PP20: The Spiritual Significance of 70 AD (Conclusion)


This is now the twentieth and final* post in our series on “A Partial-Preterist Perspective on the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.” This is the same title as a term paper I recently submitted to Northwestern College. All previous posts can be found below and, together with this present post, make up the entire contents of my term paper. It’s recommended that all previous posts be read in order before reading this post:

[1] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/brief-explanation-of-partial-preterism/
[2] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/pp2-references/
[3] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/pp3-external-evidence-for-an-early-date-revelation/
[4] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/pp4-internal-evidence-for-an-early-date-revelation-part-1/
[5] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/pp5-internal-evidence-for-an-early-date-revelation-part-2/
[6] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/pp6-internal-evidence-for-an-early-date-revelation-part-3/
[7] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/pp7-internal-evidence-for-an-early-date-revelation-part-4/
[8] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/pp8-daniels-70-week-prophecy-part-1/
[9] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/pp9-daniels-70-week-prophecy-part-2/
[10] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/pp10-jerusalems-destruction-foretold-in-the-olivet-discourse/
[11] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/pp11-did-jesus-come-in-70-ad-part-1/
[12] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/pp12-did-jesus-come-in-70-ad-part-2/
[13] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/pp13-signs-of-the-close-of-the-age/
[14] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/pp14-abomination-of-desolation/
[15] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/pp15-the-man-of-lawlessness-ii-thess-2-part-1/
[16] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/pp16-the-man-of-lawlessness-ii-thess-2-part-2/
[17] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/pp17-the-historical-events-leading-up-to-70-ad-part-1/
[18] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/22/pp18-the-historical-events-leading-up-to-70-ad-part-2/
[19] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/22/pp19-the-historical-events-leading-up-to-70-ad-part-3/

In the previous three posts we discussed the historical events which led up to the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70 AD. In this final* post we will see statements from 20 different persons of influence in Church history, spanning from the 2nd century until the present, regarding the spiritual significance of what took place in 70 AD.

*(This is the final post in the sense that it brings to completion the contents of my 48-page term paper as it was submitted to Northwestern College in July 2009. There may be future posts which function as appendixes to what has been included here so far.)

Adam Maarschalk

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H. The Spiritual Significance of 70 AD

It seems clear that the knowledge of Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 AD, and the significance of this event, once held a prominent place in Christian theology, and that this understanding has been supplanted in direct proportion to the rise of Dispensationalism within the last 180 years. As R.C. Sproul says in his book, The Last Days according to Jesus (p. 26), “No matter what view of eschatology we embrace, we must take seriously the redemptive-historical importance of Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 AD.” The following are quotes from early church writers, reformers, and other leaders regarding the spiritual significance of 70 AD (Todd Dennis [19], 2009):

[1] Irenaeus (174 AD): “CHAP. IV.–ANSWER TO ANOTHER OBJECTION, SHOWING THAT THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM, WHICH WAS THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING, DIMINISHED NOTHING FROM THE SUPREME MAJESTY’ AND POWER OF GOD, FOR THAT THIS DESTRUCTION WAS PUT IN EXECUTION BY THE MOST WISE COUNSEL OF THE SAME GOD. (1) Further, also, concerning Jerusalem and the Lord, they venture to assert that, if it had been ‘the city of the great King,’ it would not have been deserted. This is just as if anyone should say, that if straw were a creation of God, it would never part company with the wheat; and that the vine twigs, if made by God, never would be lopped away and deprived of the clusters… Even as Esaias saith, ‘The children of Jacob shall strike root, and Israel shall flourish, and the whole world shall be filled with his fruit.’ The fruit, therefore, having been sown throughout all the world, she (Jerusalem) was deservedly forsaken, and those things which had formerly brought forth fruit abundantly were taken away; for from these, according to the flesh, were Christ and the apostles enabled to bring forth fruit. But now these are no longer useful for bringing forth fruit. For all things which have a beginning in time must of course have an end in time also. (2) Since, then, the law originated with Moses, it terminated with John as a necessary consequence. Christ had come to fulfil it: wherefore ‘the law and the prophets were’ with them ‘until John.’ And therefore Jerusalem, taking its commencement from David, and fulfilling its own times, must have an end of legislation when the new covenant was revealed.”

[2] Tertullian (160-220 AD): “Therefore, when these times also were completed, and the Jews subdued, there afterwards ceased in that place [Jerusalem] ‘libations and sacrifices,’ which thenceforward have not been able to be in that place celebrated; for ‘the unction,’ too, was ‘exterminated’ in that place after the passion of Christ. For it had been predicted that the unction should be exterminated in that place; as in the Psalms it is prophesied, ‘They exterminated my hands and feet.’ … Accordingly, all the synagogue of Israel did slay Him, saying to Pilate, when he was desirous to dismiss Him, ‘His blood be upon us, and upon our children;’ and, ‘If thou dismiss him, thou art not a friend of Caesar;’ in order that all things might be fulfilled which had been written of Him” (An Answer to the Jews, Chapter VII—Of Jerusalem’s Destruction).

[3] Hyppolytus of Rome, disciple of Irenaeus (170-236 AD): “Come, then, O blessed Isaiah; arise, tell us clearly what thou didst prophesy with respect to the mighty Babylon [Isaiah 13]. For thou didst speak also of Jerusalem, and thy word is accomplished. For thou didst speak boldly and openly: ‘Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate as overthrown by many strangers. The daughter of Sion shall be left as a cottage in a vineyard, and as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city’ [Isaiah 1:8]. What then? Are not these things come to pass? Are not the things announced by thee fulfilled? Is not their country, Judea, desolate? Is not the holy place burned with fire? Are not their walls cast down? Are not their cities destroyed? Their land, do not strangers devour it? Do not the Romans rule the country? And indeed these impious people hated thee, and did saw thee asunder, and they crucified Christ. Thou art dead in the world, but thou livest in Christ” (Fragments of Dogmatic and Historical Works).

[4] Origen (185-254 AD): “Therefore He [God], also, having separated from her [Israel], married, so to speak, another [the Church], having given into the hands of the former the bill of divorcement; wherefore they can no longer do the things enjoined on them by the law, because of the bill of divorcement. And a sign that she has received the bill of divorcement is this, that Jerusalem was destroyed along with what they called the sanctuary of the things in it which were believed to be holy, and with the altar of burnt offerings, and all the worship associated with it… And what was more unseemly than the fact, that they all said in His case, ‘Crucify Him, crucify Him,’ and ‘Away with such a fellow from the earth’? And can this be freed from the charge of unseemliness, ‘His blood be upon us, and upon our children’? Wherefore, when He was avenged, Jerusalem was compassed with armies, and its desolation was near, and their house was taken away from it, and ‘the daughter of Zion was left as a booth in a vineyard, and as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, and as a besieged city.’ And, about the same time, I think, the husband wrote out a bill of divorcement to his former wife, and gave it into her hands, and sent her away from His own house, and the bond of her who came from the Gentiles has been cancelled about which the Apostle says, ‘Having blotted out the bond written in ordinances, which was contrary to us, and He hath taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross;’ for Paul also and others became proselytes of Israel for her who came from the Gentiles” (Commentary on the Gospel According to Matthew, Book 2, Section 19).

[5] Lactantius (240-320 AD): “Also Zechariah says: ‘And they shall look on me whom they pierced.’ Amos thus speaks of the obscuring of the sun: ‘In that day, saith the Lord, the sun shall go down at noon, and the clear day shall be dark; and I will turn your feasts into mourning, and your songs into lamentation.’ Jeremiah also speaks of the city of Jerusalem, in which He suffered: ‘Her sun is gone down while it was yet day; she hath been confounded and reviled, and the residue of them will I deliver to the sword.’ Nor were these things spoken in vain. For after a short time the Emperor Vespasian subdued the Jews, and laid waste their lands with the sword and fire, besieged and reduced them by famine, overthrew Jerusalem, led the captives in triumph, and prohibited the others who were left from ever returning to their native land. And these things were done by God on account of that crucifixion of Christ, as He before declared this to Solomon in their Scriptures, saying, ‘And Israel shall be for perdition and a reproach to the people, and this house shall be desolate; and every one that shall pass by shall be astonished, and shall say, “Why hath God done these evils to this land, and to this house? And they shall say, Because they forsook the Lord their God, and persecuted their King, who was dearly beloved by God, and crucified Him with great degradation, therefore hath God brought upon them these evils.”’ For what would they not deserve who put to death their Lord, who had come for their salvation?” (Epitome of the Divine Institutes, Chapter 46).

[6] Eusebius (314 AD): “If any one compares the words of our Saviour with the other accounts of the historian (Josephus) concerning the whole war, how can one fail to wonder, and to admit that the foreknowledge and the prophecy of our Saviour were truly divine and marvelously strange” (Proof of the Gospel, Book III, Ch. VII).

[7] Athanasius (345 AD): “When did prophet and vision cease from Israel? Was it not when Christ came, the Holy One of holies? It is, in fact, a sign and notable proof of the coming of the Word that Jerusalem no longer stands, neither is prophet raised up nor vision revealed among them. And it is natural that it should be so, for when He that was signified had come, what need was there any longer of any to signify Him? And when the Truth had come, what further need was there of the shadow? On His account only they prophesied continually, until such time as Essential Righteousness has come, Who was made the Ransom for the sins of all. For the same reason Jerusalem stood until the same time, in order that there men might premeditate the types before the Truth was known. So, of course, once the Holy One of holies had come, both vision and prophecy were sealed” (Incarnation, Chapter VI).

[8] John Calvin (1509-1564): “So in this passage [Daniel 9], without doubt, he treats of the period after the destruction of the Temple; there could be no hope of restoration, as the law with all its ceremonies would then arrive at its termination… That devastation happened as soon as the gospel began to be promulgated. God then deserted his Temple, because it was only founded for a time, and was but a shadow, until the Jews so completely violated the whole covenant that no sanctity remained in either the Temple, the nation, or the land itself. Some restrict this [the abomination of desolation] to those standards which Tiberius erected on the very highest pinnacle of the Temple, and others to the statue of Caligula, but I have already stated my view of these opinions as too forced. I have no hesitation in referring this language of the angel to that profanation of the Temple which happened after the manifestation of Christ, when sacrifices ceased, and the shadows of the law were abolished. From the time, therefore, at which the sacrifice really ceased to be offered; this refers to the period at which Christ by his advent should abolish the shadows of the law, thus making all offering of sacrifices to God totally valueless… The Jews never anticipated the final cessation of their ceremonies, and always boasted in their peculiar external worship, and unless God had openly demonstrated it before their eyes, they would never have renounced their sacrifices and rites as mere shadowy representations. Hence Jerusalem and their Temple were exposed to the vengeance of the Gentiles. This, therefore, was the setting up of this stupefying abomination; it was a clear testimony to the wrath of God, exhorting the Jews in their confusion to boast no longer in their Temple and its holiness.”

[9] Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758): “Thus there was a final end to the Old Testament world: all was finished with a kind of day of judgment, in which the people of God were saved, and His enemies terribly destroyed” (1736).

[10] William Whiston (1667-1752): “Josephus speaks so, that it is most evident he was fully satisfied that God was on the Romans’ side, and made use of them now for the destruction of the Jews, which was for certain the true state of this matter, as the prophet Daniel first, and our Saviour himself afterwards had clearly foretold” (Literature Accomplished of Prophecy, p. 64, 1737).

[11] John Wesley (1703-1791): “Josephus’ History of the Jewish War is the best commentary on this chapter (Matt. 24). It is a wonderful instance of God’s providence, that he, an eyewitness, and one who lived and died a Jew, should, especially in so extraordinary a manner, be preserved, to transmit to us a collection of important facts, which so exactly illustrate this glorious prophecy, in almost every circumstance” (Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament, 1754).

[12] Dom Toutee (1790): “St. Chrysostom shows that the destruction of Jerusalem is to be ascribed, not to the power of the Romans, for God had often delivered it from no less dangers; but to a special providence which was pleased to put it out of the power of human perversity to delay or respite the extinction of those ceremonial observances.”

[13] William Dool Killen (1859): “Nero died A.D. 68, and the war which involved the destruction of Jerusalem and of upwards of a million of the Jews, was already in progress. The holy city fell A.D. 70; and the Mosaic economy, which had been virtually abolished by the death of Christ, now reached its practical termination. At the same period the prophecy of Daniel was literally fulfilled; for “the sacrifice and the oblation” were made to cease, [168:5] as the demolition of the temple and the dispersion of the priests put an end to the celebration of the Levitical worship. The overthrow of the metropolis of Palestine contributed in various ways to the advancement of the Christian cause. Judaism, no longer able to provide for the maintenance of its ritual, was exhibited to the world as a defunct system; its institutions, now more narrowly examined by the spiritual eye, were discovered to be but types of the blessings of a more glorious dispensation; and many believers, who had hitherto adhered to the ceremonial law, discontinued its observances. Christ, forty years before, had predicted the siege and desolation of Jerusalem; [169:1] and the remarkable verification of a prophecy, delivered at a time when the catastrophe was exceedingly improbable, appears to have induced not a few to think more favourably of the credentials of the gospel. In another point of view the ruin of the ancient capital of Judea proved advantageous to the Church. In the subversion of their chief city the power of the Jews sustained a shock from which it has never since recovered; and the disciples were partially delivered from the attacks of their most restless and implacable persecutors” (The Ancient Church: Its History, Doctrine, Worship, and Constitution, Project Gutenberg, available at http://www2.cddc.vt.edu/gutenberg/1/6/7/0/16700/16700-8.txt).

[14] C.H. (Charles) Spurgeon (1834-1892): “The destruction of Jerusalem was more terrible than anything that the world has ever witnessed, either before or since. Even Titus seemed to see in his cruel work the hand of an avenging God… Truly, the blood of the martyrs slain in Jerusalem was amply avenged when the whole city became veritable Aceldama, or field of blood… There was a sufficient interval for the full proclamation of the gospel by the apostles and evangelists of the early Christian Church, and for the gathering out of those who recognized the crucified Christ as their true Messiah. Then came the awful end, which the Saviour foresaw and foretold, and the prospect of which wrung from his lips and heart the sorrowful lament that followed his prophecy of the doom awaiting this guilty capital…Nothing remained for the King but to pronounce the solemn sentence of death upon those who would not come unto him that they might have life: ‘Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.’ The whole ‘house’ of the Jews was left desolate when Jesus departed from them; and the temple, the holy and beautiful ‘house’ became a spiritual desolation when Christ finally left it. Jerusalem was too far gone to be rescued from its self-sought doom (Commentary on Matthew, 1868, pp. 412-413).

[15] Philip Schaff (1819-1893): “A few years afterwards followed the destruction of Jerusalem, which must have made an overpowering impression and broken the last ties which bound Jewish Christianity to the old theocracy…The awfiul catastrophe of the destruction of the Jewish theocracy must have produced the profoundest sensation among the Christians… It was the greatest calamity of Judaism and a great benefit to Christianity; a refutation of the one, a vindication…of the other. It separated them forever” (History of the Christian Church, Vol. 1, 1877, pp. 403-404).

[16] F.W. Farrar (1831-1903): “The Fall of Jerusalem and all the events which accompanied and followed it in the Roman world and in the Christian world, had a significance which it is hardly possible to overestimate. They were the final end of the Old Dispensation. They were the full inauguration of the New Covenant. They were God’s own overwhelming judgment on that form of Judaic Christianity which threatened to crush the work of St. Paul, to lay on the Gentiles the yoke of abrogated Mosaism, to establish itself by threats and anathemas as the only orthodoxy… No event less awful than the desolation of Judea, the destruction of Judaism, the annihilation of all possibility of observing the precepts of Moses, could have opened the eyes of the Judaisers from their dream of imagined infallibility. Nothing but God’s own unmistakable interposition – nothing but the manifest coming of Christ – could have persuaded Jewish Christians that the Law of the Wilderness was annulled” (The Early Days of Christianity, 1882, pp. 489-490).

[17] Philip Mauro (1859-1952): “It is greatly to be regretted that those who, in our day, give themselves to the study and exposition of prophecy, seem not to be aware of the immense significance of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, which was accompanied by the extinction of Jewish national existence, and the dispersion of the Jewish people among all the nations. The failure to recognize the significance of that event, and the vast amount of prophecy which it fulfilled, has been the cause of great confusion, for the necessary consequence of missing the past fulfillment of predicted events is to leave on our hands a mass of prophecies for which we must needs contrive fulfillments in the future. The harmful results are twofold; for first, we are thus deprived of the evidential value, and the support to the faith, of those remarkable fulfillments of prophecy which are so clearly presented to us in authentic contemporary histories; and second, our vision of things to come is greatly obscured and confused by the transference to the future of predicted events which, in fact, have already happened, and whereof complete records have been preserved for our information.

“Yet, in the face of all this, we have today a widely held scheme of prophetic interpretation, which has for its very cornerstone the idea that, when God’s time to remember His promised mercies to Israel shall at last have come, He will gather them into their ancient land again, only to pour upon them calamities and distresses far exceeding even the horrors which attended the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. This is, we are convinced, an error of such magnitude as to derange the whole program of unfulfilled prophecy” (Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation, 1921, emphasis added).

[18] Tony Campolo (1988): “Jesus told his disciples that their generation would not pass away before everything that needed to be fulfilled for His return would take place. I do not believe the Lord was wrong. I am convinced that by A.D. 70 everything was in place for the [physical] return of Christ, and that it has been right for Christians to expect His return ever since that time… I must point out that for centuries Christians did not see any need for the restoration of the state of Israel or the rebuilding of the temple…for the return of Christ” (20 Hot Potatoes Christians are Afraid to Touch, p.233).

[19] John Piper (1996): “It is almost impossible to exaggerate the importance of what happened in A.D. 70 in Jerusalem. It was an event that, for Jews and Christians, was critical in defining their faith for the next 2000 years.”

[20] R.C. Sproul (1997-98): “The coming of Christ in A.D.70 was a coming in judgment on the Jewish nation, indicating the end of the Jewish age and the fulfillment of a day of the Lord. Jesus really did come in judgment at this time, fulfilling his prophecy in the Olivet Discourse” (The Last Days According to Jesus, p. 158, 1998). “The most significant, redemptive, historical action that takes place outside the New Testament, is the judgment that falls on Jerusalem, and by which judgment the Christian Church now [clearly] emerges as The Body of Christ” (R.C. Sproul, Dust to Glory video series, 1997).

Kevin Daly (2009) states, “In much the same way as a person might unwittingly wait for a bus that has already departed, our ignorance of the history of the interval between Jesus’ ascension and the Roman siege of AD70 has contributed much to our expectation that events mentioned in Matthew 24 must still come to pass.” However, these events were designed to achieve several purposes, and this has already been accomplished.

One of these purposes was to demonstrate once and for all that the very means by which forgiveness and mercy were administered under the Old Covenant, i.e. the temple, the sacrificial system, and the priesthood, were done away with (Hebrews 8:13). Those things ceased to exist so that one could no longer look to them for redemption or atonement, even if one were to try. Forgiveness and mercy are found solely through Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. Just as we rejoice in seeing prophecy fulfilled in Christ’s first coming as our Savior to take away sin, we can also rejoice in seeing how many of the words of Christ and the prophets were fulfilled in 70 AD.

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Sources can be found here: https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/pp2-references/

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PP2: References


I thought it good now to provide the references I used for my paper entitled, “A Partial-Preterist Perspective on the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.”  See previous post here for the Title Page, Outline, and Introduction to this paper:

https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/brief-explanation-of-partial-preterism/

The reason it will be good for any readers to have ready access to these references is because of the format I used in my paper. When quoting or referencing a source in this paper, I was simply required to make note of the source’s name and the year in which it was published (e.g. Adam Maarschalk, 2009). The reader then would need to use this small amount of information to locate the source in the Reference Page for further follow-up, if desired. So, having now posted (below) all my references, I plan to also link back to this post every time I create another post in this series. The following, then, are the references I used.

Adam Maarschalk

To proceed to the next section: https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/pp3-external-evidence-for-an-early-date-revelation/

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I. REFERENCES

1) Anthony, Richard

2009    The Mark of the Beast. At http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/beast.html.

2) Benario, Herbert W.

2006    De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers. At http://www.roman-emperors.org/nero.htm.

3) Brown, Peter; Bowersock, G.W.; Grabar, Oleg

1999    Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA.

4) Bruce, F.F.

1983    New Testament History. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. New York.

5) Daly, Kevin

2009    When Will These Things Happen? Messianic Good News. At https://www.givengain.com/cgi-bin/giga.cgi?cmd=cause_dir_news_item&cause_id=1507&news_id=68301&cat_id=529.

6) DeMar, Gary

2008    A Review of “Understanding End-Times Prophecy” (by Paul Benware). At http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/d/demar-gary.html.

7) Dennis, Todd [1]

2008    Matthew 16:27-28—Not About AD 70. At http://www.hyperpreteristarchive.com/blog1.php/2008/04/19/matthew-16-27-28-is-not-about-ad70.

8] Dennis, Todd [2]

2008    Matthew 26:64—Not About AD 70. At http://www.hyperpreteristarchive.com/blog1.php/2008/04/21/matthew-26-64-not-about-ad70.

9) Dennis, Todd [1]

2009    Jonathan Edwards. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/e/edwards-jonathan.html

10) Dennis, Todd [2]

2009    Hyper Preterism Study Archive. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/Hyper/index.html

11) Dennis, Todd [3]

2009    Clement of Alexandria. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/c/clement-of-alexandria.html

12) Dennis, Todd [4]

2009    Eusebius Pamphilius. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/e/eusebius.html.

13) Dennis, Todd [5]

2009    Arethas of Caesarea. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/a/arethas_caesarea.html.

14) Dennis, Todd [6]

2009    Quintus Florens Tertullian. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/t/tertullian.html.

15) Dennis, Todd [7]

2009    Nero. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/n/nero.html.

16) Dennis, Todd [8]

2009    George Peter Holford. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/Books/1805_holford_proof.html.

17) Dennis, Todd [9]

2009    John Calvin. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/c/calvin-john.html.

18) Dennis, Todd [10]

2009    John Wesley. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/w/wesley-john.html.

19) Dennis, Todd [11]

2009    Visual Timeline of the Roman-Jewish War. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/JewishWars/timeline_factional.html.

20) Dennis, Todd [12]

2009    Matthew 24:15 –Abomination of Desolation. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/BibleStudies/Bible_NT/Matthew/matthew_24-15.html.

21) Dennis, Todd [13]

2009    Preterist Perspectives on Josephus’ War on the Jews. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/JewishWars/timeline_theological.html.

22) Dennis, Todd [14]

2009    Daniel 9:24 Study Bible. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/BibleStudies/Bible_OT/Daniel/daniel_09_24-27.html.

23) Dennis, Todd [15]

2009    Armageddon: Past or Future (John Noe). At http://www.preteristarchive.com/Modern/2003_noe_armageddon.html.

24) Dennis, Todd [16]

2009    Matthew 16:27-28 Study Archive. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/BibleStudies/Bible_NT/Matthew/matthew_16-28.html.

25) Dennis, Todd [17]

2009    Matthew 26:64 Study Archive. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/BibleStudies/Bible_NT/Matthew/matthew_26-64.html.

26) Dennis, Todd [18]

2009    Prophetic Day or Year (John Denton). At http://www.preteristarchive.com/PartialPreterism/denton-john_pp_01.html.

27) Dennis, Todd [19]

2009    The Significance of A.D. 70. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/s/significance-of-ad70.html.

28) Dennis, Todd [20]

2009    The Second Coming of Christ Study Archive. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/s/second-coming-of-jesus.html.

29) Dennis, Todd [21]

2009    The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation, by Philip Mauro. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/Books/pdf/1921_mauro_seventyweeks.pdf.

30) Dennis, Todd [22]

2009    Daniel’s 70 Weeks—Future or Fulfilled? (Ralph Woodrow) At http://www.preteristarchive.com/Modern/1971_woodrow_seventy-weeks.html.

31) Dennis, Todd [23]

2009    David Chilton: Josephus on the Fall of Jerusalem (1985). At http://www.preteristarchive.com/JewishWars/articles/1985_chilton_josephus.html.

32) Dennis, Todd [24]

2009    The Time of the Destruction of the Temple (Ivan Lewis, 2000). At http://www.preteristarchive.com/JewishWars/articles/2000_lewis_time-destruction.html.

33) Dennis, Todd [25]

2009    Preterism Defined, Defended. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/PartialPreterism/pp_defined.html.

34) Dennis, Todd [26]

2009    The Parousia: A Careful Look at Our Lord’s Second Coming, by James Stuart Russell. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/Books/images/1878_russell_parousia/russell_parousia_02c.html.

35) Gentry, Jr., Kenneth L.

1998    Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation. American Vision: Powder Springs, GA.

36) Gentry, Jr., Kenneth L.

1999    Apocalypse Then. At https://www.kennethgentry.com/catalog/apocalypse.htm.

37) Gentry, Jr. Kenneth L.

2002    The Beast of Revelation. American Vision: Powder Springs, GA.

38) Haynes, Joe

2001    Charles Spurgeon on Matthew 24 (Spurgeon’s Popular Exposition of Matthew). http://www.historicism.com/sites/matt24/spurgeon.htm.

39) Jeffrey, Grant

2001    The Time of Christ’s Return. At http://www.keithhunt.com/Trire3.html

40) Jordan, James B.

1988    The Abomination of Desolation. Dominion Press: Tyler, TX.

41) Krejcir, Richard Joseph [1]

2009 Research Insights into the Date of Revelation, Part V. The Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development. At http://biblicaleschatology.org/2009/01/05/research-insights-into-the-date-of-revelation-part-v/

42) Krejcir, Richard Joseph [2]

2009 Research Insights into the Date of Revelation, Part IV. The Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development. At http://biblicaleschatology.org/2009/01/05/research-insights-into-the-date-of-revelation-part-iv/

43) Kroll, Paul

1999    The “Beasts” of Revelation 13. Grace Communion International. At http://www.wcg.org/lit/bible/Rev/rev13beasts.htm.

44) Ladd, George E.

1987    A Commentary on the Revelation of John (Second Edition). Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI.

45) Lowman, David [1]

2009    Rapture Passages—II Thessalonians. Village Seven Presbyterian Church: Colorado Springs, CO. At http://low5point.wordpress.com/2009/02/04/rapture-passages-2-thessalonians/.

46) Lowman, David [2]

2009    Characters and Themes—The Man of Lawlessness Debated. Village Seven Presbyterian Church: Colorado Springs, CO. At http://low5point.wordpress.com/2009/01/29/characters-and-themes-the-man-of-lawlessness-debated/.

47) Lowman, David [3]

2009   Revealing Revelation–The Early Date Theory Part 1. Village Seven Presbyterian Church: Colorado Springs, CO. At http://low5point.wordpress.com/2009/02/17/revealing-revelation-the-early-date-theory-part-1/.

48) Lowman, David [4]

2009   Revealing Revelation–What Time Is It? Part 1. Village Seven Presbyterian Church: Colorado Springs, CO. At http://low5point.wordpress.com/2009/03/02/revealing-revelation-what-time-is-it-part-1/.

49) Meelhuysen, Ed R.

1992    The Kings of the North and the South: A Detailed Commentary on Daniel 10 to 12. At http://www.bibleplus.org/prophecy/kings.html.

50) Miller, PJ

2009   Daniel’s Countdown from Exile to Messiah (Analysis of Article by Kevin Daly of Messianic Good News). Sola Dei Gloria. At http://pjmiller.wordpress.com/2009/04/25/daniel%E2%80%99s-countdown-from-exile-to-messiah/.

51) Pate, C. Martin; Haines Jr., Calvin B.

1995    Doomsday Delusions: What’s Wrong with Predictions about the End of the World. Intervarsity Press: Downer’s Grove, IL.

52) Piper, John

1996    Jesus: Mediator of a Better Covenant, Part 2. Desiring God Ministries, December 22, 1996. Text at http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByScripture/26/981_Jesus_Mediator_of_a_Better_Covenant_Part_2/

53) Puritan Lad

2008    Christianity in History: The Amillennial Preterism of Clement of Alexandria [AD 162]. March 3. At http://christianityinhistory.blogspot.com/2008/03/amillennial-preterism-of-clement-of.html

54) Robinson, A.T.

1976    Redating the New Testament. Philadelphia: Westminster, p. 235. This quote was taken from Philostratus, Life of Apollonius, Oxford Press, 1912, p. 38.

55) Rusten, Mike [1]

2009    Formal Literary Parallels between Mark 13, Matthew 24 and Luke 21. Personal Reference.

56) Rusten, Mike [2]

2009    Dissimilarities between Luke 21 and Matthew 24/Mark 13. Personal Reference.

57) Simmons, Kurt [1]

2009    Dating the Book of Revelation. At http://www.preteristcentral.com/prev-dating-revelation.htm

58) Simmons, Kurt [2]

2009    The Man of Sin. At http://www.preteristcentral.com/pgt-man-of-sin.htm.

59) Sproul, R.C.

1998    The Last Days According to Jesus. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker House. At http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/s/sproul-rc_sr.html

60) Storms, Sam

2006    Daniel’s 70 Weeks (Series: Eschatology). Enjoying God Ministries: Edmond, Oklahoma. At http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/daniels-70-weeks/.

61) Thompson, L.L.

1990    The Book of Revelation: Apocalypse and Empire. Oxford University Press: United Kingdom.

62) Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia

2009    Partial Preterism. At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partial_Preterism

63) Ussher, James

2009    The Annals of the World. At http://www.angelfire.com/sc3/nwp/World9g.htm.

64) Vilnay, Zev

1973    Legends of Jerusalem, the Sacred Land: Volume 1. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America.

65) Whiston, William

2009    The Works of Flavius Josephus (Translated by William Whiston). At http://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/JOSEPHUS.HTM.

66) Whiston, William [2]

2009    The Wars of the Jews (or The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem) Book VI: From the Extremity to Which the Jews Were Reduced to the Taking of Jerusalem by Titus. At http://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/war-6.htm.

PP1: Brief Explanation of Partial Preterism


I have decided to post my recent term paper here on this blog. The title of this paper is “A Partial-Preterist Perspective on the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.” It was submitted to Northwestern College in Saint Paul, Minnesota as part of my course requirements, and is 48 pages in length. Due to its size, I plan to post it one segment at a time. For any readers who are not part of our Minneapolis-based Bible Study group here, in June 2009 we began to study the book of Revelation. As we study Revelation we are also comparing the popular Futurist viewpoint with the less popular, but more historic Partial-Preterist viewpoint. This paper will serve to foster further discussion and study.

Here’s a very brief note on my personal journey as it regards eschatology. I was taught the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view growing up, and believed it and passed it on. However, a few years ago I became convinced that this view is not correct or Biblical. At that time I instead embraced the Post-Tribulation Rapture view, based in part on the language used in Matthew 24:29-31 and II Thessalonians 2:3-4. However, during the last six months or so I’ve studied this subject more deeply than ever before, and have now embraced the Partial-Preterist view (As will be seen, I no longer view Matthew 24 or II Thessalonians 2 the way I did as a Post-Tribulationist). I’m certainly not infallible, so anything I post here should be seen for what it is, the writings of a fellow human who is continuing to learn and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. As you read this, please do follow the example of the Bereans who searched the Scriptures to make sure that what they were hearing was the truth (Acts 17:10-11). Responsible comments and critiques will be welcome, and I expect to learn from and be challenged by them.

As a practical note, the title of each segment belonging to this term paper will begin with “PP” and the appropriate number (e.g. this first one begins with “PP1”, the next segment will be headed by “PP2,” etc). It’s recommended that these segments be read in order. This first segment contains the paper’s Title Page, Outline, Introduction, and a brief introduction to Partial-Preterism. The outline will indicate the type of content that is to follow in future posts. All of the posts can also be found here:

https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/a-partial-preterist-perspective-on-the-destruction-of-jerusalem-in-70-ad/

Adam Maarschalk

[DISCLAIMER (Early 2011): Since 2009, when I wrote this paper, I have progressed in my understanding of eschatology. I’m now closer to full preterism than I was at that time, so please take what I said about the differences between partial-preterism and full preterism with a grain of salt. Thank you.]

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A Partial-Preterist Perspective of the Destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD

By Adam Maarschalk

Mentor: Mike Rusten

Course: Global Studies

Northwestern College

July 10, 2009

(Second Edition: August 5, 2009)

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OUTLINE

A. Introduction
B. Partial-Preterism Explained
C. The Book of Revelation: Early or Late Authorship?

I. External Evidence for an Early Date
II. Internal Evidence for an Early Date
D. Daniel’s 70-Week Prophecy

E. Jerusalem’s Destruction Foretold in the Olivet Discourse

I. Did Jesus Come in 70 AD?
II. Signs of the Close of the Age
III. The Abomination of Desolation
IV. No Greater Tribulation Before or Since
F. The Man of Lawlessness (II Thessalonians 2)

G. The Historical Events Leading Up to 70 AD

H. The Spiritual Significance of 70 AD
I. References

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A. INTRODUCTION

Search the average church website in America for teaching articles related to 70 AD, and no results are likely to turn up. A search for articles related to a future temple, though, one which is allegedly to be rebuilt in modern Jerusalem, is more likely to produce results. Taking the internet out of the equation, Church history reveals that this would not have been the case prior to the 1830s. This was the pivotal decade when John Nelson Darby laid the framework for dispensationalism, that system of belief which not only divides history into successive ages but holds to a sharp distinction between Israel and the Church. Dispensationalism was further popularized when the Scofield Reference Bible was published in 1909. As prophecy students were baited with the prospects of a future “third temple,” the story behind the previous one was pushed out of view, perhaps intentionally.

If it weren’t for the censorship of the history of Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 AD, the faith of many Christian believers in America today could be enriched by the knowledge of those events and their significance. The events leading up to and surrounding this event are full of rich implications, especially as they involve the disbanding of the Old Covenant and related practices, beliefs, superstitions, and man-made traditions. A case can be made that the period of time between Christ’s resurrection and the destruction of the temple in 70 AD was a period of transition, and that this event brought about a culmination of the Old Covenant dissolving in favor of the New Covenant. Hebrews 8:13 seems to indicate this when it uses the present perfect tense to say, “In speaking of a new covenant, He makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”

What happened in 70 AD is not pleasant to consider, as will be seen, but it was accomplished through God’s very hand of judgment. It was not simply a satanic plot to exterminate the Jews, as is often taught by dispensationalists. These events were of such importance that Luke was moved to say, “These are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written” (Luke 21:22). After 70 AD it was abundantly clear that a life immersed in Jesus was the true way of life, not Old Covenant Judaism. The events of that year were an outstanding fulfillment of many prophecies given by the prophets, apostles, and by Jesus Himself, and it’s a curious reality that this is not more often pointed out in Christian teaching today.

B. Partial-Preterism Explained

Admittedly, the events which took place around 70 AD hold more importance among Preterists than they do for Dispensationalists. This is because Preterism views this point in history as marking the fulfillment of a great deal of Biblical prophecy, while Dispensationalism holds that most Biblical prophecy remains yet to be fulfilled, including Daniel’s 70th Week, a 7-year tribulation period, and the salvation of national Israel. There are fundamental differences of opinion, then, in these two systems of thought regarding large portions of Biblical text. In this work, Partial-Preterism, rather than Hyper-Preterism, will be advocated and it will be through this lens that the events of 70 AD will be viewed. According to Wikipedia (2009),

Partial preterism is a form of Christian eschatology that places the events of most of the Book of Revelation as occurring during the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD…yet still affirms an orthodox future bodily return of Christ to earth at an unknown day and hour. Partial preterism sees Matthew 24, Matthew 25:31-46[1], the Book of Daniel and most of the Book of Revelation (besides its last 2 or 3 chapters) as speaking about events no later than the first century AD, and about a coming of Christ in judgement, not the (second, final and bodily) coming of Christ and Last judgement.

Most Partial Preterists also believe the term Last Days refers not to the last days of planet Earth or the last days of humankind, but rather to the last days of the Mosaic Covenant which God had exclusively with national Israel… As God came in judgment upon various nations in the Old Testament, Christ also came in judgment against those in Israel who rejected him. The “last days,” however, are to be distinguished from the “last day,” which is considered still future and entails the Second Coming of Jesus, the Resurrection of the righteous and unrighteous dead physically from the grave in like-manner to Jesus’ physical resurrection, the Final Judgment, and the creation of a literal (rather than covenantal) New Heavens and a New Earth…. Thus partial preterists are in agreement and conformity with the historic ecumenical creeds of the Church and articulate the doctrine of the resurrection held by the early Church Fathers… Because of the widespread acceptance of Dispensational Futurism amongst American evangelicals, Partial Preterism is often considered unorthodox by many… Partial Preterism is distinct from Full Preterism, which holds that ‘all’ biblical prophecy was fulfilled in the past.

Todd Dennis, founder of the comprehensive and highly resourceful Preterist Archive (www.preteristarchive.com), himself a Partial-Preterist, defines Preterism this way: “Preterism places the prophecies of intense evil and foreboding gloom in the first century, focusing on the events surrounding the forty-two-month long Neronic persecution, the forty-two-month long Jewish war with Rome, and the destruction of the temple. The word ‘preterist’ is based on the Latin ‘praeteritus,’ meaning ‘gone by’ or ‘past’” (Todd Dennis [25], 2009).

Notable proponents of Partial-Preterism include John Wesley, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, R. C. Sproul, David Chilton, Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar, and Hank Hanegraaff. In his book, The Last Days According to Jesus, R.C. Sproul (1998) clarifies that the Partial-Preterist position does not teach that the Second Coming took place in 70 AD, only that certain Biblical texts which are assumed by some to refer to the Second Coming in fact refer instead to a different type of coming. He says, “While partial preterists acknowledge that in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.70 there was a parousia, or coming of Christ, they maintain that it was not the parousia” (page 158). Sproul outlines the differences between the two comings in this way:

A.D. 70 STILL FUTURE
A coming (parousia) of Christ The Coming (parousia) of Christ
A day of the Lord The Day of the Lord
A judgment The (final) Judgment
The end of the Jewish Age The end of history
The Resurrection of the dead
The Rapture of the living

[NOTE (added on March 14, 2010): Some partial-preterists do apparently see the Second Coming as a past event. One of these is Duncan McKenzie, who says,

Like full preterists, I see AD 70 as the time of the Second Coming, resurrection and judgment (with the resurrection and judgment having an ongoing fulfillment since that time).  Like partial preterists I see certain prophetic events that still await fulfillment (e.g., the destruction of Satan at the end of the millennium described in Revelation 20:7-10).  While my position is much closer to full preterism, I strongly disagree with its premise that all biblical prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70. Our approach is most similar to that of nineteenth-century theologian James Stuart Russell.  Like full preterists, Russell saw AD 70 as the time of the Second Coming; unlike full preterists, Russell saw the Second Coming as the beginning of the millennium, not its end.]

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), in his work titled “Miscellany #1199, directly tied Christ’s predictions of His coming as recorded in the gospels to the events of 66-70 AD:

Tis evident that when Christ speaks of his coming; his being revealed; his coming in his Kingdom; or his Kingdom’s coming; He has respect to his appearing in those great works of his Power Justice and Grace, which should be in the Destruction of Jerusalem and other extraordinary Providences which should attend it [So in Luke 17:20 – 18:8].

As this idea of Christ’s coming in 70 AD is likely revolutionary for anyone immersed in Dispensationalist thought, it will be given more attention in the section where Christ’s words in the Olivet Discourse are examined. Jonathan Edwards, though, in his work titled “History of Redemption,” called this event the “final end to the Old Testament world,” and added that “the dissolution of the Jewish state was often spoken of in the Old Testament as the end of the world.” According to Edwards, this was an “instance of removing those things which [were] ready to vanish away, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain,” a reference to Hebrews 8:13 and 12:27-28.

Edwards’ position was that the Old Covenant was rendered obsolete because of Christ’s work on the cross, yet it was still “becoming” obsolete at the time Hebrews was written because the worship life that centered on Jerusalem and the temple was still alive (though meaningless) as long as the temple stood (Dennis Todd, 2009 [1]). These things did vanish away in 70 AD, and it became abundantly clear to anyone with eyes to see that all types and shadows had been replaced by the reality, Christ Himself. Judaism has never been the same since that time. With this interpretation John Piper (1996), the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, agrees. He states that it “is almost impossible to exaggerate the importance of what happened in A.D. 70 in Jerusalem. It was an event that, for Jews and Christians, was critical in defining their faith for the next 2000 years.”

It was noted that Hyper-Preterism, also known as Full-Preterism, goes far beyond Partial-Preterism in the significance it ascribes to 70 AD. The following, according to Todd Dennis (2009 [1]), are some of the tenets of Hyper-Preterism: [A] All Bible prophecy was fulfilled by 70 AD. [B] The atonement was incomplete at the cross, but was completed in 70 AD. [C] “The Consummation of the Ages” came in 70 AD. [D] “The Millennium” is in the past, having occurred from 30 AD to 70 AD. [E] The Christian Age began in 70 AD, and this present earth will never end. [F] “The Day of the Lord” was Israel’s destruction ending in 70 AD. [G] The “Second Coming” of Jesus Christ took place around 70 AD. [H] The Great Judgment took place in 70 AD, and there will be no future Judgment. [I] The Law, death, sin, the Devil, Hades, etc. were utterly defeated in 70 AD. [J] “The Resurrection” of the Dead and Living is past, having taken place in 70 AD (Dennis Todd, 2009 [2]). These tenets should not be seen as forming the basis for what is to follow.


[1] The inclusion of Matthew 25:31-46 here, implying a past fulfillment of this text, is debatable. An interesting article relating this judgment event as already fulfilled, but from a Full Preterist viewpoint, can be seen here: http://web.archive.org/web/20051218184900/www.preterism.us/judgement.htm