Note: This material was prepared for a study with a young
man in Lakeland, Fl., who had been influenced to accept the doctrine of Max
King, called “realized eschatology,” or the “70 A.D. doctrine,” which says that
the hub of the Bible is the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D.. A
group of preachers were meeting to study the subject and Max King came from Ohio
to support his disciple, so we had about five hours of discussion that day. The
doctrine says that the second coming, the resurrection of the dead and the final
judgment happened in 70 A.D., and the Bible says nothing about what will happen
to those who die afterward. (He said they evidently go directly to heaven or
hell, but he had no Scripture that indicates such a theory.)
Galatians 4:21-31 and the overlapping of Laws.
1. “The Spirit of Prophecy,” written by Max King in 1971
says “Abraham had two sons, and there was no gap between them. They overlapped a
little, but Isaac ‘came on’ when Ishmael ‘went out.’ The son born of the spirit
was given the place and inheritance of the son born of the flesh” (p. 239).
2. Max called it “the already, but not yet” meaning that
the Old Covenant was replaced on Pentecost, but not yet completely until 70
A.D., and the church was established on Pentecost, but not yet completely unto
- The key to the allegory is in verse
21: “Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?”
- Hagar and Ishmael were no part of
God’s promise to bless all nations through the “seed” of Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3;
15:1-6; 17:18-21 21:12,13).
- The two mothers (are two covenants)
and two sons (are two products):
- Hagar – the Old Covenant; Sarah –
the New Covenant
- Ishmael – Jews under the Law; Isaac
– Christians in the New Covenant.
- The Old Covenant did not contain
the inheritance promised through Abraham’s seed (Gal. 3:17-19).
- The only “heirs” of the promise are
Christians (Gal. 3:28,29). (Christians were not given the inheritance of
Ishmael, because he never had it.)
- Paul did not tell the Galatians to
“hang on until 70 A.D. when you will really inherit something.” He said, “the
Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all” (Gal. 4:26).
(Cp. Heb. 12:22 – “but you have come to Mount Zion…” This is perfect
tense, referring to past action with present consequences.)
- The allegory taught the Jewish
believers that to go back under the First Covenant would be to go back to
bondage (Gal. 4:31-5:4). They were not waiting to experience true freedom.
They had it! They were already “sons of God” (Gal. 3:26,27), and children of
the free woman (Gal. 4:31). There is nothing in this passage that even hints
about an overlapping of the Old and New Covenants.
Hebrews 8:13 and the overlapping of Covenants
Position: The writer of Hebrews said “now what is
becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away,” therefore it had not
vanished away at that time. This was “years after the cross,” and though it
began to wax old at the cross, it did not pass away until 70 A.D. Out of the
decay of Judaism arose the spiritual body of Christianity.
- The passage does not teach the law
remained in force for years after the cross. Such an interpretation
contradicts the whole teaching of the book of Hebrews.
- There is no “decaying process” in
the verse. The word “decayeth” (KJV) means “to declare a thing to be old and
so about to be abrogated” (Thayer). Berry says: “that which grows old and
- It says “whatever is becoming
obsolete” – which is a general statement of the passing of the law when it
became old. It refers to the time when God, through Jeremiah, said “I will
make a new covenant” (Jer. 31:31-34). The promise of a New implies that the
Old was vanishing away. There is nothing in Jeremiah’s prophecy nor the book
of Hebrews that implies the process began at the cross.
- Hebrews says – when the
priesthood changed, the law changed (Heb. 7:11,12). The Levitical priesthood
was never a part of the church. Heb. 8:1 says: “Now this is the main point
of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest…” He did
not say you will soon have Him!
- Heb. 9:15 – “He is the Mediator
of the new covenant.” He did not say He is in the process of becoming the
- Heb. 10:9,10 – By the second
covenant “we have been sanctified…” not you will be sanctified in 70 A.D.
The second covenant did not begin at the destruction of the Temple in
Jerusalem. It was “abolished in His flesh…” – the crucifixion (Eph. 2:15;
- We are “dead to the law through the
body of Christ” (Rom. 7:1-4).
- The quibble that “it does not say
the law is dead,” ignores the argument of the passage. If those people were
“dead to the law” (v. 4), they were free from it, just as being “dead to
sin” means free from it (Rom. 6:7).
- They had “become dead to the law
through the body of Christ,” not through the destruction of Jerusalem.
- The illustration is that a woman
is bound to her husband “as long as he lives,” not until he becomes
- The Jews, who had been bound to
the law, could not be joined to a new law, while the old was passing away
any more than a woman could be joined to another man while the old man was
Hebrews 12:28 – “since we are receiving a kingdom which
cannot be shaken…” is interpreted to mean they had not completely received it,
but were in to process of receiving in, which was fully realized in 70 A.D.
- What did the prophets say about the
establishment of the kingdom?
- Daniel said it would be given
when Christ ascended to the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7:13,14). This was
not in 70 A.D., any more than it will be at the second coming.
- Zechariah said the Branch would
“build his temple” and “sit and rule on His throne…and be a priest on His
throne” (Zech. 6:12,13). The temple is the church (1 Cor. 3:16), the throne
of the kingdom is in heaven (Rev. 3:21). The priesthood serves the same time
as the kingship (Heb. 8:1,2). The “temple” was not built, nor did Jesus
become King and Priest in 70 A.D.
- Jesus said the disciples would
“eat and drink at My table in My kingdom” (Lk. 22:29,30). That did not begin
in 70 A.D.; nor was it completed in 70 A.D.
- In the Lord’s supper we “proclaim
the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). If 70 A.D. was the Lord’s
second coming, then disciples should have ceased partaking of the Lord’s
supper in 70 A.D.
- What is the meaning of Heb. 12:28?
- “Receiving” is present tense,
just as “speaks” (v. 25) is present tense. It is a continuous process – not
something that began or ended in 70 A.D.
- The contrast is between things
that were temporary (the Old Law) and that which is permanent (the kingdom).
- 70 A.D. did not end Jewish
efforts to keep the Old Law. Some are continuing to try to keep parts of
- What about Luke 21:31 – “the
kingdom of God is at hand”? The word “kingdom” may refer to “sovereignty,
royal power, dominion” (Vine), so it may refer to the rule of God through
Jesus, or in our hearts. Jesus said to a scribe, “you are not far from the
kingdom of God” (Mk. 12:34). He was not talking about a time, but an
attitude. Heb. 10:22 says “let us draw near with a true heart.” Mt. 12:28 –
“the kingdom of God has come upon you” refers to the sovereign rule
of God. (How could the “kingdom” have come upon them, and at the same time
be future? Obviously, it is using the word in a different sense than in Mt.
16:18,19 and Mk. 9:1, where Jesus was talking about the future establishment
of the church/kingdom.)
1 Cor. 15 is talking about the church being “raised” out of
Judaism into the “eternal life” in 70 A.D. “The last enemy” to be destroyed is
the Jewish system (King, p. 144).
- Verse 12 says, “Now if Christ is
preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that
there is no resurrection of the dead?” Question: Was Christ’s “resurrection” a
spiritual resurrection or a bodily resurrection? Is the passage talking about
some “spiritual” resurrection, or one like Christ experienced?
- Christ is the “firstfruits of those
who have fallen asleep” (v. 20). The next verse says “For since by man came
death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead” (v. 21). Did Christ just
- After the resurrection – “Then
comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father”
(v. 24). Was the kingdom to be “delivered up,” at “the end,” or was it to be
fully established? (70 A.D. advocates say it was to be fully established at
- Furthermore, the Father “puts an
end to all rule and all authority and power” (v. 24), so if that happened in
70 A.D., the rule of Christ ended in 70 A.D.
- The “last enemy that will be
destroyed is death” (v. 26). After the resurrection, there will be no more
death, so if that happened in 70 A.D., why do we keep dying?
- The resurrected body will not look
like the natural body (vs. 35-38). If that is talking about the resurrection
of the church out of Judaism, did the church look differently after 70 A.D.?
- “We shall not all sleep, but we
shall all be changed” (v. 51). If this was talking about the church being
resurrected out of Judaism (because it was dead), what about those who had not
died, were they changed?
- It is pure, and exaggerated,
imagination to get Christianity being resurrected out of Judaism in 1 Cor. 15.
The A.D. 70 doctrine says the body that groaned “earnestly
desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven” (2 Cor.
5:1-10), also refers to the body of Christ (the church) being resurrected out of
- Paul contrasts being “present in
the body” and being “home with God,” then said “whether we be present or
absent, to be well pleasing to Him” (2 Cor. 5:8,9). Then, he concludes that
each of us must appear before “the judgment seat of Christ, and that each one
may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done,
whether good or bad” (v. 10).
- The fact that “the body” is
singular does not prove that he is talking about the church. In 1 Cor. 6:19,
Paul referred to “your body” as a temple, but it has no reference to the
church. Read the context (verses 13-20).
- Paul said “for the hope of the
resurrection of the dead I am being judged…bound with this chain” (Acts 23:6;
28:20). He said the Pharisees had the same hope (Acts 24:15). If the final
resurrection happened in 70 A.D., and the only other resurrection is the
church being raised out of Judaism, was Paul saying the Pharisees hoped for
Christianity to arise triumphantly over Judaism?
Other Passages Misused
2 Peter 3 - 70 A.D. advocates make “the heavens and
earth” refer to the Jewish economy, and they say the Lord has revealed nothing
about what will happen to the present heavens and earth.
- Verse 5 – the “earth” (Greek: ge –
“earth as arable land…the earth as a whole” Vine) was “standing out of water
and in the water.” How was the Jewish system standing out of and in the water?
That takes a lot of imagination, and twisting of Scripture.
- Verse 6 – the “world” (kosmos –
“primarily order, arrangement, ornament, adornment” Vine) “being flooded with
water perished.” How did the Jewish system perish with water?
- Verse 7 – the “earth” (ge) is
“reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
Was that fulfilled in 70 A.D.? If so, were all “ungodly men” also judged on
- Verse 10 – the “earth (ge) and the
works that are in it will be burned up.” Was that the Jewish system? Did it
all stop in 70 A.D.?
- Peter said nothing about the Jewish
system in this chapter, and to read that into it is to pervert plain Bible
Some other passages misused by A.D.
- The seventy weeks of Daniel 9. They
have a 30 year gap between the 69th and 70th weeks, then
the six items are fulfilled in the 70th week (63-70 A.D.).
- I have no problem with the
passage ending with the destruction of Jerusalem, but that does not prove
that it was the second coming of Christ.
- The primary purpose of the O.T.
was to bring the Jew “to Christ,” therefore we should not be surprised that
basically its prophecies were fulfilled in the first century.
- Daniel did discuss the
destruction of the Roman Empire (Dan. 2:32-35), which did not happen in 70
A.D. (It was not the fourth kingdom (Roman empire) that was being destroyed
in 70 A.D. – it was the city of Jerusalem.)
- Matthew 5:17,18 – “till heaven and
earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass away…”
- They make “heaven and earth” the
Jewish system and therefore the law passed when the temple was destroyed.
- Jesus did not say that heaven and
earth would pass away before nor when the law passed away. The only thing
necessary before the law passed away was that “every jot and tittle” be
- The passage does not fit a
“progressive passing” of the law. None of it would pass away until it was
all fulfilled, and when it was fulfilled it would all pass away.
- Matthew 10:23 – “…I say to you, you
will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”
- The “coming” here is probably the
judgment against Jerusalem, but that does not mean it was the final coming
(second coming) of Christ.
- There are several “comings” of
Jesus in the New Testament: (1) Jn. 14:23 – Jesus and the Father
would “come to” those who keep His word. (2) Rev. 2:5 – Jesus
threatened to “come” in judgment against the church at Ephesus and “remove
your lampstand.” (3) Mt. 16:28 – some who heard Jesus speaking would
not die “till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” That happened
on Pentecost, when people were “born of water and the Spirit” (Jn. 3:5), not
in 70 A.D. (4) Mt. 24:27 – referring to the judgment of Jerusalem,
Jesus said “as the lightening comes from the east and flashes to the west,
so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” This is no more the second
coming than the other three “comings” are the final coming of Christ. (5)
Heb. 9:28 - When Jesus comes the “second time,” it will be “apart from
sin.” He came the first time to deal with sin, but the second coming will
not be to deal with sin, but to save those who are waiting for Him. All the
saved “eagerly wait for the Savior” (Phil. 3:20). At His “appearing and His
kingdom” (the eternal phase of the kingdom), He will “judge the living and
the dead” (2 Tim. 4:1; 1 Cor. 15:23-26). That did not happen at His coming
in 70 A.D.!
- Acts 17:31 – “because He has
appointed a day on which He will judge (Greek: mello – He is
going to, or about to, judge) the world in righteousness…” 70 A.D. advocates
conclude that had to be near – therefore it must have been the destruction of
- Thayer says of “mello” – “of
those things which will come to pass by fixed necessity or divine
- Paul said “Adam was a type of Him
who was to come” (Greek: mellontos – coming, Rom. 5:14). It was a
long time from Adam to Christ!
- Galatians 3:23 says those under
the law were “kept for the faith which would afterward (root word -
mello) be revealed.” The Jews were kept under the Law for about 1500
- James said “the coming of the
Lord is at hand” (Jas. 5:8). First, the “coming” here may be His judgment on
the rich (read the context), furthermore God does not reckon time as we do
(2 Pet. 3:8). No one can put a “time lock” on God. We should be aware that
the Lord can come at any time, and we should be watching and ready. There is
no Biblical evidence that He came to raise the dead (righteous and wicked)
and change the living (righteous and wicked) in 70 A.D.
Conclusion: This theory requires a re-interpretation of
many plain passages and undermines basic Bible teaching about our worship and
hope. If we are to partake of the Lord’s supper “till He comes” and He has
already come, there is no purpose in partaking of the Lord’s supper today to
remind us of the crucifixion of Christ and look forward to the resurrection on
the last day (Jn. 6:39,40,44,54; 12:48).
Note: Clinton Hamilton did a scholarly study on this human
theory in his commentary on 2 Peter and Jude (in the Truth Commentary series).