Israel Only: Is It Scripturally Defendable?

Israel Only - Day 1

As of this morning, 3/1 – a formal written debate has begun between Michael Miano and Michael Bradley regarding the Israel Only view. The main page for the debate is a public Facebook group. You can access it, even if you do not have Facebook at the following link, https://www.facebook.com/events/147851895931004/

However, the debate components will be posted on this blog and at http://www.powerofpreterism.wordpress.com. Below you can clink on the links to access today’s Opening Statements.

Mr. Michael Bradley’s Opening Statement,  https://drive.google.com/file/d/188ftYigkDaNzIkeJan1DHGpbZW65D5Xo/view 

Pastor Michael Miano’s Opening Statement,  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oxnC10sqZD3txOXedStYY1J5s_567apK/view

Coming Soon (3/8) – Rebuttals

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Disregard the Details. Just Be Encouraged.

Kingdom of God

Please allow me to explain the title of this blog. I am writing this as a review of the recent ‘Kingdom of God Conference’ that was held at the Church of the Intercessor in Malverne, New York. The host was Deacon Eddie Pirro and Sam Frost was the guest speaker. As one who has appreciated the world Sam Frost offered in his days as a Full Preterist, and being rather confused on his constant switching of views in the last 5-6 years, I surely wanted to hear what he had to say to a local congregation within my “mission ground”. Good ole Long Island, New York.

I must say from the outset that I appreciated the encouraging tone that seemed to be the focal point of the conference. I surely found myself in agreement with both Eddie and Sam when they spoke of the Victorious Church and the advancing Kingdom of God. I surely found myself encouraged in that regard. However, I must admit frustration with the seemingly intentional overview that was provided, all the while disregarding the details of how we end up with such an optimistic perspective of the Kingdom. It’s not like Sam is ignorant of the views.

As many of you may already know, I debated Sam Frost regarding Preterism in 2013, and have continued to try and follow the logic of his views. You can watch that debate on YouTube at the following link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hz4JEGAsumE

So what I intend to do with this blog is highlight some of the things that were brought up and taught to the congregation. I imagine this will demonstrate the confusion that often comes as a result of conferences that seek to encourage the saints about certain topics but choose to ignore the necessary details that go into that discussion. Even more so, I imagine this will demonstrate the further confused road Sam Frost has continued to follow. Also, if you would like to read about and hear a recent interview Sam Frost had with Travis Finley, which surely demonstrated the problematic theology he asserts, here is a blog I had written on the topic, https://powerofpreterism.wordpress.com/2017/04/11/sam-stop-talking-a-review-of-the-smackdown-on-rr/
I walked in the door and heard Sam teaching on the Book of Daniel. He noted that Daniel chapter 2 is a text intending to inspire us about the Sovereignty of God and notes our rejoicing in the Kingdom. Well, surely I agree, and loved the emphasis on “God being in control”. However, Sam provided his details on Daniel in a 30 -45-minute lecture. The whole Book of Daniel in 30 minutes, and not a notion of the controversies that have arisen from the text. There was a lot of talk about “Church History”, so I don’t find it too far off base to include a quote by St. Augustine, a 3rd century church father, regarding the fulfillment of Daniel in AD 70, “For let us not suppose that the computation of Daniel’s weeks was interfered with by this shortening of those days, or that they were not already at that time complete, but had to be completed afterwards in the end of all things, for Luke most plainly testifies that the prophecy of Daniel was accomplished at the time when Jerusalem was overthrown.”

Eddie Pirro gave a lecture on Revelation chapter 20, specifically detailing the “first resurrection” and the “binding of Satan”. While I am still confused in how Eddie explained Revelation chapter 20’s fulfillment to be taking place in heaven, when the entire text speaks of things “coming out of heaven”, I did think his presentation was done well. I find myself in agreement with him about the “first resurrection” and faith in Christ (as per John 5:24 and 1 John 3:14). Also, I loved his detailing the “binding of Satan” as fulfilled through Jesus’ ministry (cf. Matthew chapter 12). I didn’t hear Eddie detail much about the “loosing” and “destruction” of Satan. What really baffled me was rather than further detail these things exegetically, Eddie began to speak enthusiastically about our life in Christ and the fact that Satan has no power over us – completely disregarding the details of Revelation chapter 20. Surely, I was disappointed. If you are looking for exegetical details in that regard, here are two resources. (1) An article that shows the Full Preterist understanding of Revelation chapter 20 by Mr. Michael Sullivan, http://www.fullpreterism.com/five-brief-points-which-prove-the-full-preterist-view-of-the-millennium-of-revelation-20-is-exegetical-and-orthodox/
(2) Here is a link to the YouTube video I had done a while ago explaining theology on the Millennium, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tWWid6lDIU

Another rather frustrating thing was his emphatic assertion, seemingly out of nowhere, that “we all know Christ resides in His body at the right hand of the Father. It says this in Colossians 2:9”. No, that text does not say Christ still has a physical/biological body during the time of His ascension, rather it declares the power of God, the fullness of God, that was evident in the Lord Jesus Christ (a connecting text would be Philippians chapter 2). Unfortunately, known of the historic commentaries demand the same assertion Eddie put on this verse. Look for yourself at the following link, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/colossians/2-9.htm

After lunch, Sam Frost launched right into a rant about the creeds. A statement that he made that I found rather odd was, “I take unity wherever I can get it”. Yikes! This hardly sounds like the man who wrote the creed challenging book, Misplaced Hope. Of course, he repudiates the book now, but one day I’d love to dig up my notes and share some of the poignant points he had made in that writing. As he began to talk about Matthew chapter 24, he surely sounded confused (I was dismayed that Sam has now joined the ranks of those who divide Matthew chapter 24). He continued to make empty statements like “We must not get locked into a certain view” and “I always keep in mind I am capable of error”, which I have often noticed are attempts to feign humility (yet he surely knows I am a heretic, blah, blah, blah…which were his comments to me later that evening on social media).
In talking through Matthew chapter 24, Sam tried to make a big deal out of the “sign of His coming” as mentioned in verses 3 and 30, but seemingly failed to notice that if you read verse 30 all the way through, and not try to insert confusion, the text is all too clearly speaking about His coming. Sam tried to assert it’s speaking about the sign of His coming, not His actual coming (Parousia). Wrong! I was even more baffled when Sam tried to use Matthew 24:7, “kingdom will come against kingdom”, to assert Futurism. Sam jokingly boasted from the pulpit, “When has anyone ever seen a time when kingdom did not come against kingdom – never!”. Wrong! So ensued my post about the Pax Romana on Facebook. Not only did Origen, a 2nd century church father, note in his writings that Christ was born in a time of relative peace, we also see Roman historian Tacitus, in his writing ‘Histories’ mention that this time of peace existed, virtually undisturbed (despite some regional wars) up until the time of Nero.
Talk about total disappointment with Sam’s seemingly theological dishonesty. However, I did rather enjoy Eddie presentation on the early date of Revelation and textual evidences he provided from the Bible. I know some who attended spoke of wanting to know how Eddie would deal with Revelation 21-22, knowing the implications of what he mentioned in Revelation chapter 20, as well as his understanding the time-frame of fulfillment of Revelation. As he said to me when I left the conference, we shall continue to talk.
I will conclude with this point. Sam seems rather content with vague references to Biblical details. He mentioned to me that “the congregation warmly understood him”, to which I would respond, “Of course”. The whole premise of the conference was a pat on the back, not a look into the details. The long story short of the conference was that we are in the Kingdom (to which I would say, Amen!), or as Sam said, “The Kingdom takes place in the heart”, however the details of the fulfillment of the Kingdom (which much of the New Testament is detailing) are not important. Just be encouraged.

I’ll surely share the videos or audio from the conference for further review once they are made public.

Gladly, there are many hungry to know more about the knowledge of God as revealed through the Scriptures, and desire to see it relayed with consistency, clarity, and context. Granted, when honest with these things, we still have questions. So…we look forward to the Examining Crossroads: Biblical Controversies Conference taking place at The Blue Point Bible Church in March 2018. For more information in that regard, you can visit www.bluepointbiblechurch or the Facebook invite at the following link, https://www.facebook.com/events/493019257765681/?event_time_id=493019271099013

Saints, may we continue to press in, proving all things (1 Thess. 4:21) and understanding the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan, so that we may share that story with those “outside the gates” and bring forth the “healing of the nations” (cf. Revelation 22:1-17)

With Sincerity in Pursuit of Him,
Pastor Michael Miano

P.S. – It is worthy to note that I do anticipate further discussion with Eddie Pirro. Eddie has continued to say that his problems with the Full Preterist view are (1) the understanding of the nature of Christ bodily, and (2) the anthropology of man. So…I gave him a copy of Alan Bondar’s recently published book, Journey Between the Veils (which deals with some of that conversation), and I look forward to more dialogue with him in that regard.

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Tj Smith’s, Kingdom Come – A Must Read!!

Kingdome ComeSimply put, TJ Smith’s book, Kingdom Come: Messiah’s Methodical Manifesto Hidden in His Parables, was a thrilling read, full of important truths brought forth in a simple and a humorous way. As a pastor who is always looking for books to give to church newcomers, I was excited to finish this book and to recommend it as a resource. Please read further as I share some details that were impressed upon me as I read through the book.
I rather enjoyed the bold and pointed way that TJ shared Biblical truths. He started out highlighting the main issue in the Church regarding the way many Christians have come to understand the Bible. He says, “Life application in our culture has become equivalent to the Allegorical Method of the 2nd-4th century, where the true meaning of Scripture is traded for some cheapened, perceived deeper, hidden meaning”. He further notes, “Instead of studying to fully understand the depths of God’s redemptive plan, Christians feast on feel-good messages that dull the Spirit and lullaby their souls to sleep, rendering them ineffectual for the Kingdom”. TJ Smith takes this point a bit further than simply charging Christians with the need to study, rather he also highlights the responsibility of the Church in fostering and cultivating healthy study environments and access to information. TJ therein remarks, “If someone wants to learn about Church history, the early Church, or even Jewish customs and traditions, they must go to a campus to pay for the information, invest in a small library and devote years to study, or trust in the Sunday School teacher. That is a real tragedy and shortcoming of the Church that needs to be corrected for future Believers to have a proper understanding of God’s salvific history”.

As the pastor of a local church that seeks to be on the “front lines” of walking worthy in the solution to the issues TJ expressed, I find his book to be a great resource to hand out as an introduction to the way we are supposed to understand and interpret the Bible. At The Blue Point Bible Church (www.bluepointbiblechurch) we encourage saints to develop what we call “A Thinking Faith”. Rather than being content with the “life application” that TJ lamented and I mentioned above, we continually talk through proper Bible interpretation and necessary historical context. This is what I believe TJ had in mind when he wrote, “…it was the Savior’s intent to instruct the listeners with the necessary ‘method’ of deciphering His parables and that with this ‘correct method’ the results would be exponential”.

As a church that knows and understands Full Preterism and the “present truth” of God’s kingdom, I absolutely loved the way TJ Smith challenged Futurism and the delayed fulfillment and fullness of the Kingdom. He writes, “Gee, what a toss up! I can’t decide. Hmm…believe in a half-baked kingdom, ‘already but not yet’ from a man who failed to do as he said, aka a false prophet? Or…believe in a perfectly executed plan of redemption and salvation with a perfect Kingdom in fully power?…what to do…what…to…do.” He further adds, “Nothing about the parables of the Kingdom are about our future (except our inclusion in the Kingdom)”. I would add the necessary component of understanding not only the historical context and understanding of the Harvest (judgement in AD 70), but also the implications of that fulfillment. I refer to this as the “Harvest Narrative”. In his book, TJ uses the Gospel of Mark to go through the parables, however, in talking through the harvest/judgement, I find the Gospel of Matthew to be my favorite in talking through what should be understood as “Jewish concepts” (since the focal point of said judgement applied to that generation living in Jerusalem). In Matthew 13:31-32, we read the fulfillment of the Kingdom being likened to the growth of a mustard seed, however not only does the tree go and produce it crops, it also extends blessings to the “birds of the air” (those outside the covenant people). A similar point is made in the “Vineyard Parable” mentioned in Matthew 21:33 – 46, wherein the vineyard owner comes (speaking in reference to the judgement that happened in AD 70) and in his judgement, he gives the vineyard/ Kingdom to another people (showing the force of God consummating the New Covenant at His coming – a people that will produce the fruit).

TJ gets quite theological without being confusing. As I already said, he makes mention of Full Preterism, saying, “Don’t tolerate that old argument that to God “immediately” might be 2,000 years. That’s a lame and ignorant crutch utilized by ill-informed teachers unskilled in interpretation”. He also gives a great exposition of “covenant language” often missed and confused, as used in 2 Corinthians chapters 3-5. And in speaking about the defeat of Satan, he remarks, “If your pastor or favorite TV preacher tells you Jesus still hasn’t defeated the devil, run away or turn the channel! That is unorthodox and heretical! Find a church that believes the Scriptures!”. Yeah, I can’t wait to get a bulk order of these books and give them out to people who are just beginning the journey of understanding the Scriptures.

In conclusion to this review, I must give one last praise of the book, Kingdom Come. Not only did the book spur me to study a bit, as well as provided some laughs at the points TJ makes, he even offered the challenge of living in a way consistent with understanding the Kingdom as a present reality. TJ challenges the reader with the question, “What is it that you do that eases the pain and suffering of those around you?” He highlights this as the ‘one central truth’, and he notes, “You just shine your light on your hill and if we all do that, we will light the world for Christ”.

I really appreciated this book TJ. Thanks for your work.
To God be the glory!

– Pastor Michael Miano

*** Purchase your copy of Kingdome Come at the following link, https://www.amazon.com/Kingdom-Come-Messiahs-Methodical-Manifesto/dp/1979505314/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519246399&sr=8-1&keywords=kingdom+come+messiahs

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Outlining the “Creation Account” – Genesis chapters 1-3

At The Blue Point Bible Church we have recently begun an intense journey through the Scriptures (what we are referring to as “Thinking Thru the Scriptures”). In this blog, I want to outline our last 3 sermons, which dealt with Genesis chapters 1-3. This is properly referred to as the “Genesis Creation Account”. Also, you can listen to the podcasted sermons at the following link, https://www.buzzsprout.com/11630

(I look forward to the possibility in the near future of publishing these outlines and more through the entire Bible, with commentary).

 

Genesis 1 – 2:3: An Ancient Near Eastern “Temple Text”

Genesis 1:1-2 – God’s creative act begins with establishing “heavens and earth” (this term is used throughout the Scriptures to speak of the relationship (covenant) Israel had with God (see, Deuteronomy 31:28; 32:1; 1 Chronicles 16:31; Isaiah 1:2; 13:13; Jeremiah 4:22, 28; Hosea 2:21; Joel 3:16; and Haggai 2:21). Also, the use of the Hebrew word “bara” which means to fatten or fill, rather than “asah” which means creating something from nothing is very telling about the purpose of this text. The mention of “tohu vavohu” (formless and void) highlights disorder, chaos, and meaningless existence (in our case this speaks to the rampant idolatry of the Ancient Near East). The “spirit hovering” over the waters demonstrates that God was at work. Similar texts to reference would be Isaiah 34:11; Isaiah 45:18; Job 26:7; Jeremiah 4:23; Deuteronomy 32:10; and Psalm 104:30).

Genesis 1:3 -5 – Day One – God brings forth light. This “light” is not the light from the sun, moon, and stars (they are created on Day Four), rather, this light is the light of God that brings clarity and order (cf. Job 3:20; 2 Samuel 22:29; Isaiah 45:18-19; Isaiah 60:1-3, 19-20; John 1:4-5; 2 Corinthians 4:6; and 1 Thessalonians 5:4-7).
• The mention of “evening and morning” here is rather telling. There is no sun, moon, and stars at this point, so we note this text is not speaking of what we understanding “evening and morning”, or the completion of a 24-hour day.
Genesis 1:6 – 8 – Day Two – God creates the firmament/ or the “vault in the sky” to separate the land and the skies. Simply put, this is ANE cosmology, and spoke to the order of the heavens and earth as they understood it. Instead of trying to wrap our minds around the order of the universe, or even the physical planet Earth, this text is simply demonstrating that the God who is being defied through this “temple text” has rule over the heavens and the earth and everything within them.
Genesis 1:9 – 13 – Day Three – God begins to create land and seas and vegetation. In the prophetic language found through the Old Testament, this language speaks to all of creation, however more specifically it highlights the distinction between the “land” (Israel) and the “seas” (Gentiles). See, Isaiah 1:1-3; chapters 24-27; Jeremiah 5:24-25; Psalm 65:7; Isaiah 17:12; Jeremiah 46:7-8; Daniel 9:26; and Revelation 17:15).
Genesis 1:14 – 19 – Day Four – The sun, moon, and stars, are not only responsible for marking out days, seasons, and years (which were of great importance to the ancients, especially Israel under the Old Covenant), but also, represent rulers and kingdoms in prophetic language. The mention of night and day is not so much physical and what we understand as night and day (24 hours), but carry a theological tone we read of in Romans 13:11-12; 1 Thessalonians chapter 5; and Revelation 21:25; 22:5).
Genesis 1:20 – 23 – Day Five – The Biblical text says that God let the waters bring forth birds, land creatures, and sea creatures. Obviously that doesn’t speak to the physical creation, but rather in prophetic language these creatures represent the nations outside of Israel. Maybe this is motivation to study out the various uses of land creatures, birds, and sea creatures throughout the Bible? Also of significance is the usage of “be fruitful and multiply” (which is a covenant term used throughout the OT).
Genesis 1:24 – 31 – Day Six – God creates man in His image. There is much that can be studied out in reference to the plurality of the term “elohymn” and the use of “us” in Genesis 1 (I would venture to say this study would solidify the “Trinity”). Also, it is of importance to consider how images of the gods functioned in the Ancient Near Eastern setting. The image was where the power and authority of the God could be found. The Genesis account’s exalted view of humanity surely contrasts the other ANE “creation accounts/ myths”, which usually debase humanity and leave them in subjection to every other created thing.
Genesis 2:1-3 – Day Seven – In ANE “temple texts” and “temple dedications”, sovereignty of God was established, the rest of God was celebrated when the 7 day structure was completed. The 7th day would come to demonstrate the sovereignty of God over His people (which is a prominent theme found all throughout the Old Testament). Also worthy of note is the mention of “ki tov” (it is good) that is found throughout Genesis chapter 1. Ki Tov is an exclamation and praise, also highlighting the distinction of Israel’s God and his valuing and celebrating the physical elements, rather than debasing them to something evil (which is common in ancient pagan beliefs and “creation accounts”.

“Placing Genesis 1 in it’s Ancient Near Eastern setting strongly suggests that it was written as a self-defining document, as a means of declaring the distinctiveness of Israel’s own beliefs from those of surrounding nations. In other words, Genesis 1 is an argument, a polemic, declaring how Israel’s God is different from the mythical gods, and therefore how Israel is to be different from all other nations”. – Scholar Pete Enns (paraphrased)

** Of importance is also to make mention of the liturgical temple/tabernacle features that are found throughout Genesis 1:1-2:4. Consider the following correlations:
Genesis 1:31 cf. Exodus 39:43
Genesis 2:1 cf. Exodus 39:32
Genesis 2:2 cf. Exodus 40:33
Genesis 2:3 cf. Exodus 39:43
Genesis 2:3 cf. Exodus 40:9

 

Genesis 2:4 – 3:24 – The Generations of the Heaven and Earth

Moving into Genesis chapter 2 forward, we begin the accounting of the generations, or more simply put, we are beginning the lineage of Adam that would compose this covenant people.

Genesis 2:4 – This can be noted by the use of the Hebrew “toledot”, which is always used to speak of people and lineages.

Genesis 2:5-6 – The imagery of uncultivated land demonstrates no offering or glory for God. In that ancient time, before the establishment of the image of God (Adam), idolatry was rampant because God had yet to set up His image. We see similar talk of this idolatrous time wherein men relished in idolatry in Jeremiah 3:13 and 1 John 2:16.

Genesis 2:7 – God sets up his image by use of “dust” and the “breathe of life”. Both of these terms carry theological meanings, and speak from nothingness to truly alive nature of God’s image.
Genesis 2:8-14 – God places His image in the garden. The garden (Gan ben’Eden) represents God’s order and goodness as present with His people (see, Genesis 13:10; Joel 2:3; Isaiah 51:3; Ezekiel 31:9, 16, 18; Ezekiel 36:35). Surely understanding the imagery found in the garden as God’s presence leads us to see much similarities between the Garden of Eden scene and the Temple scene (essentially the place of God’s presence). See, 1 Kings 6:29 for an example. Also, the mention of the rivers gives us a geographical location of where these details come to us from (the Ancient Near East).

Genesis 2:15 – It is interesting to note that the terms used here for the role of the image, are a bit different than those used in Genesis 1:26. Genesis 1 uses “rulership” terms, declaring Adam’s lineage “heaven and earth” to be ruling over the nations. Genesis 2 uses “priestly” terms, making the point that Genesis 2-3 speak of temple details, the cultivation of God’s presence. These 2 roles of the image highlight the exclusivity Israel had with God under the Old Covenant. See, Numbers 3:7-8, 25-26; 8:5-6; 1 Chronicles 23:32).

Genesis 2:16-17 – The two trees in the garden represent 2 realities. The prophetic use of trees is found throughout the Scriptures and was very common to the Ancient Near Eastern worldview. God’s image was free to eat from all trees, except that which God told man to stay away from – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The contrast between the trees is used to highlight the pure knowledge of God that gives life against the mixed knowledge of carnality. Unfortunately, as the story will tell, man, even when given the very best of God (“the garden scene”), will choose carnality, sin, and death. This is what is being highlighted by the use of these trees and ultimately becomes the identity story of Israel (cf. Deuteronomy 30:15; Ezekiel 47: Revelation 2:7 and Revelation chapter 22). God always declares that eating of the tree of knowledge of God and evil will surely result in the death of God’s image (man).
Genesis 2:18 – God creates a “ey’zer kenegedo” for Adam. The Hebrew literally conveys the meaning of a helper that is opposite, as would be the mirror image of being face to face (this is the correlation the Apostle Paul is using in 1 Corinthians 11:9). God’s image is made complete by way of male and female .
Genesis 2:19-24 – This male/female image is given dominion over the garden. It is interesting to note that the Old Covenant Israel was under was only possible through birth, therefore showing a similarity of what God was doing in the creation story and ultimate how that would come to bear upon Israel’s story (this seems to be the way Jesus Christ uses these details in Matthew 19:5). Woman, or Eve, is created out of the rib of man, which in ancient culture symbolized life. The prophetic details and how this relates to Christ giving his life for the Church (His bride and help-meet) are astounding and urge us toward seeing the prophetic within the text. The details of naming give rise to the role of authority God’s image has in the world.
Genesis 2:25 – The nakedness (a’ru’mim) and no shame (we’lo shush shun) that Adam and Eve possess points to uncovered or naïve beginning as well as a freedom in thought. Fear of being naked/uncovered as well as a culture of shame will follow the “creation narrative”, and ultimately becomes Israel’s identity under the Old Covenant. The fear of being “uncovered” is mentioned by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:3, and studying God’s truth, as well as the judgement that was to come at the “coming of the Lord”, demonstrate the change of mind, or the unashamed reality being spoken of in this text (see, 2 Timothy 2:15 and 1 Corinthians 15:51).
Genesis 3:1 – The mention of the “serpent” and “trees” should give us a theological picture. Serpent is a term used for false spirituality/ teachers throughout the Scriptures, as well as other Ancient Near Eastern writings (see, Ezekiel 32:2; Isaiah 27:1; Revelation chapters 12 and 20; to name a few). Of course, the serpent challenges the wisdom/law of God and tries to use deceit in this historical account.
Genesis 3:2 – 6 – The garden deception highlights the propensity of humanity, which is and was demonstrated through the fleshly lineage of Adam (which makes sense because this is their “creation account”). The carnality that plagues the people of God is highlighted here (regardless to the various theories of Eve’s failure to have regard for God’s instruction, or Adam’s failure to rely the details and guard his wife), and this picture is used to convey the “lusts of the flesh” in 1 Timothy 2:13-14, as well as 1 John 2:16.
Genesis 3:7 – The opening of their eyes and a seeing, or realizing of their nakedness, represents a maturity. The covering of themselves represents shame, and the use of fig leaves demonstrates their feeble attempts at covering up their error.

Genesis 3:8 – This text yet again highlights the “temple imagery”. “Cool of the day” is a term used for the time when the evening breeze swept through that region. Also, interestingly enough this would be the time of the evening sacrifice – when the presence of God would be made known (cf. 1 Kings 18:36; 2 Chronicles 20:39). Who shall stand in the presence of God comes to mind. Imagine that, God placed them in the garden, but in their sin they hide from him. It’s important to note that God’s calling out to Adam is not an actual wondering of where he is, but rather a rhetorical question to cause Adam to question why he is hiding.
Genesis 3:9 -13 – We read of a sort of inquisition between Adam and God, which results in a sort of “blame game”. Oh how we seek to defer our bad judgements on to other people or situations.
Genesis 3:14-19 – In this matured state, naked and now ashamed, God brings forth curses upon His image and the serpent. In Genesis 3:15 we read the very beginning of the Gospel promise. The childbirth curse and the toil through thorns and thistles, as well as the return to dust, are all covenantal curses that come to be demonstrated through Israel’s Old Covenant with God. Isaiah chapter 65, as well as Revelation chapters 21-22 speak to the reversal of these curses in and through Jesus Christ and the New Covenant.

Genesis 3:20 – Eve’s pronouncement as the “mother of all living” seems to have more of a theological connotation (mother of those under the covenant of God), rather than physical origins.
Genesis 3:21-24 – In the closing portion of the “Genesis creation account”, God provides animal skins as coverings for His image (oddly similar to the need for atonement (covering) through the blood shed by animals under the Old Covenant – which has caused many to compare the story of the Garden with Israel under the Old Covenant. See, Hosea 6:7). God’s image, now knowing “good and evil”, is then banished from the “garden scene” and not allowed to eat of the Tree of Life. This seems to represent and provide early reasons for why Israel was subjected to the Old Covenant (see, Romans 8:20-21). Adam, as an early representative of God’s covenant line, is seen as one who had the privilege of son, but gave it up and experienced “death”, and thus was given the “covering” of being a servant in the Father’s house. This is the early beginnings (Genesis) of Israel, otherwise known as “heaven and earth”.

 

*** Prayerfully this outline will provide clarity in your coming to understanding the “Genesis Creation Account, and stimulate you to study these details further. Another worthy part of studying these details out, is to see how these passages are utilized and referenced in the New Testament. Here is a link that will help you with those correlations, www.creationstudies.org/Education/quotations.html

 

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#100SermonsChallenge

The number 100 is know both anciently and in contemporary culture as a number of abundance. It’s a number we use often to speak of having a bunch of something.

In James 1:5 we read that if we lack wisdom in any area that we should ask of God. It also says that God gives to us in abundance. Many who are familiar with my ministry and prayer life know this to be a verse I regularly cling to. I believe it! In Romans 12:11 we read that we are never to be lacking in zeal. So this led me to a thought about ways to put this into action. I have also spoken of “challenges” and exercises as a way to keep our Spiritual fervor. It takes diligent to keep the fervor God desires from us and I can personally attest to the power of maintaining Spiritual disciplines and “challenges”.

Proverbs 15:22 tells us about the success of one who has many advisors. Sermons from a variety of preachers can offer such wisdom we are seeking and provide a variety so we can “use discernment”.

As we move into 2018, I myself am seeking wisdom on vision (namely, because our annual meeting at The Blue Point Bible Church is at the end of January). However, I ask you to be honest and examine yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5). What are you seeking wisdom on?

Listen to 100 sermons from at least 5 different pastors on the topic you are seeking God’s wisdom. Take notes, use discernment and seek the voice of God. Prayerfully, you will share your #100SermonsChallenge notes on Facebook Notes or your personal blog. Please post your blogs on my Facebook page or send through email (ChristianityGoneWild@Yahoo.com).

On February 1st, 2018 – A participant in the #100SermonsChallenge will be chosen at random to receive a copy of Freaked Out by the New Covenant & Wicked. Two edifying books by me!

Blessings in Christ Jesus,
Pastor Michael Miano

MGW

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Supporting Seafield in Blue Point – The Next Steps

Support seafield 2

 

Many of you know that I shared my perspective recently regarding recovery and support for a possible inpatient Seafield facility in Blue Point. You can read my initial thoughts at the following link, https://www.facebook.com/notes/michael-miano/a-pastors-perspective-recover-recovery-support-seafield-in-blue-point/10155636652956210/?fref=mentions&pnref=story

There has been community input, discussion, and controversy lately. As their have been various news articles, social media posts, the beginning of a Blue Point Community Coalition, as well as community engagement – both for and against Seafield.
Tuesday evening, December 5th at 7PM, there will be a Blue Point Community Civic meeting held at The Blue Point Bible Church. All are encouraged to attend. While the meeting will resume with usually community concerns, the Seafield proposal will surely be brought up. Here is a Facebook link to that event, https://www.facebook.com/events/156642794950069/

For those who have been engaged in raising awareness regarding and fighting against the opioid epidemic this is a profound time. We have continually lamented the fractured community between the various organizations and events, and pulling together around this Seafield discussion is a great beginning to get “on the same page”.
There is a petition going around in support of Seafield, as well as a formatted letter for the town of Brookhaven. I will share the links to both of those below.
Petition – https://www.change.org/p/brookhaven-town-council-support-recovery-support-seafield-in-bbp-to-save-lives

Formatted Letter – https://issuu.com/christianitygonewild/docs/letter_template_in_support_of_seafi
(*** Simply copy and edit the formatted letter with your information)

Also, this coming Saturday, December 9th there is the On Wings of Hope event at Our Lady of the Snow. This is an event is a service dedicated to loved ones lost to addiction, and hope for a brighter future. Here is a Facebook link to that event, https://www.facebook.com/events/164551490802229/
For any more information, please feel free to contact me through email or social media. My email is MianoGoneWild@Yahoo.com

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

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Mindset is Everything!

Recently I preached a sermon on the “transformation by the renewing of your mind” which is highlighted by the Apostle Paul in Romans 12:2 at The Blue Point Bible Church. In that sermon I sought to highlight the power of a renewed mind, and I utilized some thoughts from a book I mentioned in the sermon to clarify what that renewed mind looks like. You can visit the following link to listen to that sermon, https://www.buzzsprout.com/11630/600774-thingschristianssay-be-transformed-by-the-renewing-of-your-mind

The book I speak about is Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck. Dr. Carol Dweck is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. She is most known for her thoughts on what is referred to as the “growth mindset”. It was that “growth mindset” that I highlighted as synonymous with a “renewed mind”. I look to Dr. Dweck’s thoughts as building upon the holy foundation of the what the Scriptures put forth in regard to the necessary transformation we must undergo so that we are not “conformed to the ways of the world”, but rather prove what the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God is.
“ And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2)”.
Dr. Dweck highlighted that, “The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it is not going well, is the hallmark of a growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives”. In Christian circles we refer to this as “perseverance”. I love what James, the brother of Jesus Christ said in these regards, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4)”.
It is made clear through the book Mindset that there are two mindsets – the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. As the title of the this blog says, and prayerfully that which you will be further convinced of through this blog, mindset is everything! Many people feel stuck in a certain mindset, or limit themselves, however the man responsible for developing the IQ test, Alfred Binet, himself referred to such a way of thinking as “brutal pessimism” and called for us to react against it with “practice, training, and above all, method”.
In the sermon linked above I challenged our congregation at The Blue Point Bible Church (www.bluepointbiblechurch.org) to think through the spiritual disciplines they have in place that allow them practice, training, and method in developing a renewed mind. What sort of systems do you have in place? Having these things in place in my Christian walk has always encouraged me toward “purposeful engagement” in doctrine and mission, rather than the seemingly safer mindset that many live with, “nothing ventured, nothing lost”. In the book Mindset, Dr. Dweck goes to great lengths to encourage us to develop mindsets that look to perceived failures or hardships as opportunity for future successes.
In my personal life and ministry I have developed a mantra. That mantra is “zeal empowered by knowledge”. The growth and experience I have gained as I have sought knowledge has given me zeal, or “set me on fire” as some have remarked. This is how I explain the passion that the Lord has planted and birthed within me for Biblical details. In Mindset, Dr. Dweck touches on this by making the following point, “When you learn new things, these tiny connections in the brain actually multiply and get stronger. The more you challenge your mind to learn, the more your brain cells grow. Then, things that you once found hard or even impossible seem to become easy. The result is a stronger, smarter brain”.
Not only does learning new things and having a “growth mindset” make us smarter, it also enhances our social-coping skills and ability to deal with the frustrations that life often brings. Dr. Dweck makes a great point – “When you think about how rejection wounds and inflames people with the fixed mindset, it will come as no surprise that kids with the fixed mindset are the ones who react to taunting and bullying with thoughts of violence and retaliation”. I am sure glad that I have labored in this regard to create a youth movement that develops the growth mindset with our youth by engaging different things. Check out XD Youth on Facebook!
I will end by boasting in that which the prophet Jeremiah urges the people of God to boast in – “…let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD (Jeremiah 9:24)”. I am confident in my knowing the Lord, ultimately because it is fostered by a renewed mind rather than leaning upon my own misunderstandings. Dr. Dweck highlighted that, “True confidence is the courage to be open- to welcome change and new ideas regardless of their source”. Prayerfully, I have expressed exactly that in my seeking to understand the concept, nature, and possibility of developing a renewed mind.
May we continue to grow in Him.
Your brother in Christ,
Pastor Michael Miano

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