234. Revolution of Love

Mike Parsons
and Jeremy Westcott

Turning the law on its head

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

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

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

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

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

New wineskins for new wine

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

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

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

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

David’s tabernacle

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

Heavenly royal priests

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

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

A heavenly blueprint

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

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

Ekklesia

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

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

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

Recent articles from Freedom ARC
Older related posts

201. Flavours and Colours


Mike Parsons

with Jeremy Westcott – 

You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. (Matt. 5:13)

We are supposed to be different. If our lives are like everyone else’s, if we compromise and become just like the world, applying the world’s standards, it is like being completely tasteless and trampled underfoot. We cannot have kingdom authority operating in our lives if we operate according to the world’s system and values.

We must put God first and do it His way.

Saline

Salt was a very important substance in bible times. It was very precious and quite costly. In fact, the English word ‘salary’ derives from the fact that sometimes the Roman army was paid with salt.  If you have ever been in hospital and had a saline drip, you will know that a certain level of salt is essential in your body.

Flavour

Can flavorless food be eaten without salt? (Job 6:6)

Salt brings out flavour. Our lives are supposed to be appetizing and appealing to others. God’s flavours include love, joy, peace, mercy, grace, faith, humility, and power. Those things will flavour the world around us as we live them out.

Covenant

You shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering; with all your offerings, you shall offer salt. (Lev. 2:13)

Salt also speaks of covenant life. God has always dealt with men through covenants, life and death agreements that He made. It was literally an exchange of life, but men could never keep their side of the deal.

We now live in the New Covenant, a covenant Father God made with Jesus, His Son – and Jesus is able to keep covenant. Through Him, we come into relationship with God, we promise our lives to be given to Him and He promises all His resources are made available to us. Our lives need to reflect the salt of God’s covenant blessings.

Authority and wisdom

 Do you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the rule over Israel forever to David, and His sons by a covenant of salt? (2 Chron. 13:5)

We are here to be the head and not the tail. We are supposed to be over and not under the circumstances of life. We are to rule and bring God’s kingdom blessings and rule through it. That will be of benefit not just for our own lives, but for all those who come into our sphere of influence.

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders; making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech, always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to respond to each person. (Col. 4:5-6)

This means that the way we speak, how we approach people, and how we interact with them should reflect the flavours of God. God wants to guide us in what to say, and the attitudes to have so that we will know how to respond to each person in a way that will attract them, not drive them away.

Applied

Salt was also a means of preserving food from corruption. Salt helped meat last longer. It was a disinfectant from disease. It was used on dung piles to purify, and as fertilizer to help produce fruitfulness.

Salt has many uses, but it has to be applied. If you do not apply it, it is of no use at all. We must be applied to the world to be able to influence and transform it as ambassadors of heaven. We cannot do it if we stay inside our buildings. We have to do it today in the work place, this evening in our home, at all times and in all our relationships.

It cannot be something we switch on and off. If we truly are salt, if we ‘have salt within ourselves’ (see Mark 9:50), then we will be salty all the time. Wherever we are we are to be salt.

Light

We are also to be light.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matt 5:14-16).

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1John 1:5-7)

If we come to Him Who is light, everything we carry with and in us will be brought into that place of light. If you bring a light into a dark room, you can then see what is in it. Light will expose what is darkness, both in us and in the world, so that we can deal with those things.

We have renounced secret and shameful ways… in the sight of God. (1Cor 4:2,6)

We do not have to hide in God’s light and in His presence. We can be free to be real and open because we know He loves us. His light is only there to bring us into more light. It is not there to expose us and make us feel bad, but rather enable us to live in truth.

Our relationships with others will be lived out in the light: vulnerable, open and accountable. That is what discipleship is. It is walking in the light with other people who share the same common family, God’s family. God wants us to live open lives, not hidden ones, so that our lives are a demonstration, showing where the path is to real life. When other people see how we live, and how our relationships work, they will be drawn to want the same thing for themselves.

Judgment

This is the judgment: that light has entered the world, and men have preferred darkness to light because their deeds were evil (John 3:19).

Jesus was the perfect example of light shining in the darkness. People should be able to see the light in our lives just like they saw Jesus’s light. That light throws everything into sharp contrast, and demands a decision from those who see by it. Will they choose good or evil, right or wrong?

Transfigured

The more we come to reflect God’s glory, and the more He works through us, the lighter our lives become; the more we can actually bring light into darkness. We can be one of those God-colours that changes the way the world looks (see Matt 5:14 MSG)..

And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light (Matt. 17:2).

You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. (1Thess 5:5)

I believe that what happened in the transfiguration is going to happen to those people who walk with God, who pursue and work through the transformation which He desires (‘transformation’ is the same word that is translated ‘transfigured’ in that scripture). The light strand missing from our DNA will be restored. Literally we will be glowing with light, looking visibly different from other people. God wants us to be a frequency of radiation of light. It is an explosion of the light that comes from God. Since God is light and we are His sons, this is simply our true nature as sons of light being manifested.

And the whole of creation is longing and waiting in eager expectation for the day those sons are revealed (Rom 8:19).

Before sin came into the world and darkness came, the universe was full of life and light. It will be like that again when we shine like the stars and like the sun. That is God’s desire. Light never stops lighting, and salt never stops seasoning. Let our lives reflect a different kingdom, and we will see that kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.

Soundtrack: Salt of the Earth – Wildwood Kin (via Spotify)

Related Articles by Freedom ARC
Other resources from Freedom ARC

Salt and spoon on wooden background image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Bright Clouds In The Sky image courtesy of nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Support Freedom ARC

If our free or paid resources are a blessing to you, please consider making a donation to sow into and support this ministry. Thank you!

Are you part of the Joshua Generation?

We developed this just for you:

Engaging God on the Heavenly Pathways of Relationship and Responsibility
Equipping a Joshua Generation of supernatural sons of God to live according to the order of Melchizedek

Get started today!*

To find out more about the Engaging God programme, click here…

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

197. Citizens of Another Kingdom

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

notoftheworldTherefore 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. 5:20).

In prison, Paul described himself as ‘an ambassador in chains’ for the gospel (see Eph. 6:19-20). God has called His people to be ambassadors in this world for Him, to proclaim His kingdom and  to encourage people to be reconciled to Him in relationship.

Dictionaries define the word ‘ambassador’ as

  • ‘a diplomatic official of the highest rank appointed and accredited as a representative in residence by one government or sovereign to another’
  • ‘an authorized messenger or representative’
  • ‘an agent, an apostolic delegate, messenger, minister, or emissary’.

Our citizenship is in heaven

He has rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son (Colossians 1:13).

Everyone who has come into a relationship with Jesus has been taken out of one kingdom and transferred into another. We are now under the authority of God’s kingdom.

For our citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20).

Our citizenship is not of the country of our birth or residence. Though that might be true in the natural sense, spiritually we are citizens of heaven. This means we are connected to heaven and our authority comes from heaven.  We are citizens of a heavenly kingdom but living on the earth.

If you were of the world, the world would love its own, but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you (John 15:19).

Jesus has chosen us as His representatives out of the world, so we are not tied to the restrictions of this realm. The kingdom of heaven is a spiritual realm, a higher authority than the natural realm. It has more and greater dimensions of authority and power than this realm. In fact, this physical realm is held together by the power that comes from that spiritual realm.

This temporal realm had a beginning and will have an end. Once we come into eternity, everything that is wrapped up in this time will be left in this time. Satan and sin will be left in this time. There will be no more remembrance of them in eternity. But we are already of eternity: though we live in this natural realm, we are constantly connected to that realm of heaven.

Ambassadors of heaven

As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. (John 17:18)

Jesus is talking to the Father about his disciples, about us. We have been sent on a mission. We are gateways of heaven on earth, bringing heaven to earth. We come to administer that kingdom in this natural realm. When we lay hands on someone and see a miracle, we are bringing what is in heaven (complete health and healing) to the earth through the power and authority flowing through us as ambassadors of that kingdom.

We take our orders and get our authority from heaven. Our protection and our provision come from heaven. We live by the laws of heaven, the economy and the political system of heaven.  Certainly we need to honour those in authority over us in the natural realm, right up until it conflicts with the authority of heaven. Then, we defer to that higher authority.

Consider the British Ambassador in a foreign country. The embassy is considered British soil and is protected by British troops. The ambassador and staff take their orders from London, and represent British interests, operating under British rules and culture. They are in constant contact with the home country. They do not operate from personal opinions but on orders from home. That is exactly what God is calling us to do.

The whole church is an embassy, and our individual lives are an embassy: foreign soil to this world, protected by heaven. We have authority, but only as we act on orders from heaven (and not earth). As citizens of heaven, each of us has a sphere of kingdom authority to exercise. In and around our lives we have authority to rule over our circumstances, situations, and the place that God has put us in, representing one kingdom (heaven) in another kingdom (earth).

New services and systems

Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould… (Romans 12:2 Phillips).

We are not to be influenced by earthly culture, society and customs, but rather we are to influence them and transform them. In the UK, our National Health Service is excellent as far as it goes, but as Christians we have (and can administer) a new health service. Our health service comes from heaven.

We enjoy and administer new economic and financial services. We sow into God’s kingdom and He blesses us, honours us, and multiplies it back. We then have more than enough for all our needs, with an abundance for every good deed He calls us to do (see 2 Cor 9:6-12).

We have a new education system. We are not limited to what our minds can understand. We are connected to the source of all knowledge, the omnipotent, omniscient God, who is in heaven and in us. We have all the education we need because it comes from the source of life. We can receive revelation, prophetic information, and have a heads-up on every situation because we are connected to a realm which sees the future as clearly as the present and the past.  The spiritual realm is not limited by time and space, like this natural world.

We are to be a new society. That means new attitudes, new ideas, a new culture, new behaviours, new abilities, and new powers.

We have supernatural abilities, even beyond anything imagined by Marvel comic book writers. We can look into the hearts of men and see what is there; we can lay hands on the sick and see them recover; we can work all kinds of other miracles. We have authority over nature. Jesus wants us doing everything He did, and more (see John 14:12). We have the supernatural power of heaven at our disposal. The kingdom (and our ambassadorship) is of a supernatural realm, operating in this natural one.

Sown into this world

Jesus presented another parable to them saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seeds in his field… The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one” (Matt. 13:24, 37-38).

Every believer is a son of the kingdom and has been sown into this world to produce the fruit of the kingdom and to bring God’s rule to earth. We are not just here to influence the world, but to colonise it. When the Pilgrim Fathers went to America they extended the government of Britain to America. The church is a colony of heaven on earth, and so too is each of our lives.

But we do not control, manipulate or force people into accepting the kingdom we represent. This is not medieval Christendom, with its forced conversions (often at sword-point). We bring and demonstrate good news. As sons of the kingdom, we bring the fruit of that kingdom so that people will want to be engaged with the God that they see through us.

He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches” (Matt. 13:31).

The kingdom started really small, with Jesus. By the time Jesus ascended back into heaven, there were still only about 500 disciples. Yet the kingdom did not stay small, and the church now has a substantial presence in most nations of the world. In the early centuries, the number of Christians to non-Christians was 1 to 350. Today it is 1 to 6. The kingdom is advancing and growing.

He spoke another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened” (Matt. 13:33).

We are to permeate the whole world with the good news of the gospel of Jesus. We bring a message of good news and we demonstrate that message by how we live. We are called to influence the world, to restore it to its original condition and ownership.

That is why we have to be good ambassadors.

Related Articles by Freedom ARC

Other resources from Freedom ARC

Are you part of the Joshua Generation?

We developed this just for you:

Engaging God on the Heavenly Pathways of Relationship and Responsibility
Equipping a Joshua Generation of supernatural sons of God to live according to the order of Melchizedek

Get started today!*

To find out more about the Engaging God programme, click here…

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

Support Freedom ARC

If our free or paid resources are a blessing to you, please consider making a donation to sow into and support this ministry. Thank you!

187. New Dimensions of Authority and Power

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

We are reviewing some characteristics of the Joshua generation, as we consider what they have to teach us about taking up our inheritance.

21.The Joshua Generation will free the next generation from the reproach and effects of past generations into new revelation of past activities.

Now when they had finished circumcising all the nation, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed. Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you…”(Joshua 5:8-9)

Paul tells us:

…circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter… (Rom 2:29)
and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ (Col 2:11).

The reproach – shame, disgrace, blame, disapproval, disappointment – of our past lives has been removed. We are no longer held back by our old identity of slave, orphan, victim, sinner, useless, hopeless, failure. We are free to minister and disciple in our new identity as sons not slaves. As slaves, we could only disciple people into slavery; as sons, we can disciple people into sonship, ready to take possession of their inheritance.

Covenant relationship

Circumcision was a sign of their covenant relationship with God, in which their hearts were set apart for Him. Circumcision of our hearts is a sign that the old has gone and the new has come; a sign of our sonship and identity; a sign that we have a new home, land and inheritance. The old nature of self and selfishness is cut away, and in covenant we exchange our ‘old’ for all His ‘new’.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy (1 Peter 2:9-10).

That represents what God did for us in the New Covenant, when we entered in to what Jesus accomplished through the cross.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:1-2).

Step into a different dimension

Let’s make a choice to cross the Jordan into the place of covenant exchange. It is one thing to consecrate ourselves and say,‘Yes, I am going to cross’: quite another to actually cross over. We have that opportunity now to step into a different dimension. Jesus opened up heaven so that we could come through the veil and present ourselves to Him, our High Priest. We may find it helpful to do something physical, by taking a literal step forwards, while spiritually we enter into where the cross is active.

I would encourage you to speak these words out, and take a step forwards, as a demonstration of what you are doing in coming to the place of covenant exchange with God. See, in front of you now there is a river in flood. But God has sent angels to hold back that water. As you look, there is dry land appearing, a way for you to walk across.

I step in through the veil of Jesus through the way of the cross
I step into the realm of your government
I present myself to you, Jesus my High Priest, to circumcise my heart
I come to trade on the brazen altar of covenant exchange.

I exchange my sin for your righteousness
I exchange my rejection for your acceptance
I exchange my guilt for your forgiveness
I exchange my sickness for your health
I exchange my old life for your new life.

I exchange my old identity for your new identity
I exchange my old name for your new name
I exchange my old nature for your new nature
I exchange my old bondage for your new freedom
I exchange my old records for your new record
I exchange my past for your future.

I exchange my darkness for your light
I exchange my weakness for your strength
I exchange my thoughts for your thoughts
I exchange my character for your character
I exchange my ways for your ways.

I step back into this realm forgiven, cleansed, and clothed with righteousness
I am empowered for transformation to manifest your glory, bringing heaven to earth through my life
My heart is circumcised, my life is consecrated and set apart for your kingdom purposes

I receive your healing and wholeness
I receive your adoption, acceptance and affirmation as a son.
I am a son, ready to take possession of my inheritance.

We are God’s children. We are His people. We have stepped across that water today. Old things will go; new things are coming. We are taking possession of what belongs to us: new dimensions of authority and power.

Twelve stones

Let’s mark this down as an important day. Israel took twelve stones from the river bed and set them up on the bank of the Jordan so that they would remember how they crossed over from the old into the new. Whenever the enemy comes to us to say ‘You’re a slave’, we can remind him of this day when we crossed over; that we are no longer slaves, but sons.

So now let’s act, think, and behave like mature sons, operating in the fullness of our inheritance.

Related articles by Freedom ARC

Other resources from Freedom ARC

Support Freedom ARC

If our free or paid resources are a blessing to you, please consider making a donation to sow into and support this ministry. Thank you!

Are you part of the Joshua Generation?

We developed this just for you:

Engaging God on the Heavenly Pathways of Relationship and Responsibility
Equipping a Joshua Generation of supernatural sons of God to live according to the order of Melchizedek

Get started today!*

To find out more about the Engaging God programme, click here…

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

173. Godly Trading Floors – Trading (3)

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

In the last two posts we have looked at the negative side of trading, at the deals we may have done with the enemy. Now, although this is not really part of the Transformation series, in this post I want to write about the positive side.

When Ian Clayton first began to talk about trading, some people were confused because they didn’t quite grasp what it meant. The fact is that we all trade, but we might have other terminology we use for it. Trading is about offering something in exchange for something else. It may be money, or goods, or other physical things, but it may also be love, a promise of God, your life, even the blood of Jesus. At its simplest, it is covenant exchange. When I enter into a covenant relationship with God, then what is mine belongs to Him and what is His belongs to me.

Just as there are different demonic trading floors, there are also different godly ones. For example, when I take a tithe or an offering and offer it to God, I actually go to the treasury room in heaven, where Melchizedek presides in his capacity as Chancellor.

Sowing and reaping

We have taught financial trading for many years as the principle of sowing and reaping. God promises increase on what we sow: we bring that promise with us and exchange it for its fulfilment, for what we will reap. It gives us access to the hundredfold return (or even the thousandfold of Deuteronomy 11, which I prefer).

Effectively, we can trade on the word of God. If we find a promise in the word, we can go and ask that God actually complies with it. He doesn’t mind that: He likes to be reminded of what He has said. By faith we engage it and use the word to bring us into covenant exchange. Since God has spoken it, and we are in Christ in the new covenant, then it belongs to us.

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us (2 Cor 1:20).

We can use a scripture like that to trade with. We can go, because we are in Christ, and receive those promises. That is an exchange, a trade.

The Blood and the Cross

I trade mostly using the body and blood of Jesus in communion, trading that for transformation in my own life and resonating with the frequency of God. It is really me giving everything to Him and Him giving everything back to me, multiplied, and for His purposes (not mine). As we have seen before, the cross is the most important place of exchange for us. At the cross we can exchange our sin for forgiveness, unrighteousness for righteousness, old for new, sickness for health, and more.

Trading on the sea of glass

We know the importance of the motives and desires of our heart. We need to ensure that whatever we are looking for when we come to God is rooted in a pure desire to bring glory, honour and blessing to Him. It is not about elevating or promoting us, about giving us a name: we are not trading to get something for ourselves: we are trading to see the kingdom of God advance and expand. It is all about Him.

So when someone compliments us, affirms us, or praises us, we can come and bring those things to God. Just as the elders cast their crowns before the throne on the sea of glass (which only looks like glass, by the way), we too can offer Him the plaudits and position that men have accorded us. It is not that other people’s opinion of us has no value, but that we choose to value our relationship and intimacy with the Father, and His affirmation of us, more highly still.

Some of the fire stones are trading floors, where we go and exchange our life and receive back the fruit of the Spirit, or the revelation of the precepts of God.

Living sacrifice

We give our life in exchange for a return. So whenever I surrender as a living sacrifice to God on the altar of incense, I am trading. I am exchanging my old for the new that comes from the revelation of being in relationship with Him and out of the intimacy that I have with Him.

‘It is no longer I that live but Christ lives in me’ (Gal 2:20): I exchange my old life for new life in Him; ‘the life I now live, I live by faith of the Son of God’ – I live in union and in connection with Him

I present myself to Him as an instrument of righteousness. I am dead, I deny myself, and His whole life opens up to me.

Planting in my garden

As I mentioned, we should not get religious about the terminology. One time I got some things out of a giant’s belly, and went and planted them in my garden. Someone asked me why I didn’t go and trade with them on the sea of glass. The answer is that I did what my spirit led me to do. I went and planted something in my garden and it grew, and then off the tree came two silver trumpets. When you plant something in the ground, it dies to you so that God can return things to you as a result – usually in multiplication. One seed is sown into the ground and dies, and yet it brings forth life out of that death, in a multiplied form.

There is one particular application of trading that you may have seen in a meeting. When a speaker has said something and people want to engage in it, they come and give a small amount of money to trade into the revelation: they are honouring that revelation and want to receive blessing from engaging with it. If it reflects the desire of someone’s heart then it can be helpful for them; but personally I have never really felt the need to do it, or to encourage it here.

Keep pursuing Him

We do need to make sure we are coming from purity of heart in these things, because it will cause a multiplication for which we have to be ready. God is so gracious. He does not give us everything we want all in one go, because He knows we do not always have the wisdom to handle it. Even revelation comes in progression, rather than all at once. That way, we will keep pursuing Him and recognizing our dependence on Him rather than thinking, ‘hey, I know everything’. Actually, I probably know less than a billionth of one percent of everything. I just want to know more of Him.

For myself, I only consciously trade when my spirit leads me to do it. It is not something I do all the time as a matter of course, because then it would risk becoming a formula (and I don’t want anything to become a formula, I want to be led by and directed by the Spirit). I want my spirit to engage in what I do, and whatever I do, I want it to be in life. If I do not have faith for it, then I am just doing it according to the letter rather than the spirit, and that is of no benefit at all.

There is an old adage that you can never outgive God. He always outgives us, and that is really where any trade comes.

God will restore

The revelation of heavenly trading has been stalled by events that have happened in human history. For example, God wrote the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone by His own hand: when Moses brought them out of heaven he was on a sapphire trading floor. He was bringing the engagement of the revelation of God into this realm out of heaven. But when he saw the golden calf and all that was going on in the camp, Moses broke the stones – and an understanding of trading on the sapphire trading floor was lost as a result. I believe God is going to restore that revelation knowledge in days to come. He will unveil much more revelation on how to use the trading floors in heaven, and the seven spirits of God will teach us to understand trading in a greater dimension than we yet know.

Related articles by Freedom ARC
Other resources from Freedom ARC
Image attribution:

The CrossEqualsLove image is a chalkboard by Beth Westcott at Valley Church, Bamber Bridge, Lancs UK. http://bethwestcott.wix.com/bethanydesign

Support Freedom ARC

If our free or paid resources are a blessing to you, please consider making a donation to sow into and support this ministry. Thank you!

Are you part of the Joshua Generation?

We developed this just for you:

eg-homepage-crop

Engaging God on the Heavenly Pathways of Relationship and Responsibility
Equipping a Joshua Generation of supernatural sons of God to live according to the order of Melchizedek

Get started today!*

To find out more about the Engaging God programme, click here…

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

165. Mercy: God’s Covenant Love

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:1-2).

God wants us to be ready for His glory to come in increasing measure. If we are not ready, we would be foolish to venture anywhere near His glory, but God is looking for a people who can stand in that glory and reflect it to the world. We need to be transformed.

Discipline, not punishment

Transformation requires discipline, but let’s not confuse discipline with punishment. We may have been brought up by parents or teachers who punished rather than disciplined, and we will have to overcome that if we are to allow God to discipline us. He is not there threatening us with a big stick. If that is our view of God, then we need to repent and deal with that mindset. It is His kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom 2:4), not fear of the consequences. To be sure, every action has it own consequences, but God is not keeping account of our sins.

…God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:19).

Discipline is done in love, for the benefit of the person being disciplined.

The Hebrew word muwcar and the Greek word paideia both mean ‘reprove, correct, train, warn, educate, instruct. Punishment is about payback, about the imposition of a penalty. God does not require us to make amends. He does not punish people (and He did not punish Jesus on our behalf, either) but He does discipline us in order to train us and help us live right.

For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:11).

Discipline is a good thing, because it corrects and trains and transforms us. When we face up to looking honestly at the reality of our life, it can be uncomfortable, even painful in the short term. But if we allow God to work in us, it will produce fruit in us, and bring us into a place of peace and joy as we persevere

Covenant love

The Lord’s mercies [lovingkindnesses] indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness (Lam 3:22-23).

The word ‘mercy’ is checed, traditionally translated ‘lovingkindness’, but it actually means ‘covenant love’. And it is by God’s mercies that we present ourselves as a living sacrifice to be transformed, as the passage from Romans 12 at the head of this post tells us.

Covenant is a commitment, agreement or contract only ended by death, and often sealed in blood by walking through the pieces of an animal sacrifice. It is a total commitment to each other. It binds each party to love one another and do good to one another, to share all they have and to support one another to the death when attacked by an outsider. It carries stipulations and terms which both parties know about before entering into it, and it is ratified by exchange, for example of coats or weapons.

God has always dealt with men through covenant (you can see this with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus). God’s covenant with Abraham was actually with his seed; and Jesus is the Seed, as Paul explains (Gal 3:16). Since we are in Him, we also benefit from that covenant.

And if you belong to Christ [are in Him Who is Abraham’s Seed], then you are Abraham’s offspring and heirs according to promise (Gal 3:29 AMP).

Heir of the world

For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world… (Rom 4:13).

This was not about possession of a little piece of land in the Middle East. This covenant is for the whole world. It is not restricted to one group of people: it is for everybody. In His death on the cross, Christ made the promises available to us. The gospel goes to the ends of the earth, bringing blessing to everyone.

We did not make this covenant, so we cannot break it. The New Covenant is God’s fulfilment of His promises to Abraham, through Jesus. It is totally reliable. God will never break a covenant He has made in the blood of His own Son. And this is the basis on which we can be saved, healed, and transformed.

When Jesus died, I died. He was my representative to deal with the power of sin. Mercy (covenant love) applies the covenant power and the victory of the cross to our lives.

Covenant exchange

covenant-exchange-belonging

This is the covenant exchange that took place at the cross. We can come to the cross every minute of every day and enter into that life which is ours in eternity. His mercy, His covenant love, is new every morning.

Grace

…through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand (Rom 5:2).

We now stand in the grace of God, His divine enabling power, to be transformed. It is not something we can do ourselves by our own power or ability, but only by willing submission and surrender to Him. Because of His grace, we have an opportunity to turn away from our old way of life and follow a different path, turning to the way God has called us to live.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 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 4:15).

The Father and the Son

God is a covenant-making God. Covenant expresses his inexhaustible and supreme love. The love between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is covenant love, and we are brought into that family of love.

In giving his life for the sins of the world, Jesus entered a New Covenant in His blood with the Father. It was total commitment and self-giving without reservation on behalf of both parties. The Father and the Son entered covenant for us.so that we could come into the fullness of relationship with God. That covenant is stronger than death; it cannot be broken or annulled: it sustains our salvation, and enables our transformation.

That New Covenant means that everything belonging to the Father now belongs to Jesus. And since we are in Christ, everything belonging to the Father now belongs to us. We have access to everything of God. We have access to the omnipotence of God, the omnipresence of God, the omniscience of God: surely that will enable us to fulfil our destiny and our purpose.

Come to the cross

I would encourage you to meditate on scriptures about God’s mercies, His lovingkindness and covenant love, because they are the basis of our transformation. God’s mercies are motivated by His love, and His love motivates us to change.

Is there anything of the old that you need to exchange? Anything which is death to you that you want to exchange for life? Come to the cross. If you have a mindset that is fearful of what God might do if you were to surrender and allow Him to transform you, then come to the cross. If you think God punishes you, then you really need to come to the cross.

You can do this in a practical way. Just as the parties in a covenant would walk through and around the split pieces of the sacrificed animal in a figure-of-eight or eternity symbol, you can walk a path the same shape, and come to the intersection, the crossover point, the point of exchange. At that point you can break bread, and exchange the old for the new. You can be set free from bondage and from everything that is holding you back, because you walk through the victory that Jesus secured for you.

You can come to the cross today.

Related articles by Freedom ARC
This article is available in other languages
Other resources from Freedom ARC

Support Freedom ARC

If our free or paid resources are a blessing to you, please consider making a donation to sow into and support this ministry. Thank you!

Are you part of the Joshua Generation?

We developed this just for you:

eg-homepage-crop

Engaging God on the Heavenly Pathways of Relationship and Responsibility
Equipping a Joshua Generation of supernatural sons of God to live according to the order of Melchizedek

Get started today!*

To find out more about the Engaging God programme, click here…

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

62. Now You Are The People Of God

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

We are continuing to look at Matthew 24, and seeking to let the Bible interpret itself rather than seeing it through our own filters, or imposing a particular set of doctrines upon it. If you are new to this blog you might want to skip back a few posts to see where we have come from.

In the sky

Today we have reached Matt 24:30, “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory”.

Again, this is not talking about the end of the world: this is about Jesus coming in authority judgement. It is about the destruction of Jerusalem. The end of the Old Covenant system had come because the New Covenant had been established.

All this language is very symbolic, and ‘in the sky’ is really a poor translation. It does not mean that a sign will appear in the sky. What it is saying is: the sign that the kingdom has come is that the Son of Man is in heaven.

Jesus said later said to the Pharisees and to the High Priest, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matt 26:64).

So He told those who were alive at that time that they would see it.

This is the prophetic fulfilment of what Daniel saw: Jesus coming at His ascension, His blood being presented on the mercy seat in heaven and receiving the kingdom from the Father.

I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-14).

Mark 16:19 tells us, “So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God”. Do you see how this is all the same language? It is talking about the end of the Old Covenant system, and the beginning of the New. We have to prepare for kingdom dominion.

angel-4928_640Messengers

And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other  (Matt 24:31).

The Greek word ‘angellos’ means ‘messenger’, and the trumpet is symbolic of the proclamation of the gospel: ‘Behold, I send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ (Matt 11:10). ‘Gather’ is the word ‘synagogue’: it speaks of what church was to do, being gathered as part of God’s people.

Misunderstanding arises if we take statements in isolation rather than allowing the Word to interpret itself.

The people of God are revealed. We are now the true nation, city and temple. The same language continues to be used of us because we are the continuation of the people of God. Some say the church has replaced Israel; but actually the church is the continuation of Israel (the covenant people). We are the same. Jews and Gentiles are now one in Christ; but we do all have to come together in Christ.

One people of God

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven (Heb 12:22-23).

The same language is being used here of the New Covenant people as was being used of the Old Covenant people. That’s because it is the same people being described. Abraham himself was ‘looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God… But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them’ (Heb 11:10, 16). We have a city prepared for us, the New Jerusalem of which we are part. We are living stones being built into that city and into that temple.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy (1 Peter 2:9-10).

Related articles from Freedom ARC

58. Preached To All The Nations

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

We have seen how, in the passages leading up to Matthew chapter 24, Jesus was talking about covenant. Specifically, He was warning of the judgments of the Old Covenant which would come upon that generation of unbelieving Israel.

Birth pangs

"Kluft-photo-Carrizo-Plain-Nov-2007-Img 0327" by Ikluft - Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kluft-photo-Carrizo-Plain-Nov-2007-Img_0327.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Kluft-photo-Carrizo-Plain-Nov-2007-Img_0327.jpg
San Andreas Fault [“Kluft-photo-Carrizo-Plain-Nov-2007-Img 0327” by Ikluft – Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons]
We are taking this verse by verse now, so let’s go on to Matt 24 vv4-8: ‘And Jesus answered and said to them, See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

‘See to it that no-one misleads you’: in this whole passage, Jesus was talking to the church, to those who would be living in Jerusalem and in Israel at the time. They were being warned, so that when they recognised what was happening they could escape out of the city. ‘The end’ is not the end of the world; it is the end of Jerusalem and that Old Covenant system. And when Jesus talks about ‘birth pangs’, what is it that is being born? It is the new; it is the birthing of the church – the new ekklesia of God – in persecution, trouble and pain. The difficulty and pain in the birth of the new was caused by the fact that the old was still around to persecute it.

Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name (Matt 24:9). That is exactly what the Jews did in all the cities where the gospel was preached. They stirred up trouble against the church, against Paul and others, wherever they went.

Verses 10-13: At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

There was persecution. Believers did fall away. There were false prophets. Many were misled. Lawlessness increased. People’s love grew cold. All these things took place in that period between AD 30 and AD 70. “But the one who endures to the end…”, that is, who endures until the destruction of that old system, “… will be saved”.

To all the nations

Now comes a verse which has caused a great deal of misunderstanding because, like much of this chapter, it has been taken completely out of its first century context. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matt 24:14). Now you are going to tell me that the gospel could not have been preached in the whole world by AD 70, because most of it hadn’t even been discovered yet. My answer to that (and you will know this phrase very well by now) is: let the Bible interpret itself. Let‘s look at some scriptures and see whether this prophecy was fulfilled before the destruction of Jerusalem.

Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven (Acts 2:5). So already, the day the Holy Spirit came to the church at Pentecost, the gospel was preached to people from every nation – and you could quite legitimately say that the end could have come at any time from then on. But God, because He is gracious, left a generation for people to repent. And many priests, and many Pharisees and Sadducees, did indeed repent and become believers.

And there are more scriptures to consider. Look at these:

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; “THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD.” (Rom 10:1-18).

… the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world… (Col 1:5-6) and, the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven (v23).

The Bible says that the gospel was preached all over the world, to all the nations, at that time. That prophecy was fulfilled before AD 70. We are not still waiting for it to happen.

I hope you are catching this. We have been wrongly taught for so long that it can be a stretch for us to lay aside other people’s opinions and actually see what the scriptures say. And next time we will be doing more of the same.

54. Salvation and Judgment

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Stone and Mountain

I want to begin today by looking again at two scriptures we have seen before:

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

You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands …But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth (Dan 2:34-35).

This Stone and Mountain are very important: Jesus taught about it, and so did the apostles. The Stone is Jesus and the Mountain is His kingdom; the house of the Lord is God’s people. The kingdom is manifest (or demonstrated) through the church as God’s people, not through the institution called ‘church’.

The kingdom of God is going to fill the earth, in our time. As we have seen, tares have been sown into the church in terms of false doctrine which has put that off to another time or another people.

There has only ever been one people of God: people of faith. Faith is the key: it is not about being born into a Christian family. It was never even about being born into a Jewish family: you were not of the true Israel unless you had faith. It really wasn’t a national thing, as we will see.

‘Two sides of the same coin’

When God comes in righteousness, He often comes in judgment as well as in salvation: they are two sides of the same coin.

‘Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne (Kingdom); Lovingkindness and truth go before You’ (Ps 89:14).

lumberjack-199694_640

“The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matt 3:10-12).

  • The Flood brought salvation for Noah and his family, but judgment for the world.
  • In the Exodus, in the crossing of the Red Sea, there was salvation for Israel, but judgment for Egypt as all their army was swept away.
  • At the Cross there is salvation for believers, and it is open to everyone. But if you do not receive it, there is judgment.
  • In fact in all Jesus’ comings – and there are many comings of Jesus, ending with his Last Coming – there is both salvation and judgment.

Speaking of that Stone again:

This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” and,  “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”;  for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed (1 Peter 2:7-8).

The Stone, we know, was Jesus. Those builders who rejected Him were the Jewish people at the time. Not all of them rejected Him of course: the earliest church was made up of Jewish believers. But for those who did reject Him, those are strong words. ‘Doom’, like ‘woe’ in Matthew 23, is a covenant word.

No peaceful co-existence

Jesus ascended back up to heaven in around the year AD 30. The destruction of Jerusalem and its temple happened in AD 70. That 40-year period was a generation in which the old covenant people co-existed with the new covenant people. It was not a peaceful co-existence. Saul, before he met Jesus and became Paul, was sent out by the Jewish leaders to persecute Christians. They were trying to stamp out what they saw as heresy. Later on, in every city where (as Paul) he went to preach, he spoke to the Jewish people there first as God’s people and inheritors of God’s promises. When he showed them that these could only be received in Christ, most of them persecuted him, though some believed. That is why he was beaten and stoned.

So in this period the Old Covenant (with its Natural Country, City and Temple) was still in existence alongside the New Covenant (with its Spiritual Country, City and Temple). Much of the New Testament was written from the perspective of the persecution which arose because of this.

In particular, the whole of the book of Revelation was written about the covenant judgments (‘doom’) that were to come at the end of this period, the consequences of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah and their persecution of the church. It was written to provide comfort to those Christians who were suffering that intense persecution, to reassure them that God had a plan in it and that it would come to an end. It was not written about ‘the end of the world’. We need to get that out of our thinking, and then look at these scriptures for what they actually say.

That is a process we will begin in the next post. I want to look at the whole passage which leads up to the disciples’ question in Matthew 24, because that is essential if we are to properly understand the answers that Jesus gave them.

Related articles from Freedom ARC
Related articles from others

49. Jesus, the Centre of all History

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Jesus is the centre of all history

Take eschatology, the study of the last things: it is all about Jesus. It is not about us, it is not about the church, it is not about the world – it is about Jesus. He comes to sum everything up. He holds everything together. All the Old Covenant looks forward to Jesus. All the New Covenant looks back to Him. So every time we look at a scripture, we must interpret it through Jesus’ message and His Person. You cannot take it in isolation.

Some people say, ‘Paul said this in the epistles, and it contradicted Jesus’. No. it did not. It can never contradict Jesus. What Jesus said, what Jesus did, that is it. And we need to understand that, and interpret everything in that light.

All history was consummated in Jesus and it will be consummated in Him. Therefore, for as many as are the promises of God, they all find their ‘yes’ in Him  (2 Cor 1:20). Every single promise you can find in the Bible finds its answer in Christ. Every single one is fulfilled in Jesus. That is a really important principle to get hold of.

I want to give you some scriptures now which are foundational, and which will help us as we go on to look at some more complicated and difficult questions – in particular when we look at Matthew 24, which is Jesus’ teaching about what was to come.

That He may send Jesus

… 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 3:20-21).

So everything that has been prophesied through the mouth of a prophet, including everything we have written down as prophecy in the Bible, it will all come about before Jesus leaves heaven. Until everything is restored into the order God intended, until all the prophecies are fulfilled, Jesus will remain in heaven. And only when it is will He come back.

He cannot come until all that has been done. He is not going to come, and then do it after He has come. He is going to do it before he comes. He is going to fulfil and restore all things before He comes.

“He must be received into heaven”. Now, what does that mean? So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19). When He was received into heaven, He was enthroned: He sat on the throne. When you sit on a throne, it means you are ruling, you are reigning from that place of ultimate authority and power. That is where Jesus is. And He will remain in that place until He has restored all things.

Reigning

For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet… (1 Cor 15:25-27). Jesus will return to abolish death. Death is the last enemy.

Here is another scripture which talks about all things being in subjection:

…which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church” (Eph 1:20-22).

So that is where Jesus is, right now, in this age. He is reigning in authority and power. If Jesus is the Head, and we are His body on the earth, then His feet are our feet. And if all things are in subjection under His feet, then they are under our feet too. God gave Him as Head over all things to the church. I don’t have the space to go into every detail of this here, but you can follow it through in the psalms, look at what it means to be a footstool, begin to get familiar with this prophetic language and see what it is saying.

Through the church

We read in Ephesians 3:10 …that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church…’  I love that word ‘manifold’, because it means multi-coloured and multi-faceted, all expressing who God is; all expressing the wonderful wisdom of God. Being made known through… us, through the church. Being made known to whom? It continues: … to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which God carried out in Christ Jesus. So His eternal purpose was to manifest, to demonstrate, His wisdom. And He accomplished that in Christ and through the church.

Are you starting to grasp how all this hangs together? Is it starting to challenge some of the underlying assumptions you have been making?

It gets harder! Next time, as I said, we will begin to look at Matthew 24. That is a scripture which has been completely misinterpreted and misunderstood by the church, probably more so than any other chapter in the whole Bible. That is because it has been interpreted by Greek (western) logic and by people trying to make it fit with events they see happening around us today. As we shall see, that is a mistake.

This article is available in other languages

Are you part of the Joshua Generation?

We developed this just for you:

eg-homepage-crop

Engaging God on the Heavenly Pathways of Relationship and Responsibility
Equipping a Joshua Generation of supernatural sons of God to live according to the order of Melchizedek

Get started today!*

To find out more about the Engaging God programme, click here…

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