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DISTURBING THE PEACE

An Overview Study on the Message of the Biblical Prophets

The Word of God is prophetic. In Genesis we find God declaring His first covenant with man and His declaration of sovereignty and ownership over everything He has created. In the Psalms we read of various cries to the Lord, each of which can resonate with us. In Revelation, we read of a vision given to John to warn the terminal first century generation of their end. Scripture is replete with prophets and prophetic words that demand examination to the edification of the Believer.

May the words of the prophets invigorate you and give you clarity regarding the Word of God.

(* Not intended to be exhaustive of every person that is or could be a Biblical prophet nor all the prophesies)

 

ADAM
“And the Lord God took the man, and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man saying, ‘of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, do not eat, for in the day you eat of it you shall surely die’ (Genesis 2:15-17).

“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a help meet for him’ (Genesis 2:18).

“And Adam said, ‘This is now flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone, she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of man’. Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed (Genesis 2:23-25)

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took the fruit, ate, and also gave to her husband, and he did eat. And both of their eyes were opened, and they knew they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day; and Adam and his wife hid themselves  from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:6-8)

Curse Declarations:
“To the serpent…(Genesis 3:14-15)”
“To the woman…(Genesis 3:16)”
“To Adam…(Genesis 3:17-19)”

“For Adam and his wife, the Lord God made coats of skin, and clothed them…unless He eat of the Tree of Life and live forever, He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden, cherubims, and a flaming sword, to guard the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3:21-24)

 

ABEL
“And the Lord said to Cain,….”The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground (Genesis 4:9-10)”.

“The blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, will be required of this generation. From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah…(Luke 11:50-51)”.

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaks (Hebrews 11:4)”.

“Ye have come unto Mount Zion…and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel (Hebrews 12:22,24)”.

 

ENOCH – means “dedicated”
“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him (Genesis 5:24)”.

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God has translated him: for before his translation he had testimony that he pleased God (Hebrews 11:5)”.

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these saying, “Behold the Lord comes with ten thousand of His saints, to execute judgement upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him (Jude 14-15)”.

 

METHUSALEH – makes “death shall be sent”; lived the longest in OT
And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died (Genesis 5:27)”.

 

NOAH
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Genesis 6:8-10)”

“And , behold, I, and even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein there is breath of life, from under heaven, and everything that is in the earth shall die. But with you (Noah) I will establish my covenant, and you shall go into an ark, you and yours sons, your wife and their wives. And every living thing, two of every sort, you shall bring into the ark, to keep alive, they shall be male and female….And so Noah did everything the Lord had commanded him (Genesis 6:17-22; 7:1-9)”.

“And the Lord spoke to Noah, saying, ‘Go from the ark, you, your wife, and your sons wives, bring with thee every living thing that is with thee…that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth (Genesis 8:15-17)”.

“And Noah built an altar to the Lord: and took of every clean beast and every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet aroma, and the Lord said in His heart, ‘I will not again curse the ground for man’s sake, for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth, neither again will I kill every living thing, as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease’ (Genesis 8:20-22)”.

“And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth (Genesis 9:1)”.

“And God said, ‘This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a token between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: and I will remember my covenant which is between me, you, and every living creature, and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth (Genesis 9:12-16)”.

“By faith Noah, being warned by God of things not yet seen, moved with fear, prepared an ark  to the saving of his house ; by which he condemned the world, and became the heir of righteousness which is by faith (Hebrews 11:7)”.

 

ABRAM/ ABRAHAM  
“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Get out of this land, and from your family, and your father’s house, and go to a land I will show you: and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless you, and curse them that curse you, and in you shall all families of the earth shall be blessed. So Abram went, as the Lord has said to him…(Genesis 12:1-4)”.

“And the Lord said to Abram…’Lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are to the north, the south, and east, and west: for all the land that you see, I will give to you and your seed forever. And I will make your seed as the dust of the earth: so that if any man can number the dust of the earth, then shall your seed be numbered (Genesis 13:14-16)”.

“And My covenant shall be with you, and you shall be the father of many nations. Neither shall your name be called Abram, but Abraham, for I have made you the father of many nations. And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, kings shall come out of you. And I will establish my covenant between me, you, and your seed after you, in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you and your seed after you. And I will give you, and your seed after you, the land which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God (Genesis 17:4-8)”.

“Are you not our God, who did drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and gave it to the seed of Abraham, your friend, forever (2 Chronicles 20:7)”.

“And do not say within yourselves, ‘We have Abraham to our father: I say to you, that God is able to raise up children of Abraham out of these stones (Matthew 3:9)”.

“They answered and to said to Him, ‘Abraham is our father’. Jesus said to them, ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham (John 8:39)”.

“Know that those who are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached the Gospel to Abraham, saying, In you shall all nations be blessed. So then they which are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham (Galatians 3:7-9)”.

“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:29)”.

“By faith Abraham when he was called to go out of a place to a place that he shall receive as an inheritance, obeyed: and he went out not knowing where he was going. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as a stranger….he looked for a city which had foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:8-10)”.

“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac, and he that had received the promise offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac shall your seed be called’: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead: and he was received as a type (Hebrews 11:17-19)”.

“O will you know, oh vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he had offered up Isaac upon the alter? See how his faith was with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which said, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God. You see then that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only (James 2:20-24)”.

 

MELCHIZEDEK – means “king of righteousness”
“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And blessed him and said, ‘Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth. And blessed be the most high God, which has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave with tithes of all (Genesis 14:18-20)”.

“The order of Melchizedek” – Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:1-6; 7:1-28)

 

ISAAC
“And God said to Abraham, “Let it not be grievous in your sight because of the child, and because of your bondwoman, in all that Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice, for in Isaac your seed shall be called (Genesis 21:12)”.

 

JACOB – carried blessing of Abraham (cf. Genesis 28:3-4)
“And Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came upon a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun was set; and he took one of the stones  of that place and used it for a pillow, and laid down to sleep. And he had a dream, where he saw a ladder set upon the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, ‘I am the Lord God of Abraham, your father, and the God of Isaac, and the land where you are laying, to you I will give it, and to your seed; and your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west, the east, the north, and the south: and in you and your seed shall all families of the earth be blessed. And behold, I am with you, and will keep you in the place where you go, and I will bring you back into this land, I will not leave you until I have done that which I have spoken to you’. And then Jacob woke up, and he said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place; and I didn’t know it’. And he was afraid and said, ‘How dreadful is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven’. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the same stone he had for his pillow, and set it as pillar, and poured oil on top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of that city was called Luz at first (Genesis 28:10-10)”.

“And Jacob was left alone: and there he wrestled with a man until the breaking of day. And when he saw that he did not prevail against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, ‘Let me go for the day has broken’. And he said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me’. And he said to him, What is your name? and he said, Jacob. And he said, ‘Your name shall no more be Jacob, but Israel, for as a prince you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed’…And Jacob named the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved (Genesis 32:24- 30)”.

Jacob blesses his sons and prophesies of the last days – “Gather yourselves together so that I may tell you what will befall you in the last days (Genesis chapter 49)”.

 

MOSES – “Song of Moses” (cf. Exodus chapter 15) the entirety of the law and the Old Covenant are understood to be the prophetic words of Moses

SAMUEL
He tried to persuade Israel that they did not want a king and kingdom like the nations around them (1 Samuel chapter 8)

 

ELIJAH
Elijah was known as the “troubler of Israel” (cf. 1 Kings 18:17) and challenged Ahab and the false prophets of Baal to what seemed like a duel. Of course the One True God showed His power and demonstrated the falsehood of Baal worship (1 Kings chapter 18).

 

JOEL
Spoke about the “Day of the Lord”  – a day of visions, judgement, and the Spirit of God being poured out (cf. Acts chapter 2).

 

HOSEA
Spoke of judgement and resurrection; married adulterous wife to exhibit sins of people, Israel.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. ‘Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I will also ignore your children (Hosea 4:6)”.

 

ISAIAH
Spoke of the “Day of the Lord” and the  “New heaven and new earth”

Isaiah 49:6

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind (Isaiah 65:17)”.

 

MICAH
“For the transgression of Jacob is all of this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? It is not Samaria? And what are the high places of Judah? Are they not Jerusalem? Therefore I will make Samaria as a heap of the field, and as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundation thereof. And all the graven images shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with fire, and all the idols I will lay desolate: for she gathered it of the hire of a harlot, and they shall return to the hire of a harlot. Therefore I will wail and howl, and will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning like the owls (Micah 1:5-8)”.

“But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, ‘Come, and let us go up the to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore (Micah 4:1-3)”.

“And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as dew from the Lord, as showers upon the grass, that works not for man, not waits for the son of men (Micah 5:7)”.

“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves that are a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or of ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, oh man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love mercy, and the walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:6-8)”.

 

JEREMIAH
“Behold the days are coming says the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; the covenant which they broke, although I have been a husband to them, says the Lord. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, says the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it on their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach not more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord’: for they all shall know me, from the least unto the greatest, says the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more (Jeremiah 31:31-34)”.

Jeremiah also wrote the Book of Lamentations, which contains his prophesies and cries on behalf of the city of Jerusalem during the time of its impending judgement in 586 BC.

 

EZEKIEL
Ezekiel saw the glory of the Lord. This led to him seeing a glimpse of the people being resurrected (cf. Ezekiel chapter 37) and the River of Life flowing from the restored Temple of God (cf. Ezekiel 47:1-12).

 

MALACHI
“For behold, the day comes, that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yes, and all them that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But to you that fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings: and you shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they shall be as ashes under the soles of you feet in the day that I do this, says the Lord of hosts (Malachi 4: 1-2)”.

“Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, unless I come and smite the earth with a curse (Malachi 4:5-6)”.

 

JOHN THE BAPTIST
“In those days came John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying ‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’. For this was he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah saying, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight…Then went out to him, Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized by him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said to them, ‘O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth fruit meet with repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham as our father: for I say to you, that God is able to make children of Abraham out of these stones. And now also, the ax is at the root of the trees; therefore every tree which does not bring forth fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water for repentance, but He that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the barn, and He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:1-12)”.

 

SIMEON
“And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon: and he was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the Temple, and when the parents had brought in Jesus, to do for him the custom of the Law, then Simeon took the child in his arms and blessed him, and said, ‘Lord, let your servant now depart in peace, according to Your word. I have seen Your salvation which you have prepared before the face of all people: a light to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel…Behold, this child will cause the rising and falling of many in Israel; and a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yeah, a sword shall pierce through my own soul too), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed (Luke 2:25-35)”.

 

ANNA  
“And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity: and she was a wisdom for forty forty four years, and did not leave the temple, but served God with fasting and prayers, day and night. And she came in that instant and gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all of them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem (Luke 2:36-28)”.

 

 

CONCLUSION

This study had begun as an idea to do a skit regarding the prophets. The point of the title, Disturbing The Peace, was to highlight the point that the prophets disturbed the status quo, especially in times when false prophets tried to keep the people content with a false peace. The prophets highlighted the true peace and hope that came from God, and continually called the people to live in line with that.

As I have grown in my understanding of Theology, the shape and purpose of the prophetic literature in the Bible has taken on much more meaning. Namely that the prophetic all mysteriously pointed to the New Covenant that would be made known through Jesus Christ, and the “hope of Israel”, as well as the “living hope”. As accounted by the Apostle Paul, the Gospel is the manifestation of the hope made known through the prophets (cf. Acts 24:14; 26:22) – nothing other than that will fit the “one hope” of Ephesians 4:4. Therefore, I have found it to be important in our continual growth into the Gospel to diligently study through the Prophets.

Prayerfully this study edified your own.

 

For His Glory,

Michael Miano
Pastor, Apologist, Author, & Director

 

 

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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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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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Called to Ministry (Part Two)

(Quotes and Notes from the book, The Christian Ministry by Charles Bridges)

“‘A Pastor should act with the dignity of a man, who acts by the authority of God’-remembering, that while we speak to men, we speak in God’s stead”.

 How about that as a job description? That shows the dignity of the pastoral position and the authority thereof. BUT…there is much work to be done. Sadly, many pastors settle at “pulpit preaching” and fail to further expound upon the foundation that has been laid.

“There was not only a foundation to be laid, but a building to be raised”

“Not even is the light and heat of the sun- not even is meat and drink, so necessary for the support and cherishing of our present life, as the Apostolic and Pastoral Office for the preservation of the Church on earth”- John Calvin

“The subsequent walk also of our people in the faith, hope, and love of the gospel, forms our ground of unceasing  thanksgiving to God, our chief joy, and the very life of our life. “We have no greater joy, than to hear that our children are walking in truth””.

            If that is so, we are in dire need of discipleship. In a day and age, where “backsliding” happens more often than sincere repentance, we (all of us who call ourselves Christians) must work toward better efforts in discipleship. Let’s start with the discipleship of our “leaders”.

“The Scripture justly insists- that Ministers should be “holy”- in a peculiar sense men of God- men taught of God- men consecrated to God by a daily surrender of their time and talents to His service- men of singleness of purpose- LIVING IN THEIR WORK- living altogether but for one end, “moved by none of the afflictions that wait them: neither counting their life dear to them, so that they might finish their course with joy, and the Ministry  which they have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God”. Cf. Acts 20:17-35

            Again, a sad note is that the failure of many “leaders” or “pastors” in that they have not worked toward their continual discipleship.

“The solid establishment of the people may be materially hindered by the Minister’s contracted statements, crude interpretations, or misdirected Scriptural application”.

            I personally have come into contact with “pastors” who make the “ministry” out to be an ordinary job description like a “worldly” 9-5 job. Men who claim to be “of God” yet will not challenge their presuppositions and build a “social network” rather than God’s Church. Let me add a disclaimer, I extend as much grace to those who fail in these regards as I would hope to receive myself, as has been rightly noted:

“It will not fail to be objected that if none were to be admitted into the holy orders, except those who are possessed of every necessary qualification, there could not possibly be procured a sufficient number of Pastors for the supply of our Churches”

With that said, let’s delve into the proper “discipleship” of the “pastoral ministry”.

“The duties of an evangelical preacher, before he begins his ministry, are,

1.)    To grow in piety, by feeding on the bread of prayer

2.)    To give his zeal time to wax strong by reading the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers

3.)    To continue in silence and retirement, till God is pleased to bring him out, and show him to the world; men deceive themselves when they imagine that they ought to produce and employ their talents without delay, and that they cannot hide them without violating the commandment of God.

“A season of preparation- employed in storing the mind with Christian doctrine, and in directing it to devotional and practical purposes- in habits of self-communion and converse with God, and in the exercises of godliness, will turn to the most profitable account throughout the course of a protracted ministry”.

            For the past 3 years, I have continually sought God’s advice and counsel in regards to my call in ministry. I have had opportunities, but my decisions (accepting the truth espoused in Full Preterism for one) removed those opportunities from before me. I have had nights where I cried out to God asking WHY?!?! All my labor for and in Him, yet I seem to be the one “not being blessed in regards to my calling”. I remember one day after a long prayer session, I went to my wife and said, “God is preparing me. He has told me to be ready, because when it is time, I will be responsible”. As I noted in part 1 of this series, as of March 2013, I have been called. How exciting!!!

HABIT OF GENERAL STUDY

“The object of all your studies, should be neither celebrity, advantage, nor knowledge for its own sake, but furniture to enable you to serve God in your generation”.

“…whatever is respect of knowledge supplies the materials necessary for EDIFYING, COMFORTING, AND PROTECTING FROM ALL SPIRITUAL DANGER the people that may be committed to his charge, or is of use for defending  the cause of his Master, MUST EVIDENTLY BE A PROPER STUDY FOR THE MAN WHO INTENDS TO ENTER INTO THE HOLY MATRIMONY”.

“Indeed, to restrict our reading to matters of immediate connection with our grand subject, would exclude us from much valuable collateral knowledge, and expose us to prejudice and misconception”

“…a competent acquaintance with the Evidences of the Christian religion- the Holy Scriptures- and the history of the Church, and especially of our own church”.

“PATIENT APPLICATION is literally everything. Without it you may have a number of HALF-FORMED IDEAS floating in your mind, but deep, connected, large, and consistent views of any subject you will never gain. Impatient haste is the bane of deep intellectual work. IF YOU ARE INVESTIGATING ANY IMPORTANT DOCTRINE, BE NOT READY TO LEAVE IT. COME TO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN: SEEKING LIGHT FROM EVERY QUARTER; AND PERUSING WITH ATTENTION THE BEST BOOKS, UNTIL YOU HAVE ENTERED, AS FAR AS YOU ARE CAPABLE, INTO ITS PRFOUNDEST MERITS. And, if compelled by any circumstance to leave the subject before you have reached this point, hold it in reserve for another and more satisfactory examination. In short, let your motto, and, as far as practicable, your habit be, to leave nothing until you have THROUGOUGHLY MASTERED IT”.

            To be honest, this is something I am still working hard on. I have developed quite the ‘foundational knowledge’ of many topics, yet I do find it hard to “thoroughly master” things since I “jump” a lot. I have been in a “season” of practicing this though, challenging myself in regards to ‘preterist thought’ and the consistent application of it (for example, baptism- which Larry Siegle has been an immense help).

      I have met many friends who fail to fully understand the concept of “patient application” and this leads them in many directions. I have continually challenged people with the truth of 1 Thessalonians 5:21 which clearly expresses the Christian truth, which is much neglected’ of “examining everything carefully”.

“The accuracy of study is of far greater importance than its extent. ‘A little study, well digested in a good, serious mind, will go a great way, and will lay in materials for a whole life”.

“…LOVE OF STUDY; a desire of becoming useful to our parish; a CONVICTION of the necessity of deriving from prayer that knowledge which study does not afford; of being impressed with a desire of salvation, and of applying all the means of ADVANCING IN EVANGELICAL WISDOM, to INSPIRE our flock with a love of their duty, in order that they may the more easily be induced to practice it: in a word, a sincere desire to fulfill our ministry”.

            -Authentic Missional Discipleship

“Not to read or study at all is to tempt God: to do nothing but study, is to forget the ministry: to study, only to glory in one’s knowledge, is a shameful vanity: to study, in search of the means to flatter sinners, a deplorable prevarication: but to store one’s mind with the knowledge proper to the saints by study and by prayer, and to diffuse that knowledge in solid instructions and practical exhortations- this is to be a prudent, zealous, and laborious minister”.

SCRIPTURAL STUDY

            The practice of having a well rounded Biblical understanding has allowed for my to keep Scriptural truths always revolving in my mind. When someone speaks of something regarding the Scriptures I am able to draw from my mind the story in context (sometimes I wish I was blessed with the memorization gift, not yet at least).

“I wish him to be diligent in his studies; but the Bible is the proper library for a young man entering into the Church…I read other books that I may be better able to understand the Scriptures”

“Prefer having eyes to read the Scriptures, and be blind to everything else, rather than to read everything else and neglect the Bible”.

“I find it would be very much to my advantage to be thoroughly acquainted with the Scriptures. When I am reading doctrinal books, or books of controversy, I can proceed with abundantly more confidence, and can see upon what FOUNDATION I STAND”.

Amen. When I first became a Christian I believed reading ‘Christian books’ was ridiculous. Why bother when I have the Scriptures? Obviously as I have grown, I have realized the benefit of studying science, history, sociology, and various religions to better enhance my understanding of the context of Scripture. The fact that for about 2 years I was a staunch, “Bible-Only” type of guy, I have developed a strong foundation to which I can always refer back to.

 The failure of men/women in the “leadership”, as well as all in the Church, to examine the Scriptures in context of the “whole story” prior to “religious indoctrination” has led to prejudice.

“Attachment to some particular system is a spiritual self-indulgence, which TOO OFTEN GUIDES OUR SCRIPTURAL READING, and gives an INDIVIDUAL CHARACTER to it, rather than receives a complexion from it”.

            In our day and age, there are a variety of “flavors” of Christianity which sadly read the Scriptures in different contexts. The failure to understand Audience Relevancy and other Hermeneutical practices has led to a gross error in how many understand the Scriptures. The rise of “devotional reading” without contextual understanding has led so many to read themselves into a historical story and to completely remove the original context they had. This in turn makes Christianity out to be a personal religion rather than a historical fact.

            The fact that a reformation, or as some are calling it, a “reframe-ation” is occurring in our day, is rather exciting. Many are coming to understand the historical story of the Scriptures, the truth espoused in them, how that affects us in our day, and also leading many to the faith. Semper Reformanda.

“You will apply yourselves wholly to this one thing, and draw all your cares and studies this way; continually praying to God the Father by meditation of our only Savior Jesus Christ, for the heavenly assistance of the Holy Ghost; that by daily weighing of the Scriptures, you may wax riper and stronger in your ministry”.

“Study furnishes the materials- prayer sanctifies them- exercise makes a suitable distributive application of them to several cases brought before us”.

“Abhor an hour of idleness, as you would be ashamed of one hour of drunkenness”.

“A minister must remember, that himself with all his studies is consecrated to the service of the sanctuary. Let everything be done therefore with a view to one great end; and let us pursue every part of science with a design to gain better qualifications thereby for our sacred work”.

   I endeavor to continue to walk worthy. So grateful to be alive in this generation and to be called to ministry as a reformation takes place!

    In service to Him,

             Michael Miano

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