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This material was prepared about ten years ago, when a young man who had become a disciple of Max King’s doctrine of “realized eschatology,” “the 70 A.D. doctrine,” or “Max King-ism” moved to Lakeland and was looking for a church that would sympathize with his new doctrine. We discussed it in a preachers’ meeting, and the next month, Max King came from Ohio to help his disciple. The preachers had four hours of discussion that day.
It took me a while to understand what he meant by “already, but not yet,” but I finally understood that he was saying the same thing he had written – the Old “overlaped” the New. The New Covenant was established at Pentecost, but not fully until 70 A.D., the kingdom was established on Pentecost, but not fully until 70 A.D., and he didn’t say this, but logically Christ was not fully a priest after the order of Melchizedek until 70 A.D. (Heb. 7:10-12). The writer of Hebrews said, “Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven” (Heb. 8:1). But according to King-ism, He was not fully seated until 70 A.D. The priesthood and the Law did not fully change until 70 A.D. (It is granted that the Temple and genealogical records were destroyed in 70 A.D., but are we to assume that the Jews gave up circumcision as a sign of their relationship with God, as well as all the other teachings of the Old Law and fully submitted only to the New Covanant which “fully went into effect in 70 A.D.”?) Daniel said when Jesus “came to the Ancient of Days…Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom…” (Dan. 7:13,14). Peter said David did not ascend to heaven, but he wrote that one would ascend and be told “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” (Acts 2:35,35). But according to Max King, Jesus didn’t fully get that kingdom until 70 A.D.
This doctrine makes Matthew 24, instead of Acts 2, the “Hub” of the Bible. The O.T. looked forward to that day, and the N.T. looks back to it. The “coming of Jesus” in judgment against Jerusalem is the center of Bible teaching. When Jesus judged the city of Jerusalem, that was the end – the resurrection of the dead, and the final judgment! Max said he did not know what would happen to those who died after 70 A.D. According to him, the N.T. says nothing about anything to happen after that date, so any explanation he would make would be speculation. He surmises that the saved will go to heaven, and the lost to hell the day they die and there will be no general resurrection, but there is no Scripture that suggests such an idea, therefore it is purely his presumption.
Galatians 4:21-31 and the overlapping of covenants
Position: The Jews had an inheritance until 70 A.D., at which time the Christian Age fully began. The two covenants overlapped from 30 A.D. to 70 A.D., then Christians were given the inheritance of the Jews. “Abraham had two sons, and there was no gap between them. They overlapped a little, but Isaac ‘came in’ when Ishmael ‘went out’” (Spirit of Prophecy, p. 239).
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 vanish away until 70 A.D.
1. Heb. 8:13 does not teach that the Old Covenant remained in force for years after the cross. Such an interpretation contradicts plain teaching in the book of Hebrews.
2. It says when God, through Jeremiah predicted a New Covenant, He inferred that the Old was going to pass away (Jer. 31:31-34). Vincent’s Word Studies commented: “When God announced a new covenant, he proclaimed the insufficiency of the old, and the promise of a new covenant carried with it the promise of the abrogation of the old.” There is nothing in the text, nor context, that indicates the growing old began at the cross and ended in 70 A.D.
3. The Old Covenant had passed away when the writer of Hebrews penned these words. When the priesthood changed, the Law changed (Heb. 7:12). The writer of Hebrews said “We have such a High Priest” (Heb. 8:1); not we will have one in 70 A.D. Heb. 9:15 says “He is (not will be) the Mediator of the new covenant…” Heb. 10:9,10 says “He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified (not we will be in 70 A.D.) through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” There is nothing in the Book of Hebrews about the Old and New Covenants overlapping!
4. Romans 7:1-4 says we are “dead to the law through the body of Christ;” not through the destruction of Jerusalem. (See also Col. 2:14-17.) The quibble (it does not say “the law is dead”) ignores the argument in the passage. If the Jews were “dead to the Law” – the Law was not in effect! The illustration Paul used is a woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. When he dies she is free to marry another. If he is terminally ill – could she go ahead and be joined to another man during the “overlapping” period? She could, by the same reasoning that the Jews could be joined to the New Covenant while the Old was passing away! You have to remember that this theory does not have the Old Covenant passing away when the New was given at Pentecost, but when Jerusalem was destroyed 40 years later.
Position: The writer of Hebrews said “since we are receiving a kingdom” (Heb. 12: 28), this means that the kingdom had not been completely established and that would be done in 70 A.D.
1. Daniel said the kingdom would be given to Christ when He ascended to heaven (Dan. 7:13,14), not when He came to destroy Jerusalem.
2. Zechariah said the Branch would: build His temple, sit and rule on His throne, and be a priest on His throne (Zech. 6:12,13; cp. 1 Cor. 3:16; Rev. 3:21, Heb. 8:1,2). All these things were fulfilled before 70 A.D.
3. When Jesus instituted the supper, He said His disciples would “eat and drink at My table in My kingdom” (Lk. 22:29-30). This was observed before 70 A.D., and Paul wrote: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). If Jesus has already “come” (in 70 A.D.) where is the passage that teaches we should observe the Lord’s supper, and for what purpose?
4. What is the meaning of Heb. 12:28? The Hebrews were “receiving” (present tense) the kingdom. It was a continual process and did not begin, nor end in 70 A.D. We continue to receive the kingdom as we plant the seed, which is the “word of the Kingdom” (Mt. 13:19), or the “word of God” (Lk. 8:11). The seed of the Kingdom did not wait until 70 A.D. to germinate and produce fruit (Col. 1:13). It produced the same thing before 70 A.D. that it did afterward.
Position: The “body” in 1 Cor. 15 refers to the church that was being “raised” out of Judaism into eternal life in 70 A.D. “In Judaism we have borne the image of the earthly, but in Christianity we shall bear the image of the heavenly (verse 48)” (Spirit of Prophecy, p. 201).
Position: The heavens and earth that are to be “dissolved being on fire” (2 Peter 3), refers to the fall of Judaism, or the Jewish world. (He also used Mt. 3:12; 13:40,42; 2 Thess. 1:8 to refer to the “symbolic fire in the destruction of Judaism” p. 131).
Position: The “coming” (Gr. mello) was to be soon. “2 Tim. 4:1…must be equated with Matt. 16:27,28, where there is a concurrency of statements with respect to Christ’s coming, his kingdom’s appearing, and the rewarding or judgment of every man” (The Spirit of Prophecy, p.158). He believes the resurrection of the dead must have been in the first century, and could not be something a long time in the future.
a. The judging of the “living and the dead” (2 Tim. 4:1) did not happen when the kingdom was established, nor in 70 A.D.! “And the Lord will deliver me from every work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” (2 Tim. 4:18). Paul was not looking forward to entering the kingdom (the church), he was already in it (Rev. 1:9).
b. Thayer commented on “mello” – “of those things which will come to pass by fixed necessity or divine appointment.”
c. Malachi 4:5 - predicted the “coming” (mellon) of John the Baptist, which happened about 400 years after that was written (Mt. 11:14).
d. Acts 26:22,23 – Paul said he was teaching only those things “Moses said would come” (mello). That was about 1500 years after Moses.
e. Rom. 5:14 – Paul said Adam was “a type of Him who was to come” (mellontos). That was – how many years before it was fulfilled???
f. Peter said “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet. 3:8) – and that is not literal. Men should not try to put a time-lock on God’s actions. Every “coming” did not have to be by 70 A.D., and was not!
Brief comments on some other passages misused by 70 A.D. advocates:
1. The seventy weeks of Daniel 9. They have a 30 years gap between the 69th and 70th weeks, then the six items are fulfilled in the 70th week (63-70 A.D.).
2. Mt. 5:17,18 – They make “heaven and earth” the Jewish system and conclude the law passed when the temple was destroyed.
a. Jesus did not say heaven and earth would pass away before, or when, the Law
passed away. The only thing necessary before the Law passed away was its being fulfilled!
3. Mt. 10:23 – The “Son of Man” would “come” soon.
a. The “coming” here refer to the judgment against Jerusalem, but that does not prove that it was the second coming. It may refer to His coming to establish the Kingdom which was “at hand” (Mt. 10:6,7).
b. Several “comings” of Jesus are mentioned in Scripture: (1) the spiritual presence of God and Christ (Jn. 14:23); (2) The Lord’s threat to remove the candlestick of the Ephesians (Rev. 2:5); (3) Christ’s coming in His kingdom; where He would drink the fruit of the vine with them (Mt. 16:28; 26:29); (4) His coming in judgment of Jerusalem (Mt. 24:3), and (5) His second coming on the last day – when He will “come apart from sin” (“not to deal with sin” RSV) and the righteous will be raised and caught up to heaven (1 Thess. 4:14-17; Heb. 9:28; 1 Cor. 15:24-26). Those things did not happen in 70 A.D.! Jesus was still dealing with sin after 70 A.D, and still is!
When Jesus comes “a second time, apart from sin” (Heb. 9:28), the dead will be raised with a body fit for eternity (1 Thess. 4:15-17; 1 Jn. 3:2), and those living will be changed into a celestial, incorruptible, glorious, powerful, spiritual body (1 Cor. 15:40-44). That did not happen in 70 A.D., but is the hope of those who are true believers (2 Thess. 1:10; Mt. 25:31-34). The abiding city to which Abraham looked was not the church (he was never in the church), but the heavenly city (Heb. 11:8-10). “For here we have no abiding city, but we seek one to come” (Heb. 13:14).
The young man in Lakeland who had accepted the King doctrine, finally gave up all effort to follow God’s pattern for His church. The last I heard of him, he was in some denomination that was practicing all kinds of unscriptural things. I have heard that Max King’s church now uses instrumental music in worship. Some time ago I e-mailed him about this and asked him if it were true, but received no response. The acceptance of false principles does not often end with one false doctrine. Beware!
Copyright Midway Church of Christ 2011 This page last modified June 29, 2012