First off, I would like to address the continued ignorance (willful in many cases) of those who speak of THE AD 70 "theory".
To Those Who Simply Don't Understand YetEdit
For those who are just hearing about the destruction of Jerusalem being a part of the NT prophecies, especially in the Olivet Discourse and Revelation, there is more than one. Go learn about >them< before you start condemning others, as this is the correct and loving thing to do.
Below is a short list of some of the AD 70 systems of belief or other beliefs pertaining to Revelation that happened long ago to get you started. I have included some names that I know to be prominently associated with these particular beliefs because it matters to many of you. It hasn't mattered to me in almost two decades.
The Many AD 70 DoctrinesEdit
1. General Amillennialism - Matthew 24:4-35 (sort of) are about the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. The rest of Matthew 24 and 25 are about the end of time. Revelation is a beautiful, if strange (and largely incomprehensible in detail) message from God that God wins and the faithful will go to Heaven at the end of time (Rev. 21-22). Pretty much all other NT prophecies, are about the end of time.
2. Fall of Rome - Matthew 24 breaks at verse 35 like #1, with the verses 4-35 being about the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Revelation is largely a prophecy about the fall of Rome with chapters 21-22 being about the end of time. Most of the rest of NT prophecy and "the last days" is about the end of time. This one is actually all the rage within the churches of Christ right now. Folks like Kevin Rhodes of the Granbury Street church of Christ in Cleburne TX champion this one.
3. Hyperpreterism/Transmillennialsim (Max King) - All Bible prophecies including all of Revelation point to AD 70, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the end of the Jewish system. All books of the Bible were written before AD 70. Miracles ceased when Jerusalem fell. The Resurrection of individuals took place at this time. The Lord's Supper, water immersion, and a host of other things were fulfilled and are no longer necessary. All denominations have faithful Christians (Emergent Church doctrine). Genesis 1-11 are not literal and are only an explanation of God's covenant relationship with man. And on and on...
#3 is the one that most folks are actually referring to when they condemn "that 70 AD doctrine" or "THE 70 AD doctrine".
4. Full Preterism - All Bible prophecies including all of Revelation point to aD 70, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the end of the Jewish system. All books of the Bible were written before AD 70. Miracles ceased when Jerusalem fell. The Resurrection of individuals took place at this time. However, all things pertaining to entrance into the kingdom (such as water immersion into Christ), worship (including the Lord's Supper) are ongoing having been perfected with the church. Failure to continue in these things is to turn and walk in darkness and be lost eternally. Don Preston is the largest name that holds this position, though I am least familiar with it, so I apologize for any misconstruing of the position.
5. Partial Preterism* - All of Olivet (Matthew 24-25) and all of Revelation is about the destruction of Jerusalem a the victory of the church over her primary persecutor as recorded in scripture, the Jews. This victory comes through the ending of the Jewish system at the hands of the Roman army in AD 73 (not 70, which is when Jerusalem was destroyed). Most prophecies in the Old and New Testament concern this event. However, there are key verses that still predict a future literal return of Jesus, a future literal Resurrection and Judgment of all humans (e.g. 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15; 1 John 2; Acts 24:15; and more). This position was championed by Foy Wallace, Jr. in times past, though with some differences than what I hold to now. I believe this to be the correct position and that is what is presented primarily on this site.
- Partial Preterism is a term that means that many but not all prophecies were fulfilled historically. It is actually a very large group including numbers 1, 2, and 5, but 1 and 2 don't call it that and prefer not to use the term.
To Those Who Are Ignorant By ChoiceEdit
For those of you who have heard this before and chose to continue referring to the 5 or more different beliefs concerning Revelation as "THE AD 70 Theory" you are at best a willfully ignorant hypocrite for lumping them all together. Willfully ignorant because while you should know better, and probably do, you don't bother to differentiate. Hypocrite because the majority of you hold to some form of doctrine surrounding the year AD 70 and the fall of Jerusalem from scripture. In lumping in all those who believe in something about 70 AD and the fall of Jerusalem and condemning them, you condemn yourself. Furthermore, when you attack those who hold to something that isn't really what you are accusing them of believing (which is likely either full or hyper preterism), then for the many who do no better, you just come off as ignorant and someone itching for a fight rather than someone looking to lovingly correct a brother in Christ.
Add to that, rarely do any of you ever exhibit any of the spiritual fruits of Gal. 5:22-23. There is nothing of James 5:19-20 in your words or actions, only the desire to mark and disfellowship as many people as you can to put feathers in your cap in the Who's Who Among the church of Christ club. Shame on you. You are nothing but a bully and a spiritual coward.
When a person enters into a discussion or a debate with someone who believe differently than they do, and they are ostensibly trying to convince them of their position, it becomes a futile effort when you fail to understand the position you are arguing against, or worse, misrepresent it trying to win a debate rather than souls. Agaion, shame on you. Repent of this foolishness, and by repent I mean stop engaging in such ignorance, go educate yourself, start understanding and accurately representing the person you are arguing against, and stop trying to destroy good faithful brethren in an effort to give yourself glory. Only God deserves glory. We all deserve death and it is only through Him we have life eternal.
In Truth and Love.