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Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:16).
Just like Jesus, our elder brother, we can engage with our heavenly Father and enjoy an intimate relationship with Him; just like Jesus, we have all the resources of heaven available to us to achieve all we are called to do in our lives. Being the Joshua Generation means embracing our inheritance and birthright as sons of God.
Sonship (which is not gender-specific) is not just about having a restored soul and becoming whole, wonderful as that is. Sonship is about being positioned, seated, enthroned in heaven so that our governmental position can be expressed on the earth. Sonship is about being in the Father and the Father being in us. When we are positioned in the Father, He can position us as His express image into creation, anywhere in time and space.
For example, one night as I was about to go to sleep at home in the UK, I said to the Father, “Hey, I’m available for an adventure!” and I went back in time to the 1760s. Someone in America was praying for help because their child had died. I found myself there, outside the house; they invited me in; I prayed for the child, who was healed and restored; and I found myself back in my room at home.
I started to wonder, how could I have gone back into the past and changed it? I was facing the well-known time travel paradox: if I changed the past, surely I have changed the present! Then I realised that to God there is no past, present and future: to Him it is all ‘now’. If I am in Him, I am not limited by time or space any more than He is; He can allow me to travel wherever and whenever, as I make myself available to Him.
That may sound strange, but it is the kind of thing you get to do when you are a son. You get involved in the Father’s business. When people are praying, He directs you to act in response to people’s prayers. Sonship is about being part of a family, in relationship with the Father, with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit and with one another. As a family, we will be about the Father’s business: the restoration of all things back to His original desire and design.
The whole of creation responds to us as sons. Sonship is then about being a gateway for the Father to touch the earthly realm through our lives. Jesus said “the Father who lives in Me does His work through me” (John 14:10 NLT); that is, not independently but in complete cooperation and relationship with one another. They were one. We want to get to that point where we are ‘joined to the Lord and one spirit with Him’ (1 Cor 6:17 NLT); where we cannot tell whether it is us doing something or the Spirit doing it (and it really does not matter either way, because we are one).
Sonship is about being a gateway for the Father to touch others. The way we do that is changing. It used to be that the ‘man of power for the hour’ would stand up at the front, prophesying over people, laying hands on everyone and knocking them flat on the floor. I have done that. That is the old ‘mediator’ model. Often it was like a blunderbuss or a shotgun approach: blast everything out there, tag it with ‘in the name of Jesus’ and hope that some of it would stick.
God does indeed want us all to be equipped to release His love and power into other people’s lives, but to do so because we actually see what is going on; then we can direct the flow of the grace of God to touch the precise areas that need healing. Most physical disorders are the result of emotional hurt and pain, so if you do not heal the emotions, the physical symptoms just keep returning. You need to get to the root of the issue – and it will be different every time! So how do you do that? By reading the thoughts and intentions of people’s hearts. Seeing into someone’s DNA, you can identify where trauma is trapped in cells, and where they are stuck and fragmented; not as some kind of magic party trick, but in order to bring healing as a precision instrument. If we can all be equipped to be like Jesus, to do the things Jesus did in the same way that He did them, then we will be able to go on to do the greater works like He promised we would (John 14:12).
A daily to-do list?
I asked Jesus one time how He knew what to do, and how He should do it. I had the idea that maybe He would go to the Father each morning and get a list, probably written on a scroll. And I thought it would be very specific: heal this blind person by spitting on the ground and making mud; heal this other one by speaking to them; and this one by touching their eyes. But that was not it at all – He just had the heart of the Father to heal people that day and then, creatively, as a son, chose which way to do it.
When we are in the heart of God, we can choose our reality. We like to have a formula, but if a formula always worked then we would not need a relationship. I cannot assume that because I did something in a particular way one day, then I should do the same thing in the same way the next. God has not set it up that way, because He only works through relationship – He is one God in three persons, and relationship is at the core of His nature. So my mandate for the day is not a list of things I should or should not do: I am seated with Him in heaven, knowing His heart; and throughout the day I am continually connected to His heart, so I can always be where I need to be and do what I need to do, flowing in relationship with Him.
We are called as sons to be part of the Joshua Generation, forerunners of heavenly intimacy, who have spied out the land beyond the veil; who have been wooed by the Father into restored sonship. The Joshua Generation are called to experience the precepts, character and nature of God Himself; to experience – and demonstrate – the reality of the very essence of God who truly is love.
The fourth dimension in which we can engage is in God’s heart in eternity, outside of time and space.
God is eternal
God is eternal. It may seem really obvious to say it, but it is important to grasp this. He has always been, He is, and He will always be (Rev 1:8). He is almighty, that is ‘all-mighty’. He is light (1 John 1:5). He is love (1 John 4:16). He is spirit (John 4:24).
If we meditate on these scriptures, and others like them, they will open up a doorway that enable us to engage with who God is. If we engage Him and know Him, beholding Him face to face, that intimate relationship with Him will help us know who we are.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jer 1:5).
Just as God is speaking here to Jeremiah, He has also spoken to each of us. He knew me, and He knew you, before He formed you in the womb. This was not some vague thought that God had: ‘knowing’ is a really intimate encounter. Since intimacy is two-way, actually, we knew Him too.
He set you apart for relationship and purpose. He had a purpose for your life that He knew, and that you knew, before you were actually formed. It is part of your very being. What name has He given you? Who has He called you to be? What has He appointed you to? What has He called you to do? The good news is: you can know.
As sons of God we have access to I AM. Everything to Him is present, always in the eternal now. Since we are in Him and He in us, we can engage the eternal aspects of our identity and destiny within the heart of God. He wants to restore our connection to who we really are, who we were always created to be, giving us inspiration at a spiritual level that informs and empowers what we do here.
God’s very essence is love. In His heart your relationship with the very essence of love is restored: that is not just feeling loved, which is wonderful in itself, but also beginning to be an expression of love yourself. When you first go there, it is unlikely you will be able to process it with your mind. It is more that you know things instinctively because you are part of the thoughts of God, His heart and His desire; you absorb it, and it then begins to transform your life.
Soul and spirit
In order for your spiritual memory to be restored, you may need some deconstruction of your entrenched mindsets and framework, as I did. You will certainly need to have your soul and spirit separated and reintegrated so that your soul is free to cooperate with your spirit rather than pursuing its own agenda and affirming an identity independent from God. That changed everything for me. Everyone needs to go through their own process – pray it won’t be like mine, because mine was really hard!
When our soul and spirit are in agreement, we can live in dual realms of heaven and earth at the same time. We can become reconnected to who we were as pre-existing spirit beings, reconnected to creation as it was before it came into the bondage of corruption, which stimulates us to participate in the restoration of all things. Having a memory of what it was like when creation was in perfect harmony and there was no darkness really motivates me to want to see it like that again. The revelation of the sons of God will bring creation into the freedom of the glory of those sons – into our glory!
Walk on the ancient path
You may be familiar with this symbol, which I see as the eternal circle:
We can stand in what is, every day in heaven, in the arc of the Name of God, in His Name, in the four faces of God; then we have access to walk on that ancient path back into the heart of God (I no longer need to walk back into it because I now reside there; but if you are not yet able to live in dual realms, you can still choose to walk back there).
When you are in that place, allow His thoughts to envelop you. It’s like being in the womb of His heart: you were birthed there. If He were to tell you all those amazing thoughts He has about you in one go, it would overwhelm you. So He allows you to grasp them a little at a time. As you are in this place of intimacy, He will reveal how special you are to Him. You will begin to feel your value and worth to Him, not because of what you can do but because of who you are. You can feel love; you can feel His frequency vibrating in your spirit; that can be communicated by your spirit to your heart, your soul.
We gradually become more fully aware of our sonship, and not only in relation to this realm. We begin to see who we were as sons and who we will be as sons; if we connect to the beginning and outwork it in the middle, eventually the end will be in agreement.
Walk back into eternity
I want to give you an opportunity to walk back into eternity and to re-engage with the eternal aspect of the heart of God there for you. I cannot guarantee that you are ready, but you can ask Him to take you there and if so, He will. If not, He will take you somewhere that is a part of your journey into that realm and is right for you at this time.
Close your eyes if you can. Again, you can use the audio version of this activation if you wish.
Heaven is open.
Let the image form in your imagination.
Hear the invitation to ‘come up here’.
Walk up the steps into the heavenly realms.
Ask Jesus to help you engage with the arc in the heavenly tabernacle.
Let Him lead you into the arc of the Presence of God,
to stand before the four faces
and step into the Yod-Hei-Vav-Hei of His Name.
That is a step of choice, to step into the manifestation of His Presence there.
As you step into His Presence,
ask Jesus to allow you to walk on the ancient path,
to engage in His heart.
He may walk with you into that place
or you may find yourself transported there.
There, within the heart of God’s Presence,
you may feel cocooned in love,
you may see yourself as light,
you may sense the conversation all around you,
hear His thoughts about you:
sense your eternal identity.
Whatever happens, just relax and allow it to take place.
Stay as long as it takes, don’t rush away.
The eternal aspect of who you are will begin to be unveiled to you
at a deeper and deeper level.
Don’t let these engagements in four dimensions be one-time exercises. Make them part of your daily lifestyle. God will never run out of new revelation He wants to release to you; and increasing revelation of who you are will come out of the increasing revelation of who He is.
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:16).
When I first started engaging in my spirit, I was just captivated by God. Who wouldn’t be? To see the face of God, to look into His eyes, to be embraced by the Father…
Then I began leading activations for others to engage. One time with the church here, people were feeding back afterwards and one lady said ‘I went back through the door’. I had never thought of doing that myself but it is a two-way gate which also gives us access to the realms of heaven. It is like a wormhole into a different dimension. We can step through and follow the river of life back upstream to its source at the throne of grace.
The river of life
The river of life is amazing to experience. It is the essence of the life of God. We can get into the river; the river can flow in us; we can drink from the river; we can even breathe in the river (it is not H2O). There are waterfalls along the river and it flows through the Father’s garden (a wonderful place to explore). The Tree of Life grows on the banks of the river: its fruit is there for us to eat and enjoy, in season all the time. It is not just a passage in the Book of Revelation for us to read and think, ‘Oh, that’s nice’. It is there for us to engage personally, and it is available now.
And so we come to the Throne of Grace, which is a real place, and we can go there. In fact we have all the resources of heaven available to us, just like Jesus.
If you’re unfamiliar with all this, you can ask Him to show you around, to introduce you to some of the things in Eden. I could give you a guided tour, but I could only show you the places I would go. He can take you wherever He wants to take you: those are the places where you need to go! Let’s go there now.
Close your eyes1 and think of that door in your spirit.
Let that door form in your imagination.
By faith reach out to the handle and open it.
Welcome the Father’s presence into your spirit.
Allow your whole being, spirit, soul and body engage Him in a loving embrace.
Ask the Father to take you back through the door into Eden…
Step through the veil and you are transported into the realm of Eden.
Ask the Father to show you whatever you need to experience.
You might jump into the river and experience the life flowing around you, in you and through you.
You might go upstream and engage with the waterfalls cascading down. You can float up a waterfall in heaven, laws of physics like gravity are not an issue in the realms of heaven.
Or walk along the pathway, enjoying the colours, fragrances and frequencies.
Cross the bridge and go into the Father’s garden.
If He takes you into His garden, it is the most beautiful expression of paradise and of perfect rest.
Or keep walking up the pathway to the Tree of Life. Eat the fruit, take the scrolls that are there and engage with them. (When you receive things in the realms of heaven, mostly it is best to eat them, to take them into yourself, so that you begin to absorb whatever goodness they contain. They may not look like food but you can eat gemstones or scrolls, for example, and that will unveil revelation for you).
Maybe the Father will take you to the Throne of Grace, where you can sit on His lap, place your head on His breast where you can feel the rhythm of His heart. You can offload any needs you have onto Him and come into perfect rest. I used to make up excuses to go to the Throne of Grace because I loved sitting on His lap, until I realised I didn’t need an excuse: He loved me being there as much as I did.
Wherever He takes you, go with it. Be still and rest there. Don’t try to skip over ‘rest’ too quickly. While you rest, He works. Stop trying to do things and learn to just be.
When I first started engaging like this, I would spend hours at a time. This has just been a few minutes, a taster, if you like. If you want to come back and visit some of these other places, you can! Sometimes the desire of your heart will take you there. Come back and spend as much time as you like pursuing relationship with the Father here.
The more we engage with the Father, the more we are transfigured and transformed, growing and maturing in wisdom and grace. The first dimension in which we engage is in the Earth, the physical realm, but in the spiritual atmosphere of an open heaven.
Convergence of time and eternity
The cloud of His Presence, the cloud of the Father’s glory, comes around us and God speaks to us from where He is, out of eternity. Truth will be revealed to us from His perspective, not necessarily ours. That is why I suggest we do not try to figure it all out or try to understand it, just to receive. Your spirit will receive and digest it, and the Holy Spirit will bring it to your mind when you need it.
That goes for all the things that He has spoken to you throughout time and eternity, even if you have not heard or understood them! There is a convergence of time and eternity in the moment that He speaks. He is always speaking from the eternal now, so He is not restricted by the constraints of time. He may speak words you understand, or He may speak directly to your spirit.
“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning” (John 15:26).
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you” (John 16:13-15).
He will reveal all that you need to know to fulfil your destiny as a son of God.
Beyond the physical realm, we can also engage in our spirit and hearts, the spiritual dimension. Wherever we are, we can experience the same intimacy within, all the time. We never have to feel in any way separated from God because Father, Son and Holy Spirit have chosen to come and dwell within us. We can learn to engage them there.
Our soul and spirit are contained within our physical body but the dimension of our spirit is a little like Dr Who’s Tardis – bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside. So you can have a garden within your soul, within your heart, acres and acres of soil to be cultivated. Jesus talked about the different conditions of the soil of our heart in the Parable of the Sower, and you may find there are beautiful areas in your soul but also some parts that are not so good. God desires us to cultivate it all so that none of it is hard, stony or weedy. So, as a house of God and a gateway of heaven, the Father dwells in us.
We should develop and nurture this ‘first love’ relationship, experiencing how much He loves us. Within that relationship God is looking to restore our hearts. Then we are able to love Him in return; able to fully express our love towards Him without any restrictions, limitations or hindrances caused by the hurt and damage most of us have incurred in our lives. Everything you encounter in God can be planted in the good soil of your heart, where you water it, and in due course you see young shoots coming through which grow up and produce fruit in your life.
Jesus invites us
Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Rev 3:20-1).
So Jesus invites us to open the door in our spirit to allow the presence of God to fill us. When our spirit is full, that presence overflows and fills the garden of our heart, fills our soul with His presence. This is essential to the promise that follows, that we will be seated with Him on His throne, exercising authority and participating in the government of the Kingdom.
Most of us have lived off the trickle that flows under the doorway that Ezekiel describes. Therefore we do not yet have rivers of water flowing out of our innermost being, we have a trickle. All the gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit that we have experienced so far have been as a result of that trickle. Imagine what our lives would be like if the flow of the river of life in us were ankle-deep, knee-deep, waist-deep, over our heads! That trickle is amazing, but what would it be like if it were a flood?
The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd.[b] I always have more than enough. He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.[c] His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.[d] That’s where he restores and revives my life.[e]
(Ps 23:1-3a, TPT).
Close your eyes1 and think of that door in your spirit.
Let that door form in your imagination.
By faith reach out to the handle and choose to open the first love gate.
Welcome the Father’s presence into your spirit
Allow your whole being, spirit, soul and body,
to engage Him in a loving embrace.
Invite the Father into the garden of your heart
Let Him lead you to the green pastures or to your secret place.
As you are lying in the Father’s presence in your garden
Let Him begin to restore your soul
to face-to-face blameless innocence,
revealing wonderful truths to you of who you are.
Every night I send my soul into the garden of my heart to lie down with my Shepherd in green pastures. My spirit is active in heaven, and I go to sleep. When I wake up, sometimes I am aware of the conversation we have had during the night, and sometimes not. But I have set my soul in a place where it can engage with God all night; you can do the same. Why not try it tonight?
“Sons Arise!” is the cry from the Father’s heart to unveil, reveal and release His children into their full, glorious identity and inheritance as mature sons of God: the Elohim, god-like ones.
It is also the groan of all creation which is longing to be set free when we are revealed. Through the intimacy of a deeper relationship with the Father, let’s embrace our destinies as sons: let’s answer the groan of creation by revealing the true nature of God and the true essence of love expressed in our glorious freedom.
‘Sons’ is not gender-specific. We are all children of God who have an inheritance and are training in the family business. As sons, we are included in the circle of relationship that is Father, Son and Spirit, reconnected to the true reality of God’s original intention for our identity and destiny. Yet we cannot be recognised as sons until we recognise that we have a Father.
Engaging the Father
God is calling His children, His sons, to come out of the wilderness. He is calling His sons to cross over into their supernatural inheritance beyond the veil. He is calling His sons into deeper levels of intimacy, calling us to know Him.
As you begin to respond, you may find that He uncovers areas of brokenness and fragmentation within your soul which require healing and restoration. Don’t resist that; go with it. I recommend you journal everything the Father speaks to you as He reveals His truth and heals your wounds.
There are four dimensions in which I encourage you to engage with the Father:
Engage in the Earth, the physical realm, but in the spiritual atmosphere of an open heaven.
Engage in our spirit and heart, the spiritual dimension.
Engage in the Heavenly realms – in the Father’s garden and other places He may take you.
Engage God’s heart in eternity, outside of time and space.
When we engage the Father in four different dimensions we create a window where eternity (what was before there was) can manifest here and now to create what will be; so the end and beginning will be in agreement and history will unfold in alignment with the heart of the Father.
Let’s practice the first of those now with an activation based on a story Jesus told. We can all encounter the loving Father just as the prodigal son did, be accepted and given a ring of sonship.
I call these practice exercises ‘activations’ because they activate our imagination, which is the ‘screen’ on which we ‘see’ what is happening in the spirit. In all activations, relax, breathe deeply, loose your body from tension and loose your mind from over-analysing. Focus your conscious thoughts on whatever you are seeking to engage, but don’t strive to see visually; just go with what forms in your imagination when it is focused on the Father (or at other times it might be on Jesus or on the Holy Spirit).
You may be aware of having thoughts, of seeing, hearing, feeling, sensing or knowing cognitively – or not – but your spirit will always receive more than you are consciously aware of. Our spirits process different revelation at different rates, but at some future time you will eventually discover that you know something without being aware of when you acquired that knowledge: your spirit has digested what it received by revelation and has communicated it to your consciousness.
Prodigal son and loving Father
So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him (Luke 15:20).
Relax. Focus on the Father, who has been waiting for you to come to Him. Close your eyes if you can (read through the following paragraphs first, or listen to the audio version – at least the first 5 minutes, the full 10 if possible!).
Now think of Your loving heavenly Father running towards you, welcoming you with open arms to embrace and kiss you. That is what God longs to do with you! Let that image form in your imagination.
But there may be some obstacles in the way, some issues that come between you and prevent you engaging the Father in that way. Allow any obstacles, any negative thoughts or negative emotions, to come to your mind. Take sin, guilt, shame, condemnation, disappointment, inadequacy, worry, anxiety, fear, disapproval, whatever; put them in a bag and hand them all over to Him.
Let Him embrace you in His arms of love.
Let Him speak words of life over you; words of forgiveness and blessing.
Feel His love penetrate deeply into your heart.
Let Him clothe you with His love.
Let Him put a ring of sonship on your finger.
Feel the joy and pleasure of His heart for you.
Let Him release His love, joy and peace to you.
Let Him draw you deeper into His heart.
Let Him reveal more of His love for you.
Stay there as long as you want. If you fall asleep in any of these engagements, don’t worry! The best place to be is in a place of rest, and sometimes when you drift into that edge-of-sleep condition your spirit becomes more open.
Affirmed as sons
When we engage with the Father in this earthly realm under an open heaven, we can also be affirmed as sons:
“Receive my acceptance, affirmation, approval, recognition;
My recommendation, commendation, blessing, endorsement, validation.”
You can hear the Father speak to you as He spoke to Jesus at His baptism: “You are my son; in you I am well pleased. My soul delights in you.” When you hear Him speak words like that to you, don’t fight against them or argue with Him. Receive them. What He speaks over you is the truth.
Jesus went on to have further experiences of engaging with His Father in this realm. It got to the point where He began to shine. He demonstrated what sonship looks like by being transfigured, radiating the light of God. As sons, we will do the same (it is already happening for some). Don’t limit the possibilities. As you engage with the Father, He is transforming you (transform and transfigure are translations of exactly the same Greek word). You are being changed from one degree of glory to another: from human beings to living beings, to spirit beings, to godlike beings.
And the child grew and was strengthened in spirit, being filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him… And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men. (Lk 2:40, 52).
The more we engage with the Father, the more we will grow and mature in wisdom and grace.
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.
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.
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:
tachusmeans quickly, all at once, with all speed, without delay.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).” 
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
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?
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?
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.
 source: www . gotquestions.org When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson, Destiny Image Publishers 2013.
“…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.
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.
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.