A Study of the 70 A.D. Doctrine

Written by Frank Jamerson.

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  70 A.D.


  1. 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?”
  2. 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).
  3. The two mothers (are two covenants)   and two sons (are two products):
  1. Hagar – the Old Covenant; Sarah –    the New Covenant
  2. Ishmael – Jews under the Law; Isaac    – Christians in the New Covenant.
  3. The Old Covenant did not contain   the inheritance promised through Abraham’s seed (Gal. 3:17-19).
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.)
  6. 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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   ages…”   
    1. 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.
    2. 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!
    3. Heb. 9:15 – “He is the Mediator     of the new covenant.” He did not say He is in the process of becoming the     Mediator.
    4. 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;      Col. 2:14).
  3. We are “dead to the law through the   body of Christ” (Rom. 7:1-4).   
    1. 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).
    2. They had “become dead to the law     through the body of Christ,” not through the destruction of Jerusalem.
    3. The illustration is that a woman     is bound to her husband “as long as he lives,” not until he becomes     terminally ill.
    4. 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     dying.

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.


  1. What did the prophets say about the   establishment of the kingdom?   
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
  1. What is the meaning of Heb. 12:28?     
    1. “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.
    2. The contrast is between things     that were temporary (the Old Law) and that which is permanent (the kingdom).    
    3. 70 A.D. did not end Jewish     efforts to keep the Old Law. Some are continuing  to try to keep parts of     it.
    4. 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).


  1. 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?
  2. 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   spiritually arise?
  3. 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    “the end.”)
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. 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.?
  7. “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?
  8. 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  Judaism.


  1. 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).
  2. 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).
  3. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Verse 6 – the “world” (kosmos –   “primarily order, arrangement, ornament, adornment” Vine) “being flooded with   water perished.” How did the Jewish system perish with water?
  3. 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   that day?
  4. 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.?
  5. Peter said nothing about the Jewish   system in this chapter, and to read that into it is to pervert plain Bible   teaching.
Some other passages misused by A.D.  70 advocates:

  1. 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.).
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.)
  1. Matthew 5:17,18 – “till heaven and   earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass away…”   
    1. They make “heaven and earth” the     Jewish system and therefore the law passed when the temple was destroyed.
    2. 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     fulfilled.
    3. 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.     
  1. Matthew 10:23 – “…I say to you, you   will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”     
    1. The “coming” here is probably the     judgment against Jerusalem, but that does not mean it was the final coming     (second coming) of Christ.
    2. 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.!
  1. 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   Jerusalem.   
    1. Thayer says of “mello” – “of     those things which will come to pass by fixed necessity or divine     appointment.”
    2. 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!
    3. 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     years.
    4. 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).

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