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.

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46. Revelation and Interpretation

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott 


Arise, shine; for your light has come

And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples:
But the LORD will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you.
Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising’
(Is 60:1-3).

I said last time that we need to look at how we understand prophecy. This is a very familiar scripture, but how can we be sure we are interpreting it correctly?

When is darkness covering the earth? How is this to be understood? Surely this is about the birth of Jesus? He came as the light into the darkness of the world. This is certainly how people who recognised Jesus as the Messiah when He came would have interpreted this scripture.

But what about in our day? Or what about the return of Jesus? We know there is coming (and perhaps we are already entering) a time of increasing shaking, of increasing darkness, and that only the Kingdom will remain.

It is vital that we know how to read scriptures in the correct light.

Religious doctrines and traditions are about to be exposed for what they are and religious spirits hate exposure. After all, Nephilim spirits are looking to rule and to exercise control of the world’s systems without anyone getting wise to them. If we allow that, then the promises of God are always going to be represented as being for another place, another time, or another people.

Looking forwards, looking back

I was brought up in a religious atmosphere like that. In the Cornish town where I lived, there was not a single church practising baptism by full immersion. When I read in the Word that that was how God intended it, I had to travel 12 miles to find somewhere they did it that way. No one had even heard of baptism in the Holy Spirit – I had to go even further to find people who were experiencing that.

And yet, in my town, the churches were all very keen on looking forward to the Second Coming, on what God would do in the future (their understanding was that He would rescue them so they would not have to go through the tribulation). They were also very hot on what God had done in the past, by sending Jesus to save us. But in the period in between, they were just hanging on, expecting (and experiencing) constant defeat and setbacks. It was all about the past or the future, never now. People did get saved, I saw them setting out enthusiastic and optimistic, but over time their enthusiasm was squashed, or just drained away. Religious spirits thrive on and seek to perpetuate this kind of situation.

Information or revelation

Revelation does not come through study. I know, because I studied the Bible a great deal. When it came to information about the Bible I could answer pretty much any question you could throw at me. But the Kingdom of God did not fit into my belief system. When God began to speak to me about it, my brain starting flashing ‘Does not compute’.

???????????

Those who know me will tell you that I am very strong on what I believe. But I am also willing to change if God shows me I have it wrong. I had to get to the stage where I was prepared to jettison everything, if God showed me to. This is hard, and it may well be hard for you if you are willing to go there. You are not alone. I have had to let go of doctrines and understanding that I really thought were right. And that process continues – I know what it is to be challenged.

So if it is not through study, then how does revelation come? It comes through meditation and in conversation and relationship with the Living Word Himself. We cannot expect to just figure it out from what we see in the world around us today, to make it fit. The truth is, we don’t have to fit with the world, we need to align with God’s purposes. Therefore we must spend time meditating on what the written word says, and allow the Living Word to teach us what He has to say about it.

An important principle of Bible interpretation, and one that is widely accepted, is to go back to the first use of a word or phrase. Another is to allow the Bible to interpret itself. As we see how words or phrases are used consistently throughout the Bible, that will help stop us from falling into error.

Greek and Hebrew mindsets

To really get to grips with all this, we will need to consider the Hebrew context of scripture. In the West we are at a disadvantage because it is not really possible to grasp the true meaning of scripture from a typical western mindset: we have been taught to think in a totally different way. So in coming posts I will begin to explain how to see things from a Hebrew point of view.

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