Did Jesus of Nazareth’s 2nd coming happen in 70 A.D? Did the fulfillments of dozens of prophecies reach their final climax then? Don’t laugh. Sadly there has been a ripple in the community of those who believe in the Lord’s return, somehow gazing toward this view that the return of Jesus to reign and rule happened in 70 AD.
Instead of sharing thoughts I have on this, I think it would be best to just share what the Early Church Fathers said on this subject. Several of these men died a martyr’s death. And they lived and led the Christians at the time when the vehement fires of Christian discipleship were at their strongest, in the first one to three hundred years after the ascension of the Lord.
If anyone had a close understanding of the original mindset of the “church” that Jesus left behind on earth, it would be these men and women. Did they believe the Lord had come back in 70 AD? Were they looking to that date as the time of the fulfillment of most all prophecies?
Of course you know the answer. None of them talked or taught that way. They all looked forward to the future, yet-to-be-fulfilled return of the Lord, after 42 months of great tribulation and the revelation of the endtime antichrist spoken of in prophecy throughout Scripture. Here’s what they said.
Barnabas, who traveled with the Apostle Paul, wrote: “The final stumbling block approaches…for the whole past time of your faith will profit you nothing, unless now in this wicked time we also withstand coming sources of danger….then the evil one Antichrist may find no means of entrance….” (Epistle of Barnabas, chp.4)
Justin Martyr (100-165) wrote: “The man of apostasy, [Antichrist] who speaks strange things
against the Most High, shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians..” (Dialogue with Trypho, chp.110)
Irenaeus (138-202) a contemporary of Justin Martyr, wrote: “And they, the ten kings who will arise, shall lay Babylon waste, and burn her with fire, and shall give their kingdom to the beast antichrist and put the church to flight” (Against Heresies, V, chp.26)
Tertullian (150-220) a contemporary of Irenaeus, wrote: “The souls of the martyrs are taught to wait [Rev.6:9-10] that the beast Antichrist with his false prophet may wage war on the Church of God…” (On the Resurrection of the Flesh, chp.25)
Cyprian (200-258) a contemporary of Tertullian, wrote: “The day of affliction has begun to hang over our heads, and the end of the world and the time of the Antichrist to draw near, so that we must all stand prepared for the battle…” (Epistle, 55, 1)
Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386), wrote: “The church declares to you the things concerning Antichrist before they arrive…it is well that, knowing these things, thou shouldest make thyself ready beforehand.” (Catechetical Lectures, 15,9)
And there is much more than this, from the pillars of Christianity from the Early Church Fathers to modern times, pointing towards the future coming of the Lord as well as the end time events that the Bible says will happen in the very final days before His return. If you have an interest in these things and want to read more on this, you could go to this link, https://earlychurchbelief.blogspot.com/2008/08/early-church-fathers.html
But certainly some will ask, “Why does any of this matter?”
If the enemy of God can get us to drop our spiritual sword and shield, then he gains victory over us. And it can be a very disarming thought that virtually all Bible prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD, that the climactic, world-shattering prophecies of Daniel, Revelation and many others in the Bible, not to mention the words of Jesus Himself, were all drained of their significance at the time of the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
It’s like that cartoon I put in another article on this subject, which I’ll add again here. “Relax, it all happened in 70 AD.” Exactly, if that’s the conclusion you come to. Relax.
Except that that’s not the voice of the Lord and the doctrine isn’t either.
I’ve tried to make this article short enough so that folks will feel they can read it without getting bogged down. If you’ve somehow come in contact with this doctrine, it’s technical name is “preterism”, I hope that these quotes on the subject from the Early Church Fathers will persuade you that the earliest Christians did not at all look at 70 AD as “the end”. But they looked forward, as many of us now do, to a coming return of the Lord to establish His Kingdom on earth. God bless you.