Another one of the common proof-texts used by Hyper-Preterists in support of their view that Jesus Christ “returned” in A.D. 70, is Luke 21: 22. Speaking of the siege of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, Jesus says, “For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” This verse is often seen as a convenient “clincher” for proving the Hyper-Preterist case. However, their interpretation is based on a very superficial reading of the text, which ignores the context and the laws of common sense.
That Christ could not possibly have meant “all Bible prophecy,” as the Hyper-Prets would like us to believe, is clear from the following. Firstly, Christ told the disciples that His coming would occur after the fall of Jerusalem and the filling up of the times of the Gentiles (see Luke 21: 25-27). Since the day of the Lord was a predicted Old Testament event, the fulfillment of all things during the destruction of Jerusalem is not a bona fide interpretation.
Contrary to Preterist assertions, Christ does not equate the day of the Lord with the destruction of Jerusalem. A simple harmony of the Olivet and Temple discourses reveals that Luke 21: 12-24 is a parenthetical passage which takes place before the tribulation.
While Luke 21: 8-11 is in all respects parallel with Matt. 24: 4-8 and Mark 13: 5-8, the Temple Discourse diverges, introducing a parenthesis which starts in verse 12. Instead of saying, “These are the beginnings of sorrows,” Christ stops short and introduces subject matter that must take place “before all these” beginnings of sorrows (Luke 21: 12). The parenthesis carries us through the destruction of Jerusalem down to the very end of the age, and closes in verse 24, where it again converges with the Olivet Discourse.
Notice that in this parenthetical passage, Christ nowhere mentions the “Abomination of Desolation“or “Great Tribulation,” as in the Olivet Discourse. Instead, He speaks of the surrounding of Jerusalem with armies, and the “days of vengeance.” This latter phrase is quite distinct from what is commonly called the Great Tribulation.
The “Days of Vengeance” consist of Divine punishment for Israel’s sins, as in Jeremiah 5: 9: “Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” There the prophet was predicting the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, in the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. See Jeremiah 39: 1-8. This came to pass some twenty-five years after it was foretold by Jeremiah. The taking of the city by Titus in A.D. 70 was a repeat of that event. Both sieges issued in the destruction of the temple and the scattering of the nation.
On the other hand, the “Great Tribulation” is a special period of Divine chastisement which will result in Israel’s restoration. It will not be fulfilled more than once (Matt. 24: 21; Mark 13: 19). It is known as a time of “travail,” for its effect will be the new birth of the nation. As Isaiah writes: “Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” (Isaiah 66: 8). The tribulation has nothing to do with Israel’s scattering, but involves the nation’s final testing and ultimate salvation. See Jeremiah 30: 7-24; Ezekiel 20: 37-38; Daniel 12: 1.
This distinction between the “Days of Vengeance” and the “Great Tribulation” is ignored by Preterists. Indeed, it is a fact not known. True, the tribulation is sometimes referred to as a time of “visitation.” However, it will be a visitation for deliverance, and not destruction! See Zephaniah 2: 7: “For the Lord their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.”
This deliverance will occur at the personal return of Jesus Christ immediately after the tribulation (Matthew 24: 29); and is an event expressly declared by Christ to follow the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jewish captivity, and the filling up of the times of the Gentiles (Luke 21: 24-27). Hence, when Christ says that “these be the days of vengeance, when all things written shall be fulfilled,” the required exclusion of passages pertaining to the Great Tribulation invalidates any Hyper-Preterist interpretation of Luke 21: 22.
Incidentally, here is where common sense is needed. For if it is impossible that all prophecy was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem, then we must interpret Christ’s words in a restricted sense, and supply the ellipsis, as follows: “For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written [concerning them] may be fulfilled.” The “all things that are written” pertain to the days of vengeance of which Christ was speaking, and not to all Biblical prophecy.
But to show that we are not being arbitary in our methods, please note that there are numerous examples in the New Testament in which the phrase “all things” is used in a qualified sense.
(Matt. 17: 11) “And Jesus answered, and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.” Obviously, Christ was not referring to “all things” in an absolute sense. It was the Jewish national spirit that Elias was to restore. See Malachi 4: 4-5. It is our Lord’s own prerogative to restore all things absolutely.
(Mark 9: 23) “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible unto him that believeth.” That is, all things in agreement with the will of God. See 1 John 5: 14-15.
(Luke 18: 31) “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished.” Here Christ is speaking of all things relative to His first advent; His betrayal, sufferings, crucifixion, and resurrection. This verse alone effectively dispatches of the Hyper-Preterist interpretation of Luke 21: 22, giving us an example of where Christ Himself used the phrase “all things that are written” in a qualified sense.
Many other examples could be cited. For instance, what does Paul mean when he says, “All things are lawful unto me, but not all things are expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Cor. 6: 12). “All things” cannot include sinful acts, for Paul places a caveat on fornication in the very next verse! Therefore, “all things” is to be understood in a qualified sense, as the context of the passage requires.
But there is a another reason why Christ could not have meant that “all Biblical prophecy” would be fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem. When He said, “all things that are written,” the New Testament is excluded, for none of the Gospels or epistles were written when He spoke!
But really, with all these points taken into consideration, little more is needed to prove that the Hyper-Preterist interpretation of Luke 21: 22 is purely subjective in nature. It is not to be accepted by any student of Scripture. Of course, we know that this article won’t convince Hyper-Preterists. However, we trust that it will convince any sober-minded student of God’s word that our position is correct. And that is all we can ask for.