271. Being the Joshua Generation

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:16).

Just like Jesus, our elder brother, we can engage with our heavenly Father and enjoy an intimate relationship with Him; just like Jesus, we have all the resources of heaven available to us to achieve all we are called to do in our lives. Being the Joshua Generation means embracing our inheritance and birthright as sons of God.

Positioned

Sonship (which is not gender-specific) is not just about having a restored soul and becoming whole, wonderful as that is. Sonship is about being positioned, seated, enthroned in heaven so that our governmental position can be expressed on the earth. Sonship is about being in the Father and the Father being in us. When we are positioned in the Father, He can position us as His express image into creation, anywhere in time and space.

For example, one night as I was about to go to sleep at home in the UK, I said to the Father, “Hey, I’m available for an adventure!” and I went back in time to the 1760s. Someone in America was praying for help because their child had died. I found myself there, outside the house; they invited me in; I prayed for the child, who was healed and restored; and I found myself back in my room at home.

I started to wonder, how could I have gone back into the past and changed it? I was facing the well-known time travel paradox: if I changed the past, surely I have changed the present! Then I realised that to God there is no past, present and future: to Him it is all ‘now’. If I am in Him, I am not limited by time or space any more than He is; He can allow me to travel wherever and whenever, as I make myself available to Him.

Father’s business

That may sound strange, but it is the kind of thing you get to do when you are a son. You get involved in the Father’s business. When people are praying, He directs you to act in response to people’s prayers. Sonship is about being part of a family, in relationship with the Father, with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit and with one another. As a family, we will be about the Father’s business: the restoration of all things back to His original desire and design.

The whole of creation responds to us as sons. Sonship is then about being a gateway for the Father to touch the earthly realm through our lives. Jesus said “the Father who lives in Me does His work through me” (John 14:10 NLT); that is, not independently but in complete cooperation and relationship with one another. They were one. We want to get to that point where we are ‘joined to the Lord and one spirit with Him’ (1 Cor 6:17 NLT); where we cannot tell whether it is us doing something or the Spirit doing it (and it really does not matter either way, because we are one).

Precision

Sonship is about being a gateway for the Father to touch others. The way we do that is changing. It used to be that the ‘man of power for the hour’ would stand up at the front, prophesying over people, laying hands on everyone and knocking them flat on the floor. I have done that. That is the old ‘mediator’ model. Often it was like a blunderbuss or a shotgun approach: blast everything out there, tag it with ‘in the name of Jesus’ and hope that some of it would stick.

Seeing into someone’s DNA, you can identify where trauma is trapped in cells, and bring healing as a precision instrument.

God does indeed want us all to be equipped to release His love and power into other people’s lives, but to do so because we actually see what is going on; then we can direct the flow of the grace of God to touch the precise areas that need healing. Most physical disorders are the result of emotional hurt and pain, so if you do not heal the emotions, the physical symptoms just keep returning. You need to get to the root of the issue – and it will be different every time! So how do you do that? By reading the thoughts and intentions of people’s hearts. Seeing into someone’s DNA, you can identify where trauma is trapped in cells, and where they are stuck and fragmented; not as some kind of magic party trick, but in order to bring healing as a precision instrument. If we can all be equipped to be like Jesus, to do the things Jesus did in the same way that He did them, then we will be able to go on to do the greater works like He promised we would (John 14:12).

A daily to-do list?

I asked Jesus one time how He knew what to do, and how He should do it. I had the idea that maybe He would go to the Father each morning and get a list, probably written on a scroll. And I thought it would be very specific: heal this blind person by spitting on the ground and making mud; heal this other one by speaking to them; and this one by touching their eyes. But that was not it at all – He just had the heart of the Father to heal people that day and then, creatively, as a son, chose which way to do it.

When we are in the heart of God, we can choose our reality. We like to have a formula, but if a formula always worked then we would not need a relationship. I cannot assume that because I did something in a particular way one day, then I should do the same thing in the same way the next. God has not set it up that way, because He only works through relationship – He is one God in three persons, and relationship is at the core of His nature. So my mandate for the day is not a list of things I should or should not do: I am seated with Him in heaven, knowing His heart; and throughout the day I am continually connected to His heart, so I can always be where I need to be and do what I need to do, flowing in relationship with Him.

Love

We are called as sons to be part of the Joshua Generation, forerunners of heavenly intimacy, who have spied out the land beyond the veil; who have been wooed by the Father into restored sonship. The Joshua Generation are called to experience the precepts, character and nature of God Himself; to experience – and demonstrate – the reality of the very essence of God who truly is love.

This post was extracted and edited from Mike’s teaching during the Sons Arise! Engaging The Father conference held at the Freedom Centre, Barnstaple, UK in 2018. 

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THE RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS 2 – GOING DEEPER

Join us for our residential conference with Nancy Coen, Lindy Strong and Mike Parsons in Okehampton, UK, June 2020.

God is restoring all things according to His original intent and purpose.

  • What does that mean for you and me?
  • What does it mean for the church?
  • What does it mean for the world, for the cosmos, for the unseen realm?
  • Is there any thing, any system or any being that God cannot or will not restore?

Get more info and tickets (via Eventbrite)

🐥 Book by 17th December 2019 for Early Bird bonuses worth £120 GBP!

268. Beyond the Physical Realm

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

The more we engage with the Father, the more we are transfigured and transformed, growing and maturing in wisdom and grace. The first dimension in which we engage is in the Earth, the physical realm, but in the spiritual atmosphere of an open heaven.

Convergence of time and eternity

The cloud of His Presence, the cloud of the Father’s glory, comes around us and God speaks to us from where He is, out of eternity. Truth will be revealed to us from His perspective, not necessarily ours. That is why I suggest we do not try to figure it all out or try to understand it, just to receive. Your spirit will receive and digest it, and the Holy Spirit will bring it to your mind when you need it.

That goes for all the things that He has spoken to you throughout time and eternity, even if you have not heard or understood them! There is a convergence of time and eternity in the moment that He speaks. He is always speaking from the eternal now, so He is not restricted by the constraints of time. He may speak words you understand, or He may speak directly to your spirit.

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning” (John 15:26).

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you” (John 16:13-15).

He will reveal all that you need to know to fulfil your destiny as a son of God.

Intimacy within

Beyond the physical realm, we can also engage in our spirit and hearts, the spiritual dimension. Wherever we are, we can experience the same intimacy within, all the time. We never have to feel in any way separated from God because Father, Son and Holy Spirit have chosen to come and dwell within us. We can learn to engage them there.

Our soul and spirit are contained within our physical body but the dimension of our spirit is a little like Dr Who’s Tardis – bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside. So you can have a garden within your soul, within your heart, acres and acres of soil to be cultivated. Jesus talked about the different conditions of the soil of our heart in the Parable of the Sower, and you may find there are beautiful areas in your soul but also some parts that are not so good. God desires us to cultivate it all so that none of it is hard, stony or weedy. So, as a house of God and a gateway of heaven, the Father dwells in us.

We should develop and nurture this ‘first love’ relationship, experiencing how much He loves us. Within that relationship God is looking to restore our hearts. Then we are able to love Him in return; able to fully express our love towards Him without any restrictions, limitations or hindrances caused by the hurt and damage most of us have incurred in our lives. Everything you encounter in God can be planted in the good soil of your heart, where you water it, and in due course you see young shoots coming through which grow up and produce fruit in your life.

Jesus invites us

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Rev 3:20-1).

So Jesus invites us to open the door in our spirit to allow the presence of God to fill us. When our spirit is full, that presence overflows and fills the garden of our heart, fills our soul with His presence. This is essential to the promise that follows, that we will be seated with Him on His throne, exercising authority and participating in the government of the Kingdom.

Most of us have lived off the trickle that flows under the doorway that Ezekiel describes. Therefore we do not yet have rivers of water flowing out of our innermost being, we have a trickle. All the gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit that we have experienced so far have been as a result of that trickle. Imagine what our lives would be like if the flow of the river of life in us were ankle-deep, knee-deep, waist-deep, over our heads! That trickle is amazing, but what would it be like if it were a flood?

The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd.[b]
I always have more than enough.
He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.[c]
His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.[d]
That’s where he restores and revives my life.[e]
(Ps 23:1-3a, TPT).

Close your eyes1 and think of that door in your spirit.
Let that door form in your imagination.
By faith reach out to the handle and choose to open the first love gate.

Welcome the Father’s presence into your spirit
Allow your whole being, spirit, soul and body,
to engage Him in a loving embrace.
Invite the Father into the garden of your heart

Let Him lead you to the green pastures or to your secret place.
As you are lying in the Father’s presence in your garden
Let Him begin to restore your soul
to face-to-face blameless innocence,
revealing wonderful truths to you of who you are.

Every night I send my soul into the garden of my heart to lie down with my Shepherd in green pastures. My spirit is active in heaven, and I go to sleep. When I wake up, sometimes I am aware of the conversation we have had during the night, and sometimes not. But I have set my soul in a place where it can engage with God all night; you can do the same. Why not try it tonight?

(1) Listen to an audio version of this activation:

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This post is condensed and edited from Mike’s teaching during the Sons Arise! Engaging The Father conference held at the Freedom Centre in 2018. When leading the Psalm 23 activation at that event, Mike played Identity in A by SML music, as heard in the audio clip above.

SONS ARISE (India) with Live Stream

Mike will be in Pune, India in October 2019. You can attend in person – but if it’s too far for you to travel, the organisers are planning to live stream the event for just $50 USD.
Please note that this event and live stream are organised by Ekklesia Mumbai & UTF and not by FreedomARC. Please contact the organisers direct.

 

267. Engaging the Father

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott 

The cry from the Father’s heart

“Sons Arise!” is the cry from the Father’s heart to unveil, reveal and release His children into their full, glorious identity and inheritance as mature sons of God: the Elohim, god-like ones.

It is also the groan of all creation which is longing to be set free when we are revealed. Through the intimacy of a deeper relationship with the Father, let’s embrace our destinies as sons: let’s answer the groan of creation by revealing the true nature of God and the true essence of love expressed in our glorious freedom.

‘Sons’ is not gender-specific. We are all children of God who have an inheritance and are training in the family business. As sons, we are included in the circle of relationship that is Father, Son and Spirit, reconnected to the true reality of God’s original intention for our identity and destiny. Yet we cannot be recognised as sons until we recognise that we have a Father.

Engaging the Father

God is calling His children, His sons, to come out of the wilderness. He is calling His sons to cross over into their supernatural inheritance beyond the veil. He is calling His sons into deeper levels of intimacy, calling us to know Him.

As you begin to respond, you may find that He uncovers areas of brokenness and fragmentation within your soul which require healing and restoration. Don’t resist that; go with it. I recommend you journal everything the Father speaks to you as He reveals His truth and heals your wounds.

There are four dimensions in which I encourage you to engage with the Father:

  1. Engage in the Earth, the physical realm, but in the spiritual atmosphere of an open heaven.
  2. Engage in our spirit and heart, the spiritual dimension.
  3. Engage in the Heavenly realms – in the Father’s garden and other places He may take you.
  4. Engage God’s heart in eternity, outside of time and space.

When we engage the Father in four different dimensions we create a window where eternity (what was before there was) can manifest here and now to create what will be; so the end and beginning will be in agreement and history will unfold in alignment with the heart of the Father.

Let’s practice the first of those now with an activation based on a story Jesus told. We can all encounter the loving Father just as the prodigal son did, be accepted and given a ring of sonship.

I call these practice exercises ‘activations’ because they activate our imagination, which is the ‘screen’ on which we ‘see’ what is happening in the spirit. In all activations, relax, breathe deeply, loose your body from tension and loose your mind from over-analysing. Focus your conscious thoughts on whatever you are seeking to engage, but don’t strive to see visually; just go with what forms in your imagination when it is focused on the Father (or at other times it might be on Jesus or on the Holy Spirit).

You may be aware of having thoughts, of seeing, hearing, feeling, sensing or knowing cognitively – or not – but your spirit will always receive more than you are consciously aware of. Our spirits process different revelation at different rates, but at some future time you will eventually discover that you know something without being aware of when you acquired that knowledge: your spirit has digested what it received by revelation and has communicated it to your consciousness.

Prodigal son and loving Father

So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him (Luke 15:20).

Relax. Focus on the Father, who has been waiting for you to come to Him. Close your eyes if you can (read through the following paragraphs first, or listen to the audio version).

Now think of Your loving heavenly Father running towards you, welcoming you with open arms to embrace and kiss you. That is what God longs to do with you! Let that image form in your imagination.

But there may be some obstacles in the way, some issues that come between you and prevent you engaging the Father in that way. Allow any obstacles, any negative thoughts or negative emotions, to come to your mind. Take sin, guilt, shame, condemnation, disappointment, inadequacy, worry, anxiety, fear, disapproval, whatever; put them in a bag and hand them all over to Him.

Let Him embrace you in His arms of love.
Let Him speak words of life over you; words of forgiveness and blessing.
Feel His love penetrate deeply into your heart.

Let Him clothe you with His love.
Let Him put a ring of sonship on your finger.
Feel the joy and pleasure of His heart for you.
Let Him release His love, joy and peace to you.

Let Him draw you deeper into His heart.
Let Him reveal more of His love for you.

Stay there as long as you want. If you fall asleep in any of these engagements, don’t worry! The best place to be is in a place of rest, and sometimes when you drift into that edge-of-sleep condition your spirit becomes more open.

Affirmed as sons

When we engage with the Father in this earthly realm under an open heaven, we can also be affirmed as sons:

“Receive my acceptance, affirmation, approval, recognition;
My recommendation, commendation, blessing, endorsement, validation.”

You can hear the Father speak to you as He spoke to Jesus at His baptism: “You are my son; in you I am well pleased. My soul delights in you.” When you hear Him speak words like that to you, don’t fight against them or argue with Him. Receive them. What He speaks over you is the truth.

Jesus went on to have further experiences of engaging with His Father in this realm. It got to the point where He began to shine. He demonstrated what sonship looks like by being transfigured, radiating the light of God. As sons, we will do the same (it is already happening for some). Don’t limit the possibilities. As you engage with the Father, He is transforming you (transform and transfigure are translations of exactly the same Greek word). You are being changed from one degree of glory to another: from human beings to living beings, to spirit beings, to godlike beings.

And the child grew and was strengthened in spirit, being filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him… And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men. (Lk 2:40, 52).

The more we engage with the Father, the more we will grow and mature in wisdom and grace.

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This post is condensed and edited from the first teaching session of the Sons Arise! Engaging The Father conference held at the Freedom Centre in 2018. When leading the Prodigal Son activation at that event, Mike played Restoration Through Harmony by SML music, as heard in the audio clip above.

SONS ARISE (India) with Live Stream

Mike will be in Pune, India in October 2019. You can attend in person – but if it’s too far for you to travel, the organisers are planning to live stream the event for just $50 USD.
Please note that this event and live stream are organised by Ekklesia Mumbai & UTF and not by FreedomARC.

 

265. Love’s Good News

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

If we are to fulfil our sonship mandate and bring restoration to the earth, we need to mature as sons and take our places enthroned in the heavenly realms. As we mature, we will grow in confidence in our relationship with Father, Son and Spirit so that we come to know each of them intimately and spontaneously recognise their voices and their shared heart. This will be key as we explore and journey beyond our present knowledge and experience.

A journey of discovery

And there is so much more for us to discover. We are walking with God on a relational journey to discover Him and ourselves, and He will guide us through our experiential encounters with Him. The more I have engaged Him, the more He has exploded out of the box that I was unknowingly trying to put Him in. There are many things He has shown me that I do not yet fully understand cognitively but I park them and move on, trusting that the revelation will be uncovered when the time is right. There have been many things that I was convinced were true that I now realise were merely someone else’s opinions masquerading as objective truth.

We do not need to fear being deceived as long as we are not blindly following man’s DIY doctrines but are checking everything out with God ourselves. Please do not believe something just because I say it, or someone else says it. All of us have the Spirit of Truth Himself in us and with us as our guide. We have Jesus the way, truth and life in us and with us to disciple us. We have our loving Father in us and with us to father us into our sonship. If there is a plumb line we measure and test everything against, then that plumb line is not the Bible (as many of us were taught) but Agape Love, the very nature of God.

The Bible narrative

This does not mean that we reject the Bible. Far from it! It is just that we need to go beyond the limitations of sola scriptura. We need the Truth, the living Word of God, Jesus, as our only mediator.

“We came up with the idea of inerrancy because we needed another mediator between God and man other than Jesus.” – T.F. Torrance.

The Bible’s narrative covers God, Creation, Man, the Fall, redemption and restoration. Various writers contribute to the story, using their own perspectives of their encounters with God and with other people. The love story of God’s relationship with mankind is its overarching theme, the big-picture metanarrative which unites all the micronarratives of smaller themes and individual stories. We are all involved, woven into the story like a big tapestry.

Our own micronarratives derive from those things we believe about ourselves and the world, influenced by the metanarratives we adopt. Everything we believe about ourselves is framed by the bigger picture, paradigm or worldview. The gospel reframes all history in a light that directly affects our own stories.

Choices

No one really has free will. We are all influenced by something. What we do all have is choice. Religion of all types is a type of metanarrative that frames people’s lives from the particular viewpoint that they have been exposed to. If we have been around Christians for any length of time, that applies to us, too.

So what is it that influences our choices and frames our lives? A set of values, ideals or principles revealed in a book (that may be called the Bible, Torah, Koran or Veda etc.) or a personal, experiential, love relationship with God? God desires all of us to have a face to face relationship with Him.

Religion hates that idea. It fears subjective, experiential relationship and seeks to impose external checks and balances upon us. Without an objective reference point, it expects that we will fall into skewed DIY behaviour and selfish, man-centred micronarratives. Religion thrives on law and on the identity derived from a set of shared behaviours which line up with that law.

But there is nothing to fear when a love relationship with God gives us a healthy understanding of our true identity.

Just like our Dad

It is our responsibility to discover who we really are, and who God made us to be. We will find our identity, position and authority by beholding God in the mirror of a face to face relationship that fully reveals our sonship. We are called to be restored into that image and to participate in the restoration of all things. Creation is waiting to be set free from its bondage to decay into the freedom of our glory as sons.

“Jesus is God’s mind made up about us” (Francois du Toit, Ephesians 1:4 Mirror Bible). If our thinking does not line up with His, then our thinking needs to be renewed. This is what metanoia (repentance) really means.

When we know our true identity we will express God’s love through our lives in ministering to others. To be a follower of Jesus is to be part of the story by being the good news, not just in our behaviour, in our outward actions, but also in how our story reveals our value and worth as a son of God; in how it reveals just how much we are loved.

Then, much of our story will be that of our restoration from brokenness. The truth of love’s good news will be embedded into the fabric of our being; we will sum up our love stories, not in a superficial “Jesus loves me” kind of way, but in a way that emphasises accepting and embracing our brokenness and fragmentation, retelling our story of receiving ever greater levels of healing and peace in a way that releases hope to others.

God does not expect us to be perfect (and so condemn us to the bondage of continual, repeated failure because we feel obligated to an external standard of perfection). He wants us to mature through an internal desire to be sons who are just like our loving Dad.

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The Restoration of All Things

Stream or download audio and video of our recent intensive, The Restoration of All Things.

Nancy Coen, Justin Paul Abraham, Lindy Strong and Mike Parsons were live online from 4th – 8th June 2019 direct from the Freedom Centre, Barnstaple, UK. Experience the 5 days and 25 sessions at your own pace and go back over them as often as you like.

The cost is £80 GBP (equivalent to around $100 USD) for all the videos, audios and pdfs.

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264. Relationship Replaced

Mike Parsons
and Jeremy Westcott

A book they didn’t have

If you have spent any time at all in evangelical Christianity, you have probably been taught something like this:

“The Bible is ‘God-breathed’ (2 Timothy 3:16). The human authors wrote exactly what God wanted them to write, and the result was the perfect and holy Word of God (Psalm 12:6; 2 Peter 1:21).” [1]

As we saw last time, the Bible makes no such claims for itself. The verses quoted are not talking about ‘the Bible’ at all. Jesus is the Word of God, so to describe the Bible as the ‘Word of God’ (especially with a capital ‘W’) is little short of idolatry. We can all have an intimate face to face relationship with the Living Word of God – Jesus – today. Sadly, for many believers, knowledge of the Bible has replaced that intimate relationship with God Himself.

“It’s difficult to expect the same fruit of the early church when we value a book they didn’t have more than the Holy Spirit they did have.” – Bill Johnson[2]

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit will lead us to Jesus (the Truth and Living Word of God) who leads us to the Father in relationship:

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26).

“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:12-13).

Jesus promised that more revelation would come through the Holy Spirit. There is no end to that revelation, no caveat that says ‘until the Bible is complete’. Is it possible that God never intended to limit revelation of who He is to the books of what we call the Old and New Testaments? Should the Bible ever ‘be complete’? Was that God’s intention? Did He even intend for us to have a Bible? Is it possible that insights today can be progressively added by the Holy Spirit?

Questions

I began to ask some questions of myself. I encourage you to do the same.

  • How much of what I believe came through direct face to face encounter with God Himself?
  • How much of what I currently believe has come through other people’s teaching and preaching?
  • How much of what I currently believe has come through my own study, leaning on my own understanding, and therefore comes through the confirmation-biased filter of my pre-existing knowledge?
  • How many things that I currently believe are different from the understanding that I have previously held? What are those things?
  • What do I now believe that contradicts something I strongly believed in the past?
  • How much of what I currently believe may change in the future if God continues to renew my mind?

Replacements

In my own conversations with the Father, He made some statements to me about some of the replacements we have made. His intention was to challenge any religious mindset in me. I offer them here so that if any of these statements resonate with you, or if they arouse anger, indignation or some other strong emotional response, you can take them back to the Father, ask Him why and ask Him to reveal the truth of His heart.

Relationship has been replaced by religion
The Spirit has been replaced by a book
The Living Word has been replaced by the written word
The Truth as a person has been replaced by theological and doctrinal belief systems
Hearing My voice has been replaced by studying a book

The truth of the cross that has reconciled creation has been distorted into a lie that has excluded creation
The perfect picture of love has been twisted to express penal, retributive punishment and torment
The love so perfectly displayed for My children and My creation in the self-sacrifice and offering of My Son has been distorted into a disgusting image of cosmic child abuse
Love that brings life has been perverted into hateful punishment that brings death

The correction and refining that purifies in fire has been replaced by eternal conscious torment
The Perichoresis of a relational loving God has been replaced by Augustinian theology of an angry God
Loving, substitutionary atonement has been replaced by penal, retributive atonement

Restoration has been replaced by punishment
Testing has been replaced by torment
Repentance has become re-penance instead of the renewal of the mind.
The wages of sin have become eternal punishment instead of death
The cross has become penal instead of restorative

Love has been replaced by anger
The grave has been replaced by Hell
The Spirit has been replaced by the letter
The torn veil of the temple has been replaced by the mediatorial coverings of men

Heaven and earth have been separated
An open heaven has been deceptively made a closed heaven
The literal truth of an open heaven has been replaced by analogy and metaphor
Access to heaven through the Way, Truth and Life of Jesus, the Door, has been replaced by access through death
The new covenant of life has been replaced by the old covenant of death

Grace has been replaced by the law
The faith of Jesus has been replaced by faith in Jesus
Salvation by grace has been replaced by the salvation of works
The heavenly priesthood of Melchizedek has been replaced by the earthly Aaronic priesthood

Future fulfilment has replaced past fulfilment
The end of the old covenant has been replaced by the end of the world
The celebration and joy of love have been replaced by the tribulation of fear
Victory has been replaced by rescue
The restoration of all things has been replaced by the destruction of all things

The new heavens and new earth, representing a new temple wineskin, has been replaced by the literal destruction of the world
Parousia of presence has been replaced by parousia of coming
Inclusion has been replaced by exclusion
Reconciliation has been replaced by separation

Preaching the good news of Jesus in people has been replaced by preaching the bad news of exclusion among people
The priesthood of all believers has been replaced by the priesthood of one believer

The bride has replaced the wife: the marriage has been made future not past
The present New Jerusalem on earth has been replaced by a future New Jerusalem coming out of heaven
The past resurrection has been replaced with a future resurrection
The past judgment of the cross declaring that all are innocent has been replaced with a future judgment of only the guilty

‘All are made alive in Christ’ [inclusive] has been replaced by ‘only those in Christ are made alive’ [exclusive]
‘All will confess Jesus as Lord’ has been replaced by ‘some will confess Jesus as Lord’
Being ‘born from above’ has been replaced with being ‘born again’
Being ‘born from above’ through the resurrection has been replaced by being ‘born again’ by praying a prayer of salvation

Salvation of all by grace through the gift of Jesus’ faith has been replaced by the salvation of some by their own faith

Take it back to Him

I am not asking you whether you agree or disagree. Whatever your response as you read through that list, I encourage you to take it back to the Father.

Ask the Living Word of God, Jesus, to give you a true revelation of Himself as the Truth and to deconstruct any pillar of sola scriptura from your mind.

Invite the Truth, Jesus, to deconstruct any lies you believe about the Bible, God, others and yourself.

[1] source: www . gotquestions.org
[2]When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson, Destiny Image Publishers 2013.

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The Restoration of All Things

You can still catch every session of The Restoration of All Things intensive (Stream or download audio and video of the event).

Nancy Coen, Justin Paul Abraham, Lindy Strong and Mike Parsons were live online from 4th – 8th June 2019 direct from the Freedom Centre, Barnstaple, UK. Experience the 5 days and 25 sessions at your own pace!

The cost is £80 GBP (equivalent to around $100 USD) for all the videos, audios and pdfs.

Find out more…

263. The Word of God

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

God spoke

“…the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time” (Acts 3:21).

In his sermon on the day of Pentecost, Peter tells his audience that God has already spoken about the restoration of all things in the past. So who were those prophets He spoke through, what did He say and when did He say it? And if these things were spoken, were they also written down, and if so, where?

  • In the 39 books which we call the Old Testament? Or the 24 books of the Hebrew Tanakh? Or the Talmud or Rabbinical writings?
  • Is it only the Bible that records what God spoke by His holy prophets? Are there other written records of what the prophets said?
  • What about the Apocryphal books which were once included in our Bible? What about other Jewish mystical writings such as the Talmud, Targum, Midrash and Zohar?

Those are the kinds of questions which go through my mind when I read something like that.

In His Son

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son… (Heb 1:1-2).

That is where we are. We actually do not need a prophet to speak to us anymore, because we have Jesus to speak to us. The Father can speak to us. The Holy Spirit can speak to us. And they can speak to us directly, they do not need a prophet to be a mediator.

When He spoke to prophets who lived 3000 years or so ago, He spoke to them in the context of their own society and way of life. If we simply read what they wrote, it might not mean the same to us (especially if we don’t speak their language). We need God the Holy Spirit to speak to us so that, whether we have it in writing or not, He can say it in a way appropriate for us and apply it to our situation today.

If we will learn to hear God’s voice and discern what He is saying, we may find He has much more to say than we ever thought. He speaks to me in all kinds of ways, not just through scripture. If He speaks to me through a sci-fi film, is that less valid than Him speaking to me through the Bible?

Truth and opinion

I often find I have more questions than answers! That is because I now recognise that many things I thought I knew were only assumptions, or other people’s opinions. My understanding was framed by what I was taught about how God spoke and what the Bible meant. But in the process of God renewing my mind, He began to challenge me on some of these things.

Jesus is the Truth. So wherever there is truth, it must be from Jesus. Whether it is in a movie, or a book, or music, or some other creative work, it must be Jesus. The conclusions people draw, or the way they interpret that truth, that is not necessarily Jesus. We cannot assume that just because one part within it rings true, that everything in it is true. The Holy Spirit will give us that discernment. We can find truth in many things, truth that we might miss if we believe the only way we can receive truth is through the Bible.

The Bible

So where does the Bible (and other ‘scripture’) fit into the picture of what will be restored? Where does the Bible fit into our lives? Is it a manual for living or an introduction to a living, loving relationship with Jesus, the Living Word? Is everything that is recorded in the Bible inspired by God? What do we mean by ‘inspired’? Is all of the Bible inerrant and infallible as we may have been told?

I understand that posing such questions risks causing offence. I am not setting out to deliberately offend but I do want to challenge our view of the Bible as the ‘word of God’. Everything God has ever said, through anyone or anything, is the word of God. But it is not a book. Nowhere in the Bible does it call itself ‘the word of God’ but it does call Jesus Himself the Word:

In the beginning was the Word [Gk: logos], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).

Perhaps we have been taught that the Greek word logos means the written word, the Bible, and the Greek word rhema means the spoken words of Jesus, recorded in the Bible, or the words the Holy Spirit speaks to you when you read the Bible. Logos and rhema do not mean that. They were the normal, everyday terms for written word and spoken word and that is all.

The early believers did not even have a Bible when those words were used. The books contained in our Bible were not originally part of a collection of writings at all. They were letters, or books of history, prophecy, or poetry and so on. And some of the books that were included in the first ‘canon of scripture’ have since been discarded.

Evangelicalism

No one lives without influence. Everyone’s mind is framed by their belief systems. In the process of the deconstruction and renewal of my mind, God showed me that one of the pillars of so-called ‘truth’ that framed my beliefs was evangelicalism.

This is a belief system which teaches that the Bible does not merely contain the word of God, but that every word of it is the word of God. Scripture therefore carries the full authority of God: every single statement of the Bible calls for instant, unqualified and unrestricted acceptance. In fact many evangelical churches hold to the doctrine of Sola scriptura (Latin: by scripture alone): the Christian scriptures are the sole infallible rule of faith and practice.

Ironically, you will not find any of that in the Bible. It is not there because it is a man-made doctrine. Not only does the Bible never call itself ‘the word of God’, it does not claim to be inerrant, infallible or the only authoritative guide for us either. The emphasis on following the Bible only arose because no one taught us that we really could have an intimate face-to-face relationship with Jesus in which He could speak to us personally. Jesus is the One we are supposed to listen to and follow, not a book.

In reality, not everything in the Bible applies to us.

Much of the Old Testament and law only applied to Jewish people and converts, or to the specific people being addressed, not to us in the new covenant. Much of the New Testament was written to address the events of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, the end of the old covenant system. Paul wrote letters to certain churches in circumstances we do not face today. Some passages only make sense in their own cultural context – though I was brought up in a church which had a stock of head coverings at the door for women thoughtless enough to come without one (1 Cor: 11:5-8).

The Living Word

Jesus never promised a book, but a relationship with Himself, with His Father and with the Holy Spirit of Truth. Everything we read in the Bible needs to be interpreted by the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. There is some universal truth within it which is awesome, revealing the loving nature and character of the Father. The Holy Spirit will show us that universal truth and how it is to be applied to our lives.

The Living Word, Jesus, can interpret whatever has been written, speak directly to us daily and bring truth to us even if it is completely out of the context it was originally written in. He did that when He came – and we can read about it in the Bible! How many times in the Sermon on the Mount did He say “You have heard it said… but I say…”? He still does it today.

Recent posts by FreedomARC

For interest: The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978):
“Those who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are called to show the reality of their discipleship by humbly and faithfully obeying God’s written Word.”

Articles by others

Header image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The Restoration of All Things

You can still catch every session of The Restoration of All Things intensive (Stream or download audio and video of the event).

Nancy Coen, Justin Paul Abraham, Lindy Strong and Mike Parsons were live online from 4th – 8th June 2019 direct from the Freedom Centre, Barnstaple, UK. Experience the 5 days and 25 sessions at your own pace!

The cost is £80 GBP (equivalent to around $100 USD) for all the videos, audios and pdfs.

Find out more…

262. Life and Immortality

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

In this series of posts about the ‘Restoration of All Things’, we have seen that restoration deals with the sin that occurred at the fall when mankind lost their identity, and with the death which came as a result. In fact, Jesus’ death and resurrection dealt with everything that happened because we chose the DIY path.

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus… For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace (Rom 6 8-11, 14).

…our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Tim 1:10).

Jesus holds the keys of death and Hades for all ages to come (see Rev 1:17-18), and He uses them to free everyone, not lock them up!

Death and resurrection

“Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power” (Rev 20:6).

There are several questions to consider here:

  • What is the second death?
  • What is the first death?
  • Who has a part in the first resurrection?

The second death

Some see the ‘second death’ as eternal separation from God. They believe either that when the unsaved physically die they will go to eternal conscious torment in hell or that when they die physically they will cease to exist (annihilation).

Neither of these views allow for ‘the restoration of all things’, nor do they accurately reflect the merciful, just, loving nature of God.

The Bible itself tells us what the second death actually is:

Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire (Rev 20:14).

The lake of fire is not ‘hell’. In fact, if you insist on translating the Greek word Hades as ‘hell’ then it is where ‘hell’ ends up! It is the death of death itself, the destruction of all that prevents us experiencing fullness of life.  In the first death, Christ died the death of all men, receiving the ‘wages of sin’ on our behalf. The second death is the death of death itself. The second death cannot mean some kind of endless death, because Jesus destroyed death and “death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor 15:54).

We are not subject to the second death if we have experienced the first death (being co-crucified with Jesus) and the first resurrection (being made alive together with Him). Death is defeated. It will not triumph over billions of people forever by consigning them to a ‘lost eternity’. Jesus’ resurrection life brings an end to death, either through water (baptism) in this life or through fire (the consuming fire of God’s love) after this life is over. In place of death, He has given us life:

The wages of sin is death. But the gift of God is age-enduring life, through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom 6:23).

We can voluntarily embrace being buried and resurrected with Jesus (which we acknowledge and identify with in baptism) or through fire. God Himself is that consuming fire. If we have died to self in this life, the second death has no jurisdiction over us.

Consuming fire

But many people are blind to the truth, and are unnecessarily living in their own DIY mindsets of lostness. They continue to live separated from God, although He has done everything necessary for their reconciliation, so they continue to experience the resultant sin and death. So what happens to them when they die physically and end up in the consuming fire of God’s love?

What is the purpose of fire? Fire refines and makes pure. The dross in their lives will be burned away until each person chooses life through Jesus and receives their new name which was written in the book of life from the foundation of the world. What has been stolen from them is restored to them. How long it takes is dependent on each individual’s resistance to the working of that consuming fire.

The end of choice?

…then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it (Eccl 12:7).

The physical body of everyone who dies returns to the earth, and everyone’s spirit returns to God. But what happens to the soul, our conscious understanding of who we are?

If people do not choose life through Jesus in this life, there is not an automatic ‘free pass’ to relationship with God in the next. But I cannot find even one Bible verse which indicates that physical death is the end of choice. I have asked others, especially those who contend that unbelievers go straight to the eternal conscious torment of hell when they die, and none of them can only come up with anything except a verse taken entirely out of context:

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment… (Heb 9:27).

In context, the ‘once’ is the death of Jesus with which we identify. The word ‘judgment’ is not a synonym for ‘punishment’, it means ‘reaching a verdict’; and the verdict is ‘blamelessly innocent’. The only death that everyone needs to experience is inclusion in Jesus’ death.

On the other hand, there are plenty of Bible verses which speak of God rescuing people from the grave.

The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up (1 Sam 2:6).

For the Lord will not reject forever, For if He causes grief, Then He will have compassion according to His abundant loving kindness. For He does not afflict willingly or grieve the sons of men (Lam 3:31-33).

For we will surely die and are like water spilled on the ground which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away life, but plans ways so that the banished one will not be cast out from him (2 Sam 14:14).

Jesus went into Hades, preached there and led captivity captive: see Eph 4:8,9; Psalm 68:18; 1 Peter 3:18-20. Death is not the end of God’s power or desire to save. I have testimony of this myself, which I have posted about before.

A covenant with death

Jesus has restored what death robbed us of: access into God’s loving presence to experience restored face-to-face relationship.

Religion, meanwhile, has a covenant with death. To enter heaven and experience eternity, it teaches, you have to die. So even believers are expecting to have to die before they go to heaven.

Heaven is open now because we already died with Christ! The covenant with death needs to be broken so that we can live the abundant life that God intends. If you have a covenant with death, go ahead and break it! Do not agree that you have to die.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal [lit: age-enduring] life. I am the bread of life.Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever [lit: to the age]; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh” (John 6:47-51).

Related articles by FreedomARC

The Restoration of All Things

You can still catch every session of The Restoration of All Things intensive (Stream or download audio and video of the event).

Nancy Coen, Justin Paul Abraham, Lindy Strong and Mike Parsons were live online from 4th – 8th June 2019 direct from the Freedom Centre, Barnstaple, UK. Experience the 5 days and 25 sessions at your own pace!

The cost is £80 GBP (equivalent to around $100 USD) for all the videos, audios and pdfs.

Find out more…

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