Did God kill the Jews in AD70?
For 2,000 years prominent Christian theologians such as John Chrysostom, John Calvin, Matthew Henry, John Gill, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, and others have taught that the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 was God’s doing.
One unfortunate fruit of this bad teaching has been a long history of Jewish massacres initiated by people who believed they were doing the Lord’s work, or at least following in his vengeful footsteps.
It’s bad fruit from a bad root. But why do so many believe that God was involved in the slaughter of the Jerusalem Jews? Because of this guy:
The long shadow of Josephus
Every Bible scholar has read Josephus’ account of the destruction of Jerusalem because it’s the only account. How do we know that a million Jews died or that the Romans built a barricade? Because Josephus tells us. It’s his version of the story that has been passed down through history, and according to Josephus the destruction of Jerusalem was God’s doing.
It was God who condemned the whole nation, and turned every course that was taken for their preservation to their destruction. (Wars, 5.13.5)
Why did Josephus point the finger at God? Because he was Jewish. As a Hebrew and a priest, Josephus was well acquainted with Jewish history. He knew all the old stories of how God used the Assyrians and Babylonians to besiege Jerusalem and punish the Jews for their sins. To his Jewish mind, the Romans were just another tool in the hands of an angry God.
Ignorant of all Christ accomplished on the cross, Josephus viewed God through an old covenant lens. If the Jews were being slaughtered, it was because God was angry with them. But why? Josephus had no answer beyond vague allusions to wickedness, unavenged deaths, and general impiety.
Enter the Christians.
I ask the Jews, whence came upon them so grievous wrath from heaven more woeful than all that had come upon them before? Plainly it was because of the desperate crime and the denial of the Cross.
According to John Chrysostom, the Archbishop of Constantinople whose words these are, God was mad at the Jews because they killed his Son. Isn’t that what Peter had said on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:36)? And didn’t Paul say it too?
The Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets… (1 Thess 2:14-15)
Connect the dots and it made perfect sense: Kill the Son and you’ll anger the Father. This was the line taken by Eusebius in the third century, Chrysostom in the fourth, and the many who followed their lead. But although the teaching came from Christians, its root was undeniably Jewish. The vengeful God was more Josephus than Jesus.
The brighter light of Jesus
Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Josephus never saw the Son so he never saw the Father. He did not know that God had punished all sin on the cross so he concluded that God was punishing sin in Jerusalem. It was the wrong conclusion, but one that made sense to a priest raised on the old covenant.
Jesus was Jewish and he loved his countrymen. So did the apostles. They didn’t care for the Jews’ religion, but they certainly cared for the Jews.
“Brothers and fathers,” was how Paul addressed the Jews (Acts 22:1). They weren’t sinners but kin. Although Paul did say the Jews killed Jesus and the prophets, there wasn’t a vindictive bone in his body. His heart was for reconciliation not retribution. His countrymen were misguided for scorning grace, but rather than condemn them he wanted to trade places with them.
I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. (Rom 9:2-4)
Josephus abandoned his tribe and joined the enemy. In contrast, Paul wished he could be accursed so the Jews could be saved. Josephus had a racist theology that viewed the Jews as uniquely deserving of divine punishment, while Paul had a grace-based theology that saw the Jews in desperate need of salvation.
Brothers and fathers
Read the New Testament epistles and you sense a kinship between Christian and Jew. However, that began to change after AD70. The Christians fled, while the Jews stayed and from then on the distance between them only grew. This dissociation persists today in the way certain Christians speak about the fall of Jerusalem.
“The Jews had it coming.”
Only they didn’t. True, there had been a few who shouted at Christ’s trial, “His blood be on us and our children” (Matthew 27:25). But just because they said it doesn’t mean God did it. It is unthinkable that the One who sits on the throne of grace would punish the descendants of Abraham in this way.
Jesus said, “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” If so, the Jews cannot be charged with murder. Even if they did kill the author of life, their sin was borne by Jesus.
Any case against the Jews runs smack into the cross. If God condemned all sin on the cross, he would be unjust in condemning the Jews forty years later. Not only would he be punishing the wrong generation, he would be insulting his own Son.
Grace greater than your worst
I realize I am going against 2,000 years of mainstream teaching, not to mention a handful of badly-translated Bibles, but I am one-hundred percent certain about this. The image of a vindictive Jew-killing God is wholly inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus. It’s like saying:
– The Lamb of God carried the sin of the world (John 1:29), except for the Jews
– Jesus is the propitiation of the world’s sins (1 John 2:2), except for the Jews
– The punishment that brought us peace was on him (Isaiah 53:5), except for the Jews
– God condemned all sin at the cross (Romans 8:3), except for the Jews
– God keeps no record of sin (2 Corinthians 5:19), except for the Jews
– The Holy Spirit forgives all sins (Hebrews 10:17), except for the Jews
– Love your enemies (Matthew 5:44), except for the Jews
“Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34). God did not punish the Jews and he never had any intention of doing so. So why did Jesus ask for their forgiveness? He did it for us. Jesus wanted us to know that God loves his enemies and forgives even the worst of us.
Look at those words again. “Father, forgive them.” Jesus is not talking about orphaned refugee children; he’s talking about self-righteous prigs who murder in the name of God. He’s talking about men who stove in Stephen’s head with rocks and threw Jesus’ half-brother James off the top of the temple.
Father, forgive them.
Don’t you see? If God can forgive them, he can surely forgive you. Whatever you’ve done, God’s grace is greater.
This is why Jesus said it. This is what the Son of God wants you to know.
Extracted from chapter 32 of Paul’s book AD70 and the End of the World.
Paul’s study note, “Is God the author of evil?” is available now on Patreon.
Paul, as a long tenured Christian it is puzzling to me that pastors for decades, centuries perhaps, have been so far off the mark on the grace of God. How is it that the true gospel has been bastardized by so many for so long?
If I might take a chance and maybe answer this, and let Scripture speak for itself
Galatians 4:29Living Bible (TLB)
29 And so we who are born of the Holy Spirit are persecuted now by those who want us to keep the Jewish laws, just as Isaac, the child of promise, was persecuted by Ishmael, the slave-wife’s son.
This is a baffling fact and very sad truth and THANK GOD some of the body of Christ are waking up and saying no more. No more religion and false teaching. Jesus said if you’ve seen me, you have seen the Father. I very seldom see the nature of Jesus in churches nor do I see the nature of God even connected to the nature of Jesus. For years we have taken the mumblings of people like Job at face value and perceived God this way. The people who are moaning in the Old Testament are not born again. Their spirits are dead to the truth of the kingdom of God. They need special visitations from angels and Holy Spirit to get through to them. Think about your own lack of understanding before you were born again. Jesus comes and says now you have seen who God is and He is ignored and the church goes back to the old misconceptions of God in the OT. The book of Acts describes a united and powerful church and yet I seldom see anything that resembles it in my home town. I am moving on in Truth and letting Holy Spirit teach me!
Because its in men’s hearts to create a god after their own nature.
Men are vindictive, angry, and vengeful, repaying blessing to the good and cursings for the bad. These are not the nature of God and never have been, Jesus shows the nature of God from the beginning of time and forever.
Men have been blaming Our Father for the works of Satan. . . the god of this world.
This is the whole ministry of Satan. “Running all over the world seeing who he can convince that God is angry with them”
Right on Richard! Merry Christmas to you and everyone on this site!
Thanks Marjorie, I pray you and yours bask in the knowledge of your righteousness, peace and joy as the kingdom of heaven is made obvious here and now, through you.
God didn’t allow the Nation of Israel to be destroyed in AD 70 because he was mad at them, he was bringing a final close to the old covenant at “the end of the age” as clearly described in the books of Daniel and Revelation and as foretold by Jesus himself. (…this generation shall not pass…; … not one stone…). You have so much good to say about grace, but you’re stuck in a faulty eschatology. If you could marry the two, you’d be in for an amazing adventure! Consider the books…
David, I would have hoped it would have been apparent from my post that I have read quite a bit of preterist teaching. (I didn’t list modern or living authors above because I didn’t want to embarrass them.) Far from finding their common assertion that God was behind the destruction of Jerusalem an “adventure” I found it blasphemous and wholly at odds with scripture.
Paul – Do you think God allowed the destruction of Jerusalem because He had punctuated the One sacrifice of which the Jews rejected? By destroying their altars and smashing the entire sacrificial system of the old testament, His focus was to be on another covenant. Wasn’t that the purpose?
I don’t believe God had anything to do with the destruction of Israel. Indeed, he did everything he could to stop it.
Paul I so agree with your wisdom and insight. It seems to me that there is a common assumption that everything that happens,good or bad, is at the hand of God. Whatever happened to Satan and the. evil heart of man? God is. not alliwing bad things to happen to anyone. He gave us power and authourity to take control over the enemy. He gave us His word to declare and change the course of events in our life. Why does the church believe so strongly that God has to be responsible. for everything that happens. That just makes us puppets on heavenly strings. He gave us free will. He empowered US! He. gave us tools and. expects us to use them.
How do you explain the catastrophes of the book of Revelation upon Israel? Was it God’s wrath upon the Nation ending Moses? Was it not God’s ‘message’ of the end of Moses? Revelation is written about “…things which must shortly come to pass” Rev.1:1.
“How do you explain the catastrophes of the book of Revelation upon Israel? Was it God’s wrath upon the Nation ending Moses? Was it not God’s ‘message’ of the end of Moses? Revelation is written about “…things which must shortly come to pass” Rev.1:1.” The Temple was destroyed in AD 70. The book of Revelation was written in about 96 AD:
Paul Ellis has a new article called “Did God Kill the Jews in AD 70?” Paul writes from a grace perspective (of the Joseph Prince stream) trying to contradict preterist teaching because he sees an inconsistency with the revelation of God’s love at the cross, and a belief that God killed the Jews. I understand that tension, but by dismissing the clear texts of John the Baptist, Jesus and the apostles…
I had to interrupt you because your assertion that I haven’t read these texts is incorrect. The post above is extracted from a 60,000 word book where several hundred scriptures from John the Baptist, Jesus and the apostles, not to mention numerous Old Testament writers as well, are thoroughly discussed.
What is the Grace perspective “the Joseph Prince stream” chuck? Joseph Prince is a great man of God who proclaims the Gospel of Grace with profound insight from God’s Word. Of course he doesn’t preach the error of universalism or inclusion or the man made idea that all humanity is born again and no human alive is lost, needing to receive salvation in Christ by faith.
I agree with this teaching.
What do you think about the preteriest theology?
Lots of things. Extreme preterism does a generally excellent job in showing how certain prophecies were fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem, but a poor job of explaining the future return (or Second Coming) of Christ. But my main beef is the one expressed above. Preterism is an inherently Jewish teaching in the sense that it views the events of AD70 through an old covenant lens and thus portrays God as acting contrary to his Son’s wishes and his own good nature. In doing so, extreme preterism diminishes the gospel and perpetuates the sort of racist thinking that has brought untold misery about the Jews.
Is there anything you can share about His future return? Thanks
Yes, lots. Since I don’t believe the Lord came in any sense of the word in AD70, I look forward to him coming again. I write about this extensively in the book and will no doubt put extracts here in due course.
I agree with you that God forgives even the worst sinner but isn’t that contingent upon accepting His gift of Grace? It seems like the last few paragraphs of this article got twisty like you are suggesting that the propitiation of Jesus applies universally to all mankind regardless of whether or not they accept Christ. Of course, we should forgive everyone and show them love as our Source or Life, Jesus, did, yet that doesn’t invalidate the Judge’s right to judge justly does it? A believer’s salvation is just because it depends solely on what Jesus did on our behalf. It seems like you are suggesting mankind may be forgiven without a just basis by saying God will forgive those who reject His Son the same as He will those who accept Him, perhaps on the basis that Jesus requested Him to do so from the cross? We are not the judge, so we have no business judging others, but I always thought God did retain that right.
Romans 12:19 ” Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the scripture say, “I will take revenge: I will pay them back,” says the Lord.”
I have one more thought, in Jesus’ parable of the evil farmers (Matthew 21: 33-45) wasn’t Jesus explaining the end of the old covenant due to the establishing of the new and better one in His own blood? And warning those who were rejecting Him that they would face their own judgement for doing so? Not that that is God’s will. We know He wants everyone to be saved and has no favorites. It seems to me the Messianic generation was unique. As Jesus said in Matthew 23:35/Luke 11:51, “…As a result, this generation will be held responsible for the murder of all God’s prophets from the creation of the world- from the murder of Abel to the murder of Zechariah, … Yes, it will certainly be charged against this generation.” Good time to accept the Christ if you ask me.
I’m still a fan, but I think some lines are blurred this go round. I’m still open to you having an explanation I’ve never considered, so I’m interested in knowing more of your point of view.
There is no inconsistency between universal propitiation – Jesus really is the Lamb of God who bore the sin of the world – and a future Judgment Day. The parable of the tenants in Matt 21 is not an old covenant story, it’s a story about grace and what you do with it. On Judgment Day Jesus will want to know. In my book I cover hundreds of relevant scriptures including those who raised. Some of this will be published in extract form here in the coming weeks and some of it is available now on Patreon.
Very interesting topic… thank you for your insight. I have never believed that God was punishing His people because you can see His love for the Jews throughout scripture. Even as Jesus wept over the city with such desire that they would see Him as their Savior, His compassion was always evident. In Matthew (and other passages), it seems that He was only saying what He foresaw would be happening within “one generation” of the people He was speaking to. Although it broke His heart for the loss coming in Jewish lives – His own people, He knew that the temple system could not continue sacrificing animals and believing they were made innocent by the Old Covenant. He so desired for them to come to the revelation of what He accomplished on their behalf before the Roman armies came through to leave “not one stone upon another.” This utter destruction made it impossible to ever continue the OC method of forgiveness of sin because every record of the lineage of Jewish Levitical priesthood was completely destroyed in the siege. This was the point when, being so determined to continue, the Jewish priests had to make the switch to a rabbinical priesthood methodology. I’ve been seeing eschatology through a different lens in recent years and I look forward to your book and your understanding of our victorious future in Christ
Thank you, Ann.
Very well written article, God never stopped loving the Jews even if they messed up.
If I may add, when the Jewish people said to let Jesus’ blood be upon them and their children, they meant they took responsibility for His murder but in reality (spiritually) they received upon themselves the blood of the (re)new(ed) covenant. This is the fulfillment of Exodus 24:8 where the Torah declares that Moses (the Messiah in a figure) sprinkled the people with the blood of the sacrifice when they received the old covenant. We see in Matthew 27:25 the same protocol of ratifying the covenant of love but by a better sacrifice and with better promises. The old covenant had curses – attached later because of the transgression – but in the new we are redeemed from the curse of the Law.
Very good! And such a startling testimony of grace!
I agree Sorin, Jesus blood was greater than bulls and goats in a way that completed permanently the protection these animals had offered temporarily.
Jesus blood wholly encompassed and perfected all blood sacrifices and covenants.
While one covenant may exist because of faith in another covenant, another covenant may totally encompass several of these. Understanding the relationship each covenant has with the others can be a bit like explaining how the solar system works relationally.
Men can live productive lives negotiating the seasons, totally certain the sun circles the earth followed by the moon and other “heavenly” bodies. Full barns are not proof of their understanding of the big picture.
Knowledge precedes Faith, and Faith is the knowledge of relationship(works of Faith are our response to that knowledge).
Misrepresenting the true nature of God starts with imperfect knowledge.
The big picture, the 2nd biggest circle, the overarching and encompassing blood covenant relies on the blood of Jesus shouting out something different than the blood of Able.
Ables’ blood shouted out for revenge and retribution and men made an angry God in that image.
Jesus blood speaks forgiveness to enemies and blessings to those who curse. Men are so reluctant to understand Jesus as the exact image of God in preference to the demands of Ables’ cry. . . Therefore God must have destroyed Jerusalem. Well then , maybe the Sun comes up because the cock crows.
Wow, I usually fall in full agreement with you Paul but this one is way off base. You mix truth with fallacy and make a lot of straw man arguments. Josephus wasn’t a priest. His father came from a line of priest, but Josephus was not one of them. God prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem, but He had nothing to do with it. Really? God allowed it to happen. God is sovereign isn’t He? Perhaps we have different theologies concerning the Jews but they are on a different track in coming to an acceptance of the Messiah. No the Father doesn’t hate them He loves them, but what does that have to do with 70 AD? Abrahams seed is not the bloodline of the Jews but a spiritual line (Although this doesn’t exempt them from God’s plan to redeem them). Your list of “except for the Jews” is completely misleading. Did the Jews kill Jesus? Well Paul said they did so yes. Does God seek vengeance against them because of it – no. BUT, they did reject him and that leads them onto the path God had prepared for them. I guess when it is all said and done, this article is a lot about nothing. Instead of arguing about the misstatement of others who are Jew hating – just proclaim the truth. God allowed the destruction of 70 AD. If you think that means He did it or not, you decide.
Josephus was indeed a priest. In his preface to his first book, he writes, “I Joseph, the son of Matthias, by birth an Hebrew, a priest also…” Even if he wasn’t a practicing priest he was an historian and thus intimately acquainted with Jewish history. He even wrote a book about it. You seem to be unaware that a great many people, starting with Josephus, the men listed above, and now countless preterists, portray God as having had a direct role in the Roman slaughter of the Jews. This evil idea has a name, deicide, coined by one of the men I mention, and has been at least partly responsible for many dozens of massacres inflicted upon the Jews for the past 50 centuries. It’s time this should stop, don’t you think?
Do I think God did it? Of course not!
First let me start with what we agree on: We agree that Josephus was a historian and he was intimately acquainted with Jewish history. We agree that there are people, going back even before Josephus, that hated the Jews and have brought upon them tribulation beyond imagining. In many cases this is done because they “blame” them for the death of Christ, and we agree that this should stop. The issue of concern for me is the view of his sovereignty. For example, in Job 1:12 we have God approving Satan the right to go after all Job possessed. He promptly went out and proceeded to do so. Then in Job 2:6 we have God allowing Satan to attack Job’s person up to but not including his life. Satan proceeds to do so. Now the point of all this. Job 2:3. God says to Satan, “you have incited me against him, to destroy him without cause.” God gave permission for Satan to do this he allowed it to happen AND He took responsibility for it. The same can be said for the events of 70 AD. I know, Job was old testament and 70 AD was under the new covenant. But I believe that the comparison is fair. God is sovereign. He prophesied it and then allowed it to happen, for His purposes. This is a fine line, but I think it is a distinction that can be made. God’s best!
Hi David, if you read Job in a literal translation, you may come to a completely different conclusion and discover that Satan was not God’s sheepdog.
Paul, The literal translation actually supports my argument rather than depletes it. Thank you for the link to your other blog. I can see where you are coming from but in the totality of Job, I believe that the position I expressed is the stronger of the two. I won’t get into it here since that is not the topic of this blog. Thank you for your interaction and continued blessing to you as you spread the word of Grace. The world is in desperate need of it. God bless.
Wow! What a breath of fresh air. Thank you for pointing to the God of grace and not the vengeful God created in our image. I look forward to reading more in your book.
It’s actually not Josephus why I believe AD 70 was God’s doing, it’s the very words of Jesus Christ. In the parables of Jesus, and his rebuke against the Pharisees and Sadducees prior to the Olivete discourse, Jesus clearly identifies them as the recipients of judgment. …
Thank you for your comment, Alberto. Please note that comments longer than 250 words don’t normally get published. And please also note AD70 is a big book of which only short extracts can appear on the blog. The parables you mention do get covered in the book and I have a post entitled The Wrath of the King (based on Matt 22:7) that will interest you.
I appreciate that preterists don’t like the implication that they got their views from Josephus. My point is that Josephus was the first to attribute the destruction of Jerusalem to God and that many Christians followed him in making this judgment. I take a different view.
Paul, your making a major mistake with this post. That God is a God of grace does not mean He cannot be a God of judgment. It is not either/or. Jesus clearly taught that the destruction of Jerusalem was judgment from God (Matt. 23:35-38, et al.). This fact doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love His people, the Jews, nor that He doesn’t have grace for them. You’re making a mistake because you think that if God is gracious He therefore is not a God who can judge. That’s simply not true. Please hold off on publishing that book.
Perhaps the mistake is in thinking God judged the Jews when the scriptures clearly speak of him judging and repaying “every man” – Jew and Gentile in the future. I have a post on Matthew 23:35-38 in the pipes. It’s called the Blood of Righteous Abel. If you can’t wait, this may be one of the chapters being uploaded to Patreon, I’m not sure.
One exceptional phenomenon which is absolutely beautiful, as it gives credence to the TRUTH of God, is the Holy Spirit, Whom Jesus sent to be with us, sin-fallen human beings. Not only is the Holy Spirit to guide us, but also to be on us and in us. When this is so the world will have an undeniable evidence of the power of God to forgive us and to transform the sinful heart into a heart of flesh. This is what causes one to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, the conversion of the heart by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, allowing a human being to partake of the divine nature of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
When we are partaking of the divine nature, it means that we are like a tree planted by the river of water that bears its fruit in its season. What God is like the converted human being will be also, because as the branch abides in the vine, it becomes what the vine is. Jesus says, by their fruit you will KNOW them; not by what they say or do. But by the fruitage of their words and deeds. Thus, we have another instrument, a divinely intelligent mechanisms, an agent, that validates our conversion from sin to sainthood. This is what matters, not alone, one’s own testimony, but also the testimony of the Holy Spirit.
Again, may I ask respecting TITHING, what about Matthew 23:23?
I have in the past look at some of Your writings and would wonder who taught You. This one however clearly speaks to Me that You have been taught incorrectly. GOD is in control of every event that occurs on HIS planet earth. The Old Testament clearly shows this many times. The view point of most humans such as Yourself are just that, a human perspective taught and handed down. Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. GOD’S plan is not to save human life but to use the human tool box for HIS purpose to bring the 1/3 fallen back to HIM. Plain and simple GOD does it all whether it appears to the human as good or evil. THE LORD, HE does it.
If God is the author of evil and Jewish massacres, he is not the God that Jesus revealed. In AD70 thousands of children were brutally murdered. Pilgrims who weren’t from Jerusalem and who hadn’t even been born when Christ was crucified, were killed in the tens of thousands. This wouldn’t even be just by Old Testament standards.
Contrary to what you have heard, God is not sovereign in the sense that he permits the thief to steal or treats satan as a sheepdog. I encourage you to read my article on Isaiah 45:7 before assigning evil to a good God. The good news is that God is good all the way through without any shadow of turning.
What an evil god you serve.Can you, dare you read scripture without the veil of the human made view of God’s sovereignty? A true reading of scripture debunks the myth that we are but God’s playing pieces upon game board Earth. If God is who you say then He is no different than the false gods portrayed in Greek and Roman mythology. A whim driven, petty tyrant using, abusing and killing people for his personal pleasure.
I don’t speak to pleasure but rather purpose. Ezekiel 18:23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? Purpose is so rarely taught that GOD’S purpose for what and how HE commands events is totally unknown to most. GOD did not create earth and the human body because HE wanted a family. GOD determined where and how HE would call back to HIMSELF the 1/3 fallen. Heaven is HOME and earth is the BATTLE GROUND. Most religion speaks to what the human must do to win souls which is what brings about pain and suffering when if taught properly pain and suffering were created in Us by GOD. Would You suggest that GOD made an error in Our physical creation ?? NO. Pain and suffering are a marvelous tool just like trials and tribulations sent are used to get the attention of all. GOD had no need to create the humans to form a family. HE already had created too many to be counted in heaven and HE wants HIS 1/3 lie to to return to HIM but on HIS terms. What religion teaches is that GOD is not big enough to get the job done so We puny humans need to jump in there and give HIM aid. We are all tools led by The Spirits of GOD at HIS pleasure and at HIS will.
While I read Your article reference Isaiah 45 I would ask that You also scan over Job again and tell Me whom brought on all those events.
There is no mention of 1/3, fallen or otherwise, in scripture. That is a creation of man. So if that main point of yours is man made ask yourself how many other of your conclusions are man made as well?
Secondly scripture teaches that suffering and death came from the fall, stepping out of God’s perfect plan not that God’s original plan was suffering and death, again more human creations.
Thank you, Paul, for this insightful post! I very much appreciate your defense of God’s gracious heart.
Thank you, Stuart.
Very eye opening, Paul! May the Holy Spirit bless your work in this book with the,awesome truth of Jesus! Looking foward to reading it. Sandy
I love the fact the you always highlighted the grace and love of Daddy God, coz truly He is love, and that is His nature. Keep on preaching the Gospel. Many are enlightened i believe, and are blessed. Thanks Paul. Shalom!
Paul, I am delighted you are getting into this topic. Several years ago I read “Raptureless” by Jon Welton which helped me put behind my Dispensational teaching (Rapture, Future Tribulation, etc.) that I heard for many years. I read the book & studied I believe several hundred scriptures and came to believe that the destruction of Jerusalem was the fulfillment of Old Testament scriptures as well as Matthew chapter 24. Now it looks like I am about to be challenged again!
Paul, taking a stand for the goodness of God is always commendable because so few understand how good our Father is. After reading a good portion of the book I came to the conclusion that you were partially a partial preterist. Yet, when you seem to challenge just one iota of their doctrine or dogma they seem to surround and attack you with much venomous bites. Just my observation, and this is yet another reason I don’t see the preterism theory as valid. Look at the fruit it produces, bitter angry people who go ballistic if you dare challenge or disagree with them.
Thanks bro for your insightful post. I believe that Jesus wept over Jerusalem because he knew what was coming to them in AD 70. Does that mean he brought it upon them? Absolutely not! If anything, he wanted to save them from it. The Jews were already on a collision path with the Romans. I believe that there is a day of judgment, but it wasn’t AD 70. There were many innocent people in that place who didn’t know their left from right. If He didn’t do it with Sodom and Gomorrah, why would he do it with his own beloved nation? The problem with preterists is that they wanted to cram in everything Jesus said into AD 70. By so doing, they misinterpret Jesus. How could a God who forgave the sins of the whole world in Christ still punish the Jews for those same sins 40 years later. Didn’t Jesus himself ask for their forgiveness? Jews and Gentiles who reject Christ will face the same judgement on judgement day, not AD 70.
God Bless you Paul Elliis. I have long waited to hear you talk about AD70. I have read a lot about it from various friends on Face book and from their individual blogs. I love the intelligence with which they speak and many times they sweet cover of grace they put around it but like i told a friend of mine who is a strong carrier of this message, “i am just not convinced within me about it”. I thank you much for this, your introduction speaks volume about this subject matter.
This is one of the reasons why I write. I know many of us were raised with a fear-based eschatology. As we have discovered the goodness of God’s grace, we have realized that there is no fear in love, and therefore eschatology that fills us with fear must be off the mark. But what are the alternatives? Many of those preaching an optimistic eschatology are preterists. For them the future is optimistic, which is good because Jesus wins, but the past remains dark. Was God really involved in the slaughter of so many innocent people. It’s not much of a choice.
I want to give people a third choice – the future is bright AND God didn’t slaughter the innocents. I plan to show from scripture how the notion that he did is screwy. It will take a little time – there are a lot of scriptures to touch on – but it will be a rewarding journey. Hopefully this series will leave people in greater awe of God’s goodness and compassion.
Your upcoming book sounds outstanding! Jesus clearly said, “SATAN comes to steal, to kill and to destroy [that means the Temple, too], but I have come so that you might have LIFE and life more abundantly.” “Jesus is the Way, and the Truth, and the LIFE.” “God is longsuffering, not willing that ANY should perish….” How can anyone read these verses and conclude that God wrecked such devastation upon the seed of His beloved David, His chosen people? “For the LORD is good and his mercy endureth for ever.” When “the sons of thunder,” Jesus’ disciples, asked Jesus whether they should call down fire from heaven to destroy a city that was not permitting them passage, Jesus REBUKED them, saying, “Ye know not what spirit ye are of. For the Son of Man came NOT to DESTROY men’s lives, but to save them.” God even had compassion on the LIVESTOCK of Nineveh. He leaves the 99 sheep and goes after the one that wanders off and gets lost, rejoicing exceedingly when He finds it. By the way, my great-grandmother was Jewish from Europe who likely immigrated to North America because of persecution.
Hey Paul. I am glad you are bringing up this new book, man I am telling you, much of confusion is going around about AD70, well some people only think about AD70 putting focus on it rather than on finish work of Christ, like only thing happened in this world is AD70 ..and Thank you for writing this article, which is written with much wisdom , This will enlighten many of us bro 🙂 Thanks again
Hey Paul, I just came across some of Josephus writings that are contradicting bible clearly, sorry if i am stepping on someones toes, but he is not the reliable source to know God or anything, some of his writings are biased, I have done a little research on the topic before, and I am sure you also would have look through Josephus’ work (I have wasted my time…lols) , you will find that not only is he wrong in so many instances and sloppy in his writings, but he is often clearly biased and contradictory concerning both known facts and the bible. For example…
clearly Josephus is not reliable as a historian. But this is what we would expect from records from outside of the bible. You cannot depend upon them to be true. Though some christians would swear by them. Particularly Preterists for obvious reasons….how can we trust on his work just bcos he was only person written about AD70 history…
I am not interested in that, I am interested in Jesus…
Paul..Thanks for sharing
You’re not stepping on anyone’s toes, for Josephus is famously biased. (Most historians are.) He definitely had an agenda when he wrote The Wars of the Jews (which was to make the Romans and his patron look righteous). It would be a mistake to prefer Josephus over the Bible, but equally it would be a mistake to discard his histories. Josephus was a key player in the fall of Jerusalem. He was there, he saw it, he wrote about it. But we need to exercise judgment in separating his observations (“the Romans did this and the Jews did that”) from his opinions (“and everything was God’s doing”). The value we get from Josephus is finding evidence that proves what Christ foretold.
great job paul! i think the fall of jerusalem in AD70 was due to the fact that the jews rejected their salvation, (luke 19:41-44) i think if they had known and accepted jesus (grace), they would have been save from the romans. Every nation by then had some kind of a god they worship, the jews had left their God who redeemed them from slavary, defeated their wosrt enemies and performed many miracles before their own eyes. those great things are in jews history and every generation of jews knows about them, hence God can not be blame since He offered them opportunities for peace and salvation but they mocked it right from the prophets untill jesus (grace) himself was squandered.
I think so too.
Hey, Paul. I’ve been catching up on your last several posts. I remember so clearly the night I was saved. And part of that realization was how wrong I had been to think the Jews had killed Jesus, but up until I was 30 years old I was very anti-Jewish because I had taken in that idea almost by osmosis. Once I realized that MY sins and those of everyone else made it necessary for Jesus to die for our rescue , I’ve never been the same. They are indeed God’s chosen people– and as you said– the sins of those who were massacred in AD 70 were paid in full on the cross making it impossible for God to seek out any vengeance for the sins that were done away with at Calvary.
For me, Josepus and the rest –including Calvin and Henry and so many present day adherents –are clearly mixing Old and New Covenant. Before being lead to your site on October 24 of last year I would not realize this even now. Thanks again for so cogently and clearly explaining the real gospel. I’m a different man today because of it : )
I agree Rackara and Paul. Joseph Prince touches on this. Jesus wanted to save and deliver and heal them but they rejected their savior. God is always good He isn’t destroying cities especially after the Cross
What Rackara said! God was NOT their problem (willing and arranging for AD70 to happen) but Jesus WAS their solution! They just didn’t believe Him and take advantage of His death and His Counsel: there is a section of the Sermon on the Mount that is mistakenly applied to Christians when it was intended for use by AD30 Jews to avoid AD70. Jews did not sue nor had the right to force other Jews to carry their burdens a mile: those were ROMAN laws, and everyone hearing his words knew it. He was counselling Jewish-to-Roman cooperation at the grassroots level, and put his own words into action when he healed the Centurion’s servant in response to the Centurion’s efforts to de-escalate the situation.
This policy and preaching almost mirrors how God spoke to Jerusalem and Judah through Jeremiah, who counseled cooperation and submission when the Babylonians invaded Jerusalem.
— Excellent stuff, Paul Ellis. Can’t wait to read your book. I’m sure it will be full of awesome truth that clear up a lot of inaccurate misconception about this topic. Blessing and favor on you.
Paul, I’ve tried everything (I know) to be reconnected to your website. I followed all the advice given. Please try from your end to help me get reconnected.
Do you mean you are having trouble subscribing to the emails? Try this.
Great one , Paul. Thanks!
Do you think it’s possible that God did judge Israel as part of the OT accusations and judgements.
John the Baptist says as much when he tells the religious elite, “even now the axe is layed to the root”. “Even now”?? Maybe just as Jesus judged the fig tree and some time passed until his judgement was evident, Israel was judged and it took 70 years to see the effect of being cut off from the root. . . The root the gentiles were grafted into 70 years prior to the destruction of Jerusalem.
You might be interested in my article on the axe at the root.
Paul, at this moment I cannot tell you exactly WHERE, tho I believe we find in Hebrews that God said (paraphrase) . . . and I will REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE”! This, I think was prophesied in Jeremiah where God spoke of a NEW COVENANT. That began approx 36 years BEFORE Jerusalem was destroyed… So Josephus and John Calvin were wrong, just as I believe Calvin was wrong about “TULIP”, which has caused a major rift in my family… 😟
That be Heb. 10:17
Hebrews 10:17Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
17 and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
As we all learn each in different stages, being saved all the way from first day in belief to God raised Son form the dead.
Thank You, insightfully true
For either All sin was, is forgiven by Son on the cross in his death, done once for everyone or it is not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Until one accepts one and all are forgiven it is done, for them to turn to God. asking for the new life to be given them free
One will not see if the desire in asking is amiss as per James 4:1-6 tells me about, motive behind any and everything one states, or does
Father knows in his Son and decides to this day who gets and who does not yet. For Father desires no more lucifer’s as there are many of these in flesh nature deceiving as many as they can for to, be supported here by manipulations to survive as the religious did then and still do to this day in spite of this Mercy given to us all through Son
Reconciled in the Death, Saved in the risen Life, so ask, beg and wait to see
Romans 9:15Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Father Have Mercy on Me, Replies, I did through my Son and you are forgiven, Yes even if you sin again, I Father in my Son have forgiven you all through my Son
So if you believe or since I (Father speaking) know one day you will repent to me from unbelief of this truth I gave in my Son for you. Then you get my Son’s Faith to lead you in me.
Not any of your own, you have been taught to have, or taught yourself to have. That is futile
Paul thank you for sharing the insight in willingness to be led by the risen Son given you from Father and no other
It was not God killing them. It was the sanctions of the Old Covenant that killed them. A covenant, they chose for themselves at mount Sinai. God came as the saviour, Jesus, the lamb who was taking their sins upon himself. The last, final and ultimate passover lamb. But they refused to accept him. So their own sins have killed them and brought judgement over them.
Yes Agree with you in this fact, that the fight still goes on t this day, between flesh and blood first born nature in carnality, playing God as if one is, and according to scripture we are first born as Gods
Selfish to us and others we decide to love or not.
Decision to see through this selfishness we are first born as, to be born again in belief to God in Son loves us by Son as risen, where new life is.
Romans 5:10Living Bible (TLB)
10 And since, when we were his enemies, we were brought back to God by the death of his Son, what blessings he must have for us now that we are his friends and he is living within us!
Luke 6:32Living Bible (TLB)
32 “Do you think you deserve credit for merely loving those who love you? Even the godless do that!
Gal 4:29 might help as I see to let Scripture speak for itself, and trust Father to reveal it as Father be the only one that does this in truth over error
Thanks for the insight, Brother
You say: “If God condemned all sin on the cross, he would be unjust in condemning the Jews forty years later. Not only would he be punishing the wrong generation, he would be insulting his own Son.”
I don’t get it. You are the one who is against the Gospel of Inclusion, making the point, that one has to accept and believe in the work on the cross, to receive forgiveness. But with the Jews it is working without faith and acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus? That’s an inconsistent argument.
All the way up unto Stephen in Acts 7, God is calling the hard hardened and Holy Spirit resisting Jews to repent and accept his son Jesus as the messiah. All who did, were saved at the destruction of Jerusalem 70 AD. But all who didn’t were killed and the city and the old covenant was destroyed. Where’s the problem? It was not God slaughtering them. It was God trying to save them, but thei didn’t accept it.
I would like to know your explanation of Deuteronomy Ch.28, and how your article supports this chapter or otherwise unsupports it.
I don’t believe God was angry with people ever. He hated what was killing His people and that was the law of death or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was a mindset that Adam put us all under. That mindset that says “I can be like God and know what God knows”. The power of sin is the law, so as much as God knew sin was killing us, He had to get rid of the root, so Jesus came to fulfill and remove the law of death forever more, God’s anger was never directed towards us, it was always about the system that had us enslaved. Jesus didn’t come to undo the curse that God put on us… He came to kill the curse that is part of the law of death Adam brought us into by choosing to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The law began in the garden, it didn’t begin with the 10 commandments or the rest of the 600 and something laws that were written down. The laws that were written and engraved on stone came to show us our inability to “be like God and know what God knows”. Be blessed!
So You are saying that there is no longer death ????
I’m with Chris . . . God the father is never angry with us, God the judge is never angry with us. When men make god in their own image they always include anger, along with vengeful, retributive, and unpredictable.
When Jesus came the true nature of God was revealed. Jesus also revealed the true nature of Satan so there shouldn’t be any confusion, but men prefer to make there own god after their own nature.
Faith is the knowledge of relationship, our works of Faith are our response to the relationship. We grow in faith when we understand more about the true nature of God.
Jesus set us free from the LAW of sin and death, and now, we live under “the LAW of the spirit of life”.
The implications of our independence from God was death and a bunch of other things called “the curse”, NOW, through our dependence on Jesus we are free to LIVE apart from the obligations and conditions that Adams independence caused.
The work of Satan has been destroyed, we can run to our Father.
There is no more death.
I do believe that was the coming although I do not for one second believe that God agreed with punishing the people at all. Jesus definitely did not condone it. He prophesied it but that does not mean he wanted them punished. What I do agree with is that 70ad is when Jesus came in the clouds to save those who believed in him and his prophecy and to establish the new covenant, and the new heaven and earth. As for the violence of man vs man, jews, romans, christians etc that was mans business, mans way as shown in the violence done to Jesus. Jesus showed his way was non violent and that his war wasn’t against flesh and blood but against bad ideas, thinking and how we are one towards another. 70ad was the end of the animal sacrifice and all the other stuff that was associated with the temple as being the place where God was. The end of the way of the temple, and the way of Jesus having to struggle with each other. One was shown to be of no power to sustain itself and the other carries on. Of course i understand we still have Jews that believe in the temple and still want another temple etc but what i am saying is if that is what there God requires then there God is not able to supply it because there is no temple now but Grace lives forever and so when one way died the other carried on. I guess what I am saying is I believe in fulfilled and progressive eschatology, the kingdom already accomplished and progressively being revealed but what I do not believe is that God condoned and supported violence against the Jews in 70ad. I do believe he supported Grace being completely established and Law being made obselete and I reserve the right to be wrong and imperfect but perfectly loved by the God of all grace. Amen =)
Dear Paul, perhaps it would be helpfulif you addressed some of the preterist arguments. For example, if He had nothing to do with the destruction of Jerusalem, why did He make clear references to it being part of His coming in the olivet discourse.
Why did Jesus say that all of the blood of the prophets from Able to Zechariah fall on that generation of pharisees?
Also, no matter what kind of eschatology you hold to, you have to accept that God does exercise wrath on unbelievers after the cross according to the book of Revelation.
Why did Jesus talk about the destruction of Jerusalem in Matthew 24? Because he cared for the people of the city and didn’t want destroyed. Jesus is the Savior. This is not complicated. What’s complicated is trying to reconcile two opposing ideas – that Jesus came to destroy the city he came to save. This old-school preterism simply makes no sense and is the product of covenant confusion.
I have a chapter in the book entitled “The Blood of Righteous Abel.” I also talk at length about the coming day of wrath.
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. What do you believe about all of the instances of wrath in the book of Revelation?
Do you believe that they are future cataclysmic events that will wipe out portions of the earth’s population?
I believe ad 70 to be hugely significant and also prophesied throughout the bible and especially by Jesus himself. I believe it to be the complete end of the old covenant but I don’t believe that God punished them and actually am very sure that Jesus showed that he was not for punishing them or violence. Yes there are many that believe God punished them with physical violence by the romans but there are also many who do not yet still see the significance in 70ad. There are those who have been put off altogether from 70ad assuming that those that believe in the signigicance of 70 ad believe God punished the Jews via the romans etc.
Also if we are to write off everything Josephus recorded because he didn’t have the right view or understanding of God then we would have to also write off near everything in the bible except for Jesus though understanding his view and the view of people in that time and culture etc helps to filter through and understand his writings better just like knowing Jesus helps to understand and filter through the writings of the bible better…. There is Gold buried within the dirt. Sometimes you got to dig. Blessings to all.
I agree – the matching of Josephus’ eye-witness account of the fall of Jerusalem with the many prophecies of scripture has been a fascinating and immensely rewarding experience.
Paul I pray every day for the ability to help people to understand that God is not vindictive. I thank Him for the revelation that He gives to those who really want to KNOW Him and know His character. When we understand Him and His love, it is so much easier to walk in faith and receive the benefits of His finished work on the cross. Jesus could have walked away from the events of the cross but He knew what He had to do to redeem mankind once and for all. Nobody took Jesus’s life, He laid it down because of LOVE. God didn’t really forsake Him, He was right there with Him, but in Jesus’s humaness, He felt just like we do when we think He has left us in bad times. He died so that we could live. He has no desire to get revenge on us. He provided everything we could ever need — eternal life, healing for body and soul, prosperity for every area of our existence. Our God is a good, good Father! He is our source and sustainer!
Thanks for the comment, Marjorie. I agree – a God who is good is a God you can trust.
Paul I am truly trying to get the truth of God’s Word, not man’s ideas. I depend onHoly Spirit to lead me into all truth. For years I have had the same understanding as you describe about what God really does and doesn’t do. I try to picture a God whom by His very nature is LOVE, doing the things that man accuses Him of doing. I think about the Sovereignty theory–that everything that comes our way, good or bad is from the hands of God (I call it Que Sera Sera)predestination or preordination that He preplanned every evil thing that would happen)and it makes me so sad and angry. Can you really see a Father who loves us so much and would die for us planning : I think I will cause little Johnny to get hit by a bus when he is 9 years old. I will give Tammy cancer, oh yeah and I will allow her baby to die at birth and if that isn’t enough to teach her something, maybe her husband should die too. Come on people our God is not sadistic ! Don’t limit God with the mind of man. His ways and thoughts are so above ours. Satan is the father of lies. He wants us to believe God is our worst enemy. He wanted Job to believe that. Just because God knows what will happen in the future does not mean He is ordaining it or planned it to happen. The predictions on end times such as earthquakes, does not mean He is causing them, He is giving us insight as to how to recognize the times. He knew the church world perish for lack of knowledge and we would not use the authority He has given us to take dominion over this earth. We can stop evil rulers and destructive weather by using the mighty Name of Jesus! God is not allowing bad things, He is waiting for us to use the authority to He has given us.
Paul I have to ask you something and you may think I am really ignorant, but this has bothered me for some time. The Bible says that Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. I have often wondered about the Noah’s Ark flood. I have a really hard time believing that God sent the flood. Destruction is from Satan. I could better picture a God who warned the people that the flood was coming and gave them every opportunity to be rescued. Noah heeded God’s warning and noone else listened. The door was left open for anyone who would come. God knew what man would do and how sinful he would become before He created them. Why would He then turn around and destroy them ? The Bible says that He doesn’t want anyone to perish. It also says He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. I always thought that His “wrath”was aimed at sin, not His creation.
This is for Marjorie regarding her Noah question. Bertie Brits has the best message on Noah that I know of. God is only good. I love reading your comments Marjorie.
Marjorie the Noah question has to have a new covenant meaning, and it could be worth checking out Noah’s Ark – Rise above the flood of lies and create a new life from within. ( Freedom Ministries). I hope we can always keep questioning our answers, and how wonderful to be free to do so. God is good and always has been. Jesus didn’t destroy anyone and He admonished his disciples when they suggested He could zap some folk who were opposing Him. God is exactly like Jesus. The story of Noah is an allegory, it has a new covenant meaning. We live in such interesting times.
Our God is a good, good Father.
Thank you Paul this so needs to be addressed. It’s been used as the basis for centuries of anti-Semitism and the persecution of the Jewish people our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The blood of the prophets from Able to Zechariah does require justice, however mercy and Grace were still available. It is Satan that demands justice . . . Jesus clearly showed that in the absence of an accuser “neither does he accuse”.
If the accused defends themselves they will receive what they deserve, this is called justice. If the accused makes no defence, openly confessing their fault, then the judge can LEGALY offer Mercy. Mercy is to NOT get what is deserved. Mercy and judgement are mutually exclusive places, i.e you cannot receive Mercy if you are demanding justice from others. Those who understand Mercy will always fear justice, these truly know that they cannot stand before a Judge and they truly know that the worst things they see in others are also present in themselves, and this is the beginning of wisdom.
Justice gives what is deserved, Mercy is to not get what you deserve, Grace makes no reference to the law and freely gives what we could never deserve. To avoid punishment for the blood of the prophets you need to agree that the evil that killed them is also present in you, and you will receive mercy and not justice. OR, Israel could relate to God the Father through faith in Jesus, then through Grace they become un-prosecutable.
Jesus had become the only way to receive protection and Israel stood outside of it. The church needs to pray for Israel, until the time of the gentiles has ended.
Hey Paul! Thanks so much for your grace-based eschatology! I love your articles and books and am so thankful to Jesus for you 😁😁. I’ve been reading the bible, books such as Hebrews 10, and Matthew 13:36-42, and these seem to say that it was God’s wrath and judgement on the Jews in 70 ad, which really doesn’t fit with Jesus’ finished works, so how do you interpret those passages of scripture? Jesus said it was the angels causing a fiery furnace on the Jews and bringing wrath in Matthew 13 – why did he say that, when he said all judgement was handed to him and he judges no one? Sorry to write so much!
Hi Paige, thanks for the feedback and the encouragement. I’m going to direct you to two resources. First is my book AD70 and the End of the World. In the back of this book you will find 500 eschatological scriptures indexed. If you can’t find what you are looking for there, try the Archives > Scripture Index here on E2R, which lists 1000 scriptures that I’ve covered over the past few years. If you can’t find your answer there, drop me another line. Thanks.
Thanks Paul,ordered your book last night and so excited to read it. 😁. Thanks for writing and clearing things up for us all!
Could it be that it happened to allow for change of covenants, from the old sacrifical, old priesthood, old everything to the new, genealogy als gone, to be the one man in Christ. Jesus did say ‘your house is left desolate’ not my Fathers house, so just some possibilities
No, because that would reveal God to be unjust, double-minded and dishonest. Extreme preterism needs the old covenant to carry on past the cross to justify its heinous claim that God was complicit in the murder of a million Jews – that somehow the Roman holocaust was righteous and divine. It was pure evil. Thankfully the scriptures clearly provide a demarcation point for the two covenants. For more, see my article “When did the old covenant end?“
Leanne thank you so much for your comments! I am so hungry and thirsty fir truth. I will look up Bertie Brits and get back to you. God bless! 💝
Wow this clears up a lot of stuff these are my thoughts exactly