Getting ‘Soma’ Understanding of the Hebrew/ Greek Context of ‘Soma'(Body)

A couple of weeks ago, I preached a sermon on 1 Corinthians chapter 15, a passage in which we read the following;

“There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory (1 Cor. 15:40-41)”.

What in the world is the Apostle Paul saying here?

Clarity on this requires is a contextual study of 1 Corinthians chapter 15 as a letter written to an actual church/local ‘body’ of believers in Corinth around early 57 A.D.
In the sermon I preached on 1 Corinthians chapter 15, I explained that the Apostle Paul is responding to 2 questions/ concerns within the church – and he makes them of utmost importance.

1.) Will there be a resurrection of the dead?
2.) With what kind of body do they come?

The Apostle Paul details that there will surely be a resurrection of the dead, he even goes the whole route of pointing out that the entire hope of the saints is based on the resurrection of the dead (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:17). He then follows that response with a response to another question which we read in verse 35 – “How are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come?”

To the Hebrew people, redemption – salvation- atonement, were a corporate reality. You will find no source within the Old Testament nor the rabbinical writings that offers individual salvation – which runs against the overly individualized preaching of the “Gospel” today. The individual’s hope is within the corporate community or what what cultural understood as a ‘body’ in 1st century Hellenistic society. I like what New Testament scholar E.P. Sanders has said on this point, ” We note that the individual’s place in God’s plan was accomplished by his being a member of the group”.

Failure to understand this “group dynamic” that was popular in the context of 1st century Corinth in our overly individualistic Western interpretations we seem to have misplaced the corporate mentality of the ancients, especially the Hebrew people. This causes many challenges to our understanding the points being made in the New Testament- namely because we lack a Hebrew context and we fail to understand how the Greeks also identified individuals by the group, ie. groups of Jews and Gentiles were referred to as “bodies” (plural term of soma is somata).

The Greek term ‘Soma’ simply means ‘body’. This can be an individual’s body, the body of an animal, or it can mean a group or society. When we study out the context of what the Apostle Paul is detailing in the letter to Corinth, especially in chapter 15, wherein he is detailing the ‘resurrection of the dead’ we find clarity. The context is essentially found by understanding what the “hope of Israel” was in regards to the resurrection of the dead as detailed through the Law and the Prophets. (I have preached various sermons on this corporate hope, which essentially was the Gospel that the Apostle Paul preached – see, Acts chapters 23, 24, 26, and 28 among Romans chapters 9 and 15).

Prayerfully I made the point in the sermon that I mentioned I preached on 1 Corinthians chapter 15 (which I will provide a link for below) that the details of the “resurrection of the dead” in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 are speaking of the Old Covenant saints transition into the ‘heavenly glories’ that were consummated in and through Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul affirms that defeat of “the death” was sure and the mortal would put on immortality. “The death” that the Apostle Paul mentions is NOT the biological death of the individual, rather “the death” is speaking of that which comes through Law and sin – dare we call it “covenant death” (the same death, Adam suffered “the day” he eat of the tree of knowledge of Good and evil based on his disobedience to God’s law). See for yourself, in speaking of the defeat of death the Apostle Paul quotes from Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14 (there is NO WAY that “the death” can be forced to mean physical death unless the Apostle Paul is ignoring the context of the passages he is quoting).

As you begin to understand what “death” was being defeated, you can also begin to develop an understanding of what “mortal body” needed to put on immortality – the Old Covenant saints.

If and when you come to understand the Old Covenant “body” or group, to be that which gave a temporal life (in essence, mortal) through the Law (cf. Dueteronomy 6:2; Dueteronomy 30:15, 19; Dueteronomy 32: 46-47) you can then begin to understand what the Apostle Paul is saying regarding the resurrection of the dead (OC saints) – giving “eternal life” to those who were dead under Law – after all, the whole concept is based on promises to them isn’t it?

 

Once the Apostle Paul explains and affirms the “resurrection of the dead” he then moves on to the next logical question – well, with what kind of body will they come? It is important to realize what he is actually saying here – With what kind of (singular) body do they (plural) come?

Let’s take a look at the text in question – 1 Corinthians 15:35-44.

” 35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” 36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 37 And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.
39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”

Will the Old Covenant saints be raised in the self same body – ie, the Old Covenant? Apparently, some were trying to teach that – think: Hymenaus and Philetus (cf. 2 Timothy 2:17; Galatians 3: 1-3).

The Apostle Paul begins to detail that – No, the Old Covenant saints under the Law in the “mortal body” will have to be raised into the “immortal body”. Just as a seed doesn’t have the same form when it is planted, so is the story with the Old Covenant saints – they were in the OC body, but they died in that covenant (just as a seed dies in the ground) and they would be raised in glory.

 

What is the Apostle Paul explaining in 1 Corinthians 15:40-41? . God created the heavenly bodies of the sun, moon, and the stars which each have their own intended glory, and he creates earthly bodies that have their own intended glory. God gives all sorts of things bodies that have glory of their own. God created the Old Covenant as a “mortal body” – that which would provide ‘temporal covenant life’ and that covenant had it’s glory, however it was and is through the glorious “immortal body” of Christ that eternal life is found – and ‘the dead’ would be raised into that glorious body!

“Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58)”.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Michael Miano

Visit the following link to follow along with the “One New Man” Sermon series being preached through at The Blue Point Bible Church:
http://www.buzzsprout.com/11630

 

DEBATE HANDOUT – PASTOR MIANO’S AFFIRMATIVE OF FULL PRETERISM

Pastor Michael Miano’s Affirmative of Full Preterism

I.) Law of Blessings and Curses cf. Deuteronomy 4:1-9; 6:1-25; Deuteronomy 11:26; Deuteronomy chapter 28

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:3-4)”.

II.) The Apostle Paul said himself that he proclaimed nothing other than what was hoped for and found in the Law and the Prophets (cf. Acts 23:6-9; Acts 24:14-15; Acts 26:2-8; Acts 28:20).

III.) “Mystery of the Ages” – cf. Romans 16:25; Ephesians 1:9; 3:3; Colossians 1:26-27; Revelation 10:7

Kingdom of God – cf. Isaiah 2:2-4; Daniel 7:13-14; Luke 1:68-75; Luke 17:20-21; Matthew 21:43

What is a “time statement”?

IV.) Defining Eschatological Events

Coming of the Lord –

Resurrection of the Dead –

Transformation of God’s people & the New Heavens and New Earth – 

    Considering that Revelation 21:1-4 is a ‘covenantal change’, that which was passing away – the old order (Hebrews 8:13), in seeing them fulfilled – Are you making these details up, or finding them in the Law & the Prophets?

Tears: Psalm 39:12; Psalm 42:3; Jeremiah 9:1; Jeremiah 13:17; Jeremiah 31:16; Isaiah 25:8

Death: Isaiah 25:8; Hosea 13:14

Mourning & crying: Psalm 43:2; Ecclesiastes 7:2, 4; Isaiah 51:11; Isaiah 60:20; Jeremiah 16:5; Jeremiah 31:13; Amos 8:10

Pain & sickness: Isaiah 13:8; Isaiah 26:18; Isaiah 66:7; Jeremiah 12:13; Jeremiah 51:8; Micah 4:10; Romans 8:22; Revelation 21:4 / Exodus 23:25; Deuteronomy 7:15; Deuteronomy 28:61; 1 Kings 8:37-40; 2 Chronicles 21:12-15; Hosea 5:13

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another gospel at all; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the Gospel of Christ. Even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have already preached to you, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:6-8)”

The End Times Conference & Debate: AFTERTHOUGHTS

Wait…… if The “END TIMES” BIBLE CONFERENCE @ BPBC is all over with and fulfilled, does that mean there is nothing or no benefit from the conference for you (those of you who were not there)?
Of course not. Fulfillment does not take away application. 🙂

As we see our brothers and sisters going back home from all over the world, minds still fasncinated with all that was presented and detailed this weekend at Blue Point Bible Church (www.bluepointbiblechurch), and we are beginning to prepare videos for upload to Youtube – I wanted to share some afterthoughts about the conference.

The speakers were all amazing and full of knowledge and passion, what I like to refer to as “zeal empowered by knowledge”. I was able to take pictures with a man I admire, Mr. Ed Stevens, and even recieve encouragement in ministry from him. I was able to converse and of course take pictures with ‘next generation reformers’ like Mr. Adam Maarshalk, Mr. Daniel Colon, Ms. Michelle Waite. Mr. Glenn Hill gave us the “X-Ray of an Old Preacher’s Heart” and members from a fellow church on Long Island, Sound of Heaven, ( Johnny Ova and Jason D’ Ambrosio) brought passion and conviction regarding the truth of fulfillment. Glory to God.

Two videos from the conference are already available:

Herman & Nudix Comedy Skit about the “Holey Bible”                   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_TLo29IOio

Sunday Sermon by Pastor Michael Miano                                                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfV6OR2WTng

I honestly have a lot to say and develop regarding the “movement” of Preterism and all that was shared and discussed at the conference this week. There is truly an amazing amount of POWER in this “Preterist Reformation” and I am excited to get to work and invite others to work with me through the The Power of Preterism Network (TPPN).

My “opponent” in debate regarding the “end times” was Mr. Stephen Whitsett who holds to the view of ‘Middleism’, what he believes is a balanced look at Bible prophecy. I totally disagree with Mr. Whitsett in regards to what the Bible is speaking about in regards to the end, however I have come to appreciate him as a brother and the ‘Spirit’ he carries within him. Meeting face to face surely has a different effect than debating on Facebook. Mr. Whitsett has already produced his own ‘reflections’ on the conference and debate which you can read here:
http://middleism.org/wordp/reflections-miano-whitsett-debate/

As I think through the debate and read Mr. Whitsett’s reflections I am reminded that “Futurism, regardless to Mr. Whitsett’s attempt of “Middleism”, is telling the wrong story- he essentially rips the point of what is being discussed in the New Testament and makes it about his own hopes of a change from this life- rather than what Israel hoped for (which I sought to make clear in my opening statement of the debate). In response to that Mr. Whitsett makes claims that this is me (the preterist) forcing the context into “my box” of interpretation. In his “reflections” he remarks:
“In the debate this difference became very apparent. When the meaning of the plain sentence and words contradict the preterist position the spiritual application is always applied: it’s not talking about X Y Z, it’s about the passing of the Old and the introduction of the New (which is a very broad meaning). So every difficult passage he applied his spiritual meaning over instead of what the literal words state.”

That is not the case at all. Instead what I do when reading my Bible is seek to find what the text meant to those it was originally written to and then when I understand all the details, I seek application and understanding for us – the people of God. That’s the plain meaning of the text, in contrast to the “plain meaning” that Mr. Whitsett is offering. This seems to be the responsible way to handle the Scriptures- essentially, understanding the narrative of Scripture and what that pointed to. What Mr. Whitsett wants to do is demand that the “plain meaning” is whatever he (or others of the futurist persuasion) demand it to be. Is that the proper way to understand a story you have been invited into? Not to mention a story that is told by writings spanning from over 10,000 – 2,000 years old?

All too often, we demand the texts found in Scripture are talking about what we want them to be detailing, and then we force that understanding upon the Scriptures. Simply put, the reality of the resurrection of the dead has a context that is weaved through the Old and New Testaments.

“For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity (Ephesians 2:14-15)”.

I believe I represented that well in the debate.

Building upon that I will be working on a sermon series detailing the “One New Man” that was the goal of the ages, and how fufilled Bible prophecy makes Christ’s work very clear.
Not only does Mr. Whitsett, as the Futurist so often does, distort that goal in his attempt to demand the “body” or “bodies” being spoken about in Scripture is an individual reality – he also expressed failure in showing where this yet future physical coming of Jesus Christ is expounded upon in Scripture. You will see when you watch the debate, after asking him 2 times to give me the details, I simply gave up because he could produce not even one Scripture.

That alone ironically makes Mr. Whitsett a smart man. He knows the “time texts”, and thus is why he seeks to make the “coming of the clouds” simply Christ’s ascension, rather than noticing yes it points to His ascension and the reality of His coming in judgement- they both go hand in hand.

So Mr. Whitsett avoids the time-statements, and tries to focus on the “nature” of the coming- which he demands to be physical since the Greek work used for Christ’s appearance in some texts is ‘Epiphaneia’ means to manifest, to be made visible. This seemingly gets silly and seems like a circular argument because the Preterist is simply saying that the “coming of the Lord” is an already defined expression when John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and the Apostles use it (I believe I expressed that clearly as well in my opening statement). It meant judgement. And as a Preterist I surely believe that “judgement” was visible and made clear as the Roman armies brought destruction upon the “earth” (Greek term ‘ge’ which means land not planet) and “clouds” surrounded the city”.

I wasn’t there of course, but the first century Jewish historian Josephus was, and he detailed the Jewish-Roman War in this way:
“… a few days after that feast, on the one- and-twentieth day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar,] a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities.”

The 4th century ‘Church Historian’ Eusebius even noted this is historical writings – Ecclesiastical History, Book 3, Ch. 8).

No redefining needed on behalf of the Preterist at all. Actually, it is the ‘Futurist View’ that not only redefines the eschatological details, they also come awfully close to distorting the entire “hope of Israel”. As I write this, Mr. Whitsett is confusingly still arguing on my Facebook status for a physical return of Jesus Christ – citing part of Bible verses while ignorning the context.

So….. let the “Preterist Reformation” continue.

Be diligent, The time is coming soon, Wait and watch – not the end, but rather the beginning. 🙂

Get involved with The Power of Preterism Network (TPPN) and Reformation NOW by simply getting on the email list by emailing your name, location (city & state), email, and phone number to ChristianityGoneWild@yahoo.com

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Michael Miano

Spanish ‘Preterist’ Resources

Due to the recent rise in requests from Spanish speaking friends and family for Preterist resources, I wanted to make this blog of compiled resources available. Thank you for those of you who helped out. Without mention, you know who you are 🙂

  1. Days of Vengeance by David Chilton – http://www.preteristarchive.com/Books/1987_chilton_dias-retribucion.html
  2. Preterism on Wikipedia – https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preterismo
  3. Preterism: Defined – http://beyondtheendtimes.com/writing/articles/spanish/que_es_preterista.html
  4. Parousia by J.Stuart Russell – http://www.preteristarchive.com/Books/1878_russell_parusia.html
  5. http://www.escatologiarealizada.com/?m=1
  6. http://www.oocities.org/alfil2_1999/
  7. http://preteristasdevenezuela.blogspot.ca/
  8. http://pasado-y-futuro.neocities.org/preterismo.html

May all that we do continue our role and mission in the world, to continue to make known the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:15).

In Christ,

The Power of Preterism Network (TPPN)

The “End Times Conference” at the Blue Point Bible Church

endtimesconfernece

FRIDAY, MARCH 18TH – SUNDAY, MARCH 20TH – 2016

 

Friday, March 18th    (5PM – 9:30PM)

5PM – Registration begins

5:30PM – Worship begins

6PM – Opening remarks from Pastor Michael Miano, Blue Point Bible Church

6:15PM – Mr. Ed Stevens, Internation Preterist Association

7:00PM – Larry Siegle, Fulfilled Dymanics Bible 

7:30PM Herman & Nudix (followed by a short break)

7:45PM –  Evangelist Jason D’Ambrosio, Sound of Heaven Church 

8:15PM – Pastor Cindye Coates, Solomon’s Porch 

9:00 PM  – Ms.Raven Alburg, It Is Finished Org. 

9:10PM-  Mr. Tony Pomales

9:45PM – Sending Prayer

 

Saturday, March 19th (Speakers & Activities all day) 

8AM – Morning Musings Video – Dr. Don K. Preston, Preterist Research Institute

(Coffee & Bagels will be available)

9:30AM- Worship & Prayer

10:00AM – Mr. Larry Siegle, Fulfilled Dynamics

10:45 – Video from Alan Bondar, L.I.F.T. Church

11:30 – Herman & Nudix (Followed by a short break)

11:45 –  Mr. Glenn Hill

12:15 – Mr. Daniel Colon

12:45 – Lunch & Chinese Auction in Basement

2PM – Pastor Steve Schilling, Blue Point Bible Church

2:45 – Mr. Bill Fitten

3:15- – Apostle Johhny Ova, Sound of Heaven Church

3:45 – Adam Maarshalk, Pursuing Truth blogsite (http://kloposmasm.com/

4:30 – Mr. Ed Stevens, International Preterist Association  

5PM – Video Presentation from India, France, and Africa

5:30 –  DINNER – Recommended Restaurent (To Be Determined)

 

7:30 – 9:30 – Debate    (* Doors open at 7PM)

The  End Times – Are they in the past or the future? Why is it important to know?

Pastor Michael Miano of Blue Point Bible Church will present and defend the “fulfilled” view of the “end times” which is called “Full Preterism”, as well as explain why the understanding of the Biblical “end times” as future is harmful to a healthy Christian worldview.

Mr. Stephen Whitsett, former pastor within the Foursquare denomination in southern California for over 28 years and active defender of the faith through his website at –  middleism.org will expain how “Full Preterism” is an erroroneous Bible interpretation. Also, Mr. Whitsett will present and defend  how understanding Bible prophecy applies to yet future events as described in the Bible is the proper persepective for a Christian to have.

  • There will be a time of cross-examination, Q & A from those in attendance, and closing statements from the debators.

 

“Palm Sunday”, March 20th, 2016

8AM – Morning Musings Video –  Dr. Don K. Preston, Preterist Research Institute

(*Coffee & Bagels will be available) 

9:30AM – Sunday School Discussion Group

10AM- Coffee, Cake, & Fellowship

Worship Service – 10:30AM

Sermon – Pastor Michael Miano – Walking Worthy: Understanding the Gospel & LIFE

(* Lunch on your own) 

2:30 – Special Roundtable Discussion

In an effort of walking worthy of 1 Peter 3:15 – having a response to those who ask, we will challenge those who “sign up” for this with topics and questions pertaining to:

“In what ways, or pertaining to what topics, does the  Christian Church need to provide better answers or a more suitable response to? ”

 

(Prayerfully, videos and photos will be provided from the event- as well as Youtube videos of each speaker)

Email – ChristianityGoneWild@yahoo.com for more information pertaining to traveling and lodging information or call (631) 363 -6111

 

 

 

END TIMES DEBATE : FUTURE OR PAST; & WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Are the ‘end times’ described in the Bible in the future,

or could they have been fulfilled in the past?

Is Full Preterism the next big “reformation”, or is it an error and does harmful a healthy Christian worldview?

Date – March 19th, 2016

Location – Blue Point Bible Church (on the corner of Blue Point Ave. & Maple St. in Blue Point, New York)

* The conference has a host of speakers, video presentations, interactive debates and more set to happen March 18-20, 2016. (www.bluepointbiblechurch.org).

The proposed format for the debate is as follows:

Pastor Michael Miano to AFFIRM that the ‘End Times’ events (Final Coming of Jesus Christ, Judgment and Resurrection of the Dead, and establishment of the New Heavens and New Earth) are in the past. (15)

Mr. Stephen Whitsett to NEGATE that the ‘End Times’ events (Final Coming of Jesus Christ, Judgment and Resurrection of the Dead, and establishment of the New Heavens and New Earth) are in the past. (15)

Mr. Stephen Whitsett to AFFIRM that the FUTURIST VIEW enables the ‘Body of Christ’ to “walk worthy” in these times. (15)

Pastor Michael Miano to NEGATE that the FUTURIST VIEW enables the ‘Body of Christ’ to “walk worthy” in these times. (15)

There will also be a 20 minute time of CROSS-EXAMINATION, followed by 10 minute break, and 20 minutes of Q&A from the audience.

Each ‘debater’ will have 5 minutes to make CLOSING REMARKS.

PRESS RELEASE: END TIMES DEBATE : FUTURE OR PAST; & WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

End Times

Pastor Michael Miano who is pastor of The Blue Point Bible Church and holds to a view of “FULFILLED ESCHATOLOGY” (otherwise known as FULL PRETERISM) and he is looking to debate a ‘Christian leader” who serves in the pastorate or is an apologist and whom holds to the “FUTURIST VIEW” (that is, that the end times described in Scripture are still in the future).

The date is set for March 19th, 2016- at the annual “Bible Conference” held by the Blue Point Bible Church (www.bluepointbiblechurch.org). The conference has a host of speakers, video presentations, interactive debates and more set to happen March 18-20, 2016.

The proposed format for the debate is as follows:

Both ‘debaters’ will choose an AFFIRMATIVE & a NEGATIVE. The options are:

AFFIRM that we are living in the ‘end times’ described in the Bible. 20

AFFIRM that the ‘end times’ described in the Bible are in the past. 20

NEGATE that the FUTURIST VIEW enables the ‘Body of Christ’ to “walk worthy” in these times. 20

NEGATE that the PRETERIST VIEW enables the ‘Body of Christ’ to “walk worthy” in these times. 20

There will also be a 20 minute time of CROSS-EXAMINATION, followed by 20 minutes of Q&A from the audience.

Each ‘debater’ will have 5 minutes to make CLOSING REMARKS.

CROSS-EXAMINATION 10 MINUTES EACH

The concept of this year’s ‘Bible Conference’ is “Walking Worthy of What We Now Know” which goes along with the B.P.B.C. 2016 – “BPBC: Conversations & Environments That Bear Fruit for God”.

Pastor Miano has been clear regarding his view that “The ‘CHRISTIAN’ who understands Bible prophecy to be fulfilled in the ‘FUTURE’ & the ‘CHRISTIAN who understands Bible prophecy to be fulfilled in the ‘PAST’ have different solutions to the world’s issues. One view is very wrong and is detrimental to the Christian faith.” He has also noted that while the ‘Historic Church’ has held to a “yet future” end times and accomoplished much for the glory of God, it’s way past time that Christians “walk worthy” of the ‘fulfilled worldview’ that is offered through a proper contextual view of Scripture. Besides the fact, it’s just an honest handling of the Word of God.

Preterism, it’s about time.

As mentioned at the beginning of this ‘press release’, a ‘debater’ who is a ‘Christian leader” who serves in the pastorate or is an apologist and whom holds to the “FUTURIST VIEW” (that is, that the end times described in Scripture are still in the future) is still being sought out to participate in this event.

If you or anyone you know might be interested.

Call Blue Point Bible Church @ 631-363-6111 and leave a detailed message.

OR Email Pastor Michael Miano at ChristianityGoneWild@yahoo.com

 

SPONSORED BY:        BLUE POINT BIBLE CHURCH; THE POWER OF PRETERISM NETWORK; & IT IS FINISHED INC.

 

 

‘Heaven and Earth’

Written by Paul Bumgardner

Those who represent God to men are responsible to handle His message with great care. They will be held accountable to the creator of the universe for what they claim is his word.

(Jas 3:1) Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

The understanding of some phrases in the Bible are not as black and white as we would presume, though we presume to know God’s word. We ought to humbly approach the words of the one who spoke stars into existence.

In this paper I will endeavor to show that the phrase “heaven and earth” used in Matthew 5:17-18 is not the literal heaven and the literal earth.

My goal is to share some examples where we can see that “heaven and earth” represents a people or nation of people to or of whom God was speaking to in the Bible. It is not in the scope of this paper to discuss all of the ramifications of that view. My goal is truth, not making scripture work into existing doctrines or dogmas.

Literal Heaven and Earth Implications

If we have a literal interpretation of “heaven and earth” in the passage above, we would have to accept some other implications.

One of these implications is that the Law would still be applicable today. The verse actually states that not one stroke of a pen of the Law would be set aside. We are not talking about the ten commandments, but the entire Law. The language in the passage states: I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law…” This would mean that every bit of the Law applies.

When people pick and choose which parts apply and which don’t, then they are taking a risky position. If we keep the whole Law and yet fall at any one point, we break the whole law: “Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (Jas. 2:10).

If we are trying to be justified (declared or made righteous in the sight of God) by obeying the Law then we are obligated to obey the entire Law. “You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. (Gal 5:4) We are not capable of obeying this Law, and we are in the same position as the Jews before Christ.

It may be more appropriate to apply the “heaven and earth” figuratively in light of the overwhelming evidence of New Testament statements about the Law and Christ.

Appearances of “Heaven and Earth” in the Old Testament

In the Old Testament of the Bible we see reference to heaven and earth as the object of God’s creation. There is no denying that the context in these passages indeed support the argument for a literal heaven and earth. What I would like to focus on are the passages of scripture which place clear emphasis on heaven and earth not being a literal. The goal is to present the reader with the understanding that there are times when “heaven and earth” is not always literal.

Babylon

Isaiah 13 speaks about a prophecy against Babylon. The prophecy here points to the destruction of heaven and earth. It is clear that the heaven and earth here are specifically pointing to Babylon and not the entire world even though you would have to read the entire passage to understand that.

Here are some examples of familiar phrases:

The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. (Isa 13:10)

Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the LORD Almighty, in the day of his burning anger. (Isa 13:13)

This passage parallels this passage here in the New Testament:

Immediately after the distress of those days ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ (Matt 24:29)

We can see that the stars are still in their places and the moon and sun are not dim. If the heaven was destroyed once before, then how can it be destroyed again?

Jerusalem

The destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar is outlined for us in Isaiah 24-27.

Some highlights are here for your consideration. (Note the language used.

See, the LORD is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants– (Isa 24:1)

The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The LORD has spoken this word. (Isa 24:3)

The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is thoroughly shaken. 20 The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls–never to rise again. (Isa 24:19)

What I want you to see in these verses is how God refers to Israel as the earth. He says the earth is “utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly…the earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again” (Verses 1,3,4,19,20). Notice how many times God referred to Israel as the “earth.” The split asunder part points to the earth being torn in two.

This section is interesting as well:

(Isa 24:21) In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. 22 They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days.

Notice still how God is still speaking of judgment against Jerusalem and calls those in charge “the powers in the heavens above.”

Edom

Another city to receive prophecy from God of an impending doom was Edom. The entire chapter is speaking to Edom, but specifically I would like to look at Isaiah 34:4-5.

All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree. 5 My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; see, it descends in judgment on Edom, the people I have totally destroyed. (Isa 34:4)

We can clearly see how the stars of the heavens were dissolved and the sky was rolled up like a scroll. A familiar pass is here in Revelation.

The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. (Rev 6:14)

Notice how the sword of the Lord has drunk its fill not on earth but of the heavens.

Nineveh

Prophecy comes against Nineveh in the same global and grand language. We can see a familiar pattern developing here.

The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea and dries it up; he makes all the rivers run dry. Bashan and Carmel wither and the blossoms of Lebanon fade. The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it. (Nahum 1:3-5)

“Heaven and Earth” in the New Testament

The first section we should look at is in Hebrews. Hebrews deals a lot with the Law and the coming Kingdom.

See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken– that is, created things–so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:25-29)

One cannot escape the equating the “shaking” of the earth with the bringing of the Law on Mount Sinai. The heaven and earth language is associated with the Law and the establishment of the new Kingdom. This Kingdom comes with the removal (shaking) of heaven and earth. We see three points here. The first is that the earth was already shaken (removed) once before when the Law was given. The second is that this Kingdom rules not only on earth, but also in heaven. The last is that the shaking (removal) is not the physical earth and therefore presumably not the physical heaven.

The writer also points out that this Kingdom is unshakable. It is never to be removed. Daniel confirms this as well:

In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. (Dan 2:44)

He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (Dan 7:14)

We can see that the same strong language of destruction and melting heat of heaven and earth is not avoided in the New Testament text.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. (2Pet 3:10)

Why is it that when we look at a passage like the one above we want to switch over to a literal rendering of the “heaven and earth”? If we are honest, we have to admit that in the past God used such language to speak to a people or nation. So might there be a nation about which God is speaking in these passages of the New Testament as well?

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Jerusalem was a constant focus of Jesus and of a promise of wrath in the New Testament and Old.

All of chapter 23 and 24 deal with the destruction of the City of Jerusalem.

In fact, one of the central themes of the Bible is the destruction of Jerusalem and the judgment against its leaders.

And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation. (Matt 23:35)

Jesus points out that this specific generation of teachers of the Law and Pharisees would be guilty of all of the righteous blood that has been shed upon the earth. These specific Jews were to be judged and destroyed. Jesus goes into great detail in Chapter 24 of Matthew of the signs and events surrounding this Judgment against the Jews of Jerusalem. This Generation was to be punished. Again Jesus points out this to them.I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” (Matt 24:34)

Again we see the “heaven and earth” imagery showing up. This time we see that Jerusalem is called “heaven” as the messengers are sent through the city to call out the elect (Christians). If you believe that this particular passage is literal, you would have to think that the elect of God are called by an angel’s trumpet from heaven as well. You have to notice that these are called and gathered from one end of “heaven” to the other. (Matt 24:31)

God’s Promise to the Literal Heaven and Earth

God has already made promises regarding heaven and Earth. Of course I am speaking of the literal ones not a specific nation or people. The Psalmist records for us this:

Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created. He set them in place for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away. (Ps 148:1-6)

God has decreed that heaven will never pass away, yet we see how often in the past it has been destroyed. We must conclude then that when we see a prophecy that heaven will pass away, it must be referring to the destruction of a nation or people, usually the rulers of a people.

Again we can turn to the Psalms regarding promises of the physical earth.

He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved. (Ps 104:5)

He built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth that he established forever. (Ps 78:69)

It seems that the earth is here to stay. It looks like as well that we must assume that if we see the earth is going to be destroyed, then God must be speaking of a figurative earth (one that represents a land or people of a nation).

In Conclusion

It seems then, that there are plenty of passages illustrating that “heaven” doesn’t always mean a literal heaven, and that “earth” doesn’t always mean literal earth. While it is clear that sometimes the intent is actually physical, when we see a passage that speaks about the destruction of heaven and earth, we must conclude that this is not speaking of a physical heaven or earth but rather the destruction of a nation or people.

My sincere hope is that when we see ‘heaven and earth’ we will pause to examine and question if it is referring to a physical or figurative heaven and earth.

SHARED DISCUSSION: 4th Sunday Discussion Group Details at BPBC

At the Blue Point Bible Church (www.bluepointbiblechurch.org), we strive toward ‘Making Known the Manifold Wisdom of God, in Word and in Deed’. In accordance with, I (Pastor Michael Miano) have allowed for what we call a 4th Sunday Discussion Group, a time when people in our congregation can ask some questions.

In this blog, I want to share the details that we discussed this Sunday, and prayerfully provide both clarity, as well as encouragement for you to study further.

In my sermon on Sunday, I detailed the possibility of Jesus ben Ananus being a demonstration of the “two witnesses” found in Revelation chapter 11. In our discussion group, it was brought up that Jesus ben Ananus could very well be a “type of Christ”. I shared that the commentator, Daniel Morais, from whom I borrowed the concept does detail that in his commentary. Surely something we can study out. Here is the link to that commentary:

http://revelationrevolution.org/revelation-11-a-preterist-commentary-who-are-the-two-witnesses/

Also, here is the podcasted sermon of what I preached this Sunday:

http://www.buzzsprout.com/11630/318731-the-apocalyptic-details-of-revelation-chapters-11-12

In our group discussion we also talked about the ‘mystery of God’ as revealed through the prophets, more specifically as mentioned in 1 Peter chapter 1. Pastor Miano detailed that the New Covenant and all that we have in and through Jesus Christ is the mystery itself- something that a proper reading through Ephesians chapter 1-3, as well as Romans chapters 8-15 should reveal.

Our conversation then turned toward ‘evangelism’, ‘the gospel’, as well as how God’s sovereignty plays a part in all of that. If God knows all, and all things happen in accordance with His will- why pray? Why evangelize? I was glad to answer questions to the best of my ability in these regards, as well as exhort the saints to continue to study. Pastor John Piper’s messages and websites, as well as Monergism.com have been great resources in these regards. For example here is a link, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-sovereignty-of-god-and-prayer

I pray that I was able to make it clear that God is honored through our attempts at ‘prayer’ and ‘evangelism’ even if it doesn’t all make sense to us, however His Word commands it, and therefore we “walk worthy” by offering it. Surely where we can all agree is that God is always pleased when we do those things which He asks.

As we concluded our discussion we excitedly talked about “making known the Gospel”. How can we do that? What is a simple expression of the Gospel that is faithful to the story from Genesis to Revelation?

I look forward to producing a video in the next couple days that will be made available through Youtube on how we can best preach what I refer to as the “Fulfilled Gospel” in less than 6 minutes, and not offer a ‘cut & paste Gospel’, but rather a presentation that is true to the Biblical text and expresses the full gospel story from creation to consummation. A simple way I will explain it here is this:

As with everything, we must rightly define the PROBLEM – the Bible starts with a creation story wherein prior to God “acting” the earth was “formless and void”. Scholars have pointed our this is equivalent to saying ‘useless’ akin to a ‘desert wasteland’. How many peoples lives to do you know who can be described in that manner?

That being noted we move to the SOLUTION. The whole Biblical Narrative is about the failure of Old Covenant Israel to walk in line with the ‘things of God’ (a longer drawn out story very similar to the ‘Garden of Eden’). Simply put, in order for man to live a life that glorifies God which in turn offers blessings, and as Jesus Christ put it Himself “life to the full” (see, John 10:10), man needs a savior. Not a faulty solution- as our culture offers so many “faulty solutions”, we know that Jesus Christ- His life, His death, His sacrifice, His teachings all offer “life to the full” and that is what we offer as we seek to ehort the nations to “know and practice” the teachings of Jesus (see, Matthew chapter 7 verses 7 through 27).

And finally, once we make clear the PROBLEM, as well as the ‘proposed SOLUTION’, we then want to “close the deal”, which in contrast to a “hasty Gospel’ which is preached through the Sinner’s Prayer and a ‘ticket to heaven’, we offer DISCIPLESHIP. As one of my favorite writers notes, “For the disciple of Jesus, discipleship is not the first step toward a promising career. Discipleship is the fulfillment of your life long destiny”. The people around us want “life to the full”, some know it, some don’t. What we offer through “Jesus Christ” is the opportunity to find and live in the reality of a “fulfilling life” which is only found by way of the true knowledge of God (see, 2 Peter chapter 1).

Also, I believe the two writings that I have made available over the last two days may also be helpful to you.

Here is an article on the verses that point to “every knee bowing to Jesus”, which I wrote for TFC Magazine:

http://www.tfcmag.com/article-home.php?id=252&p=&search=#ontitle

And here is a blog on “Discipleship” that I posted yesterday:

https://mianogonewild.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/rendering-you-neither-useless-nor-unfruitful-in-the-knowledge-of-god-make-disciples/

In His Service,

Pastor Michael Miano

Director, The Power of Preterism Network

BOOK REVIEW: Final Decade Before the End by Mr. Ed Stevens

In the Christian circles that I navigate Mr. Ed Stevens is known as one of the best resources for Jewish and Christian history. This book, Final Decade Before the End, is A MUST READ for anyone serious about understanding ‘Jewish and Christian history just before the Jewish Revolt’. He really delivered on his promise to offer a ‘historical reconstruction’ help “form a comprehensive understanding of what was really happening to Christianity during that final decade just before the end.”

At the Blue Point Bible Church, where I serve as pastor, we have been going through the “Biblical Narrative” from Genesis to Revelation since February 2015. Mr. Stevens book has been the ‘resource above resources’ for my study into the culture and time of the New Testament writings.

Not only does he provide a basic timetable for the writing and courier activity of the New Testament writings, he also provides important chronological details during that time. Also noteworthy for sure is his constant use of not just quotes, but entire passages from early, almost ancient historians such as Josephus, Tacitus, Seneca, Suetonius, among others.

I write this as I have just finished reading his book this afternoon – I took time using it as a reference tool for the past 3 months. However, now that we have embarked upon understanding the ‘Book of Revelation’ in our congregation, I felt it necessary to read through the whole book to get the ‘juicy details’ concerning the history of the Neronian persecution, as well as the Roman-Jewish war. ‘;

Regarding the ‘history of the end’, Mr. Stevens delivers a writing with powerful evidence in first century Bible prophecy fulfillment, surely details you want to have as we continue bringing forth the truth of Full Preterism. I cannot say it enough, this is A MUST HAVE RESOURCE!

All of that said, there are surely areas I found myself disagreeing with Mr. Stevens, specifically his explanation of why the historic church did not document nor provide evidence of the experiences of the ‘time of the end’ – ie., the rapture theory. Also, as I examined the charts Mr. Stevens provides regarding the ‘expectations of the saints’, I found myself disagreeing with his reference to the hope of individual bodies at death and the nature of that fulfillment in regards to the ‘resurrection of the dead’. I look forward to interacting with these details in the near future.

Again, I note the disagreement just to be honest in my review, however take those areas out (to be agreeable with my position) or keep them it, the book is still amazing! I will continue to recommend the resources of Mr. Stevens- especially, as we encourage others to understand the historic events of the Neronian persecution, as well as the Roman-Jewish War.

“We are devoted to chasing after the Biblical and Historical Truth, wherever it leads, and whatever it takes. This book was written for truth chasers like you”. – Ed Stevens

Order your copy at the following link:http://www.preterist.org/products/final-decade-before-the-end-print-edition

In Christ’s Name,

Michael Miano

P.S. – Mr. Stevens book also helped me solidify my position on the Millennium noting the events prior to A.D. 64, and what would follow after with the Neronian persecution. This was a big deal to me and I feel forever indebted to him for that!