70 AD was an awful year–yet extremely significant in world history. That was the year Roman armies defeated and destroyed the city of Jerusalem. Then they sacrificed a pig in the Jewish temple and totally demolished and flattened both the city and the temple. In the process they slaughtered more than a million Jews and drove all the rest out of Israel. This was written about by Roman/Jewish historian Josephus who was an eye witness to it.
So why is 70 AD an important date: 1) When the Jewish temple was demolished, that was the end of Old Testament Judaism. Never again in history have the required animal sacrifices been offered in the “Holy of Holies” in God’s Temple. That event totally changed the application of the Old Testament to Jewish and Gentile life. After 70 AD there was no longer an animal sacrifice for our sins.
2) The events of 70 AD also drastically effected the early Christians by greatly reducing the influence of Judaism and Jewish rituals on Christianity.
3) The events of 70 AD help us date the writings of the New Testament. Many people in an effort to discredit the New Testament writings say they were written after 90 AD all the way up to the second or third century. But in the light of 70 AD, how is this possible? How could such a huge and radical event as both the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple and the end of animal sacrifices not be mentioned in the books of the New Testament if they were written after 70 AD?
The book of Hebrews says animal sacrifices are still going on–therefore it had to be written before 70 AD. Paul had great verbal battles with Jewish Christians that wanted all new believer’s to be circumcised–if the Temple had been destroyed before Paul was writing, wouldn’t he have used that as a great argument for his cause. Paul had to be writing before 70 AD. In fact, all the New Testament books must have been written before 70 AD, because no New Testament writer could have left out such an awesome event if it had happened before his writing.
This means that the New Testament was written by people who were no more than 37 years (70 AD minus the 33 years of Jesus’ earthly life) removed from Jesus’ earthly life. All of the New Testament writers actually knew Jesus physically or knew people who knew Him physically.
So why did the animal sacrifices end in 70 AD? Because the final blood sacrifice had been made by Jesus Christ on the Cross and the animal sacrifices were no longer meaningful.
70 AD shouts — “THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS WRITTEN BEFORE THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE BY EYEWITNESSES OF JESUS’ EARTHLY LIFE AND IS VERY RELIABLE!” So since we have such an awesome witness of God’s working in our world, shouldn’t we devote some time to reading it?
Here’s a challenge: For the next 3 weeks (21 days) read the New Testament at least 5 minutes a day. Get it? Got it? Good. It will amazingly improve your life if you do it.