What is the A.D. 70 Doctrine?
I hope this brief article will help average member of a local church to at least be able to recognize this heresy when he hears it being taught.
The A.D. 70 doctrine is an offshoot of an error that has been around for a long time — Realized Eschatology. By "eschatology" we mean the doctrine of last things and end times, covering not only the destiny of the individual, but also that of all creation. By "realized" we mean that which has been accomplished, reached, or completed. "Realized Eschatology" then is the teaching that end times and last things have been reached or accomplished. According to this interpretation of all New Testament prophecy, the end times were realized and accomplished in A.D. 70 at the destruction of Jerusalem. The doctrine of Realized Eschatology has been around for a number of years. The doctrine has been taught by various men and different facets of the doctrine held by a number of religious groups. The "A.D. 70 Doctrine" became popular in the early 1970s. It was during this time that Max R. King and his father-in-law, C. D. Beagle, began to spread this doctrine among a group of Christians in the Ohio Valley.
The fundamental creed or statement of belief for the advocates of the A.D. 70 doctrine can be found in a book entitled The Spirit of Prophecy, written by Max R. King in 1971. The book was published by the Parkman Road Church of Christ in Warren, Ohio. In 2002, King had a second edition of the book published, completely revised and updated.
From the very beginning there were men who rose up to defend the truth against this heinous doctrine. In 1972, at the Freed-Hardeman University lectureship, Guy N. Woods and Gus Nichols reviewed King's book. The Nichols-King Debate (July 17-20, 1973) grew out of that review. Beginning in January of 1973 Bill Reeves wrote eight articles in Truth Magazine under the heading, "The Preterist View Heresy." These articles are an excellent review and rebuttal of King's doctrine. In October and November of 1989, Joe Price wrote three articles in Truth Magazine titled "The Second Coming of Christ: Did it Already Occur?" This is another good repudiation of King's error. If you want to read a clear refutation of King's doctrine, I highly recommend both the articles by brother Reeves and Price. You can access these articles at the Truth Magazine website in the "archives" section. Another good book as a background study to the A.D. 70 theory is Studies in Biblical Eschatology by W. Terry Varner. Other men met King in debate and wrote to overthrow the destructive influence of this doctrine down through the years. Through the process of time many members of the church have forgotten about this doctrine — it is time to be reminded.
The A.D. 70 doctrine brings together all "end time" prophecies and focuses them on the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. It also makes all prophecy in both Testaments fulfilled in the destruction of the city in A.D. 70. One of the ways to see what Max R King taught is to simply read some of the propositions in debate. King affirmed, "Jesus and the eternal kingdom came in power in A.D. 70 rather than A.D. 33." Joe Taylor denied the proposition. During the Nichols-King Debate two broad propositions were discussed. King affirmed for two nights that, "The Holy Scriptures teach that the second coming of Christ included the establishment of the eternal kingdom, the day of judgment, the end of the world, and the resurrection of the dead, occurred with the fall of Judaism in A.D. 70."
Another way one can learn what King taught is to read his book, The Spirit of Prophecy, although I would not recommend it. Not only because it is hard to read, but because it is a garbled mess of confusion full of error. In a nutshell the book teaches that the great end time doctrines of the resurrection of the dead, the second coming of Christ, and the universal judgment of all men have already taken place in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. To give you a glimpse into the nature of King's doctrine, I will now give you a few quotes from the second edition of the book.
In chapter 6 under the heading "The Second Coming of Christ", King had this to say:
"The Jews knew that Christ was coming, and they expected him in that generation, but they had been led to look for something that was contrary to what actually came. In this manner they were blinded to the first coming of Christ. In the same way, many are blinded to the second coming of Christ. Both comings were to transpire within the same generation. But what is the reaction of people today when told that Christ came the second time at the end of the Old Covenant age? It was similar to the Jews reaction to the first coming. They didn't believe it." (P. 168)
"No distinction is made in Scripture between what we might call the second coming and the fall of Jerusalem. The physical and spiritual results, and significance of that event, fill every need and purpose of the coming of Christ. The end of the Old Covenant system did not leave unfulfilled one single prophecy, promise, or blessing. Redemption began with a promise in Eden (Gen. 3:15) was promised to Abraham and to his seed, developed and witnessed through Judaism, and consummated by Christ in the last days of that age by his first and second comings. The age or world that followed was, and is, spiritual by nature, and eternal in duration (Eph. 3:21)".
"Placing the second coming properly within a first century context can help us avoid many of the interpretative pitfalls that plague the study of eschatology." (P. 166)
Consider this, from chapter seven under the heading of "The Eternal Kingdom:"
"The coming of the kingdom of God is a subject to which much of the New Testament devotes itself, and to which much Old Testament prophecy is directed as well. Some see the kingdom coming at Christ's ascension, some at Pentecost, but neither view seems to completely satisfy the need to harmonize all of the scriptures involved…. The consistent picture we see in Scripture is that the kingdom would come after the events had unfolded. Seeing this at the fall of Jerusalem helps us to make sense of the prophecies and concepts involved." (Page 220)
King had this to say in chapter eight under the heading "The Last Judgment:"
"Christians today do not go to Hades at death, for redemption has been perfected and Hades has been emptied of all its subjects and cast out." (Page 290)
"The fall of Jerusalem was the time of death's destruction. Death and Hades were both cast into the Lake of Fire. Death, biblically speaking, is alienation from God, and the destruction of death is the end of that alienation…. Where do people go when they experience physical death? This depends upon their state before God at the time of death. If one is a faithful citizen of the everlasting kingdom they will be received into a full and complete spiritual state of existence in that eternal kingdom or disinherited, they are consigned to an eternal Hell, known as the second death." (Page 289, 290)
Any person who teaches such a heresy as the 70 A.D. doctrine, and any church that supports them will answer for their actions in the Day of Judgment. Paul said, "Note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them." (Romans 16:17)
I believe I have given you enough for you to recognize this error, when you hear it. Let us all stand fast in a defense of the faith, once for all delivered.
— via Pause—Ponder—Profit, Paragould, AR (September, 2009)