When was Sin Defeated? AD 70 or the Cross?
Simmons’ Second Affirmative
In this debate we attempt to resolve when salvation from sin arrived. For 2,000 years, the church has taught that salvation occurred at the cross. This has never been questioned or doubted. It is an essential tenant of the faith. Then Max King came along and taught that salvation was postponed until AD 70. King taught that the debt of sin survived the cross until the law was allegedly taken away in AD 70, and that it was only by removal of the law that man is finally saved. (“The defeat of sin is tied to the annulment of the old aeon of law…death is abolished when the state of sin and the law are abolished.” ../Local Settings/Temporary Internet Files/Content.IE5/My Webs/pres-buildingwithstubble.htm – _ftn46#_ftn46) Thus, all that Christianity has historically assigned to the cross, King and Don assign to removal of the law and the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. This is what makes this debate important and why, although we are both Preterists, this issue must be resolved in a brotherly manner.
Forgiveness: Addition of Grace, or Removal of Law?
The idea that the debt of sin survived the cross until the law was supposedly removed in AD 70 is the most important issue addressed in this debate. It is our position that the debt of sin was canceled (“blotted out” Col. 2:14) at the cross; that man is saved by the addition of grace, and that grace triumphs over law. We maintain that there was nothing in the Old Law that could forestall the grace given us at Jesus’ cross. Indeed, while the Old Testament was done away, most of the law still exists and condemns men of sin just as much as it ever did. If we will take the time to analyze it, we will find that the only law removed by the passing of the Old Testament was the ceremonial law and various incidental laws associated with Israel’s nationhood, and that these had nothing to do with either condemning or justifying man. Because this is critical to the issues in this debate, let’s take a few moments to examine the law.
Moral Law & the Law of Sin and Death
Sin is the violation of moral imperatives arising in the positive commandments of God or man’s conscience. When we violate our conscience, we are not acting in obedience to faith, and that is sin (“whatsoever is not of faith is sin” – Rom. 14:23). Every commandment of God carries with it the duty of obedience and its willful violation brings the sentence and penalty of death. God told Adam, “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17). This commandment carried with it the sentence and penalty of eternal (not physical) death. This is the law of “sin and death” (“the wages of sin is death,” Rom. 6:23). Because man has a moral duty to obey God, all commandments of God in the final analysis are moral in nature. Even ceremonial law has this moral element attached to it; no man can disregard God’s ceremonial law without violating his moral duty.
The commandments given by Moses “thou shalt not murder, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not commit adultery, etc. did not create the moral sins of murder, theft, adultery, etc; it merely codified them. These sins had always existed and still exist today. Some will ask, If the law of sin and death existed before the law of Moses, why did Paul call the Old Testament a “ministration of death” (II Cor. 3:7); doesn’t this show that there was some especial power in the Mosaic law bringing condemnation and death that did not exist before? The answer is, No, the Mosaic law contains no condemnation or power that did not already exist. If the Mosaic law never existed, man would still be under bondage to sin absent the cross of Christ. Paul called the Old Testament a “ministration of death” because it institutionalized sin and the law. What existed before in unwritten precepts was codified and institutionalized by Moses, enshrined in the nation’s law and ritual. Paul said “By the law is the knowledge of sin; I had not know sin but by the law” (Rom. 3:20; 7:7). The moral precepts of the law made known to man his sinful condition; the ceremonial law stood as a grand object lesson of man’s condition and his need of redemption and atonement, pointing forward to Christ. Thus enters the law of substitute and blood sacrifice.
The Law of Substitutes
The “law of substitutes” is the law God set in place that allowed the blood of another to make atonement for man’s sin. This law was first set in place in the garden by the offering of a lamb, and was ever after kept in force as a prophetic type and foreshadow of the substitutionary death and atoning sacrifice of Christ. In Exodus, it was formed into a national institution in the Levitical priesthood and temple service. Paul said that the temple ritual and the ceremonial feasts and Sabbaths of the law stood as “a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Col. 2:16, 17). A shadow has no substance of its own and stands as a mere silhouette of the body. When Paul says “the body is of Christ,” he means that the tangible stuff and substance of our salvation is in Jesus. Don argues that the law
was not nailed to the cross and this proves the law did not end there. Don is wrong. A shadow ends where the body begins. Thus, the writer of Hebrews states
“Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared for me…He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second” (Heb. 10:5-9).
Although the debt of our sins that was nailed to the cross and not the law itself, a shadow cannot reach beyond the thing that creates it. Paul says in Romans “Christ is the end of the law” (Rom. 10:4). In Ephesians, he says Chirst“abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law contained of commandments contained in ordinances” (Eph. 2:15). This verse refers to the wall of separation in the temple, segregating Jew and Gentile, and shows that the temple ritual was done away in Jesus’ cross.
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 Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ, p. 644 (emphasis added).