Tag Archives: Michael

Spiritual Stuff: Disagreeing with Dr. Michael Heiser

“The path has not been easy. It came with risk and discomfort. Friends, pastors, and colleagues at times misunderstood my questions and rebuttals of their proposed answered. Conversations didn’t always end well. That sort of things happens when you demand that creeds and traditions get in line with the Biblical text”.

Recently I had the pleasure of listening to brother Travis Finley’s podcast, Rethinking Revelation, with a guest appearance by Dr. Michael Heiser, a well known Old Testament/ Ancient Near East scholar.

You can listen to that podcast at the following link,

https://www.spreaker.com/user/rtb4tftx/episode-17-interview-w-mike-heiser

While highly esteeming his credentials, and in many regards would seemingly be a “grasshopper in his sight”, I have come to be in sharp disagreement with him. Namely, his understanding of the “Divine Heavenly Council”, also however his perspective on the “spirit realm”.

I finished reading Dr. Heiser’s book, The Unseen Realm, a couple of months ago and have been planning to write a short review. Plainly, this is a classic example of someone saying so much I find myself in agreement with, yet finding myself completely disagreeing with them in many other regards. How does that happen!?!?

In the opening introduction, Dr. Heiser explains his coming to understand his view of the “heavenly council” in such a manner:

“There it was, plain as day: The God of the Old Testament was part of an assembly – a pantheon – of other gods”.

I heard about this “heavenly council” view from Pastor David Curtis of Berean Bible Church, and then of BBC’s elders, Jeff McCormack wrote an article for FULFILLED! Magazine on the same topic. Simply put, I have found no substance for this view and see it to disturb the way the ancients would have understood things, as well as the narrative of the Bible.

Oddly enough, Dr. Heiser make the following points in his book;

He speaks about his seeking to understand the “heavenly council”, as a “…a place evangelicals fear to tread”, something I experienced by and large as I studied eschatology and came to understand Full Preterism.

“The explanations I found from evangelical scholars were disturbingly weak….”, which again would be true of my journey. Actually, some of this was shown by Dr. Heiser’s explanations of Revelation (as detailed in the above podcast I shared).

“When I looked beyond the world of evangelical scholarship, I discovered that other scholars had churned out dozens of articles and books…”, again I think of men like Dr. Don K. Preston, Dr. Ed Stevens, among many other scholarly men who influenced me as I navigated toward the truth of Full Preterism, in opposition to what other “evangelical scholars” had to say about eschatology.

“My conscience wouldn’t let me ignore my own Bible in order to retain the theology with which I was comfortable. Was my loyalty to the text or to the Christian tradition? Did I really have to choose between the two? – And there we have the ongoing reformation mindset. Glory to God!

I have to say upfront that I appreciate Dr. Michael Heiser and the mind that God has given him. He clearly has a desire to know, understand, and teach the truth. He mentioned the amount of time it took him to finally write a book on these views, 15 years. At that I feel I must be humbled and tread lightly in my critique. I’m not a know-it-all, so as I study, I’ll either have better responses or be proven wrong – so be it. In the meantime, I am disturbed that a man can have so much right, yet miss so much on the other end.

Also, I totally agree with Dr. Michael Heiser’s approach in understanding the Bible. He clearly recommends a healthy understanding of “audience relevance” as well as the points he made in the following quotes:

“Our traditions, however honorable, are not intrinsic to the Bible. They are systems we invent to organize the Bible. They are artificial. They are filters”.

“The facts of the Bible are just pieces – bits of scattered data. Our tendency is to impose order, and to do that we apply a filter. But we gain a perspective that is both broader and deeper if we allow ourselves to see the pieces in their own wider context. We need to see the mosaic created by the pieces”.

I am a big advocate of what it referred to as “Narrative Theology”. Not the quote unquote liberal theory of Narrative Theology, but rather a big “picture theology” that is shaped by an understanding of the whole story that graces the page of Scripture. However, it would seem my and Dr. Heiser’s understanding of that narrative differs.

Dr. Heiser says, “The story of the Bible is about God’s will for, and rule of, the realms He has created, visible and invisible, through the images He created, human and nonhuman. This divine agenda is played out in both realms, in deliberate tandem”.

I would summarize the Biblical narrative to be a big picture reality on how man has come to and can come to know the truth of God. If man coming to know God is redemption, then what we read through the pages of Scripture is the historical detailing of that redemption. God used Old Covenant Israel as His historical people and example through which man’s sin is highlighted and offered the gift of grace through the Messiah. God wants man to rule, reign, and rest with Him and for Him and that is found “in the Spirit”, however man naturally leans upon his own misunderstands (cf. Proverbs 3:5-6). Man leaning upon his own misunderstanding, in contrast to heeding the truth of God (Spirit) is the conceptual reality that is highlighted in the Genesis account, and than man being saved from that through the Messiah is highlighted in the last 2 chapters of the Book of Revelation.

Where I have come to sharply disagree is how Dr. Heiser is his understanding of “the intersection of our domain and the unseen world”. I remember reading through various books and articles on Hebrew mythology and the Ancient Near East and wondering how did all of this reflect upon the details I find in Scripture. How does the truth of Scripture contrast the understanding of the ancient near eastern myths and cults? It would seem that Dr. Heiser has allowed these “Hebrew myths” to develop his understanding of the “heavenly council”, which in some respects has become his “filter” (talked about above).

Honestly, I couldn’t fully read through the book. He used a host of texts (some you will find in a picture below), and used them in a very erroneous matter. I couldn’t stomach the disagreement any more, so I jumped to some chapters, and then finally just reading the last 2 chapters to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

Dr. Heiser uses Psalm chapter 82, of which he says, “has at its core the unseen realm and its interaction with the human world”.

Let’s take a look at Psalm 82:

“God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers. How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked? Vindicate the weak and the fatherless do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. They do not know nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. I said, “You are gods”, and all of you are sons of the Most High. Nevertheless you will die like men, and fall like any one of the princes”. Arise I God, judge the earth! For it is Thou who dost possess all the nations”.

I am baffled that this text could cause so much disruption in Dr. Heiser’s view. The is surely a Messianic picture. God taking His stand is God coming in judgment, and that judgement would be in the midst of His people. Thus is why Jesus Christ quotes this passage in John 10:34-37. Jesus is explaining to the Jews (who are the rulers who judged unjustly and showed partiality to the wicked), namely they did not follow the command of Deuteronomy 4:6-9. Not to see this is to miss the entire point of the Old Testament and the purpose of the Messiah coming to His own. I have no idea how this verse disturbed Dr. Heiser.

Old Covenant Israel was those who walked in darkness and did not know nor understand. Israel was suppose to have the presence of God, however due to sin, which was highlighted by the picture in the garden (which would have been a covenant story for Israel throughout all their generations) they were separated – thus “dying like men, and falling like the princes”.

Dr. Heiser’s confusion is compounded because he has said, “At no point in the Old Testament does the Scripture teach that Jews or Jewish leaders were put in authority over the other nations”. I put a big frown in the book next to this statement. How could Dr. Heiser miss this?

Israel was given the oracles of God (cf. Romans 3:2), they were to rule and reign over the nations as they lived the example of the Law (cf. Deuteronomy 4:6-9), and they came under judgment again and again for failing to live up to this, ultimately culminating in the AD 70 “coming of the Lord”.

After hearing Dr. Heiser on the Rethinking Revelation podcast and really paying attention to his thoughts on eschatology, I realized maybe he needs to return to study of the Biblical narrative past the ancient near east. The “spiritual realm” which is being conveyed through the whole of Scripture (from Genesis to Revelation) is a conceptual reality (an actual reality being made known through a picture), not a dualistic other-world.

Through covenant God chooses those who dwell in His presence, His people had been removed from His presence only to gain access through Jesus Christ at the end of the age (cf. 1 Corinthians chapter 10; Hebrews 9:26). No other gods dwell there.

I urge a study on all the verses that will be in the picture below – of course after a healthy understanding of the Biblical narrative from Genesis to Revelation. Keep an eye out for my book, Wicked, due to be published in March 2017 which will deal with some of these details as well as an examination of all things wicked – Satan, demons, hell,etc…

In Service to Him,

Pastor Michael Miano

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Let the Church be the Church, and America- Be America!

Here we find ourselves in the 21st century, where for many the lines have been dulled between “Church” and “State”. If you take the time to peruse through Church History, this surely isn’t new for the church. However the striving to bring Christianity into America, to dominate America, has proven to be a daunting task since the time of the Puritans in the 17th century.

Is America a “Christian nation”? Should this be the goal of the Church? For example, when we read 2 Chronicles 7:14:

“…And My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land”.

Why do we constantly seem to put America in place of “His people” instead of the Body of Believers called the Church? This is the nagging question I have and want to keep before you as I continue making some points through this article.

For the past couple months we have been going through ‘The Truth Project’ at The Blue Point Bible Church. Professor Del Tackett has challenged us in regards to the battle involving “What is Truth”, what is the anthropology of man, what is a Biblical social environment, what is the role of government, and finally this week we discussed “The American Experiment”.

The whole gist of ‘The Truth Project’ is to combat the ‘Post-modernism’ that has seemingly pervaded American culture. Simply put, Postmodernism is the rejection of absolute truth, holding all truth as relevant, or more likely, you have your reality and I have mine. This “question everything” mentality surely has a lot of good quality in it (in line with 1 Thessalonians 5:21), however with lack of education, hypotheticals, and subjective reasoning, this can be more harmful than edifying.

In Lesson 10, “The American Experment”, Professor Tacket places the beginning of the rise of ‘secular humanism’ with Darwin’s, Origin of the Species in 1859. The rise of men like John Dewey, Charles Eliot, and Christopher Columbus Landell brought challenge to the way education was done, and surely brought challenge to the arena of “scientific education”.

As a Bible believing Christian who has seen the church gone awry clinging to false doctrines, putting a ‘misplaced hope’ in the councils, creeds, and confessions instead of “search the Scriptures”, I see nothing wrong with challenging the traditional teachings, and surely do not see this as a bad thing. Yet this is exactly what many intend to demonize when they speak about the shift in ‘public education’, teaching of ‘evolution’ in school, etc…

Let me be abundantly clear here. As a Christian who has an unyielding faith in the truth of Scripture, I am not afraid of the ‘critical thinking’ this postmodern world has to offer. I don’t believe it is society’s job to “make known the manifold wisdom of God”, but rather the Church. It is the Church’s job to “demolish every argument and stronghold set up against the ‘knowledge of God’ (2 Corinthians chapter 10). The Christians, the Church, should be affecting the nation they live in, yet our country is the “heavenly country” (Hebrews 11:16; i.e., the New Jerusalem) which knows no earthly borders. I flee from the “Christianizing” of any nation which then confuses itself with being “the city on the hill” of Matthew 5:14.

Yes, George Washington indeed did say, “If one claims to be a patriot, yet denies Christ Jesus, this man is worse than an infidel” and yes, Princeton’s founding statement was “Cursed is all learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.” and it has been since changed.

Why has this happened? Is it as horrible as many think it is? Is it the ‘end of the world’?

Historical study of the founding documents of this nation, think of the Mayflower Compact, Constitution of the New England Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance, and the Aricles of Confederation of 1643- clearly show the Christian foundations of America. There is no doubt there.

Yet just as Galileo Galilee looked into his microscope and saw something that seemingly contradicted what the ‘Christian tradition’ had to say, so we see the same today. I say let’s enjoy the freedom which comes with a responsibility to be the ‘light of the world’.

I believe the “lazy Christian” not only wants to settle for “Church doctrine” that contradicts Scripture, but also wants to make being an “American” synonymous with being a “Christian”. The less of a distiction between the two, the less fruit one must produce to be found a Christian.

Ultimately, it is time for the Church to be the Church. The blurring of the lines between the Church and America has created confusion and hostility. The Church should reserve the right to make decisions and live in light of Scripture and we should encourage others, however the Church sitting at the sidelines yelling at the “State” to follow Christian standards really needs to stop.

The fact is, Obama is not the president of the Nation I am apart of. As Shane Claiborne so eloquently and simplistically puts it, “Jesus for President”. I believe there is much strength to be sought in allowing America to follow the “postmodernism” that leads it, therefore offering the Church a moment of clarity on their role and position in this world.

I know America had Christian foundations, to argue against this is to be historically ignorant. However, I see the good news in the “end of Christian America” as Gabe Lyons put it in his book, The Next Christians.

Let the distinctions be clear- the Church is to be the Church, set apart by the truth of Jesus Christ, and America is to be America- the land of the free.

DON’T YOU DARE REFER TO AMERICA AS THE “CITY ON A HILL”!

Revelation 2:5 reads, “Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lamp stand out of its place- unless you repent”. I’ll say it like this: It is nothing short of blasphemous to equate this verse with a nation with borders, this was primary applied to the Church at Ephesus, and could only be applied to the Church.

Walk worthy saints.

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Michael Miano

“One thing that’s clear in the Scriptures is that the nations do not lead people to peace; rather, people lead the nations to peace.” – Shane Claiborne, Jesus for President

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My Defense and Explanation of Full Preterism

In 2010, I underwent a rather intense paradigm shift. For those who do not know what a “paradigm shift” is, it is a change in the way you approach a given situation or the assumptions you may have had. Basically, a change of thought.

As a Christian, I believed that the ancient Scriptures contained in the Bible are the way to know the “gospel” – the good news that Jesus came to take away sin and death. I believe that Jesus Christ was Lord and Savior. I also took serious the teachings which Jesus taught His disciples about the “end times”. I was taught the Christian view that the end times were soon. Jesus Christ could come any day, I didn’t agree with what was called the “pretribulation rapture”, but instead believed that everyone would be caught up with the Lord at the Second Coming. I believed that we were living in the end times and should take that serious. If people were going to live in a world of “great tribulation”- what were we doing to prepare? Wouldn’t that be the most loving thing? I could not understand why people didn’t seem to take serious what the “end times” would be about. I desired to see sinners repent and put their faith in Christ so they could enjoy eternal life both here and in the afterlife as well as urge people to take the teachings of Jesus Christ very seriously.

It was in the midst of this passionate following of Jesus Christ and seeking to “study to show myself approved ()” that I underwent the “paradigm shift”. I was challenged with a historical approach to properly understanding the “literary genre”, the original audience, and the context of the story contained within the Bible. However, I resisted and argued because as Maimonides once said, “…. those opinions of a man to which he has been accustomed to from his youth, he likes them, defends them, and shuns the opposite view”.

I’ll never forget the day that Pastor Alan Bondar of New Covenant Eyes Church met with me for lunch and told me that he believed that the “coming of the Lord”, what many refer to as the ‘Second Coming’ already happened. It seemed like a joke. Who believes that?!?!?! I wanted to prove this wrong and “defend the faith”, just as I had done with atheists, Jehovah Witnesses, and others who argued against the truth of God. The more I studied, seeking to “prove all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and show why I believed what I believed and that being what Scripture is about I began to realize how true the following statement by J.I. Packer really was:

We do not start our Christian lives by working out our faith for ourselves; it is mediated to us by Christian tradition. In the forms of sermons, books, and established patterns of church life and fellowship. We read our Bibles in light of what we have learned from these sources; we approach Scripture with minds already formed by the mass of accepted opinions and viewpoints with which we have come into contact, in both the Church and the world…It is easy to be unaware that it has molded us. But we are forbidden to become enslaved to human tradition, either secular or Christian, whether it be “catholic” tradition, “critical” tradition, or “ecumenical” tradition. We may never assume the complete rightness of our own established ways of thought and practice and excuse ourselves the duty of testing and reforming them by Scriptures” (quoted from Fundamentalism and the Word of God).

 Pastor Alan Bondar’s belief in “preterism” surely seemed laughable because of what I believed, but even so, I did the Biblically correct, least lazy, and ‘intellectually honest” thing to do- sought to prove it wrong by using Scripture.

It was then through actually reading the writings contained in the Bible in their context and allowing them to say what they said to who they were written (without putting myself as the primary audience) that I realized this view “Full Preterism” had some merit to it. I began looking around to see what others said about this “preterist” stuff. To my surprise, many popular teachers within Christianity believed in some parts of Preterism- what they call “Partial Preterism” but called “Full Preterism” heresy. I wanted to figure out why and prove this to Pastor Bondar.

I remember when Pastor Bondar first asked me, “Mike, what do you believe happens when you die?” I began to explain how the dead go into the grave, and then at the coming of the Lord they will be raised in the twinkling of an eye (1 Thessalonians chapter 4 & 1 Corinthians 15 seem to speak of this). Pastor Bondar explained this was called “soul sleep” and would have been foreign to the Jewish mindset and their view on Sheol/ Hades. I did my research and sure enough Pastor Bondar was right. This peaked my interest.

Reading through Matthew chapters 23-24 realizing that Jesus was giving His actual disciples answers to the questions they were asking. He was telling them about the soon coming destruction of the Temple and the “end of the age” (age does not mean world, instead it means the end to a period of time). Sure enough, reading the things Jesus spoke about in Matthew chapters 23-24 in light of the historical account that Apostles do in the New Testament (gospel being preached to the whole world- Romans 1:8, Romans 16:19, Colossians 1:6, 23 ; persecution – a read through the book of Acts will serve well, not to mention 2 Thessalonians chapter 1; false teachers – again are seen throughout the New Testament however read 1 Timothy 1:3-6, 2 John chapter 1, for some insight; and the 1st century Jewish historian Josephus’ written accounts of the Jewish-Roman War.

After hearing Pastor Bondar explain that he believed the resurrection of the dead already occurred I knew I had him pinned as a “false teacher”. I approached him with 2 Timothy, and how the early church was warned to stay away from those who were saying the resurrection had already occurred. The first point Alan made was – if the resurrection of the dead was understood to be biological corpses coming out of the graves – how in the name of reason could people convince others that this had occurred and they had missed it? I had to admit that was a rather good point. Alan also pointed out that in 2 Thessalonians chapter 1, there were some who believed the “coming of the Lord” already occurred. It forced me to face the fact that the physical sighting of Jesus Christ that I demanded must happen in the future was an error. Actually stood in direct contrast to some of the things Jesus Himself said in John chapter 14.

Pastor Bondar then explained how what we read in the New Testament is referring back to things in the Old Testament. Jesus made it very clear He came to fulfill the Law (the Old Covenant/ Testament). It was His blood that was establishing the New. The Apostle Paul was emphatic about the fact that the gospel he preached was the hope of the forefathers of Israel, “the hope of Israel”, which was detailed in the Law and the Prophets (Acts 24:13-16; Acts 26:22; Acts 28:20). It is vital that we understand what the Old Testament before trying to understand or interpret the New Testament.

A major aspect of the Old Testament is the use of “prophetic language’. The Hebrew Metaphors and idoms that are used throughout the Old Testament are foreign to our common thought. Imagine trying to explain to an ancient Hebrew the expressing “It’s raining cats and dogs”. This would be just as confusing as them trying to explain how they used language such as “hearts melting” (Isaiah 13:7) and the sun turning black (Joel 2:21; Matthew 24:29) to depict the coming war with a foreign nation. I remember as I sought to understand how the ‘original audience’ would have understood these phrases, it caused me to change the way I understood writings in the New Testament. For example, if throughout the Old Testament the prophets used phrases such as “coming of the Lord” to speak about invading armies- why would we interpret Jesus’ words any different? Why all of a sudden to Jesus’ words mean literal cosmic events and a literal Jewish man coming out of the sky? Where do we get this understanding?

After understanding the use of the language, I then was able to pay attention to what are called “time statements” in Scripture. In speaking about the “end of the age” or the “coming of the Lord”, Jesus’ seemingly gave time frames when these things would happen. Obviously, the “end of the world” had not happened yet because I was living in it and there is no historical record of a man coming out of the sky. However, when the “prophetic language” is properly understood we realize the Scriptures speak of the “end of the age”, which was the “present evil age” the 1st century Jews were living in which would change at the “coming of the Lord” (again, I point out that this was a term depicting judgment of God that would come through foreign armies. An in-depth study of the following passages proves this point: Genesis 18:21; Exodus 3:8; Isaiah 19:1; Isaiah 64:3; Matthew 24; Luke 21; 2 Thessalonians 1-2, and so many more!

I knew that embracing the truth as I was seeing it, through a view called Full Preterism, was quite controversial and stood in contrast to the ‘traditional thinking’ most Christians utilize. However, I came to a point where I had to choose from what the Bible teaches in context or the comfort of tradition. This is what men of God like John Wycliffe and Martin Luther had to deal with. If these men where not ‘intellectually honest’ and had the courage to challenge the ‘status quo’, we would hardly have the Christianity we know of today.

By understanding the historical and redemptive context of the Scriptures, as is weaved through the Bible in a beautiful way, we can truly understand the Bible as the original audiences would have understood each of the writings. The Scriptures are not dealing with world history, that is why we do not read about those people in Australia or the natives in the Americas in the Bible. Instead, the Biblical writings are dealing with the God of Israel and His relationship with His people. The Messiah of Israel comes and through His fulfilling their promises, He invites others “through Jesus Christ” to enjoy the blessings of being “in covenant” with Him. That my friends is the glorious gospel as revealed through Scripture. The ‘death’ that Israel experienced in Adam, was taken away in Christ. Those that were without God, without hope, “far off” from covenant relationship with God, “the Gentiles”, were called to the New Covenant (Ephesians chapters 2-3 explains this).

So, all of this serves as my defense of my position as a “Full Preterist”. I have been willing to debate and defend these views- firstly, because I believe my position is correct. If you would like to discuss these things in more detail, I would love to explain. Secondly, I have been wrong once and am humble enough to be wrong again. However, I seek to be faithful to understanding Scripture in an effort to truly understand God- therefore I ask to be shown if I am wrong through the use of Scripture in context and not what ‘tradition’ teaches. I see much hypocrisy alive and well in the Church when it comes to “proving all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and instead of doing so, many have a “zeal without knowledge” as the first century Jews who persecuted Christ did (Romans 10:2). They believed they were right and the Christians were wrong- how do you suppose the Truth was made known? Go and read Acts 17:11- ‘SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES”. Scripture commands that we “study to show ourselves approved (2 Timothy 2:15)” and therefore I ask you, the reader of this document, to not only prove what I am saying wrong (if I am wrong) and prove your position through a historical and Biblically consistent examination.

 

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Two Controversial Passages (1 Thessalonians 4 & Romans 11)

I must say from the outset that having Dr. Don K. Preston as a teaching within the “Full Preterist Movement” with all of his debates, articles, and books are an invaluable resource at our disposal. In the last 2 days, I have finished reading through “We Shall Meet Him in the Air” which provided a commentary on 1 Thessalonians and I listened to his debate with Dr. Michael Brown over Romans chapter 11. You can listen to that debate by visiting the following link:

http://thefulfilledconnection.com/Preston_Brown.html

First, let us deal with 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. Don Preston makes a great statement which I believe is necessary for us to understand at the outset:

“If a given interpretation of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 cannot be found in the OT prophetic hopes of Israel that interpretation is false. Paul said his eschatological doctrine was nothing other than what was promised in Moses and the Prophets”.

In Romans chapter 9, we read that the promises were given to Israel of the flesh, and then in chapter 15 we read the the Messiah came to fulfill the promises given to Israel of the flesh and it doing so would cause the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy. The Apostle Paul accounts again and again that he preaches nothing other than those promises that were given by the Law and the Prophets (Acts chapter 24; chapter 26; and in chapter 28 he refers to this as ‘the hope of Israel’).

That sets the precedent for what we read of the apostle Paul writing to the church at Thessalonica. Christ had ascended into the Spiritual temple in the heavens and would come “out of the Temple” and restore God’s presence to the people whom He promised. This “soteriological Temple” would restore God’s presence, fulfill the “resurrection promises” given to Israel in passages such as Isaiah chapters 2-4; Ezekiel 37, and Daniel chapter 9.

We must interpret 1 Thessalonians in light of the fact that it is a reiteration of God’s Old Covenant promises to Israel. To tabernacle among men (Revelation 21:3)

Let’s take a moment to look at the context being given throughout the letter to the Thessalonians. In 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, speaks about the ‘coming of the Lord’ that they were awaiting which would rescue them from “the wrath to come”. This is the wrath/ rescue that was spoken of by John the Baptist in Matthew chapter 3, and is referenced from Isaiah 40:10-11 and Jeremiah chapter 15.

In reading through 1 Thessalonians chapters 2-3, one must ask – “Where did Paul get the idea that persecution was appointed to them, and what is the connection to “the day of the Lord”? I would offer a cross referencing Matthew 24:9.

1 Thessalonians 3:13 is a cross reference from Zechariah chapter 14. I must be honest at this point. I personally have not had enough time to come to a firm and foundational understanding of Zechariah chapter 14 that I am comfortable with. I know Don Preston has various articles and videos that have dealt with the context of Zechariah chapter 14. Various other commentators have placed Zechariah 14 as fulfilled in AD 70. Here is a link that will take you to some of that information.

http://donkpreston.com/the-eschatology-of-zechariah-14-1/

Former full preterist Bible teacher, Frank Speer had written a great article about the context of 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 titled “To Me or Not To Me?” (which I can get you an emailed copy of upon request). Don makes a great point in explaining that Galatians chapter 4 is a direct commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1.

Sure enough, the fact that some had believed that Christ had already returned. As Don Preston rightly puts it, “If the Day of the Lord is an earth burning, time ending, cosmos destroying event, when every human who has ever lived comes out of the grave, how could anyone convince anyone that it had already occurred?”. We also see the same issue with those who believed the resurrection of the dead had already occurred.

When we get to the “man of sin’ metioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, we must look to the first century, during the time of the “Abomination of Desolation. This is still a topic I am willing to re investigate since I have heard a couple plausible options.

You may have noticed that I skipped right past 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 as I was going through various passages. I did this on purpose to establish the context in which we find the famous “rapture” passage in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. A grammatical error that takes place in 1 Thessalonians 4:14 and is muchly ignored is that the text should read “through Christ” not “in Christ” (dia Christos not en Christos). Reading this along with Ephesians 4:8 establishes who those who died through Christ were. We are reading about the ‘vindication of the martyrs” in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. This is a promise referenced in Judges chapter 5 and Psalms chapter 68.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:15, the Apostle Paul mentions that which He knows from the “word of Lord”, which scholars agree is Jesus speaking in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew chapter 25 and Luke 21). I have a chart that I have kept in the back of my Bible which shows the ‘verse-by-verse’ comparison of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4; Matthew chapter 24, and 1 Corinthians 15. If you are interested in obtaining this- please let me know.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:15, the Apostle Paul uses the term “apatesis” in Greek to say that the saints will “meet” Christ in the air (a point we will get to in a moment). Don Preston notes that, “The terms parousia and apantesis as technical terms as used and understood in the first century world, negates the idea of a removal of Christians from the earth….The terms parousia and apantesis…were used in the ancient world to speak of a king or royal dignitary that was to make a visit to a given city. As he approached the city for his visit (his parousia), the citizens of that city, being watchful for him, would, when his entourage was sighted, leave their city and go out and meet (apantesis) him. They would then escort him back to their city. The city was the destination of the dignitary”.

This is speaking about the coming of the Lord and the New Jerusalem as referenced in John chapter 14 and Revelation chapters 21-22.

Also, the term used for air, aer in Greek”, is a symbol of the heavenly or Spiritual realm (see, Ephesians 2:2, 6:12; 2 Corinthians 10;11). Ultimately what we are reading about is the Spiritual death of the martyrs and they life they awaited when Christ would be victorious in defeating Satan. This was detailed and expressed through the historical events of AD 70. Obviously, the context of the passage, and the proper understanding of Greek terms used shows that the common view taught about some metaphysical transformation occurring in the near future is completely false and is a false doctrine being perpetuated in many churches.

Another passages used by many who believe that the Full Preterist view is wrong is found in Romans chapter 11. As I mentioned in the beginning of this blog, Don Preston debated Dr. Michael Brown on this passage earlier this week. Herein I will share some of my notes from that debate.

Dr. Michael Brown started out with the premise that the modern church has become arrogant by saying that God is finished with ‘national Israel’ and has fostered the rise of supersecessioism and ‘replacement theology”. Now, I agree with Dr. Brown this was an issue that was being dealt with through the time of the first century when the promises that had been given to Israel of the flesh (see, Romans chapter 9) were being fulfilled. Many within the church thought that God had given up on Old Covenant Israel, but as Christ promised “heaven and earth would not pass away UNTIL all is fulfilled”.

Understanding the phrase “heaven and earth” and how that related to Israel could help very much in this discussion. However that did not come up. Clearly, Dr. Michael Brown does not understand the hermeneutic continually used throughout Scripture using metaphors and idioms. Throughout the debate with Dr. Preston, Dr. Michael Brown continually made the following statement, “Well if the words have any meaning…”- when he was trying to imply that the plain/natural reading must be read. Instead, I would reply that context and genre of the prophetic writing determines how the word should be defined. For example, Dr. Brown brought up the fact that Scripture promises that there will be no more war, and when did “swords get turned into plow shares”. In reading through passages such as Isaiah chapter 2, we understand the prophetic significance of what would be accomplished through the Messiah. Yes, Israel was used to defending their kingdom by constantly turning “plowshares” into “swords”, however when the Messiah brings forth the kingdom of God- Jesus will be the peace. The war will no longer occur- because all the enemies of God will be defeated through the glory of the Messiah. This is essentially the Biblical gospel of what occurred through the Messiah. It seems that Dr. Brown also fails to understand the context and usage of the term “death” as used throughout Scripture. Instead of the terms having no meaning within the Preterist understanding, it is the direct opposite- the words are FULL OF MEANING!

In response to this Don made a great point that the hermeneutic principle (interpretation took) that he uses is the fact that those in the Old Testament saw through “a veil” and did not grasp the full meaning of what God was saying through the prophecies, as the Apostle Paul says many times “the mystery was kept hidden”. However, we believe the Apostles did have that full understanding of what was being revealed in that time that had not been revealed before (Ephesians 3:4-5).

Another topic that Dr. Brown had brought up was the he believes the “restoration of all things” has not occurred. This runs in direct contradiction to what is spoken of occurring in those “last days” by the Apostle Peter in Acts chapter 3, what the Apostle Paul said about his generation being those who “upon whom the end of the ages has come (1 Corinthians 10:11), and what the writer of Hebrews understood as the “time of reformation”. This was happening in the time of transition occurring in the first century and was all summed up in the events of AD 70. God’s presence was restored! The end of the age in correlation to the destruction of the Temple as spoke of by Jesus Christ in Matthew chapter 24, occurred in AD 70! And that “time of reformation” surely occurred when the Old Covenant completely passed away and the New Covenant was fully consummated at the destruction of physical Jerusalem (see, Galatians 4:24-30).

Dr. Preston did a great job of bringing force the Biblical context of Romans 11;25-27. A proper reading and context surely brings an agreement that Romans 11 is speaking about promises and prophecies that were given to ‘ethnic Israel’, the Apostle Paul makes this quite clear both before in Romans chapter 9 and after in Romans chapter 15.
In Romans chapter 11:25-28, we read:
“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery- so that you will not be wise in your own estimation- that a partial hardening has happened in Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has com in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob”. “This is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins”. From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice, they are beloved for the sake of the fathers”.

Follow my logic here for a moment….. God made promises to the fathers, one of them being that He will save them from their sins (“their sins”which under covenant eschatology we understand comes from The Law and produces “the death”.). During the time awaiting the parousia, there was a “partial hardening” in Israel, allowing the Gentiles to come into covenant relationship with God, this partial hardening is to occur in an effort that “all Israel will be saved”. Keep in mind that the apostle Paul also taught that “All Israel is not Israel”, therefore it would be a remnant that would receive the benefits of the fathers. Some of those who had yet to repent were under the “hardening” and would eventually come into the truth of Jesus Christ- when the fullness of the Gentiles came in. That simply what Romans 11 is establishing.

Don Preston urges that we know the “prophetic background” that is being utilized in Romans chapter 11. Isaiah 59:20. Read Isaiah 59 and see the direct context about Israel’s separation from God and that which He will save them from. When He takes away “transgression”-sin. When does the prophet Daniel say sin will be taken away in Daniel chapter 9. At the end of the 70 weeks, that is another whole discussion we can have about the ministry of Christ and the events of AD 70.

I have just shown you a direct reference to AD 70 being made in Romans chapter 11. So where would we logically place the fulfillment?

As is common in Full Preterist discussions with “futurists”, Dr. Brown continually kept returning to the point that he was trying to make that those in “Israel” today are still hardened to the gospel, the gospel is still being brought to the ends of the earth, and we will have no more enemies. I would clearly show that “national Israel” found there end in AD 70, and what has become known as “Israel” today is not that which the Bible speaks. It can clearly be shown that according to Biblical testimony the gospel HAD been brought to “all nations” by the late AD 60’s. And as far as enemies, one must wonder if Dr. Brown has read and is familiar with Christ being the “peace” that turns enemies into “one new man” that is written about in Ephesians chapters 2-3.

In conclusion to all that was debated, Don explained that God never intended to save the entirety of Israel. God has always saved a remnant. In Amos chapter 5, God clearly says that a part of Israel will NEVER rise. Romans chapter 10 gives us the precursor to the “all Israel” being saved in Romans chapter 11 fulfilled. 

If someone asked my overall review, I would say that Dr. Don Preston did a great job of showing the “prophet background” contained within Romans chapter 11. Dr. Brown fails for one reason or anyone to see the context of the Biblical gospel, especially in regards to Israel and her last days. It seemed that Dr. Preston out of respect and humility held back from forcefully saying that the majority of those in “Israel” today are not the Israel of the Bible. What we know as Israel today is a mixed multitude that has by and large converted to secular Judaism. Plain and simple, this is not the Israel of “the fathers”.

Well that about sums up this evenings thoughts. I hope that my messages have not been overbearing, but have served to encourage you to read through and study these details.

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Michael Miano

 

 

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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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How Do We “LITERALLY” Understand the Scriptures?

It Milton Terry who once wrote:

“We gain nothing for the honor of the Scriptures by attempting to force upon them a meaning they were never intended to convey’.

Recently I went to a local Bible study held at another church and the discussion was geared around “prophetic texts” of the Old and New Testament. As is commonly done, the pastor led the discussion of interpretation with a two-fold choice- literal or spiritual. He made sure to explain that he does not believe in what we may call “wooden literalism”. For example, Scripture teaches that the Lord is our rock (Psalm 18:2), yet we would not say that He is literally a rock- instead we understand the metaphor being used.

I have entertained many conversations about Biblical prophecies and the discussion of interpretation comes up many times. How many times have you heard, “Well, that is just your interpretation” and granted sometimes it very well could be. I know and am known myself for bringing up 2 Peter 1:20 which states:

But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation..”.

So from the outset we must recognize that we have no place to read Scripture and create our own version of what it says. Instead we must seek to understand what the original writer meant to say and how the original readers would have understood the writing. This is what we call “Audience Relevance”. Also, we must understand who the original audience was. This may come as a shock, hopefully not, but it may. The Bible was NOT written to YOU. Their was a direct audience for each of the writings. Let’s establish that.

The Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) are God’s revealed law and covenant with Israel.

Joshua, Judges, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles are all dealing with the history of Israel.

The prophets were proclaiming their words to Israel.

The “gospels” (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are the details of Christ’s ministry on earth to the none other than “the lost sheep of Israel” (Matthew 15:24).

The book of Acts is dealing with the proclamation of Christ to all the known world from Jerusalem to Rome- again the salvation of Israel.

The rest of the New Testament is writings from the Apostle Peter, the Apostle Paul, Jude the brother of Jesus, and John- all of whom proclaimed the same gospel (1 Corinthians 15: 1-11; 2 Corinthians 11:4; Ephesians 3:6), the ONE “hope of Israel”(Ephesians 4:4; Acts 28:20), and as the Apostle Paul proclaimed “saying nothing other than what which was written in the Law and the Prophets” (Acts 24:14; Acts 26:22).

To ignore the exclusivity to Israel in these writings to to completely miss the point of the gospel message and the proper understand of context.

Now that we have established “audience relevance” we can move on to the writings themselves. How do we properly understand the Biblical writings as the ancient Jews did? How do we LITERALLY understand these writings? 

Author David Chilton made the remark that “The Bible is literature; it is divinely-inspired and inerrant literature, but it is literature all the same. This means we must read it as literature…We cannot understand what the Bible really (literally) means unless we appreciate its use of literary styles”.

Therefore as authors Tim Martin and Jeff Vaughn noted in their book, Beyond Creation Science:

Speaking literally, the most “literal” interpretation is the one that is most in keeping with the “literature” we find in early Genesis…a true literal interpretation depends on the nature of the literature in question”.

In the Western Church especially we see so much confusion in this area. Intelligent men of God such as professor John Walton, Tim Martin, and Jeff Vaughn have begun the necessary reforms in the understanding of Ancient Near Eastern texts such as Genesis. Visit

http://www.wheaton.edu/Academics/Faculty/W/John-Walton and http://www.beyondcreationscience.com Also, men such as Dr. Don Preston, Larry Siegle, Joe Daniels, Jerry Bowers Jr., and many others have pushed for the necessary reforms of Full Preterism which points out that much of Biblical prophecy is not being understood in its proper phraseology nor historical context. Visit www.ChristHASCome.org & www.thefulfilledconnection.com

It’s only fair that I provide an example.
The Jews used a very symbolic, figurative language when describing events such as battle victories and deliverance from enemies.In Isaiah 13, we read that “every man’s heart will melt, pain and anguish will take hold of them, the stars of heaven and the constellations wil not flash, the Lord will come with cruel and burning anger, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not shed light” described as a “day of the Lord” fulfilled when Babylon was destroyed in 539 B.C. The Lord came into Egypt on a cloud, is language used in Isaiah 19 to depict the Lord’s judgment upon that nation that occured in 480 B.C. Isaiah chapter 34 gives us a chilling blood soaked coming of the Lord in wrath against the land of Edom which occured historically before 400 B.C.

When the prophets spoke about “the coming of the Lord” it depicted national judgment upon nations, so clearly this wasn’t a “new phrase” when used by Jesus to depict judgment upon Jerusalem- indeed the Apostles would have recognized the term. You will not find the term “Second Coming” in the Scriptures, except alluded to in places such as John 14 and Hebrews 9:28.

Yet, many today believe that this supposed “Second Coming of Christ” is going to happen in the future- “soon”- but “no one knows the day or hour”. Not only have modern Christians completely misunderstood the ‘literal’ meaning of the term “coming of the Lord” but “By having a preconceived concept of Christ’s second coming as the Jews did with His first coming, many have “overlooked” obvious texts, and found alternate meanings and interpretations”.

I conclude that much of what is being taught today about “the creation”, “the coming of the Lord”, “the time of the end”, “the resurrection of the dead ones” and many other Biblical topics (including the most important aspect- THE GOSPEL) is born out of theological and literary ignorance. We must seek to understand the langauge of the literature we are reaching- is it metaphor? Is it “prophetic”? Is it hyperbole? How did the ancients or first century Jews (and earlier) use certain phrases such as “heaven and earth”?

I end with this rebuke by Max King:

“Any method of interpretation is dangerous if it perverts the true meaning of scripture, and of course the ultimate test as to whether the true meaning of scripture has been ascertained, will be in the field of harmony and consistency. Any principle of interpretation that fails to advance harmony of thought and purpose in every related field of study must be considered as false. God’s eternal purpose is so constituted and unfolded in the scriptures, that the only right method of interpretation can be advanced entirely free of contradiction, inconsistency, or disharmony. The right method will not only meet the demands of the immediate scripture or context, but also of every related scripture or context”

Another link you can visit to learn more about proper Biblical interpretation is

http://www.eschatology.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1103:guest-article-bryan-lewis-on-proper-hermeneutics&Itemid=220

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Michael Miano

http://www.bluepointbiblechurch.org

http://www.christhascome.org

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2 Thessalonians chapter 2 – A Response to Matthew Henry’s Commentary

In the last issue of Fulfilled Magazine you were offered the opportunity to examine for yourself views that spoke of “moving beyond full preterism” and full preterism being the “Hymenean heresy”. As Brian Martin so rightly said, I feel that Truth has nothing to fear from opposing or differing views. If full preterism is the true, Biblical interpretation of eschatology, then it will prevail against all challenges”.

In this article I desire to show you the “Berean spirit” (Acts 17:11) alive and well in the Full Preterist community. I personally have approached those who speak ill of Full Preterism and asked for “reasons” (1 Peter 3:15) for their view- only to be given apathetic responses and or ostracized for my “critical mind”. In contrast, many times I am offered the opportunity to answer questions which I more than welcome, I encourage it.

Recently, a friend of a member of my congregation offered the commentary of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 as a rebuke of the Full Preterist position. I would like to take some time to respond and deal with the issue that arise from a proper understanding of the text. Here is the link to the commentary offered by Matthew Henry:

http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/2-thessalonians/2.html

2 Thessalonians chapter 2 is an interesting passage for someone to use “against” Full Preterism . Bible teacher Kurt Simmons writes:

“One of the chief eschatological passages of the New Testament is II Thess. 2, which speaks of the “man of sin” whom the Lord would consume at his coming. (II Thess. 2:3, 8) Tradition among primitive Christians identified St. Paul’s “man of sin” with St. John’s “antichrist” and Revelation’s “beast,” many holding that these were references to Nero. In his fourth homily on II Thessalonians, St. Chrysostom (A.D. 347 to 407) states,

“For the mystery of lawlessness doth already work.” He speaks here of Nero… But he did not also wish to point him out plainly: and this not from cowardice, but instructing us not to bring upon ourselves unnecessary enmities, when there is nothing to call for it.”

So what I hope to provide you with in this “response” is information pertaining to the “eschatological confusion” that has been shown in regards to 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, the culture and background of the confusion in different periods of time through church history (especially pertaining to Matthew Henry’s generation), and a contextual understanding of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2- with provided resources.

In his commentary, Matthew Henry notes that the purpose and opening of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 is a refutation of the error regarding the “coming of the Lord”. Apparently, the Thessalonians thought the coming of the Lord had come and gone. That alone should come many to PAUSE.

If the “coming of the Lord” or the 2nd Coming as referred to by many, is this big cataclysmic event which involves stars falling to earth, a physical body of a 1st century Jewish man floating out of the sky on a horse, attended by the resurrection of biological bodies and the planet being destroyed- HOW IN THE WORLD COULD THESE PEOPLE HAVE MISSED IT?!?! This alone should cause many to reexamine their view and position of the “coming of the Lord”.

Matthew Henry lived during the 1700’s. This was a time when “end times interpretation” was greatly influenced by what is called the “Continuous Historical Approach”. This approach finds in the imagery of Revelation a continuous, chronologically sequential panorama of history reaching until the world’s end. The first to use this approach was Nicolas of Lyra (A.D. 1329) in his Postilla. Nicolas of Lyra was a Franciscan who rejected the apocalypticism of his fellow Franciscans. Instead, Nicolas offered a continuous-historical interpretation of Revelation beginning in the first century and reaching to his own time. This approach found its way into what we might call “mainstream though” through the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther, the German reformer. Luther equated his times and struggles with the fight against the Antichrist whom he deemed was the Pope. The continuous-historical method has few modern proponents. Its traditional interpretation equating the beast and harlot with papal Rome has not withstood serious scrutiny; no reputable scholars embrace it today. In some “cultish” crowds such as Ellis Scoffield and 7th Day Adventists one is likely to find these interpretation.

A proper understanding of “interpretation principles” enhances our understanding of the Bible. Many ‘Christians’ are content with a ‘face value’ or a 21st century influenced understanding of the ancient Scriptures which is dismaying to say the least. The ‘Continuous-Historical Approach’ is void of audience relevance, consideration of time statements, and the narrative-context of the Scriptures.

In his commentary, Matthew Henry says:

“From these words it appears that some among the Thessalonians had mistaken the apostle’s meaning, in what he had written in his former epistle about the coming of Christ, by thinking that it was near at hand,—that Christ was just ready to appear and come to judgment….and hereupon the apostle is careful to rectify this mistake, and to prevent the spreading of this error. Observe, If errors and mistakes arise among Christians, we should take the first opportunity to rectify them, and hinder the spreading thereof; and good men will be especially careful to suppress errors that may arise from a mistake of their words and actions, though that which was spoken or done was ever so innocent or well”.

Yes, the Apostle Paul was strongly speaking against “eschatological error” in the church at Thessalonica concerning the “coming of the Lord”. This is a work I have engaged in for the past 2-3 years now and it seems many in the Church want to “lessen” the importance of rectifying this error.

Why does it matter? This chapter of 2 Thessalonians clearly shows us the Apostles thought this was a serious issue and had the potential to distort the gospel (something I believe is being done in many churches across the world today). Therefore in writing this article and reproving errors I endeavor to follow the same logic in which Mr. Henry operated in taking ‘the first opportunity to rectify them”, even if that means showing that Matthew Henry’s interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2 was indeed in error.

Ok..So open up your Bibles to 2 Thessalonians. I urge you before this study to take a minute to read through 2 Thessalonians chapters 1-3, that way you can get the “full force” of the letter the Apostle wrote to the Thessalonians church in A.D. 51-52. Understanding that alone is important and gives credit to the historical reliability of Scripture.

At the beginning of this letter from Paul, Timothy, and Silvanus they are encouraging the Church at Thessalonica through persecution. Notice what is said:

“…in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:4-8)”.

So if this letter was penned in the first century and dropped off at the doorstep of the Thessalonians church which was undergoing persecution and is promising them relief when the “Lord comes”- isn’t it only right to question is the Lord was faithful to this promise and gave them relief? After all, this letter is set forth to clear the confusion and not confuse more- yet the words of Christ Himself to the Apostles alive in that time was that some of them would not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming with His angels on the clouds of heaven to bring judgment (Matthew 16:27-28).

As we move into chapter 2, we now can understand why the Thessalonians would “lose composure” or be disturbed by a message that the coming had already occurred- they were still experiencing persecution- where was this RELIEF?!?!

Speaking about the “gathering together to him” should remind us of Matthew 24:31. In an article in which Dr. Don K. Preston goes in depth about the ‘gathering together’ he writes this:

“An examination of Matthew 24-25 with II Thessalonians 1-2 is especially revealing. In Matthew you have the threat of persecution with the promise of the Parousia for vindication and judgment on the persecutors–the city of Jerusalem. In II Thessalonians 1 you have the church being persecuted, and that persecution is instigated by the Jews, Acts 17. Those being persecuted are promised vindication at the coming of the Lord in fire and vengeance. The Thessalonians were suffering the persecution promised and foreseen by Jesus. Why then is the coming of the Lord in vindication in Thessalonians not the same coming of Jesus in vindication and judgment as that of Matthew 24:29-31?”.

So this gathering would be done after the tribulation which Jesus Christ speaks about in Matthew chapter 24, which a proper historical study can offer is fulfilled through the events of the Roman-Jewish War of AD 70.

“Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exhalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)”.

Now I personally believe the proof of this passage being in the past is what I posted above about the “gathering together” which was to occur in AD 70. I believe the saints were “raised up” along with “the dead ones” and brought into the presence of God- which until every jot and tittle of the Law was fulfilled could not happen. However, let’s analyze the 2 things the Apostle Paul lists here that must occur prior to the “coming of the Lord” and the “gathering together”. Could these have happened about 20 years after the Apostle Paul penned the second letter to the Thessalonians?

“APOSTASY COMES”.... Dr. Don K. Preston again weighs in on this and says:

“In Matthew 24:12 Jesus said that in the days prior to his coming in the destruction of Jerusalem, “because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” In the previous verse he warned that false prophets would “mislead many.” In verse 10 he had stated that due to persecution “many will fall away.”

Can you see the comparison? In Matthew 24 the disciples asked when the Lord was going to come. Jesus said before he returned there would be a time when “many will fall away;” false prophets would “mislead many;” and “most people’s love will grow cold.” He then told them he would come after that apostasy but in that generation, vss. 29-34.

In II Thessalonians the brethren were believing the Lord had already come. To correct their chronological error Paul reminded them that before the Lord could come “the apostasy” had to happen.

He was reminding them of the apostasy the Lord himself had said must happen!”.

BUT…who is this MAN OF LAWLESSNESS? 

Clearly from the words of the Apostle Paul this ‘man’ was alive in his time (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8).

Something was holding him back. There seems to be quite the controversy surrounding “he who know retrains” but with proper context I believe it is quite clear who this ‘man’ was.

Dr. Kenneth Gentry, who is NOT A FULL PRETERIST has some good details to share about identifying this man of lawlessness:

“The “man of lawlessness” is Nero Caesar, who also is the beast of Revelation, as a number of Church Fathers believe. This passage’s difficulty lies in the fact that Paul “describes the Man of Sin with a certain reserve” (Origen, Celsus 6:45) for fear of incurring “the charge of calumny for having spoken evil of the Roman emperor” (Augustine, City of God 20:19). Paul and his associates had already suffered at the hands of the Thessalonican Jews for “acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king – Jesus” (Ac 17:7). Wisdom demands discreetness when referring to imperial authority; his recent (1Th 2:17) personal ministry among them allows it: they were to “remember” that while with them he “told [them] these things” (2:5).

Paul clearly implies that something is presently (ca.AD 52) “restraining” (present participle) the man of sin “that he may be revealed in his own time” (2Th 2:6). The man of lawlessness is alive and waiting to be “revealed.” This implies that for the time being, Christians could expect at least some protection from the Roman government: the Roman laws regardingreligio licita  are currently in Christianity’s favor, while it remains a sect of Judaism. This begins to end after the malevolent Nero ascends the throne, for he begins persecuting Christianity in AD 64. Paul certainly enjoys the protection of Roman law (Ac 18:12ff) and makes important use of it in AD 59 (Ac 25:11–12; 28:19), when he seeks protection from the malignancy of the Jews”.

Or as author James Stuart Russel noted:

“But how striking are the indications that point to Nero in the year when this epistle was written, say A.D.52 or 53. At that time Nero was not yet ‘manifested;’ his true character was not discovered; he had not yet succeeded to the Empire. Claudius, his step-father, lived, and stood in the way of the son of Agrippina. But that hindrance was soon removed. In less than a year, probably, after this epistle was received by the Thessalonians, Claudius was ‘taken out of the way,’ a victim to the deadly practice of the infamous Agrippina; her son also, according to Suetonius, being accessory to the deed. But ‘the mystery of lawlessness was already working;’ the influence of Nero must have been powerful in the last days of the wretched Claudius; the very plots were probably being hatched that paved the way for the accession of the son of the murderess. A few months more would witness the advent to the throne of the world of a miscreant whose name is gibbeted in everlasting infamy as the most brutal of tyrants and the vilest of men”.

Bible Teacher Kurt Simmons would be inclined to historically explain that it was Claudius Caesar and the restraining power of the religio licita that kept the man of lawelessness from being revealed. 

Although being consistent with what is called “intellectual honesty” I must admit there are some who agree that this passage was fulfilled in the 1st century yet they would explain the details a bit different. For example, Bible teacher Ed Stevens would offer the high priest as the ‘lawless one”. He explains:

“The Jewish persecutors, the Judaizers, and the Zealots all show that this was fulfilled in the first century. The falling away was in progress as the last few NT books were written. One only needs to read things like the books of Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter and 1-3 John to see this. The falling away coincided with the great persecution and tribulation that descended on the church just before the Jewish revolt (A.D. 63-66). During this persecution James, Peter and others (such as Paul) were killed (A.D. 63). And it was probably about this same time that John was exiled to Patmos. The NT writers during this time of persecution were bravely challenging their fellow-saints to persevere. The faithful remnant did. But many others forsook the “better things” in Christ and returned to Judaism’s things that were “fading away” and about to be destroyed. The “falling away” and “the coming of the man of sin” were first century events. They occurred in connection with the persecution of the church just before the Jewish revolt in A.D. 66. The destruction and defilement of the temple at Jerusalem is explained in great detail by Josephus. While 2 Thess. 2:1-4 is usually associated with “THE” Antichrist, we need to remember that the anti-Christian spirit was already at work in the first century. The Jewish persecution was already underway when Paul wrote these words. The Holy Spirit was restraining its effect until the church reached a mature-enough condition to persevere. There was a close connection indeed between the tribulation and the apostasy. The anti-Christian forces were persecuting the church to get them to fall away.

There are many passages which indicate that the “anti-Christ” was actually the anti-Christian spirit which motivated the Jewish persecutors who worked against the church in the period before AD 70. Notice these passages in particular: 1 Jn. 4:3; cf. 1 Jn. 2:17, 18; and 2 Thess. 2:7. Whatever this “man of lawlessness” was, it was already at work during the time Paul wrote, and was evidently at its worst when John wrote, since he says, “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we KNOW it is THE LAST HOUR.” (emphasis mine, ES). And, it is not just preterists who suggest the “man of lawlessness” was something other than an individual. Several of the amillennial and post-millennial theories suggest the same. As far as individual “antichrists” are concerned, some have suggested the various messianic contenders during the war with Rome (John of Gischala, Simon ben Giora, or Eleazar ben Ananias, Eleazar ben Yair — the leader at Masada, or the High Priest). The Judaizers could easily qualify as “antichrists” as well. As I explain in my article elsewhere on this website, I believe the “beast” was Jewish. Whether it was the Jewish Zealots as a group, or individual leader as a figurehead, is not of real big concern to me. If I had to choose an individual who fits all the criteria mentioned here in 2 Thess. 2 and Revelation, I would probably focus on Eleazar ben Yair who resurrected his cause at Masada”.

Sure enough….the “coming of the Lord” occurred when the Romans surrounded the city of Jerusalem (Luke 21:20). This event destroyed the persecutors of the saints (Galatians 4:23-31). The temple was destroyed and it was clear as day as the 1st century historian Josephus noted:

“And this seems to me to have been the reason why God, out of his hatred of these men’s wickedness, rejected our city; and as for the temple, he no longer esteemed it sufficiently pure for him to inhabit therein, but brought the Romans upon us, and threw a fire upon the city to purge it; and brought upon us, our wives, and children, slavery, as desirous to make us wiser by our calamities”.

The rise of Full Preterism can be quite intimidating to many people who want to hold to certain “traditional” teachings. What needs to be known that within the Full Preterist community there are Christians who seek simply to know, understand, and to be obedient to the teachings of Jesus Christ- ALL THE TEACHINGS. I hope I have shown the ‘intellectual honesty’ in this response to the critics who may utilize Matthew Henry’s commentary and I hope that I have shown Mr. Henry’s thoughts on 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 to be flawed.

The fact remains- the letter of 2 Thessalonians was a first century writing to the Thessalonian church to encourage them to withstand persecution having hope in the “coming of the Lord” which would be judgement upon those who persecuted them. This judgment/ “coming of the Lord” occurred right on time as judgment came upon the city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants. Those whom were santified in Christ were ‘gathered to the Lord’ as they heeded His teachings and sure enough as the 1st century historian Josephus accounts- NOT ONE CHRISTIAN DIED IN THE CITY!

 

Reference:

http://www.preteristcentral.com/The%20Road%20Back%20to%20Preterism.html

http://www.preteristarchive.com/Hyper/0000_preston_second-thess.html

http://www.preteristarchive.com/Hyper/0000_preston_how-possible.html

http://torreygazette.com/austinpreterism/2013/07/23/gentry-theology-man-of-lawlessness-identified

http://kloposmasm.com/2009/08/16/pp15-the-man-of-lawlessness-ii-thess-2-part-1/

http://www.preterist.org/preteristQA.asp

 

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