheritance of the Jews:

    "The purpose of Paul in this allegory was threefold: First, to show that Abraham had two sons which existed side by side for a time in the same household. This is a truth that is vital to the teachings of the New Testament, and will be a key factor in the study and application of prophecy. Much misapplication of scripture can be attributed to a failure to recognize this simple but vital truth. These two sons are typical of the two Israels of God, one born after the flesh (old covenant) and the other born after the Spirit (new covenant)....Ishmael was the first born and, as such, had the right of primogeniture, a right he maintained at the birth of Isaac, and even thereafter UNTIL he was cast out or disinherited" (Ibid., pp. 29-30, emp. mine, jrp).

     Realized Eschatology’s redefinition of the allegory concludes that Ishmael was the rightful heir of Abraham "UNTIL" he was "cast out." Thus, we should believe that the Jews under the old covenant were the rightful heirs of the inheritance, but were "cast out" at 70 A.D. (at which time Christians took their place and received the Jews’ inheritance). However, the Bible declares that Ishmael was never heir of the Abrahamic promises (Gen. 12:1-3)! Remember, Ishmael was Sarah's remedy for Abraham’s lack of an heir (inasmuch as she gave her handmaid Hagar to Abraham, Gen. 16.1-3), not God's. Even before Isaac was born, God made it clear that Ishmael was not heir of the promises He had made, when He declared that His covenant would be established with Isaac, not Ishmael (Gen. 17:15-21). Since Ishmael never was heir to these blessings, he could not be "disinherited" of them! Isaac did not take Ishmael’s place as heir! Neither did Christians take the Jews’ place as heirs of God’s inheritance!

     The old covenant did not contain the inheritance of God's Abrahamic promises Righteousness and justification is not through the law, but through faith in Christ (Gal. 2:16, 21; 3:7-14, 21-23; Rom. 3:20-22). The law gave a knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20), but no release from it (Gal. 3:10, 12, 22-23). It produced "children of bondage" (Gal. 4:24). It contained no inheritance (Gal. 3:18-19), only a curse (Gal. 3:10-14). The "righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ" (Rom. 3:22) is "apart from the law" (Rom. 3:21). Therefore, the "children of promise" (Gal. 4:28 - Christians) did not receive their inheritance from the Jews of the old covenant. It they did, the inheritance would be "no more of promise" (Gal. 3:18). To suggest that Christians were given the place and inheritance of the Jews is to demonstrate a woeful misunderstanding of God's promise to Abraham and how it is received. Its blessings are received through faith in Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:16-19, 23-29), not through the law. Our inheritance is "according to promise," not according to the law!

     The Allegory of Galatians 4:21-31 Denies the A.D. 70 Doctrine.  Max King's quote from page 239 of his book says "this simple allegory (Gal. 4:21-31) establishes the ‘Spirit of prophecy.’" Instead, the truth of this allegory destroys the A.D. 70 doctrine. Why was this allegory used by the apostle Paul? What does the allegory teach?

     The background of the allegory is found in Galatians 3:23-29, where the inspired teacher makes four needed observations:

1) v. 23 - The law of Moses was in force, and men were under it, BEFORE faith came.
2) vs. 24-25 - The law was a tutor to bring men to Christ, and now that tutor was no longer needed.
3) v. 25 - Paul says "NOW" faith is here (59-60 A.D.).
4) vs. 26-29 - We are children of God and heirs according to promise through faith in Christ, not through the law of Moses.

     Having used Galatians 3 to teach that Christians are not justified by the law of Moses, but through faith in Christ, Paul now addresses those Christians who "desire to be under the law" (Gal. 4:21), and shows them that the law itself contains an illustration of how their desire was out of place.

     The allegory (Gal. 4:21-31) uses Sarah and Hagar as the two covenants (v. 24), and their sons as the product of those covenants. Hagar signifies the Mosaic law, which produced "children of bondage" (v. 24). Verse 25 emphasizes this point of bondage (cf. Gal. 3:10, 22; Rom. 3:20). Sarah corresponds to the new covenant. Isaac corresponds to Christians, who are the children of promise (vs. 26-28). In verse 29, the children of bondage (Jews) are presented as persecutors of the children of promise (Christians), just as Ishmael was the persecutor of Isaac (not "the firstborn" of Abraham). What should Christians do? Should they desire to be under the law? Should they turn back to bondage by joining their persecutors? NO! The allegory teaches them (and us) to not go back to the law and live under it, for that would place them (and us) in the bondage of sin. Instead, "cast out the handmaid (old covenant) and her son (Jews with their persecutions)," and live in the freedom of the new covenant (Gal. 4:30-5:4). God says to purge yourself from turning back to the Mosaic law, and to live as the children of promise that you are! Do not live in bondage to the law and its curse, but in freedom from sin and death through faith in Christ!

     The allegory does not carry within it the arbitrary definitions and subjective applications which the A.D. 70 doctrine places upon it. We cannot apply the allegory beyond where and how the inspired apostle of Christ applied it. To make of it an "embryonic statement" of the Realized Eschatology theory is a wresting of Scripture (2 Pet. 3:16) by the wisdom of men (1 Cor. 3:18-20; Rom. 1:22).

     Such mishandling of the word of truth must be avoided (2 Tim. 2:15) and contended against (Jude 3-4). In our final installment on the A.D. 70 doctrine) we will look at some of the grave consequences of its principle tenets.


THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST:
DID IT ALREADY OCCUR? (III)

(By Joe Price)

 

    

     The proponents of Realized Eschatology, or the "A.D. 70" doctrine, have deceived and are deceiving some brethren into believing that all the end time events have already been accomplished. Its advocates have caused unsuspecting Christians to accept the belief that the events of 70 A.D. in the destruction of Jerusalem satisfy all the prophecies of a future return of Christ, resurrection of the dead, judgment and reception of the eternal inheritance. It would have us believe that the "last days" existed from 30-70 A.D., and that the "eternal days" began at 70 A.D. We are supposedly living in the "eternal days!" The "Bible" of this doctrine, Max King's The Spirit of Prophecy, has this to say on page 81: "...whenever faulty interpretation creates a time period that doesn't exist in the Bible, more error will follow by attributing to that period something that cannot belong to it." I say AMEN to that!

     This 40-year "gap" where the old and new covenants supposedly "overlapped" is the result of faulty interpretation, and it has borne its evil fruit! (See Part II of this series for more information on the overlapping of the covenants.)

     Simply stated, the A.D. 70 doctrine has the following things being accomplished on that date:

1) Second coming of Christ (as per 1 Cor. 15:23).
2) Resurrection of the dead (as per 1 Cor. 15).
3) Judgment / Day of the Lord (as per 2 Pet. 3:10; et al.).
4) Establishment of the new covenant.
5) Completeness in Christ (adulthood, adoption, redemption).
6) Kingdom fully established.
7) Reception of the eternal inheritance.

     To document these positions as central to this doctrine, consider this assessment from the pen of Max King:

"The fall of Judaism (and its far reaching consequences) is, therefore, a major (emp., King's) subject of the Bible. The greater portion of prophecy found its fulfillment in that event, including also the types and shadows of the law. It was the coming of Christ in glory that closely followed his coming in suffering (1 Pet. 1:11), when all things written by the prophets were fulfilled (Luke 21:22: Acts 3:21). It corresponded to the perfection of the saints (1 Cor. 13:10) when the reached adulthood in Christ, receiving their adoption, redemption, and inheritance. The eternal kingdom was possessed (Heb. 12:28) and the new heaven and earth inherited (Matt. 5:5; Rev. 21:1, 7)" - The Spirit of Prophecy, p. 239; emp. jrp).


     In Part I of this series, we addressed the major problems of this doctrine by looking at what the New Testament has to say about the second coming of Christ (including the judgment and the resurrection of the dead). In Part II, we discussed why 70 A.D. is made such a focal point in this system of error, with emphasis upon the old and new covenants and the allegory of Galatians 4:21-31. In this final article, we must consider some of the consequences of this doctrine, and see that it is not a harmless, private conviction which can be held without hurting oneself and others, but a pernicious theory of error which engulfs the souls of men in destructive heresy! Given this doctrine’s premise that God's scheme of redemption was not complete until 70 A.D., there are some very grave consequences which necessarily follow.

     Problems Regarding Resurrection:   1) Luke 20:34-36 - No marriage and no death after 70 A.D.! This consequence centers upon the view that the "last days" are to be defined as the closing period of the Jewish age, 30 - 70 A.D., with the "eternal days" continuing from that point. "We are now in that world ‘which is to come’ ....instead of being in last days we are in eternal days world without end (Eph. 3:21)." (Ibid., p. 81; emp. King’s). So, in the New Testament, those who lived between 30-70 AD. were in the "last days," while we now live in the "eternal days." However, in Luke 20:34-36, Jesus contrasts "this world" and "that world" following the resurrection of the dead, and concludes that while marriage occurs in "this world," it will not be so in "that world." Plus, those who "are accounted worthy to attain to that world, and the resurrection of the dead,...die no more" (vss. 35-36). Are people still marrying after 70 A.D.?! Of course they are! Are they still dying? Most certainly! Is the period of Christianity in which we now live termed the "eternal days" in the New Testament? No! Otherwise, following 70 A.D., Christians would be prohibited from marrying, and neither could they die anymore! The A.D. 70 doctrine is false!

     2) Acts 24:15 - The Pharisees and Paul looked for the same kind of resurrection. Here, it must be remembered that the A.D. 70 doctrine holds that the resurrection of the dead discussed in such places as 1 Corinthians 15 is the resurrection of Christianity out of Judaism (The Spirit of Prophecy, page 200). But, if this is the truth of the matter, then the Pharisees held a very strange hope concerning the resurrection! Paul states that his accusers before Felix were looking for "a resurrection both of the just and unjust," the same as Paul. Must we conclude these Jewish accusers were looking forward to the day when Christianity would arise to dominance, while Judaism would be destroyed under God's wrath?! Surely this is not what they were "looking for" (v. 15; Jno. 11:48-50), but we are told they were looking for the same resurrection Paul hoped for. Maybe the apostle Paul was wrong in his assessment of the Jews' hope, or, maybe the A.D. 70 doctrine is wrong in its assessment of the resurrection of the dead! What do you think?

     3) 1 Cor. 15:20-23 - The bodily resurrection of Jesus is called into doubt by this doctrine. Christ is presented as the "firstfruits" (v. 20) of the dead, which identifies Him as the beginning and the guarantor of a future, bodily resurrection (vss. 21-22, 35-49). The resurrection of the dead endorsed by 1 Corinthians 15 is a future, bodily resurrection of mankind, based upon the fact of Christ's bodily resurrection. If, however, the body to be raised in 1 Corinthians 15 is "Christianity out of Judaism," why must we believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ? If the later fruit resurrection of the dead - v. 21) is not the bodily resurrection of mankind, there is no real reason to believe the "firstfruits" (vss. 20, 23) was the bodily resurrection of Christ! (The firstfruits and the later fruits must be the same type of fruit!) The whole issue of Jesus’ bodily resurrection is called into doubt, and is a logical consequence of this doctrine. Are the proponents of the A.D. 70 doctrine ready to accept this consequence of their doctrine? If one will not accept the consequences of his position, he should renounce his position as the error that it is!

     These are but three consequences regarding resurrection from the dead which logically result from the A.D. 70 doctrine. Like the error of Hymenaeus and Philetus (who said the resurrection is past already, 2 Tim. 2:16-18), the A.D. 70 doctrine "proceed(s) further in ungodliness," as it eats like a cankerous sore upon the souls of men, spreading its decay and overthrowing the faith of saints. The plea of this writer is that those who currently hold to this doctrine will see its destructive effects upon "the faith of some" (v. 18), and renounce their acceptance of it.

     Problems Regarding Human Redemption:   1) Forgiveness of sins was not fully accomplished until 70 A.D. Forgiveness of sins was not fully accomplished until 70 A.D. This decotrine does not regard forgiveness of sins as an accomplished fact until 70 A.D. "When would ungodliness be turned away from Jacob, or their sins be taken away? When Christ, the deliverer, came OUT OF SION. When did Christ come out of Zion? Not at his first coming, but his second coming" (The Spirit of Prophecy, p.63; emp., King’s). The cross of Christ is thus removed as the focal point and means of accomplishing forgiveness, and replaced by 70 A.D.! Such a consequence reduces the scriptures to shambles, and makes deceptive the many appeals to people before 70 A.D. to receive the forgiveness of their sins through the death of Christ. In Acts 2:38, the apostle said "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." This Jewish audience did not have to wait until 70 A.D. to have their sins remitted! Acts 22:16 gives instruction to Saul to "wash away thy sins." by being baptized. Baptism puts one into the death of Christ (Rom. 6:3), to enable justification by His blood (Rom. 5:8-9). Forgiveness of sins was accomplished by the cross of Christ! In Romans 6:17-18, when the Romans "became obedient from the heart" to the gospel, they were "made free from sin," and "became servants of righteousness." This happened long before 70 A.D.!

     Referring back to the quote at the start of this article from page 239 of The Spirit of Prophecy, notice that Realized Eschatology says that our adoption, redemption and inheritance were accomplished at the fall of Judaism (70 A.D.). Yet, Galatians 4:3-7 places the means of our adoption at the first coming of Christ (vss. 4-5), and its reality prior to 70 A.D., when Paul says "ye are sons" (v. 6). Our redemption was accomplished at the cross (Gal. 3:13-14; Heb. 9:11-12). Our inheritance as sons of God is thereby assured (Rom. 8:16-17; Gal. 3:18). Forgiveness and its blessings are ours today because of the cross of Christ, not because of the fall of Judaism in 70 A.D.

     2) Maturity or completeness in Christ was not possible before 70 A.D. So implies King's quote from page 239 of his book. However, Colossians 2:10 says "in him ye are made full." In chapter 1:27-28, Christ was being proclaimed ‘that we may present every man perfect in Christ." They were not proclaiming the fall of Judaism in 70 A.D. as the means of perfection (completeness, full growth, maturity)! This doctrine concludes that no Christian could be mature in Christ before 70 A.D. -- not apostles, not elders, not any child of God! The ramifications of that consequence are mind-boggling.

     Problems Regarding The Establishment Of The Kingdom:  By misapplying Hebrews 12:28, this doctrine concludes that the kingdom was not fully established until 70 A.D. However, we again find this doctrine at odds with revealed truth. In Isaiah 2:2, it was prophesied "And it shall come to pass in the latter days, that the mountain of Jehovah's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it." Realized Eschatology would have God’s house or kingdom only partially established in the "latter days," and only fully established at 70 A.D., their "eternal days." Isaiah implies full and complete establishment in verse 2, and reveals this would occur when the law and the word of Jehovah would go forth from Jerusalem (v. 3). The gospel of the kingdom was preached from Jerusalem unto all the nations following Jesus ascension (Lk. 24:45-49; Acts 1:5; 2:14-36). Therefore, the kingdom predicted by Isaiah was established as he said it would be, on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).

     Jesus said the kingdom would "come with power," and that some of His disciples would not taste of death until they saw it come (Mk. 9:1). The "power" referred to must be the heavenly power of Holy Spirit baptism, received by the apostles on the day of Pentecost (Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8; 2:1-4, 33). There is no hint in the scriptures that this was only partial power, or that the kingdom and its blessings were only partially present! Full power and full blessings amounted to a fully established kingdom on the day of Pentecost! What parts were missing? Its king (Lk. 1:32-33; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:15)? Its territory (Mk. 16:15)? Its subjects (Acts 10:34-35)? Its law (Mk. 16:15; Jas. 1:25)? People did not have to wait until 70 A.D. to fully possess the kingdom! They were being translated into the kingdom (Col. 1:13) from Pentecost onward. To deny the full establishment of the kingdom before 70 A.D. is to deny the fulness of its king (Jesus), its gospel (power to save, Rom. 1:16), and its blessings (Eph. 1:3-4) before 70 A.D.! This is untenable and blasphemous!

     Problems Regarding Worship:   1) Should the Lord's Supper be observed after 70 A.D.? According to 1 Corinthians 11:26, in partaking of the Lord's Supper we "proclaim the Lord’s death till he come." Since the A.D. 70 doctrine makes every coming of the Lord in the New Testament mean 70 A.D., we wonder, what are its advocates going to do about the Lord's Supper? There are two options open to them, and both are equally unacceptable. First, they could conclude that after 70 A.D. the Lord's Supper no longer proclaims Christ's death. But, this destroys the central meaning and effect of the Supper! Secondly, they could conclude that the Lord's Supper is no longer applicable to Christians, and cease partaking of it. Some Christians are currently wrestling with this consequence of their doctrine. Either horn of this dilemma is sharp and will cause pain and great damage to the one who attempts to set upon it. Which shall it be? Instead, why not renounce this system of error which places such devastating consequences upon the Christian’s observance of the Lord’s Supper?!

     2) One must eliminate from his worship every hymn and spiritual song referring to the return of Jesus Christ and its events. I have witnessed Christians not singing with their brethren (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16) because of this consequence! Why sing about something you believe has already occurred? Are you willing to renounce your brethren as guilty of false worship whenever they sing about the future return of Christ and its events? And, to be consistent in your worship, you will have to make that choice about the Lord's Supper. Will you eliminate it, or destroy its meaning?!

     These consequences should be weighed in the light of God's revelation of truth. Realized Eschatology opens a can of worms that some brethren have not realized. Some may try to ignore its consequences, but this will only lead to hardened hearts. To accept these consequences will steep a person deeper in error and apostasy. God's remedy is still available -- repentance of this sinful doctrine (Acts 8:22), confession of the sin (1 Jno. 1:9), and doing works worthy of repentance (Acts 26:20; Lk.3:8) by renouncing this doctrine of man.

     Comforting Christians Concerning Christ's Coming:  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 provides us a fitting conclusion to this series of articles. In this passage, the apostle comforts the saints with assurance that Christians who die before Jesus returns will not miss out on any of the events and blessings of that grand day. He contrasts living and dead Christians throughout this passage - alien sinners are not in view here. Jesus "himself" will descend from heaven (this did not happen in 70 A.D.). Audible and visible events will occur. A "shout" commanding death to give up its prisoners will go forth (Jno. 5:28-29). The "voice of the archangel" will herald the power and victory of Christ’s return (cf. 2 Thess. 1:7). The "trump of God" shall sound, signaling deliverance and liberty from death (cf. 1 Cor. 15:52; Lev. 25:9-10). These things did not happen in 70 A.D. The dead in Christ shall rise first, with the living Christians being "caught up in the clouds," and all the saints shall "meet the Lord in the air" (this did not happen in 70 A.D.). Then, "so shall we ever be with the Lord." We will ever be with the Lord in this resurrected, changed, caught-up state (this did not happen in 70 A.D.)! We can comfort one another with these words (v. 18), but there is surely no comfort in the words and doctrines of Realized Eschatology. It provides no final and decisive solution to the sin problem humanity faces. It presents a world in sin which will forever continue. The Bible reveals that with the Lord’s personal return (Acts 1:9-11), this sin-cursed world will be destroyed (2 Pet. 3:5-12), with a new order taking its place (2 Pet. 3:13) In view of these realities, Christians should be comforted in their hope of the future return of Christ (1 Thess. 4:18; 2 Thess. 1:10; Col. 3:4). But, sinners and perverters of God's word should convert to Christ, for it will certainly be "a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God"(Heb. 10:31; 2 Thess. 1:7-9).    -End

 

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Date: 27 Jan 2007
Time: 10:32:10

Comments0:

many things are wrong with your percieved apologetics.
1;the pre-suppositional ideological shifting is an eschaton reality toALL paradigms.., only the preterist use old covenant symbolism to interpret new covenant ideas. Other views use personal imagination and guesswork.(Lean not unto your own understanding.., but in all .., aknowledge God.)

2; Peter was not giving the example of the world's destruction in Noah's day as a visionary example of what would happen to the physical world in the end day ,but was stating the "power" that created the Noah time destruction was the same "power(ie ;Word) " that would perform the symbolic changes in the prophetic realities. (By the same word .., (that created the Noah time flood)is reserved for fire.., (judgement / destruction).
The physical world is not the subject of the passage .., The Word that performs the judgement is!
3; (" UNTIL Heaven and earth pass shall not one jot or tittle.., until all be fulfilled")
Jesus also stated that people were to continue to obey all that the Pharasees instructed them to do (obey the old covenant as interpreted by the leadership)ie; the covenant of law.
He was clearly teaching that covenant was in effect and would be until all was fulfilled.
He also clearly taught that those that were his followers, (believers in his messiahship) were a covenanted people also who were to follow his commands. (new covenant of believers being transitioned and ressurected from the covenant of law)
There were two distinct kingdoms at play during the 40 years after Chris't death ,both authorized by Him for a time.
The analogy of Issac and Ishmael by Paul brings out the promise of God that it was to be the children of faith and not the children of slavery/law that would be the fulfillment of the prophetic answer in realtime.
(The NEW cannot be established UNTIL the OLD is taken away)
Simultaniously existing together until one is providentially established over the other.

and last.., Before the destruction of Jerusalem it was reported that chariots were seen in the clouds encircling above. Hype?
anything like this story in the Bible?
I seem to remember someone was fearful about going into a battle that God had ordained him to do, and when this person ask of God to assure him that HE, (GOD) was truely with him , God commanded His angelic army to reveal themselves.., And they did !!!
Great stuff , this truth in the words of God. You should read more.


Date: 29 May 2013
Time: 07:05:59

Your Comments:

By studying the Scripture given to refute the A.D. 70 coming of Christ, you have inadvertently more firmly confirmed my faith that he did indeed come at that time, and that he did indeed fulfill all that he said he would in that generation.
 

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