You are hereWatchman Magazine: A Refutation of the A.D. 70 Doctrine

Watchman Magazine: A Refutation of the A.D. 70 Doctrine

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By Virgil - Posted on 11 January 2010

by Stan Cox
A doctrine exists which asserts that all Biblical prophecies regarding the end times were ultimately fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome in A.D. 70. It is known by several names. It is referred to most commonly by the awkward “A.D. 70 Doctrine”, technically by the term “Realized Eschatology”, recently by some of its adherents as “Transmillennialism®”, and less precisely by the more generic term “Preterism.”Definitions

A.D. 70 Doctrine. As indicated above, the generally accepted date of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman general Titus is A.D. 70. The doctrine this work examines asserts that all of the “end time” prophecies and references in the New Testament refer to that event. It is contended that at that time, Jesus came for the second and final time. At that time, taking the language of 2 Peter 3, (and wresting it, we might add), “both the earth and the works that are in it” were burned up; and the “new heavens and a new earth” were established. Though it is not a phrase used by the adherents of the doctrine, it is descriptive and appropriate.

Realized Eschatology. The term eschatology is defined by Webster as “the branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or mankind.” Or, secondarily, “any of various Christian doctrines concerning the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment, or the nature of human existence upon the completion of history” (New Collegiate Dictionary, 1977). In the term realized the doctrine is identified as contending all of these events to have already happened.

Transmillennialism®. Max R. King is the person most responsible for popularizing this doctrine among churches of Christ. He was an institutional preacher in the 1960’s and early 1970’s who published a book titled The Spirit of Prophecy in 1971, in which he made public his peculiar defense of this doctrine. His youngest son Tim is an ardent and active defender of his father’s teaching, and has written a very revealing “definition” of the term transmillennialism®.

In the summer of 1999 we invented a new word – “Transmillennialism.” As a new term, this could stand beside ‘pre-,’ ‘a-,’ and ‘post-’ millennialism, the final forms that had developed in Christian eschatology.

As a prefix to millennialism, “Trans-” means “across” or “over” or “on the other side of.” It also means “above and beyond, transcending” such as “transatlantic.” The “trans” part of Transmillennialism™ stands for moving through or beyond what has gone before. (1)

As you can see, the King family made up the word themselves. Interestingly, they have trademarked the word. As you will see in our examination of their doctrine, we will see that this is not the only time they have arbitrarily defined words to suit their purpose. In fact, it is characteristic of their treatment of God’s word.

Preterism. The term preterit is defined by Webster as “bygone, former” and indicating “action in the past” (ibid). Though we do not have access to an unabridged dictionary, one source indicated that the 1913 edition of Webster’s unabridged dictionary defined the term preterist as “One who believes the prophecies of the Apocalypse to have already been fulfilled. (2) So, Preterism would be the doctrine that “the prophecies of the Apocalypse have already been fulfilled.”

It is important to note that the A.D. 70 Doctrine is only one of numerous Preterist doctrines.

Read the entire article

newworldthinker's picture

These comments have been very interesting to say the least. It is good to hear the different takes on how to meet these arguments from these believers who cannot think beyond the New Testament. They are frozen in the New Testament times because dispensationalism has taken the Old Testament away from them and relegated it to the Jews only and their dispensation before Christ. All doctrine begins in the Old Testament especially in the Pentateuch under the hermeneutical law of first mention and then we must follow that principle with the law of reoccurance. When we take these principles and can work them into our preterist theology, we leave these "New testament" people out in their mysticism with out a solid basis to stand upon. They even contradict their "New Testament" stance by ignoring that which Paul told young Timothy, II Tim. 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for correction, for teaching,for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. The New Testament was not completed and canonized yet as the New Testament and that would not happen for almost three hundred years. Yes literally Paul was telling Timothy that he was to go to the Old Testament for doctrine,teaching,for correction and training in righteouness. (NASV) To finish this blog, people, we have a large job ahead of us to know how to go back to the source of preterism so that we can can give an answer for our faith. This is a fight over what the church's ideology is going to be. Is our ideology going to be divine viewpoint or human viewpoint which is really a form of godliness. Are we going to start working with our brothers in Christ although they are off, and take them away from the negative and passive theology and are we going to answer out of context verses with sharp, clear verses which are tied in with Christ being the fulfillment of prophecy, ceremonies and sacrifices. Are we going to teach them that we are now in the government of God that wiped out the four nations of Dan. 7:1-28 and Isa. 9:6-7. Many of the American Christians talk about a world government now taking over the world. It is up to us to show and teach our brothers that this world governnment that the Word of God spoke about is here now and it is called the kingdom of God. The Lord bless you and He will. GR

Gene Ross

Virgil's picture

"They are frozen in the New Testament times because dispensationalism has taken the Old Testament away from them"

Well not in the "times" of the new testament, but in the reading of the new covenant...ignoring the old. The New Testament is a solid extension of Jewish scriptures, not a new set of or a new kind of scriptures. It has not been hellenized as some people claimed... When modern Americans read only the New Testmanet, they probably miss most of the meaning of the message behind the text, so it's no surprise that they take many of the prophecies literally and apply them to their lives today.

newworldthinker's picture

The fact is as you say, as preterists and others who understand the covenants and the fact that the old covenant is also being fulfilled through the new covenant, most people are ignorant of what covenants are and once again I believe also that dispensationalism has had a lot to do with the down playing of the old testament part of the Bible. Most christian churches today are stuck in the mode of believing that we are in the gentile dispensation so we do not have to think as Jews to whom the whole bible was written to and the old covenant with its laws are the most important part. It amazes me that although Timothy was not far removed from the tribes of Israel which were divided and scattered before the destruction of the temple, Paul told Timothy to study to show himself approved unto God Paul also said to Timothy that "all scriptures were inspired and profitable for doctrine of which the covenants are bodies of doctrine that express the way that God works. As we deal with the church today in its ignorance we have the responsibility to show the importance of the inspired old testament scriptures so that we can teach them the covenants, their significance and meaning.

Gene Ross

chrisliv's picture


Understanding blood covenants, which came way before the tribes of Israel, is helpful in understanding the New Covenant, especially in what we call these "modern" times.

But what do you mean that "Timothy was not far removed from the tribes of Israel"?

Are you trying to argue that Timothy might have had some Jewish DNA, or that that might have been desirable?

And also, you say, "the tribes of Israel which were divided and scattered before the destruction of the temple".

Are suggesting the "Lost Tribes" idea espoused by so-called Christian Identity adherents?

The tiny, Roman occupied nation of Judea was a shadow of it's former geographic area. The "division" of the Israelites occurred because of the house of David imposing taxes, just like God told them would happen if they insisted on an earthly king or monarchy.

But there were Israelites in Judea and the surrounding area. And Jews from all of Eurasia would send delegates to the annual Feasts at the Temple in Jerusalem.

So, not all Jews or Israelites lived in Jerusalem. But they weren't "scattered" or "lost" in such a way as to not have a direct connection with the the Temple and the sacrificial offerings, through delegates.

You know, like how there were Jews at the Day of Pentecost, who were from every part of the known world:

Acts 2:1 ¶ And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 ¶ And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

You see, Paul understood how to catch so-called "scattered" Jews from around the world in one place, annually (even though the Holy Spirit and the Church told Paul not to go):

"For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost." Acts 20:16

Of course, technical "Israelites" certainly lived at Judea, too, as Christ mentions about the transparent and outspoken attitude of Nathanael, which was a kind of joking contrast to the original Israelite, Jacob:

"Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" John 1:47

Anyway, if your tack was not really in the direction of Christian Identity circles, sorry.

Peace be with you,
C. Livingstone

Ed's picture



Papa is especially fond of us

HiPo's picture

It is referred to most commonly by the awkward “A.D. 70 Doctrine”
By whom?

Your faithful brother in Christ,

Virgil's picture

By awkward people...

Mick's picture

The designation “70 AD doctrine” or “70 AD Theory” were common designations by members of the Churches of Christ. As this website appears to be maintained by members of the Church of Christ denomination, I suspect that is why the author said it was “It is referred to most commonly by the awkward ‘A.D. 70 Doctrine’” It was attempt to classify teachings that were different from the “Mainline” Churches of Christ which I believe primarily teaches Amillennialism.
When congregations of the Churches of Christ discussed what we commonly call preterism here, they would us these terms. I am someone who has been familiar with a fulfilled view of prophecy for 25 years and has roots within the Churches of Christ; yet I have only used the term preterism the last 10 years at most. I have always preferred to use the term “Covenant Eschatology,” a term I believe coined by Jack Scott and Tim King. For a brief period of time I used the term Transmillennialism ® at the request of Tim King while he was attempting to get the term trademarked.
William Bell, Jack Scott, Don Preston and the Kings are likely better sources of the history of these things than I am. While I have understood this teaching since 1984, I was too busy with Med School and residency in the 80’s and early 90’s to pay much attention to the politics within the Churches of Christ. The congregation, of the Churches of Christ, that I was part of until 3 years ago; used these designations.

Not everyone is as graceful as you are.

Mickey E. Denen

Virgil's picture

I think someone really needs to sit down and write a detailed history of Preterism for the past 50 years or so, or maybe do a documentary on it to have it for posterity. Get with people like Ed Stevens, Max, Terry, Jack..etc.

Virgil's picture

Hey, look at you...not a heretic!! :)

davecollins's picture

Brother Stan completed his first part of his refutation without once mentioning any of the timing statements.These specific and concise statements, found in the New Testament,form a strong pillar in the foundation of our position. I get that his opinion is we spiritualize everything to fit our preconceived ideas. What he does not get is our desire to honor Jesus by trusting His Word as the truth. Jesus spoke very clearly about the nature of the Kingdom and the 1st century fulfillment, it will be fascinating to hear Mr. Cox on the matter.....thus far his article can be summarized by saying the preterist spiritualized interpretation is wrong, nothing new.

Metzuda's picture

... so... you guys read all of the articles, not just the linked one, right? The author did not attempt to refute or even well define Preterism in the linked article... it's only the first part.

davecollins's picture

Metzuda, Thanks for the heads up..I didn't realize that all 3 parts for available. I have read the articles. My comment would be that while Mr. (Pastor?) Cox is a prolific writer, his perception and understanding of the basic preterist view is marred by his bias and closed minded suppositions.His handling of the myriad time statements was quite embarrassing.He posited a very weak attempt to change the normal use of the word "mello" to fit his view, and dealt with all the other places where soon, quick, last hour, at the door, near, sweeping them under the " one day is like 1000years rug". Mr Cox does realize the figurative language in Matt.13 is obviously concerning the judgement of Isreal, but does not equate the same apocalyptic language in Peter as the same judgement. I was totally underwhelmed by his various insults and dogmatic assertions of the preterist goals. Rest assured that this preterist of 14 years will gladly allow Mr. Cox and all the other futurists to continue to wait for the "soon return of Jesus, get ready for the "rapture",and anticipate a new ressurrected body.

chrisliv's picture

Hey, Dave,

Thanks for looking in to rest of this Futurist's critique, for the rest of us.

Isn't it interesting how Planet Preterist is openly sharing articles by Futurists who criticize the Preterist position?

And isn't it interesting how there are no Futurist websites (that I know of) that are posting articles of credible Preterist articles, for the sake of meaningful argument?

Anyway, I also liked the trace of dry humor in your last sentence.

Peace be with you,
C. Livingstone

davecollins's picture

Thanks Chris!! You are my hero;).When the student is ready, the teacher will appear... and when our minds are open to the possible we can begin to understand the truth.
Peace, brother

leslie's picture

As Mr.Cox, so kindly pointed out in an underhanded way.... Most of us are just "Hobbyists"... ie... he has to worry about his pay check and we don't.

Brother Les

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