The 70 AD Doctrine: Understanding its Dangers
Continuing from my last blog regarding whether the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 AD was the end of the Daniel 9 prophecy (which it is not), I have recently uncovered that there are further layers of doctrine underpinning this viewpoint. Having done some research on some of its declarations of faith, I am absolutely fascinated with one claim that asserts that Jesus’ second coming was in 70 AD. Yes, you heard right! The 70 AD doctrine actively advocates that Jesus has already returned!! Subsequently, the following examines this and other fascinating claims revealing the dangers of the 70 AD doctrine:
THE Mathematics of Daniel 9:
· The mathematics of this viewpoint is mostly abstract, demonstrating that the markers in time are subjective (other than the supposed year 70 AD of the Jewish Revolt ). Due to this relativity, it cannot tick off all the aspects of the Daniel 9 prophecy... where obviously I would contend that any argument must definitively show every marker of the Daniel 9 prophecy to completely and accurately align against the historical timeline… otherwise it falls down.
· And as mentioned in last blog, (please refer to https://www.stephenshephard.com/blog/2017/12/20/does-the-destruction-of-the-jewish-temple-in-70-ad-solve-the-daniel-9-prophecy), one can visually see that this 70 AD doctrine does not fulfill the Daniel 9 prophecy as it shows a broad 606 year period… which is contrary to the 490 year span as the Daniel 9 passage states.
The Second Coming of Christ:
· The 70 AD doctrine is very similar to some sects of the early Church who believed that Jesus would return within their lifetime. Consequently, Peter challenges their incorrect theology with a biblical principle stating that a “thousand years is like a day, and a day is like a thousand years”. He also told the Church to not be ignorant of this mystery. In other words, when considering the predetermined plan of human history being only 7000 years in its entirety (the Alpha and Omega), this would place the Second Coming of Christ at the turn of Year 6000, who then rules the earth for 1000 years before the conclusion of time itself. Obviously, this is contrary to the 70 AD doctrine believing that Jesus arrived at Year 4000.
· When Jesus does rule, the ancient text states that he will “appear” the same way he left (as stated by the two angels in Acts 1: 10-11). This is not a metaphorical interpretation, but rather a visible acknowledgement seen with our very own eyes. And so, when Jesus returns, he will rule this world shaping it to become the Utopia that we are all waiting for: a world without disease, without pain, without suffering… and according to Isaiah, mankind gets to live much much much longer. So much that if someone dies at 100 years of age, he is a young man (Isaiah 65:20). In other words, I don’t think I’ve seen Jesus physically running today's governments… and as far as I’m aware, people are still dying around the 70 to 80 age range.
· Another significant blow for the 70 AD doctrine is that there are no early Christian writings to substantiate that Christians actually believed that Jesus had returned in the year 70 AD. All early Christian writings after this date, speak about Jesus’ second coming as a futuristic event (e.g. Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, Hippolytus, Ignatius, and Irenaeus (to name a few) write from circa 100 AD onwards about Jesus’ Second Coming in the future tense).
Conclusion… did Jesus return in 70 AD? I don’t think so!
· According to the 70 AD doctrine, the resurrection of the saints occurred in 70 AD. This is difficult to grasp, because if were to review Jesus’ resurrection, his physical body came back to life, upon which he showed himself to some 500 people over the space of a month. He then ascended into the Third Heaven still having his new ‘glorified’ body. This was not a metaphorical event, but a literal physical experience seen by everyone. Subsequently, for the resurrection to have occurred in 70 AD, then every person of the faith must have followed the same pattern as Jesus: having died and then resurrected with a new ‘glorified’ immortal body. Obviously this did not happen, especially as the history books seem to have missed this significant event.
· Paul also reminds us in 2 Timothy 2:17-18 when he challenged the early Church Christians regarding their incorrect theology, as they were saying that the resurrection had already occurred prior to 70 AD. Paul says that they “have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past”.
· Additionally, Jesus is recorded to challenge another church sect known as the Sadducees, asserting that they also had incorrect theology (Matthew 22:22-33). Jesus asserting that when believers are to be resurrected into the Third Heaven, there would be no marriages (and therefore no more babies… which is possibly an unfortunate consequence of being immortal). Thus, the 70 AD doctrine does not stand well, as Christians today are still getting married and are still having babies. And even if we consider the first resurrection at Jesus’s return (and not the resurrection at the end of time), this too is problematic re the promised Utopian world (see argument as mentioned above). In other words, the Utopian world is a satan-bound kingdom, where obviously this is not the case, as this current kingdom is certainly ruled by the Devil and his angels.
· Furthermore, the 70 AD doctrine asserts that all prophecy ceased at this date, which seems completely insane as it immediately defies the Word of God. The term “prophecy” incorporates ALL of predetermined human history: from the beginning of time (the Alpha) through to the end of future history (the Omega) IS the Word of God (Revelation 22:13).
· What this means is that after 70 AD, there have been many prophetic elements that have unfolded to this very day… and… there are still more prophetic elements still to unfold (e.g. the Beast comes to power, followed by the Millennial reign of Christ for 1000 years)… right up to the very end of time (Revelation 20:2-4).
· Furthermore, if 70 AD was the year when prophecy ceased, and Christ had returned… then the 1000 year of reign of Jesus would historically end in the year 1070 AD (70 AD + 1000 years = 1070 AD)… followed by time itself ending. Obviously mankind is still here with many more years of prophecy to be completed.
The Kingdom of God:
· The 70 AD doctrine also teaches that the Kingdom of God did not start with the 120 believers in the upper room, but came into full power in the year 70 AD. Yes, many Pentecostal Churches also advocate that they are the Kingdom of God, starting with the "tongues of fire" event (Acts 2: 1-4). However, although this event started with the 120 disciples, this ‘little family tree’ (speaking metaphorically) of a mere 120 believers was just beginning its prophetic journey… and in no way had this Church fully developed into a ‘full grown tree’ ruling the world as God’s Kingdom.
· Even Jesus challenged Peter’s thinking: who said that the disciples should go to war against the Roman Empire so as to establish God’s Kingdom at the point in time. Response: Jesus rebuked Peter saying that this was “opposed” to God’s overall plan regarding the timing of when God’s Kingdom would be established (Mark 8:33).
· Thus, over the next 2000 years, even though the Church has grown across the globe (alongside multiple nations), having spread to the four corners of the world, it still has not gained full authority as a governmental ruling institution. This event is still to happen!!! And when it does, scripture asserts that Jesus will physically return (inclusive of glorified body) so as to rule ALL the nations with an “iron rod” (Revelation 12:5).
THE BOOK OF REVELATION:
In fact, the entire Book of Revelation describes the collapse of the Babylonian system (alternatively known as the Kingdom of the Devil: who is ruling this First Heaven)... But at the coming of Christ, this inaugurates the Second Heaven (i.e. The Kingdom of God) for 1000 years.
Well, this alone cannot have happened in 70 AD, because the Roman Empire (as an example of the Babylonian system) never collapsed in 70 AD. It was never conquered!! Only that years later dissension within the Empire caused a 'split' (approx. 300 AD), where Rome became Western and Eastern Rome... and it kept 'splitting' so that today we now have multiple nations throughout the world… and all having a Roman/Babylonian mindset.
Thus I thought it appropriate to have an image of the Roman denarius coin that was issued by Roman Emperor Titus (circa 79 AD), where he commemorated his triumph over the Judaean revolt. The figure in the coin shows a Jewish captive kneeling in front of a Roman trophy of arms as a sign of submission.
In summary, although 65-70 AD is indeed a significant marker in the history books (i.e. the Jewish revolt against the Romans (or vice versa))... and is probably the most likely event that supports Jesus' prophetic message (i.e. a warning for the people to run to the hills when they see war developing in the area as described in Matthew 24:15-16)... it must be noted that this specific date is not the answer with regard to the above arguments.
Therefore, I am again reminded of the Sadducee's, who although appeared scripturally aware, were incorrect in their theological views... where sadly, this interpretative stance (aka the Preterist viewpoint) has redefined biblical literature so as to meet its 70 AD paradigm, turning scripture into saying something it does not.