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Realized Eschatology: 70 AD Doctrine (Part I)
Bible study on Realized Eschatology: 70 AD Doctrine.

Last Sunday we began a series of sermons on realized eschatology, which I want to review in the bulletin as we study.

Realized eschatology is the fulfillment of final things. It's the doctrine that all end-time prophesies were fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. It's also referred to as "Fulfilled Eschatology", "Covenant Eschatology", "Transmillennialism", "Preterism", "Kingism", and the "70 AD doctrine".

It dates back to the 17th century, when Luis De Alcasar wrote the first preterist exposition during the Counter Reformation. But as one would assume, preterist believe the doctrine of realized eschatology dates back to the 1st century.

Roman Catholicism, in particular, took advantage of the advent of preterism, which helped it deflect the belief that the book of Revelation prophesied that the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope would be persecutors of the church. It couldn't be possible for the Roman Catholic Church to be the abhorrent persecutor in Revelation, if all end-time prophesies were fulfilled in 70 AD.

Max King
Realized eschatology was preached in churches of Christ by Max King, who wrote The Spirit of Prophecy in the early 1970s; thus, the term "Kingism" was ascribed to this doctrine.

As a result of King's preaching and teaching on this doctrine, great injury has been inflicted on Christians and congregations over the last several years. Some have turned away from the truth, returning in the world of sin, as a result of believing King's doctrine.

70 AD Doctrine
The most widely used term for realized eschatology among Christians, to my knowledge, is the 70 AD doctrine, because it asserts that all end-time prophesies were fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

This doctrine takes the prophesies of the book of Revelation, and all other end-time prophesies, and forces them into the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. It therefore equates the prophesies relating to the destruction of Jerusalem with end-time prophesies such as the physical destruction of earth, the resurrection of the dead, and the final judgment.

Perversity of Realized Eschatology
The doctrine of realized eschatology resulted in turning brethren away from God as early as the 1st century. When Paul wrote Second Thessalonians, false teachers were already preaching that the resurrection had passed. As a result, brethren were shaken and disturbed.

Some of the sin and false doctrine resulting from realized eschatology today, includes:

  • We should not observe the Lord's Supper, since it was only to be observed until the Lord came (1 Cor. 11:26). The result of this false doctrine is spiritual weakness, death, and condemnation (1 Cor. 11:27-32).
  • Jesus doesn't rule over the kingdom today, since He has already come and thus handed the kingdom over to the Father (1 Cor. 15:24, 28). Thus, Jesus no longer reigns, and we no longer obey Him. This doctrine is false in a number of ways, which we won't discuss here.
  • Since Jesus no longer rules over the kingdom:
    • We don't obey the gospel to be saved.
    • We don't assemble with the saints.
    • We are not under the law of Christ.
    • We don't obey the word of God.
  • Judgment has already passed, so we are not judged in the future.

I don't know if Max King holds any of these views, but I know that brethren have made such conclusions as a result of believing his 70 AD doctrine.

Contradicts Scripture
False doctrines usually contradict easy-to-understand Scripture. The proponents of the false doctrine, and people who believe them, are often blinded by their unbelief, and ignore or dismiss the Scriptures that easy disprove the doctrine.

For example:

  • False teachers tell us that babies are born in sin because they have the sin of Adam. But the Bible tells us we don't inherit anyone's sin (Ezek. 18:4, 20).
  • False teachers tell us we don't have to be baptized to be saved, but Jesus tells us we must believe and be baptized to be saved (Mk. 16:16). And Peter says that baptism now saves us (1 Pet. 3:16).
  • False teachers also tell us that God has predestined some people to spend eternity in hell, and there's nothing they can do about it. But God tells us He wants everyone to be saved, and for no one to perish (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9).

Here are some immediate contradictions of the 70 AD doctrine with Scripture that shows it's a false doctrine. From these Scriptures we see that there are unfulfilled end-time prophesies today; therefore, the 70 AD doctrine must be false.

  • All who are in tombs will hear Jesus' voice and come forth (Jn. 5:28-29). Since bodies are still in tombs, we know there are unfulfilled end-time prophesies, and the 70 AD doctrine is false.
  • Christians living on earth will rise to be with the Lord when He comes (1 Th. 4:15-17). Since there are still Christians on earth, we know there are unfulfilled end-time prophesies, and the 70 AD doctrine is false.
  • All authority and rule will be abolished after the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:24). Since there is still authority and rule, as with civil governments, we know there are unfulfilled end-time prophesies, and the 70 AD doctrine is false.
  • There will no longer be sin and death after the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:24). Since there is still sin and death upon the earth, we know there are unfulfilled end-time prophesies, and the 70 AD doctrine is false.
  • There will be a final shaking of kingdoms in which only the kingdom of God remains (Heb. 12:27-29). Since world kingdoms still exist, we know there are unfulfilled end-time prophesies, and the 70 AD doctrine is false.
  • The earth will be physically destroyed with fire as it was with water in the days of Noah (2 Pet. 3:6-7, 10). Since the world has not been destroyed, we know there are unfulfilled Bible prophesies, and the 70 AD doctrine is false.

Since unfulfilled end-time prophesies remain, we must conclude that the 70 AD doctrine is a false doctrine. Jesus' final coming was not at the destruction of Jerusalem.

In future articles we will examine details of this false doctrine so we are equipped with God's word to stand firm, and fight the good fight of faith.