236. The Hallmark of the New

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

What is the ‘new wine’?

In this series of posts we are looking at new wine and new wineskins. Last time we saw how the new wineskin is each one of us, both individually and coming together as a new order ekklesia, but what is this new wine? What does it represent? Here is some of what I have seen (and if you will engage with God for yourself, I am sure you will see some of this and more besides):

    • New governmental mandates and new government patterned after heaven. New revelation and understanding of how to expand the kingdom, subdue and rule from a new heavenly perspective of servant leadership.
    • New values and ideals. Jesus introduced the manifesto of the kingdom, a completely new way of living. As we have seen, the ekklesia is to be a reflection of heaven’s values, an embassy of heaven on earth. We are to be ambassadors of that embassy, carrying the authority of heaven and exercising it on the earth.
    • New things established in heaven.
    • New heavenly strategies instead of earthly ones. Let’s stop trying to figure out how to do things and instead go to the heavenly strategy room and get a strategy which will be effective.
    • A new heavenly identity of sonship. It is in heaven that we operate in fullness of sonship, so that we can be manifested as sons on the earth.
    • A new health service – healing and health for the world, to demonstrate that God is a loving God who wants to heal. As a first step we will be living in health ourselves: body, soul and spirit in wholeness, connected to heaven, with the life of heaven flowing from the inside out. That will draw those in the world looking for healing.
    • New economic and financial services. Jesus threw all the money changers’ tables over: kingdom finance and economics bear no resemblance to the systems of the world. Kingdom finance is a love-based system in which we can freely give because we freely receive under an open heaven. Serving in love is the currency of the kingdom, going the extra mile and putting others before self.
    • A new society – paradise restored. God wants to bring back human society to how it would have developed in the Garden (if the Garden had expanded to fill the earth as it should have). The way up is down; the first will be last and the last first.
    • New speech, new attitudes, new ideals, new culture. Everything comes from a new perspective as redefined by Jesus.
    • New behaviours, abilities and powers. We will recover everything that was lost at the fall, at the flood, at Babel and throughout history as our DNA is renewed and restored and as we renew our minds.
    • Heaven transforming earth. This is God’s ultimate desire and plan.

    Experiential

    All new ways flow from beyond the veil and they are experiential.

    • New experiential ways of ministry. No longer will we set ourselves up as ministers who tell people what God is saying and what to do. Instead we will get alongside them and equip them to hear God for themselves. Liebusting is a good example of this new way, in which the person asks Jesus what He wants to do in their life and asks Him to show them how to deal with what stands in the way. And teaching people how to go to the courts equips them to hear first-hand, rather than getting someone else to tell them what the issue is and how to address it.
    • New experiential ways of teaching – we have to get away from a scenario where it is just me or some other teacher lecturing a roomful of people. It will be all of us together, experiencing. The activations we do together on a Sunday morning and in some of the hangouts are a first step towards that. Alongside the new kingdom financial system, I am sure we will see a new education system as well.
    • New experiential ways of prayer. We will not just be crying out from here on the earth, hoping that God might hear something, but going to meet Him face to face.
    • New experiential ways of interceding, not from below but from above. We can stand before God, identifying with the person, city, nation or planet we are interceding for, in a heavenly courtroom, getting His judgment and verdict on the situation.
    • New more effective ways of kingdom administration: outworking heavenly government on the earth.
    • New ways of partnering with the angelic realm: angels are ministering spirits sent for the sake of those who inherit salvation. We are already hearing more testimonies of angelic engagement, and that will only increase. They are awesome, powerful created beings, and they can do things which have never even occurred to us yet!

    Growing in maturity

    The new ways are about our maturity. Moses did miracles, parted the Red Sea, food just appeared, the Israelites’ clothes never wore out, they were led by a pillar of cloud and fire – all this while they were just children who only knew God by His deeds. If they had gone and engaged heaven with Moses, they would not have needed any of that.

    Under Joshua’s leadership, the people did the miracles, parted the Jordan, caused the walls of Jericho to fall. They did not need supernatural food or clothing provision because they could all sow in the Promised Land, and reap the harvest of what they sowed.

    Jesus showed his disciples how to multiply food, do miracles, produce provision and so on. He taught them how, then sent them out to do it themselves. Unlike Moses, He did not just do it for them. And today He will show us new ways of being salt and light in our world, new ways of being agents of change in history, society and culture, so that we are not influenced but influencers. He will open up new ways for us to bring transformation to our communities. We will do all this by establishing all things in heaven first so they can be manifested on earth – that is the hallmark of the new.

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234. Revolution of Love

Mike Parsons
and Jeremy Westcott

Turning the law on its head

Whenever God does something new, it challenges what already exists, because we are so familiar with the old ways of thinking and doing things.

When Jesus came defying all the religious norms, He was rejected by the religious people and institutions of His time. He brought a radical new perspective, completely reinterpreting Old Testament scripture and revealing the truth behind it. He said things like “the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath”, turning the external law on its head, making it into something that was to be used for people rather than to control or restrict them. Religion is all about keeping people restricted and under control, so this was never going to go down well with the religious elite. They quickly decided to do away with Him because they realised that the future of the whole religious system they depended on was under threat.

In the Sermon on the Mount, again and again He said “You have heard that it was said… but I say to you…”, shifting the focus from external religious observance to what really goes on in our hearts. True, He did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, He came to fulfil them – but in a totally unexpected way, in the context of relationship – love – rather than in legalism and religious duty. For religious people, brought up to keep every little rule and regulation, to be told that the most important thing was to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength cut to the heart of everything they had ever known.

His new values and new ideals of the kingdom challenged all those external legalistic perspectives. This was a revolution of love, where the King came to serve and not be served, demonstrating an entirely new model of leadership and authority which had nothing to do with hierarchy and control.

Jesus gave the Pharisees, Sadducees and Teachers of the Law every opportunity to lay their preconceived notions aside and follow Him, yet most of them could not get past being offended and threatened by His demolition of the foundations of their world. Ultimately, those religious structures were swept away in AD70, and those who were determined to defend them met with a violent end at the hands of the Roman army. It cost them their lives, whilst those who had embraced the new and become disciples heeded Jesus’ warning and left the city.

New wineskins for new wine

But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved (Matt 9:16-17).

The old order was coming to an end. There was to be something new, something different from the old religious ritual of bringing sacrifices into the Temple. This issue of new wineskins for new wine is one we have touched on before and need to be continually aware of because in the religious mindset there is a deep-seated tendency to revert to the old wineskin.

The Old Covenant wineskin was one temple, in one city, in one nation; one king, one earthly priesthood from one tribe (Levites) and one High Priest from one family (Aaron’s).

Such a mediatorial system prevents people accessing God for themselves: only the priests could enter the tabernacle and only the High Priest could go into the Holy of Holies, and that only once a year. It encourages a ‘top-down’ model of leadership which is the exact opposite of Jesus’ own servant-hearted example. This is still operating today wherever we see division into clergy and laity, and in a more subtle form where family members inherit religious positions from generation to generation. If people are artificially restricted, it will hinder them from fulfilling their destiny.

David’s tabernacle

One person in the Old Testament caught a glimpse of the new, and as a forerunner he adopted it ahead of time, at least for a while. In David’s tabernacle there was open access to the arc of the covenant and the Presence of God in worship, and when you read what they did in those days it is an amazing thing when you consider what the Law prescribed. I have never really understood how they could go back to putting God in a box – perhaps it is proof of the strength of that religious mindset again – but the fact is, they soon reverted to the cycle of sacrifice and ritual in a brand new temple.

Heavenly royal priests

In the new covenant, we are all heavenly royal priests. Every individual one of us is a new wineskin, a house of God and a gateway of heaven. We operate from heaven, and we are the nation, city and temple. God is in us and we are in Him. In the old covenant the Holy Spirit came upon prophets, priests and kings but now He dwells within us. We all have access as priests of the heavenly order of Melchizedek, not of an earthly Aaronic order: when the old covenant was made obsolete all the former priestly functions and roles came to an end with it.

Each of us has a destiny, an earthly and a heavenly outworking of God’s kingdom and His government. Every one of us is a reflection of the four faces of God, the kingly, prophetic, priestly and apostolic, expressed and outworked in the proportions appropriate to fulfilling that destiny.

A heavenly blueprint

We are a new wineskin in a corporate sense too. Individuals can come together around a heavenly blueprint as living stones, being built up together on a foundation that reflects heaven’s government: foundational servant leadership which releases people into their destiny rather than imposing mediatorial coverings, restricting access to God and to the realms of heaven.

…having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the capstone (Eph 2:20).

Ekklesia

“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church [ekklesia]; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven” (Matt 16:18-19).

I increasingly use the Greek word ‘ekklesia’ because the English word ‘church’ carries so much baggage in our thinking. The structures and institutions of what is known as ‘church’ are mainly man-made constructions based on old wineskins. They tend to look like the old covenant rather than the new. And this is not just a side-swipe at established denominations and streams – even in independent churches like Freedom we have done the same in the past: none of us knew any better.

Today Jesus is building His ekklesia with living stones of all shapes and sizes. Therefore all local ekklesias will be different, depending on the living stones built into it using the blueprint God gives. We cannot produce a formula or a template which we just duplicate. In the next post we will look at the characteristics of a new order ekklesia, but for now let’s just agree on this: anything which does not have a foundation which is a reflection of what is in heaven is an old wineskin.

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233. Wider, Deeper, Longer, Higher

Mike Parsons
and Jeremy Westcott

Face to face

From the beginning we were created to have an intimate relationship with God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37-38 to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind” and in John 14:6 that the only way we can come to the Father is through Him. Face to face engagement reveals the reality of who God truly is – Love – and exposes the untruths we may have assimilated over the years. Jesus is the ultimate expression of that Love, so if it doesn’t look like Jesus then it probably isn’t Love.

God wants us to know the truth of who He is and who we are as His children. It is the tactic of the accuser to get us to think wrongly about God and about ourselves. As long as we see God as having a dark side, we will never trust him completely. There will always be a slight fear that contradicts love.

Quantum physics 1.01

For example, somehow we have come to believe that God cannot look upon sin, and that He has to turn His face away. If it were true that He could not look upon sin, we would not be here! Quantum physics 1.01 tells us that if He were to stop observing us, we would cease to exist.

On the cross, when Jesus quoted the opening words of Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He was drawing people’s attention to the content of the whole psalm and its relevance to the events playing out before them. But He had previously told his disciples:

“Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me” (John 16:32).

We can clearly see that the hour He was referring to was His crucifixion. According to Jesus, the Father never turned His face away from Him. He was right there with Him.

God’s justice

How could we have got this wrong? The answer is, because we have got something even more fundamental wrong too. We think that on the cross Jesus was taking our punishment for us, suffering the wrath of a vengeful God in judgment that should have fallen upon us. We are used to our human justice system which requires retributive justice – payback – but the truth is that God’s justice is always restorative. We will look at this whole subject of the atonement in detail in another post, but for now let’s consider what the cross was about, if not punishment.

The sin

The original Greek word for ‘sin’ used most often in the New Testament is ‘hamartia’. It is a noun (the sin) not a verb (to sin). ‘The sin’ is the sin of Adam, choosing to follow the DIY pathway of the tree of knowledge of good and evil rather than the pathway of the tree of life. From Adam we all inherited spiritual death (which is a lost relationship with God and lost personal identity), so like Adam we are living in something less than God’s original blueprint or design for us, not recognising our true identity as a person made in His image.

So the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23 NASB), but God has a solution ready: for as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22). ‘The sin’ did not need to be punished, as religion would have us believe, but forgiven, corrected, dealt with and removed. We cannot earn God’s forgiveness by doing ‘good’ things (that is the DIY tree again): forgiveness is God’s gift to each of us in Christ.

The word of reconciliation

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:19).

The Greek word for ‘the world’ in that verse is ‘cosmos’: it certainly includes the whole planet, and much more besides. Jesus came to reconcile and restore absolutely everything and everyone in the whole of creation back into relationship with God. That is exactly what He accomplished through his death and resurrection, and now we all share in the victory of the cross and resurrection life. In relationship with God we all have a restored identity, knowing we are accepted, forgiven, blessed, and made righteous.

Since we now have the same ministry of reconciliation that Jesus had, we choose to show love and mercy to others just as He has shown love and mercy to us. What is more, the more we engage with the real God, the wider, deeper, longer and higher we perceive that love and mercy to be.

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232. The Greatest Scandal of the Age

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

New things

“Behold, the former things have come to pass,
Now I declare new things;
Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.”
(Isa 42:9)

Think of everything in your life that has already come to pass… and now God is saying ‘I declare new things’. Everything that is old has gone, everything that may have brought feelings of unworthiness, guilt and shame, and it has all gone because of the power of the cross.

The old things can no longer be of any use to us, if in fact they ever were. God has already decreed and declared for us a new place of relationship. We need to be aware that the old things have gone, so that we can accept the new things that the power of Jesus’ resurrection has opened up for us.

As those who are called to rule and reign as sons of God, we need to know God as our Father, otherwise we will operate as if we were orphans, as if we did not have a relationship with Him. What is more, we are made in God’s image, but if the image we have of Him is distorted then we will act in a distorted way. So if our view of God has Him as angry and vengeful, that is exactly how we will be as sons – and if you look at the world, it is an angry, vengeful place. Much of that has come from the way religion has presented Him: even though people may not ‘believe in God’, that is still the image they have of the God they don’t believe in. So God wants to reveal Himself to us, and to the world, in a completely different way.

Scandal

God spoke to me towards the end of 2016 and said,

“Son, the greatest scandal of the age is about to be exposed. Many will not believe it but the truth of who I am (and therefore who you are as My sons) will be revealed. The lies of religion will be exposed to the pure light of truth. The great I am is about to reveal Himself as the lover of your souls in what will amount to a whole new reality”.

So everything that we have believed about God and the version of reality that religion has presented to the church and the world, God is about to expose as a complete lie. And when it is exposed we will be able to see the truth of who God is and who we are.

The sin

We can engage God face to face, because it was never Him who hid from us, only the other way round. When Adam and Eve fell, and God came to find them in the Garden, He did not say ‘What have you done?’ He said, ‘Where are you?’ They were hiding because they were focussed on what they had done, but He was still looking for relationship. The enemy will always try to keep us focussed on what we have done, but God never is.

Sin is not really about behaviour, it is not about what we have done wrong. The most common word for ‘sin’, used 174 times in the New Testament, is ‘hamartia’. It is a noun, not a verb, ‘the sin’ rather than ‘to sin’, and it is not about our ‘doings’ at all. Religion is mostly concerned with ‘doings’: as if all these bad things we have done mean that God does not really like us, and does not want a relationship with us. But whatever we may have done does not affect how God sees us or how much He loves us. We just think it does.

The DIY tree

Sin brings its own consequences. Young’s literal translation of Romans 6:23 says,

For the wages of the sin [is] death, and the gift of God [is] life age-during in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The sin did not need to be punished but forgiven, corrected, dealt with and removed. This is what Jesus accomplished by his death and resurrection. He did not come to deal with our individual actions, as much as He came to deal with sin as a power, something that was at the very root of our situation. It was the sin of Adam in following the DIY path of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, trying to become like God by his own do-it-yourself efforts. That is what Jesus came to deal with; everything else is just a consequence of that.

Although the serpent said “If you eat of this tree you will become like God”, the truth was that Adam was already created in the likeness and image of God. Adam failed to grasp and hold onto his true identity and likeness from God’s perspective. So whilst God has never changed how He sees us, Adam suddenly saw himself as less than he was. In this spiritual blindness about himself and about God, he lost sight of the fact that he shared and participated in God’s own image and likeness.

That blindness has affected everyone ever since. We try to hide and cover up our nakedness with fig leaves because we have believed a lie about how God sees us. We do not see ourselves the way God really sees us or the way He created us to be. The spiritual death we have inherited is fundamentally a loss of relationship with God and a loss of personal identity.

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive (1 Cor 15:22).

Just as we all inherited that spiritual death and blindness from Adam; just as we all shared in the spiritual-soul-death that it created, so we all share in the victory of the cross and Jesus’ resurrection life.

Love

When we do engage God face to face, we will see what He is really like. God is love. Everything He does is love. Think of that, then compare how religion has depicted Him! Often those non-believers I mentioned earlier seem to be fine with Jesus but they are not so sure about ‘God’. Jesus came to share the truth of who He was and who His Father was. In reality, He is not some sort of schizophrenic, He does not have a split personality. Father, Son and Spirit are in complete unity, and if you have seen Jesus you have seen the Father.

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2. Fast: Connecting to the Realm of Heaven

Mike Parsons

cup-939479_640In June 2010 I went to a prophetic conference in Torquay, down on the south coast of Devon. God really impacted me and challenged me about experiencing His love and intimacy. He drew me into a place of intimacy, in which He called me to go on a 40 day fast.

I also received a prophetic word from Mike Bryant, and on the envelope he had written ‘Read this every day for six weeks’ (which is pretty much 40 days too). So I went into that fast seeking God for prophetic direction.

Prophetic word

Now I want to share just what that word was, and what God did:

‘A change is coming, and you cannot stop it, so be strong in my Spirit and the things I have shown you. Prepare the future and know that the harvest you long for is near. I am raising up those near you to stand with you. Look for the rainbow within your heart. Ascend where I am, where you are seated, a door will open for you. Prepare the future, ask of me and I will show you’.

I prayed over that several times a day. Now I already know that a change is coming: God is a God of change, and change for the good. I know that God wants us to prepare for a future harvest. I know that God wants to raise people up to work together as a team in ministry. But ‘look for the rainbow in my heart’? Well I didn’t know, but God showed me.

God opened the door

pablo (8)The first 20 days of that fast were really hard work; not physically, but spiritually. Basically I was being put on a cross and crucified of all the stuff of the flesh. But then in the next 20 days God opened the door into the heavenly realms and I had 78 different prophetic visions and encounters with God. These were direct encounters face to face with God, and he was speaking, revealing things, showing me things I had never seen before. Definitely, a door opened.

Quantum physics?

And that prophetic word says, ‘Prepare for the future, ask of me and I will show you’, so that’s what I did. I said, ‘God I want you to prepare me and the church for the future, so I’m asking, and I want you to show me’. And he showed me all sorts of stuff, some of it pretty way-out, which I wasn’t really prepared for. You know, I was happy to feel the love of God and experience God and be purified and refined and all that sort of thing. But when God started talking about quantum physics and quantum mechanics and how he created the universe, it was a challenge, because I was a biochemist not a physicist. Physics was not my favourite subject, I can tell you.

But God started speaking about light and the nature of light, about how light is particles but it is also waves. He talked about the nature of sound, about frequency and resonance, about what was going on in the heavenly realm (that is the spiritual realm), and how we need to connect up with that realm. He showed me that everything in the whole realm of quantum physics was only showing what the Bible was already saying, and I have shared some of that in the Quantum Vision series of talks. In this blog we will go a bit further with that and then I want to share with you some of the prophetic revelation that God gave me for the future.

Now I don’t do that lightly and it has taken me 6 months or more to get to the point where I’m prepared to share some of it, but I am going to share some of it in this series.

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