Tag Archives: covenant

THINKING THROUGH A NARRATIVE SOTERIOLOGY (#1)

BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION

In the past couple months, I have engaged much discussion pertaining to soteriology (the doctrines of salvation). In March 2018, I participated in an online debate against the “Israel Only View”, wherein I presented a case for understanding the continuance of Biblical salvation by developing the Biblical narrative and the overlapping meta-narrative, and I also asserted my Calvinistic leanings. Also, in March 2018, I presented two lectures at the Examining Crossroads: Biblical Controversies Conference regarding salvation – Conceptual Salvation (in which I explained that the Hebrew notions of salvation were oftentimes pictorial and abstract) and Soma Salvation (which detailed the salvation of a “body” of people as expressed in and through the New Testament; oftentimes understood as “resurrection of the dead”).

Due to the variety of interpretative styles that are brought to the details of Scripture, in my presentations I have harped on the need to develop a narrative-historical interpretation. This interpretative style not only runs against the all too popular method of “proof-texting” (which lacks context), it also stands contrary to the historical- grammatical method of interpretation, the continuous-historical method, and the redemptive-movement method. Many have seemingly missed how these interpretative methods influence their own interpretations, not to mention the various principles that are outlined through each of the methods. However, the narrative-historical method of interpretation is no easy effort, and often requires detailed explanations (akin to storytelling), rather than the easy answers and superficial responses many have developed and offered up (either by assumption of “Tradition”). The narrative-historical approach allows for us to truly think through the details as presented in the context of the story.

THE BIBLICAL CONTEXT OF SALVATION

The consistent framework of understanding salvation as revealed through the Scriptures has been referred to as “historia salutis” (the summary of salvation history).  As I have studied through the topic of salvation and have come to have almost an obsession with developing the Biblical narrative, I have realized how tightly woven together other doctrines are with the details of our “common salvation” (cf. Jude 3). For example, the congregation at The Blue Point Bible Church recently participated in a group discussion about the influence of Preterism on the doctrines of salvation. Noting things such as the importance of the Old Testament influence on the New Testament, the different tenses of salvation found in the New Testament (simultaneously being saved and waiting for salvation), and much more – many of us admitted that coming to understand Preterism changed or enhanced our view of salvation.

A PRESUPPOSITIONAL CALVINIST

Admittedly, despite the all-too-common frustration many seem to have with the doctrines of Calvinism, I have felt rather comfortable in my “Calvinistic presuppositions” until more recently.  I preached an entire series on Calvinism while I was studying through the Institutes of the Christian Religion back in 2014-2015. My Calvinistic leanings have not gone un-challenged both than and today. You can read an article I wrote back in 2015 on the topic at the following link, https://mianogonewild.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/always-reforming-confusion-clarity-controversy/

Many students of Scripture seeking a “ring of truth” while examining doctrines of Calvinism have offered up differing explanations of the details. Navigating Calvinistic circles of influence, it’s common to hear people speak of what point Calvinist they are (“I am a __ point Calvinist). This is usually done to speak to which details of Calvinistic doctrine one holds to (also highlighting the tenets not held to). I had also read a great book a while back called, PROOF, by Daniel Montgomery, wherein he offered a different acronym (PROOF instead of TULIP) and clarifying details, as well as some challenges to the systematic theology as offered up by 15th century reformer, John Calvin. In my humble attempt to understand these things I have come out saying that “I am a presuppositional Calvinist”, which means I generally agree with the doctrines of salvation as noted in the Canons of Dort, and/or summarized through the acronym TULIP.

So…what I would like to do through this blog, which may become a series of blogs, is go through the systematic details of understanding salvation all the while surveying the Scriptures through a narrative-historical approach. As advocate of such approach, Dr. Andrew Perriman has said, “The narrative-historical approach to interpretation of Scripture provides us with a much more rigorous and credible connection with Scripture than the selective, reductive and distorting approach of much modern evangelical theology (paraphrased)”. That being so, our study will take on a few dimensions – looking at and examining various aspects of the redemptive story that graces the pages of Scripture, proving/ examining certain doctrinal tenets, and arriving at conclusions based on the developed narrative – not presuppositions or “proof texts”.

THE CREATION OF LIGHT IN THE MIDST OF A FORMLESS & VOID EARTH

A failure to read Genesis 1:1 in context of the whole of Scripture and to properly assess “heaven and earth” as a term used for God’s people has caused many to assume to that the “Genesis creation account” is about the beginning of the planet and/or the universe. “Rightly dividing” the creation account allows for us to begin a healthy understand of what God was doing in and through His covenant people to further develop His working in and through them. This has led me to embracing a view referred to as “Covenant Creation”.

Approaching Genesis chapter 1 through the lens of “Covenant Creation” highlights God’s sovereignty in calling and creating a people for Himself. In the ancient near eastern world (ultimately where the Book of Genesis finds its emergence), the people would develop cuneiform tablets called “temple texts” that highlighted the sovereignty of a certain God over certain things. When we look at those “temple texts” (many of which were unearthed during excavations in the 1950’s), we can see similarities between them and the Book of Genesis. This gives us good reason to read the Book of Genesis and the details therein as a “temple text” considering the historical context and audience relevance rather than the modern presupposed perspectives. Rather than obsessing about and noting all the confusion within Christian circles regarding what day God created certain things and the specifics of how long the days were, a proper reading of Genesis chapter 1 highlights all that the One True God is sovereign over (all the while appreciating the 7-day structure of the “temple text”). Outside of all the debated features of the text, one thing is for sure, the sovereignty of God is presupposed by the text (the silliness of modern atheism is defeated by understanding how the ancients viewed and valued the wonder of creation).

As the term “heaven and earth” denotes, God’s people, have a dual reality. God’s people are called by heaven all the while having purpose and a living situation on earth. Genesis 1:2 details what that living situation was like at the beginning – “formless and void, darkness over the face of the waters. However, God’s Spirit hovered over the waters”. Doing an in-depth study into the Hebraic words used in Genesis 1:1-3 reveals so much imagery and covenant details. The imagery of the head of a river (Hebrew word “bereshit”), a “tohu wabohu eretz” (formless and void land), a darkness over the waters, and the hovering of God’s Spirit, all point to God doing a work in the midst of a chaotic environment. Some have come to refer to this work of God as a “covenant creation”. Of great importance is that God’s first creative act in Genesis 1:4 is the creation of light. This is not to be confused with a physical/ material light (as is later mentioned in Genesis 1:14-19). Rather, this light as cited and detailed by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:6 is the light that brings awareness and knowledge of God (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:5). It is the giving of that light that represents God forming something of value from the previous condition of being “formless and void”.

The creation of Adam as the “image of God” in Genesis 1:26-28 also bears striking resemblance to the image-creating and image-bearing of the ancient near east. Not only did the ANE “temple text” highlight all that the certain god was sovereign over, the “temple text” also made known what image should be used to represent said god. The Genesis creation account departs from being similar to other ANE temple texts in that it elevates humanity over other creatures, and humanity (specifically the progeny of Adam) is made to display the image of God. Unfortunately, many have tried to create a consistent theology of putting all men in the image-bearing identity (all men in Adam), which must be repudiated as inconsistent (we will deal with that as we go through this series of articles- simply by following the context of the Biblical narrative).

“These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens (Genesis 2:4)”.

ADAM AS ISRAEL’S STORY

Reading through the unfortunate details of Genesis chapters 2-3, with a healthy understanding of the Biblical narrative from Genesis to Revelation, should cause us to see what sort of story is being developed. Simply put, the creation of “heaven and earth” and the story of Adam highlights the beginning of Israel’s story, not the story of all mankind. This is an important and challenging concept, especially as so many have come to believe that Adam’s story is all humanity’s story. Therefore, our coming to grips with what is taking place through the Genesis creation account, and specifically Adam, will cause us to see divergent approaches to salvation as made known through the Scriptures. A proper frame of reference and following the historical context will demonstrate how and why the Gospel went forth to the Jew first, and then the Gentile (cf. Romans 1:16).

DARKNESS/IDOLATRY –  LIGHT/TRUTH

What this narrative approach does to our study in soteriology is it removes the all to easy approach of demanding that whatever happened to Adam and his progeny is the story and identity of all humanity (specifically, “dead in sin”, cf. Romans chapter 6). The Blue Point Bible Church Constitution states, “We believe that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint, but choice; being by nature utterly void of what holiness required the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin…”.

Being fair, this is a citation from a Baptist Manual going back to 1853, and our congregation has seen much growth and thus changed in doctrinal details since that time. However, I believe us, and others are still prone to a subtle presupposed view of that quoted statement. Is it true? Prayerfully at this point you are catching my point, I will respond with a yes and a no.

So many get caught up in the discussion as to whether or not people existed prior to Adam (which seemingly involves a study of anthropology, history, and/or science). My goal is to move us past that, since so much has been done to prove that, into considering the outworking of how Adam represented “covenant life”, rather than the often-presupposed responses. How did Adam come to “covenant life”? How did Adam die to that reality? What would happen next?

Before we get to how Adam came to “covenant life” and his being the Image of God (which again I will assert becomes the story of “Israel of the flesh” through the Old Covenant), we must consider his state prior to that. Of course, many will assert that Adam was “uncreated”. While I agree with that notion regarding his position in relation to God, however I do not believe anything in the text speaks to Adam not being materially created (it’s imperative to realize the theology behind the creation of man in Genesis 2:7-8 –  is NOT material creation). Dr. John Walton, in his book, “The Lost World of Genesis One”, goes to great lengths in detailing that the non-creation in Genesis is speaking about the lack of function/purpose in regard to worshiping God, not the non-existence of material creation (this is also consistent with understanding the Hebrew terms for “darkness” and “formless and void” which seemingly necessitate human life before Adam). Simply put, prior to God bringing forth light, all (including Adam) were stuck in an idolatrous world (“in the world without God, without hope” cf. Ephesians 2:12).

If “darkness” is idolatry and “light” is worship of the One True God, as I believe is demonstrated from the text, then the next question becomes, “How does Adam come into the light?”

It would seem that all throughout the Scriptures, man is beset by sin (weakened not necessarily dead), oftentimes wandering in idolatry (darkness).  So, it also seems that God brings forth His light (Truth), and it shines offering mankind the opportunity to pursue, walk toward, and dwell in it. The determining factor seems to be what man sets his mind on and pursues. Those with good and honest hearts, God strengthens and draws in. Those steeped in idolatry and leaning upon their own understanding (cf. Proverbs 3:5), being unreasonable and set against the Truth, God rewards in keeping with their idolatry, and so they stay stuck in darkness (cf. Proverbs 4:19; Ezekiel 14:4; John 3:19-20).

CONCLUSION

If you have followed my studies and teachings for some time, you should have noticed a shift. I am becoming more and more convinced that it is improper to develop a systematic approach to New Covenant soteriology based upon what was revealed in and through Adam (as I have previously said and asserted a few times). Namely, because what is revealed through the story of Adam is the story of the Old Covenant. Sure, God’s covenant people were called from utter darkness by His creating the means for their salvation through His sovereignty and election. They were then subjected to death/ futility for the purpose of a greater reality (cf. Romans 8:20-21; Galatians 3:19-22). However, it seems that within that covenant, many were (and through the call of the Gospel today are) invited, however few were chosen to be His elect in that first century, and pertaining to that election, it would seem it was revealed through those who sought God with a good conscience and pursued His purposes (cf. Luke 8:15).

Thanks for following through these thoughts. Prayerfully, I have demonstrated a case for God’s sovereignty as expressed in and through the Genesis creation account. Also, I have marked out a difference regarding salvation for those “In Adam” and for those who come to Christ through the call of the Gospel today and have challenged some (if not all) of the presupposed views of being “dead in sin” due to identity in Adam. Lastly, I offered a contextually approach to the details of the Genesis creation account and the display and covenant and light as God’s sovereign work which calls all men to pursue Him.

Written by Pastor Michael Miano, The Blue Point Bible Church

WORKS CITED

Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion

Walton, John. Dr. The Lost World of Genesis One
review – https://voice.dts.edu/review/john-walton-the-lost-world-of-genesis-one/

Morrow, Jeff. http://beyondcreationscience.com/index.php?pr=Creation_as_Temple_Building

Davis, Benjamin. https://www.academia.edu/6675210/GENESIS_1_1-2_3_AS_A_THEOLOGICAL_BLUEPRINT_FOR_GOD_S_CREATIONAL_ABODE_A_PROPOSAL

Scollard, Brett. http://gracemccook.org/blog/genesis-1-2-as-a-temple-text/

 

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Kratt’s Critique of CBV Critiqued (Pt. 1)

Recently I read what was called “A Critique of the Corporate Body View of the Resurrection of the Dead (pt. 1)” by Jerel Kratt in the Summer 2017 issue of Fulfilled! Magazine. The foremost point I want to make through this response is that Mr. Kratt seemingly misunderstands and misses the point of the CBV. I say that all the while noting and appreciating his many contributions to the Full Preterist perspective.
The CBV understands the correlation of the “hope of Israel” as detailed through the Law and the Prophets with the Kingdom of God, and most significantly the resurrection of the dead (which is logically affirmed by reading Acts 26:22-23, and 1 Corinthians 15:50). To better help you understand the depth of this point, I direct you to the following articles by Mr. William Bell.

http://donkpreston.com/the-resurrection-the-kingdom-and-the-body-of-1-corinthians-15-3/
(This is part 3 of a 3 part series, links for part 1 and 2 are available within the article)

I fail to understand why so many like Mr. Kratt do all they can to understand the simplicity of the CBV and create illogical dilemmas and arguments to maintain their misunderstandings. To be fair, this is only a part 1 of his critique, therefore we will continue to engage his thoughts Now that I have given you some understanding of the CBV, I will proceed by looking at the texts brought forth and the misunderstanding it seems that fosters Mr. Kratt’s critique.
Just a quick point. This part 1 critique was based upon the mass confusion regarding the mention of “our body” found in the “resurrection texts”, namely Philippians 3:21 and Romans 8:23. Kratt points out the CBV argument that “…if the noun “body” is singular following a personal pronoun such as “our”, then the meaning is to be understood as a single corporate “body” (group, collective) to which everyone who is addressed belongs”. He then begins to point out exceptions and made the point – “it could go either way based on context”. So instead of focusing on exceptions and arguments against the simplicity of the “resurrection hope”, let’s look at the context of the two for-mentioned passages – Philippians 3:21 and Romans 8:23.
I must admit. I recently heard one of the most confusing and disheartening messages on the text of Philippians 3:21. I have to come to notice that opponents of the CBV will do all they can, even bore and confuse the masses, to demonize what we have come to understand as a true and wholesome understanding of the resurrection. In Philippians chapter 3 verses 2-3 seems to set the tone for the final points the Apostles are making known to the church at Philippi. They comparing those who claim to be of the circumcision (OC Jews) to those who are truly of the circumcision in Christ (a point also made in Romans 2:28-29). The “resurrection of the dead” otherwise known as the “hope of Israel” was the hope and desire to see God’s people manifest the righteousness of God. Of the flesh (naturally OC Israel) did not accomplish this, but the true Israel of God does (but it was not yet attained until the fulfillment of all things cf. Luke 21:22). In Philippians 3:18, the enemies of the cross are those Judizers seeking to upset the assemblies (bodies) (otherwise known as ecclesias) being planted and started. So, when we get to verse we are discussing, Philippians 3: 21, the corporate context should be evident. As they came into these local assemblies (bodies), which were hardly perfect and were struggling against legalism and idolatry prevailing all around them, they trusted that at the coming of the Lord they would go from one mind to another (be changed) and be a community that was fashioned and conformed to the image of His glorious body.
Moving over to the writing of the letter to the Romans it is important to note that various New Testament scholars have critiqued the current perspectives of this writing in more recent times. Noting the overtly Hellenistic interpretation that has led much of popular interpretation of this writing, these NT scholars have challenged us that this writing is much more Jewish in its details than many have noticed. This should cause us to pause and again ask, “What was the hope of the Law and the Prophets?”

Paying attention to pronouns is always important when reading through many of the New Testament letters, and so if the case in reading through Romans. Romans chapter 8 begins with a “therefore”, which calls us back to the details that were already being discussed. The context begins in chapter 5, wherein life under Law is being compared to being “in Adam” (“the death”) and how Christ overcomes that death through the gift of Eternal Life. Consider Romans 7:4 which reads, “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”. Life under Law is the “flesh” that is being discussed (regardless to the vague argument Mr. Kratt sought to bring forth). Simply read the context! Life under Law could not produce righteousness (which is the “hope of Israel”), and therefore the only way God’s “dead people” would be raised into eternal life, saved from their groanings, would be to become “Spiritually-minded) – which happens to individuals as they come into the Body of Christ. The contrast of Romans 8:8 of “those in the flesh” is not speaking against humanity, but rather life under Law (flesh and blood Israelites claiming to be the people of God). Based upon the context, when we get to Romans 8:10 and Romans 8:23, the “body” that is dead and in need of redemption is those who are coming out of Judaism and trusting in the transformative Body of Christ -which was being redeemed in that that generation through the fulfillment of all jots and tittles of the Old Covenant.

In bringing this response to a conclusion, I want to point out a strange thing. None of this is information that Mr. Jerel Kratt does not know. As he pointed out in the first paragraph of his critique noting the point of the CBV of the resurrection of the dead, “…does not refer to individual dead people departing Hades, but of the corporate body of saints, both alive and dead, coming out of Judaism..”. Yes and amen. In AD 70, as the coming of the Lord came to reality, demonstrating the faithfulness of God, the dead and living saints who had come into the Body of Christ found themselves “changed” (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:51). No longer did they find themselves distracted, distraught, and confused by rampant persecution, but rather in-right standing (righteous) and saved in the eyes of God. So began the clarity regarding His Kingdom…We will follow Mr. Kratt’s next article regarding those who “are being raised” in the context in 1 Corinthians chapter 15.

May we continue to relish in the blessings of Christ’s glorious promises fulfilled!
– Pastor Michael Miano
The Blue Point Bible Church (www.bluepointbiblechurch.org)
The Power of Preterism Network (www.powerofpreterism.com)

 

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Man of Dust – Genesis & Ancient Near Eastern Origins

Recently, I have been in discussion with someone regarding the “dust” and “death” found in the beginning of Genesis, specifically Adam (man) being made of the “dust” of the ground and thus returning to it. What is this saying?

Before I start, please allow me to assert that I believe in a honest handling of God’s Word, and the need to “study to show ourselves approved RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORLD OF TRUTH” (2 Timothy 2:15). That being noted, I do not want to impose an understanding that is not there, and I want to find the most “literal” understanding of the text possible, what is known as ‘sensus literalis’.

The words of Mr. R.C. Sproul, a well known Bible teacher, fit rightly here:

There is much confusion regarding the “literal” sense of Scripture…To interpret the Bible “literally” in the classic sense requires that we learn to recognize in Scripture different genres of literature. Poetry is to be interpreted as poetry, and didactic passages are to be interpreted according to the grammar of the didactic. Historical narrative must not be treated as parable, nor parable as strict historical narrative. Much of Bible prophecy is cast in an apocalyptic genre that employs graphic imaginative language and often mixes elements of common historical narrative with the figurative language.” (1)

This is where we must do the proper legwork. Sure, we can just pick up Genesis as 21st century Westerners and demand that the Scriptures make the points we want them to make about the things we want them to detail, as many do. Or….we can be honest and humble in our reading and studying and realize the ancient world is vastly different than ours. The concerns of those times are different than ours, and therefore the details of writing are as well.

Coming to an agreement concerning what type of genre the book of Genesis comes to us as is an rather intriguing study. The book ‘Beyond Creation Science’ by Tim Martin and Jeff Vaughn, first opened my eyes to taking a step back and really looking at the culture from which Genesis comes and the details it notes- finding Genesis to be more prophetic and apocalyptic than I had initially thought. Then reading through Dr. John Walton’s lectures on Youtube surely opened my eyes to understanding the concept of Genesis as a ‘temple text’ and it’s details in that environment rather than what I initially thought they meant.

Again….we must decide…do we really want the truth out of the text, essentially what it “literally” says, or are we content with just making things up and keeping our own view? That is exactly what has spurned by studies, and led me to the views I hold today.

Author Robert Gundry exhorts us in this regard:

…we must presume that the text as it stands had a meaning for the author and his first readers. We want to discover that meaning. The path to discovery lies along the line of historical- grammatical interpretation, which assumes that the language of the Biblical text, including its symbolic language, grows out of and speaks to the historical situation of the writer and his readers. To take a non-referential view of language, may open up possibilities of contemporary interest and deconstruction play, but it blocks the path of historical understanding.”

So…in my honest study, I have begun to look at the world of the Ancient Near East. Most within ‘critical scholarship’ have now begun to point those who want to understand the Book of Genesis in this direction. Granted I have made these remarks before, have written about understanding the Bible “literally”, (2) and defended these positions in debates- yet herein I want to show the proper understanding of the creation of man and the story that tells- from the Ancient Near East to the overly Hellenistic Western world.

The ANE audience hardly was concerned nor would have attempted to explain in graphic detail how God had made man, save for understanding the function of man in the world. Genesis serves as a ‘polemic’, or argument against the cultures of the Ancient Near East, as blog writer T.E. Hanna notes,

Rather than adopting the mythologies of the surrounding Ancient Near East, the Hebrew cosmologies were written as a criticism of them. As theological education for an emerging Israelite nation, the purpose of these narratives was to emphasize the nature of the God of Israel in contrast to the surrounding polytheism, while also conveying His superiority over competing religions.”

Now that we have made ourselves somewhat aware of the context of the Book of Genesis, let’s begin to take a look.

Please turn in your Bibles to Genesis 1:24-31.

Here we read that God made all the animals and then goes about to create man – In His Image, and to have dominion over all of that which God created.

As one becomes familiar with the Ancient Near East, we would see that this Genesis story runs contrary to the contemporary understanding of that culture. As Wheaton proffessor, Dr. John Walton has noted, “In Mesopotamia the cosmos functions for the gods and in relation to them. People are an afterthought, seen as just another part of the cosmos that helps the gods to function. In Israel the cosmos functions for people and in relation to them. God does not need the cosmos, but it is his temple. It functions for people.” (3)

I have a writing on this called ‘The Ancestral Story of the ‘Image of God'(4) which can be found on the internet, and I would be remiss if I did not mention the work of Mrs. Rebekkah Devine (or Giffone as I note in my article). When I came to understand how in Genesis man was set up as the ‘image of God’ in contrast to the way the ANE viewed man, I was amazed. Man is created to display the glory of God, not the idols, nor the “created things” that man turns into idols.

Now let’s take a look at Genesis 2:4-9.

Studying out the details of “heaven and earth” in Scripture is a praiseworthy study. Verse 4 here gives us a beginning of understanding the way this phraseology was used by the ancient Hebrews, and essentially was was being ‘made’ by God in this account. Surely you don’t believe that what God is saying here is that the ‘heaven and earth’ has a genealogy, do you? Oddly some have made some strange interpretations, yet if you study out the term in its context and usage- you find this term simply applies to God’s people.

What we are reading in Genesis chapters 1-3 is the “creation story” of the one True God and how He formed His “heaven and earth”.

In Genesis 2:7 we have, God ‘forming’ man (adam) out of the ground. The text reads: ‘v’yyitzer YHWH ‘Elohim ‘et ha’adam ‘aphar min ha’adamah’ – or in the English – “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.”

There are some who simply would rather avoid dealing with the historicity of the writing and would assert that this is talking about God materialistically forming man out of ‘dust’, just as they would say that this text is talking about the material creation of Heaven and Earth. If you are ok with imposing a foreign interpretation on the text, that would have hardly been understood by the ancients, then there is nothing I can show you. However, after searching for the definition of the term ‘dust’ (which in Hebrew is ‘aphar’ meaning ground, earth, ashes, or powder), then reading all the passages in Scripture that apply that term, I did not find much clarity as to what is saying. Therefore I turned to historical context for clarity.

It is interesting to further note that in Ancient Near Eastern literature not only is man debased, but the creation of man is usually of the clay of the ground and the blood or spit of the gods- both good and evil. In the Biblical text, man is created of the earth and then God breath’s life into him- giving man a dignity above all other created things. Surely a radical thought in the Ancient Near East that most modern people miss the point of.

A writing that further helped provide clarity pertaining to Genesis :4-7 was an internet writing by Don Stoner. You can access that writing by visiting this link: http://www.dstoner.net/Genesis_Context/Context.html

So in Genesis chapter 2, man is created by God forming him of the dust of the ground, earthy, and is animated as a ‘living soul’ once God breathes into him.

In Genesis 3:14 as well as 3:19, we read that the serpent will go on his belly and eat “dust’ all the days of his life, and Adam after the fall is told he shall return to the dust.

First of all this is where you should begin to notice that this book is a foreign text and not intended to be taken literal. If you hold to a literal walking/ talking serpent that is cursed by God to travel on the ground, then you need to consult the local psychologist.

After noting that simply point, we can begin to search out what the text means in its proper context.

‘Dust’ as used through Scripture and historical context also carries the thought of humility and desperation. When Adam and Eve sin and suffer “the death” due to sin, they are ashamed and hide themselves from God- no longer freely roaming in the blessedness of God’s garden as He provided to them. This will later be the story of fleshly Israel as well- they violate the command God gives them and thus suffer shame.

Adam and Eve are now “dead”, as God told them the day they eat of the tree they shall surely die. God provides them with a covering and removes them from the Garden where they enjoyed God’s presence and possible “immortality” through the Tree of Life. From dust they were created, to dust they shall return.

It is when we study out the “resurrection of the dead” that these things get hopeful. The “resurrection of the dead” will undue the damage of the garden.

Adam and Eve had a beautiful & free relationship with God- based on the “covenant” of one law- don’t eat of that tree- be His image- they failed and died in that covenant relationship- thus returning to dust.

Israel inherited that story, and was provided a covering. They do the same as Adam (Hosea 6:7) and get worse and worse- suffering the fate of returning to the dust and face future judgment (Daniel chapter 12). One writer noted that the “futility” spoken about in Romans 8 is detailing the same “futility” to which creation was subjected in Genesis 3 – it has to do with the idea that it would not do that for which it was designed or intended.

All of this is to note that Genesis chapters 1-3 are not talking about the material creation of the cosmos nor of man, but rather are covenant claims. Genesis is the creation of God’s people- heaven and earth- and how that Old Covenant people were subjected to futility- being of the dust and earthy.

One poet noted, “The sons of Adam are formed from dust; if not humble as the dust, they fall short of being men.

In conclusion, let us praise God for the ‘Second Adam’ as revealed through the New Testament. We, in Christ, do not bear that “dusty” semblance and “death is defeated”! After all as 2nd century Church Father Irenaeus noted, ““The glory of God is a human being fully alive.”

This is the goal of our faith- to note that which happened “in the beginning”, the death that comes because of sin, and then rest and proclaim praise in regards Christ’s sacrifice and righteousness. To provide to who would attest to the power of this as the “Christian faith” I will use quotes from 7th century Church bishop Maximus who said, “Christianity is an entirely new way of being human”, and 20th century century German theologian and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer who remarked, “Christianity is not about religion- it’s about humanity, and making it as God intended it to be.”

Below I will provide a short list of Works Cited. As well as a list of Scriptures that mention “dust” for further study, and of course a host of links that further inform on the context of the Ancient Near East.

Works Cited

  1. R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus
  2. https://mianogonewild.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/how-do-we-literally-understand-the-scriptures/
  3. Dr. John Walton, The Lost World of Adam and Eve
  4. http://www.academia.edu/9695120/A_Must_Read-_The_Ancestral_Story_of_the_Image_of_God_

Scriptures Pertaining to Dust:

Genesis 2:7; 3:19 – dust; Genesis 3:14; Genesis 13:16; 28:13; 1 Chron 1:9; Genesis 18:27; Genesis 26:15 – translated as earth; 1 Kings 16:2; 2 Kings 13:7 ; Num 19:17; 2 Kings 23:4 – ashes ; Job 4:19; Job 7:21; Job 10:9; Job 14:8 – ground; Job 17:16; Job 21:26; Job 30:19; Psalm 22:15, 29; Psalm 44:25; Psalm 113:17; Lev 14:42, 45 – mortar;2 kings 23:6, 15- powder; Job 42:6; Ecc 3:20; 12:7; psalm 103:14; Neh 4:2, 10 – rubbish; Isaiah 25:12; Isaiah 26:19; Isaiah 47:1; Lamentation 2:10; Nahum 3:18

Websites about the Ancient Near Eastern context of Genesis:

http://www.theologymatters.com/Novdec97.PDF

http://www.newfoundationspubl.org/dust.htm

http://questions.veritas.org/science-faith/origins/what-genre-is-genesis-1-2/

http://tehanna.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/OfDustAndKings_HebrewCosmology.pdf

http://www.indiana.edu/~jsp/docs/2013_14/Bern_Essay_winner_Bloom,%20D.pdf

https://biologos.org/blogs/jim-stump-faith-and-science-seeking-understanding/interpreting-adam-an-interview-with-john-walton

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0825439272/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0825439272&linkCode=as2&tag=michsheiscom-20&linkId=LVYPNGNYCGRJSJSD

http://davidjohnstone.net/blog/2009/12/notes-lost-world-genesis-one-john-walton

http://oyc.yale.edu/transcript/945/rlst-145

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Your Invitation to “The Normal Christian Life”

Your Invitation to “The Normal Christian Life”

For the past couple weeks, the sermons at the Blue Point Bible Church have been focused on what the privileges of being a Christian and having the presence of God in your life means. I, Pastor Michael Miano, felt convicted after a month long journey talking about the wicked and all that entails- annihilation or eternal conscious torment. After spending a month dealing with all the intellectual and emotional aspects of understanding what exactly the final state of the wicked is, and what the “death” of being outside the ‘Kingdom of God’ is, I felt it necessarily for us as saints to spend some time knowing and living in the privileges of a “Christian life”.

Persecution has an interest effect on Believers. Men of God like Alan Hirsch and Shane Claiborne had spent time bringing out the details of how the persecuted church seems to grow and take the call of being “Christian” much more serious that those who live in comfort. It’s commonly understood that when you have no “creature comforts” you are more liable to give you all for the cause. I believe this is what effected men like Watchman Nee, who not only learned from the persecution of the Boxer Rebellion, but he also offered great exposition on what Christianity should look like in our world. It’s been said that, “Watchman Nee realized that being a Christian is altogether a matter of knowing and experiencing God’s divine life in Christ”.

That is exactly it. As I “continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of God (2 Peter 3:18), which alone reveals that this “life” is intended to be a growth process of learning of His grace and His knowledge, which comes from being “Spiritual discerned (1 Corinthians chapter 2 speaks of this), I desire to know all the more the simple yet complex truth of “knowing and experiencing God’s divine life in Christ”. We endeavor to “die to self” and allow Christ to live through us- Galatians 2:20, and sure enough I am in agreement with Watchman Nee that is is the “normal Christian life”, this and nothing else.

If you are not living a life that is continually offering you reason to praise God for all that you have in Christ, then you might not be living the “Christian life”. I know this might be a harsh exhortation, however the imagery of Revelation chapters 21-22, and the host of other passages in Scripture where we see the ‘requirements’ for living a “Christian life”, do not offer an apathetic approach. This would have been foreign to the Hebrew mind of what it meant to “follow the rabbi”.

Christian martyr Jim Elliot had few things to say about living a Christ-centered life:

“Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God.”

“Lord, make my way prosperous not that I achieve high station, but that my life be an exhibit to the value of knowing God.”

“I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you Lord Jesus.”

“Wherever you are – be all there.”

Wow! Those are some power-packed statements, amen? One of the things I have been harping on in my messages at B.P.B.C. Is how we are called to “make known the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10)” and how we should view that as an immense privilege. The “value of knowing God” surely isn’t an “ordinary” thing. A “full life” is shown through living for the glory of God, as the prophet Daniel says, “…the people that know their God shall be strong, and do exploits (Daniel 11:32)”.

Sadly, so many Christians are still questioning and in doubt as to whether or not they are “living in the Light”. Watchman Nee speaks to us about the trouble of trying to sense the value of God working through our life:

“…the trouble with us is that we are trying to sense it; we are trying to feel its value to estimate subjectively what the blood is for us, we cannot do it. It does not work that way. The blood is first for God to see. We then have to accept God’s valuation of it. In doing so we shall find our salvation. If instead we try to come to a valuation by way of our feelings we get nothing; we remain in darkness. No, it’s a matter of faith in God’s word”.

He goes on to explain how important it is to be “born again”, and to be “found in Christ”:

“Are you a man? If your life is on a lower plane than that of God’s life, then you cannot belong to the Divine family…Our only hope as men is to receive the Son of God, and when we do so, His life in us will constitute us as Sons of God”.

Yes, you read that right. No Jesus, No life. Know Jesus, know life!

I invite you right now to live that type of life. If your on Long Island, you can join us on Sundays at 11am, at The Blue Point Bible Church – www.bluepointbiblechurch.org, as we continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him. As we say on our “church card”- Get a life, and visit The Blue Point Bible Church.

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Michael Miano

You can listen to our Sunday Sermon podcasts by visiting:

www.buzzsprout.com/11630

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Resurrection of the Dead Ones

Throughout the months of April/ May I preached sermons based on the “resurrection of the dead ones” a topic we find discussed specifically in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, Romans chapter 8, Philippians chapter 3, and 2 Corinthians chapters 3-5 to name a few passages. You can listen to that series on podcast by clicking on the following link:

www.buzzsprout.com/11630

For the past couple months I have spent time investigating the resurrection of the dead. I have studied the traditional view (futurist) and have found it wanting. Let’s be clear that we are talking about the the “eschatological resurrection” that was coupled with the “coming of the Lord”.
Earlier today, I sent the following group email to those on my email list detailing Daniel chapter 9 and explaining the connection between Daniel 9 and the “resurrection of the dead”.
“Recently I finished reading through quite a few of Don Preston books detailing the resurrection. I started with “Seal up Vision and Prophecy”, and then moved on to “70 Weeks Determined for the Resurrection”, both which deal with the context of Daniel chapters 9 and 12. I have had discussion with others at The Blue Point Bible Church regarding the details of Daniel 9 and 12 and therefore want to share some of my notes. I will admit upfront, I am still challenging myself in these regards. I have about 3 more books I want to read on the topic- “Daniel in the Preterist’s Den” which will mos[5t likely be a challenge to my Preterist position (there is your reminder to always be willing to challenge your current paradigm), also a book by Jessie Mills detailing the book of Daniel, and I am going to re-review Duncan Mackenzie’s book/commentary on Daniel.

Here is the text we are specifically talking about:
“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish trangression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place (Daniel 9:24)”.

Obviously the first thing any read of the text wants to do is immediately begin counting the seventy weeks. In verses 25-27, we are given a sort of time line of fulfillment. The clear start is when the ‘decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem…” which was between 458 B.C. To 445 B.C (read about this in Ezra chapter 7 when Artaxerxes, the king of Persia, gave this decree.
Seventy times seven would be 490 years and many commentators have noted that this brings the reader remarkably close to the date of Jesus’ public ministry, however others have noted that the numbers may be symbolic.

Here are some quotes from Don Preston and some others:

“Simply put, we believe the seventy week period is an indivisible unit. Jehovah gave the starting point, He gave the ending point. Chronological exactness is not the point. As Goldingay, certainly no preterist ,says, “The number 490 is not an arithmetical calculation to be pressed to yield chronological information. It is a figure that puts together two symbolic figures, the seventy years ( a lifetime) of Jeremiah 25:11/ 29:10 and the sevenfold chastisement of Leviticus 26:28. The result is a doubly symbolic figure extending from the beginning of the chastisement in the exile to whenever its seen as ending”.

“The 70 weeks embraces the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in A.D. 70 and there’s no way to fit that in chronologically”. -Jim McGuiggan; Commentary on Daniel

“…the seventy weeks are not absolute mathematical markers. But the passage, while not giving mathematical precision does provide a definite terminus a quo (point from which to begin), and a terminus ad quem (point up to, or ending)….The terminating point of the prophecy is to be shown to be the destruction of Jerusalem as foretold by the Lord in Matthew 24, and settled by his own quotation from Daniel’s prophecy in verse 15- and from this, to the believer in Christ, there can be no appeal”. -Foy Wallace

“It matters not whether we understand the “math” of the seventy weeks. If the elements foretold in the prophecy include the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, then we must submit to that “calculation”. This demonstrates that the seventy weeks were not to be calculated mathematically, but it is a symbolic period of time marked by a beginning point, interim events, and a consummation point, the final destruction of the Old Covenant world in AD 70”. -Don Preston 

Also, there are some who posit that the fulfillment of Daniel took place during the time of the Maccabees, which is in contrast to how first century Jewish historian Josephus would have viewed is and how Jesus would have viewed the prophecy since He points to it in the future of His generation in Matthew chapter 24.

Josephus writes:

“In the very same manner Daniel also wrote concerning the Roman government, and that our country should be made desolate by them”.

Jesus spoke a bit more specifically when He said:

“Therefore when you see the ‘Abomination of Desolation’ which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains (Matthew 24:15-16)”.

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are the days of vengeance ,so that all things which are written will be fulfilled (Luke 21:20-22)”.

Therefore, with a bit of information from history, it should not be hard to understand that this “Abomination of Desolation” “… happened in A.D. 66 when Cestus Gallus surrounded Jerusalem, or in A.D. 68 when the Zealots and Idumaeans broke into the city and killed over 8500 people in the Temple area”. 

Yet sadly, due to misinterpretation and a ‘futuristic’ paradigm, many have taken then position that this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled- completely ignoring that fact that Jesus was speaking to a direct audience and warning them “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies”. The views posited by Iranaeus and his student Hippolyptus dating back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries are in error and have no “contextual justification”. As Don Preston notes, “The very idea of a God that planned and predicted the establishment of the kingdom, at a given time in history, and sent His Son to accomplish that, only to see Him fail, is surely one of the most shameful theological concepts ever invented”

For example, as Don Preston notes:

“Peter affirmed that Israel’s last days, and the attendant blessings, were present in his day. Citing Joel 2:28 following the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Peter said, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel (Acts 2:15). Sadly, the millenialists are willing to say that “Virtually nothing that happened in Acts 2 is predicted in Joel 2. This means that Peter’s ‘This is that’ actually means, “This is not that””.

So, I believe there is enough evidence to show that this prophecy was speaking about the Roman armies coming in bringing “the wrath of God” upon His people and their city. Now, I want to briefly lay out the Spiritual significance of this event.

TO MAKE ATONEMENT
Don Preston notes: “Daniel was told that seventy weeks were determined to make atonement. What many seem to miss is that the atonement for sin would not be consummated until the parousia of Jesus, at the end of the Old Covenant age of Israel! In Hebrews 9 the writer calls attention to the typological/ prophetic nature of the ministry of the High Priest. The Old Temple was a type of of the heavenly Temple, and the High Priestly services were a shadow of Jesus’ spiritual services (Hebrews 9:6, 24). Thus, Jesus appeared at the end of the age to sacrifice Himself (Hebrews 9:26). He entered into the Most Holy Place to offer Himself as a sacrifice (Hebrews 9:24, and He would appear again the second time for salvation (Hebrews 9:28)”.
“At what point of time on the Day of Atonement did Israel know that God had accepted their worship? Was it when the sacrifice was killed? No, that was the initiation of the process. Was it when the high priest entered the Most Holy Place? No, that was the ‘mid-point’ of the process, and a time of fearful waiting on the part of the congregation gathered outside the Temple”.

“The reference to Christ’s return to those who wait for Him draws its force in this context from the analogy with the sequence of events on the Day of Atonement. The people waited anxiously outside the sanctuary until the High Priest emerged from the Most Holy Place after he had fulfilled his office (Leviticus 16:17). His reappearance provided reassurance that the offering had been accepted by God

Simply put…. “If the atonement could not be perfected until the parousia of Christ, and if the parousia of Christ was in AD 70…then patently, this means that the seventy weeks could not have been completed 35 years before A.D. 70”.

TO FINISH TRANGRESSION

In the first century, Jesus was making it very clear that Israel was to “fill up the measure of their sin” in places like Matthew 23:29; Luke 11:49 and seen within the context of 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16. Don Preston again notes: “The filling up of the measure of sin/ suffering was not to be completed until the number of martyrs was filled up, and the city guilty of that persecution- Babylon of Revelation- had completed filling the measure of her guilt (Revelation 6:9-11; 17:6; 18:20)”.

PUTTING AWAY OF SIN

The Old Testament context and passage that speaks about when the sins would be taken away from Israel is Isaiah chapter 27, which speaks of when her altars are destroyed. When after Jesus Christ were the altars of Israel destroyed? That’s right folks, in AD 70. Also, in 1 Corinthians chapter 15:54-56, the Apostle Paul details the last enemy to be destroyed- “the death”- which came from The Law- which gave power to “the Sin”. Therefore, when that which gave power to The Law was destroyed- the sin and the death would be destroyed, amen? This should remind us of Daniel chapter 12- the Temple and the City was the ‘power of the holy people’.

 SEALING UP OF VISION AND PROPHECY

I quoted Luke 21:22 above to give context to Daniel 9 as speaking about the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, however the verse also offers more insight. This would be the fulfillment of ALL THAT WAS WRITTEN- which includes but is not limited to the prophecies recorded in the book of Daniel.

The “jots and tittles” that made up the Law of Moses (Matthew chapter 5) were in the process of being fulfilled, the Old Covenant was waxing old (Hebrews 8:13) but had not yet passed until all things were fulfilled. Milton Terry noted, “The sealing up of vision and prophet implies the confirming and fulfilling of all the sacred oracles that had spoken of the great day of the Lord and the glorious age to follow, in which the earth would be full of the knowledge of the Lord”.

Don Preston accounts that:
“The Bible gives the divine interpretation of the meaning of ‘seal up vision and prophecy’. In Matthew 24:15 Jesus cites Daniel 9 as the source of His prediction of the coming Abomination of Desolation. The parallel passage in Luke 21:20 reveals the Abomination of Desolation to be, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies”. Then in verse 22 our Lord says, “For these be the days of vengeance that all things which are written may be fulfilled”.

WHAT ABOUT….EVERLASTING RIGHTEOUSNESS?

“Righteousness is a covenantal concept and is not a matter of rocks and trees. It has to do with man’s standing before God, not how green the grass is or how clean the water is”. – Don Preston

In Israel, righteousness stood far away (Isaiah 59:14) and their righteousness was as “filthy rags”. The Law was given to “increase transgression (sin)” which showed Israel their lack of righteousness and their “death”. It is through understanding “the death” of Adam by which we see the importance of ‘righteousness’. The ‘resurrection of the dead’ would be a reversal of this ‘death’ and lack of righteousness which would be revealed through the Messiah (1 Corinthians 15:21). It is explained by the Apostle Paul that righteousness could not be achieved by the Law (Galatians 3:20-21), however in contrast to the Law, many were waiting for the revealing of the “hope of righteousness” as we see promised by the prophet Daniel. The righteousness of God was being revealed through Jesus Christ as was written to the Romans:

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe…(Romans 3)”.

The Law and the Prophets promised “everlasting righteousness” as did Jesus Christ, and it was understood that way to be something that would be accomplished through “the new heavens and new earth” (2 Peter 3:13). It is at this point that I must instruct you to get a firm grip on what the “heavens and earth” were according to Scripture (I will assure you it is not the physical heavens and earth that must change, instead it was the covenant that needed to be changed, as I believe I have expressed through this writing alone). It was the Law that brought forth sin and death, therefore in the “new heavens and new earth” there would be no curse as promised in Revelation 21-22.

I believe the words of the ‘Prince of Preachers’ (Charles Spurgeon) are fitting here: “Did you ever regret the absence of the burnt-offering, or the red heifer, or any one of the sacrifices and rites of the Jews? Did you ever pine for the feast of tabernacle, or the dedication? No, because, though these were like the old heavens and earth to the Jewish believers, they have passed away, and we now live under the new heavens and a new earth, so far as the dispensation of divine teaching is concerned. The substance is come, and the shadow has gone: and we do not remember it (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. xxxvii, p. 354)”.

There ya have it, my brothers and sisters. Daniel chapter 9- FULFILLED! We are now living in the NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH WHERE RIGHTEOUSNESS DWELLS!

“Daniel 9 is a definitive text in the study of eschatology. It gives a positive terminus ad quem (ending point) of all miraculous activity. It dispels all eschatological speculation so rampant in every generation. It allows us to correlate and accept, without wild rationalization, the chronological language of imminence in the New Testament that predicted the coming of the kingdom and the parousia of Jesus in His generation”. -Don Preston

As I was studying through these notes, I came across the following website that details the fulfillment of Daniel 9 in AD 70 as well. Enjoy.

http://www.themoorings.org/apologetics/prophecy/AD70/Dan9.html”:.

In addition to reading about Daniel chapter 9, I also spent time reading through “We Shall Meet Him in the Air: The Wedding of the King of Kings” by Don Preston. In “We Shall Meet Him..”, Dr. Preston deals with the “death of Adam” and offers a commentary on 1 Thessalonians.

In order to attain a proper understanding of the resurrection, as with many of the important Biblical topics, we must start at the beginning of the Bible. Understanding the ‘narrative theology’ that runs through the Scriptures is vital.

It in in his letter to the Corinthians that the Apostle Paul explains the resurrection and brings us back to the “death of Adam”.

“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22)”.

We must go back to the garden and gain an understanding of how “all” in Adam died. In Genesis 2:16-17, we read about God telling Adam that “in the day you eat (of the tree of knowledge of good and evil) you shall surely die”. So the question is…..how did Adam die in the day he ate of the tree? He lived biologically for another 900 years, so biological death isn’t the point. As we follow the story, the “type of death” being spoken about and alluded to in “resurrection passages” becomes all the more clear. For example, read through Isaiah chapter 25 and Hosea chapter 13 and determine the “death” being spoken of. What type of resurrection is being spoken of? Is it a stretch to say “national death”? Therefore, when 1 Corinthians 15 uses those verses to support the resurrection it speaks of- WHAT RESURRECTION IS THAT?!?!? Wouldn’t it be the same ‘death’ and ‘resurrection’ as in the passages being used to support the Apostle Paul’s doctrine? What death does Romans 6:23 speak about?

So that establishes the “death” for us. How everyone has become so obsessed with forcing “biological death” on the passages is just WRONG. Now, watch this.

When would the resurrection from this death occur? I established Daniel chapter 9 in the email I shared with you above- which pointed to the literal/historical events as well as Spiritual realities that occurred in AD 70 (The Jewish-Roman War). Go ahead and Read Daniel chapter 12. This passage speaks about “The Time of the End”, the “time of distress such as never occurred since their was a nation until that time”- when there would be the judgment when the book of life is opened- the resurrection of those in the “dust” will occur, and “those who have insight will shine brightly…”. This will be “as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people”. What is the power of the holy people in the time of Daniel? The city Jerusalem and the Temple! This is exactly what Jesus spoke about in Matthew chapter 24 & Luke 21. Go ahead and read that. Notice I am just giving you things to read- yet those things are saying exactly what I believe.

When you think of the current teachings about the “resurrection of the dead”, we are forced to immediately conjure up images of a zombie apocalypse- which I believe God could surely do, however the passages are not speaking about anything even remotely close to that. Instead, metaphor and “prophetic terms” are being used throughout.

The “death” was “national death” the Israel underwent when they violated the covenant (relationship agreement) they had with God. This was called the Law of Moses a.k.a. The Old Covenant. An example you can see in Scripture would be in Isaiah chapter 25 and Isaiah chapter 49.

Under this covenant which was given to “increase sin”, Israel experienced a blessing and a curse. Sin/ transgression of the Law would bring forth “covenantal death”. As per 1 Corinthians 15, resurrection is the time of the deliverance from sin (1 Corinthians 15:54-56). This is the story of Adam all over again. Thus this is referred to as being “in Adam”. Jesus Christ was the first to be raised from the death of Adam (1 Corinthians 15:19). The fact that the passage says that Christ was the “first” is a clue into what sort of death and resurrection we are speaking about. What Christ the first to be raised biologically? Go ahead and read 1 Kings 13:2; 1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4; Luke 7:13-15; Matthew 9:25; and John 11:43-44. Houston, we have a problem!

I choose to acknowledge that Christ is true, the Scriptures are trustworthy therefore am able to properly “prove” that the “death” that this speaks of with importance is not biological death. The text literally reads “out of the dead ones” which is from Sheol/Hadean realm to LIFE ETERNAL. Christ was the first to raise out of this death, as the others awaited the time of judgment/ vindication/ resurrection. Again, pointing out the significance of a sign which points to something of greater significance – Jesus’ physical/ biological resurrection was the ‘sign of Jonah’ (Matthew 12:39; 16:2; and John 20:30 to that “wicked generation”.

While we are on that topic, please allow me to share some thoughts on the “substitutionary death of Christ”. When Jesus cried out about God forsaking Him in Matthew 27:46 was a citation from Psalm 22:1. I ask you to read through Psalm 22 and tell me what “death” is being spoken of there. This is the “death” that Christ died on behalf of the people in passages such as Romans 5:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13, and 1 Peter 3:18. THE DEATH THAT IS BEING SPOKEN ABOUT IS THE DEATH THAT COMES BECAUSE OF SIN! WHEN JESUS WAS ON THE CROSS AND ‘SIN’ WAS PLACED ON HIM, HE DIED! HE DIED IN PLACE OF ISRAEL. HE DIED SO THAT NO MORE SACRIFICE IS NEEDED TO TRY AND ‘GAIN’ HIS PRESENCE. That is why the promises of John 3:15-16; John 3:36; John 6:50; John 10:28; and John 11:25-26 are valid. We will surely die biologically, however those of us alive in Spirit (born-again or simply born, allow me to avoid the semantics) will never die Spiritually.

James Jordan made this great statement:

When the New Testament uses Old Testament citations we must go to the Old Testament to see what it meant in the Old Testament. We must interpret the Bible comparing Scripture with Scripture”

It is for that reason, that Full Preterists understand ‘death’ to be a covenant term meaning exile, alienation, and the cut off state from the presence of God. For example, death in Hosea 13:1 spoke about Assyrian captivity. In Isaiah 24:4 they had violated covenant relations with God, in Isaiah 27:7-8 they were sent away, and in Ezekiel 37:11, they were declared dead in captivity/ exile. Clearly, in the Old Testament exile is synonymous with death. Forgiveness is seen as a return from exile (Leviticus. 26:33; 26:43; 1 Kings 8:33-34; Lamentations 4:22; Isaiah 40:1-11; Jeremiah 31:10-12; Ezekiel 36:24).

In my sermon at the following link, I explain that the concern that the Apostle Paul is dealing with in 1 Corinthians 15 is “in what body will they come”.

http://www.buzzsprout.com/11630/171089-so-have-the-dead-ones-been-raised-victory-part-2

It is necessary that we understanding the different bodies being contrasted in the New Testament. “The body of sin”, “humiliation” and death “in Adam” was Israel under the Old Covenant. We might dare to call it the Mosaic body (“body of Moses”) or Adamic body. Those who would be raised up to “eternal life” would come through the body of Christ. As Larry Siegle explained in his Fulfilled Dynamics broadcast, The TRUTH about ‘Bodily’ Resurrection, “One of the greatest misconceptions about the fulfilled perspective of the resurrection relates to the nature of it. The Bible teaches a bodily resurrection of the dead, contrary to the notion of some who seem to affirm “spiritual” resurrection instead what is not understood by some is the determination of the nature of the “body” under the construction”.

Well, it was RC Sproul who said in his book, The Last Days According to Jesus, “The greatest weakness of full preterism- and what I regard to be its fatal flaw- is its treatment of the final resurrection. If full preterism is to gain wide credibility in our time, it must overcome this obstacle”. Well, then….I pray that I have provided enough information to show you that the “resurrection of the dead” is hardly a weakness to the understanding the Biblical accurate position of Full Pretetrism.

I honestly, have so many more notes and details that I could mention, however maybe we can save that for further discussions. For further study, I would recommend the following resources:

First start with the sheets I gave you (below this article I have placed them) and simply read all the Bible passages I listed. With those in mind, set out to let the language of the Scriptures help you “prove which views are valid with Scripture. Check out Don Preston’s Morning Musing on Youtube entitled “Resurrection of the Dead”. I read “Seal up Vision and Prophecy”, “70 Weeks Determined for the Resurrection”, “We Shall Meet Him in the Air” all by Don Preston (you can order these either from Don’s website or through me by email). Also, a recent resource I have still yet to make my way through studying in the Summer 2013 issue of Fulfilled Magazine which detailed “Resurrection- What Is It?”. You can access that Magazine by visiting the following link:

http://fulfilledcg.com/Site/Magazine/magazine_previous_issues.htm

I gave out info. sheets to the congregation at Blue Point Bible Church with the hopes that they will aid others in explaining the Biblical hope (the resurrection of the dead ones as the hope of Israel and what that means for us). Below you will find a typed up style of those sheets.

What does the term “Nekroi’ mean?

Who are these “dead ones”? And how were they to be affected by the “resurrection”?

What is the “hope of Israel”?

What does the “resurrection of the dead ones” have to do with the gospel?

What is the cause of death of the “dead ones”? (Hint- Hosea 13:14; Isaiah 25:8; 1 Corinthians 15:

How would they (the dead ones) be “raised up”?

Have they been raised up?

What about “me”?

Good links:

www.tektonics.org/esch/rezwreck.php

www.bereanbiblechurch.org/transcripts/topical/bible-on-resurrection.htm

http://apostolicpreterist.com/Preterist_Q_A.html

www.ecclesia.org/truth/resurrection.html

“WITH WHAT KIND OF BODY”?

Www.beyondcreationscience.com/index.php?pr=Romans_8_in_Covenant_Context

www.buzzsprout.com/11633

Verses to consider:

Hosea 13; Isaiah 24-27; Daniel 9 & 12; Zechariah 14;1 Corinthians 15; Philippians 3; Romans 8; 2 Corinthians 3-5; 1 Thessalonians 4; Acts 3

“Israel suffered THE DEATH under THE LAW of Moses. The Messiah came to bring/ THE LIFE to Israel. Through the Messiah the GENTILES were called to repentance and were offered LIFE and were “raised up” to right standing with God. What was LIFE to them revealed JUDGMENT/DEATH to Old Covenant Israel. At the TIME OF REFORMATION the DEAD ONES would be “RAISED UP” to LIFE and the DEAD ONES along with THE LIVING would be ONE BODY (the body of Christ)” – GLORIFIED!”.

“If forgiveness in Christ is objectively real today, then the atonement is completed. Forgiveness is the direct result of the completed atonement. But if the atonement is complete, Christ has returned, the resurrection has occurred”.

 

I conclude this blog with thoughts by Don Preston

“The real question then, is not how the Gentile Christians in Thessalonica, Rome, Athens, etc, could find comfort in the fulfillment of God’s OT promises to Israel. The real question is how did the modern church get so far removed from understanding the relationship between Israel’s promises and Gentile salvation?”.

Indeed. Praise God for the modern recovery of the Biblical hope. Reformation NOW!

Blessings in and through Jesus Christ,

    Pastor Michael Miano

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www.bluepointbiblechurch.weebly.com

 

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Making ‘sense’ of the “Creation Account”

  For the past couple days, I have had the privilege of having Dr. Jeff Vaughn and Tim Martin (authors of Beyond Creation Science) join me on live broadcasts on “The Power of Preterism Radio”. 

  Here are both of the links:

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepowerofpreterism/2014/02/11/discussing-the-creation-account-with-dr-jeff-vaughn

     http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepowerofpreterism/2014/02/12/miano-gone-wild

 I had sought out the wisdom of these men because of the recent debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye dealing with creation. Sadly, Ken Ham representing the “Biblical” model instead forced many presuppositions and ideas upon the Biblical text that are not there- leading many people, even close friends of mine wondering if that is indeed the Biblical account. One friend told me specifically, “Damage control is needed”. Thank God for giving wisdom to men like Jeff and Tim whom were willing to give of their time to offer a true and reasonable response. 

  If you have yet to hear the “hiding” behind “the Bible” that Ken Ham did during his debate, here is a link so you can watch the debate for yourself:

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6kgvhG3AkI

 Glory to God answers can be found but they must be sought. 

  Being that we are sort of “snowed in” here in New York, I took some time this morning to watch a video from Dr. John Walton in regards to his view and understanding of Genesis. Dr. Walton is the author of an amazing read- The Lost World of Genesis One. I must say, Dr. Walton’s explanation of Genesis and his discussion was so enlightening that I just had to write this blog and encourage YOU to look into these things. Here is the link to Walton’s video:

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUb9P5HXueo

 If that is not enough…Derek Lambert and I will be on our program “Truth Be Told” tonight at 5pm eastern, talking about this video and where we are at in regards to “the creation account”. You can tune in internationally by clicking on the link below at 5pm eastern:

     http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepowerofpreterism

 Also, Monday nights at 7pm, we are doing a book study on “Beyond Creation Science”. If you are around the area, get involved!

   Blessings in and through Jesus Christ,

       His servant,

               Pastor Michael Miano

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