Divine Mercy, Divine Severity

The thing with receiving God’s many good gifts — from liberty, to wealth, to good health, to receiving His Law-Word — is that we are held responsible for how we use them!

A.D. 70 Confronts with the Divine Severity

A.D. 70 emphasizes the reality not only of God’s goodness but His severity. Paul warns those who would call themselves God’s people: “Consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off” (Rom. 11:22).

The “severity” that befalls the Jews in A.D. 70 exhibits God’s judgment upon their unbelief and rebellion. Melito of Sardis speaks thus of the Jews: “thou smotest thy Lord: thou also hast been smitten upon the earth. And thou indeed liest dead; but He is risen from the place of the dead.” Though Israel had a glorious heritage (Rom. 9:3-5), though her “root is holy” (Rom. 11:16) she tragically illustrates the consequences of failing a holy responsibility. We must all learn the lesson therein exhibited, “for everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required” (Luke 12:48b). Israel’s judgment in A.D. 70 underscores the awesome obligation resulting from the divine calling.

But as Israel withers under the scorching heat of God’s severe wrath, the Gentiles will flourish in the cool waters of God’s good mercy (Rom. 11:12, 15; cp. Acts 13:46-47). Such is the goodness of God. Nevertheless, the Gentiles, too, must take the lesson to heart, “for if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either” (Rom. 11:21).

This Jewish-judgment / Gentile-blessing interplay is prophesied by Christ. Speaking of the kingdom He is establishing, the Lord alludes to A.D. 70: “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 8:11-12).

Conclusion

The specter of A.D. 70 haunts the New Testament record (being frequently and vigorously prophesied); its occurrence dramatically impacts first century history (being one of its more datable and catastrophic events). Jerusalem’s destruction confirms important redemptive-historical truths (Christ’s supreme authority, the Old Covenant economy’s termination, the gospel’s world encompassing nature, and Israel’s judgment) and imparts significant practical lessons to us (our high calling involves holy obligations). We would do well to learn of the ways of God among men. (For more information on the significance of A.D. 70 see Thomas Ice and Kenneth Gentry, The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? [Kregel, 1999].)

From Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.’s WHY IS AD 70 IMPORTANT?

It is important that Christian Reconstrutionists do not fail in our awesome duty to bring salvation and healing to the world. Even those of us who are poor have been given enormous spiritual riches, and MUST spread our spiritual wealth to others.

Some of us have wealth in dollars as well: this is meant to be a blessing for us to enjoy, but we must understand that we are also expected to give God profitable returns as well as ourselves, for it is HIS money we are given. A 10% tithe is perfectly adequate, but it must be used to expand HIS kingdom, not ours!

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