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Book Review – Fulfilled Eschatology by Tim Liwanag

As Pastor of The Blue Point Bible Church, I am always on the lookout for a simple enough yet concise and comprehesive resource to help others understand our views on Fulfilled Eschatology. Sure enough, in his book, Fulfilled Eschatology, Mr. Tim Liwanag delivers exactly that.

Right from the beginning of the book, one can easily notice that Mr. Liwanag has done much research and utilized many resources (books, articles, and learning from others in the Christian community) to formulate his excellent effort of systematizing the story within Scripture. Two teachers that I greatly admire wrote ‘introductions’ to the book, Mr. Joe Daniels & Mr. Larry Siegle, therefore I new it was going to be an enjoyable read, and there introductions to the book were right on target. Mr. Siegle mentioned that the book was full of great lists of Scripture and might offer some new insights to the reader, that surely explains the benefit of this great read. Mr. Daniels rightly noted Mr. Liwanag’s great exposition on the Deity of Christ, and his efforts to exalt Christ that are prevalent throughout the entire book.

It is not uncommon for me to read the works of other Believer’s who have come to agree with Fulfilled Escatology and yet find areas of major disagreement. This is largely due to the fact that the truths of Fulfilled Eschatology have the ability to cross denominational lines and bring light to the context and truth of Scripture. Yet confusion is still there. I am glad to say that Mr. Liwanag was not afraid to utilize Scripture to formulate conclusions even in areas that many Bible expositors are afraid to venture (i.e., the lake of fire a.k.a. “hell”, fulfilled eschatology’s application for today, resurrection, the book of Revelation, etc.), yet I found no areas of disagreement.

This is a testament to Mr.Liwanag’s respect for the context and application of Scripture. To that I must say, “Thank You”. The lists of passages provided to make points was so clear and concise, that I was excited to continue reading.

Mr. Liwanag’s explanation and usage of ‘audience relevance’ is commendable, and it clearly seen through his retelling of the story with a focus on Israel (what some have come to refer to as the “Hebrew Exclusivity” noted in Scripture). The lengths he went to provide lists of Scriptures and passages to support the details is astounding, and surely provided me with some lists I can use in teaching others.

According to John chapter 4, those who worship God must worship Him as He desires, and that is in Truth and in Spirit. The clear-as-day exaltation of Christ that Mr. Liwanag provides throughout the writing is refreshing, and shows us the goal of his writing this book. Also, it is a common trend today for many “Christians” to obsess over fantastic notions of ‘heaven’ that they have made up, rather than paying attention to “Covenant-Fulfillment”, which is expressed through understanding the ‘full narrative’ of Scripture- gladly Mr. Liwanag brings out these details in Fulfilled Eschatology as well.

This book is a must read, and for many of the discussions going on within Preterist circles, and the rapid expansion of Fulfilled Eschatology, this book is right on time! Just as the Preterists like things.

Nearing the end of the book, Mr. Liwanag notes, “So where do we go from here? The answer is not “towards fulfillment” but “from fulfillment in Christ onwards” and then he goes on to say, “At this point, however, what remains is for us to show by the Scripture again the fulfillment message is not finished yet, even though all things written to and for the Israelites were fulfilled”. Amen to that!

I can’t wait for Mr. Tim Liwanag to get his book, Fulfilled Eschatology, in print so I can put it in the hands of others who desire to understand the context of Scripture. Another great ‘Preterist Resource’ to enable others to see the power of living in “Christ’s Glorious Presence Now”.

In His Service,

Pastor Michael Miano

Blue Point Bible Church

www.bluepointbiblechurch.org

P.S.- There always seems to be confusion on what exactly is means to be a “Christian”. In his book, again noting how all encompassing the book really is, Mr. Liwanag gives a great description of the term “Christian” as applying to God’s people:

“At first believers had no distinctive name, but were called among themselves “brethren,” Ac 6:3; “disciples,” Ac 6:1; “those of the way,” Ac 9:2; “saints,” Ro 1:7; by the Jews (who denied that Jesus was the Christ, and so would never originate the name Christian), in contempt, “Nazarenes.” At Antioch, where first idolatrous Gentiles (Cornelius, Ac 10:1, 2, was not an idolater, but a proselyte) were converted, and wide missionary work began, they could be no longer looked on as a Jewish sect, and so the Gentiles designated them by the new name “Christians.” The rise of the new name marked a new epoch in the Church’s life, a new stage of its development, namely, its missions to the Gentiles.”

In the first-century Messianic age, it is a Christian’s creed, not only to represent Christ’s name, but also to be defamed for it:

“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or asa thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” (1 Peter 4:14-16; Revelation 3:12)

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2014 – Advent Challenge

The Greek word, Advent, corresponds to the term ‘parousia’ which means “a coming”. Celebrating Advent is bringing us back to the time right before Christ was born- when Israel longed for a prophet, to hear from God, and to be healed.

It’s been said that the ‘Advent season’ has been celebrated in the church as early as the 4th and 5th centuries. There are a host of different thoughts toward what we should focus on as we go through the ‘Advent season’. In the 6th century, the church in Rome, utilized the time instilling a preparation for the soon-to-come Messiah. Gregory the Great, a church father from 6th and 7th century, focused on the celebration of the incarnate Christ, because he understood that this event marked the beginning of salvation. In Gaul, the church has primarily focused on the eschatological “coming of tghe Lord”, fostering the need for penance and readiness.

This past Sunday, I was able to welcome The Blue Point Bible Church into celebrating the ‘Advent season. One of the members of our congregation shared excitment because our church has never done that before.

For the past month I have been preaching sermons about “walking worthy” of all that we believe we posess as Christ’s body. This included but is not limited to exercising the “power of prayer”, walking in an assured, confident, and clear understanding of God, and being expectant and adaptable to what God is doing in our church, is us, and in His world. You can listen to those podcasts as the following link:  http://www.buzzsprout.com/11630

As Preterists, who understand the “eschatological events” of the coming of the Lord, the judgment, and the resurrecton of the dead ones as past events, we must be compelled to live in the salvific reality. As we endeavor to understand the victorious narrative of Scripture, we are called to live in the reality of the “New Jerusalem” and thus call the other nations to drink of the “Water of Life”. You can read through this imagery in Revelation chapters 21-22.

It should surely be looked at as “Divine Providence” that immediately following the “season” in which we are called to be grateful, we turn to a season of expectation- advent. Granted, us Preterists are not waiting and saying “O Come Lord Jesus” as is seen throughout the Catholic Missal for this season. Yet, even more so, as those who allow the Scriptures to be clear and consistent, we should understand that living in the fullness and reality of His promise, is supposed to lead us to the expectation of seeing His glory in the world, daily.

As we go through Advent, we are provided with hosts of Bible verses that show us what reality the Messiah was going to bring to His people. I look forward to all that can be produced in this season, if we, the ‘Children of the Light’ are willing to walk diligently.

Out of the Common Prayer book we recieve this excerpt of information, “Advent is the season when we remember how Jesus put on flesh and moved into the neighborhood. God getting born in a barn reminds us that God shows up in the most forsaken corners of the Earth. Movements throughout church history have gone to the desert, to the slums, to the most difficult places on Earth to follow Jesus. Jesus comes from Nazareth, a town from which folks said nothing good could come.”

Now only was God willing to come in human flesh to be our solution/ salvation. He also ushered in the reality of the New Covenant. Let it be our goal this season to grow in a more solid understanding of what the current reality of the New Jerusalem (the fully consumated Kingdom of God) should look like as displayed by us. As we continue to be amazed by all that God has accomplished for us, and in us, let us display that to the world. In this manner, we are able to allow our gratitude to make others grateful.

We are not expecting a coming kingdom, we are living in the yet under-realized, fully consummated, kingdom of God. Surely, we have the responsibility to make this known both in word and deed.

All of that said, I invite YOU to come along with me for a season of Godly Conspiracy. For example, at The Blue Point Bible Church we are going through a month or two of examining the doctrines of John Calvin (since we refer to ourselves as a ‘Sovereign Grace’ church and hold to the tents of Calvinism). Also, this month I am hosting a “ministry meeting” which is going to be a time where our congregation “conspires together” how we can make those outside our church want to visit, make our visitors feel welcomed, and allow the manifold wisdom of God to be revealed through us in all that we do. Yes, we are truly endeavoring to “walk worthy” in all that we do. 🙂

If you are not local, no worries. I am always involving our “far off” brothers and sisters, whether that be through Facebook, email programs, etc. There is so much more to come in how we can “conspire” to allow God’s Kingdom shine through us, and thus light up the world.

As a resource I would like to provide you with the daily readings throughout the month.

First week – Isaiah 40:1-5; Isaiah 52:7-10 (Isaiah 2 & 4); Isaiah 40:9-11; Genesis 3:8-15; Genesis 15:1-6; Dueteronomy 18:15-19; Psalms 89:1-4

Second week – Isaiah 11:1-10; Zechariah 6:12-13; Micah 5:2-4; Malachi 3:1-6; John 1:1-8; John 1:9-18; Mark 1:1-3

Third week – Luke 1:5-13; Luke 1:14-17; Luke 1:18-25; Luke 1:39-45; Luke 1:46-56; Luke 1:57-66; Luke 1:67-80

Fourth week – Isaiah 7:10-14; Luke 1:26-35; Isaiah 9:2-7; Mattew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 2:1-2; Luke 2:21-35

“Loving God, as we enter this Advent season, we open all the dark places in our lives and memories to the healing light of Christ. Show us the creative power of hope. Prepare our hearts to be transformed by you, that we may walk in the Light of Christ.”

Blessings to you, in and through Jesus Christ,
Pastor Michael Miano

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TRUE FAITH/ FULFILLED HOPE – REVIEW OF CHARLES MEEK’S BOOK

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“Thanks are extended to my futurist friends whose skepticism about COVENANT ESCHATOLOGY made me dig that much deeper to get to the truth. Truth is a glorious thing”. – Charles Meek

I could not have expressed my gratitude any better than Mr. Meek did in the above statement. This blog will serve as my sort of “giving back”, as I hope many of my Futurist friends as well as fellow Preterist brethren will read this blog and Mr. Meek’s book and “see clearly”.

it is an earnest plea because as David Green said in the beginning of Charles Meek’s book – “The last days are approaching- the last days of futurism, that is. Out of the dying and conflicting ism’s of the tradition of futurism is arising the FAITH-CONFIRMING truth of FULL PRETERISM. it’s ascent has been slow, but steady and sure”.

I must say reading the ‘Forward’ to ‘Christian Hope through Fulfilled Eschatology’ was one of the most encouraging things I have read it a while. Packed with what I would call “THE POWER OF PRETERISM”. A must read for sure.

This isn’t necessarily intended to be a “book review”, but I imagine many may care for my thoughts. In writing ‘Christian Hope through Fulfilled Prophecy’, Mr. Meek has provided a humble, simple, and full of answers explanation of Full Preterism. I will admit there were areas that I may “agree to disagree” (as you will see through this blog), but overall the intellectual honestly that was put forth by Mr. Meek was astounding.

So let’s jump right into it….. What do YOU know about the end times? Are you views based on Scripture of maybe what you have been taught? Have you taken the time to examine things for yourself?

This is so important because if you would have talked to me about 6 years ago I had an entirely different view of Scripture, of the “end times” and of the gospel message. I can assure you as I have set out to “prove all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21)” my faith has been challenged and strengthened. I can truthfully and reasonably tell you my Biblical hope today and know beyond any reasonable doubt that I am standing on a firm foundation. I’ll even debate it!

“The church has utterly failed to present a defense of the truth of the Bible. And when such facts are pointed out to pastors, there is an unending list of excuses to ignore the problem. Speaking especially to pastors, apologetic should be higher on your agenda than your seminary probably taught you it should be!”

Sadly, many Christians have a reluctance to reexamine their views. Many so-called Christians are content with reinforcing erroneous teachings just to “go along with the crowd”. That’s a sad position for a Believer to be in. This is equivalent to the “ecclesiastical tyranny” and “crowd psychology” that Charles Meek mentioned in his book.

The question every Christian must both ask themself and answer is: “Are you ready to listen to what God’s Word teaches?”.
“Christian Hope through Fulfilled Prophecy” starts at a great point- in 1st century Jerusalem. The failure of modern Christians to understand the Scriptures in their historical context has by and large led to a confused gospel message. I have reiterated again and again as I preach before The Blue Point Bible Church (http://www.bluepointbiblechurch.org) that we MUST understand the story of ancient Israel.

As a Preterist many of my Facebook friends have seen my continual harping on the importance of AD 70.

“When Israel ceased to be a nation and the temple was demolished in AD 70, these events fulfilled what Jesus said would happen in His generation (Matthew 24:2; Mark 13:2; Luke 19;44; Luke 21:6)”. Understanding these events, what is called the Roman-Jewish War, enables us to understand “redemptive history”. Yes, YOUR REDEMPTION!

Many Christians will continually speak about the importance of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ but sadly exclude the destruction of the temple in AD 70.

“While the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ ushered in the New Covenant order, it was the destruction of the temple (which ended the system of sacrifices for sin nearly forty years later) that formerly ushered out the Old Covenant order”.

Do you understand the teachings and implication of Full Preterism? If not, there are various websites, articles, sermons that you can go to. A site that I personally run and am developing is http://www.christhascome.org . Another great resource is http://www.thefulfilledconnection.com.

Many Bible teachers and pastors have lost their “ministry opportunities” due to their willingness to be honest with the Bible . Charles Meek rightly says, “God calls us to embrace truth no matter what”. Charles Meek also argues this point:

“This problem is not trivial. Everything we know about Jesus and His teachings comes from the Bible. It is not our prerogative as Christians to ignore the Biblical evidence , and invent a Jesus to suit ourselves. That would be idolatry. We cannot legitamately manufacture our hope from a false set of assumptions; we are limited to understanding Jesus and His teachings as presented in the Bible. Just as importantly, we must not present an unreliable Jesus to the world”.

Recently at THE POWER OF PRETERISM CONFERENCE that was held at The Blue Point Bible Church in Blue Point, New York – Bible teacher Joe Daniels, Apostle Johnny Ova, Dr. Don K. Preston, and myself all made the point that Preterism advances the teachings of Jesus and to say otherwise diminishes the Biblical hope, the reliability of Jesus’ teachings, the Deity of Christ, and the apologetics of Christianity.

Many a times I am asked- ‘Why don’t people plain and simply see the truth of Full Preterism?’. I believe the need for Biblical education in regards to fulfillment is in order. Not only in matters pertaining to eschatological events but instead in regards to Biblical History, Church History, Biblical Hebrew & Greek, Soteriology, Christology, Ministry Leadership, and Life Application/ Discipleship. I endeavor to start a basic style seminary in the near future- Learning Institute of Fulfilled Eschatology (L.I.F.E.) with a creative focus on development, reformation and networking.

Charles Meeks provides an introduction in hemeneutics in Chapter 2 of his book.

“We have built doctrines by picking and choosing the passages that fit our ideas and have ignored those passages that challenge us. We are really not interested in truth if it upsets our applecart. This has led to a shallow, lazy, distorted, and divisive Christianity”.

Mr. Meek is speaking in reference to “our extra Biblical presuppositions”, examining “wooden literalism” with a game of “twenty questions”, and provides an explanation of Principles of Biblical Interpretation.

Rene Deschartes, French philosopher and writer once said:
“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things”.

Are you willing to be your ‘end times views’ under the microscope? Could you be wrong in your understanding? In chapter 3 of his book, Charles Meek provides an explanation of Different Views. Speaking about Futurism ( and the variety ofpremillennial, amilleniam, and postmillennial views), Historicism, idealism, preterism (and its’ underlying distinctions of premillenial and post millenial preterism.)

In examining what the Bible ACTUALLY SAYS about the “time of the end” one will realize:
“Eschatology is not about the end of the “world”, but rather its a rebirth instituted by Jesus in the New Covenant order”.
It is the Preterist View that:

“We are of the studied opinion that the “Second Coming” of Christ was not to be a physical body appearance on earth, but rather a coming in judgment against the unbelieving Jews who perverted God’s commandments and rejected Jesus and His Church”.
Also the point could be proven that, “…many Christians also think that the tribulation will be a global event. But notice that Jesus said that one could avoid the tribulation by fleeing to the mountains (Luke 21:21)”.

Many ‘Christians’ have misunderstood the phraseology and idiomatic expresses used by Jesus and those writing in the first century. For example, Charles Meek accounts:

“Peter’s prophecy in 2 Peter 3 was a reiteration of Isaiah 24. In that chapter, Isaiah spoke of a time when the sun and the moon (the heavens) would be confounded and ashamed (Isaiah 24:23) and when the earth would be burnded, broken down, dissolved, and would fade away (Isaiah 24:4-6, 19-20). Isaiah was speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem (Isaiah 24:12)”.

Sadly many within the Church have clung to a neo-Gnostic understanding of what the gospel message is about (mislabeling the ‘elements’ coming under judgment- Romans chapter 8 & 2 Peter 3:10). Quite frankly the message is about freedom from the Old Covenant- described as “the law of sin and death (Romans chapter 8). Understanding this freedom by reading through Galatians chapters 3-5 and Colossians chapter 2.

A great read concerning the confusion regarding the transition of Covenants and ‘the Coming of the Lord” is ‘Behind the Veil of Moses’ by Brian Martin. In the book, Mr. Martin makes a great case for the fact that the confusion regarding the “2nd Coming” of Christ is equivalent to the confusion regarding the first coming. The Jews rejected Christ’s coming because He did not come according to their expectations, the same with John the Baptist as “the Elijah to come”.

“2 Kings 2:11-12 relates the manner in which Elijah went up into heaven. He ascended on a chariot of fire. The Jews thought that Elijah might well return to earth in exactly the same manner that he ascended on a chariot of fire. But in Matthew 11:13-15; Matthew 17:10-13; and Mark 9:11-13 Jesus identifies John the Baptist as the expected Elijah!”

Sadly today many will provide gimmicks, gaps, and so forth to defend their erroneous views. In his book, Charles Meek deals with the way those who adhere to “partial fulfillment” – “divide the text”, “pick and choose”, fabricate a foreign concept of “types and shadows”, “separate questions”, and completely avoid “audience relevance”.

“It is impossible to read the Olivet Discourse and fail to perceive its distinct reference to the period of our Lord’s crucifixion and the destruction of Jerusalem. Every word is spoken to the disciples, and to them alone. To imagine that the “you” in this address applies, not to the disciples to whom Christ was speaking, but to some unknown and yet non-existent persons in a far distant age, is so preposterous a supposition as to not deserve serious notice”.

With that in mind…Go and read Matthew 16:25-28. What does the text imply? Do you believe in the words of Jesus Christ?
The humility expressed through Christian Hope through Fulfilled Prophecy is astounding. Mr. Meek provides information on the millennium, the new heavens and new earth, resurrection, among other things.

I did have a question about this statement since it seems that Mr. Meek adds a ‘futuristic idea’ that is not present throughout Scripture:
“Jerusalem was judged in the first century for her historic crimes (See, Matthew chapter 23). There is no reason to believe she (harlot Jerusalem) will never be judged again for those crimes”.

Also, many critics of Full Preterism constantly refer to “the resurrection of the dead” and ask for a “better explanation” than that which is being given. This has been done again and again by many leaders within Full Preterism. I would refer people to read through Dr. Don K. Preston’s stuff…. also, soon enough I will have the video files from THE POWER OF PRETERISM CONFERENCE wherein Dr.

Preston presented an awesome teaching regarding the resurrection.
“Futurists often argue that because Christ rose physically, so must we. That notion is as false as saying that because Christ was literally crucified, we must also be literally crucified (Galatians 2:20) in order to have eternal life”.

The proper understanding of “…resurrection is recovery of relational death between man and God that stood since the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:7, 15; 2 Corinthians 5:1-3)”.

I did notice that Mr. Meek put “bodies” in plural form in many places that I would advocate a necessary ‘corporate’ understanding. Within Full Preterism there is the CBV (Corporate Body View) and IBD (Individual Body at Death view) debate and I have failed to see a proper explanation of IBD. It seems that Mr. Meek advocates a merger of sorts that I have in the past spoke about with other leaders within Full Preterism. Honestly, I don’t see it. Mr. Meek mentioned you can find this individual body reference throughout Scripture. Please provide.

Recently, I was involved in a public debate regarding the difference between a future second coming of Jesus and Preterism. You can view that here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNXL-4nl3zs

During that debate, Pastor Bruce Bennett seemed to be quite obsessed with the physical body of Jesus. Mr. Meek provides a simple explanation:

“At some point Christ must have changed- probably at the ascension. After His ascension, Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus in a manner that Paul could see a light and hear the voice of Jesus , but neither he nor his companions actually saw Jesus in physical form (Acts 9:3-9; Acts 22:6-11; Acts 26:12-19 cf. John 17:5; Hebrews 5:7)”.

Also, another area that I have been pretty passionate about that Mr. Meek mentioned was:

“There is evidence that the concept of the immortality of the soul, as understood by many Christians, my be more from Greek thought than from the Bible”.

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To me it’s rather simple. In John 3:16, “eternal life” is offered to those who believe in Jesus Christ in contrast to “perish” not some odd view of eternal torment. This postulates the view of Conditional Immortality. Think about it….if someone dies and goes to hell for eternity- doesn’t that mean they are living eternally in hell?

“Some Christian scholars are convinced from a comprehensive analysis of the Bible that hell is not, in fact, a place of eternal conscious punishment as is the standard view. Gehenna, the Greek word rendered ‘hell’ in English, was an actual place outside of Jerusalem where waste was deposited and burned. So, some argue that Jesus used gehenna/hell as a metaphor for the total destruction of annihilation of the damned, rather than a place of eternal conscious punishment”.

I debated this topic in October 2013, you can view it here http://vimeo.com/88656535. (Sorry the sound quality isn’t all that great). You can read more about this by visiting the following link:
http://www.rethinkinghell.com/

Another issue that I have dealt with in debate and Mr. Meek brings up in his book is understanding the “old order” and all it’s “tears, mourning, and death” characteristics and how ATONEMENT was understood by those under that ‘order’. Here are some details from his book:

“Jesus appeared at His First Advent to put away/ remove sin (Hebrews 9:26 cf. Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 1:21; John 1:29; Acts 5:31; Romans 6:1-14; Colossians 1:22; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 1:3; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 3:5; Revelation 1:5), and to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). DID JESUS FAIL?”.

“Concerning death, the Bible says that Jesus destroyed/ abolished death (2 Timothy 1:10 cf. Romans 6:23; Hebrews 2:14-15). DID HE FAIL?”

So I ask, “How much you your expectation of restoration is based on assumption or wishful thinking, rather than Scripture?”

HOW HAVE WE GOTTEN TO THIS POINT?

WHY HAS THE CHURCH FAILED TO CORRECT THIS ERROR?

“We can track the various eschatological views down through the ages; unlike other doctrinal issues we see no formal discussions of eschatology within the Church”.

“Preterists are at the forefront today of the call for a serious and open debate on the Biblical “last things”.

So, I imagine if you have read this far you now realize that you must examine this thing called FULL PRETERISM. Heed the words of St. Augustine:

“If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel that you believe, but yourself”.

Before you go over to http://www.ChristHASCome.org, here are some basic details about Full Preterism.

“We strongly suggest that any eschatology that denies a plain literal interpretation of the New Testament time-texts, has adopted an overly elastic and, frankly, unscriptural position that damages the Bible’s integrity”.

“The good news is that the days are over for even brilliant scholars to to easily escape legitamate challenges; the pace of modern communications is turning the tide toward truly open debate. The resultis the SURGING PRETERIST CHALLENGE TO ESCHATOLOGY”.

“Covenant eschatology solidifies our understanding of the gospel and unifies the message of Scripture. The preterist view reveals the immensity of Christ’s victory”.

“And while it is the minority view in the Church today, it seems to be the fastest growing view”.

“…preterist eschatology is optimistic, beautifully consistent, and faithful to Scripture”.

I love the words of Edward Hassert here:

“Preterism is a theology that can bring answers for those who are sick, dying, struggling with faith, oppressed, addicted , and even living in sin. In fact preterism provides the only real answer to these problems since it is the only theology that addresses the whole of Scripture, believing the Word of God for what it actually says instead of for what men have claimed it has said in the past…True faith is realizing the fulfilled hope we have to live in today, in this moment, instead of some escape clause for the future”.

I end on this note. Let is be said, as Soren Kierkegaard once said:

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true”

I can promise you that when you consider the Biblical evidence for the truth of Full Preterism with ‘intellectual honesty’, you will see that the belief in a yet future ‘second coming’ of Jesus is a serious error and makes as much sense as saying- “Don’t confuse me with the facts”.

“The modern church is an embarrasment to Biblical Christianity, and is too often a stumbling block to seekers. These things must change, and perhaps are beginning to change. We sense that young people especially, at least those that have not left the church for good and still give a whit, are fed up with questionable doctrines and practices in the church”.

Let us pray,

“Who has a heart hardened by biases and preconceptions, Lord? Is it I? Show me the blind spot in my own eye, Lord! Give me the fortitude to deal with error that I might hold. Give me a passion for Biblical Truth. May I not be satisfied with the status quo. And give me the courage to speak up, even among my peers”. Amen.

Blessings in and through Jesus Christ,
Pastor Michael Miano

The Blue Point Bible Church (http://www.bluepointbiblechurch.org

Get your copy of ‘Christian Hope through Fulfilled Prophecy’ at:
http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Hope-through-Fulfilled-Prophecy/dp/0615705901/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370636529&sr=8-1&keywords=christian+hope+through+fulfilled+prophecy

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A Review of JESUS: A THEOGRAPHY

As of the last couple weeks I finished reading, Jesus: A Theography written by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. You can order the book at this link:

http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-A-Theography-Leonard-Sweet-ebook/dp/B0078FA9OW

Being honest, I did not purchase the book. I was browsing the ‘Christian section’ at the local community library and the book stuck out. We just finished going through a series called “The FULFILLED Work of Christ” at the Blue Point Bible Church and I figured why not read a ‘big book’ about Jesus…I am glad I decided to read it.

(You can listen to all series preached at The Blue Point Bible Church by going to this link: http://www.buzzsprout.com/11630)

I loved the explanation and opening of the book in which Sweet & Viola shared insights and quotes about the importance of seeing the narrative being told through the Old and New Testaments. (A proper understanding that is vital for a true and reasonable expression of the gospel). Sadly, I have heard way too many times just this year- “Oh, that’s Old Testament”. Here are some important quotes from the book:

“One of the best ways to look at the twenty-seven books of the New Testament may be to see them as a commentary on the Old Testament. The entire Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are unified by a common narrative. And once our eyes are opened to see that narrative, everything in both testaments gel into a coherent, understandable, and amazing story”.

“The Bible didn’t emerge out of a vacuum. It is a historical but also methaphorical and narrative story of truth written within history. Thus, history matters in our interpretation of the Biblical text. At the same time, the Bible is a collection of writings that are tied together by a common theme. Therefore, the interweaving of both testaments also matters in our interpretation of the Biblical text”.

I utilized those quotes in the summing up of my sermon series. I like that Martin Luther was quoted, “Scripture is the cradle in which Christ lies” and this quote from Scott McKnight clearly shows the importance of understanding the narrative of the gospel:

“We have to become a People of the Story…we need to immerse ourselves even more into the story of Jesus. The gospel is that the story of Israel comes to its definative completeness in the story of Jesus, and this means we have to become People of the Story-that-is-complete-in-Jesus”.

Sadly, the point I made above about the failure of many Christians to understand the Old Testament, or even worse believe it to be non-essential in understanding the gospel message has led to the acceptance of a foreign gospel. I wrote a blog detailing this “foreign gospel” at the beginning of 2013

https://mianogonewild.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/captivated-by-a-foreign-gospel/

As expressed in Sweet and Viola’s book:

“In many Christians’ minds, the Old and New Testaments are two seperate entities. Melito (second century) and Tertullian (third century) were the first to call the two halves of the Bible the Old Testament and the New Testament”.

As we seek to understand the Scriptures we see Jesus and the Apostles constantly pointing back to the Old.

“…but the Scriptures point to me”. , “according to the Scriptures”, “…that the Scriptures might be fulfilled”, “…in all the Scriptures”.

Simply put…the New Testament isn’t a new message. Instead, the New Testament details the continuation and end of the Old. Thank God for the rise in understanding Covenant Creation and Covenant Eschatology.

Moving on, I must say I did glean some interesting insights from the book. Speaking of the literary form and parallels seen throughout the Scriptures, Sweet and Viola brought up some good points. For example,

The relationship between Genesis chapter 1 and John chapter 1. This is dealt with in Beyond Creation Science by Tim Martin & Jeff Vaughn.
Consider that DAY ONE was without form and void, yet it also symbolizes the world that Christ was born into. DAY TWO was the separation between heaven and land, illustrating the death of Christ which sent Him back to the heavens and cut Him off from the land of the living. DAY THREE dry land appeared on the face on the earth, Christ had risen! DAY FOUR the heavenlies were created- sun, moon, stars- also referencing Christ’s ascension (see, Genesis 1:14 cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:5). DAY FIVE God created life with a consciousness, what some might call “the higher life” which typifies the “higher life” found by the indwelling of Christ through the Spirit. DAY SIX man is given the order to ‘name all things’ thus symbolizing the rule of Christ- His kingdom! DAY SEVEN the beloved sabbath represents His rest which through understanding ‘covenants’ we see His rest as the arrival of the New Heavens and New Earth (i.e., the New Covenant, see Hebrews chapter 4).

An aspect I found intriguing was the mention of the EIGHTH DAY. On DAY EIGHT, after the completed “7”, Israelite males were circumcised on the eigth day, first born sons were devoted to God on the 8th day, there were 8 souls saved on the ark- in an effort to create a ‘new earth’, and Jesus rose on the 8th day. The first day of the new week is the 8th day.

Another parallel that was followed in the book was very similar to ‘covenant creation’. Adam was told to cultivate (Hebrew- ‘Shamar’) the garden in Genesis 2:15, just as a priest would cultivate the tabernacle in Numbers 3:7-8. Also, God walked (Hebrew- ‘Hawlak”) in the midst of the garden in Genesis 3:8 and sure enough Dueteronomy 23:14 & 2 Samuel 7:6, God walked in the midst of the tabernacle. The garden faced east (Ezekiel 2:8; 3:24) and the temple faced east (Exodus 27:9-18; Numbers 2:1-34; Ezekiel 40:6). The garden was on a mountain (Ezekiel 28:13-16) and the temple was on a mountain (Exodus 15:17; 2 Chronicles 3:1; and Revelation 21:10).

Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola did a great work with this ‘Theography’. It surely inspired me to go back to the text and look at the parallel’s and read through the Scriptures with renewed interest- seeing Christ in many areas. I love that they mentioned:

“To study the Scriptures is to be a “keeper of the garden”.

The rise of Full Preterism is surely showing how we must understand the Scriptures in their proper context- not only the proper historical context, but also the interpretive context pointing to Jesus Christ. It was noted that, “Scholars have made the mistake of not identifying Jesus in terms of the Judaism of His day”. In the FP world we would refer to this as ‘audience relevance’, and N.T. Wright said it quite well:

“If we don’t make the effort to do this reconstruction, we will, without a shadow of a doubt, assume that what Jesus did and said makes the sense it might have made in some other context-perhaps our own….we shall simply squash Jesus into the little boxes of our own imaginations rather than seeing Him as He was”.

John Ratzinger has also said:

‘If you want to undersand the Scripture in the spirit in which it is written, you have to attend to the content and to the unity of the scripture as a whole”.

To finalize this blog, let it be said and understand as Watchman Nee has said:

“The Christian faith begins not with a big do but with a big done”.

The ‘healing of the nations’ is done by understanding that “The church, therefore, is the means by which Jesus Christ continues to work, to teach, and to establish His sovereign rule in the world”.

Sadly, the passing off of a false gospel time and time again has confused the role of the Church in the world today. Sweet and Viola noted that it is “the need of each generation to “wash the face of Jesus”…Each generation has ‘dirtied” Jesus’ face by various accommodations and accretions. Suceeding generations need to rediscover His beauty and let it be seen in them by “face washing”.

Amen! Reformation NOW!

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