101. Filthy Garments and Festal Robes

Mike Parsons
and Jeremy Westcott

The kingdom of God is all around us. Not separate, not a long way away. So close that we can turn and look into it.

So, too, is the kingdom that is in darkness.

Which will we draw from?

Depending on where we look, that is where we will draw our resources from. Our spirit has access to the kingdom which is in light. God wants us to access all that He has for us in that kingdom and to draw all our power and authority from it every day, so that we can live abundantly.

If we do not, we will inevitably draw our resources from the other kingdom. The soul and the flesh will look to meet their own needs in their own way, and will look to obtain their resources from the kingdom that is in darkness.

Every time we try to do something in our own strength, according to our soul power, it will ultimately prove unsuccessful. We have to get over the fact that we can do nothing in our own strength. So we can turn and engage the kingdom of light or we can turn into the kingdom in darkness. It is a choice we all have, but co-operating with God is much more productive than resisting Him.

God’s desire was for Adam and Eve to be successful in carrying out His plan for them and for the earth. So He made available to them everything they needed to fill the earth and subdue it. They chose to look for resources elsewhere, and failed to fulfil their destiny.

“The Lord rebuke you, Satan”

We have looked briefly before at Zechariah 3, and it is a really important chapter in understanding this:

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.” Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the Lord was standing by (Zech 3:1-7).

This scene is set, not on the earth, but in the heavenly realms. Joshua was a man, a priest just as we are, and he had access to the presence of God. But Satan was there to accuse him. So we understand that we are looking at a courtroom in heaven, because courtrooms are where accusations are made and verdicts delivered.

It is God, not Joshua, who deals with Satan here.The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan!”. So if there are accusations against us it is God who will deal with them.

Filthy garments

Notice that Joshua was ‘clothed with filthy garments’. Surely you cannot come into the presence of God wearing filthy garments? Actually that is exactly what you must do: He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.”

God does the cleansing and cleaning up. We do not have to try to make ourselves clean in our own strength, by our own effort and initiative. That is just what Adam did when he messed up. He hid from God in the bushes and tried to cover himself with leaves. It does not work, and it is not our place to clean ourselves up. There is no need to feel guilty or condemned, or try to make amends for our sin in our own strength.

We just have to come into the presence of God, and He takes all the filthy garments off us and gives us a new robe.

Run to Him, not from Him

Now this all sounds very familiar, I know. But what we have maybe not realised before now is where this takes place. It takes place in the realms of heaven. That is why it is so important for us to access the heavenly realms: we can get clean every time we go in there, and when we are clean, we are confident to exercise the authority that God has given us and see the enemy defeated. If we feel guilty and condemned because of the accusations brought against us, then we lose our confidence, and are unlikely to overcome. So when we mess up – and we all do – we can step into the place of God’s presence. We can run to Him, not from Him.

He will deal with the accusations against us. He rebukes Satan. He does so because the blood of Jesus is constantly before Him as a testimony of what Jesus did on the cross:

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them (2 Corinthians 5:19).

From God’s perspective, there is no sin outstanding against any of us. Jesus completely undid the consequence of Adam’s sin which produced spiritual death in us.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).

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

Just as we all inherited that spiritual death and blindness from Adam, so we all share in the victory of the cross and resurrection life. When we take the bread and the wine in communion we are partaking of the life of God, His very essence, His DNA, and we are transformed. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all our sin and all our iniquity is done away with.

One of the enemy’s favourite tactics is to make us believe that we cannot come to God because we have sinned, whereas in fact it is the very thing that we need to do, and as quickly as we possibly can, to benefit from God’s forgiveness and receive His cleansing.

If you confess your sin, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  ‘Faithful’ means that He will always do it. He will ‘clothe [us] with festal robes’ (Zech 3:4).

 Free access to stand 

We will never enjoy our free access to the realms of heaven if we think we have to be worthy. The enemy will always tell us we are unworthy. That is how he operates. We need to know the truth, because then we find the promise:

And the angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here” (Zech 3:6).

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87. The Heavens and the Earth

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Joshua the High Priest

And the angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My laws, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here” (Zechariah 3:6-7).

We saw last time how there is a progression here in the things that Joshua is required to do if he is to enjoy free access to the heavenly realms. It begins with walking in God’s ways and continues with performing His laws. We will go on to look at those heavenly realms to which he would have access, but first let’s touch on those laws.

12 Laws out of Jerusalem

The laws are not the Ten Commandments. They are ‘laws’ in the sense of ‘principles’, and they describe how God works within His kingdom.

• Law of the Spirit of Life
• Law of Sin and Death
• Law of Love
• Law of Faith
• Law of Sowing and Reaping
• Law of First Mention*
• Law of First Born
• Law of Abundance
• Law of Justice
• Law of Judgment
• Law of Grace
• Law of Righteousness

These are principles of how God operates and how we should operate in the kingdom. Like Joshua, when we start to do so, we gain free access to the realms of heaven.

Heavenly realms

I want to share with you a representation of those realms of heaven, so that you have some idea of how these realms relate to each other. It is only a representation though, and our understanding of this is developing all the time.

You will see that there are realms under the earth. In fact, there are three realms into the earth, three realms into the kingdom of heaven (into God’s kingdom, a kingdom that was given to Adam), and there is the atmosphere in between them, making seven. You will always find sevens in the things of God, because seven speaks of completion and is the perfect number.

Each heavenly realm has seven dimensions or levels of authority within it. I don’t know what they all are yet, but I do know that they are linked to the court structure (covered in the last session of the Transformation series, available on our website).

Within the atmosphere of the earth there are three realms (Greek thinking would see them as layers, but they are not), realms of God’s kingdom rule, and you will see the kingdom of earth where we experience the presence of God. Within this atmosphere is the area where we are supposed to rule: it is in darkness.

Under the earth, there are various places: Sheol, and Satan’s trophy room, and Tartarus, where certain angels are wrapped up. There are other places there too, but I am not going to deal with them here.

It is important to grasp that you do not have to go ‘through’ one realm to get to another. That again is Greek thinking. God has shown me places in many of these realms, and it is only over time that I have come to understand where they are located.

Let’s look at some scriptures, because we need to look at beginnings to see how some of this took place.

Satan fell

In the beginning (Gen 1:1) God created the heavens and the earth. He created the heavens first. The heavens were not just physical, they were all those realms we have just been looking at: realms of His kingdom, realms of His authority. The kingdom is all about authority, government and rule. Adam was supposed to bring what was in those realms onto earth. Earth was supposed to reflect heaven. Earth was not in the same place as we know it now. This was before time: in fact time didn’t exist at this point. And he created sons of God, which were the angels, particularly the ben elohim, who were preparing Earth for Man.

Now we have verse 2: The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. But God did not create it that way. Something happened between God creating the heavens and the earth and the earth becoming formless and void.

What happened was this: Satan fell.

This was before Adam was created. The Spirit was hovering, resonating, over the surface of the waters. The fact that the whole planet was covered with waters indicates that there had been judgment. God did not create it like that.

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him (Col 1:16).

Everything was created for Jesus. Thrones, dominions, principalities and powers are not the names of demons. They are not the names of fallen angels (although fallen angels do presently operate in those realms of authority and power). So all these things – thrones, dominions, principalities, powers – were created for Jesus. ‘All things visible and invisible’ were created for Him: but things which are invisible to us now, to the natural eye, were not invisible to the spiritual eye for Adam.

The kingdom government is the heavens come on earth. It is all about bringing about on earth a reflection of what is in heaven. Whatever you see in heaven, those are the things God wants to see worked out in us. The principles of heaven need to be reflected in our own lives, and then in the world around us (starting with our spheres of influence). Everything that is in heaven, God wants to bring on earth.

What was the earth like when God created it? How can we know it was not created ‘formless and void’ (as a different reading of Gen 1:2 would have it)? Look at this verse in Isaiah:

For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the LORD, and there is none else” (Isa 45:18). He did not create it a waste place.

Connected to the realm of heaven

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven (Gen 2:4). Do you see how the two halves of this verse are referring to different things? There is ‘created the heavens and the earth’ and then there is ‘made earth and heaven’. He originally created it, then something happened to spoil it (and we have seen what that was); and out of the formlessness and void, He made earth and heaven. In the original creation, there were no stars, planets and galaxies as we know them now. They didn’t exist in that creation because earth was in the centre of that circle, with a direct, seamless connection to heaven. Earth always was (and still is) intended to be connected to heaven.

Now, as we know, Adam had access to walk with God. The earth, in the centre of everything, was connected to the realm of heaven. There was an overlap between Eden (the garden of God), and the garden God planted for Adam. That meant that Adam had access to every realm in our diagram from under the earth upwards, up to and including the realm of Heaven. After the fall everything was moved out into time and space, and the earth was no longer connected to heaven in the same way. The earth’s axis moved and everything became elliptical rather than circular, right down to the orbit of electrons around the nucleus of the atom.

If Adam had not fallen, and if he had taken the Tree of Life (which was the pathway to life), he would have had access to the higher realms: Heaven of heavens, Perfection, and Eternity.

But as we know, he chose a different pathway.

* The Law of First Mention sets the precedent for how we should interpret a particular word or phrase throughout the scriptures. Since everything is always a circle with God, in many cases we have to go back to Genesis if we are to properly understand what comes about in Revelation.

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