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What biblical prophecies were fulfilled in AD 70?

translate AD 70, 70 A.D. audio

Much of importance happened in Israel in AD 70, and many link the events of that time to prophecies in the Bible. In studying this subject, it’s good to remember that prophecy does not describe the future in the same way that history describes the past. That’s why there are varied interpretations of biblical prophecy. Predictions dealing with the end times, a category known as eschatology, are of particular interest to many people. Within modern Christianity, most of these discussions are less about which events are predicted than when the events will happen. The most common point of reference for these opinions is the significant year of AD 70, when the Romans destroyed the Jewish temple.

Virtually all Christian interpretations of biblical prophecy agree that several prophecies were fulfilled in or before AD 70. Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple (Luke 21:6; Matthew 24:2) and, some would argue, the Jewish genocide at the hands of Rome (Luke 23:27-31). Historically, these events align extremely well with Jesus’ statements. There is broad agreement within most Christian interpretations that these prophecies were literally fulfilled in AD 70.

There is debate over whether additional prophecies, such as those found in Daniel chapter 9, Matthew chapters 24 and 25, and Revelation chapters 6—18, were also fulfilled in AD 70 or if they are yet to come. Partial preterism and full preterism hold that most, if not all, of the prophetic events in the Bible were completed by the end of the first century, mostly prior to AD 70. Dispensationalism holds that only the temple destruction and possibly the genocide were actually fulfilled in AD 70 and that the rest of the prophecies will have a future fulfillment during the tribulation.

In terms of historical evidence, there is little to make a definitive case one way or the other. The events of AD 70 can be made to fit certain prophetic claims, depending on one’s perspective. Of course, if one is willing to apply a high enough degree of symbolic interpretation, any prophecy can be made to conform to almost any event. It should be noted, however, that most non-dispensational interpretations require the book of Revelation to have been written prior to AD 70, something that general scholarship does not support.

The most serious difficulties in claiming all the prophecies were fulfilled in AD 70 are theological. In particular, preterism requires scriptural passages to be interpreted with a chaotic blend of extremely literal and extremely figurative language. One would have to interpret words, verses, and phrases that appear in the same discourse, or even the same paragraph, with a different literal-figurative assumption.

The most reasonable interpretation is that the genocide and destruction of the temple were prophecies fulfilled in AD 70, and that the other events described in Daniel, Matthew, and Revelation are yet to occur. They are truly end-times predictions.

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What biblical prophecies were fulfilled in AD 70?
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This page last updated: January 4, 2022