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Church-State Relations and the Book of Revelation
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
Todd Dennis, Curator
 



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The Second Coming of Christ
(Did It Occur in A. D. 70?)
 

By Vurel Vick

 
 

Down through the ages some have tried to predict when the Lord would come. In the middle of the 19th century, William Miller twice tried to predict the coming of Jesus, and twice he missed it. Then Judge Rutherford had his say, and concluded that Jesus came invisibly in 1914 which the Jehovah's Witnesses still teach today.

Now it is being taught in a few congregations of the Church, that the second coming transpired in A. D. 70 at the destruction of Jerusalem at which time the following points of major Bible teaching were fulfilled:

    1. THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
    2. THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD
    3. THE GENERAL JUDGMENT
    4. THE PERFECTION OF THE KINGDOM
    5. COMPLETE ADOPTION, REDEMPTION AND INHERITANCE
    6. THE END OF THE WORLD
    7. THE NEW HEAVENS AND EARTH
    8. THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST

It is taught that Jesus came invisibly, in power and fulfillment of scripture which relates to His second coming, in the army of Titus when He besieged and destroyed Jerusalem in A. D. 70. Thus a "spiritual" application is made with all the scriptures which refer to it. In taking the liberty to "interpret" the scriptures for us, some say they have it all figured out for us. Literal rather than figurative.

Acts 1: 10-11. " . . . And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, two men stood by them in white apparel which also said, ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven."

Notice that men were literally looking up into heaven with their eyes, and were told that He is coming in like manner. Some tell us that He came in A. D. 70 and men may see Him with their mind's eye, if they will only look.

Revelation 1: 7 tells us "Behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, amen." His second coming could not have taken place in A. D. 70, as scholars tell us that the above scripture (the book of Revelation) was written A. D. 81-96. Early writers like Eusebius, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria and Origin, and later writers also, say it was written in the reign of Domitian.

I Thess. 4: 16 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout."

2 Thess. 1: 7-9 "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints . . ."

some questions are in order:

  1. Has he come?
  2. Has he come as he went?
  3. Did he come in A. D. 70 as the second coming?
  4. Did every eye see him?
  5. Did he come with a shout? Who heard him?
  6. Did he come with flaming fire?
  7. Did he take vengeance on those who did not obey the gospel?
  8. If he came in A. D. 70 as some claim, will he take vengeance on those who do not obey the gospel who have lived since then? When and how?
  9. If he came to take vengeance on those unbelieving Jews who were persecuting the Christians in Thessalonica in A. D. 70 by destroying their city, when did he take vengeance on the Gentiles who were also persecuting the Christians there? I Thess. 2: 14 says that the Christians in Thessalonica were suffering things of their own countrymen (Gentiles).
  10. Has Jesus been glorified I his saints? Was he glorified any more after A. D. 70 than he was before?

Some say, "How can every eye see him because the earth is round and if he comes in the air in one area how can those on the other side of the earth see him?" All I have to say is that some have a very small concept of our omnipotent, omnipresent God and their thinking borders on the realm of modernism which is nothing more than rejecting the miraculous and replacing it with were human reasoning. According to Luke 17: 34 it will evidently be night on one side of the earth as he states " . . . there shall be two men in one bed, the one shall be taken, and the other left . . ." and this indicates it will be day on the other side of the earth as two women will be grinding at the mill, and two men shall be in the field one taken and the other left. Besides all this I Tess. 4: 17 says some will be caught up in the air. According to 2 Cor. 5: 16, Jesus is not coming in the fleshly body; his appearance may well cover all the earth.

A huge effort is put forth to prove the Lord came in A. D. 70 by stressing the words "nigh" James 5: 7-8; and "The time is at hand" Rev. 1: 3.

First, remember that the Lord came many times in providential judgment. Isaiah chapter 13 and Ezekiel 32 are but two example. Another example is found in Revelation 2: 5 where Jesus told the church in Ephesus to repent and do the first works or else I will come unto thee quickly and remove the candlestick out of its place. Likewise we have a very similar saying in regard to the church at Pergamos, Rev. 2: 16 "Repent, or else I will come unto thee quickly and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth." A. D. 70 may have been a providential judgment of the Lord too.

Second, I would much rather let the Apostle Peter explain a word than anyone else, and here is Peter's explanation to those who thought the coming of the Lord was to appear immediately, and when he did not they asked, " . . . where is the promise of his coming?" Peter said, " . . . One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day . . ." In view of this it has been only a couple of days with the Lord, and we have reason to believe he is coming. Further, if the second coming of Christ took place in A. D. 70 that was only about four years after Peter wrote his second epistle and his statement of "A thousand years as a day . . ." with the Lord, would have had no significance to them at all.

Peter wrote all of these things anticipating what would happen in times to follow because he stated "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days, (he did not say, these are the last days, and this is happening now) scoffers, walking after their own lusts, (we may have some scoffers around now) and saying where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." We will have somewhat more to say about 2 Peter 3 later.

Phil. 3: 20-21 " . . . for our conversation is in heaven from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body." Some say the word "body" here refers to the natural, decaying, transitional body of death which existed between A. D. 33-70 while Christianity was being perfected out of Judaism.

To begin with, Jesus took away the old at the cross. Col. 2: 14 "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that were against us, which were contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." Also Hebrews 10: 9 " . . . He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second."

The scriptures do not teach that the old law (Judaism) remained after the new was begun, so that God might bring out of it the perfected kingdom. Much was written by the inspired men to try to show that old was not valid after the new came. Thus Paul wrote, " . . . Whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." Gal. 5: 4.

  1. THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD

"So man lieth down and riseth not; till the heavens be no more they shall not

awake, nor be raised out of their sleep" Job 14: 12. These words in Job indicate there will be a resurrection when the heavens pass away. But there are those who teach that the resurrection was not to be taken literal and that it was accomplished in A. D. 70 at the destruction of Jerusalem. They say that Jesus came invisibly and raised the Christian system out of the ministration of death, or out of Judaism. Also, if I understand their teaching, they say that Jesus took the righteous dead and moved them from the intermediate state into heaven itself, and at that time he also cast the devil and his angels, the wicked dead, the beast and the false prophets into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.

You be the judge of this in view of the following scriptures:

John 5: 28-29 "Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation."

When Jesus calls all forth from the graves will be the time when all who lives and died will be made alive in Christ. I Cor. 15: 22 "For last enemy to be subdued is death and he is to destroy that when he comes and raises all that are in the graves. But, as long as there remains graves with the victims of death in them, and as long as people continue to die, certainly we can see that death has not been destroyed.

Acts 24: 15 Paul said, "And have hope toward God which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust."

Again Acts 26: 8 "Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead."

Romans 8: 11 In this passage we read of the resurrection of Christ and we are assured that " . . . If the spirit of him that raised up Christ from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (make alive) your mortal (fleshly) bodies by that spirit which dwelleth in you.

I Cor. 15: 23 tells us " . . . Christ the first-fruits; and afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." Verse 20 says "Christ is risen from the dead and become the first-fruits of them that slept."

Now the word first-fruit is very important. There is a law of reproduction that we cannot ignore. This law was first stated in Genesis one and repeated there many times. Things reproduce after their kind. Now one cannot deny that Paul was speaking of the literal resurrection of Christ in this chapter and thus since he was bodily raised from the dead, we shall be also.

John adds a bit to this also when he said, "It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we shall be LIKE HIM for we shall see him as he is" I John 3: 2.

While Jesus was in the body upon the earth the Sadducees, who did not believe in a bodily resurrection, came to him trying to trap him and asked, "Whose wife shall she be in the resurrection, for seven men had been married to her one after the other, but each had died?" According to those who do not believe in a bodily resurrection, Jesus should have told them that they were right in not thinking of a bodily resurrection, BUT HE DID NOT! He said to them, "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God, for in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven" Matt. 22: 23-33. The very fact that people are still marrying and giving in marriage, shows the resurrection has not come.

2 Tim. 2: 16-18 Here we read of two men who had some "vain babbling" and were saying that the resurrection had already passed. This apparently happened in about 66 A. D. Paul said they had erred from the truth and overthrown the faith of some. Now if the resurrection took place in A. D. 70 as some say, then Paul should have told them to wait a little while - you are a bit too early.

It is difficult to see how anyone can say that the resurrection is passed, and that there will be no resurrection of the dead from their graves. Every where people continue to die. There are thousands and tens of thousands of graves every where you look, and so it is evident that the resurrection has not come, and that death has not been destroyed.

  1. THE GENERAL JUDGMENT

It is being taught that the general judgment took place in A. D. 70 at the destruction of Jerusalem. It is said that God vindicated his church and perfected it then. At that time he also took vengeance on the unbelieving Jews and destroyed their city. To them this may be the judgment, but it apparently is not what the Bible teaches about the general judgment. Let it be understood that people are being condemned or justified by their daily response unto truth and opportunity. Further, the Bible apparently teaches that God's judgment was revealed many times. His providential judgment was seen in Isaiah 13, Eze. 32 and in Rev. 2: 5 etc. We are not dealing with those things, but with the general judgment.

Eccl. 12: 14 "For God shall bring every work into judgment with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Did that happen in A. D. 70? Matt. 11: 21-24 "But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee." God did not bring Sodom into account in A. D. 70 with the Jews when he destroyed Jerusalem. Hebrews 10: 28-29 "He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses; of how much sore punishment, suppose ye shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" if judgment took place in A. D. 70 then there was no sorer punishment, but they simply died as did those who despised Moses' law. Also, there would be no sorer punishment awaiting those who sin willfully - and no fear for any before God now.

Acts 24: 25 Paul reasoned with Felix " . . . of judgment to come."

Hebrews 13: 4 It is stated here that God will judge the whoremongers and the adulterers. Did he do that in A. D. 70 at the destruction of Jerusalem? Of course not, for some are around today who must be judged.

2 Peter 2: 4 states that God has reserved unto judgment the angels that have sinned, and in verse 9 he said that "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished." In this we should notice that punishment came after judgment, and we read in Hebrews 9: 27 "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." We must conclude that the order is: death, judgment and then punishment for the wicked; and death, judgment and a crown of life for the righteous. 2 Tim. 4: 8 Paul said there was a crown of righteousness awaiting him and those who love his appearing.

Rom. 14: 10 "For we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."

2 Cor. 5: 10 "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done whether it be good or bad."

Matthew 25: 17 teaches we are now exercising our talents as stewards. This could not be if the judgment is past already.

Acts 17: 31 Paul declared, "He hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men in that he hath raised him from the dead." Paul was speaking to Gentiles there - were the Gentiles judged in A. D. 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed. They probably were not affected at all.

John the apostle wrote apparently after A. D. 70 and told of seeing the judgment scene. He said, "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away; and there was no place found for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works." The evidence is clear - the judgment is to come.

  1. THE PERFECTION OF THE KINGDOM

It is taught that the kingdom did not fully exist until A. D. 70, 2 Tim. 4: 1 is used for proof. The idea is that it was begun on Pentecost and perfected in A. D. 70 at the destruction of Jerusalem.

Consider: The kingdom passage found in the Bible before Acts 2, (Pentecost) all refer to the kingdom as yet to come. Then you will notice that all of the references to the kingdom after Acts 2, speak of it as being in existence. Yet to Come: Isa. 2: 2-4; Dan.2: 44; 7: 13-14; Matt. 3: 2; 10: 7; 16: 17-19; Mark 9: 1; Acts 1: 6; Matt. 16: 28.\

Kingdom in existence: Acts 8: 12; Rom. 14: 17; Col. 1: 13; Heb. 12: 28; Rev. 1: 9. Now if all scripture was written before A. D. 70 as they claim - how is it that the above scriptures speak of the kingdom as being already in existence? Let those who believe such give us a scripture written after A. D. (According to their belief) that states that the kingdom came in A. D. 70. As far as that is concerned, let them give us a reference from early historians which declares that the kingdom came in A. D. 70. They cannot, I think. The word kingdom is one of the appellations given to God's people. There are many different terms used to refer to the same, and each has its own significance. Thus, when the church came, the kingdom came. When the regeneration came, the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man, came also.

Thus we may conclude that the kingdom was established on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ when the power came on the apostles as we learn from Mark 9: 1 and Acts 2. God made it like he wanted it. It was not partly or imperfectly made and later perfected. Jesus was presented with the kingdom when he went to the Ancient of days, and at that time there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him, Dan. 7: 13-15. That was the time that he ascended up on high (Eph. 4: 8-10) and led captivity captive, Psa. 24. That was when the gospel was sent forth into every nation, Matt. 28: 18-20; Acts 1: 6-8. How much more perfect could the kingdom have been after A. D. 70, than it was before?

  1. COMPLETE ADOPTION, REDEMPTION AND INHERITANCE

We are told that the above things did not come in their fullness until A. D.70. I

ask that you carefully consider the following:

  1. In A. D. 64 the Christians at Ephesus had been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Eph. 1: 3. They had all blessings then, how could they have had any more after A. D. 70?
  2. In A. D. 64 they had redemption. Eph. 1: 7 "In whom we have redemption, through his blood . . ." How could they have had any more after A. D. 70?
  3. In A. D. 64 the Ephesians had obtained their inheritance. "In whom we also have obtained an inheritance, Chapter 1 verse 11.

The church began in A. D. 33 and these blessings were given to the members.

They had forgiveness of sins also. Col. 1: 14, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins."

These blessings were just as complete as they will ever be upon this earth. When Jesus comes Christians will be glorified with him, Col. 3: 1-4.

  1. THE END OF THE WORLD

According to those who teach the A. D. 70 doctrine, the end of the world came

in A. D. 70. It was not the end of this literal world that we live in, as you know, but it was the end of Judaism. Thus all scriptures that deal with eschatology relate to the end of Judaism as set forth in the destruction of Jerusalem, they say.

Surely we know that the word "world" is used in different ways in the Bible, so that is not the question. The question is, does the Bible speak of the end of this earth and the heavens or heavenly bodies? They say no. I would ask them this, what if this earth does end; as scientists say it must slow down in its orbit and eventually be destroyed, would it not cause a great catastrophe, and would not people perish from off the earth? We know that this would be the case and so it would be a literal fulfilling of 2 Peter chapter 3. A more detailed study of this subject is set forth in another tract on a related subject.

  1. THE NEW HEAVENS AND EARTH

Those who believe that the world ended in A. D. 70, naturally would believe

that the new heavens and earth are not literal either. They say this term found in 2 Peter 3 and in Rev. 21, refers to the Christian age and we are living in it now as Christians. What of the former things that are to pass away? Rev. 21: 4 Things like death, sorrow, pain and tears? They are still with us and we can not deny that. But more on this great subject in another tract.

PREPARE FOR HIS COMING

People now have the opportunity to believe in Christ and let their faith become a motive to move them to repent and express their faith and be baptized for the remission of sins that they thus may make the preparations to meet the Lord when he comes again. This old world will end and "The end of all flesh" will again come as God stated in Gen. 6 when he was to send the flood. "Be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not; the Son of man cometh" Matt. 24: 44.

What do YOU think ?

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Date: 03 Apr 2005
Time: 09:21:12

Comments0:

Unfortunately, the Jews who gathered in, and were slaughtered in, Jerusalem in AD 70 were led to their doom by the same false belief that is held by traditional preterists, namely, the belief that they were still under the law of Moses. Had they understood that the law had passed away 40 years earlier, they would have remained safely in the lands where they were living and would not have made their fatal journeys to the earthly temple and city that had been forever rejected when the new, spiritual and eternal temple and city appeared in AD 30.

Continuing along the above lines, the first-century preterists had to be terribly torn about what message to give Christ's countrymen. They "knew" those folks were still under the law so they HAD to tell them to keep making those trips to Jerusalem.  On the other hand, they "knew" that a generation is 40 years so they "knew" that those who traveled there at the end of that period of time were going to get slaughtered. But they couldn't tell them to stay home to avoid that disaster because that would be telling them to violate the law.  Obviously, it wasn't easy to be a preterist in those days. 
 

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