284. His Love Never Fails

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

We saw last time that love wins. If love does not win in the end then it cannot be love; but love can never be forced, just continually demonstrated again and again, until it eventually overcomes every obstacle, objection, excuse and reason.

That is why I believe in the restoration of all things. God’s love will never stop because He cannot stop being Him: He can never deny Himself and who He is, so He continues to love. And because He is an eternal being, that means He will never stop, so God and love will never fail.

His love never fails, never gives up and can never be escaped because it is filled with age-enduring grace and mercy. That grace and mercy will never cease to be a vehicle for love to be expressed and demonstrated abundantly, lavishly and with extreme desire and intent, without limits. God’s love has no limits: if you put a condition on it, then you have limited it. If love is limited, it is not love. Love must be extreme or it is not love. Love must seem wasteful and undeserved or it is not love.

His love cannot be thwarted by sin, rejection or death – it has experienced all there is and yet has conquered and overcome all things, so that all things can be restored to love’s face-to-face, relational innocence. That is really the nature of what God has done: He has made us innocent. That is how He sees us. Do we feel it? Or do we feel ‘less than’ because we struggle with the concept of unconditional love?

Nothing can separate

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35, 37-39).

That really leaves nothing out. That is the nature of that love: there is nothing we can do – or anyone or anything else can do – that can separate us from the love of God. Religion, even though it will probably have you read that Bible verse, will tell you the opposite, that there is something that can separate you from the love of God: your choice. But your choice can only separate you in your own head, it cannot separate you from a God who loves you unconditionally. And that is really what we need to understand and engage.

If you still think you can separate yourselves, or feel separated because of your past life, or things you might do, or thoughts you might have, remember this: God takes no notice of what you – or others – think, He just takes notice of who He is. And He is unconditional love.

Discover who we are

So to know our true identity as sons of God, which is who we are, it is imperative that we know unconditional love by personal, intimate experience and not just in an intellectual way. I would have always said that I believed that God is love but my understanding of that love is very different now that I know it by experience. I have had so many experiences of the nature of that unconditional love, both towards myself and how God has expressed and shown His love to others, that I am absolutely convinced that this is the key, that everyone needs to know. All of us ‘know’ that God is love because the Bible tells us; but the question is, have we all experienced that love as unconditional or do we just know it as a concept or a theory? God wants it to be very practical.

As sons of God, we need to have our lives built on a solid foundation: that foundation is the nature, character and essence of who God is as I AM. I AM is a constant, never changing. He is unconditional love, He is limitless grace and He is triumphant mercy: put all those three together and they make a totally solid foundation on which to build our lives, to grow and mature. All these attributes have to be experienced: that is what God is working to do in our lives constantly, to enable us to experience the reality of who He is and so discover who we are.

Limitless grace, triumphant mercy

Never stop living in the reality of unconditional love, limitless grace and triumphant mercy. A few years ago there was a huge fuss over so-called ‘hyper-grace’. Well, His grace goes way beyond ‘hyper’: it is limitless! There is nothing that limitless grace cannot deal with or overcome.

And His mercy is triumphant, which means no matter what obstacle or hindrance might get in the way of us experiencing unconditional love, His mercy has already triumphed over it! So if we live in that reality, then we can abide, dwell, and remain at rest in that state of conscious awareness that we are loved. We do not have to do anything, it is completely free and unconditional. That may not be easy to accept, because of the way we have been conditioned to think about love and about God. That state of being, immersed in that unconditional love, limitless grace and triumphant mercy, is an expanded state of consciousness, an awareness that forms the foundation of everything we think, feel and do. Therefore we can just be.

Our true identity and our consciousness of that identity is about being, not doing. If we can really get hold of that reality then it will free us up so much to discover just how powerful we are and how amazing our sonship is. Yet it is so hard to just be when we are conditioned to do. All of us have been programmed by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, programmed into independence, so that we believe we have to do something.

Religious systems

Probably all of us have been involved in some religious system or other and those systems tend to require performance or adherence to a set of behavioural norms so that we will be accepted. When those norms are projected onto God, as they often are, it leads us to believe that God requires certain things of us, which contradicts the truth of His unconditional love. But Paul wrote:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2).

Or, ‘do not be pressed into a religious or political mould, shaped or formed by the political and religious systems you live under, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ We cannot renew our own minds, however hard we try. I used to try to renew my mind by confessing Bible verses over and over again, making confessions and declarations and decrees so that I would believe what I was declaring. I learned a lot of Bible verses that way but it never renewed my mind: the only thing that renewed my mind was an experience of God that changed my mind because now I knew the truth (and that truth was different from what I thought before) and now I agree with Him, which is what metanoia (usually misleadingly translated as ‘repentance’) actually means.

Blameless innocence

God’s good, acceptable and perfect will is proven or known when we experience it – but we have taught people that you can only know it by faith. Faith is the evidence of things not yet seen, but I want to live in the reality of experiencing everything that God intends for me, not to die never having received it (as happened to all those heroes of faith listed  in Hebrews 11).

… just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will… (Ephesians 1:4-5).

That is His will: that we would be before Him in love. In the Mirror Bible it says:

He associated us in Christ before the fall of the world. Jesus is God’s mind made up about us. He always knew in his love that he would present us again face to face before him in blameless innocence… (Ephesians 1:4 Mirror).

That is such an amazing statement! Perhaps if we look at our life we would say we are far from blameless; but God is not looking at what we have done, He is looking at what He has done, at what Jesus has done. We are who He says we are, so His love enables us to be face to face with Him without fear (because perfect love casts out fear). His love, expressed as His will, chose us to be restored to face to face, blameless innocence. And when we have been face to face with Him, then we can begin to realise how blamelessly innocent we are.

In God’s heart we are already restored: we just need to catch up with what is already true rather than trying to make it true. He is much more patient than we are, and His patience means that His love will never fail. And His limitless grace and triumphant mercy ensure that we will all know his love unconditionally, one way or another, however long it takes.

This series of blog posts on ‘Unconditional Love’ are excerpted from Mike’s teaching in our monthly Patreon Group Zooms. Scroll down to watch the video of the talk it comes from.
Become a patron and join us live for the next one – they are normally on the second Sunday of each month.

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283. Love Wins

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

We saw last time that God’s love to us is unconditional, and that when we are able to truly experience that unconditional love for ourselves, then our love towards other people can also be unconditional.

Should I?

Notice that I do not say that our love ‘should’ be unconditional. On my journey God has really challenged me about that word and I am trying to eliminate it from my vocabulary. I do not want to do things because I ‘should’ do them. Who said I should do them? Did God say I ‘should’ do them? If so, what is the consequence of not doing them? That implies a condition: if I do not do what God wants me to do, then what will He do?

I should go to church; I should pray; I should read my Bible; I should witness: God challenged me over these things. Obedience: should I be obedient? Of course I should! Why would I not want to be obedient to God? But He challenged me on it and showed me that my thinking around that issue was old covenant thinking because obedience implies that there is a ‘law’ of some kind to be obeyed. God does not want us to obey Him, He wants us to have a relationship with Him in which we share heart to heart and in which we cooperate with one another. Then, of course, we only would want to do the things that we see the Father doing, not because we ‘should’ but because it is the desire of our heart to be in relationship with God who loves us in such a wonderful way.

So then do I have an obligation or do I have a duty to do certain things? Am I trying to please God by the way I live? If I am, then again I am operating in an old covenant mindset. That again was something the Father said to me: “Are you trying to please me?” and of course I said “yes” because I was! He said, “Well, you’re already pleasing to Me. Why are you trying to be something you already are?” and I realized how my mind had been conditioned with ‘should’.

God really wants us to be in a deep, intimate relationship in which heart to heart sharing reveals how we can be – and then we can move away from all the doing. Religion revels in doing. Trying to please God, trying to be obedient, trying to love other people and trying to do the things God wants us to do: we get worn out trying. So why not just rest and just be? He is happy to accept us as we are but we are often less happy to think we are acceptable the way we are because we have been conditioned to think we need to change.

Change

Now, I do want to change, because I want to be more like Him. But do I think I have to change to be acceptable to Him? No, because I am loved unconditionally. So my motive for wanting to change is a positive one, not a negative. I love to be like Him who I behold, so if I am face to face with Him, living in the light of His presence, then that will transform me and change me without me trying.

Years ago I was very systematic in how I approached (and taught) things because that is the way I am wired. However, recently I have become much less systematic and much more relational, so that rather than trying to fix myself, or renew my mind, or sort myself out, or deal with my DNA, genetic lines or generational lines, I just let the Father deal with it. He sets the agenda of what He wants to deal with when He wants to deal with it and I just have to agree with Him and cooperate with Him. Most of the time that means just getting out of the way. I remember He shocked me one day when I was questioning some things about changing and He said “I don’t require your help, just your surrender.” That was a huge challenge because I wanted to help. I wanted to do something, but that again is just the programming that makes love conditional: we are programmed to think we have to do something.

Circle of conversation

But if we are ‘living loved’ then we can be fully secure in our identity within the relationship that we have within the perichoresis – the circle of the conversation that Father, Son and Spirit (who are family) are having about us all the time. They are having a conversation about you right now, and that conversation is good. They are smiling and enjoying talking about you; because they are talking about who they know you to be, rather than who you think you are. We tend to think that God may think something about us or know something about us that we would not want anyone else to know; well, He does – He knows everything about us and He loves us unconditionally!

Maturity

The Father said one day, “I’ve laid a true foundation that can carry the weight of all mankind so all can become fully mature sons of God.” That intrigued me.  All mankind can become fully mature sons, not just some, because God is so unconditionally loving that He leaves nobody out of the ‘all’.

Then the Father said, “The ages to come are to be times of wonder and awe, where I will take my sons on an amazing journey of creative discovery”. I believe we are on a journey to discover just how creative we are: we know that we are co-heirs but how much do we know that we are co-creators and what that creative ability will be?

And the Father said, “Knowing the depth, height, breadth and length of my unconditional love multi-dimensionally is what this age is designed to accomplish. There are 12 ages of man and 12 ages within each age: all are opportunities to become mature sons in relationship and responsibility.” I am not going to go into that statement because I have only delved into it a little bit myself. I am aware that God does things in cycles and seasons but it is not that one ends and another begins, they are more overlapping processes which will bring us to a state of maturity as sons. So look out for all the amazing things that are coming!

“The ascent of man is a slow process from a creative perspective, hindered by the false images of me that religion has made.” So we really need to know what God is really like, who He really is: otherwise we are filtering Him through what we think He is like.

Religious veils

“Revealing just how good I AM is has not been easy, as all that I do to unveil the truth of love is being twisted into lies and deception.” Now I have discovered this myself when I have been talking to people who really want to pick an argument. Online, particularly, some people twist what you say; and even if you go back to them with “I didn’t say that, and I didn’t mean that”, they carry on insisting you did, no matter what. In the end I just gave up doing that. Now I discern when someone is genuinely asking a question from those who just want to pick an argument or a fight. The reason they are trying to pick a fight with you in the first place is because of their own understanding of what you might believe. In reality I do not want to be labelled with a one particular set of beliefs because that is so limiting and restricting. God wants to open up a whole different understanding of Him so that we really know how good He is and do not get caught up by deception.

And the Father said, “Religion has placed dark veils over the eyes of so many (even those who don’t believe anything, it’s the same deception) so they can’t see Us as pure love, only wanting to do good by blessing everyone and everything.” So there are people who are religious, and they have a whole load of religious veils, and then there are people who don’t believe in anything and are atheists – and they have a veil as well! But the nature of God is to want to bless everyone and everything and bring about good in their lives. That is how good God is.

Love wins

“Even the attempts to show the extent and power of Our consuming fiery love that reaches beyond the grave has been twisted into a chamber of horrors, the hell illusion and delusion.” So when people experience what they call hell, it is because they are conditioned to think they know what fire means. Between 2005 and 2010 I went into that fiery place about four or five times and each time I described it as ‘hell’ because I had no other reference point. A supernaturally dimensional reality where there is fire and there seem to be a whole lot of people who are unhappy there – what else was I supposed to think?

That conditioning can be really strong: on my journey of enlightenment and deconstruction that was probably one of the hardest things for God to challenge and to break. Although He told me what the nature of that fire was, I really did not believe it until I went there again and He showed me – not only what was going on there, but also what I could do about it – which then totally changed my whole understanding.

The Father said “Son, we will never give up on even one of those who are Our sons as We cannot deny Ourselves.” God cannot deny Himself because He is love. “Love cannot and will not fail as We will never give up and cannot be denied or resisted forever.

“Love wins.”

This series of blog posts on ‘Unconditional Love’ are excerpted from Mike’s teaching in our monthly Patreon Group Zooms. Scroll down to watch the video of the talk it comes from.
Become a patron and join us live for the next one, coming up on 8th May 2022!

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If our free or paid resources are a blessing to you, please consider becoming a Patreon patron or making a donation to sow into and support this ministry. Thank you!

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281. Scroll of Destiny: Just Being

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

What He saw the Father doing

Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in the same way.” (John 5:19).

We used to think of our Scroll of Destiny as having everything we are supposed to do written on it, and that we needed to see it to know what to do. I do not believe that anymore. I probably would have thought that way initially, and even taught it, but as I have discovered my relationship with God and discovered who I am, I am now just learning to rest, and be, and go with the flow.

Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. It was not that He had a huge scroll with the detail of every miracle He was going to do written on it: what was on His scroll was “Here is My Son: I am in His heart and He is in My heart”. When we have that relationship then that state of being releases a flow of everything we do.

Mandate for the day

I used to go to God every day and ask what my mandate was for the day. After a while He simply would not give me any information about that: He stopped me from doing, in order to teach me to be. He just hugged me, for months. In the end, I stopped asking “what are we going to do?” because I started to enjoy being, and being in His presence, without the agenda. We tend to think God has an agenda that He is wanting us to accomplish. Rather, He wants relationship; and from that relationship, everything flows.

Now I am not looking anymore for my mandate for the day or how I am going to fulfil it. That was just putting myself under pressure, which removes the joy. Life is to be enjoyed and that enjoyment comes from relaxing and knowing the Father’s heart, and just being. Just being is so much more important than focusing on what I can do, what I need to do next and how to do it.

It became almost formulaic, and that is not how God intends our lives to be. If all we have is a formula, we will end up doing things in our own strength. Now I would say that it is far more important to have that union with the Father in which He reveals His heart for us. If we know who we are, then we do not need to do something written on a scroll. He wants to reveal His heart to us so that we can express His heart in a much more relational way. If we have a relational perspective rather than a performance perspective, we will not end up feeling like we are a slave to our destiny: “I have to fulfil it, or else…”

We do not have to get into guilt and shame over whether or not we have done certain things today. It is not about what we did or didn’t do, or what we did wrong. If we are constantly thinking that we have somehow ‘missed it’, that will draw us back into works rather than grace. It is not as if He cannot rewrite the script to enable His purposes to be fulfilled, in ways which are beyond our ability to understand. God is going to bring good out of everything, even the things where we may not have heard clearly (or even at all). He has it all in hand.

I used to think I would one day have to give account for all those things I haven’t fulfilled. I don’t buy into that anymore. God gives us a continual purification of that scroll of our life, and when we choose poorly or with wrong motive He does not hold it against us. We have come to understand that, contrary to what we may have been told, ‘carrot and stick’, punishment and reward, are not His way of doing things. He shares His heart and inspires and encourages us. He continually enables us to walk in our destiny: and it is more about who we are than what we do.

Predetermined, predestined

So I don’t believe that our scroll of destiny is a list of achievements that we need to accomplish. I think it is much more about our alignment with the heart of God in who we are as creative beings. That allows us to outwork our destiny in multiple different ways, rather than there being the one way which is the right way, predetermined and predestined.

What was predestined was relationship. We are predestined to a restored face-to-face relationship, not for a whole series of things that we should be trying to do. All the Father is looking for is relationship, in which we’re sharing heart together. He is unveiling His heart and intentions to us: we cooperate and outwork that through who He has made us to be. Every day, Jesus saw what the Father was doing and cooperated with it. And, like Him, we can do so in a very creative way. That is one reason why Jesus healed people in so many different ways. I think He was trying to get over the point that there is no formula: you have the Father’s heart, now express it through who you are.

I am only responsible to be who I am created to be. Everything else will flow out of that. So I fix my eyes on Jesus and on the Father and then I find that I just walk out every day and enjoy it. Life is so much more enjoyable when I am not pressured to perform some duty or obligation that religion has put on me: “You should be praying every day, reading the Bible every day, witnessing every day. You should be doing this, you shouldn’t be doing that…” The Father is the one who is going to direct me every day, and He does not give me specific directions very often, other than “Hey, let’s walk together” or “Let me show you something.”

Freely we receive

We tend to put a higher value on religious activities than God does. He would rather we learn to be an expression of love in every situation than get caught up in performance of any sort. Let’s not underestimate the value of love. Someone may appear to have done nothing in their life but love their family, yet He places such a high value on that. Let’s focus on being an expression of love ourselves.

This means we do not judge anyone else or where they are on their journey. When we rest in love, we can be an expression of love ourselves. Freely we receive, freely we give (see Matthew 10:8); so let’s make sure we freely receive, otherwise we have nothing to give. For a lot of people, they are wanting to give because the Bible says so or they are conditioned to believe they should, when they have never really focused on receiving, and being, and experiencing, and knowing the unconditional love the Father has for them. It is hard to love unconditionally if you have never really experienced unconditional love yourself.

A place of rest

Now all this is not to say that God doesn’t have things for us to accomplish in relationship with Him; but it is the way we do it rather than a series of things that we have to fulfil. I have engaged with the heart of God, discovering who I am and discovering that state of being at rest, that state of consciousness which is an awareness of the heart of God.

If we are trying to get our identity from the things we do, that will always result in feelings of condemnation because we will never do enough to satisfy ourselves. God just wants us to be, and the more we can just be, the more everything flows out of being. That is a wonderful state, such a place of rest: all the striving, all the performance, everything goes.

That place of rest is filled with joy. I just don’t find a lot of religion that is filled with joy: there is such pressure to perform and to avoid failure. We are never going to meet some magical mark of perfect performance. So let’s receive grace and mercy every day and know there is no mark to attain. We do have a destiny, but it is to be who we are. Bring it back to that simple thought: my destiny is to be the ‘me’ that God created me to be.

If I focus on how much transformation is still needed, that can put pressure on me, because I am not there yet. If I just enjoy being where I am and continue the journey, it will take me to where I will be. The journey itself is important, not a series of destinations, because it is a journey of relationship and that journey will inevitably bring me to a completely fully restored perspective.

The ‘me’ I am at the moment, I know, is not the ‘me’ that I will eventually be. But from God’s perspective I already am, because that is how He sees me. He does not see me the way I see myself or the way others see me. And when I agree with how He sees me, it enables me to become like that.

But He already sees me that way now, which is why He smiles. When I look into His face I see no condemnation of where I am, just the love and pleasure of His heart because He wants relationship. That is His highest agenda.

This post is based on Mike’s answers to questions in two YouTube Mystic Mentoring sessions:
Monday 26th July 2021 UK and Thursday 19th August 2021 US EST.

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280. Are We There Yet?

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott  

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. (2 Peter 3:8).

Someone on a Mystic Mentoring session recently asked about this scripture, and about the seventh millennium (seventh day) therefore being a season of rest.

Personally, I don’t really hold too much to the ‘thousand years as seasons’ theory, that now we’re in the 7th millennium, we are in the season of rest. That is just adding up the years in the biblical genealogies and has little to do with reality.

But I do think rest is something which is built into creation, and it was previously revealed as one day in seven but now as all seven days. We have entered into Jesus: He is the rest and He is the fulfilment of all the promises. So we live in every day being a new day (so for me, we live in the eighth day, not the seventh). Every day is a new day, a new beginning. Every day has fresh mercies. Every day we live in rest and that is perpetual replenishment or restoration.

Light is slowing down

It does not say that a day is a thousand years, just that a day is like a thousand years. Everything in terms of time is related to the speed of light; and the speed of light has been slowing down as it has moved away from the speed of creative light. This was discovered by a couple of Christian astrophysicists, Trevor Norman and Barry Setterfield, who put together a scientific paper on the slowing down of the speed of light. It is really difficult to get a paper like that published when it has to be peer reviewed, because if it doesn’t agree with what scientists already believe then they won’t publish it. To start with, it wasn’t accepted and they were called cranks, but eventually some more mainstream scientists also discovered that light was slowing down.

They extrapolated that, at the speed of light in the beginning, seven days then would equate to something over 13 billion years now. But since it is relative to the observer, we would never know. That explains why the earth appears to be older than adding up the years in the Bible account would suggest: because it is! For man that has only appeared to be 7000 years because of the relativity of the speed of light.

So science actually indicates that the earth is not just 7000 years old, and in any case, no-one knows how long Adam and Eve lived before they fell and time really kicked in – time did not function in the same way as it does today until they stepped outside of God’s eternal now. Things changed significantly at that point on the earth.

This is not about there being a long period of evolution: I do not believe in evolution. Man was created and the animals were created, but the earth is not just 7000 years old either. Both can be true. People come up with all sorts of theories to account for any discrepancies, but I would prefer to focus on the fact that we can live in rest as a state of being (rather than just a period of rest associated with the 7th millennium).

Rest

What does it mean to be in rest? For me it is about not functioning under the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and therefore not functioning in works. Rest is the opposite of works, so when we live in the rest of what Jesus has done we don’t have to work for our own redemption and reconciliation. That has been done, so we rest in it: we can just be, we don’t have to do.

Everything in religion is about doing: you have to ‘do’ to earn rest. You work for six days so you can earn your rest for the seventh day. No, we are living in perpetual Sabbath. Essentially, we are continually in rest because now, Jesus is our rest.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).

That is the key for us, living in a state of being which is not functioning in an old system of works and therefore not being deceived into having to work for God’s favour and blessing; receiving it as His children through grace and mercy, not by works.

Every religious system will get you to try to do something to earn what you already have. So you just go round and round, because you already have it and doing something won’t actually make that true, it just stops you from realising that it is already true.

Are we there yet?

It’s like when you are travelling with your children and they keep asking, ‘Are we there yet?’ In religion, it’s always ‘not yet’. For some, it will be in this period or that period a thousand years in the future – it is coming, it’s just ‘not yet’. And to get there, you’ve got to do this and you’ve got to do that, otherwise it won’t happen. This just messes people up, gets them into a performance-orientated way of living, and so they don’t enjoy life. They are continually striving for something that already belongs to them; and if they would just stop, they would discover what it is to receive and be at rest.

We are already unconditionally loved and forgiven and everything has been accomplished, so we can live in rest and discover our true identity as sons from that place of rest, rather than doing all the things we are doing to prove we are sons.

The restoration of all things

With religion, you get a lot of ‘shoulds’. You should do this, you should do that. There are no ‘shoulds’. There is no ‘should do’ anything, it is just being. And then everything flows from being.

If we are in the seventh millennium, then why isn’t there rest? The world doesn’t exactly seem to be in the throes of rest. For most people, things are just as bad as they were in the sixth millennium. It is not as if we have crossed over into this millennium and now everything is at rest. That really doesn’t seem to be the experience of most people.

So it is better to just focus on each individual living in rest, which will in turn bring rest to the planet. If we live in freedom, then the planet will become free (and not just the planet, but the whole of creation). So it’s about us as sons living in rest; being rather than doing. That will dial everything down so that all (all people, all beings, all things throughout creation) can begin to discover God’s original intention and purpose for them, which is what will be restored in the restoration of all things.

This post is based on Mike’s answer to a question on his YouTube channel: Mystic Mentoring Monday 9th August 2021 US Pacific.

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The Restoration of All Things book

The Restoration of All Things, the new book from Mike Parsons, is out now.
Purchase your copy online from The Book Depository (free delivery worldwide)Barnes & Noble (USA) or Waterstones (UK) or order from your local bookstore.

In my previous book, My Journey Beyond Beyond, I shared my life story on the quest for true reality in my relationship with God as my Father. This book continues the journey to where beyond was taking me. The previous four threads were woven together to create a rich tapestry expressing the pure joy and delight of a child discovering true reality for the first time. This journey, full of surprising revelations and experiences, unveiled further dimensions and depths beyond beyond once again. My encounters took me deeper into the Father’s loving heart, unveiling and revealing His Oracles for creation’s restoration. There will probably need to be three volumes to cover the vastness and extent of my journey but let’s begin.

My beyond beyond experiences were an ongoing process of encounters that created such cognitive dissonance that the God that I thought I knew evaporated into nothingness. The true reality of who They (Father, Son and Spirit) truly are emerged from the rubble that was my deconstructed mind into the glorious light of revelation. My experiences and encounters with their true reality exploded my limited and restricted understanding that had been framed by my mind’s religious constructs. I am now an atheist to the god I previously worshipped as he never existed other than as a figment of my religious imagination. The glorious true loving God who is Love, Light, Spirit and Fire emerged from the destruction of my orthodox belief systems. The encounters, like explosions of truth, destroyed my religiously framed construct to reveal a God who is I AM that I AM: pure, unadulterated, unconditional love.

As my great friend and fellow traveller, Lindy Strong has said, “My past self of ten years ago would probably call my present self a heretic” and that was my own experience on this journey. If that is not all our experience then we have ceased the journey, content with our systematic theological understanding of a God who is infinite, creating a box for that God that is only a prison for our minds. I am a happy heretic, enjoying skiing down the slope of orthodoxy to discover and explore a whole new vista beyond the limits of my understanding.

The further and deeper this rabbit hole journey has gone, the more convinced I am of God’s desire and passion for the restoration of all things of creation. Creation itself will inevitably be set free from its bondage and slavery to the corruption of our sonship by the revealing of the true mystic sons of God who have arisen and are shining with love’s light.

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead so that He will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven (Colossians 1:13-20).

Are all things actually all things? I discovered the answer to this is yes and no. Yes, all things that Jesus created out of the desire of the Father’s heart in the power of the Spirit; but no to everything we have created from the DIY independent path of the knowledge of good and evil that has been cursed.

All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being (John 1:3).

“The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.” (John 3:35).

“For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.” (John 5:20).

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30).

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and as going back to God… (John 13:3).

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26).

“All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” (John 16:15).

“…and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.” (John 17:10).

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished… (John 19:28)

(From the Introduction to The Restoration of All Things, by Mike Parsons).

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278. Established in Heaven

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Seated in heavenly places

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus… (Eph 2:4-6).

When a king is ruling, he sits on a throne. That is where he has authority. Ultimately, God wants to enable us to be seated in authority in heavenly places so that we can then bring His kingdom into the earth:

Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

(Matt 6:10).

God’s kingdom is concerned with heaven being manifested on earth. Heaven and earth were originally in complete alignment, but no longer. The earth is fallen from that place and therefore needs to be restored. That is God’s desire, so restoration is about bringing His will and purpose from heaven into the earth; to manifest it, to see His will at work. He does not want to control everything Himself, He encourages us as His sons to participate with Him in the process.

When we are seated, we are in a place of rest within His will and heart. Then we are able to release His will, His governmental perspective, to everything on earth. That is why it is important for us to understand heavenly government.

In heaven first

If we are going to see something established on earth, it needs to be established in heaven first. How do we do that? By exercising our role in heavenly government.

‘Kingdom’ is not just an empty word, there is a reality to government in heaven. There is a whole governmental structure of angels, archangels and other beings (including the men in white linen) operating in the courts and councils of heaven to fulfil God’s will and purpose. And there is a place for us there too.

Government is relational

Heavenly and earthly government are designed to work together. Most of us are familiar with some form of earthly government in our nation, region or city. Whatever we think about political earthly governments, the reality is that God establishes government. And if we see that any earthly government is actually opposing heaven, then we can ask Him whether He mandates us to use our position in heaven to bring about change and transformation in that earthly government.

All government begins in the relationship that is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, because that is where everything starts. It is all coming out of His heart of love, out of His desire for restoration. All of it is based in who He is. Government is an expression of the intimacy that exists within God Himself. It is all about love because God is love.

He really is. You may have been taught that God brings judgment on nations through earthquakes and floods and so on. He does not: none of that is Him. Maybe those things are spiritual consequences, or maybe we just live in a fallen world which needs restoration and those adverse weather patterns and movements of the tectonic plates are creation groaning under the weight of our lack of sonship. In that case we need to get our act together and begin to bring order and government into it all as sons of God – but in love, not in frustration or anger or with any sense of retribution or vengeance.

The wrath of God is not poured out on people, because Jesus already dealt with death (the wages of sin). There is no need for God’s wrath to be directed towards anyone, because everyone is already forgiven. But there are things which restrict us from knowing who God is and who we are. The wrath of God is poured out on whatever hinders people from knowing and responding to Him and stepping into their inheritance as His sons.

The sons of the kingdom carry government and all of us are sons of the kingdom. We all have a governmental position, whether we like it or not. Whether we understand it or know it, we have authority because we are sons.

Relationship, not a formula

Governments operate according to various principles and protocols, but in heavenly government (and in earthly government where it is a true reflection of heaven) everything is outworked relationally with God and with each other. We do not want to get tied down to formulas. Once you formularise something, you remove relationship from the equation and everything becomes legalistic. For example, sowing and reaping is a principle, not a formula. As soon as you make it a formula, ‘I sow this and I automatically reap that’ then you have excluded God and suddenly it does not bring blessing anymore. God wants us to be involved with Him relationally in the sowing and the reaping so that we receive all that is on His heart for us, and enjoy it with Him.

So there are protocols for operating in the courts of heaven and it helps if you know how each court functions. But if we engage with God and with His heart, everything we need to know and everything we need to do will come from that relationship. And then we need to work those things out in relationship with one another. The government that we have in heaven and the government we need to have on earth as a foundation to all our ekklesias (and anything else we set up) must be relational because God is relational.

Agreement, cooperation and unity

We need to be relational not functional. Things do need to function, of course; but when you do business of any kind it has to be relational, otherwise it is not going to be a true reflection of God.

Agreement, cooperation and unity are all necessary in government: between God and us and between one another. If the relationship between us and God can be problematic, our relationship with one another is even more so. We are all imperfect and we are all in the process of change and transformation, therefore we rub each other up the wrong way. We will have relational conflicts which come up to the surface and we will have to work them through. Most people do not work them through, they sweep them under the carpet and the lump under the carpet gets bigger and bigger until everyone starts stumbling over it and they cannot ignore it any longer.

We have to work everything through relationally if we are going to see government work according to God’s original intent and purpose, so that what we build here is sustainable and effective, continually full of light and life, a reflection of heaven on earth.

This post is based upon Mike’s slides and teaching from our Sons Arise! – On Earth As In Heaven conference (September 2018).

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266. A Happy Eschatology

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

The restoration of all things is not a one-off event but a continual process that God does with us, in us and through us as His sons. I believe that as co-heirs we are involved in, and carry responsibility for, the restoration of all things; in particular for the restoration of creation.

What I thought I knew

How the Bible frames our understanding of the future will greatly influence what we believe about our sonship and what is possible in restoration. Our expectations of the future will also determine what we believe about the part we can play in it.

If we believe that God is going to destroy the heavens and the earth with fire, as many do, that will inevitably affect how we see our responsibility to steward the planet and its resources. If we believe in a defeatist, rapture ‘rescue of the church’ into heaven, then there will be little point in looking for the kingdom to fill the earth in victory.

We often have confirmation bias: we already know what the Bible says, so when we read it, it just confirms what we already know. More study will not fix this. Only face-to-face encounters with God Himself can get us free from that biased view. Some of my encounters with God have been traumatic: for about 5 years it seemed like every time I thought I knew something, I would have an encounter with God which totally challenged what I thought I knew.

Religion continues to misrepresent God; but He is looking to undo the damage that religion has done to our perception of Him so that we will see Him as He really is, as Jesus revealed Him to be. Only the lens of love will enable us to see the true nature of God and how that underlies the restoration of all things. God desires restoration, and all His desires are birthed in love. Love causes restoration.

Happy endings?

When we use love as our plumb line it is easier to decide which doctrinal truths and theological positions are aligned with God being love and which are the man-made deceptions of a religious mindset. If we are to participate fully in the restoration of all things and the expansion of God’s kingdom as sons, we will want to embrace an eschatology which allows for creation being set free from corruption within that restoration: this is variously called a happy, realised, fulfilled or covenant eschatology.

Many of the positions people take are paradoxical or even contradictory, but they all use the Bible to prove that they are right. So did I! Now I have to own up and say ‘Sorry, I got it wrong’. Revelation is progressive, and I was only going on the revelation that I had (and of course, others are only going on the revelation they have too). God does not mind that along our journey we may have believed a whole variety of delusions, illusions, lies and deceptions. Still, He wants us to know Him; and in knowing Him He wants us to have the revelation of unveiled truth, so that truth can set us free.

Three streams

In conversation with God, He told me that there are three streams coming together. At present, there are a handful of people who flow with two of those streams, and even fewer who embrace all three. For now, each is mostly blind to the direction that the others are coming from but they will merge in the flow of the restoration of all things.

  • The Christian Universalists are travelling towards both a realised eschatology and an open heaven mystical flow.
  • The mystics are travelling towards a realised eschatology and universal restoration.
  • The realised eschatologists are travelling towards the mystical and the restoration of all things position.

Most eschatological systems have far from happy endings, involving expectations of fearful judgment, doom, gloom, destruction and failure for mankind and the rest of creation. In ‘happy eschatology’, prophecies of doom and gloom, judgment and destruction are seen as already fulfilled, leading to a restorative period in which all things can be restored. The future is positive and filled with possibilities of increase and blessing.

No fear for the future

When looking to our Bibles to see what the future holds, there are a number of factors we need to bear in mind:

  • all the events of the New Testament were future to the Old Testament writers
  • everything Jesus prophesied was future to those He was speaking to at the time, but
  • what was future to Old Testament writers, to Jesus’ first century listeners and to New Testament writers may not be future to us today – it may have already occurred.

There is no fear for the future based on Biblical prophecy when the prophesied events are already in the past for us. All biblical references to the end, the last days, the end times, the last hour and soon to take place refer not to the destruction of the world, but to the end of the old covenant age. This was the ‘end’ that Jesus prophesied would occur in the generation to which He was speaking.

To us, in the 21st century:

  • The prophesied end is past, not future.
  • The end of the old heavens and earth (i.e. the old covenant system of laws, temple and sacrifice) is past, not future.
  • The new heavens and the new earth (the new covenant) is present, not future.
  • The great tribulation is past, not future (this does not mean that there will never be any tribulation again throughout history, merely that any tribulation experienced will not be a fulfilment of this specific Bible prophecy).
  • The end of the age is past, not future.
  • Judgment and resurrection are past, not future.
  • The lake of fire is past, not future.

Revelation and Daniel

Most of the difficulties people encounter today with the book of Revelation and Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy come from trying to make them fit current (or future) events.

In reality, Revelation is John’s first-hand account of a heavenly encounter. He was shown the events Jesus spoke about, recorded in Luke 21 and Matthew 24, which happened in that generation just as He said they would.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place (Rev 1:1, my emphasis).

Revelation is full of such time references which should clue us in to the immediacy of the time frame:

  • tachus means quickly, all at once, with all speed, without delay.
  • engys means “at hand, near”
  • mello means “about to, on the point or verge of”

Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy also happened in that generation (including the 70th week). Daniel connected the eschatological time of the “end” with events such as the desolation of the temple, the resurrection, the tribulation, the coming of the Son of Man and the arrival of the kingdom. All those events would take place when the city and temple were destroyed or “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered”; “all these things” (not just some of them) would be fulfilled together (see the consummation scenes in Dan. 12:1-7; Dan. 7:13-14, 18, 27; 9:24-27).

The period of restoration of all things

  • As in the days of Noah’ happened in that generation
  • Believers fled from Jerusalem to the mountains in that generation
  • The judgment and resurrection happened in that generation
  • The kingdom was established in that generation

“Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matt 24:34).

That generation ended in 70 AD with the destruction of the temple and the very end of the old covenant. The period of the restoration of all things began in that generation… and continues in the new covenant age in which we live.

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This post is based in part on Mike’s introduction to ‘Happy Eschatology’ from our intensive ‘The Restoration of All Things held in June 2019. A lively discussion session ensued!

265. Love’s Good News

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

If we are to fulfil our sonship mandate and bring restoration to the earth, we need to mature as sons and take our places enthroned in the heavenly realms. As we mature, we will grow in confidence in our relationship with Father, Son and Spirit so that we come to know each of them intimately and spontaneously recognise their voices and their shared heart. This will be key as we explore and journey beyond our present knowledge and experience.

A journey of discovery

And there is so much more for us to discover. We are walking with God on a relational journey to discover Him and ourselves, and He will guide us through our experiential encounters with Him. The more I have engaged Him, the more He has exploded out of the box that I was unknowingly trying to put Him in. There are many things He has shown me that I do not yet fully understand cognitively but I park them and move on, trusting that the revelation will be uncovered when the time is right. There have been many things that I was convinced were true that I now realise were merely someone else’s opinions masquerading as objective truth.

We do not need to fear being deceived as long as we are not blindly following man’s DIY doctrines but are checking everything out with God ourselves. Please do not believe something just because I say it, or someone else says it. All of us have the Spirit of Truth Himself in us and with us as our guide. We have Jesus the way, truth and life in us and with us to disciple us. We have our loving Father in us and with us to father us into our sonship. If there is a plumb line we measure and test everything against, then that plumb line is not the Bible (as many of us were taught) but Agape Love, the very nature of God.

The Bible narrative

This does not mean that we reject the Bible. Far from it! It is just that we need to go beyond the limitations of sola scriptura. We need the Truth, the living Word of God, Jesus, as our only mediator.

“We came up with the idea of inerrancy because we needed another mediator between God and man other than Jesus.” – T.F. Torrance.

The Bible’s narrative covers God, Creation, Man, the Fall, redemption and restoration. Various writers contribute to the story, using their own perspectives of their encounters with God and with other people. The love story of God’s relationship with mankind is its overarching theme, the big-picture metanarrative which unites all the micronarratives of smaller themes and individual stories. We are all involved, woven into the story like a big tapestry.

Our own micronarratives derive from those things we believe about ourselves and the world, influenced by the metanarratives we adopt. Everything we believe about ourselves is framed by the bigger picture, paradigm or worldview. The gospel reframes all history in a light that directly affects our own stories.

Choices

No one really has free will. We are all influenced by something. What we do all have is choice. Religion of all types is a type of metanarrative that frames people’s lives from the particular viewpoint that they have been exposed to. If we have been around Christians for any length of time, that applies to us, too.

So what is it that influences our choices and frames our lives? A set of values, ideals or principles revealed in a book (that may be called the Bible, Torah, Koran or Veda etc.) or a personal, experiential, love relationship with God? God desires all of us to have a face to face relationship with Him.

Religion hates that idea. It fears subjective, experiential relationship and seeks to impose external checks and balances upon us. Without an objective reference point, it expects that we will fall into skewed DIY behaviour and selfish, man-centred micronarratives. Religion thrives on law and on the identity derived from a set of shared behaviours which line up with that law.

But there is nothing to fear when a love relationship with God gives us a healthy understanding of our true identity.

Just like our Dad

It is our responsibility to discover who we really are, and who God made us to be. We will find our identity, position and authority by beholding God in the mirror of a face to face relationship that fully reveals our sonship. We are called to be restored into that image and to participate in the restoration of all things. Creation is waiting to be set free from its bondage to decay into the freedom of our glory as sons.

“Jesus is God’s mind made up about us” (Francois du Toit, Ephesians 1:4 Mirror Bible). If our thinking does not line up with His, then our thinking needs to be renewed. This is what metanoia (repentance) really means.

When we know our true identity we will express God’s love through our lives in ministering to others. To be a follower of Jesus is to be part of the story by being the good news, not just in our behaviour, in our outward actions, but also in how our story reveals our value and worth as a son of God; in how it reveals just how much we are loved.

Then, much of our story will be that of our restoration from brokenness. The truth of love’s good news will be embedded into the fabric of our being; we will sum up our love stories, not in a superficial “Jesus loves me” kind of way, but in a way that emphasises accepting and embracing our brokenness and fragmentation, retelling our story of receiving ever greater levels of healing and peace in a way that releases hope to others.

God does not expect us to be perfect (and so condemn us to the bondage of continual, repeated failure because we feel obligated to an external standard of perfection). He wants us to mature through an internal desire to be sons who are just like our loving Dad.

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264. Relationship Replaced

Mike Parsons
and Jeremy Westcott

A book they didn’t have

If you have spent any time at all in evangelical Christianity, you have probably been taught something like this:

“The Bible is ‘God-breathed’ (2 Timothy 3:16). The human authors wrote exactly what God wanted them to write, and the result was the perfect and holy Word of God (Psalm 12:6; 2 Peter 1:21).” [1]

As we saw last time, the Bible makes no such claims for itself. The verses quoted are not talking about ‘the Bible’ at all. Jesus is the Word of God, so to describe the Bible as the ‘Word of God’ (especially with a capital ‘W’) is little short of idolatry. We can all have an intimate face to face relationship with the Living Word of God – Jesus – today. Sadly, for many believers, knowledge of the Bible has replaced that intimate relationship with God Himself.

“It’s difficult to expect the same fruit of the early church when we value a book they didn’t have more than the Holy Spirit they did have.” – Bill Johnson[2]

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit will lead us to Jesus (the Truth and Living Word of God) who leads us to the Father in relationship:

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26).

“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:12-13).

Jesus promised that more revelation would come through the Holy Spirit. There is no end to that revelation, no caveat that says ‘until the Bible is complete’. Is it possible that God never intended to limit revelation of who He is to the books of what we call the Old and New Testaments? Should the Bible ever ‘be complete’? Was that God’s intention? Did He even intend for us to have a Bible? Is it possible that insights today can be progressively added by the Holy Spirit?

Questions

I began to ask some questions of myself. I encourage you to do the same.

  • How much of what I believe came through direct face to face encounter with God Himself?
  • How much of what I currently believe has come through other people’s teaching and preaching?
  • How much of what I currently believe has come through my own study, leaning on my own understanding, and therefore comes through the confirmation-biased filter of my pre-existing knowledge?
  • How many things that I currently believe are different from the understanding that I have previously held? What are those things?
  • What do I now believe that contradicts something I strongly believed in the past?
  • How much of what I currently believe may change in the future if God continues to renew my mind?

Replacements

In my own conversations with the Father, He made some statements to me about some of the replacements we have made. His intention was to challenge any religious mindset in me. I offer them here so that if any of these statements resonate with you, or if they arouse anger, indignation or some other strong emotional response, you can take them back to the Father, ask Him why and ask Him to reveal the truth of His heart.

Relationship has been replaced by religion
The Spirit has been replaced by a book
The Living Word has been replaced by the written word
The Truth as a person has been replaced by theological and doctrinal belief systems
Hearing My voice has been replaced by studying a book

The truth of the cross that has reconciled creation has been distorted into a lie that has excluded creation
The perfect picture of love has been twisted to express penal, retributive punishment and torment
The love so perfectly displayed for My children and My creation in the self-sacrifice and offering of My Son has been distorted into a disgusting image of cosmic child abuse
Love that brings life has been perverted into hateful punishment that brings death

The correction and refining that purifies in fire has been replaced by eternal conscious torment
The Perichoresis of a relational loving God has been replaced by Augustinian theology of an angry God
Loving, substitutionary atonement has been replaced by penal, retributive atonement

Restoration has been replaced by punishment
Testing has been replaced by torment
Repentance has become re-penance instead of the renewal of the mind.
The wages of sin have become eternal punishment instead of death
The cross has become penal instead of restorative

Love has been replaced by anger
The grave has been replaced by Hell
The Spirit has been replaced by the letter
The torn veil of the temple has been replaced by the mediatorial coverings of men

Heaven and earth have been separated
An open heaven has been deceptively made a closed heaven
The literal truth of an open heaven has been replaced by analogy and metaphor
Access to heaven through the Way, Truth and Life of Jesus, the Door, has been replaced by access through death
The new covenant of life has been replaced by the old covenant of death

Grace has been replaced by the law
The faith of Jesus has been replaced by faith in Jesus
Salvation by grace has been replaced by the salvation of works
The heavenly priesthood of Melchizedek has been replaced by the earthly Aaronic priesthood

Future fulfilment has replaced past fulfilment
The end of the old covenant has been replaced by the end of the world
The celebration and joy of love have been replaced by the tribulation of fear
Victory has been replaced by rescue
The restoration of all things has been replaced by the destruction of all things

The new heavens and new earth, representing a new temple wineskin, has been replaced by the literal destruction of the world
Parousia of presence has been replaced by parousia of coming
Inclusion has been replaced by exclusion
Reconciliation has been replaced by separation

Preaching the good news of Jesus in people has been replaced by preaching the bad news of exclusion among people
The priesthood of all believers has been replaced by the priesthood of one believer

The bride has replaced the wife: the marriage has been made future not past
The present New Jerusalem on earth has been replaced by a future New Jerusalem coming out of heaven
The past resurrection has been replaced with a future resurrection
The past judgment of the cross declaring that all are innocent has been replaced with a future judgment of only the guilty

‘All are made alive in Christ’ [inclusive] has been replaced by ‘only those in Christ are made alive’ [exclusive]
‘All will confess Jesus as Lord’ has been replaced by ‘some will confess Jesus as Lord’
Being ‘born from above’ has been replaced with being ‘born again’
Being ‘born from above’ through the resurrection has been replaced by being ‘born again’ by praying a prayer of salvation

Salvation of all by grace through the gift of Jesus’ faith has been replaced by the salvation of some by their own faith

Take it back to Him

I am not asking you whether you agree or disagree. Whatever your response as you read through that list, I encourage you to take it back to the Father.

Ask the Living Word of God, Jesus, to give you a true revelation of Himself as the Truth and to deconstruct any pillar of sola scriptura from your mind.

Invite the Truth, Jesus, to deconstruct any lies you believe about the Bible, God, others and yourself.

[1] source: www . gotquestions.org
[2]When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson, Destiny Image Publishers 2013.

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263. The Word of God

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

God spoke

“…the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time” (Acts 3:21).

In his sermon on the day of Pentecost, Peter tells his audience that God has already spoken about the restoration of all things in the past. So who were those prophets He spoke through, what did He say and when did He say it? And if these things were spoken, were they also written down, and if so, where?

  • In the 39 books which we call the Old Testament? Or the 24 books of the Hebrew Tanakh? Or the Talmud or Rabbinical writings?
  • Is it only the Bible that records what God spoke by His holy prophets? Are there other written records of what the prophets said?
  • What about the Apocryphal books which were once included in our Bible? What about other Jewish mystical writings such as the Talmud, Targum, Midrash and Zohar?

Those are the kinds of questions which go through my mind when I read something like that.

In His Son

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son… (Heb 1:1-2).

That is where we are. We actually do not need a prophet to speak to us anymore, because we have Jesus to speak to us. The Father can speak to us. The Holy Spirit can speak to us. And they can speak to us directly, they do not need a prophet to be a mediator.

When He spoke to prophets who lived 3000 years or so ago, He spoke to them in the context of their own society and way of life. If we simply read what they wrote, it might not mean the same to us (especially if we don’t speak their language). We need God the Holy Spirit to speak to us so that, whether we have it in writing or not, He can say it in a way appropriate for us and apply it to our situation today.

If we will learn to hear God’s voice and discern what He is saying, we may find He has much more to say than we ever thought. He speaks to me in all kinds of ways, not just through scripture. If He speaks to me through a sci-fi film, is that less valid than Him speaking to me through the Bible?

Truth and opinion

I often find I have more questions than answers! That is because I now recognise that many things I thought I knew were only assumptions, or other people’s opinions. My understanding was framed by what I was taught about how God spoke and what the Bible meant. But in the process of God renewing my mind, He began to challenge me on some of these things.

Jesus is the Truth. So wherever there is truth, it must be from Jesus. Whether it is in a movie, or a book, or music, or some other creative work, it must be Jesus. The conclusions people draw, or the way they interpret that truth, that is not necessarily Jesus. We cannot assume that just because one part within it rings true, that everything in it is true. The Holy Spirit will give us that discernment. We can find truth in many things, truth that we might miss if we believe the only way we can receive truth is through the Bible.

The Bible

So where does the Bible (and other ‘scripture’) fit into the picture of what will be restored? Where does the Bible fit into our lives? Is it a manual for living or an introduction to a living, loving relationship with Jesus, the Living Word? Is everything that is recorded in the Bible inspired by God? What do we mean by ‘inspired’? Is all of the Bible inerrant and infallible as we may have been told?

I understand that posing such questions risks causing offence. I am not setting out to deliberately offend but I do want to challenge our view of the Bible as the ‘word of God’. Everything God has ever said, through anyone or anything, is the word of God. But it is not a book. Nowhere in the Bible does it call itself ‘the word of God’ but it does call Jesus Himself the Word:

In the beginning was the Word [Gk: logos], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).

Perhaps we have been taught that the Greek word logos means the written word, the Bible, and the Greek word rhema means the spoken words of Jesus, recorded in the Bible, or the words the Holy Spirit speaks to you when you read the Bible. Logos and rhema do not mean that. They were the normal, everyday terms for written word and spoken word and that is all.

The early believers did not even have a Bible when those words were used. The books contained in our Bible were not originally part of a collection of writings at all. They were letters, or books of history, prophecy, or poetry and so on. And some of the books that were included in the first ‘canon of scripture’ have since been discarded.

Evangelicalism

No one lives without influence. Everyone’s mind is framed by their belief systems. In the process of the deconstruction and renewal of my mind, God showed me that one of the pillars of so-called ‘truth’ that framed my beliefs was evangelicalism.

This is a belief system which teaches that the Bible does not merely contain the word of God, but that every word of it is the word of God. Scripture therefore carries the full authority of God: every single statement of the Bible calls for instant, unqualified and unrestricted acceptance. In fact many evangelical churches hold to the doctrine of Sola scriptura (Latin: by scripture alone): the Christian scriptures are the sole infallible rule of faith and practice.

Ironically, you will not find any of that in the Bible. It is not there because it is a man-made doctrine. Not only does the Bible never call itself ‘the word of God’, it does not claim to be inerrant, infallible or the only authoritative guide for us either. The emphasis on following the Bible only arose because no one taught us that we really could have an intimate face-to-face relationship with Jesus in which He could speak to us personally. Jesus is the One we are supposed to listen to and follow, not a book.

In reality, not everything in the Bible applies to us.

Much of the Old Testament and law only applied to Jewish people and converts, or to the specific people being addressed, not to us in the new covenant. Much of the New Testament was written to address the events of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, the end of the old covenant system. Paul wrote letters to certain churches in circumstances we do not face today. Some passages only make sense in their own cultural context – though I was brought up in a church which had a stock of head coverings at the door for women thoughtless enough to come without one (1 Cor: 11:5-8).

The Living Word

Jesus never promised a book, but a relationship with Himself, with His Father and with the Holy Spirit of Truth. Everything we read in the Bible needs to be interpreted by the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. There is some universal truth within it which is awesome, revealing the loving nature and character of the Father. The Holy Spirit will show us that universal truth and how it is to be applied to our lives.

The Living Word, Jesus, can interpret whatever has been written, speak directly to us daily and bring truth to us even if it is completely out of the context it was originally written in. He did that when He came – and we can read about it in the Bible! How many times in the Sermon on the Mount did He say “You have heard it said… but I say…”? He still does it today.

Recent posts by FreedomARC

For interest: The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978):
“Those who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are called to show the reality of their discipleship by humbly and faithfully obeying God’s written Word.”

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