2020 – Review of Studies

As I do a review of my study notebook for last year, I notice that right in the middle of February I began reflecting upon and praying for a year of responsibility and simplicity. I expressed desire to hear, to know, and to be obedient to the voice of God. I also trusted that God would provide opportunity for me to grow in and express missional discipleship. God surely was faithful, never in ways that I expect, though. It was a year to trial and error, a year of being content with things when they didn’t work, got cancelled, or didn’t go as planned. It was a year to test the spirit and forge character, to which Stephen Covey says, “The extent to which we exercise and develop these endowments empowers us to fulfil our uniquely human potential”, in his Daily Reflections For Highly Effective People (which I use for daily Common Prayer). 

In June 2020, I wrote “Keep going and growing”, as a personal encouragement and exhortation. 

What I aim to do with the remainder of this write up is highlight studies that edified me though this past year, in some cases I will offer wisdom received, and in others I will just provide resource links for you to review at your own leisure. 

Here are the topical blogs I wrote this year: 

Discussing The Glorified Body 

Devotional – Erecting Altars 

Romans 1 – Summary 

Spiritually-Discerned Passover 

Covenant Creation As a Kingdom Foundation 

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Review of Mark Batterson’s, Double Blessing

Recently, on a radio program I have the privilege of being a guest on, the host, Johnny Ova, mentioned that we need to be asking ourselves if the message we are preaching is actually, “good news” (what Gospel means). Mark Batterson, in his book ‘Double Blessing’, explains that “…before original sin there was original blessing (cf. Genesis 1:22)”. We as Christ-followers are called to create the reality of the “double blessing” in the word. In talking about the different ways to “engage culture”, Batterson goes on to list the following ways: 

  • Mindlessly consume 
  • Pompously condemn 
  • Lazily copy 
  • Conscientiously create

Highlighting a quote by Michelangelo, “Criticize by creating”, Batterson challenges the Christian Church to “Quit cursing the darkness and start lighting candles”. In other words, throughout creating and manifesting the “double blessing”, we make the world a brighter place. 


Mark Batterson goes on to explain,  “The blessing of God is the solution to your biggest problem, the answer to your boldest prayer, and the fulfilment of your bravest dreams”. Furthermore, he explains, “The blessing of God cannot be equated to external circumstances or material things. It is an internal reality – a state of mind, a state of soul. It’s joy inexpressible”. When it comes to understanding the blessing of God, it’s simple, God in His mercy and faithfulness, has plans to prosper us, and as I often make mention of, He is glorified by our living eternally fulfilling and satisfying lives. Often times, our internal reality of blessedness seems to be in contrast to our external reality of calamity or chaos. Batterson writes, ““If you let your circumstance define the way you see God you are a prisoner of perspective…but if you let God define the way you see your circumstances, you are a prisoner of hope”. 

Prayer is our effective method of changing our perspectives, as well as our situations. Batterson gives great wisdom to empower our prayer lives: 

“God won’t answer 100 percent of the prayers we don’t pray”. 

“God honours bold prayers because bold prayers honor God” 


Mark Batterson explains that often times it would seem as though God works through a method of “set back, step back, and come back”. He cites preacher Ed Young’s wisdom, “We need to get under the things God has put over us so we can get over those things God has put under us”. We must make daily decisions to stay under the umbrella of God’s blessing by understand, paying attention to, and working with the Lord’s work in our lives. Batterson challenges us to live excellently, “Excellence invokes a blessing, and blessings evoke excellence. You could even call excellence a habit of highly blessed people.” “…to live in such a way that God is able to give us His full blessings – blessings beyond our ability to ask or imagine”. 

Jesus Christ called men to follow Him, follow Him in becoming disciples, follow Him in what he came to bring, “abundant life”, and following Him in serving and healing the world around us. In ‘Double Blessing’, Batterson explains that “follow” is a Hebrew hunting term and implies intensely following after. By following Christ we are brought under the umbrella of God’s blessing. This is surely not to be an apathetic effort. Another aspect of staying under the umbrella of blessing is holding God to His word. I pray like this. If He said it, He meant is. We often cling to Lamentations 3:22-24 as a text promise us new blessings each day, a host of worship songs have been made about the Bible verse, and Mark Batterson further encourages us that “The Hebrew word for “new” doesn’t just mean again and again. It means “different”. In other words, today’s mercy is different than yesterday’s mercy, which is different than the mercy of the day before that…Each day’s mercy is a never-to-be-repeated miracle”. May we have eyes to see and ears to hear. A book recommendation Batterson made was “Peak”, specifically in talking about the “ten – thousand hour rule”, which is the principle that asserts that 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed to truly master something. 

A major part of staying under the umbrella of God’s blessing is to gain and maintain a renewed mind (cf. Romans 12:1-2). Batterson cites, Louis Pasteaur’s insight that, “Fortune favours the prepared mind”. Prepare for the blessing by also understanding the importance of trials and tribulations. Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, preached that he recognised, Before any great achievement, some measure of the same depression comes over me whenever the Lord is preparing a larger blessing for my ministry”. As Batterson says, “Internal struggles and external opposition are often indicators that you’re on the brink of a breakthrough”. 


If the first part of ‘Double Blessing’ was to inform us how we might lived in the state of blessedness, the second part is how we might further create that reality in the despairing world around us. I love that Mark Batterson challenges us to “Obey the dream; stop watching the clouds”, i.e., get to work!

The conclusion of the book was very much encouraging to me. The obvious charge to gain and maintain and attitude of gratitude and giving is so very vital. I appreciated the resource and will surely be looking further into ILikeGiving.com. All of that mentioned, what encouraged me the most in the 2nd portion of the book and toward the end, was how Batterson explained the importance of those who resource and serve as aids to the efforts of proclaiming the Gospel. He highlights these very necessary “patron saints”, or what he refers to as “Gospel patrons,  in Scripture such as Barzallai (cf. 2 Samuel 17:27-29) and Phoebe (cf. Romans 16:1-2). These are just two examples in a long history of those who have served in such a capacity.


To bring this review to a close, I will say that I was very much encouraged by ‘Double Blessing’. Rather than seeking to bring forth some novel advice, Mark Batterson highlights what every Christian should know about how to get and give God’s blessing. May we continue to create the blessing and thus make the world brighter. Consider this charge from Batterson, “What if the joy of blessing others  was the only honor we sought? What if all we wanted was to add value to others? What if our chief goal in life was to help others across the Jordan?” 

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“Covenant Creation” = Kingdom Foundation

On Sunday, September 13th, 2020 – I preached a sermon review regarding the book, Beyond Creation Science, at The Blue Point Bible Church. A few of us had been gathering on Wednesday nights for the last 2 years studying through the book. You can listen to the sermon at the following link, http://www.buzzsprout.com/11630/5603047-kingdom-foundations-covenant-creation

Also, to accompany our study, we developed a sort of workbook with outlines, quotes, and further resources. You can download that PDF right here.

To accompany your use of the study-guide and reading through the book, Beyond Creation Science (which I will provide a link for purchase of below), you can also watch the variety of videos put together for each chapter at the following link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnrPlXsXX-4&list=PLTSLfuTmikLAy5PzlSeM6tJ5HWClhv4TR

To purchase the book, follow this link, https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Creation-Science-Timothy-Martin/dp/0979914701

Lastly, if you are looking for more resources pertaining to the study of Beyond Creation Science/Covenant Creation, visit the following links:



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Shifting to Succeed: Review of John Maxwell’s Book, LEADERSHIFT

This past Sunday, May 17th, 2020, I preached a sermon detailing necessary shifts we must enact in our lives to experience peace, justice, and joy. You can go ahead and view that worship service and sermon at the following YouTube link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjctZMmQt4M

In that sermon I mentioned a book I had been reading by John Maxwell titled “Leadershift”. In this blog you will find my notes and review of that book. John Maxwell introduces the concept of leadershifts like this;

“The key is to learn how to continually make leadershifts. What is a leadershift? It is an ability and willingness to make a leadership change that will positively enhance organizational and personal growth”. 

He goes on to quote popular motivation speaker, Malcolm Gladwell in noting, “That’s your responsibility as person , as a human being – to constantly be updating your positions on as many things as possible, and if you don’t contradict yourself on a regular basis, then your not thinking”.

John Maxwell goes on to remind us that “Everyday has improvement opportunities” in which we should seek to: Learn something new. Try something different. Find something better. See something bigger. He also offers the following 7 points to help us live lives of opportunity;

1.) Continual learn, unlearn, and relearn

2.) Value yesterday but live in today

3.) Rely on speed, but thrive on timing

4.) See the big picture as the picture get’s bigger (“layered learning”)

5.) Live in today, but think about tomorrow (“advance attraction”)

6.) Move forward courageously in the midst of uncertainty

7.) Realise today’s best will not meet tomorrow’s challenge (“…interplay of dissatisfaction and satisfaction”).


Let’s take a look at the 11 necessary leadershifts John Maxwell put before us.

1.) THE FOCUS SHIFT: Soloist to Conductor

This shift involves moving “from me to we”. John Maxwell highlights that “Good leaders do what they can to put others in position to win” and should always “Be the first to give or add value to another person when you can”. Remember, “Sowing always precedes reaping”, therefore “maintain a seed-sowing mentality” and ask, each day, where you might add value.


Maxwell highlighted that “Goals helped me to do better. But growth helped me to become better”. Growth makes everything we experience advantageous. Maxwell also highlights that“…growth on the inside fuels growth on the outside” and  that “Growths highest reward is not what we get from it, but what we become by it”. A friend has recently mentioned ‘failing-forward’ which is emphasised by the following quote, “I am not afraid of failing as long as I am stretching and growing”.

3.) THE COST SHIFT: Perks to Price
We must remember the wisdom of Napoleon Hill wherein he has noted, “Strength and growth come through continuous struggle and effort”. Furthermore, the mentality of paying the price for what you desire through strength and growth is bolstered by the shared wisdom of Adinoram Judson who said, “There is no success without sacrifice. If you succeed without sacrifice it is because someone has suffered before you. If you sacrifice without success it because someone will succeed after”.


4.) THE RELATIONAL SHIFT: People Pleasing to Challenging People
In leading people we must continually be asking: Are people being productive? Are they finding fulfilment and satisfaction? Are they bringing intentionality and energy to everything they do? John Maxwell goes on to note that “Good leadership always challenges people to rise to the occasion, become their best, and achieve more”. He surely doesn’t pretend this is an easy task. In his effort to enhance of shifting in this area, he offers a “difficult convo examination’ (pictured in the graphic below) and a “tough convo- do it right- road map” (which is also shared below):



“Tough Convo” – “Do it right” – road map
“Are you aware that…”.
Gain their perspective – “Help me understand…”
Ask questions. “Am I hearing you correctly?”
Repeat back what you heard.
Allow them to respond.
Try to find common ground
Arrive at agreement of what’s best for both
If no agreement, agreed to meet again.
Seek growth
Maintain a positive relationship


5.) THE ABUNDANT SHIFT: Maintaining to Creating
I love that John Maxwell mentioned the “Experiment often” quote from and mentality of Pastor Mark Batterson. When we move from maintaining a system to creating opportunities for people to grow we must never cease trying new things. Or, as John Maxwell says it,  “Take it to the next level;”. He goes on to say, “Don’t ever get comfortable. Make the shift to abundance . Get out on the edge. Break new ground . Seize opportunity. Get creative”.


6.) THE REPRODUCTIVE SHIFT: Ladder Climbing to Ladder Building
Rather than making success about ladder climbing, a necessary shift we must all experience to see true success is making it about others being able to build their own ladders.
Ladder climbing – “How high can I go?”
Ladder building – “Can I help them build their own ladder?”


7.) THE COMMUNICATION SHIFT: Directing to Connecting
The simple advice John Maxwell shared in this regard was that you have to choose one or other other when it comes to leadership, “A sage on stage or a guide by their side”


8.) THE IMPROVEMENT SHIFT: Team uniformity to team diversity
John Maxwell noted that, “Our difference can make a positive difference”. He then detailed that; “Diverse teams fill in knowledge gaps”, “Diverse teams fill in perspective gaps”, and “Diverse teams fill in experience gaps”. He also made mention of the following book I look to get my hands on and read, Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin


9.) THE INFLUENCE SHIFT: Positional Authority to Moral Authority
“Moral authority is the recognition of a person’s leadership influence based on who they are more than the position they hold”.

“Do your work with devotion to excellence and the will to follow through fill give you a positive reputation for competence”.

“If you do the right thing when you’re young, it mostly goes unnoticed and unrecognised. But if you do the right things and lead well over decades, it becomes recognized, and you all get more credit than you feel you deserve”.


10.) THE IMPACT SHIFT:  Trained Leaders to Transformative Leaders
John Maxwell challenged us to be and to create transformative leaders, those who have been transformed and have a heart to see others transformed. In highlight transformative potential John Maxwell highlighted the following quote by former president John F. Kennedy, “Everyone has a change the world speech in them”. John Maxwell explains that we all must be transformed, “As leaders, you and I have to be changed to bring change. We teach what we know, but we produce who we are”. He laments those who do not change by sharing a quote from British philosopher, James Allen, “Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound”. Transformative leaders are those who see things others do not see, say things others do not say, believe things others do not believe, feel things others do not feel, and do things others do not do.

11.) THE PASSION SHIFT: Career to Calling
I love the quote that John Maxwell says in that“Some wake up to an alarm. Some wake up to a calling”. He utilized 1 Corinthians 12:7 and the following quote by Parker Palmer to challenge each of us to find our calling, “Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life tell me who I am”. I used to teach people to search out their burdens and inspirations to find their calling which corresponds to Aristotle’s advice, “When it is your calling, you won’t have ton chase it. You will be captivated by it”.


To conclude this review of necessary shifts to success, especially for those who call themselves leaders, I’d like to mention the following quote by Seth Godin, “Instead of wondering what your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from”. Prayerfully, these leadershifts will enable you to live in that eternally fulfilling and satisfying life and that as the Apostle Paul told his spiritual son, Timothy, may each of us endeavour to “… entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2)”.

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5/8 – Beyond Creation Science (Pt. 13 & 14) – Chapter 18

In our study through the book Beyond Creation Science these past couple weeks we studied through chapter 18.  Below you will find videos of our corporate study group on Zoom talking through chapter 18 as well as an outline for the chapter.

YouTube for PT. 13 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVXYg83O1D4

YouTube for PT. 14 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hvKFUhmyes


Beyond Creation Science
Chapter 18 – The Big Picture

Creation and Consummation: Covenant

What “Passed Away”?


View 2

View 1

Changing Clothes


Creation and Consummation: Physical Universe


The Groaning Creation


No More Curse in the New Heavens and New Earth


Viewing the Big Picture

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4/29 – Beyond Creation Science (Pt. 12) – Chapter 17

In this video link, our study group discussed portions and details from chapter 17 of Beyond Creation Science, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHHAwZAD4xY
Beyond Creation Science 
Chapter 17 – The Covenant Gospel of Jesus Christ 

Abraham’s Only Son 
cf. Genesis 22:1-2; Genesis 16:15-16; Romans 9:7-8
“…demonstrates that biology is not the primary focus of Genesis”.

The “Heaven and Earth” of Abraham 
cf. Genesis 13:16; Genesis 15:4-6; Hebrews 11:12; Daniel 12:2-4; Philippians 2:14-16
“…the association of God’s people to heavenly bodies may pre-debate Abraham”.

Modern Science & Biblical Interpretation 
“The current debates over creation in the Church are unsolvable because they are based on erroneous assumptions about the central subject of Genesis”.
“…scientific knowledge reveals the absurdity of the “literal” interpretation of Revelation”.

Creation & Israel
cf. Isaiah 51:15-16; Exodus 14:19-22; Deuteronomy 32:1; Isaiah 49:13
“If Moses calls Israel “heaven and earth”…”

The Messiah of Israel 
cf. Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:34; Matthew 15:21-28; John 4:22; Romans 1:16-17

The World God So Loved
cf. John 3:16-18

Inherit the Earth
cf. Hebrews 4:1-3, 8-9

The Apostles and the Covenant World 
“Christians widely understand that conversion to Christ entails no biological change…the issue is covenant lineage. Believers become new covenant creations”.

Living on Earth and the End of the World
cf. James 5:5-6

Atoning for the Sins of the World 
cf. 1 John 2:2; Hebrews 11:39-40; Revelation 21:3


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Book Review: Saving The Bible From Ourselves


I must say this book has now become one of my favourites regarding Biblical interpretation. If you are interesting in maximising your understanding of and experience with the Bible, this book is a must have. Glenn Paauw’s main point is the ignorant and careless way that many “Christians” have handled the Bible. He goes on to say,  “The Word of God was sent into the world to be an agent of God’s transformative power. When we harm the Bible, we hinder that errand”.  And continues,  The only Bible that can function as a corrective for us, as an ongoing guide to our life in Christ, is a Bible that is free and that speaks to us on its own terms”. Therefore, all throughout this book he highlights the importance of understanding the Bible on “its own terms” and dares us to engage “The Bible that is presented as literature, eaten in natural forms, grounded in history, inviting in its narrative, restorative in its theme, engaged in community, and honoured in its aesthetic presentation”. 



A major aspect of “Saving The Bible From Ourselves” is knowing the difference between “little readings” and “big readings”.  He goes on to distinguish the difference:

Liitle readings are “diminished samplings of Scripture in which individuals take in fragmentary bits outside of the Bible’s literal, historical, and dramatic contexts…a corresponding meager soteriology – that narrow, individualistic, and escapist view of salvation so common among Christians”. He goes to note that “the danger here is…they think they are getting to know the Bible when actually they are being led to a small sampling of Bible passages – and often misreading them. Because this approach is so widely practiced and officially endorsed in Christian communities, even well-intentioned readers are inoculated against real Bible encounters, which differ slightly from the plucking procedure”.

Big readings are “more magnified experiences that result when communities engage natural segments of the text, or whole books, taking full account of the Bible’s various contexts”. “Big reading will bring about the rebirth of what has been too-long dormant in our modern expressions of the Christian faith – the big story that is the point of the small parts of the Bible”.



I was greatly encouraged by Glenn’s challenge to develop big readings, as I hope that’s what we have continued to do at The Blue Point Bible Church (www.bluepointbiblechurch.org) as we have been “thinking through the Scriptures”. However, besides small, isolated readings, “proof-texting” is an issue in the contemporary Christian community. Glenn writes, “Verses read in isolation, selected by topic, arranged in groups, sent out in kitschy – decorated Facebook updates – this is what passes for Bible knowledge in our era”. He then goes on to show the problem with proof-texting by offering popularly shared Bibles with verses that contrast those exact thoughts. Consider the following examples,

Jeremiah 29:11 cf. Deuteronomy 28:29
John 10:18 cf. 2 Corinthians 2:16
Philippians 4:13 cf. Isaiah 49:4
Joshua 1:8 cf. Deuteronomy 28:65



Having an appreciation for the different genres of literature that come together to form the Bible is essential in developing our understanding of the Biblical narrative. Glenn Paauw takes issue with the modern  “precise, punctual, calculable, standard, bureaucratic, rigid, invariant, finely-coordinated, and routine” Bible. He explains that the way we have imposed our definitions about texts, boxed out imagination that should come through the Biblical story’ and have taken the stories and turned them into doctrinal statements.  Glenn offered the following challenge, “If we were to do nothing but take the verse numbers our of our Bibles and refuse to use them as references in our Bible practices, this alone might spark a Bible re-engagement movement”.  Furthermore he says, “The New Testament must be read so that the stories and the story, which it tells can be heard as stories not as rambling ways of declaring unstoried ideas”.



The comfortability that contemporary Christians have with using out-of-context Bible texts is quite dismaying. This has been a contention of mine for years. The “Bible – falling out of the sky syndrome” is what N.T. Wright diagnoses many contemporary Christian readers with.  Our emphasis on “meaning that has little to do with what the 1st- century authors intended and a lot tot do with some particular contemporary group has been accustomed to hear it” has surely led us astray. Glenn writes that “part of our conversion process, , our adoption of a new Bible engagement paradigm, will be coming to terms with the fact the Bible was written for us, not to us”. Well a hearty amen to that! This got me thinking back to my 2014 debate with Pastor Bruce Bennett wherein he tried to discredit this important approach to the Bible. Go ahead and hear him for yourself at the following link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNXL-4nl3zs (see the following times 1:10:00 – 1:21:00 – 2:39:10 – 2:41:23). In the book, Glenn goes on to say, “…the whole Bible is for us, even if it wasn’t written to us. But appropriating the message for ourselves, now, means first doing the necessary due diligence on what the message was for others, then”.



All throughout the book, Mr. Paauw shared interesting insights and correlating details regarding the Biblical format and storyline. For example, showing how the Gospel of Matthew has five outlined speeches and correlates that to the five Books of Moses. Also, he mentioned that the three- part covenant beginning of the Bible  (The Law, the Prophets, & Writings)  corresponds to the three – part covenant end in the New Testament (Gospels, Paul’s Epistles, & General Epistles). There were a couple of others but those stood out to me the most.



Saving the Bible From Ourselves was a refreshing read. We need to be careful how we handle the Bible, especially if we expect to be blessed by what we read.  Glenn Paauw tells us that “Deconstruction is always the easy part, but re-envisioning the Bible is what we are after”.  The goal is to encourage contemporary Christians toward healthy Biblical interpretation so that we can “re-imaging our lives as biblical art”. It reminds me of a quote I had heard a while back in that Scripture is intended to by a symphony lived out but a choir. Glenn invites us  “…to become so immersed in the script…that we come to know this story in our bones”.

May this report coupled with the Spirit of God encourage you to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of God (2 Peter 3:18). May the Bible continue to come alive and present itself to you as a source wherein you can find the “living Word of God”. I end this report with this summary thought from Glenn Paauw regarding an  ‘appropriate characterisation of the Bible’ as “…a temple and dwelling place story, a liberation and exodus story, a forgiveness and reconciliation story, a kingdom rebellion-reclamation story, an account of the creation, distortion and restoration of God’s image in humanity, a narrative of overcoming chaos and bringing in peace and order, and many much such self-descriptions”.


Reviewed by: Michael Miano


*** Also, if you are interested in hearing a podcast with Glenn Paauw and some details regarding this book, which was graciously shared with me, visit the following link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8bnCWn9urg

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4/17 – Beyond Creation Science (Pt. 11) – Chapter 16

Here is the accompanying collaborative YouTube video we put together on Zoom for this study, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9kS27qhXlU&t=247s

Below is the outline and mentioned resources.

Beyond Creation Science
Chapter 16 – Apocalyptic Life-Spans
Covenant Life and Covenant Death


The Mother Of All Living vs. The Serpent


The Book of Covenant Life


Symbolic Patterns and Amazing Coincidences


Long-Life Spans & Isaiah the Prophet


The Millennial Life-Span

Mentioned Resources:
DStoner.net – Historical Context of Genesis – From Adam to Noah, Decoding Ancient Numbers, http://dstoner.net/Genesis_Context/Context.html#part2
The Ancestral Story of the Image of God , https://www.academia.edu/9695120/A_Must_Read_The_Ancestral_Story_of_the_Image_of_God_od_

3pi Series: Genesis 5 – 6:8, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NC_a4vyAP-A&t=736s
YouTube video talking about these ancient ages, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoPbZnRN8xQ&feature=youtu.be

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The Spiritually-Discerned Passover

Just a few nights ago I had the privilege of participating in a Messianic Passover celebration (online of course due to necessary social distancing). As my cousin Vinny led us through the seder I couldn’t help but contrast the significance of the Jewish celebrating of Passover to the Spiritually-discerned (Christian) celebrating of Passover. My goal in this blog is to share some of the details that stood out to me, in the hope that my thoughts might just edify someone else.

Three specific parts of the Seder got me thinking of how we Christians need to not only understand the historical/theological context of the Jewish feast of Passover, but also we must understand the transition that is bringing shown, namely the revealing of that which was hidden, Jesus Christ, and thus moving the people of God “from hoping to having”.  How and why does Jesus Christ identify with the afikomen? Are we still waiting and reserving a spot for “Elijah to come”? What restoration is celebrated with the 4th cup of the Seder?

Let’s start with the first question, how and why does Jesus identify with the afikomen? During the Seder the three matzah’s are introduced as the “bread of affliction”, remembering the burdensome and hasty retreat of the Israelites from Egypt. The middle piece is referred to as the afikomen and is taken and hidden at the beginning of the dinner, only to be sought out and resurrected later on (usually by the children present). During a Messianic seder it is mentioned that this afikomen piece is the bread Jesus identified with and said “This is my body, which is broken for you (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24). Interestingly enough, Rabbi Hillel (who was most active between 30 BC-10AD) drew special attention to the afikomen as he led people through Passover celebrations. And, in the first century, Rabbi Gamaliel said that the bread pointed to the speed at which salvation came to Israel in Egypt. Furthermore, we know that by the first century, some Jewish people viewed the afikomen as a symbol of the Messiah, who remained hidden from view. Jesus transitioned the perspective of Passover from being about historical bondage in Egypt, slaves to the Pharaoh, to being about bondage in sin, slaves to sin and death. Jesus, the author and finisher of our salvation, was hidden and is what the prophets searched for intently, as the Apostle Peter writes in his epistle, “Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care,  trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. (1 Peter 10-12)”. So for a Spiritually-discerned Passover, the afikomen is no longer hidden, but has come and been manifested, Jesus Christ our Lord. I rather enjoy how the New Living Translation puts it, “For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God (Romans 10:4)”.

The Jewish tradition of setting a place for Elijah is connected to their waiting for the revealing of the hidden salvation. The prophet Malachi highlighted that before the great and terrible day of the Lord, Elijah would be sent from God to offer repentance to all people, especially noting fathers and children (cf. Malachi 4:5-6). It is important to understand that Malachi prophesied during the time then the Israelite captives from Babylon had returned to the land and were hoping to see revival in their midst, a return to their covenant faith and reality. As should be clear from reading Matthew chapter 17:10-13 and Mark 9:11-13, that Jesus Christ taught the disciples and they understood that John the Baptist was the “Elijah to come”. John the Baptist came and warned that terminal generation that the “ax was at the root” (Matthew 3:10) and that the “Lamb of God had come to take away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). The “restoration of all things” that the “Elijah to come” would herald is covenant restoration, ultimately what the prophets and apostles highlight as “the hope of Israel”. The “hope of Israel” which would be made clear at the “great and terrible day of the Lord” would not only restore the living to right relationship with God through the New Covenant, but also would vindicate the righteous martyrs of the Old Covenant, discerned as a reality as Jerusalem was made desolate (cf. Matthew 23:34-38). Dr. Don K. Preston, of the Preterist Research Institute has written extensively about the significance of the “Elijah to Come” and how that relates to John the Baptist and the restoration of all things  at destruction of Jerusalem, however I highlight this quote,  “In Matthew 3, John’s message was the message of Elijah in Malachi 4. And John, as The Voice, The Messenger and Elijah, said that Day of the Lord was imminent. That Day, the time of the vindication of the martyrs (cf. Matthew 23, Revelation 6) did fall on Israel in AD 70! Prophecy fulfilled! The Voice, The Messenger, Elijah fulfilled his role!”.

Unfortunately, due to a variety of interpretations and presuppositions that Christians have brought to the Jewish details of the faith, many Christians fail to see the significance of the “Elijah to come” as per Malachi’s prophecy and how that relates to the message proclaimed by John the Baptist. Furthermore, a failure to be familiar with the hope of Israel as made known through the Law and the prophets, which is the Gospel the Apostle Paul said he preached (see, Acts 24:14-25; 26:22-23), many have totally missed and confused what the “restoration of all things” is. What doe the Old Testament prophets lament as lost and in need of restoration? I will provide links to some sermonsI have preached on exactly this at the conclusion of this blog.

Presuppositional thought and just plain ignorance has led many Christians to misidentify the elements of restoration. This surely effects the ability of Spiritual-discernment. Christians should be celebrating an entirely fulfilled Passover – celebrating our living in and identifying with the New Jerusalem, praising God for the glorified Body of Christ (otherwise known as the Church), and resting in the new heavens and earth.   All Spiritually-discerned realities. This is what was being highlighted through the last and final cup of the seder. Christians should be celebrating the reality of moving from hoping for to having, but instead, most are somehow still waiting for the new heavens and earth, displaying a complete failure to see all that was hoped for by Israel as a reality for the Christian now. A few years ago, April 5th, 2012 to be exact, I posted the following points about the new heavens and earth on social media and I hope they  might edify and clarify you understanding, “The new heavens and new earth Peter writes about are an echo from Isaiah sixty-five and sixty-six. In those chapters we read where God will pour out His wrath on Jerusalem (which in fact happened in AD 70) and on His rebellious people before He creates (spiritually, not physically) the new heavens and new earth. In the New Jerusalem of the new heavens and new earth, physical death will remain (Isa.65:20; 66:24) home building and agriculture will continue (Isa.65:21–22) there will be descendants (Isa.65:23; 66:22), there will be a new priestly group (Isa.65:24 which is describing the believer church) – which we believing Christians are! (see 1 Peter 2:9). The new heavens and new earth is referring to the New Covenant. This is the kingdom of God where Christ indwells the believer (Col.1:26–27), a kingdom not made with hands (Dn.2:44–45; Col.2:10–11)”.

I love how Pastor David Curtis, of Berean Bible Church, explains the feasts, in that he remarks, “Each feast is a prophetic picture of the Messiah.” It should be our goal to seek a contextually, Spiritually-discerned, and fulfilled prophetic picture of Jesus Christ. We must become familiar with the Jewishness of the faith, celebrating and discerning the feasts is great, but it must be accompanied by a reading, listening, and familiarity with the literature of the prophets. Pastor Curtis goes on to say, “I believe the seven annual feasts, or holy days, of physical Israel, which take place in the first seven months of their agricultural year, were all fulfilled both prophetically and spiritually in the period from the cross to the fall of Jerusalem, which equates with the return of Jesus Christ, the end of the Jewish age, the resurrection of the dead, and the consummation of the kingdom of God in A.D. 70. These feast must be viewed in their strategic order. Judaism today treats Trumpets as the New Year, and that is wrong. It is not the New Year. By doing that, they can never really understand prophecy. The feasts have to be viewed in their order from Passover through Tabernacles. The feasts actually convey two forty year exodus periods. The first exodus period is one familiar to all of us: Israel, after the flesh, was removed from bondage to Egypt at Passover, and they were put in the wilderness on a physical journey to a physical promise land. Now the more important and the spiritual exodus we are not so familiar with: This exodus runs from the Cross to A.D. 70. In this exodus, Israel, after the Spirit, left its bondage to the law of sin and death (Ro. 8:2) and begins a forty year spiritual journey to a spiritual inheritance: the Kingdom of God, or the New Heavens and New Earth.”

So, in conclusion, the difference between a Jewish celebration of Passover and a Spiritually – discerned (Christian) Passover celebration is understanding the hope for and the provided reality of sanctification, deliverance, redemption, and restoration. Let us praise Him for all that He provided – no more tears, mourning, or crying for the old things (Old Covenant and all it’s baggage) have passed away (see, Revelation 21:4)


The following links have information that connects to this blog.

Don Preston explains the “Elijah to Come”, https://donkpreston.com/responding-to-the-critics-is-elijah-coming-before-the-end-or-has-he-come/

David Curtis begins his extensive series on the “Feasts of the Lord”, https://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/transcripts/topical/feasts_lord_01.htm

And I preached two different sermons highlighting the fulfilment of the prophetically understood “Hope of Israel”,




May this information and our mighty God bless you abundantly.

In Service to Him,
Pastor Michael Miano
The Blue Point Bible Church

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4/1 – Beyond Creation Science Study Outline

Tonight, This upcoming Wednesday, 4/1 – we will have our Wednesday Night Praise, Prayer, and Bible Study live online through Zoom. Please read chapter 15, take notes, and join us for the discussion. All you will have to do is click on the following link, and following the instructions, https://zoom.us/meeting/632505394


Beyond Creation Science
Chapter 15 – The Prophetic Creation

“…elements that mark prophetic texts”
– symbolism
– poetic imagery
– exaggeration
– hyperbole
– metaphor

“The fact that we find prophecy at the beginning of the Bible (Gen. 3:15) is the first hint that Genesis may open in the same symbolic apocalyptic style of communication common to prophetic texts”.


More Apocalyptic Literary Features
Apocalyptic/ prophetic literature – a genre of ancient documents revealing another reality

– double pattern – duplicate symbolism (cf. Revelation 1-11/Revelation 12-22; Genesis 1/ Genesis 2; six day creation

– repetition & recapitulation (cf. Genesis 1:1/ Genesis 1:3-2:3)

The Apocalyptic Creation
“Judging from the parallels, the ordering of the six day creation is not sequential or linear: it is apocalyptic”.

“It unveils the nature of God and His divine activity to the reader…The text uses the physical world to teach about God’s covenant works”.

“Genesis 1 speaks prophetically about God’s creative acts which set the pattern of forming and filling. That which God creates, He recreates. That which God forms, He fills. The symbolism points toward what is to come. Old Covenant. New covenant”.


Daniel’s New Day for a New Creation
cf. Daniel 8:26 – “evening and morning” (Old Covenant figurative night; New Covenant figurative new day)

“Daniel makes the connection to Genesis 1 because his “vision of the evening and morning” is a vision of the time of the new creation – a new day for the Israel of God”.
Six Days of the New Creation
John 1:1-28 – Day 1 (in the beginning, light and darkness)
John 1:29 – Day 2 (“next day”; water baptism)
John 1:35 – Day 3 (“next day”; Lamb of God gave an earthy name to Peter the rock)
John 1:43 – Day 4 (“the following day”; Jesus is called King of Israel and spoke of heaven
John 2:1 – skips Day 5 takes us to Day 6 (“on the third day”; wedding feast at Cana)


The Days of Revelation
cf. Revelation 5-6, 8-9, 16


The Prophetic Sun
“Biblical prophets use the sun as a symbolic metaphor for the coming of the Messiah”.
cf. Malachi 4:2; Luke 1:76-79;
– Jesus is called King of Israel on Day 4
Light Without Sun
“The creation account records an ideal picture of light existing before the sun during Day 1 through 3, the first half of the six days of creation”.
Cf. Revelation 21:22-24; Isaiah 60:19

“Notice that the light of the sun and moon is obsolete for those who live in the heavenly city which comes down out of heaven. The Lord Jesus Christ (the sun of righteousness) gives them light – the Lamb is its lamp. Everything in John’s vision relates to covenantal realities and redemption, ultimately Jesus Christ. Preterists often point out that New Testament prophecy is centered wholly upon Jesus Christ, redemptive realities, and covenant relationship with God. Likewise, would it not make sense to consider the same focus for the opening chapters of Genesis?”

“The reason so many miss John’s point is because they do not see that John’s description comes to us in highly symbolic apocalyptic form”…John was talking about Jesus who is the “true light that gives light to every man (John 1:9)”.

Genesis 2 Recapitulates Genesis 1
“The prophetic creation explains why the order presented in Genesis 1 is flipped in Genesis 2”.

The Bride from the Side of Adam
cf. Ephesians 5:24-32; Genesis 2:21-23; John 19:33-35

“…why did Paul reference Genesis 2 when he spoke of the union and communion of Christ and the Church? He went to Genesis 2 because it offers a prophetic, apocalyptic presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ”.

The Apocalyptic Fall of Man

cf. Genesis 3; Revelation 12

“Both accounts reference real events which happened in history, yet neither provide a historical narrative in scientific detail. They are both apocalyptic presentations”.
Flaming Swords & Heavenly Bows
cf. Genesis 3:24; Deuteronomy 32:20-23; Lamentations 2:4; Habakkuk 3:9-11; Revelation 6:1-2

The Apocalyptic Flood

cf. Genesis 7:11; Isaiah 24:18-19; Revelation 4:1; 19:11

The Covenant View of Creation

“We are confident that much more work needs to be done to flesh out additional implications of this covenant view of creation, but we hope the details we have presented thus far will compel you to consider a covenant view of creation”.

“If Biblical prophecy is centered on Jesus Christ and covenant relationship with God, then so, too, is the creation account”.

“The result of our study thus far is the conviction that in these opening chapters of Jesus we are not to look for historic narrative, nor contributions to natural science, but to recognize a symbolic apocalypse of God’s relation to the world and man”. – Milton Terry

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