249. The Veil is Taken Away

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Acquainted with perfection

Live consistent with who you really are, inspired by the loving kindness of God. Do not allow current religious tradition to mould you into its pattern of reasoning. Like an inspired artist, give attention to the detail of God’s desire to find expression in you. Become acquainted with perfection. To accommodate yourself to the delight and good pleasure of him will transform your thoughts afresh from within (Rom 12:1-2 Mirror Bible).

“Become acquainted with perfection”. We know that God is perfection. But have you ever considered this? His image of us is also perfection! Perfection is what He sees in us when He calls us and gives us a destiny in sonship. Our own view may have been distorted by our experiences of life and the things we believe, but His original intent and purpose remain unchanged. He still sees us as we really are, therefore only He can bring about the transformation in our thinking that will enable us to ‘live consistent’ with that.

We have to get to know Him. There is no methodology that will achieve this consistency outside of relationship with Him. If we do not see God as He really is, there is no possibility of seeing ourselves as we really are. Our unrenewed minds are veiled by the constructs of our own consciousness. And even though we may ditch our old understanding of who God is, if we merely replace it with a new understanding which is also a construct of our own minds, then that will not be accurate either. What we need is a renewed mind and a continual, living relationship.

Taught to conform

But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away (2 Cor 3:14-16).

This veil is our old religious or DIY belief system that causes a hardened mind. Justin Paul Abraham points out that in the church we have been very good at teaching people what to think, but not how to think. Most of us have been taught to conform, either explicitly or implicitly. But conformity to ideology, theology, doctrine and cultural norms actually limits our creative thinking and our sonship. We must turn to the Lord for the veil to be taken away.

To turn is to engage metanoia, the word which is normally translated ‘repentance’ but which really means a radical shift of thinking. We know that the more we try to turn away from something, the more we will focus on the thing we are trying to turn away from. The solution is to turn towards something else instead, and to focus on that. To remove the veils and renew our minds we need to behold God face to face, to engage Him heart to heart and mind to mind, so that we can become like Him. We can do this through meditative encounters. As we open the eyes of our heart, as our imagination is activated, we can begin to see, hear and perceive true reality. Our encounters with God will begin to challenge what we thought we knew about Him.

Expand my reality

I had a number of encounters with God which created cognitive dissonance within me. Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (or psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas or values, especially when something happens to highlight the contradiction. This was very distressing, but it served to expand my reality of God and myself. I had a choice, to fight to hold onto what I had always thought to be true or allow the Truth, Jesus, to renew my mind.

I had engaged God’s heart many times with my spirit, outside the limitations of time and space, where my unrenewed mind could not function rationally. Then one day God said “Let me show you My mind.” I am not going to describe it visually, but it felt like being in the middle of a continuous, harmonious conversation between Father, Son and Spirit, in which I could hear faint echoes of my own name.

Again I heard the Father say ”Let Me show you something” and I briefly glimpsed reality from His perspective. I saw that He was connected to everyone that had ever lived, is living or will live, all at once; that is around 108 billion people and counting. He was connected to everyone in the ‘now’, knowing every choice and every decision made every microsecond, and His loving desire was to bring good out of every choice, to redeem even the most stupid decisions of every single person. What amazing love!

Meanwhile we know that the love of God causes everything to mutually contribute to our advantage (Rom 8:28 Mirror Bible).

Same old

Unless our minds are renewed we will find ourselves stuck in the ‘same old, same old’ life. We want to know who God really is and who we really are in Him, yet our past belief and experience limit our capacity to grasp what is really true. Our mind has the capacity to go way beyond its present conscious awareness. We need our minds expanded, though not with psychedelic drugs or anything of that kind: engaging the mind of God will do it. He is omniscient, He knows all there is to know, so engaging His mind will likely be an image-busting experience for us. Are you willing?

Communion

One simple way we can encounter the mind of God is through communion. Renewal of the mind through communion breaks the neural pathways linked to old mindsets and establishes new neural networks, new perspectives, that can be continually renewed. I have shared my original communion prayer with you on this blog before, but I will close this post with a version I wrote to help me renew my mind through engaging with the body and blood of Jesus.

When we take communion we fellowship, sharing life, partaking of His life by focusing and fixing our eyes on Him. As we eat His flesh and drink His blood we are engaging with His life, His essence, His mind and His thoughts.  We engage by faith: not just reciting the words parrot-fashion but meditating on what we are asking and experiencing the reality.

Applying the Body and Blood of Jesus to the renewal of the mind:

I eat your flesh and drink your blood so that I will have the Mind of Christ.

I engage in the body and blood of Jesus and I embrace the transforming power of the Mind of Christ contained within it.

I engage the record containing the light, sound and frequency of God’s consciousness for the renewal of my mind, back to its eternal condition.

I embrace the record of the dimensions of the kingdom released in my mind by the thoughts of God to renew, rewire and restore my brain and thinking.

I engage God’s thoughts and apply them to my mind for health and wholeness, to break and remove all negative neural pathways linked to my conscience.

I speak to my marrow and command it to be a new source of blood that will renew and rewire the cells of my brain so that I can think like a son of God.

I apply the frequency of God’s thoughts resonating with truth to transform my mind into the Mind of Christ by removing all lies and breaking all strongholds.

I command every neural pathway attached to negative memories and ungodly behaviours to be broken and new neural pathways aligned to truth to be formed.

I apply the blood of Jesus to all negative and impure memories and break all connections to sin and trauma – Mind and thinking, be renewed!

I apply the blood of Jesus to all negative images within my imagination and all negative belief systems within my reason centre – Mind, be cleansed!

I call my mind to resonate with the thoughts of God contained within the Mind of Christ and come into alignment and agreement with an eternal perspective.

I choose that my brain and mind be conformed to the likeness of my Father and Brother in heaven to release the creative capacity of sonship

Let the word of God be breathed into my mind, unlocking its true capacity and releasing the supernatural abilities of God.

I trigger the ability for telepathic communication, telekinetic power and transmutation abilities.

I trigger the ability of creative thought, translation, bilocation, pre- and post-cognition and time travel.

[Click here to download a copy of this prayer to print for your own use or to share with others. Opens in a new tab or window.]

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248. Multicoloured, Multifaceted Reality

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

We have looked at the mind in various ways within previous teaching. The Transformation series dealt with ‘trauma to transformation’. In Gateways, we considered the subconscious mind, the heart and the negative effects of our memories. The gateway of imagination was about activating the eyes of our heart to see the spiritual realms and in the gateway of reason we began detoxing our minds from the poisonous lies of destructive thinking.

These are all important processes in maturing as sons. But now we will be asking God to actually rewire our brain and the construction of our minds and our consciousness. Adam had abilities we have now lost. As sons of God, we should expect our mental abilities to be far superior to those we currently enjoy. It is our framework of beliefs which creates that limitation.

Savant syndrome is a condition in which a person with a developmental difference demonstrates abilities far in excess of what would be considered normal, often at the cost of healthy emotional development. The savant’s mind is wired differently. God wants to restore a whole range of abilities to his sons but in the wholeness and oneness of spirit, soul and body.

Religious tradition

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2).

These two processes, not conforming and being transformed, must run in parallel if our minds are to be renewed. We need to let go of the old DIY ways to embrace the new reality of our sonship with a new mind.

Live consistent with who you really are, inspired by the loving kindness of God. Do not allow current religious tradition to mould you into its pattern of reasoning. Like an inspired artist, give attention to the detail of God’s desire to find expression in you. Become acquainted with perfection. To accommodate yourself to the delight and good pleasure of him will transform your thoughts afresh from within (Rom 12:1-2 Mirror Bible)

Renewing our minds will enable us to know God and therefore know our true selves so that we can live in a new level of reality. So far we know only a tiny fraction of what there is to know. Patterns of belief have formed in us because of what we have been taught: religious tradition can be a big problem for Christians, even for those of us who thought we had escaped the bounds of religion decades ago!

When we align ourselves in relationship and engage personally with God’s good pleasure in us, He will transform our thoughts from within and give us a whole new way of thinking – about Him, about ourselves, about everything.

The mind of Christ

For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16).

This is not ‘might have’ or ‘will one day have’. We have the mind of Christ. Christ is the anointed one and the anointing is the divine enabling power of God. It is not a brain transplant: we do not have the actual mind of Jesus but we can have the restored, equipped mind of a son of God.

Jesus demonstrated an amazing range of unexpected abilities including telepathy, transmutation, pre- and post- cognition, telekinesis, becoming invisible, quantum tunnelling and creating reality.

Since we have the same empowerment that He had, we can do the same kind things He did. In fact, He told us we could do greater!

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father (John 14:12).

We have the mind of Christ to enable us to do things like that. Do we believe it?

When we really believe something, we will act on it. What we believe, whether truth or lies, will actually influence our behaviour. God does not want our intellectual assent but rather a belief that transforms the way we live. Lies will never enable us to be who God created us to be; only the Truth we know by personal experience (Jesus) will enable us to be free to be the real us.

So does what we claim to believe match up with what our actions indicate we really believe? If we find ourselves living in opposition with our supposed beliefs, let’s be willing to ask what the real truth is. Let’s be proactive and engage the Truth and let the Truth expand our reality to transform our lives. Let’s be willing to ask the questions that will bring a truth that we can live by.

Wired up

Even if we do believe that we can do greater things than Jesus, do we know how? Is our mind wired up correctly and connected to those abilities?

There is a popular myth that we only use 10% of our brains. That is not true, we actually use most of our brains but we only understand how 10% of the brain functions. We do not know how neurons from different areas of the brain collaborate to form consciousness or why some areas of the brain appear disconnected and some abilities are not yet (re)activated. I am sure that God does not want them to remain dormant in us, but He desires that we come into the fullness of our sonship.

Neural pathways are like superhighways of nerve cells that transmit messages. As messages travel over the superhighway many times, the pathway becomes more and more defined so that habits and beliefs form. Most of our pathways are formed by repetition, but trauma can cause a pathway to form instantly, as we saw before.

Deconstruction and Renewing

God spoke to me: “Allow your mind and your consciousness to be expanded beyond all that you presently know and have experienced. Experience the reality of all that is, all that will be and most importantly all that can be within My heart. Son, let your monochrome existence become filled with my multicoloured, multifaceted reality.”

It is always exciting when God says something like that, but I know by now that usually these things do not come without cost (and probably some unforeseen consequences as well). Expansion means being stretched, it causes tension. It is much more comfortable only to look at things the way we have always looked at them, only to see what we have always seen, and therefore only experience what we have always experienced. When God asks us to look at what can be, at things we have never seen, that creates the possibility that we will experience things we have never experienced before.

The way my mind was constructed made it impossible for me to experience that reality. It was not something that could change gradually and imperceptibly; something dramatic was called for. And so for me the whole of 2017 was a year of deconstruction and renewing. I experienced what I can only describe as a head explosion. I will share more about that in future posts.

God shows no favouritism, and everything He offered me He will offer you. Are you prepared to submit to whatever God needs to do in you? If not exactly prepared, are you at least willing? If so, tell Him and cooperate with what He says and does to make it a reality for you.

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Expanding Our Reality: Deconstruction and Restoring Consciousness

“We use the creative power of our consciousness to create reality. We do it all the time, most of us unintentionally! If you want things to be different, you have to make intentional choices…”

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239. The Things They Now Believe

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

“Good souls many will one day be horrified at the things they now believe of God” (George Macdonald, 1824-1905).

For me, that day has come. As I have encountered God, He has shown me that more and more of the things I believed about Him were not really true. He has been really considerate and taken me in stages through this process, because it would have been too much for me if He had done it all in one go. Will you let Him do the same for you?

Jesus is the exact representation of the Father, but that is not the picture religion paints at all. A whole host of doctrines widely accepted without question by most believers today do not really line up with a God who looks like Jesus. Since God is love, I am now very suspicious of any image of God that does not look like love.

Penal Substitutionary Atonement

One such doctrine is ‘penal substitutionary atonement’ (PSA): that Jesus died to appease God’s wrath. We will look at God’s wrath, anger, eternal judgment, punishment, eternal conscious torment and hell later in this series of posts, but PSA is the key to all these others. It is a really warped view of God which has Him saying ‘I will kill My Son to show you how good I am’.

Does God’s anger really need to be appeased? Almost all human justice systems come from the DIY tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and are based on retributive justice, making offenders pay for their crimes one way or another. If we are hearing a little more about restorative justice today, it is because people are realising that retributive justice does not work. But God’s justice is and has always been restorative. The fear of punishment is not a good motivator. ‘There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love’ (1 John 4:18). Why would God use fear of punishment to keep us in line?

It was man who came up with a ‘GOD’ who required appeasement (look at any primitive religion). But the truth is that ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire’ (Ps 40:6, quoted in Heb 10:5) and ‘You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering’ (Ps 51:16).

‘Redemptive violence’

“You have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness…” (Matt 23:23).

The Pharisees’ religion was all legalism, missing out truth, justice and mercy altogether, and in the ‘Christian religion’ (itself a contradiction in terms), a belief system of so-called ‘redemptive violence’ will inevitably affect the way we relate to others. We will steward the cosmos from that angry, retributive perspective. That is the ‘GOD’ image we will reflect to a broken world which needs healing, not punishment.

But God is not as we have been led to believe. The corrections of God are always restorative. The judgments of God are pure and bring mercy and life:

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Mercy and truth go before Your face.
(Ps 89:14 NKJV).

Mercy and truth always go before Him. His justice is mercy and love, not punishment and retribution. Even painful truth is revealed only for our good and healing.

“God is a God of fierce judgement. I sense God’s burning judgement falling upon many of you today. He has made up His mind and the verdict is unchangeable. His judgement is: ‘You are forgiven, loved and accepted’. So, enjoy your judgement” (Benjamin David, Facebook post).

The cross

Jesus warned his disciples that He was going to the cross. He did not say He would suffer the just punishment for our sins at the hands of His Father but that He would suffer at the hands of men:

Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men” (Luke 9:44).

“From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day” (Matt 16:21).

For He was teaching His disciples and telling them: “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.” (Mark 9:31).

“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up” (Matt 20:18-19).

Look also at Mark 10:33-34, Luke 18:31-33, Luke 24:6-7, John 18:3-6, John 18:12, John 19:14-18, Acts 2:23, Acts 2:36, and Heb 12:2.

Jesus suffered at the hands of ruthless men, Jews and Gentiles, representing the religious and political systems. They agreed to condemn Him to keep their DIY system in control. Men crucified Jesus, and God used our punishment of Him to bring restoration and reconciliation.

He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through by our transgressions, He was crushed by our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed (Isa 53:3-5).

There is simply nothing in scripture to support the idea that Jesus went to the cross to suffer the fiery wrath of His Father so that we could escape it. ‘We ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted’ but that is not how it really was.

The purpose of the cross was to undo the consequence of Adam’s sin, a loss of identity which produced spiritual death. It was a demonstration not of God’s wrath against humanity, but of His love towards humanity. When Jesus took the sin of the whole world upon his shoulders He was showing us the depths of God’s love.

“Our Father never needed a sacrifice; we did. And we, as one man, with one accord damned His Son, and our Father accepted our ‘faith’ and our ‘will,’ and our ‘decision’ to crucify His Son as the means to establish a real and everlasting relationship with us inside our faithless betrayal. This is salvation. This is adoption. This is redeeming genius and love almost beyond our wildest imaginations” – C. Baxter Kruger.

Atonement, propitiation

In the New Testament the Greek word katallagé (reconciliation) is often misleadingly translated ‘atonement’. ‘To atone’ is to make amends, to make reparation for wrongdoing. However, this old covenant word used to describe how a sacrificial animal covered people’s sin is not a word used in the new covenant. And animal sacrifices were not tortured by the priest, they were just killed.

Hilasmos (‘propitiation’) is another word which has been translated in a way which assumes an angry deity who needs to be appeased. It comes from the verb hilaskomai, meaning ‘to conciliate, be merciful, forgive, show favour’. It does not mean ‘atone’.

“But the church has always believed this!”

It hasn’t. Penal Substitutionary Atonement (PSA) may be a commonly held view in evangelical circles today but it was not formulated until the 11th century, by Anselm of Canterbury. Personal encounter with God could never lead us to the conclusion he reached through scholasticism, a method of study that emphasises reason, research and constructive criticism.

PSA is a man-made, demonically inspired doctrine of distortion. It only sounds plausible to us because we have been conditioned to accept that God is angry with us.

Forsaken

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Ps 22, quoted by Jesus on the cross in Matt 27:46; Mark 15:34).

This was Jesus’ cry of true identification with us in our brokenness and in our deepest, darkest pain. It was our separation He felt. Most of those who heard Him would know the rest of the psalm, including v24:

For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried to Him for help, He heard.

We have seen before that God the Father never left Jesus the Son. Do we really imagine that the Triune God was somehow pulled apart at the cross? Whose side was the Holy Spirit on? The whole concept is preposterous when you know God for yourself. And yet we happily sing:

“One final breath He gave
As heaven looked away…”
(Forever by Brian Johnson, Kari Jobe, Christa Black Gifford, and Gabriel Wilson).

Heaven did no such thing.

The wages of sin

The cross was God showing the world that He was willing to take on flesh and die – for us and as us – not to pay off an angry God who couldn’t stand the sight of us. Jesus did not save us from God, He saved us from death (the wages of sin). The aim of Jesus’ death was to make personal, healing, life-giving, forgiving contact with us sinners, at the root of our sin and alienation.

A battered reed He will not break off, and a smouldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory (Matt 10:20, quoting Isa 42:3).

God’s justice does not break people; it heals those who are broken.

“God doesn’t need to punish anyone. “Sin is its own punishment.” … No one gets away with anything. There are terrible consequences for our actions, but God is forever with us, weaving grace into our stories to redeem even the worst situations for our good” (Brad Jerzak, ‘Unfundamentalist Parenting in The Shack – Part 1’).

Meet God

But please, don’t believe anything I say. Not without meeting God for yourself.

How much of what we believe has been handed onto us by someone else? Reading books, hearing sermons, just picking it up from being in a particular stream or community… none of that is a valid substitute. Get your revelation direct from Him, otherwise you are just leaning on someone else’s understanding (when, according to Proverbs 3:5, you ought not to even lean on your own). My understanding has come from my own personal experience, but it is no good to you. You need your own experience.

So meet God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Meet Him face to face and find out what He is really like. Let Him reveal Himself as the Truth. And be prepared to lay aside anything which does not line up with Who He is.

This blog post is adapted from Mike’s teaching in the ‘Engaging God‘ subscription programme. Find out more…

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68. As He Is, So Are We

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott –

When Jesus comes back, He is coming for His bride, the church. So this scripture is talking about us:

That He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless (Eph 5:27).

And since each of us are part of that bride, we have to be ready. That is why we are experiencing a season of purification and refining in our lives. For some of us, we may well have been here before. But we have a sense that God is doing something at a deeper level this time. God is removing stumbling blocks, He is removing all the idols we have in our lives. We are praying Psalm 139, ‘Search me O God, and know my heart’. And it is so that He can make us into that holy church that Jesus can inhabit in fullness, releasing His power onto the earth.

Confidence

Now, what does it take to be ready? There are some scriptures in the first letter of John that I want to look at:

By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world (1 John 4:17).

So we can have confidence, because ‘as He is, so also are we in this world’. As Jesus is: not as He was, but as He is now. He is enthroned in heaven: and we are outworking that kingdom, that enthronement, here on the earth. Our confidence comes from knowing that He is on the throne. His position as King is what gives us the confidence to outwork that kingdom, here in our lives, on earth.

‘Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming’ (1 John 2:28).

There is a relationship here: we abide in Him and He in us. It is an intimate relationship. And when He appears, as long as we are remaining in that relationship of intimacy, hearing and obeying His voice daily, doing the things we see the Father doing, then of course we will greet Him with confidence. It would be terrible to flinch away from Him when He comes in glory, not to be able to look at Him because we are ashamed of the way we have been living. If we stay close to Him now, we can have confidence when He comes.

Like Him

‘Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure’ (1 John 3:2-3).

So when Jesus actually appears, we will be like Him. We will be transformed. We will have a new resurrection body, and be transformed into an eternal being. In His resurrection body Jesus was able to appear to His disciples, walk through walls, eat a fish supper. We will be just like that: ‘we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.’ But because we have this hope, we also need to purify ourselves, just as He is pure. So we do have some work to do.

Baggage

When we see Him, we do not want to be carrying all the baggage that we might presently be going around with. We have an opportunity, right now, to be purified. We can allow Jesus to refine us, to prepare us to meet Him. All that holds us back and weighs us down, we have an opportunity to get it sorted out ahead of time.

I want to be properly prepared to meet Him face to face. I have my life here and now to work on that. And how do I make myself ready? I just surrender to Him. I allow Him to do whatever he wants to do in me. It is not something I have to somehow try to rack my brains and get all figured out. I just have to give Him my life on a daily basis. I need to present myself as a living sacrifice. I need to reckon myself dead to sin and alive to Him. I need to be crucified with Christ so that I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. My flesh no longer determines what I do.

Anointed One

‘Christ’ is not Jesus’ surname, remember. Whenever the word ‘Christ’ is used in scripture it refers to the anointing he carries. When it says ‘Jesus’, it is referring to the person of Jesus; when it says ‘the Lord Jesus Christ’, it is giving Him His full title and emphasising His lordship. So each time we read about Jesus in scripture, the name(s) used to describe Him emphasise what aspect we particularly need to understand about Him.

So it is Christ, the Anointed One and His anointing, who lives in me. I have been crucified – past tense – but I need to outwork that in a daily relationship, by presenting myself as a living sacrifice before God. I have written about how we do that in an earlier post. This may be stating the obvious, but the thing about a living sacrifice is that it is actually alive. I present myself on a daily basis, so that my life can be used for His kingdom purposes, so that I can be pure as He is pure.

That is how He would like me to be; how He would like all of us to be. How we need to be, because He is coming.

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62. Now You Are The People Of God

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

We are continuing to look at Matthew 24, and seeking to let the Bible interpret itself rather than seeing it through our own filters, or imposing a particular set of doctrines upon it. If you are new to this blog you might want to skip back a few posts to see where we have come from.

In the sky

Today we have reached Matt 24:30, “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory”.

Again, this is not talking about the end of the world: this is about Jesus coming in authority judgement. It is about the destruction of Jerusalem. The end of the Old Covenant system had come because the New Covenant had been established.

All this language is very symbolic, and ‘in the sky’ is really a poor translation. It does not mean that a sign will appear in the sky. What it is saying is: the sign that the kingdom has come is that the Son of Man is in heaven.

Jesus said later said to the Pharisees and to the High Priest, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matt 26:64).

So He told those who were alive at that time that they would see it.

This is the prophetic fulfilment of what Daniel saw: Jesus coming at His ascension, His blood being presented on the mercy seat in heaven and receiving the kingdom from the Father.

I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-14).

Mark 16:19 tells us, “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”. Do you see how this is all the same language? It is talking about the end of the Old Covenant system, and the beginning of the New. We have to prepare for kingdom dominion.

angel-4928_640Messengers

And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other  (Matt 24:31).

The Greek word ‘angellos’ means ‘messenger’, and the trumpet is symbolic of the proclamation of the gospel: ‘Behold, I send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ (Matt 11:10). ‘Gather’ is the word ‘synagogue’: it speaks of what church was to do, being gathered as part of God’s people.

Misunderstanding arises if we take statements in isolation rather than allowing the Word to interpret itself.

The people of God are revealed. We are now the true nation, city and temple. The same language continues to be used of us because we are the continuation of the people of God. Some say the church has replaced Israel; but actually the church is the continuation of Israel (the covenant people). We are the same. Jews and Gentiles are now one in Christ; but we do all have to come together in Christ.

One people of God

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven (Heb 12:22-23).

The same language is being used here of the New Covenant people as was being used of the Old Covenant people. That’s because it is the same people being described. Abraham himself was ‘looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God… But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them’ (Heb 11:10, 16). We have a city prepared for us, the New Jerusalem of which we are part. We are living stones being built into that city and into that temple.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy (1 Peter 2:9-10).

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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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41. The Kingdom of God is Filling the Earth

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott 

The Kingdom of God is filling the earth.

You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth Daniel 2:34-35 .

Daniel is interpreting the dream the king has had, in which he has seen a statue representing four empires: Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. In the time of the Roman Empire, a stone was to be cut out. That stone is Jesus and the mountain is His kingdom, which will fill the whole earth:

In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever (Daniel 2:44).

So God is setting up a kingdom which will not fail. It explicitly tells us that it is not going to be left for another people. It is going to overcome all the other kingdoms. These are truths that the enemy has fought hard to keep from us, because if we really get hold of them we will no longer be sitting around saying, ‘Jesus, come and rescue us’. Instead we will be saying, ‘Come, Lord Jesus, empower us to play our part in seeing this victory, the kingdom of God filling the earth’.

Here is another passage about the same kingdom:

I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.

And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed’
(Daniel 7:13-14).

Now, is this all just pie in the sky? Let me give you some facts and figures about how the kingdom is advancing. Let’s look at what God has done since 120 people in an upper room were empowered by the Holy Spirit and fire, spilled out onto the street and eventually into the whole world.

  • In AD100, there were 360 non-Christians for every true believer, a ratio of 360:1. Today, the ratio is less than 7:1. That means that the kingdom of God is filling the earth. It really is.
  • No Christian was officially allowed to live in Nepal until 1960. Now there is a church in every one of the 75 districts of Nepal with estimates of over half a million believers in that nation.
  • Every day, 20,000 Africans come to Christ. Africa was 3% Christian in 1900 but today it is over 50% Christian.That is a whole continent where more than half the people are Christians.
  • In 1900 Korea had no Protestant church and the country was deemed impossible to penetrate. Today Korea is 30% Christian with 7000 churches in Seoul alone (and several of those churches have over 1,000,000 members each).
  • Every day 50,000 people in countries served by Asia Access come to Christ.
  • There are currently 60-80 million Christians in China with up to 25,000 converts a day. That is thought to be a very conservative estimate indeed. The church there is growing fast, under persecution.
  • 35,000 conversions occur in Latin America  daily

If only 1 out of every 6 believers reproduced themselves one time each year, that is if just one in six of us made a single disciple each year (and one in six of those did the same), the entire world would be reached for Christ in 8 years! That is even without a massive outpouring, even without the River of Life being released into the earth as we believe it will be.

Jesus said the kingdom was going to be like leaven spreading through the dough. He also said it would be like a little seed that grows into a massive tree.

Make no mistake about it. We are winning. The kingdom of God is filling the earth. We belong to that kingdom, and that kingdom belongs to us.

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