74. God’s Kingdom Fills the Earth

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Resurrection

We have been looking at the Millennium, or thousand years, and I just want to clear up one more point from that passage in Revelation, and then sum up what we have said.

Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years (Rev 20:4-6).

What is this ‘first resurrection’? Well we know Jesus was resurrected, and His was a physical resurrection. As a result of the fall there was spiritual death and physical death. The consequence of Jesus’ physical resurrection was a spiritual resurrection for us. We have been resurrected spiritually, and that spiritual resurrection deals with the spiritual death.

It is signified in our baptism: …having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead (Col 2:12).

Even when we were dead in our transgressions, [God] made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:5). We have been made alive with Christ: a spiritual resurrection.

That is the ‘first resurrection’. It deals with the spiritual death, so we can be born again, and come back into life; the second resurrection (when everybody gets resurrected) deals with physical death, which also came as a result of the fall.

And here is an interesting passage. It is only a couple of sentences in the Gospel narrative, but it must have caused quite a stir:

The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. (Matt 27:52)

So at that time there was an actual physical resurrection of all those Old Testament saints who came back to life.And don’t imagine that they then died again – what happened was that Jesus led them into heaven, and that is where they are now. They ‘came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years’.

The rule of Christ is now

Let’s wrap this up. We are a kingdom of priests, and the millennial rule is now. In heaven, and on earth – because we can live in both places, as we have begun to understand. We bring heaven to earth through our lives and the kingdom of God is manifested on the earth through us.

But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD (1 Peter 2:9).

… And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Rev 1:5-6).

The reign of Christ began at His ascension, and continues until all things are subdued under his feet. The return of Christ and the bodily resurrection of all men will occur after (or post-) the millennium: that is to say it will happen after the period in which we now live, the period in which Jesus rules in heaven and on earth through His people.

This is really what we need to have faith in. We need to be expecting these things to take place, and expecting ourselves to be part of the process of bringing them about. “But indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD” (Num 14:21). That is what we want – and how will the earth be filled? Through us.

For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea (Hab 2:14). People will know about the glory. It will not just be a few people going around glowing a bit. God’s glory will be clearly demonstrated for all to see.

Remember how in Daniel 2:35 the Stone [Jesus] that struck the statue [the kingdoms of the world] became a great mountain [God’s kingdom] and filled the whole earth. The earth will be filled with glory, and that will happen before Jesus will return:

…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 (Act 3:20-21)

mount-everest-276995_640Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.
(Isa 2:2).

These are the last days (and have been ever since Jesus first came). God’s kingdom is already established as the chief kingdom, because we know that Jesus is above all rule.  His kingdom is already above every other kingdom. The nations have been streaming to it throughout church history, and we want to see that prophecy completely and finally fulfilled.

I believe we are called to be a Joshua generation. The Joshua generation will raise up and prepare the following (and final) generation to receive their full inheritance and to usher in the end time harvest, ready for Jesus’ return.

We are fast approaching the end of this series on God’s Prophetic Timetable. It is based around the series I taught in Freedom Church during the spring and summer of 2011, and lays the groundwork for some of our more recent teaching both on this blog and elsewhere. The audio of those original sessions is available on our Apostolic Resources website. As we have noted elsewhere, some of the views we held at the time have been challenged by God in the intervening period but these blog posts (particularly #64-67) have been updated to reflect those changes (the audio recordings, of course, have not).

In the closing posts of this series I want to look at 40 characteristics that mark out that Joshua generation, because many of us will be part of it.

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72. Bound For A Thousand Years

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott 

We saw last time how important it is that our faith is in victory, in overcoming, in seeing God’s kingdom fill the earth.

A theology of victory

Kingdom and Covenant theology is a theology of victory. More and more people are starting to realise this because of the nature of what God is saying prophetically in these days. If you are someone who believes Jesus is going to come and rescue us, you are going to struggle to reconcile what God is saying with that belief. How does it fit? It doesn’t: Jesus is not going to come and rescue us: we are going to be victorious.

In succeeding periods of church history, people tended to hold different views on the book of Revelation. I want briefly to make it clear how we see things.

Firstly, Revelation is a  historical book which deals with God’s covenant judgment on Israel and Jerusalem.

Also, Revelation illustrates the triumph of the church through history, overcoming all persecution.

Soon… the time is near… quickly

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

I’m sorry, 2000 years later is not ‘soon’. Now I know that for God, everything can be now. Bur this was not written for God, it was written for people to read and be encouraged and comforted in the midst of the persecution they were facing. It would have been very poor comfort to say that judgment was coming soon, if in fact it was going to take centuries. The book of Revelation was written before AD 70 to servants of God who were alive at the time. It was written about events which would soon take place. And what soon took place was the destruction of Jerusalem. John repeats it, so there can be no mistake: ‘the time is near’.

‘Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near’ (Rev 1:3).

Again, at the end of the book, Jesus says:

“And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book… Yes, I am coming quickly” (Rev 22:7, 20). And Jesus came quickly: within a few years of this being written, He came in judgment upon Jerusalem and it was destroyed.

Bound for a thousand years

While we are considering Revelation, I also just want to look at the only scriptures in the Bible which actually mention a thousand-year reign.

dragon-253540_640Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time (Rev 20:1-3).

So here we see that for a thousand years Satan is bound and not able to deceive, and then is released. It continues:

Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years’ (Rev 20:4-6).

When we read ‘the beast and his image’ we immediately think it must be future. But if you think about the beast and his image in terms of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, you will read this in a different light. It has already happened. And this is not a bodily resurrection – the scripture specifically says it was the souls of people which came alive. So this has happened before a bodily resurrection, not after. If Jesus had already returned, there would already have been a bodily resurrection, and that is not the case.

‘Priests of God… will reign with Him for a thousand years’: we know the language about being a royal priesthood belongs to us. So this is talking about us, and it is talking about something which happens on the earth.

We have already seen that Satan was bound (Rev 20:2). When is or was that? Look at Matt 12:28-29: ‘But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house’. All deliverance that we see today is on the basis that the strong man is already bound. Otherwise we would not be able to cast demons out.

If Satan were not bound, we would not be able to do what we are doing right now. If he were deceiving the nations, no-one would be getting saved. Remember the Great Commission: Jesus sent his followers out into the whole world to disciple the nations. It is possible for us to do that because Satan is bound and not able to deceive them. His power is limited.

In John 12:31 Jesus said Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out” (my emphasis). And in Luke 10:17-18, ‘The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning”’. It already happened.

Jesus first bound Satan in the wilderness, when He did what Adam had failed to do in overcoming temptation. Then He went further, in releasing authority on His disciples to go out and minister because of that. The fact that the disciples were ministering in kingdom power showed that Satan had no authority any longer. But then Jesus went on to actually conquer death: the wilderness had dealt with spiritual death, the cross dealt with physical death.

‘When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him’ (Col 2:15).

And if Satan is bound now, then the thousand years, the Millennium, must also be now. That is what the scripture says: he is bound, and remains bound for a thousand years. So we are living in the time right now when God’s kingdom is active on earth, because Satan is bound. It is not an exact, literal 1000 years.

Satan will be loosed. That will be just before the end. I believe there will then be an increase in Satan’s power, because we are going to have to overcome him. Warfare will be much more open, but God’s church will be raised up in light, as the mountain of the house of the Lord.

And that church will be victorious.

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55. God’s Covenant Purpose

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Over the next series of posts I want to set out for you clearly what Jesus said. We have looked before at the passage in Matthew 24 where the disciples asked Jesus “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” What were ‘these things’ that they were asking about?

To find the answer to this we need to go back several chapters (remember that there were no chapters in the original scriptures). Wherever you start from, you are in a sense jumping into the middle of events which were already going on, but there is a clear development of ideas which begins in Matthew 21.

God’s people

Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone; THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES’? Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust” (Matt 21:42-44).

Jesus was talking about Himself, that He would be rejected and that there would be a consequence of that rejection for Israel. The mandate to be God’s people would be taken from the people who rejected the Stone, and it would be given to people who accepted the Stone. That Stone was to become the chief cornerstone of the church. In verse 44 we see that the Stone will fall on those who reject Him, and in due course we are going to see what happened when that Stone fell.

Let’s understand this: God’s covenant purpose has not changed. We can read it in Genesis 12:2 where God makes covenant with Abraham, “And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing… And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” globe-328140_640There is continuity here, you only have to look at passages like Gen 1:28, where God made covenant with Adam, in Gen 9:1 with Noah, and in Matt 28:18-20, where the church was sent out to take the gospel to the whole world. It is the same covenant purpose: to bring the kingdom of God to the earth.

We read in Galatians, The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU” (Gal 3:8). The gospel we preach has the same covenant purpose: to bring God’s kingdom to the earth. There is a unity in God’s purpose that we have not always understood.

For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith (Rom 4:13).

Abraham’s promise was not a small package of land in the Middle East. It was supposed to start there, but from there to spread, filling the whole earth with God’s kingdom. And it did not come by keeping the Law, even under the old covenant, but through the righteousness of faith. It was always by faith. You never could have a relationship with God other than by faith. The Law was only a tutor to protect that covenant until Christ would come and fulfil it. No-one could keep the law, so you never could be justified by the law, only by faith. The covenant with Abraham was made 430 years before the Law was given, and it was not nullified by that Law. In fact, it is still in place today – and that is why we are here.

A light to the nations

God’s covenant purpose through Israel was stated in very similar terms: just look at the language. “Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exod 19:5-6).

That is still the promise to God’s people today, by the way.

I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations…” (Isa 42:6). They were supposed to be a light to the nations, but they weren’t. They kept it all to themselves and stopped anyone else receiving it.

“I will appoint You as a covenant to the people” (Isa 42:6). Time and again, we keep coming back to this: we need to understand covenant. In particular, we need to understand covenant blessings and covenant judgments, because those are what Jesus is going to refer to in this passage. We can see those concepts most clearly in Deut 28:1-14 (blessings) and Deut 28:15-68 (judgments, or ‘curses’), and that is where we will pick up next time.

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48. A Thousand-fold Increase?

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Kingdom and covenant

Our prophetic understanding must come in the context of God’s Kingdom and of covenant. Kingdom and covenant are two sides of the same coin. In order to get understanding of the purposes of God, we need understanding of both. Right from the very beginning it was God’s purpose to have a people who would demonstrate His Kingdom ‘on earth as it is in heaven’; and covenants were the agreements He initiated with men to enable that to take place.

In 2011, when I first spoke about this subject, quite a bit was said and written about it being ‘year 11’. In particular, some people felt God was highlighting Deuteronomy 1:11 which says, “May the LORD, the God of your fathers, increase you a thousand-fold more than you are and bless you, just as He has promised you”. Some began to see ‘111’ everywhere as they began to focus on what God was saying. They got hold of that scripture and encouraged us to believe God not for a hundredfold increase, but actually for a thousandfold.

Does it mean that?

Firstly, of course, it is possible for the Holy Spirit to take that scripture and speak it to us personally and say ‘This is for you’. But if we don’t hear it that way, how do we approach the questions which will come up: ‘Is that right? Does it say that? And if it does, is it intended for us?’

Notice that it speaks of ‘the God of your fathers’. That is covenant language. ‘The God of your fathers’ refers back to Abraham, and how God made a covenant with him through which all families on the earth were to be blessed. Deuteronomy 8:18 tells us that it is to confirm that covenant that God gives us the power to make wealth. In light of that, I would say that yes, we can claim Deuteronomy 1:11 as a promise that God will increase us a thousandfold.

But is that exactly 1000, or does it just mean ‘a lot’? Let’s consider the scripture which says that God ‘owns the cattle on a thousand hills’ (Psalm 50:10). Does He not own the cattle on the 1001st? I think we know the answer to that. So a thousand is not necessarily exact, it is a large number – and in this case it really stands for ‘everything’.

Limiting God

My point is that if we are going to understand prophecy correctly, we cannot simply take everything literally and so limit God. People raised the objection that when Deuteronomy 1:11 was written, there weren’t actually any chapter or verse numbers: they were added later. That doesn’t stop God using them to illustrate something to us.

This is part of approaching scripture and prophecy with a Hebrew (eastern) rather than a Greek (western) mindset. Literal, deeper, personal, and hidden meanings – all can be true, and all found within the understanding of one verse of scripture.

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43. New wine, new wineskin

Mike Parsons 

And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED” (1 Pet 2:4-6).

Living stones

That Stone, as we have seen, shows up in Daniel 2 in the king’s dream which Daniel interprets. The Stone is Jesus, and it grows into a mountain (His kingdom) which fills the earth. That kingdom comes through us, His people, because we are living stones. If we believe and catch hold of this truth in our spirit, the promise is that we will not be disappointed.

You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth (Rev 5:10)

There are people now who are reigning in heaven, because they have died. But we actually also reign in heaven, and we reign here on the earth. We need to reign in both places, just as Jesus was manifested in both places, because you know that we are seated in the heavenly realms even as we live our lives here on earth. It is essential for us to have access to the heavenly realms in order to bring heaven to earth.

That is why God is opening up those heavenly doors for us to have heavenly encounters, throne room encounters, to meet Him in heaven, to see Him face to face; to see what is the will of God in heaven; to see those things that will enable us to manifest the kingdom of God, the favour of God, the power, wisdom and glory of God – on earth as it is in heaven.

So in Daniel 2, the Stone is Jesus, the mountain is His kingdom, and His kingdom is manifested through us, through the church.

New wineskins

And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins Luke 5:37-38.

The enemy is constantly trying to get us to adopt new versions of the Old Covenant system – because he knows that if he can convince us to do so it will rob us of true kingdom power and authority. People have talked for years about needing a new wineskin, meaning a new form of church, but that is missing the point. Any ‘new, improved version’ of the Old Covenant system is still an old wineskin incapable of holding the new wine of the kingdom. It is not a new form of church that is the new wineskin: the new wineskin is us. We are the containers of His Presence, and we can (and should) be those who fully manifest His kingdom authority.

It is no longer about one country, one city, one temple. They cannot contain God’s Presence… but God’s people can.

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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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30. Centre of the World Stage

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

centrestage 

People from past generations have longed to see what God is doing in our day, and we have the privilege of being able to be involved in it. It is not something to be taken lightly: we must embrace who we are, we must embrace who God is calling us to be.

God is beginning to raise up a Joshua generation, who will bring in that harvest of labourers who in turn will bring in the final harvest at the end of the age. The Joshua generation will be a people of a different spirit; we will look at that in due course. The scripture that God is using to introduce this is found in Genesis 41: it is the story of Joseph.

We see in this chapter that Joseph was in the dungeon when Pharoah called for him They brought him up out of dungeon, and he shaved and put on new clothes so that he was fit to be brought into Pharoah’s presence. Pharoah sent for Joseph because he had had some dreams, and he had heard that Joseph had a supernatural ability to interpret them.

Supernatural

The church worldwide is going to be brought out of the dungeon – the dungeon of irrelevance, the dungeon of obscurity – and is going to find itself placed in the centre of the world stage. God is preparing us for that right now. It is a supernatural people who will be given this place of prominence: just as Joseph could interpret dreams and visions, they too will be a people who operate in the supernatural.

And it is a supernatural church that is required, not an institution, nor a religion, but an ekklesia which enjoys a relationship with the Living God in which He is saying ‘Come out of the dungeon’. He is saying that to some as individuals: come up out of the pit, come into the shining light, and let God use you. He is calling the church out into the light: just as it was said of Esther (Esth 4:14), we have come to the kingdom, come to royalty, for such a time as this. Our calling is to be royalty, and it will be clear that we are the sons of the King. We have a destiny in God, and we are called for such a time as this.

A time of preparation

Pharoah had two dreams which Joseph interpreted. They predicted a seven-year period of abundance followed by a seven-year period of total famine. And in the seven years of abundance, they would need to do something to prepare for the seven years of famine. In our days, God is saying that there is a period of abundance coming to the church in which a harvest will be coming in. This will be a harvest of labourers, and we need to be ready for that harvest. That harvest is what will be needed in the period of famine that will follow.

Pharoah said to His servants, “Can we find a man like this in whom there is a divine spirit?” (Gen 41:38). God wants us to know His Spirit is in us, that we are a habitation of God, of His Presence and power; that His kingdom is within us, manifesting through us. That is what it is going to take, around the world, to be prepared for this harvest.

As we read on, we see what Joseph did: he gathered 20% of all the food that was harvested in the years of abundance, and placed this food in cities: in every city he gathered the food from its own surrounding fields. I have listened to lots of prophetic words and voices about this recently and I believe that what God is saying is that we will see 20% of the population of the planet gathered as the first stage of the harvest: 20% of the people around the cities of refuge that God is establishing around the world are going to come in and be saved.

That adds up to quite a lot of people – about a billion or so – which is why we are going to need a much bigger building, in fact we are going to need this whole site that we have marked out, this whole campus that we have been believing for. There are going to be plenty of others like us too, in other places. A harvest, a billion people to be trained up as labourers in the even bigger harvest to come. Others have seen this billion people: some believe that it is the whole of the end time harvest, but I cannot believe God will be satisfied unless there are at least far more people saved than not.

Cities Of Refuge

When the famine came, as predicted in Pharoah’s dream, where did all the people of the earth go to get what they needed? They came to Egypt, they came to Joseph: there was no grain anywhere else. The whole world was in the grip of famine. And this is what is going to happen when we are ready, when the harvest of labourers is gathered into the cities of refuge. Those cities of refuge are the apostolic resource centres, regional centres which God is raising up around the world. They will have relationship with each other and responsibility for the people around them in their own area, to draw in that 20%.

I am not saying that is going to be just one church: it will be God’s people coming together in an area, in unity, in order to release this. So we need to be ready, to be prepared for that harvest of harvesters to come in. That is what God is doing with us here: He is calling us to be an equipping centre, to help train up all those people.

Prodigals return

Prodigals are going to return: that is one of the first signs of this, that we see the prodigals start to come back, people who have been hurt, disappointed, disillusioned, and who have walked away from God as a result. Angels are going to go out and draw them back in (in all this we are going to be working alongside angelic reapers). Family members, our children, and others, are going to be coming back.

We need to be ready for them, to train them and equip them in the supernatural, to do the works of Jesus and the greater works too: nothing else is going to be enough. All the nature miracles, walking on water, stilling storms, supernaturally multiplying resources, signs and wonders: all the things Jesus did, God intends us to be doing. And it is for all of us, not just for specialists, it is for every single individual Christian to be doing the works of Jesus. “Those who believe will do the works that I do” (John 14:12). That is what Jesus said: all we have to do is believe.

Soundtrack: Jake Hamilton – The Anthem (opens in new tab/window)

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21. Conflict for Souls

Mike Parsons – 

One Sunday, as we were singing, I saw Jesus, and He was looking at me. He was the Jesus of Revelation chapter 1, with fire in His eyes; His gaze was penetrating, seeing into my head, seeing into my heart. There was love in His eyes, and fire, and He was looking deep within me.

The eyes of God

The scripture says that the eyes of God are going to and fro throughout the earth (2 Chron 16:9), looking for those who He can strongly support: those whose hearts are completely His. That is what He is doing in this time, looking for willingness; willingness to say, ‘My heart is Yours. There may be stuff in it that needs dealing with, but I am willing for You to do what needs to be done, to restore me and make me whole. I am willing to step out and do Your will’. God’s eyes will penetrate your heart. If He looks into your heart and mind, what is He going to see there? Certainly you are not going to be able to hide anything from His eyes. And because He is also a warrior king, He is coming with a sword in His mouth; His words too will penetrate your heart and life, bringing division between the positive and the negative, the good and the bad, what can remain and what must be got rid of.

God never acts without revealing his plans to His prophets. Some of you reading this, you are on a crash course. You have been saved into this environment, into this understanding of God’s revelation and His purposes in our days. It will not take you the twenty years or more that it has taken some of us to come into the reality of the presence of God. And things are only going to accelerate, if we are willing. We do have that choice – we can resist Him and stop Him having His way in us, prevent Him from purifying and refining us, clearing out the dross and revealing the image of His Son in us. My advice is, don’t hide, don’t resist; allow God to deal with what is in your heart. In what is coming, a level of holiness – a level of being set apart – will be required that we simply do not have as yet. The highway of holiness is higher than we have imagined.

Harvest

Jesus is returning. He will return, at the end, but He is returning all the time. He is coming to us all the time. Open your heart, and He will come to you. The reason He is coming is to prepare us for the conflict for souls. The harvest that is coming is a battle for souls, make no mistake about it, and there will be conflict. People are falling into a fiery pit every day, and they are making that choice to go there.

I had a vision while I was on my 40 day fast, a vision of people, hundreds and thousands of them, walking across a plain. In the distance I could see that fiery pit, and people were just walking straight up to it and falling in. And I saw other people, Christians, standing in front of them and planting a sword in the ground right in front of them and saying, ‘Stop!’ Some of them did stop, but they looked around them, then they stepped to one side and carried on going.

Others did turn around though. With some of them it took 3 or 4 people to plant a sword in their path and cry, ‘Stop!’ before they turned and went back. The enemy has blinded their eyes. Our part is to bring the light. This is a real battle, this battle for souls: we are not playing games, not just having nice times with God for our own personal enjoyment, for the sake of the experience. Yes, He wants us to experience Him, but He wants our hearts and lives transformed for purpose, for His eternal purpose. People’s destiny is at stake, and we must shine so brightly that we get their attention so that they see that God is real and that they too can be transformed through His love.

What did Jesus say? ‘Look around you, the fields are white but there are not enough labourers’. He is seeking out those who have a heart for the harvest, to bring it in. In everything God is doing and planning to do, this is what it is about: bringing in the full harvest, seeing all those people saved, and healed and delivered.

The first stage we have looked at in God’s Prophetic Timetable is that call to intimate knowledge of Him, to really know Love. But the second stage has already begun for some people, even as that first one continues. Every stage of this plan takes us closer to the return of Jesus. We have already seen that God has established forerunners of everything He plans to do, little tasters if you like, to give us an appetite for what he intends to bring about on a much greater scale. So everything we have seen so far is tiny in comparison to what is coming.

That second stage is the removal of stumbling blocks, and the revelation of a generation of those who will bring in and train the harvesters. You have to understand, there are two phases of the harvest. There will be a final harvest at the very end of the age, but first the harvesters themselves need to be brought in. We will consider this next time.

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19. Stepping Up

Mike Parsons  

Step up

In our days, the prophetic books are being opened. Fresh revelation is being released: revelation of the Spirit, revelation of heaven, revelation of the days ahead. And God wants His people to get plugged into the Holy Spirit and to be aware of what is going on in our own lives, in the world around us, and in heavenly places, so that we can cooperate with what He is doing.

Where more is given

As each period comes along, it is going to require more of us. God is going to require more of us.  Each period brings more revelation, both of what is going on on earth and of what is going on in heaven. And God says that where more is given, more is required.

He wants us to step up to a new level of holiness, a new level of being set apart for Him, a new level of righteousness. He is coming to refine and purify us so that we are able to live on that new level, and we have to submit to Him in that, because He is looking to prepare us for what is coming. On each level there will be more demonstration of kingdom power and authority. God wants to take today’s church back, not just to the early church (or New Testament) levels of kingdom authority, but back to the Garden, where He conferred the mandate on Adam and Eve to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth. That task and that mandate are now ours.

This diagram is a representation of what God showed me:

Periods of God's Prophetic Timetable

On each level there will be stronger and more powerful demons and fallen angels for us to defeat and dethrone. But we will be able to defeat and dethrone them. We will be able to take new ground on earth, in areas we haven’t yet ventured into. There is territory to occupy and a strategy to outwork. We have the power to overcome: we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Step up

God is looking for us to be a habitation of His Presence, and we need to be prepared to step up. He is calling us to be a people who will bring the kingdom of God from heaven to earth. That call starts with a call to intimacy because only in knowing Him intimately can we be prepared to move up to the next level. Intimacy is absolutely key to moving forward in this.

In the Kingdom Explosion meetings in 2011 when Mike Bryant was here, God showed him that there were three phases of what He was intending to do, and that the first of those phases was fire. The purpose of the fire was first of all to thaw us out! God wants us softened up. He wants to draw us, His sons, His children, to draw us to Him in a close, intimate relationship, and to stir up our passion and our desire for Him. Jesus is to be our first priority, our first love. His kingdom is what we seek, and what we seek first. And we will need constantly to surrender to Him, in order to encounter Him at ever deeper levels.

Encounter

This is about love. It is about our identity as sons of God. It is about a new level of knowing Him. The Old Testament word for know is “yadah” which means “personal encounter.” There is a difference between the Hebrew and the Greek ways of thinking. The western world has been fashioned and formed by a Greek mindset. We cannot go deeply into that here, but we do need to understand that the Hebrew concept of ‘knowing’ has nothing to do with the intellect. You cannot say you know God unless you have actually experienced Him. People with a Hebrew mindset won’t even listen to you if you are not speaking from experience. Moses had that kind of an encounter with God at the burning bush. That was an experience in which what he saw and heard opened up his destiny for him. We need a personal encounter with God in the same kind of way to open up our destiny for us. As we come to truly know Jesus, His Presence in us will be obvious, and His light will be increasingly shining from within us and growing in intensity.

The New Testament word for know is “ginosko”, and this is the word used for a man knowing his wife and bearing a child. That is pretty intimate isn’t it? This is not sexual, of course, but it is the spiritual equivalent. It is a relationship in which nothing is held back, on either side. We hold nothing back from Him; He holds nothing back from us.

He wants us to know Him in two places: on earth (in our own spirit), and also in heaven. Psalm 23 is a powerful psalm which talks about the intimate relationship God desires to have with us, and that is where we will be going in the next post.

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16. Prophetic Timetable Overview (part 1)

Mike Parsons  – 

This is the full version of the diagram we began to look at last time. In this post and the next one, I am just going to give you a brief overview of what God has shown me He is looking to do in each of these periods, and then we will begin to look at each stage in much more detail in coming days and weeks.

Firstly there is a call to intimacy: God started doing this a while ago, and it will continue. I know a lot of people struggle with intimacy. Even when we come together, when we are praising the whole place is heaving and full up at the front; as soon as we begin moving into intimacy you can see people start to drift off. There is something totally different about us giving God praise (which comes from our spirit) and real intimacy (which comes from His Spirit and our spirit joined together). God wants us to know intimacy. I am going to be going into that a lot more as we go on.

Second, there is going to be a gathering and removing of stumbling blocks. Angels have begun gathering here in our meetings. I have seen them, as have others. They are not just the trumpet angels, the healing angels, or the breakthrough angels: they are the gathering angels. They have been watching, waiting for an opportunity to gather and remove stumbling blocks from us, from the church. There is going to be a whole move where God does that.

There is judgment coming to the household of God: it is going to divide what is of God and what isn’t. However, judgment is not condemnation: with God, judgment is always an opportunity to change. Again, I will go into this more fully in future posts.

There are challenging times coming.

There is going to be a harvest of labourers. We are going to see thousands and thousands of people turning to Jesus, and that is not an end-time harvest, it is to prepare to send out labourers into the harvest fields to bring in the end-time harvest. Ask Jesus for them (Luke 10:2). There are going to be prodigals returning by their hundreds, streaming back to God. God is going to be drawing them.

Awesome times, but we need to be very careful to prepare and equip those people to do the things that God is calling them to do. There is going to be a raising up of the Joshua generation at this time – Caleb and Joshua were people of a different spirit who were able to take the people into their inheritance, the promised land. God is calling for a generation to be raised up, who will bring and equip those harvesters to bring in the final harvest. There are going to be apostolic centres to train those harvesters, and we are going to be one of those centres. There will be an increasing manifestation of the five-fold ministries and gifts of the Spirit to train people. There is going to be an increasing manifestation of people who seek first the Kingdom of God, people who live it, not just say it or know what it says, but who actually live it day by day and hour by hour.

There is going to be a shaking of the world’s systems, a storm of judgment coming on the earth, and we have to be ready, because we must have the answers in the judgment that is coming. When the world’s systems have fallen apart, the church is going to be raised up in authority, with answers. When the medical experts have no cure for some of the diseases that are going to be released, we will have healing in our hands. We have already seen a minor shaking of the financial system, a little tremor, causing a crisis the experts could hardly manage, which turned into a worldwide recession: when it all collapses, we will be people who can say, ‘Oh, over there in that fish’s mouth there is a roll of £50 notes!’ Or, ‘You need food this week? Oh, OK, there you go, I’ll just multiply what you have.’

Do you remember Elisha and that story about the widow and her son, and the oil that didn’t stop flowing until they ran out of pots to fill? Oil was a precious substance, you could use it for cooking but you could also sell it. As soon as they ran out of pots, the oil stopped flowing. That is a picture of what God is doing here. If you don’t want the oil to stop flowing, you have to keep coming for more, and bring more people who come as empty pots to be filled. People from the churches round here come to be filled, people find us on social media and YouTube and catch God’s heart in what we are saying, and they go on to fill others who are hungry and thirsty for more.

Returning to what I was saying, these world systems are all going to be shaken. Increasingly, we are going to see more ‘little’ examples of shaking which build up to a great shaking.

Next time we will look at the remaining periods in this diagram: the final harvest, the last day, the return of Jesus and the age to come.

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