The A.D. 70 Doctrine
(via "Etna Elightner," reprinted by permission of author)
For continuity it would be good to refer back to the last issue for the introduction to this series. This article, for the most pat, will be devoted to what the doctrine is, and the method the proponents use to develop their concepts. Let me also repeat that I claim no originality in writing about the A.D. 70 doctrine. Along with my own study I am using material I have accumulated from others who have also studied this doctrine. To any who desire it I can supply the sources.
Just What Is "The A.D. 70 Doctrine"? It is, to say the least, one of the strangest, most bizarre, bewildering doctrines ever introduced into the Lord's church in all my years of preaching. The most common name for it is, The A.D. 70 Doctrine. More accurate names are "Realized or Fulfilled Eschatology."
Eschatology is a study of the Bible doctrine of last things, or end times, such as the establishment of the Kingdom, the second coming of Christ, resurrection of the dead, the Day of Judgment, the end of the world. "Realized" or "fulfilled" means that these things have already happened or been completed. Thus the idea is that all the Biblical events pointing to the end time, both Old Testament and New Testament, have already happened in the past, not in the future.
The A.D. 70 doctrine was introduced into the Lord's church during the 1970s and 80s by C.D. Beagle and his son-in-law, Max King. They base their strange and bizarre doctrine on a false concept about what the Bible teaches about "the last days" (Hebrews 1:1-3; Acts 3:19-24) and the timing of Christ's second coming.
The A.D 70 doctrine is pretty well explained in the proposition Max King, the chief proponent of this doctrine, affirmed in a debate with Gus Nichols in July 1973. King defended the proposition that "The Holy Scriptures teach that the second coming of Christ, including 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."
In a nutshell, A.D. 70 was the pivotal point of Bible history. It marked the consummation (the final outcome) of all things predicted by the prophets, i.e., that A.D. 70 was the subject of much Old Testament prophecy, the heart of the teaching in the Gospels, and the message of Revelation. Their concept of "the last days" requires a completely new way of looking at the Scriptures concerning the Lord's second coming, the resurrection of the dead, the judgment day and the end of the world.
What do the proponents of the A.D. 70 doctrine mean when they say that A.D. 70 marked the consummation of all things? We (those who oppose this doctrine) would say, "Yes, A.D. 70 was the end of the OT Jewish state, but surely not the end of the world." To this, King explains in his book "The Spirit of Prophecy" (p. 181) that he is teaching the end of God's divine plan and purpose expressed in the Bible, not the material world.
In his book he writes "the destiny of the material universe shall be left to the hidden counsel of the Creator" then paraphrases Deuteronomy 29:29 to justify his view. To him the end of the material world is untaught history.
But as for Bible events, after A.D. 70 there does not remain even a single prophecy in the Bible that has not been fulfilled. Nothing in the Bible pertains to future days after A.D. 70. Christ will not come again, His promised coming happened in A.D. 70. All the dead were raised at that time, so don't expect a future resurrection. That is when the Judgment Day occurred. The world ended at that time. The kingdom of Christ was fully set up at that time, not in A.D. 33 as we had thought.
To them, all the things spoken of that were to occur after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70, are spiritual in nature. It has been estimated that more than 25% of the New Testament deals with one or more of the end time concepts. If so, according to this doctrine most of us have never understood a significant part of the New Testament.
I agree that it is true that some of these scriptures may not be easily understood but they surely do not teach anything close to the A.D. 70 doctrine. Their teaching falls under the condemnation of 2 Peter 3:16-17.
What is the A.D. 70 method of interpretation? If the things they teach seem ridiculous to you it is because King, the major proponent and defender of this doctrine plays fast and loose with sound principles of Bible hermeneutics (interpretation). He has taken many common Biblical terms that refer to the end time and redefined them to fit his doctrine. King has invented a whole new Bible vocabulary to justify his conclusions, and his application of Bible terms is certainly not based on established hermeneutical principles and Biblical evidences.
He has invented a predetermined method of spiritualizing all New Testament prophecy. He first redefines and then forces the meaning of Bible passages that should be interpreted literally into his spiritualized concept, regardless of their context or resulting contradictions it causes. He contends that most of the end time things are spiritual in nature, not material.
In the introduction to his book The Spirit of Prophecy (which is more or less the Bible for the A.D. 70 advocates, King writes, "The spiritual method of interpretation is firmly established in the Bible, and it is the basic and primary method of interpretation involved in end-time prophecy." But, he switches terms when it comes to Old Testament fleshly Judaism.
Many prophecies have a material fulfillment. This is especially true of Christ's first coming to fleshly Israel, and also to the last days of fleshly Israel. Since prophecy involves the two Israels of God (fleshly and spiritual) in the last days one can expect to find a two-fold application of prophecy. One must, however, recognize the fact that the spiritual method of interpretation prevails in regard to the establishment and development of spiritual Israel,and to her is given a larger position of OT prophecy. It is with respect to her that the spiritual method of interpretation is championed (pages 1-2).
An example of this is seen on page 26 of his book (TSOP) he writes:
Abraham had two sons, and the difference between Ismael and Isaac is the difference between the old and new economy. The spiritual principle of interpretation receives the support of Isaac, just as the literal or fleshly principle inheres with Ismael, and cannot be applied to Isaac.
King is referring to the allegory Paul makes in Galatians 4:21-31. I will explore his misconception of this in another article.
Warning: When people become their own "Bible dictionary" they can teach any sort of doctrine they desire (Isaiah 5:20-21). Such usage falls under the condemnation of 2 Peter 3:15-17.
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