(Lk. 21:20-24) Did Jesus predict the Fall of Jerusalem, or does this date Luke’s gospel after AD 70?

CLAIM: Critics claim that Jesus’ predictions about the fall of Jerusalem must late date the gospel of Luke, making this an ex eventu prophecy (Latin: “after the fact”). Is this the case?

RESPONSE: A number of observations can be made:

First, ample evidence supports an early dating of Luke-Acts. We’ve already explained this evidence elsewhere (see “Introduction to Luke-Acts”). Jesus’ prediction about the fall of Jerusalem is the central reason why critics late-date the book. But this begs the question: how do we know this prophecy wasn’t made before AD 70? This is an overt case of a naturalistic bias. The critic hasn’t proved naturalism; they have merely assumed it.

Second, Luke never records the fulfillment of this prophecy. If Luke was trying to make Jesus seem like he was a prophet by recording this prediction, why doesn’t he record the fulfillment in the book of Acts?

Third, Jesus’ prediction is too messy to be an “after the fact” prophecy. Jesus told his disciples to “flee to the mountains” (Lk. 21:21). Yet, historically, Eusebius and Epiphanius tell us that Christians fled to Pella, which is lower than Jerusalem. In other words, Jesus said to go up to the mountains, but historically, the early Christians went down to Pella. If Luke recorded this prophecy after the fact, why would he say that Jesus taught the Christians to go to mountains, which they didn’t follow?