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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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 the written word, 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.

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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).

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258. The Glory of the Children of God

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

In considering the restoration of all things, we need first of all to focus on having our own relationship with God fully restored. Restoration is personal. It is about restoring our spirit, soul and body to God’s original intention, desired condition and full functionality.

It is about our spirit’s eternal identity being restored. It is about having everything within the soul – mind, emotions, will, conscience, imagination, reason and choice – restored to innocence; all brokenness, fragmentation, separation, isolation, and rejection done away with and healed. It is about having our body restored to health and wholeness, right down to DNA level. It is about recovering our ‘supernatural’ abilities (which we only regard as supernatural because we have mostly lost the ability to manifest them naturally). In all this we will see our eternal destiny restored, together with all its identity, purpose, position and authority.

The glory

“…that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom 8:21).

God wants us to reconnect to what ‘the glory’ really means and to re-engage with it so that creation will be set free. If we do not come into that glory, then creation cannot be set free. The glory is really the weight of the essence or nature of something; in this case, the weight of the essence of our sonship. Adam was clothed with glory and we will be transfigured to that state again. Jesus was transfigured to show us what that would look like.

Jesus reveals that we pre-existed in God; he defines us. He justified us and also glorified us. He redeemed our innocence and restored the glory we lost in Adam. All these things point to one conclusion, God is for us! Who can prevail against us? (Rom 8:30-31 Mirror).

That is what Jesus has done, but are we living in that reality? Are we experiencing the fullness of the glory we should have as God’s children or is that glory veiled by the way we live our lives? If we have limiting beliefs which inform our vision and choices, if we see ourselves as less than God sees us, then we will not be radiating that glory. The more we engage with metanoiaand see ourselves as God sees us, the more we will shine with that glory. Once we begin to experience that, we will also be able to function in the knowledge of our authority as overcomers.

You made him (man) a little lower than God and crowned him (or clothed him) with glory and honour (Psalm 8:5).

God made man to be that way.  The original Hebrew word translated crowned means to encircle, to surround. In other words, Adam and Eve were surrounded by glory and honour. They shone with the glory of who God created them to be and creation honoured them for their position as sons.

God gave them a wonderful environment to rule, in which He would truly be their provision and protection within that intimate relationship. Because they had been clothed with glory they did not need any further clothing, as we do today; because they were living in an atmosphere of perfect relationship they did not need to gain knowledge or figure things out for themselves. They did not need to rely on their own understanding because they could draw on God’s understanding. Everything came through their relationship with God.

Man’s fall was a fall from a position of glory. The gospel is the good news that the Father sent Jesus to restore our glory and so begin creation’s restoration.  Jesus proved God’s love for all His creation (‘God so loved the world’ is not restricted to just people!) by choosing to die – for us, as us and in our place – to reconcile our relationship and to restore it to what it was in the Garden of Eden and beyond that, to what it would have become. Just as we respond when we look at God’s glory, so creation will respond when it sees ours.

The ministry of reconciliation

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world (cosmos) to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:18-20).

God was in Christ when He reconciled the world (the Greek word is kosmos), not forsaking Him, separated from Him or turning His face away, as we have been taught. Paul says that God has already reconciled mankind, not counting their trespasses against them. That much is a done deal. God has reconciled Himself to us, but only we can choose to be reconciled to Him. If anything or anyone is still separated from Him, it is not of His doing.

We are to serve creation by exercising that ministry of reconciliation, so that everything gets restored. We will carry the ‘word of reconciliation’ in the very foundation of our being and it will transform our entire being from the inside out. That is how we can be ambassadors, representing God’s kingdom and authority among the whole created order.

From glory to glory

…but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit (2 Cor 3:16-18).

The original purpose and intention of God for each of us, what He created us to be and do, that is what we will see reflected. That is an image which will change and transform us as we submit to the process. It does not happen in an instant: we have to keep looking. If it happened in an instant, we would start looking somewhere else and become conformed to the image of that ‘somewhere else’ instead. The ongoing process is integral to our continuing relationship with and representation of God.

For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness”, is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Cor 4:6).

When anyone turns to God, a veil is lifted from their hearts; light comes and they are enabled to behold the glory of God in the very face of Jesus Christ.  In believers who continue to look into that glory a transformation takes place, by which we are continually changed into the same image (God’s original intent), from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord.

Note:
1. Metanoia is the Greek word normally translated as repentance in our English Bibles. The original word has nothing to do with feeling regret or saying sorry, but is about turning around and thinking differently so that we are of the same mind as God about something.

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255. Times of Refreshing

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Blameless Innocence

Let’s celebrate God! He lavished every blessing heaven has upon us in Christ! He associated us in Christ before the fall of the world! Jesus is God’s mind made up about us! He always knew in his love that he would present us again face-to-face before him in blameless innocence. God found us in Christ before he lost us in Adam! (Eph 1:3-4 Mirror Bible).

God lavished His blessing upon mankind, from the very beginning, to empower us to fulfil the plans he has always had for us. He had a plan, before ever things went wrong, to ensure that His original intention would be fulfilled. He always knew that we would appear before Him righteous – in what Francois Du Toit calls ‘face-to-face blameless innocence’.

To be ‘blamelessly innocent’ it must be as if we never did anything wrong. Is that how we think of ourselves? Or are we still thinking of ourselves from the perspective of the history of our life, all the things we may have done in our life that we are ashamed of, all the things that were not quite aligned with what God wanted us to do? He does not look at it like that! He found us in Christ before He ever lost us in Adam. I love that thought. Already, God was looking to restore everything, even before we messed it up. He has already made a plan for us to be face to face before Him, blamelessly innocent.

He is the architect of our design; his heart dream realized our coming of age in Christ. His grace-plan is to be celebrated: he greatly endeared us and highly favoured us in Christ. His love for his Son is his love for us (Eph 1:5-6 Mirror Bible).

If there is going to be a restoration, and He is the original architect, then surely that restoration will be in accordance with His original design. He had a dream in His heart, and He is going to bring that dream to fruition. This is cause for celebration! And it is grace, His divine enabling power, which causes that to come about.

The secret is out! His cherished love dream now unfolds in front of our very eyes. In the economy of the fullness of time, everything culminates in Christ. All that is in heaven and all that is on earth is reconciled in him… This is how we fit into God’s picture… (Eph 1:9,11 Mirror Bible).

Restoration is unfolding before us. It is not just an event that will happen some time in the future, but a process that is already in motion; a process in which we have a part to play as maturing sons. There is an element of past, present and future in all of this. If everything on earth and everything in heaven is reconciled, and reconciliation is restoration of relationship, and we are ministers of reconciliation, then can we begin to see how we fit into this picture?

Repent and return

Peter, leading up to his mention of the restoration of all things on the day of Pentecost, says:

“Therefore repent and return, so that the sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you…” (Acts 3:19-20).

In reality, he is already talking about restoration. Repentance, we know, has nothing to do with being sorry enough about something to cause God to respond, but everything to do with getting God’s perspective on our situation and agreeing with how He thinks about us. And we have seen what God’s perspective is: blameless innocence.

Returning has to do with coming back to our original identity and purpose. The sin is the loss of that identity, our losing sight of the original image of God within us, a loss which has caused us to act in ways which have damaged both ourselves and others. Our whole fallen identity has been blotted out and wiped away; every accusation against us nailed to the cross.

Breathe again

‘Refreshing’ is the Greek word ‘anapsyxis‘, which means a breathing space(1), an opportunity to catch your breath and breathe easily again. God breathed life into Adam in a face to face encounter, and he became a living being. In this promised refreshing, God is looking to breathe the breath of life into us again:

He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).

Jesus breathed on them; this was a face to face encounter in which the refreshing breath of God was imparted to the disciples after his resurrection. Continually refreshed in His presence, we will never need to try to draw from another source.

More than that, as Bill Johnson has remarked, “Whenever God restores something, He restores it to a place greater than it was before.”(2) Restoring our status as living beings is only the precursor to our being able to mature into the godlike beings which, as sons of God, He always intended us to be. He does not seek to restore us only to what we were on earth, but to what we were in the heart of God; in the ‘what was’, outside of time and space.

Presence

…and the God of the peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved unblameably in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess 5:23 YLT).

Young’s Literal Translation has it right. Most translations say ‘at the coming’ of our Lord Jesus Christ, but that Greek word ‘parousia‘ is really rooted in ‘presence’. If you are only looking to be sanctified and without blame sometime in the future when Jesus returns, then you will likely miss out on the potential of it happening now. But if you see it as the ‘presence’ of the Lord which brings refreshing as He breathes into us and restores us on a moment-by-moment, breath-by-breath basis, then you can enjoy that as a present experience, here and now. Because …you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God (1 Cor 6:11, emphasis mine).

References

(1) Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible, via biblehub.com
(2) Hosting The Presence: Unveiling Heaven’s Agenda (Bill Johnson; Destiny Image, 2012)

Soundtrack: Great Are You Lord – All Sons and Daughters

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only

Recent posts by FreedomARC

Explore ‘The Restoration of All Things at a deeper level!

Although tickets for The Restoration of All Things intensive are now sold out, you can still order the live stream* and recordings for £80 GBP (around $105 USD).

You will be able to stream each session live or at any time after it ends. Recordings will be added after the event.

*After the event finishes this link will take you to a page where you can purchase the recordings instead.

Engaging God

Our flagship interactive modular programme developed by Mike Parsons now has a new, simpler subscription process – to find out more and get started today*, click here…

Learn how to access God through Jesus who is the Way, Truth and Life, in the realms of heaven and within your own spirit and heart; and how to take up your responsibility as a mature son [daughter] in God’s kingdom.

eg free trial eg homepage 2019

Choose monthlyquarterly or annual options for your automatic recurring subscription payments via credit or debit card, and try Engaging God free for 2 weeks – no payment will be made until after 14 days, during which you can easily cancel if you wish.

*Technology permitting: automated process on completion of online registration form and payment plan setup. Terms and conditions apply.

254. Restored to Sonship

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Therefore repent and return, so that the sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time (Acts 3:19-21).

Relationship and responsibility

As sons of God we can have and enjoy relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and within that relationship we soon discover that we also have responsibility. At the very least, we have responsibility for our own lives and the spheres of influence He has given each one of us already, but as we mature we are called to step into further positions of responsibility: to take our heavenly positions, seated and enthroned, to legislate the kingdom in heaven; to manifest heaven on earth. And ‘heaven on earth’ is nothing less than the fulfilment of God’s original intent and purpose for everyone and everything He has created.

In this blog series we are embarking on a journey to unpack the meaning of ‘the restoration of all things’. We will look closely at what ‘restoration’ means, what ‘all’ means and what the ‘things’ are. We are going to look at the scope of that process of restoration and see that, as sons of God, we have a part to play in it.

Justin Paul Abraham says “I believe we are going to see Love overcome the greatest darkness and a new era of Light birthed across the Earth. The end result: there will be no war, no sickness and a restored world. How can we know this? The future is already agreed and when it comes it will change quickly. ‘I, the Lord, will hasten it in its time.’” (Isaiah 60.22).

The future is already agreed within the heart of God. He has not changed His original intent just because we may have gone off track.

Restored to sonship

The context for this restoration is found in our position as sons. If we are not restored, then neither will the rest of creation be restored. The restoration of all things begins with Jesus working in us now, and not in a future event of his coming sometime in the future. So much of religion has put everything off until some future day, with the result that past generations have missed out on what God intended for them – and present and future generations are at risk of doing the same. Let’s recognise that restoration is taking place in us, through us and around us as we embrace our sonship.

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Rom 8:14-17 NASB).

The original life of the Father revealed in his son is the life the Spirit now conducts within us. Slavery is such a poor substitute for sonship! They are opposites; the one leads forcefully through fear while sonship responds fondly to Abba Father. His Spirit resonates within our spirit to confirm the fact that we originate in God. Because we are his offspring, we qualify to be heirs; God himself is our portion, we co-inherit with Christ. Since we were represented and included in his suffering we equally participate in the glory of his resurrection (Rom 8:14-17 Mirror Bible).

In those verses you can see Father, Son and Holy Spirit all involved in relationship with us and helping us to see both who we truly are and the potential that exists in us to influence and govern because of who we truly are. So much of what we have done up to now has been to prove who we are (or to compensate for who we think we are). This is different: it is doing things because of who we really are: co-heirs together with Jesus.

He has done everything necessary for us to be restored to sonship: will we believe it? God sees us the way He made us. We do need transformation by the renewing of our minds, but it is to enable us to agree with and believe what God already believes about us and what He has already done for us.

Creation mandate

Religion has put the emphasis on God doing everything because He is sovereign and it has given no consideration to the fact that He has made us co-heirs. The truth is, we are sons of God, called and chosen to be participators and not just bystanders and observers in this process of restoration. It is not that we are getting delusions of grandeur and suddenly deciding we want to be like God: this is what He intended all along.

As God’s sons we need to know what His original plan and purpose is. We need to understand what we are co-heirs of, and what we have responsibility for, so that we can fulfil our proper role in the government of the kingdom. In the book of Genesis, we read:

God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen 1:28).

That may seem like a fairly comprehensive mandate, and one we’re barely even starting to fulfil. But it was only the beginning and not the end of what God has in store for us. Paul sees our influence stretching even wider to encompass the whole created order:

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God… that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Rom 8:19, 21).

Whatever God’s intended for mankind, this planet was just the beginning of it. The restoration of all things goes beyond the earth to include all of creation. Consider the implications of that!

This whole topic is going to challenge and stretch our mindsets and our belief systems. As we begin to grasp the truth, it will shake us free from the limitations and restrictions put on us in the past and release us into the fullness of God’s original intent and purpose. Revelation of that truth will only come through relationship, through becoming ‘intimately acquainted with the love of Christ on the deepest possible level’ as the Mirror Bible says in Eph 3:16.

You cannot take my word for any of this; you need revelation, not information.

Engaging God

So take a few moments now, if you can (if not, do come back later).

Look into the eyes of the Prince of Peace.
Allow the deep pool that is the way, the truth and the life to draw you in.
Ask Him to reveal your name, your identity and your position as a son of God.
Ask Jesus to take you beyond where you have ever been before.
Let Him reveal your origin within the heart of God.
Let the Father reveal the vast sum of His thoughts about you.
Let the truth of God’s original intentions for you begin to restore your identity as a son.

Put no limitations on what God can do or wants to do for you.

Face to face, allow Him to breathe into you.
Allow Him to refresh you, to breathe life into you, to restore you.

Soundtrack: Restoration Through Harmony – SML Music (Samuel Lane) via SoundCloud.

Click here to view Akiane’s painting of ‘The Prince of Peace’

Recent posts by FreedomARC

Explore ‘The Restoration of All Things at a deeper level!

Although tickets for The Restoration of All Things intensive are now sold out, you can still order the live stream* and recordings.

You will be able to stream each session live or at any time after it ends. Recordings will be added after the event.

*After the event finishes this link will take you to a page where you can purchase the recordings instead.

Engaging God

Our flagship interactive modular programme developed by Mike Parsons now has a new, simpler subscription process – to find out more and get started today*, click here…

Learn how to access God through Jesus who is the Way, Truth and Life, in the realms of heaven and within your own spirit and heart; and how to take up your responsibility as a mature son [daughter] in God’s kingdom.

eg free trial eg homepage 2019

Choose monthlyquarterly or annual options for your automatic recurring subscription payments via credit or debit card, and try Engaging God free for 2 weeks – no payment will be made until after 14 days, during which you can easily cancel if you wish.

*Technology permitting: automated process on completion of online registration form and payment plan setup. Terms and conditions apply.

253. Framing Your Reality

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Living an illusion

True reality is not what we have come to know through our earthly experiences. The ‘world has been pulled over our eyes‘: we have been living in an illusion veiled as reality. We see what we see, and confirmation bias kicks in to make sure it is all we will ever see… unless something extraordinary breaks in to challenge that.

Outside the church, many people are exploring the possibilities of changing their reality: one popular author promises the ‘definitive guide to bending reality for beginners’. He is pushing the boundaries of what can be done in this created dimension. The trouble is, we will never be truly limitless until we expand our minds and our thinking to include revelation of the Truth from the dimensions of eternity.

That is what we are being called to engage in. Let’s allow God to unveil this for us. When we come to know the Truth we can experience true reality.

What is your reality? Is your reality shaped by what you have experienced and what you have seen? Can you trust what you see? Some scientists investigating the apparent paradoxes associated with black holes believe that our universe demonstrates characteristics we would expect of a holographic projection. In that case, what are you really looking at?

Is your truth relative or absolute? If you see only from your own perspective then it is relative; it only becomes absolute when you see from God’s perspective.

Creation responds

Our consciousness functions as a series of electrical impulses in our synapses passing along neural pathways. We have learnt to interpret those signals: our brain interprets them as thoughts and sensations. But we can also use those signals: science confirms that the world of matter and energy responds when we learn to focus them by meditation (or worry).

Your consciousness has the ability to affect energy and matter from a
quantum perspective. The double-slit experiment demonstrates that light is an energy wave that carries the potential to become a matter particle depending on whether it is observed or not.

The Truth may be beyond what I can presently imagine or think (Eph 3:19-21). ‘Renewing our mind’ (Rom 12:2) is the expansion of our consciousness to know our true potential. God chose the foolish things to confound the wise (1 Cor 1:27) – we do not need a degree in quantum physics, only Jesus the Truth in order to operate in these things. In fact if we do have worldly wisdom, we are likely to continue getting the same old DIY results.

Our minds must be enlightened or illuminated by the light of Truth. The vast sum of God’s thoughts about each of us (Ps 139:17-18) reveal that we are sons of God, created in His image, with a destiny to rule the universe with Him. That truth will unlock the true potential of our sonship, the creative image we are made in.

Waking up to knowing the Truth as a person (Eph 5:14) will set us free to be who God intended us to be. It will challenge our present perception of ourselves: we can know the truth from God’s perspective and align ourselves with His thoughts about us. We can see ourselves free from addiction; we can see ourselves healed; we can see ourselves loved, accepted, affirmed, significant…

Quantum power

Our conscious thought has quantum power and the universe responds to the focus of our consciousness. The mind of Christ confers on us the capacity for the ‘greater works’ which Jesus spoke of (John 14:12). It is time to embrace the potential possibilities of who we are because of who He is.

One of the core principles of quantum physics is the idea that reality (the photons that produce the light-illusion we all occupy) exists in infinite possible states… until we observe it and thus collapse all potential versions of reality into the one single option we have chosen to live inside.

Here is a practical example of how it works:

Imagine you are sitting on your sofa at home and you are struck with the desire to do something different. You could do an infinite number of different things. As you weigh things up, what you start to focus on becomes more likely to occur: you could get up and go to the bathroom; you could switch on the light; you could walk outside; you could go to the kitchen; you could turn on the TV or your computer or check your phone; you could go to the off licence (liquor store) or you could go to your dealer.

Past rewards, memories and compulsions can drive you towards your choice of reality. The possibility exists for you to immerse your consciousness into any reality you want but you must decide which action you will take. You must make a choice of which reality you want to ‘observe’ coming into existence at the cost of becoming ‘blind’ to all other options.

As soon as you select a reality, the options you did not select begin to fade out of conscious thought, out of observation, and become less likely to occur as you continually move away from them in pursuit of your selected reality.

But that option which you did select–well, its photons are now becoming more vivid, turning from abstract imaginary choice into tangible forms you can interact with (whether it’s the light switch, the TV, bathroom, drink, drugs or whatever). In this way your internal consciousness, those chemicals produced and synapses manipulated by your thoughts, can alter the physical photons that surround you.

God or DIY?

So what reality do you want to create? From which source will you draw your choices? God or DIY?

If you are choosing from your past you may be:

  • hiding your passion and creativity because you’re afraid you may not be good enough.
  • agreeing to plans you don’t really want to be a part of so that you can ‘fit in’.
  • staying in a job that doesn’t fulfil you because you need the money.
  • pursuing relationships that you know aren’t healthy because you don’t want to be alone.

Our present reality is controlled by the programming of our past experiences and knowledge. Our future reality will continue to be a self-perpetuating fulfilment unless we choose to see from a new heavenly reality perspective.

If you do decide to escape your own DIY source and get God’s perspective, then you will have the power to envision a future reality that does not currently exist. So rather than simply choosing from an existing menu you wish to engage with, you can instead create new photon-forms that never existed before and inject them into reality.

We have this incredible ability called imagination: to envisage something in our mind and then summon it into being. Everything you see today: buildings, cars, planes, the device you are reading this on, even
the clothes on your body, they originally existed only as thoughts formed inside someone’s mind. They were all once inert pieces of quantum possibility until someone came along and chose to pursue their creation.

Creating reality

This quantum wave collapse is called ‘popping a qwiff‘. You can see or observe a God qwiff (something God shows you that is not yet real in
this dimension) and, by popping that qwiff, cause that potential to become your reality. Information flowing from your future possibilities is waiting for you to observe and ‘call those things that are not as though they were’ (see Rom 4:17).

“The quantum leap of knowing your purpose and assignment is waiting as a God qwiff for you to pop!”David Van Koevering.

God has dignified man by giving him the power to choose, and to create his own reality aligned to those choices. The choices mankind has made independently of God, and without the reference point of love, have created the chaotic DIY state the world now exists in.

When we are reconciled and restored in relationship with God himself
our mind can be renewed. This opens up the potential for us to access the eternal mind of God, and then our future reality can be realigned from an eternal, godly perspective.

DIY methods of framing reality (drugs, alcohol, food, pornography, relationships, religion – or whatever) will keep you in bondage. Choose another future, focus on another reality; see your freedom and your God-given destiny, and you cause them to materialise around you.

Sons arise!

Let’s not be limited by our DIY past: instead let’s be creative sons of God, creating a better future. All of creation has its eyes fixed on us, looking for true sons to be revealed.

Will you be one of those sons?
Will you accept the call?
Will you embrace your destiny?
Will you accept His yoke and learn from Him, the Truth?

Let the sons of God arise!

Let the sons of God arise! Declaration by Mike Parsons via YouTube.

Science articles
Recent articles from Freedom ARC
Older related posts

Expanding Our Reality Intensive – Recordings

Sons Arise intensive 3 Expanding Our Reality image with link

Expanding Our Reality: Deconstruction and Restoring Consciousness

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

Recordings of this event are now available.

My Journey Beyond Beyond

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