2 TIMOTHY 2:17-18

"Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some."
7 Fatal flaws of the 70AD theory
ReligiouslyIncorrect.org—Uniting Bible believing Christians worldwide
Why should you know about the "70 AD doctrine?"

Because it may very well represent the most serious digression from obvious truth that has emerged among our churches in recent years.

I never thought I'd live to see the day I'd be trying to convince a respected preacher among us that Christ hasn't yet returned to earth, that the judgment day hasn't already happened, that we haven't been resurrected yet, and the like.

But please don't take proponents of this position for fools; they are typically intelligent, educated, and very well prepared for this debate. Their reasoning is subtle and even at times believable—especially if we fail to arm ourselves with accurate Biblical knowledge.

We should also be clear on how to deal with false teaching in a Biblical manner, since the 70AD doctrine is clearly that. Believing false teaching has undoubtedly cost many their souls.

The emergence of the 70AD doctrine from our very own ranks clearly demonstrates that we cannot take even the most basic Biblical teachings for granted.

A brief description of the "70 AD doctrine"

There are probably various flavors of the "70 AD doctrine" (just as with most Biblical theories), but the one I'll be examining makes the following incredible claim (again, it is believed and advanced AMONG US AS WE SPEAK):

"Every prophecy of the Bible—Old Testament and New—was fulfilled before (or at) the Destruction of Jerusalem, near AD 70." (I'll be using "DOJ" to refer to "Destruction of Jerusalem.")

Obviously, this would include prophecies about heaven, hell, the 2nd coming of Christ, the "final" judgment, the resurrection from the dead, the entire book of Revelation, the eternal kingdom of Christ—and any other prophecy you can read about anywhere in the pages of God's word. All of them, 70 AD proponents insist, came to pass many years ago.

In fact—according to 70 ADers—no prophecy you can read about in the Old or New Testament applies to you today.

Will heaven be in your future? Will hell await the unfaithful? Will there be a Judgment Day? According to the 70 AD view, "...we don't know; the Bible doesn't speak of any of this being in humanity's future."

How do 70AD advocates try to prove their case?

As mentioned, please don't the mistake of writing off 70 AD advocates as uneducated Biblical fools.

Quite to the contrary. Think about the knowledge and debating skills that would be required for a person to attempt to make such a position sound Biblical and logical.

But because it's such a difficult doctrine to prove, 70 ADers will try to deliver their logic "piece by piece" so that folks are not shocked by the big picture of the doctrine. After all, this was the way they were led into their current set of false beliefs.

In other words, don't expect a 70 ADer to start a Bible study by announcing: "I believe the 2nd coming of Christ, the Judgment Day, and the resurrection from the dead ALL happened at the DOJ—and by the way not a single Bible promise was left for you to look forward to." That would rightfully kill most folks' interest.

So, how do 70 ADers try to make their case?

(1) First, they attempt to show that every book of the New Testament was written before the Destruction of Jerusalem.

Since "everything was fulfilled at or before the Destruction of Jerusalem," 70 ADers must prove that every NT book was written BEFORE the DOJ.

Unfortunately, Revelation poses a problem. That's because most scholars think it was penned around 95 AD. It would be hard to argue that Revelation was entirely fulfilled at the DOJ if Revelation was written when scholars think it was.

However, no early Christian writer (earlier than 300 AD) to our knowledge believed Revelation was written before the DOJ, or even believed the 70 AD theory (Eusbius' "Theophania" may be the first indication, which was likely written after 300 AD—please pass along any sources earlier than Eusbius and we plan to update this article accordingly.)

On the other hand, it's obvious that some very notable early Christians clearly did not believe the 70 AD theory (Barnabas, Paul's missionary companion, probably the most notable). This does not bode well for the theory.

Nevertheless, 70 ADers try to argue that "there's not enough evidence to establish a firm date of Revelation, so we must rely on internal Biblical evidence ONLY to try to figure it out." In other words, their discarding of this valuable external evidence is their first jumping off point, but somewhat excusable (unlike the errors of their internal "evidences").

(2) Next, they attempt to prove the impossible: That all prophecies had not only been made by 70 AD, but also fulfilled by 70 AD.

This is where the 70 AD theory truly exposes itself. The assumption that "all Bible prophecies were fulfilled before 70 AD" is a huge error, which leads into the many more serious diversions from truth that follow. It is also this assumption that makes the 70 AD view easy to prove as false (see next part in this series for several examples).

How do they come to this fatal conclusion? By misapplying Daniel 9:24, which indicates that one effect of the Destruction of Jerusalem would be "to seal up vision and prophecy."

This simple statement is "enhanced" to add the following capitalized words: "to seal up AND FULFILL ALL vision and ALL prophecy."

The addition of those capitalized words helps them derive the fatal assumption that drives the distortion of numerous NT teachings that clearly speak of prophecies that remain in our future, including the 2nd coming of Christ, the Judgment Day, the resurrection, and many others.

Of course, words had to be added to the meaning of Daniel 9:24 for 70 ADers to arrive at this assumption. Never does Daniel suggest that such events would permanently seal ALL visions and ALL prophecy. Nor does Daniel state that ALL those "sealed" prophecies would also be fulfilled by the DOJ. These meanings are subtly added to the text, but never actually stated by Daniel.

(3) Next, Christ's statement in Revelation: "I am coming soon" refers to His actual 2nd coming; and when that happened, all Revelation prophecies would be fulfilled.

Since, in their minds, 70 ADers have "established" that ALL prophecies of the Bible were to be completed by the DOJ, they are now faced with the daunting (indeed, impossible) task of explaining every NT passage in this light.

Remember, now EVERYTHING in the NT must be referring to things before or at the DOJ. Indeed, ALL teachings of the NT apply ONLY to Christians who lived before the Destruction of Jerusalem.

Therefore, the entire Book of Revelation must apply to the DOJ or before. So, when Christ in various Revelation verses said—"I am coming soon"—this must have meant Christ was coming to destroy Jerusalem, completing the final set of prophecies-to-be-fulfilled of the Bible.

In other words, 70 ADers suggest Christ's phrase means: "I am coming soon, and when I do, everything will be fulfilled."

But, I believe a much more plausible interpretation of "I am coming soon" would be the more common interpretation of: "I am coming soon to get these events rolling." Usually, that's what people do after they come; not before.

And—among the many others—they have the problem of trying to cram Revelation's 1260 [years] and 1000 year reign into less than 40 ["1000 years" is modified to mean "one generation;" 1260 days is apparently interpreted literally, not symbolically]. The reason they must cram it into 40 is that was the approximate number of years between Christ's kingdom beginning (~30 AD) and Revelation prophecy being "completed" (~70 AD).

(4) Christ's entire discourse relating to the Destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 24-25) refers ONLY to events surrounding the Destruction of Jerusalem.

This is yet another major hurdle for the 70 AD doctrine: Dealing with the harmonization problems presented by Matthew 24 & 25 (and parallel accounts).

As you may know, these passages refer to Christ's comments about the upcoming DOJ, among other things. Of course, 70 ADers need the entire discourse THROUGH THE END OF chapter 25 to be referring to the DOJ.

Unfortunately for their position, it's a tough climb to get Matthew 25:31-46 to fit into their theory (Judgment Day scene). It may indeed be valid to suggest that everything BEFORE Christ's statement that "all this will happen in this generation" did in fact happen "in that generation."

But Matthew 25:31-46 was clearly referring to a completely different time—a time when "all nations" were to be gathered together for Judgment—not just the Jews and a few surrounding countries.

In part 2, I'll plan to notice some of the many evidences that prove the 70 AD theory to be false.
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