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(Note: The following letter was written, in response to a long hand-written letter from a young man who had accepted the Max King doctrine on 70 A.D. I will not reproduce his letter, but those familiar with the doctrine will be able to follow my response to his arguments.)
You suggested that it was my responsibility to help you “see the error of my way,” and though I believe that the material I gave you should have been adequate, I am going to make another effort by replying to the involved letter that you wrote.
I will say in the beginning, that it amazes me when brethren dogmatically know what difficult, and figurative passages mean, but cannot understand plain passages, and begin to interpret the simple passages to harmonize with their opinion established from the difficult passages. This, I believe, is the basic error of the “King” doctrine, as I will try to show you in this letter.
Argument I: You contend that the “resurrection” of Dan. 12:2,3 is the same as the “end of the age” in Mt. 13:39-41 and John 5:28,29.
1. The passage in Dan. 12 is much debated, and I certainly will not be dogmatic about what it means, but I will dogmatically deny that it contradicts the plain statement of John 5:28,29, which says “the hour is coming in which ALL who are in the graves will hear his voice and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” This did not happen in 70 A.D.!
2. Daniel said, “Many of those who sleep in the dust shall awake…” “Many” is not “all.” So, we begin with the simple acknowledgement of the meaning of words. Whatever Dan. 12 means, it does not mean the same thing as John 5:28,29. Speaking of the same “many,” (of Dan. 12:2), Daniel said “Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly…” (Dan. 12:10). It seems to me that Daniel is using “resurrection” here, as did Ezekiel in Ezek. 37, in a figurative sense. Ezekiel referred to the resurrection of the nation and here it seems that Daniel is talking about the “resurrection” of John 5:25,26 – those who hear the word of God “shall live.” Among those converted by the word of Christ, some would be faithful, and some would become wicked. John 5:28,29 say: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” Some who were converted gave up the faith and went back into Judaism or the world. They had been “raised to walk a new life” (Rom. 6:3,4), but they went back into shameful living. That harmonizes with the plain teaching of the N.T. – both the righteous and wicked will be raised on the “last day” (Jn. 6:40,44; 12:48).
3. You assumed that the “end of the age” in Mt. 24 is the same as “the end of this age” in Mt. 13:39-43. In the parable in Mt. 13, Jesus says the field is the world, the good seed is the children of the kingdom, the tares are the children of the wicked one, the sower of the good seed is Christ, the sower of the tares is the devil, the harvest is the end of the world and the reapers are the angels. It is pure assumption to say that “the world” here is Jerusalem. The “end of the age” must be determined by context, and it is a perversion of the context to equate Mt. 13 with the destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus did not say “Jerusalem will be reaped” – He said “the world would be reaped at the end – nothing about 70 A.D.
4. You used Joel 2:28-32; 3:1,13-17 as though they prove that “the end of the age” referred to the second coming. Joel may refer to the destruction in Joel 2:31, but that does not mean the passage is talking about the second coming. He goes on to describe the second remnant (Joel 2:31; Is. 11:11; Rom. 11:5), not the second coming. This is also referred to in Amos 9:11-15 and applied to the church of the Lord in Acts 15:15-19. The description of “that day” in Joel 3:16-18 is parallel to Amos 9:11-15, and refers to the day when spiritually the redeemed will dwell with God in Zion or Jerusalem (see Heb. 12:22-24,28). It has no reference to the second coming and is perverted when so applied.
Argument II: Your second argument is based on the assumption that “at hand, shortly” etc., always mean the same thing.
1. I agree that brother____ misused Obadiah 15, when he applied it to “all nations,” (seemingly nations today), but that does not change the main point of his argument. Historically, Edom, and the surrounding nations were not destroyed until centuries after the time of Obadiah, yet he said it was “near.”
2. You said that Jeremiah’s prophecy, quoted in Heb. 8:7-13 has to mean that it was growing old when the writer of Hebrews penned those words. Why? Because you have a theory that this passage has to fit! The plain truth is that the Old Law had passed away, just as the Levitical priesthood had, before the writer of Hebrews wrote those words. The writer had just said that “the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law” (Heb. 7:11,12). Did Jesus become a priest in 70 A.D.? Zachariah had prophesied that “the Branch” would build a temple and “sit and rule on His throne (as King); So He shall be a priest (of Melchizedek) on His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (Zech. 6:12,13). The Bible plainly says that Jesus was raised from the dead “to sit on David’s throne” and that when He ascended to heaven, He “sat on the throne of His Father” (Eph. 1:20; Rev. 3:21). Eph. 2:19-22 shows that the Ephesians were a part of the “temple” which was built upon Christ. Hebrews 8:1 (which you believe was written before 70 A.D.) plainly says “We HAVE such a High Priest, who IS SEATED at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” A doctrine that teaches that the temple of God was not fully built and Christ was not fully a priest or a king until 70 A.D. is not an innocent theory! But there is much more evidence on this subject. The writer of Hebrews said, “But now He HAS OBTAINED a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which WAS ESTABLISHED on better promises” (Heb. 8:6). If the law was changed when the priesthood was changed (Heb. 7:12), and the “better covenant” WAS ESTABLISHED when the writer of Hebrews wrote this, it could not refer to 70 A.D.! In Hebrews 10:10, the writer said “we have been sanctified” through the sacrifice of Christ. When was that fully in effect? It began on Pentecost (Lk. 24:47; Acts 2:36-38), not in 70 A.D.! Your interpretation of Heb. 8:13 puts you in contradiction to these plain passages.
3. What does Heb. 8:13 mean? It certainly does not mean that the establishment of the New Covenant and the remission of sins were future from the time the book was written. When God, through Jeremiah, said that a New Covenant would be established, that implied the one then in existence was going to grow old and vanish away. To put this “considerable time after the cross” (as you said) is to contradict everything the Bible says on the subject. No passage, that I am aware of, teaches that the New Covenant would go into effect when Jerusalem was destroyed. That is totally a human doctrine.
Argument III: You tied Rom. 11:25,26 “so shall all Israel be saved,” with Zech. 14:1-9, which you say is the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
1. Both of these are assumptions. First, “so shall all Israel be saved,” has nothing to do with the destruction of Jerusalem. “So” is an adverb of manner; saying “in this manner all Israel will be saved.” “All” is used of all who will be saved. The context is that Jews would be converted because of the conversion of Gentiles. They would be “provoked to jealousy” (Rom. 11:14) and be saved in the same manner as Gentiles. Then, he said the Jews “were broken off” because of unbelief (Rom. 11:20), and God would “graft them in again” (Rom. 11:23), if they believe. The passage does not even hint that this would fully begin in 70 A.D.
2. Your use of Zech. 14:1-9 is also an assumption that “the day of the Lord” is His final coming – which you say was 70 A.D.. Brother Hailey commented: “Some have concluded that he speaks of physical Jerusalem and its destruction by the Romans, A.D. 70. But this interpretation is made untenable by the assurance, ‘and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.’ Of Jerusalem’s destruction by the Romans, Josephus says, ‘Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury…Caesar gave orders that they should demolish the entire city and temple’ (Wars, Book VII, 1:1)…The more probable explanation is that the Lord is here pointing to the spiritual Jerusalem as the capital of His spiritual kingdom (cf. Heb. 12:22; Gal. 4:26) and of the assault upon it by the world” (Commentary on Minor Prophets, p.395).
3. The passage is difficult, but when verses 8,9 are compared with 9:9,10 (and Jn. 7:37,38; Ps. 2:6-9; Micah 4:1-3) it is obvious that it is Messianic, referring to the blessings in Christ, not to the destruction of physical Jerusalem.
4. Your use of Acts 3:21 also ignores the context. You make “all things spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets” refer to the destruction of Jerusalem. The “time of restitution of all things” has nothing to do with the destruction of Jerusalem. The next verse says, “For Moses truly said to the fathers, the Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you” (v. 22). Verse 24 says the prophets “foretold these days,” then verse 26 says Jesus was sent to “turn away every one of you from your iniquities.” The turning away from iniquities did not begin in 70 A.D., but on Pentecost (Lk. 24:46,47).
5. You tied the prophecy of Isaiah 65:17-19 with 2 Peter 3:8-11, as though both of them are talking about the same time. This involves too much to discuss in detail, but I will make a few observations to show your misuse of the passages.
a. Isaiah identified the time of the “new heavens and new earth” as the time when “the wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, says the Lord” (65:24,25). The time of these events is clearly understood by comparing this passage with Isaiah 11:6-10, which is applied to Christ’s rule over Jews and Gentiles (see Rom. 15:8-12). This passage has nothing to do with the destruction of Jerusalem, but to the new order under Christ, when He ascended to heaven and was given a kingdom (Dan. 7:13,14).
b. Peter used the same figure “new heavens and new earth” to refer to the future arrangement in heaven (2 Pet. 3:7-14). He said that just as the “world” (kosmos) was destroyed with water, the “earth” (ge) and the works that are in it “will be burned up.” Since these things will be dissolved, he admonishes believers to be holy “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat” (v. 12). Was Peter telling Christians to “hasten” the destruction of Jerusalem? John used the same expression to refer to the heavenly city (for which Abraham waited, Heb. 11:10; Abraham was never in the church!), after the present system passes away (Rev. 21:1-7.
6. You argument on Acts 24:14,15 (“there will be a resurrection of the dead”) is very interesting. You claim that this has been fulfilled because Green and Berry’s Interlinear says, “there is about to be a resurrection of the dead.” You didn’t say so, but I understand that the “Realized Eschatology” theory contends that this is the resurrection of Christianity out of Judaism.
a. This is Paul’s defense before Ananias against the accusation of the Jews that he was “a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.”
b. He said he had the same hope as the Jews – “a resurrection of dead, both of the just and the unjust.” Did the Jews who were opposing Paul hope that Christianity would be resurrected out of Judaism? Not likely!
c. Paul’s meaning here is clear; because the next verse says in view of the resurrection “I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men” (v. 16). Paul wanted to have a good conscience and be in the resurrection of “the just,” – which the Jews did not have while in rebellion to Christ. This has nothing to do with 70 A.D.
There are other things that could be said, but I think these should be sufficient to answer the arguments you made and I hope they help you to see that the plain passages in the Bible should be accepted in context rather than twisted to try to fit some preconceived theory.
Copyright Midway Church of Christ 2014 This page last modified July 03, 2014