155. A Plumbline, a Doorway and an Anchor

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Not in the Bible

This may seem really obvious, but it is a fact that not everything is actually specifically mentioned in the Bible. For example, Jesus said we should do greater works than He did, without being specific about what they might be. We have experiences in daily life which are not mentioned in the Bible – there are no computers or glasses or cars or mobile phones – but it is OK for us to use them.  In just the same way, we may have some experiences of heaven which are not in the Bible.

A plumbline

plumb line

The scriptures can be a plumbline for us though. A plumbline is a string with a lead weight (or plumb-bob) hanging from it, which builders use to check that vertical surfaces are true. So does our experience line up with God’s principles, His character and His nature? That is a safeguard for us, so that we do not go off into flights of fancy which have no basis in God. The enemy will do all he can to cause us to go astray, but we do not have to be frightened of that if we keep true to a clear revelation of who God is. Jesus Himself is that perfect revelation of His Father.

Using our imagination

The scriptures can become our starting point for future experience. When we meditate on a passage, we can picture what it talks about and use our imagination. We ought not to be scared to use our imagination: God has given it to us so that we can see things, picture them, and visualise them. Now some Christians are wary of concepts like ‘visualisation’ because they have been adopted by New Age and occult people. Even meditation is viewed with suspicion in some circles. But these things are not wrong in themselves. It is simply that we have to approach them afresh and learn how to use them in a godly way.

A doorway

If we read Revelation chapters 4 and 5, they tell us about God’s throne, thunder and lightning, the seven spirits of God, four living creatures, angels, 24 elders and so on. Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10 speak of a similar scene. There are pictures in these passages which we can visualise, and this then becomes something we can engage with. It can open a door to encounter and experience.

An anchor

As well as a doorway, the scriptures can be an anchor for further heavenly experiences. I have had many encounters with God in the heavenly realms, following which I went back to the Bible to find a foundation and an anchor for those experiences. That meant I could return to those experiences again, while ensuring that I was standing on a good biblical foundation.

So sometimes our experience comes directly out of meditating on Bible passages. At other times, our experience comes in a different way, but we can still go back to the scripture and make sure that what we have experienced is in line with what it reveals of God. In either case, if it is firmly rooted in scripture we can use that as a prompt when we want to pick up our experience again another time and go further with it.

For example, I had encounters where God took me and opened up scrolls relating to my life, and showed me what was written there. I was not expecting that. I did not know if it was biblical. But then I read in Revelation that there was a scroll written on the front and the back which Jesus would open, and that anchored those experiences solidly for me. As a result I am able to go back there and make sure my life lines up with what is written on my scroll.

Left brain, right brain

To meditate you have to learn to use the right side of the brain, the creative/intuitive area. I used to be a very left-brained person, a scientist, who naturally tended towards the cognitive, logical, and mathematical. But speaking in tongues or meditating, because they come from a flow of the spirit, use the right side of the brain. So we need to learn to activate that part of the brain in order to see, and visualise, and experience spiritual realities, and especially the heavenly realms.

That flow of the spirit is revelation from the inside which comes as spontaneous thoughts and pictures and feelings. If we are not used to tuning in to them, they can slip past and we can miss them. It works like this. The air around us is full of radio and television signals of which we are not normally aware. But if we were to have a radio, turned on and tuned in, we would be able to hear whatever was playing on that particular station. If we had a TV set tuned in we would be able to see what was on that channel. And it is just the same with tuning in to God.

Meditation, imagination

God is sending out signals all the time. They flow through our spirit and are projected into the right side of our brain, so that we can hear His voice, see visions and pictures, and receive revelation from Him. We tune in to that through meditation.

Our imagination is the screen on which God projects things. But it can also receive images from our soul, from our subconscious, and we need to know the difference. Our imagination can play back experiences we have had in life. There may be a song, or a smell or a taste which can transport us instantly back to an experience we had many years previously. We can imagine it, recall it even feel the same feelings we had at the time (whether positive or negative).

We do not want to be led from our soul, and especially not from our past negative experience, but we want to be led by the Spirit of God. We need to learn to let those spirit projections rule over the soulish ones, so that we are tuned in to a flow of revelation which enables us to follow God and do what He has called us to do. We have to learn how to open ourselves up to these things, just as most of us actually learned to shut them out.

Retuning

Every child, up to the age of about three or four, is creative and intuitive. Children of that age can see the angelic much more readily than adults, and have the ability to function in that intuitive way.

By the age of 7, only 10% of children retain that spiritual and creative ability. Our western educational system is very effective at training us to use the left side of our brain. It does not value the right side at all. Because the spiritual is not reinforced and encouraged, but rather dismissed and ignored (or at best, humoured) by our elders and teachers, we learn to focus almost exclusively on the natural realm instead.

But now, empowered by the Spirit of God, we have an opportunity to re-learn how to engage our spirit; how to retune and see things from God’s perspective.

But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil (Heb 5:14, my emphasis).

It only comes by practice.

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154. Grow Your Own

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott  

In preparing for our destiny we need to build our spirit. Over a number of posts on this blog we have looked at:

We are going on now to consider a fourth means of building up our spirit:

  • Meditating on the words of God

My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your sight;
Keep them in the midst of your heart.
For they are life to those who find them
And health to all their body.
Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
(Prov 4:20-23)

For the word of God is living and active (Heb 4:12).

When God speaks, His words are alive, and have power if we focus and meditate on what He says. When we allow that power  to transform us, we can live in the power of the word we have received. Ultimately, the fullest expression of the Word of God is Jesus Himself. God speaks through many means, but scripture is a familiar one and is a good place to start. As we meditate on scripture, it is like going from 2D to a 3D experience. It comes alive and jumps off the page. You become part of what is going on.

A picture paints a thousand words

There is a saying, ‘a picture paints a thousand words’. That is why Jesus spoke in parables. The Bible is full of stories and illustrations that enable us not just to hear words that are being said, but to imagine and participate in what is going on. So we can have experiences, visions and pictures. We can gain revelation. We can experience things practically for ourselves. We can see things sometimes in worship, pictures visions, trances, all sorts of experiential things in which we can know God’s presence. You cannot know something, in the biblical sense of the word, with intellectual understanding. The word ‘know’ in the bible means ‘to know intimately, by personal experience’. You cannot know what you have not experienced. God wants us to receive those revelations.

Store or shred

When we receive them, it is really important that we do not just pass over them. We do not just say, ‘I had this picture, I had this dream’, and then forget about them. We write them down, record them, journal them. Then we can go back and review what we have seen, what God has said, and we can revisit those experiences and obtain more revelation and more understanding from them.

In meditation, if you go back over something and keep looking at it, drawing life from it, it shows that you value it. What you value, your brain will store (instead of shredding it).

We do not want to be just spiritual consumers. You can sit and read this blog, or watch one of my YouTube clips, even enrol in Engaging God, and allow me to teach you something. But you can also be a producer, by taking what God reveals to you and applying it to your own life, and bringing forth your own fruit.

I can share my experiences of going to heaven, and having heavenly encounters with the Father, with Jesus, the angels, the men in white linen and so on. That is all very good, but God wants you to have your own experiences. They may not be the same as mine, but they will be yours. God shows no favouritism. If you do what I did, you will get what I got. But you will not get it just by reading these posts or hearing me speak. You have to pursue Him for yourself. You have to put into practice some basic techniques and principles; and meditating on what He says to you is one of the most important of them. And meditation is not just something ethereal: you have to apply what you receive to your own life.

Tomatoes

It is like tomatoes.

If you like to eat tomatoes, what most people do is go and buy some from the greengrocer or the supermarket. That is being a consumer. Someone else puts in a whole lot of effort to grow them, package them, transport them and offer them up for you to buy and eat. But you could learn how to grow tomatoes for yourself. You would have to have seed to plant, learn about types of soil and compost, transplant your seedlings, remember to water and care for them, make sure they get the right amount of sun and shelter, support the growing plants, prune them, and so on. Eventually, you get tomatoes.

When you eat a tomato you have grown, how much better does it taste than one you have bought from the shops? Even Tesco’s Finest? It tastes wonderful. There is nothing like picking fruit and vegetables straight from the garden and eating them. And besides all that, you have put so much into them that you get a real sense of achievement too. It is much more work, but so much more rewarding.

Seek it for yourself

In the same way, when you hear about my relationship with God and my encounters with the Holy Spirit, that can benefit you, and you can be blessed by hearing about them. But maybe hearing about my experiences will create a desire in you for something, so that you go away and seek that relationship and those experiences for yourself. And that, I can promise you, will bless you and benefit you on a whole other level.

Be willing to get hold of the truth of God’s words to you. Spend time in His presence. Learn how to meditate on scripture and on prophetic words or revelation you have received. Learn how to speak in tongues, inside and outside. Build up your spirit so that you can encounter God for yourself in that way. Then you will have first hand revelation knowledge of God as Father, of Jesus as a friend, of the Holy Spirit as a guide.

If you plant a seed and just leave it, it is true you may get some fruit from it. But it is likely to be a far healthier and more fruitful plant if you tend and water it. God’s desire is that we learn to live from the fruit of our relationship with Him, and when we eat, it transforms and enables us.

It is not instant, or automatic. But if we are willing to put the effort in, God is willing to reveal Himself to us in deeper and more intimate ways.

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53. Breaking off the Greek Mindset

Mike Parsons

Last time I shared with you a couple of tables relating to the Greek (Western) and Hebrew (Eastern) mindsets. In this post I want to look just a little more closely at the contrast between them, and then I would like to pray for God to reveal where we are being robbed by our Western way of looking at things, and break it off us.

Separation vs unity

Here is the first of those tables again:

Greek Mentality

Hebrew Mentality

The goal of salvation is to escape this world and go to God’s dwelling place in heaven The goal of salvation is to prepare a place fit for God’s dwelling here, among His people
The kingdom of God exists in heaven, not upon the earth The kingdom of God is God’s reign among people here on earth
Jesus is coming to take us away from this world Jesus is coming to reign over us and through us in this world
Message: “Get your ticket now, or you might miss the train!” Message: “The kingdom of God is coming! Get ready to serve the King and manifest the kingdom.”

Let’s take these one line at a time.

In our Greek understanding, the goal of salvation is to escape this world and go to God’s dwelling place in heaven. So everything is focussed on what will be: very little about what is now. In Hebrew thought, the goal of salvation is to prepare a place fit for God’s dwelling here, among His people. He wants His kingdom to come on earth.

Linked with that, where does the kingdom of God exist? The Greek view says it is in heaven, not on the earth, whereas the Hebrew view is that the kingdom of God is God’s reign among people here upon the earth.

So is Jesus coming in order to take us away from this world? No, Jesus is coming to reign over and through us in this world. We need to focus on God’s kingdom being ‘now’, not separating it out. “Get your ticket now or you might miss the train”: that may have been what we were told, but do we really want to carry on presenting the gospel that way?

And then: “Now you have your ticket, just hold on tight. In the end Jesus will come and rescue you”, rather than what Jesus preached: “The Kingdom of God is coming! It’s right here, right now! Get ready to serve the King and manifest the kingdom”.

Do you see how each misunderstanding arises from the previous one? Once you begin to go down the route prescribed by Western thought, you find there is more and more separation becoming entrenched in your thinking, and less and less of an understanding of the unity of God’s purpose.

Form vs purpose

If we look at the second table, we can see how this works out in practice:

Greek mindset

Hebrew mindset

Form Function
What I do How I do it
Secular/Religious Unified
Heavenly/Earthly Dual
Knowledge Experience
What I know Who I know
Works Grace
Creed Deed
Analyse Live – Be and Do

The Greek mindset looks at the form of something. For example, let’s take a tree. It has roots, a trunk, branches, leaves – that is what I mean by looking at its form. In the Hebrew way of thinking, it is more about what it is for. What is the purpose of a tree? To bear fruit. They are really not interested in the fact that it might have roots, a trunk, branches and leaves. Does it bear fruit? If not, it is of no value at all. Remember how Jesus cursed the fig tree that was not producing any fruit? It is the difference between an actual, practical outworking and just a mental, theoretical understanding.

So: Greek: what I do; Hebrew: how I do it. We can do lots of things from the wrong motive – but we know that God looks on the heart.

Greek thinking separates out our religious life from our secular life. Family, work, school, friendships on the one hand; and church on the other. But God wants His kingdom to be flowing through all of our lives, with no separation. There is no secular for us. Our lives are a whole, they are unified, and we bring the kingdom of God into everything.

In Greek thinking, the heavenly was separated from the earthly. There was no overlap. Bill Johnson wrote a book called ‘When Heaven Invades Earth’. Bottom line is, that is impossible in Greek thinking. But for us, we can live in both places: we live in the realms of heaven, and we bring that spiritual realm into our lives on earth, at the same time: not in the future but now.

‘Knowledge’ to the Greek mind is information. But to the Hebrew, you cannot know anything without experiencing it. It is all about knowledge through spiritual encounter. If all I am doing in this blog is imparting information to you, we are missing the mark. That is why from time to time I also include praying for you, which gives you the opportunity to encounter Him through the Holy Spirit and experience the reality of His truth for yourself (of course you can always pray these things through even when I don’t specifically include a prayer).

It’s not what you know, but who you know! We know God, but it is perfectly possible to read the Bible from cover to cover and have all the information, but never actually know Him. We need to encounter everything in the Word of God for ourselves.

Works, or grace. A creed or the deed. Stating what you believe, or actually living that way? Faith without works is absolutely dead. Jesus said, “If I do not do the works that my Father does, don’t believe me” (John 10:37). You don’t hear too many sermons on that verse.

We don’t analyse: we live. It is about who we are and what we do. God Himself says He is the I AM.

I want to pray now. If you think you may have any mindsets, any of the Greek way of thinking, we want to break that off right now.

[If you would like to hear an audio version of this prayer, click here.]

Father, I pray that the power of Your Holy Spirit will come.
Break any deception off our mindsets
Any way in which we have come under false doctrines,
False teachings, mindsets of the enemy,
Greek thinking that would cause us to separate our lives out.

I come, Lord, with the sword of Your Spirit,
To break that off our mindsets right now
In Jesus’ Name.
To be loosed from any control that the enemy has had over us
Through traditions of men and demonic doctrines
That put things into the future instead of the present;
That put things into heaven instead of on earth;
That have separated us out;
That have caused us to believe and not do.

I break those mindsets right now.

I break any doctrines over us that would hinder Your church
From pursuing and seeing the kingdom of God fill the earth
As it is in heaven.
Holy Spirit, come and reveal to anyone reading this
Anything which is a hindrance, an obstacle, a stumbling block
To our being able to fulfil our destiny as God’s people.
I pray that You would send gathering angels into our lives
To gather any stumbling blocks from us.
Gather them from our mind, gather them from our heart,
So that we believe and stand on the truth of Your Word
That through kingdom and covenant,
You are going to fill the earth with Your kingdom.
You are going to come back for a victorious, overcoming church
That has risen above every other thing.
Because ‘of the increase of Your kingdom there is no end’.

Empower us with the power of Your Holy Spirit
To take Your kingdom
And manifest Your kingdom through our lives,
Every day of our lives:
In work, in home, in our neighbourhood.
That we would manifest Your kingdom in power and authority
Doing the works that Jesus did.

I loose us from everything that would hinder us
From that fulfilment of Your purposes for our lives
In Jesus’ Name.

Amen.

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49. Jesus, the Centre of all History

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Jesus is the centre of all history

Take eschatology, the study of the last things: it is all about Jesus. It is not about us, it is not about the church, it is not about the world – it is about Jesus. He comes to sum everything up. He holds everything together. All the Old Covenant looks forward to Jesus. All the New Covenant looks back to Him. So every time we look at a scripture, we must interpret it through Jesus’ message and His Person. You cannot take it in isolation.

Some people say, ‘Paul said this in the epistles, and it contradicted Jesus’. No. it did not. It can never contradict Jesus. What Jesus said, what Jesus did, that is it. And we need to understand that, and interpret everything in that light.

All history was consummated in Jesus and it will be consummated in Him. Therefore, for as many as are the promises of God, they all find their ‘yes’ in Him  (2 Cor 1:20). Every single promise you can find in the Bible finds its answer in Christ. Every single one is fulfilled in Jesus. That is a really important principle to get hold of.

I want to give you some scriptures now which are foundational, and which will help us as we go on to look at some more complicated and difficult questions – in particular when we look at Matthew 24, which is Jesus’ teaching about what was to come.

That He may send Jesus

… and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time (Acts 3:20-21).

So everything that has been prophesied through the mouth of a prophet, including everything we have written down as prophecy in the Bible, it will all come about before Jesus leaves heaven. Until everything is restored into the order God intended, until all the prophecies are fulfilled, Jesus will remain in heaven. And only when it is will He come back.

He cannot come until all that has been done. He is not going to come, and then do it after He has come. He is going to do it before he comes. He is going to fulfil and restore all things before He comes.

“He must be received into heaven”. Now, what does that mean? So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19). When He was received into heaven, He was enthroned: He sat on the throne. When you sit on a throne, it means you are ruling, you are reigning from that place of ultimate authority and power. That is where Jesus is. And He will remain in that place until He has restored all things.

Reigning

For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet… (1 Cor 15:25-27). Jesus will return to abolish death. Death is the last enemy.

Here is another scripture which talks about all things being in subjection:

…which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church” (Eph 1:20-22).

So that is where Jesus is, right now, in this age. He is reigning in authority and power. If Jesus is the Head, and we are His body on the earth, then His feet are our feet. And if all things are in subjection under His feet, then they are under our feet too. God gave Him as Head over all things to the church. I don’t have the space to go into every detail of this here, but you can follow it through in the psalms, look at what it means to be a footstool, begin to get familiar with this prophetic language and see what it is saying.

Through the church

We read in Ephesians 3:10 …that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church…’  I love that word ‘manifold’, because it means multi-coloured and multi-faceted, all expressing who God is; all expressing the wonderful wisdom of God. Being made known through… us, through the church. Being made known to whom? It continues: … to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which God carried out in Christ Jesus. So His eternal purpose was to manifest, to demonstrate, His wisdom. And He accomplished that in Christ and through the church.

Are you starting to grasp how all this hangs together? Is it starting to challenge some of the underlying assumptions you have been making?

It gets harder! Next time, as I said, we will begin to look at Matthew 24. That is a scripture which has been completely misinterpreted and misunderstood by the church, probably more so than any other chapter in the whole Bible. That is because it has been interpreted by Greek (western) logic and by people trying to make it fit with events they see happening around us today. As we shall see, that is a mistake.

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47. Just One Answer?

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Interpreting the times

Maybe you are old enough to remember all those books about the supposed significance of the Common Market being 12 countries, or about Communism and the USSR? Well, we can see now that none of it was true. Today those books are just gathering dust on people’s bookshelves, and if they were to read them now they would laugh. Dates, times, everything seemed so very plausible. But it didn’t happen.

That came about because the authors of those books just looked at the world around them, and tried to fit their own understanding of scripture with those events. We need instead to get revelation of what scripture is really saying. As I mentioned before, that involves seeing things from a Hebrew rather than a Western viewpoint.

Covenant

Take Biblical symbolism and covenant language. The whole Bible is written in terms of covenant. We even speak about the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. If you have never considered covenants then I do not have space to go into the whole subject here, perhaps the best advice I can give is to get hold of some of Ian Clayton’s teaching on covenants.

In short, covenants are binding agreements, and they are something that God has always used in interacting with people. God initiates covenants, and He makes them in blood. He always upholds His part of the deal. The sad fact is that the human race never upheld their part: at least, not until Jesus came and made a new covenant of blood with God. That covenant is unchallengeable because Jesus cannot fail: His blood is eternal. So we now receive all the benefits, all the promises, because of what Jesus has done.

The Old Covenant was all about what we had to do to be acceptable to God. That is no longer the case. But covenant is still the basis on which God works, and to understand the Bible we need to understand covenant language and how that covenant language is used.

Personal revelation

Again, because Jesus is the Living Word, He can give you a personal revelation of any word, any passage, any part of Scripture that He chooses. It may be completely out of the context it was originally written for, but He can still speak it to your heart and speak to you in it. That may be for you and you alone, in your situation and circumstance, and it may apply to nobody else. But it is vital that you have a proper overall understanding of the purposes of God. That will safeguard you from error so that whilst God can give you things like that, you won’t completely go off at some tangent because of some fanciful thing that you have made up.

For example, if you get what you think is a revelation that tells you to go off and rob the person down the road, you will know it is not God. You need to have understanding of the nature and the character of God, of how God works, so that you don’t go off the rails completely. You have to realise that not every voice you hear is God. Sometimes our soul can speak to us, particularly if we have a deep desire, and it can convince us that it is God telling us to do something, or that what we want to do is all right, when in fact it isn’t. Jesus can take His Word and apply it to us as He sees fit – we just need to be careful that it really is Him.

Plan A

My point here is that we need to understand the context of the eternal purposes of God. He hasn’t changed His plan. He has no Plan B, C or D.

Now, there is a teaching which says He has. You have heard it, maybe been influenced by it. You may not have thought of it in quite that way though. It is the teaching that prevailed in the town I grew up in, as I have written about previously. It divides up scripture into blocks and periods in which God works differently. It says ‘that is not for now’, and it denies the continuity of God’s purposes from Genesis to Revelation. If you read those two books, so much of the symbolism is the same. What it is in the beginning, it is in the end, and that is why it is so important to get understanding of it.

1 + 1 = ?

Our Western mindset is based on Greek, linear logic. For example: ‘1 + 1 = 2’. That makes sense to us. How could it equal anything but 2? Hebrew logic doesn’t see things the same way. In Hebrew logic (also called ‘open block logic’) there are multiple understandings which can all be true even if they seem contradictory to the western mind. And that is how God works. So in Hebrew logic, 1+1 can equal 11. It is the same proposition, but a different way of looking at the answer. And in Hebrew context, 11 is actually a much more likely answer than 2.

If that makes no sense to you, look at it this way. There can be layered truth. There is the obvious thing that is on the surface, but there can be layers of truth underneath, which may not be so obvious. The first layer of truth may be literal: Joseph was given a word that God’s people would be 430 years in Egypt and then they would be set free, and history tells us that was how it was. That is very straightforward for us to understand. But that word may also have further meanings, and they can be equally true, and equally valid.

There may be different fulfilments of prophetic words in scripture. Often there is an immediate or initial fulfilment that we can see, for example in the life of Jesus, and there is also a progressive fulfilment that goes on happening. Now this is not true of every single prophecy, but it is true of some. Therefore you cannot just read something, see how it was worked out once, and think that because of that is it over and done with. It may happen again, in a different way.

So which meaning is correct? What did God intend us to get from a particular scripture? The fact is, you do not always have to choose just one answer.

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46. Revelation and Interpretation

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott 


Arise, shine; for your light has come

And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples:
But the LORD will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you.
Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising’
(Is 60:1-3).

I said last time that we need to look at how we understand prophecy. This is a very familiar scripture, but how can we be sure we are interpreting it correctly?

When is darkness covering the earth? How is this to be understood? Surely this is about the birth of Jesus? He came as the light into the darkness of the world. This is certainly how people who recognised Jesus as the Messiah when He came would have interpreted this scripture.

But what about in our day? Or what about the return of Jesus? We know there is coming (and perhaps we are already entering) a time of increasing shaking, of increasing darkness, and that only the Kingdom will remain.

It is vital that we know how to read scriptures in the correct light.

Religious doctrines and traditions are about to be exposed for what they are and religious spirits hate exposure. After all, Nephilim spirits are looking to rule and to exercise control of the world’s systems without anyone getting wise to them. If we allow that, then the promises of God are always going to be represented as being for another place, another time, or another people.

Looking forwards, looking back

I was brought up in a religious atmosphere like that. In the Cornish town where I lived, there was not a single church practising baptism by full immersion. When I read in the Word that that was how God intended it, I had to travel 12 miles to find somewhere they did it that way. No one had even heard of baptism in the Holy Spirit – I had to go even further to find people who were experiencing that.

And yet, in my town, the churches were all very keen on looking forward to the Second Coming, on what God would do in the future (their understanding was that He would rescue them so they would not have to go through the tribulation). They were also very hot on what God had done in the past, by sending Jesus to save us. But in the period in between, they were just hanging on, expecting (and experiencing) constant defeat and setbacks. It was all about the past or the future, never now. People did get saved, I saw them setting out enthusiastic and optimistic, but over time their enthusiasm was squashed, or just drained away. Religious spirits thrive on and seek to perpetuate this kind of situation.

Information or revelation

Revelation does not come through study. I know, because I studied the Bible a great deal. When it came to information about the Bible I could answer pretty much any question you could throw at me. But the Kingdom of God did not fit into my belief system. When God began to speak to me about it, my brain starting flashing ‘Does not compute’.

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Those who know me will tell you that I am very strong on what I believe. But I am also willing to change if God shows me I have it wrong. I had to get to the stage where I was prepared to jettison everything, if God showed me to. This is hard, and it may well be hard for you if you are willing to go there. You are not alone. I have had to let go of doctrines and understanding that I really thought were right. And that process continues – I know what it is to be challenged.

So if it is not through study, then how does revelation come? It comes through meditation and in conversation and relationship with the Living Word Himself. We cannot expect to just figure it out from what we see in the world around us today, to make it fit. The truth is, we don’t have to fit with the world, we need to align with God’s purposes. Therefore we must spend time meditating on what the written word says, and allow the Living Word to teach us what He has to say about it.

An important principle of Bible interpretation, and one that is widely accepted, is to go back to the first use of a word or phrase. Another is to allow the Bible to interpret itself. As we see how words or phrases are used consistently throughout the Bible, that will help stop us from falling into error.

Greek and Hebrew mindsets

To really get to grips with all this, we will need to consider the Hebrew context of scripture. In the West we are at a disadvantage because it is not really possible to grasp the true meaning of scripture from a typical western mindset: we have been taught to think in a totally different way. So in coming posts I will begin to explain how to see things from a Hebrew point of view.

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39. Demonic Doctrines in the Church

Mike Parsons 

In looking at the prophetic timetable which God showed me, it is clear that a time of persecution is coming. As with everything else, we need to be prepared for it.

Persecution

Where is it going to come from? Well, there are Nephilim spirits which are controlling world systems at the moment, but they are hiding. When the light starts to shine into the darkness, it begins to expose them. It says in Matthew that when Jesus returns, it will be like in the days of Noah. If you want to look into that in more detail, in a previous post we have already considered some of what that might mean. In short, there was open warfare going on upon the earth. If those days are returning, we need to be prepared for open warfare once again.

There is going to be a massive persecution which comes through the religious church. This is because there are so many demonic doctrines operating in the church at large which hinder us and have robbed us of power and authority. When we start to challenge those doctrines, all sorts of religious spirits start to kick off.

If you look at the internet, you will find far too many people from some sections of the church criticising and complaining against other Christians and other moves of God. Come to that, I have had books and leaflets and emails and CDs and DVDs given to me and even posted through my letterbox telling me that everything we see of God moving in supernatural power is actually demonic.

There is a reason why those things are happening. The enemy gets worried when the church begins to rise up, and starts to operate in the power of God and in the authority that God has given us. He tries to get other people (and especially other Christians) to start criticising what is going on, so that it causes disunity and disharmony which disrupts the move of God and makes the church ineffective again.

Where is the fruit?

If you are truly concerned about whether what is going on here (or anywhere else) is a genuine move of God, the answer is to look at the fruit. If it is not of God, it will just fall away. If it is of God, it will produce fruit. Are lives being transformed? Are people being saved and healed? Certainly they are, and there will be more besides.

But the critics I am speaking about will not be satisfied with that. The challenge to God moving supernaturally comes from entrenched doctrines which place the kingdom of God and the authority of that kingdom in another time, or give them to another people. Even just to point that out has a tendency to cause religious spirits to kick off really heavily. Those entrenched doctrines are false doctrines. Was it only in New Testament times that the power of God worked, or will the kingdom only be manifest a thousand years in the future? The only thing you can be sure of is that as far as these people are concerned, it certainly isn’t for us and it certainly isn’t now.

Defeat and rescue?

This kind of thinking has bred an eschatology (that is, an understanding of the end times) of defeat and rescue, that Jesus is going to come and rescue a weak, pitiful, defeated church. That is just a complete lie. If you read the Bible, how could you possibly believe that is going to happen? But it has been taught, and for years and years the church has fallen for it. This is one of the biggest areas that stirs up controversy. As soon as you begin to question people’s eschatology, it causes stink.

Lots of prophetic people around the world are facing a problem in these days, and some of them are quite well known people. Their problem is that what God is showing them prophetically just doesn’t match up with their own eschatological beliefs. One or two of them have been brave enough to stand up and say so, but have quickly lowered their heads below the parapet again because of the hail of abuse and criticism they received for doing so, especially in the USA and Canada. They end up trying to fit what God is saying into an eschatology that doesn’t work.

Jesus is coming back for a victorious church. This is not triumphalism, it is the plain truth of scripture. The kingdom of God is going to be raised up, and we will look some more at this next time.

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