The 70 AD Doctrine: Understanding its Dangers

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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, advocating that not every marker in time is absolute other than the year 70 AD. That is, it cannot tick off all the aspects of the Daniel 9 prophecy. Consequently, because its arguments are therefore speculative, this then supports EVERY other interpretative Daniel 9 viewpoint as also being correct (and believe me, there are many)... where obviously I would contend that any argument must definitively show that every marker of the Daniel 9 prophecy must completely and accurately align against a historical timeline… otherwise it falls down.

·         As mentioned in last blog, having visually shown that the destruction of the Jewish Temple does not fulfill the Daniel 9 Prophecy, demonstrating a broad 606 year period... it consequently does not accurately align to the 490 year timeline 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. Peter challenges this incorrect theology with another doctrine 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.

·         Therefore, when considering the predetermined plan of human history being only 7000 years in its entirety (the Alpha and Omega of time), 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 (according to 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. 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!

The Resurrection:

·         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 to also receive a new ‘glorified’ immortal body. Obviously this did not happen, especially as the history books seem to have missed this significant event.

·         With regard to the Gospels, Jesus is recorded to challenge the Sadducees incorrect theology, stating that at the resurrection there would be no marriages (Matthew 22:23-33). What this means, is that when believers are to be resurrected into the Third Heaven, there will be no more babies (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.

·         If however we consider the first resurrection at Jesus’s return (and not the resurrection at the end of time), this too is problematic when we consider what the Utopian world will look like (see argument as mentioned above).

·         Additionally, Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 2:17-18 that he too 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”.

 Other prophecy:

·         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).

·         Subsequently, this means that since 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.

·         This is an interesting debate, because 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 the Church 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 the Church fully developed into a ‘full grown tree’ ruling the world as God’s Kingdom.

·         Even Jesus challenged Peter’s thinking who said that they should go to war against the Romans 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!!! Where according to scripture, Jesus physically returns (inclusive of glorified body) 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)... at the coming of Christ... which 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 a Babylonian system) never collapsed in 70 AD. It was never conquered!! It was years later that dissension caused a 'split' (approx. 300 AD), where all of Rome became Western and Eastern Rome... and it kept 'splitting' so that today, we have multiple nations throughout the world. 

Terminologies:

·         This is not just specific to the 70 AD doctrine, as many Christians struggle if the word “Messiah” is used outside of Jesus. They are unaware that the word is a term “mashiyach” means “anointed”. It is not a word solely used for Jesus, as the word is used frequently throughout scripture (e.g. Saul, David, Solomon, etc.). And even Isaiah calls a Persian ruler, Cyrus the Great, the “Messiah” (refer to Isaiah 45:1). For more information on this subject, refer to the "Cyrus the Messiah" blog.

 

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 (Matthew 24:15-16))... it must be noted that this specific date is not the answer with regard to the above categories as mentioned in this blog.

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.

Stephen Shephard

P.S. the above is a Roman denarius coin that was issued by Roman Emperor Titus, circa 79 AD, where he commemorated his triumph over the Judaean wars. The figure in the coin shows a Jewish captive kneeling in front of a Roman trophy of arms as a sign of submission.

Stephen ShephardComment