275. Separating and reintegrating soul and spirit (2)

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

As I have described before, in the autumn and winter of 2011-2012 God instructed me to spend a month in the garden of my heart, followed by a month on the dance floor, a month in the soaking room and finally a month in the bridal chamber. I was to make a marriage contract and take it into the canopy of darkness, into the presence of the person of God, for consummation. This is how I came to engage the dark cloud of His presence, where the separation of my soul and spirit took place. Since I was to be joined to the Lord in marriage, self could no longer be the controlling principle of my life. I had to yield and surrender the essence of self.

If none of my dreams were realised,
If none of the prophecies ever came to pass,
If my destiny was never fulfilled:
Would I still love God?
Would I still trust God?
Would I still have love, joy and peace and live in rest?
Would I still be able to rejoice and give thanks?
Would God still be a good God?

God loves us and wants to restore us to original condition.
He wants to give us the fullness of His blessing.
He wants us to find our heavenly identity and position as sons.
He wants to release us into the fullness of authority as sons.

In that cloud it may feel dark, but there is a heart-shaped hole in the darkness that leads us to Him.

Between soul and spirit

Between our soul and spirit there may be familiar spirits, religious spirits, fears, disappointment, lies, doubts – all sitting there, hindering or blocking the flow. Within our soul gates there could be guilt and shame, wrong belief systems and mindsets. He wants to remove all those negative influences so that there is nothing hindering the flow of life from the inside out. We looked at this process in the previous post and I suggest you work through it before attempting to go any further. It may not be a quick fix, but it is worth spending the time on.

And once all those issues are dealt with, there remain connections which our soul may have made to our spirit, maybe even as a consequence of our redemptive gift and how God created us to be, but connections which have arisen from trying to operate in our own strength independently of Him or without the pure motivation of love, from the outside in. These are a short tether, preventing us from operating in heaven and on earth at the same time.

We need those connections to be severed and new connections made from our spirit gates to our soul gates, so that everything flows from the inside out. These new connections are a quantum tether, allowing us to operate in dual realms, flowing from heaven through our gateways into the earth around us.

Invite Jesus

We are going to invite Jesus, the living Word of God, the Truth, into a place within us between soul and spirit.

We are going to ask Jesus, the Truth, to reveal any umbilical cords from soul to spirit.

We are going to ask Jesus, as the living Word, like a sword, to divide our soul and spirit.

We are going to invite Jesus, the living Word, to untether our spirit from the soul and from being earthbound so that we can fly like the butterfly, soar like the eagle and live beyond the veil continually.

Then we are going to invite Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to make us whole by reintegrating our soul and spirit, by reconnecting our spirit and soul gates correctly, and by quantum entangling us to live in dual realms.

Our soul has wanted to be recognised for what we do. The soul has looked to provide for its own needs; we then look for affirmation, affection, approval from people for what we do, instead of just being who we are. I encourage you to embrace the transformation process, so you can become whole. The more we become transformed into the image of God as His children, the more authority and power will be released because we will be recognised by creation itself as the sons of God.

Jesus, we invite you as the living word of God, like a sword, to walk through our spirit gate of worship where we surrender to you.
Jesus, we invite you as the living word of God to engage the illegitimate soul ties to our spirit.

I choose to surrender my soul’s rights to you.
I choose to surrender any path I have followed from the DIY tree.
I choose to surrender all works of the soul to validate itself.

I choose to surrender my redemptive gift to you and I declare I will not use it for self-validation.
I ask that you untether me from being earthbound.

Consciously surrender all ties, connections from your soul to your spirit, and ask Him to sever and separate and untether your spirit from your soul.

I ask that you, the living word of God, sever any umbilical cord or ties in my soul that have fed off my spirit, that gives my soul power to live independently.
I ask you to untether and separate me from any ungodly tie connected to my redemptive gift.

I ask you, as the Prince of Peace, to reintegrate my soul and spirit from the inside out.
I ask that you would reconnect and quantum entangle my soul and spirit so that my spirit will be continually connected, that heaven can flow through me.

I ask you to reintegrate me and make me whole and reconnect my spirit to my soul correctly.
Connect my Fear of God gate and Reverence gate to my conscience,
My Hope gate to my imagination,
My Prayer gate to my mind,
Revelation gate to my reason,
Intuition gate to my emotions,
Faith gate to my will 
And Worship gate to my choice.

Let heaven flow through me as rivers of living water.
I ask you to quantum entangle my soul and spirit.
Let heaven flow through my being.

Engage heaven and stay there, dwell there with your spirit.
Shift only your consciousness back to the earthly realm;
Choose to dwell seated in the heavenly realms.

Note: this is the third post on this topic drawn from Mike’s teaching in the Sons Arise! Into the Dark Cloud intensive, the Sons Arise! Invested and Enthroned conference and our Engaging God subscription programme.

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272. One Conclusion: God Is Love

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

So much better

What is the Father really like? Because if we are going to enter into a relationship with Him, we need to know that. And you can only get to know what He is really like by meeting Him and engaging with Him yourself.

As I began to meet Him, I discovered that He was not at all like I thought He was. And the more I get to know Him, the more I realise He is less and less like I thought. He is so much better!

Who He is not

In fact, the Father is not at all who religion or culture makes Him out to be.

The Father is not an old man with a long white beard, some Santa Claus type figure, generous with presents if you have been good – but if not, ‘You’d better watch out’, as the popular Christmas song says. He is not watching, waiting for us to get something wrong so that He can punish us.

The Father is not a wrathful, distant deity who needs appeasing with animal sacrifices, as you might think from a superficial reading of the Old Testament (see Heb 10:1-10). He is not the angry face of a two-faced God (with Jesus as the good-natured side). They are both exactly the same. Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). So the Father is not a cosmic child abuser who killed His Son to satisfy His anger and wrath. He is not a parent who turned His back on His Son on the cross but one who went through it all with Him.

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

The Father is not a disinterested creator who, having made everything, then just sits back and allows it to work out however it will. Nor is He a script writer who sovereignly and fatalistically decided how everything should be.

The Father is not a parent who has favourites amongst His children, so that He has chosen some to be with Him forever and others to be separated from Him and punished forever. He is not a torturer who will be endlessly tormenting most of His children because they did not do things His way. He is not the kind of parent who abandons, disinherits and disowns His children when they turn away from Him and ignore His advice because they think they know better.

The Father is not a cosmic heavenly sugar daddy that we can manipulate to give us anything we want by trying to please or appease Him with our good behaviour. Nor is He impressed by our tantrums.

Do you see how the Father has been misunderstood and misrepresented by religion to be someone He is not?

A loving Dad

Jesus is His express image and likeness and we can come to the Father for ourselves through Him. He is fully represented in and by His Son and is a loving, caring, compassionate Dad who deeply desires for all His children to enjoy an intimate love relationship with Him. He does not look at us the way we look at ourselves, or the way anyone else sees us. We are all the apple of His eye and the treasure of His heart, and He wants only good things for us. He desires to constantly bless us.

He is a loving parent, who will never force His children to do anything but is patient, tolerant and kind. He has a love for all His children that will never end, will never fail and will never give up on any of us. He is passionate about all His children and is patiently working and waiting for all of them to return to an intimate loving relationship with Him. His discipline is not punishment but loving correction, to help us make better decisions in future.

We are His passion. He does not hold Himself aloof from us because ‘He cannot look upon sin’. That is religious dogma built on half a verse in the Old Testament. Read the other half: the prophet is complaining that, somehow, He still does (Hab 1:13).

The Father allows us to make our choices. He so loves all His children that He is constantly working with all our choices and decisions, even the worst and most stupid of them, to produce something good that can even be woven into the fulfilment of His heart’s desire.

Conversation

One time, the Father said to me, “I want to show you My mind”. I thought “Wow! I’m going to be in the firing neurons of the creativity of God” but it was not like that at all. I found myself in the midst of a conversation between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And I kept hearing my name, which got my attention. He was constantly connecting and reconnecting with me, making corrections to ensure that I could still follow the path, even if I have gone off into some side track. He will even use the side track that I walked on as part of the story. He engages with us in the ‘eternal now’ – it is not past, not present, not future for Him, it is just ‘now’.

He is my Dad and is always available, never too busy for me, never leaves me, always wants the best for me, is always interested in me, always welcomes me into His open arms of love. My loving Dad is the most wonderful, faithful, trustworthy, patient, kind, good, joyful, peaceful, fun-loving, awesome Father who is always sharing His heart and thoughts with me. I love spending time with Him. He is fathering me.

And He is your Dad too.

Circle of the dance

So you do not need to be concerned with the arguments of those who do not know Him face to face or with the opinions of those who are conditioned to think they know Him because of what they have been taught by religion. Some people will always believe what they have always believed because they interpret everything in a way which backs up what they already believe. But if you are open to new revelation, God will show you who He really is.

You can see the Father if you can see Jesus, the Son. Get to know Him. Allow Him to deconstruct the false images you have of Him. This will inevitably stretch your understanding. But once you have been in the circle of the dance of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you know there is only one conclusion: God is love.

He asked me, “And what does 1 Cor 13 say about love? That it torments and punishes? No! Love is kind and bears all things”. Those ‘all things’ are the ‘all things’ He is looking to see restored, by the way.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… (1 Cor 13:4-7a).

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

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270. Walk on the Ancient Path

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

In this series so far we have looked briefly at three of the four dimensions in which I am encouraging you to engage with the Father:

The fourth dimension in which we can engage is in God’s heart in eternity, outside of time and space.

God is eternal

God is eternal. It may seem really obvious to say it, but it is important to grasp this. He has always been, He is, and He will always be (Rev 1:8). He is almighty, that is ‘all-mighty’. He is light (1 John 1:5). He is love (1 John 4:16). He is spirit (John 4:24).

If we meditate on these scriptures, and others like them, they will open up a doorway that enable us to engage with who God is. If we engage Him and know Him, beholding Him face to face, that intimate relationship with Him will help us know who we are.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jer 1:5).

Just as God is speaking here to Jeremiah, He has also spoken to each of us. He knew me, and He knew you, before He formed you in the womb. This was not some vague thought that God had: ‘knowing’ is a really intimate encounter. Since intimacy is two-way, actually, we knew Him too.

He set you apart for relationship and purpose. He had a purpose for your life that He knew, and that you knew, before you were actually formed. It is part of your very being.  What name has He given you? Who has He called you to be? What has He appointed you to? What has He called you to do? The good news is: you can know.

As sons of God we have access to I AM. Everything to Him is present, always in the eternal now. Since we are in Him and He in us, we can engage the eternal aspects of our identity and destiny within the heart of God. He wants to restore our connection to who we really are, who we were always created to be, giving us inspiration at a spiritual level that informs and empowers what we do here.

God’s very essence is love. In His heart your relationship with the very essence of love is restored: that is not just feeling loved, which is wonderful in itself, but also beginning to be an expression of love yourself. When you first go there, it is unlikely you will be able to process it with your mind. It is more that you know things instinctively because you are part of the thoughts of God, His heart and His desire; you absorb it, and it then begins to transform your life.

Soul and spirit

In order for your spiritual memory to be restored, you may need some deconstruction of your entrenched mindsets and framework, as I did. You will certainly need to have your soul and spirit separated and reintegrated so that your soul is free to cooperate with your spirit rather than pursuing its own agenda and affirming an identity independent from God. That changed everything for me. Everyone needs to go through their own process – pray it won’t be like mine, because mine was really hard!

When our soul and spirit are in agreement, we can live in dual realms of heaven and earth at the same time. We can become reconnected to who we were as pre-existing spirit beings, reconnected to creation as it was before it came into the bondage of corruption, which stimulates us to participate in the restoration of all things. Having a memory of what it was like when creation was in perfect harmony and there was no darkness really motivates me to want to see it like that again. The revelation of the sons of God will bring creation into the freedom of the glory of those sons – into our glory!

Walk on the ancient path

You may be familiar with this symbol, which I see as the eternal circle:

We can stand in what is, every day in heaven, in the arc of the Name of God, in His Name, in the four faces of God; then we have access to walk on that ancient path back into the heart of God (I no longer need to walk back into it because I now reside there; but if you are not yet able to live in dual realms, you can still choose to walk back there).

When you are in that place, allow His thoughts to envelop you. It’s like being in the womb of His heart: you were birthed there. If He were to tell you all those amazing thoughts He has about you in one go, it would overwhelm you. So He allows you to grasp them a little at a time. As you are in this place of intimacy, He will reveal how special you are to Him. You will begin to feel your value and worth to Him, not because of what you can do but because of who you are. You can feel love; you can feel His frequency vibrating in your spirit; that can be communicated by your spirit to your heart, your soul.

We gradually become more fully aware of our sonship, and not only in relation to this realm. We begin to see who we were as sons and who we will be as sons; if we connect to the beginning and outwork it in the middle, eventually the end will be in agreement.

Walk back into eternity

I want to give you an opportunity to walk back into eternity and to re-engage with the eternal aspect of the heart of God there for you. I cannot guarantee that you are ready, but you can ask Him to take you there and if so, He will. If not, He will take you somewhere that is a part of your journey into that realm and is right for you at this time.

Close your eyes if you can. Again, you can use the audio version of this activation if you wish.

Heaven is open.
Let the image form in your imagination.
Hear the invitation to ‘come up here’.
Walk up the steps into the heavenly realms.

Ask Jesus to help you engage with the arc in the heavenly tabernacle.
Let Him lead you into the arc of the Presence of God,
to stand before the four faces
and step into the Yod-Hei-Vav-Hei of His Name.
That is a step of choice, to step into the manifestation of His Presence there.

As you step into His Presence,
ask Jesus to allow you to walk on the ancient path,
to engage in His heart.
He may walk with you into that place
or you may find yourself transported there.

There, within the heart of God’s Presence,
you may feel cocooned in love,
you may see yourself as light,
you may sense the conversation all around you,
hear His thoughts about you:
sense your eternal identity.

Whatever happens, just relax and allow it to take place.
Stay as long as it takes, don’t rush away.
The eternal aspect of who you are will begin to be unveiled to you
at a deeper and deeper level.

Don’t let these engagements in four dimensions be one-time exercises. Make them part of your daily lifestyle. God will never run out of new revelation He wants to release to you; and increasing revelation of who you are will come out of the increasing revelation of who He is.

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

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266. A Happy Eschatology

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

The restoration of all things is not a one-off event but a continual process that God does with us, in us and through us as His sons. I believe that as co-heirs we are involved in, and carry responsibility for, the restoration of all things; in particular for the restoration of creation.

What I thought I knew

How the Bible frames our understanding of the future will greatly influence what we believe about our sonship and what is possible in restoration. Our expectations of the future will also determine what we believe about the part we can play in it.

If we believe that God is going to destroy the heavens and the earth with fire, as many do, that will inevitably affect how we see our responsibility to steward the planet and its resources. If we believe in a defeatist, rapture ‘rescue of the church’ into heaven, then there will be little point in looking for the kingdom to fill the earth in victory.

We often have confirmation bias: we already know what the Bible says, so when we read it, it just confirms what we already know. More study will not fix this. Only face-to-face encounters with God Himself can get us free from that biased view. Some of my encounters with God have been traumatic: for about 5 years it seemed like every time I thought I knew something, I would have an encounter with God which totally challenged what I thought I knew.

Religion continues to misrepresent God; but He is looking to undo the damage that religion has done to our perception of Him so that we will see Him as He really is, as Jesus revealed Him to be. Only the lens of love will enable us to see the true nature of God and how that underlies the restoration of all things. God desires restoration, and all His desires are birthed in love. Love causes restoration.

Happy endings?

When we use love as our plumb line it is easier to decide which doctrinal truths and theological positions are aligned with God being love and which are the man-made deceptions of a religious mindset. If we are to participate fully in the restoration of all things and the expansion of God’s kingdom as sons, we will want to embrace an eschatology which allows for creation being set free from corruption within that restoration: this is variously called a happy, realised, fulfilled or covenant eschatology.

Many of the positions people take are paradoxical or even contradictory, but they all use the Bible to prove that they are right. So did I! Now I have to own up and say ‘Sorry, I got it wrong’. Revelation is progressive, and I was only going on the revelation that I had (and of course, others are only going on the revelation they have too). God does not mind that along our journey we may have believed a whole variety of delusions, illusions, lies and deceptions. Still, He wants us to know Him; and in knowing Him He wants us to have the revelation of unveiled truth, so that truth can set us free.

Three streams

In conversation with God, He told me that there are three streams coming together. At present, there are a handful of people who flow with two of those streams, and even fewer who embrace all three. For now, each is mostly blind to the direction that the others are coming from but they will merge in the flow of the restoration of all things.

  • The Christian Universalists are travelling towards both a realised eschatology and an open heaven mystical flow.
  • The mystics are travelling towards a realised eschatology and universal restoration.
  • The realised eschatologists are travelling towards the mystical and the restoration of all things position.

Most eschatological systems have far from happy endings, involving expectations of fearful judgment, doom, gloom, destruction and failure for mankind and the rest of creation. In ‘happy eschatology’, prophecies of doom and gloom, judgment and destruction are seen as already fulfilled, leading to a restorative period in which all things can be restored. The future is positive and filled with possibilities of increase and blessing.

No fear for the future

When looking to our Bibles to see what the future holds, there are a number of factors we need to bear in mind:

  • all the events of the New Testament were future to the Old Testament writers
  • everything Jesus prophesied was future to those He was speaking to at the time, but
  • what was future to Old Testament writers, to Jesus’ first century listeners and to New Testament writers may not be future to us today – it may have already occurred.

There is no fear for the future based on Biblical prophecy when the prophesied events are already in the past for us. All biblical references to the end, the last days, the end times, the last hour and soon to take place refer not to the destruction of the world, but to the end of the old covenant age. This was the ‘end’ that Jesus prophesied would occur in the generation to which He was speaking.

To us, in the 21st century:

  • The prophesied end is past, not future.
  • The end of the old heavens and earth (i.e. the old covenant system of laws, temple and sacrifice) is past, not future.
  • The new heavens and the new earth (the new covenant) is present, not future.
  • The great tribulation is past, not future (this does not mean that there will never be any tribulation again throughout history, merely that any tribulation experienced will not be a fulfilment of this specific Bible prophecy).
  • The end of the age is past, not future.
  • Judgment and resurrection are past, not future.
  • The lake of fire is past, not future.

Revelation and Daniel

Most of the difficulties people encounter today with the book of Revelation and Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy come from trying to make them fit current (or future) events.

In reality, Revelation is John’s first-hand account of a heavenly encounter. He was shown the events Jesus spoke about, recorded in Luke 21 and Matthew 24, which happened in that generation just as He said they would.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place (Rev 1:1, my emphasis).

Revelation is full of such time references which should clue us in to the immediacy of the time frame:

  • tachus means quickly, all at once, with all speed, without delay.
  • engys means “at hand, near”
  • mello means “about to, on the point or verge of”

Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy also happened in that generation (including the 70th week). Daniel connected the eschatological time of the “end” with events such as the desolation of the temple, the resurrection, the tribulation, the coming of the Son of Man and the arrival of the kingdom. All those events would take place when the city and temple were destroyed or “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered”; “all these things” (not just some of them) would be fulfilled together (see the consummation scenes in Dan. 12:1-7; Dan. 7:13-14, 18, 27; 9:24-27).

The period of restoration of all things

  • As in the days of Noah’ happened in that generation
  • Believers fled from Jerusalem to the mountains in that generation
  • The judgment and resurrection happened in that generation
  • The kingdom was established in that generation

“Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matt 24:34).

That generation ended in 70 AD with the destruction of the temple and the very end of the old covenant. The period of the restoration of all things began in that generation… and continues in the new covenant age in which we live.

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This post is based in part on Mike’s introduction to ‘Happy Eschatology’ from our intensive ‘The Restoration of All Things held in June 2019. A lively discussion session ensued!

259. Clothed with Glory

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott  

“And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

Jesus was talking about the coming Pentecost and the first step of the Holy Spirit leading us into ‘the freedom of the glory of the children of God’, re-clothing us with the glory Adam and Eve displayed. That was to be the beginning of the process and our transformation was intended to continue, but many have become stuck or even refused to go there! We must embrace that truth, and the reality of spiritual gifts, but see it as just one step along the road to fully restored sonship and the authority that goes with it.

For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land.  I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts (Haggai 2:6-7, 9).

For Israel, under the old covenant, the house they were expecting to be filled with glory was the Temple. And when Jesus came to the Temple, He came with the glory of God again. But He was rejected by the religious leaders and when He left the Temple for the last time (in Matthew chapters 23-24) He left it desolate, that is, without the glory. In the new covenant we understand that we are the house, and we are to be filled with glory.

And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire (Heb 12:26-29).

Our bodies are a house of God, and we are part of this ‘mountain of the house of the Lord’ which is being restored by fire. The fire of God is not something we need to be afraid of. His fire is His love, and it only consumes the worthless, temporary things we have created on our DIY pathway. His fire is necessary to restoration – we cannot restore anything by the self-help methods which compromised God’s original intent and purpose in the first place.

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).

When God displays His sons to the world, when we are fully restored to positions of sonship, raised up and seated in authority in the heavenly realms, people will be drawn to the glory they see restored in us. What will that look like?

Transfiguration

And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him (Matt 17:2-3).

Moses represents the Law and Elijah the Prophets. Everything in the old covenant was there to honour Jesus as he appeared in the full blaze of the glory of sonship. If that happened to Jesus, it can happen to us.

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!” (Matt 17:5).

An extra phrase was added to the first time the Father affirmed Jesus as His Son: now He is saying “listen to Him!” So when we know our position, when God speaks that affirmation over us, creation will know to listen to us. Creation is looking for the revealing of the sons of God; it will listen and respond to us when we stand in that restored place of authority.

Mystic glimpses

At various times in history, God has given a few people mystic glimpses of mankind’s original state and of His original intention for us. In 1820, Anne Catherine Emmerich had an extensive and very vivid personal revelation in which she described Adam and Eve as clothed in light.

“They were like two unspeakably noble and beautiful children, perfectly luminous and clothed with beams of light as with a veil. From Adam’s mouth I saw issuing a broad stream of glittering light, and upon his forehead was an expression of great majesty. Around his mouth played a sunbeam, but there was none around Eve’s. I saw Adam’s heart very much the same as in men of the present day, but his breast was surrounded by rays of light. In the middle of his heart, I saw a sparkling halo of glory1.”

In 1882, Luisa Piccarreta encountered Jesus, who explained that in creating man, He placed him in the sun of the Divine Will. This was a garment of shining light, whose rays covered his body in a way that honoured him and rendered him beautiful. When Adam lost his garments of innocence he used material things to cover himself. Jesus’ earthly garments were taken from Him before He was crucified. “He did not take on other garments upon His Resurrection. Instead His Humanity was dressed with the shining garment of the sun of the Supreme Will… The Divine Will, while it is life, is also man’s true garment of Creation2.”

Though figuratively “naked,” because their knowledge of their premortal state had been taken away by a “veil of forgetfulness,” Adam and Eve had come to Eden nonetheless “trailing clouds of glory.” While the couple, as yet, were free from transgression, they could stand “naked” in God’s presence without shame, being “clothed with purity” in what early commentators called “garments of light” or “garments of contentment.” In one source, Eve describes her appearance by saying: “I was decked out like a bride, and I reclined in a wedding-chamber of light3.”

Such testimonies are designed to motivate us to pursue our restoration in light, not to settle for less than God intended and to reconnect with the eternity that has been placed in our hearts. Hebrew tradition and many rabbinical writings talk about the loss of innocence and glory in terms of light being removed. My own encounters with light and talking to Adam revealed the same truth. It is the Father’s desire for us to be restored to the light of our identity and glory as His sons. The more we realise and – in relationship – get to know the truth of who we are, the more we will begin to shine.

References

1 The Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations, vol 1 – Anne Catherine Emmerich, quoted in Frank Rega’s blog post referenced below.
2 Were Adam and Eve originally clothed in garments of light? – blog post by Frank Rega
3 The Nakedness and the Clothing of Adam and EveJeffrey M. Bradshaw.

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Expanding Our Reality

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

Free to watch on this blog: this YouTube video of the first session of Expanding our Reality, our final Sons Arise! event of 2018.

You can purchase all 12 sessions, including downloadable HD mp4 video, mp3 audio and PDF slides, by clicking here. The cost of the full intensive is £72 (inc VAT).

The instrumental music featured in this series is by Samuel Lane (SML Music) and can be streamed from SoundCloud.
His 3-track album Renewing The Mind is available to purchase on iTunes and other digital music platforms.

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EOR twinstapin sq

251. God’s Original Design and Purpose

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Our minds are constructed from pillars of beliefs and value systems acquired through the experiences of our lives. Those pillars form our worldviews and frame how we interpret the world around us – they are our conscious reality. We see the world through a lens that filters life’s experiences in line with our existing worldview and so perpetuates the status quo. But when we compare them with the Truth, with Jesus, we may well find that those pillars in our minds are lies or false representations of reality.

It is only knowing the Truth by personal experience, and in relationship with God, that will bring us into a new reality in which we can recognise who we are and fulfil our role and position in His kingdom as sons and co-heirs with Jesus.

Pillars removed

I shared with you how God revealed what the pillars were which held up the construct of my mind. Many of them were religious theology or doctrine. Others were from the education system and some from the DIY tree path of self. As you will recall, I asked Him to remove them one at a time; still, when the first one (evangelicalism) was removed, my whole theological belief system began to crumble. Doctrines and theological positions which did not properly reflect God’s love began to be exposed by the light of truth.

I began to see things I never saw before. I am loosely connected to thousands of people on social media, and suddenly I became aware that some of their posts seemed to line up with where God was taking me. It was not that they had only just begun to share those things, but that I had always tuned them out before. I had literally not been able to see them with my previous filters in place. Now I have connected more closely with some of those individuals and we are able to dialogue and share our journey together.

Long held beliefs have been challenged by the experiences of God’s love that encounters with Him brought. My whole relationship with God began to change as more and more of my filters were removed and I started to see everything through the lens of love. God is love. He isn’t anything else. Love always wants the best. So when we see Him do something which does not seem to be love, then our thinking about it must be wrong. Either it is love or it is not God. That will surely begin to defy some of our existing perspectives.

An empty head?

So God was carrying out the deconstruction that I had asked for. I began to wonder, what if I did not have anything there, what would it be like to have an empty head? So I asked “What is going to replace the construct?” This is what He told me:

“Son, let Me form the pathways of the tree of life within the construct of your mind. Let Me reform and connect the ancient paths within your brain so that your consciousness will become unrestricted and your creative potential will not be limited. I must plant new roots within your mind that will be able to flow from the eternal source; let them be entwined as the pathways to truth. As the living word, My relationship with you can now be the first pathway that will become a trunk that supports life.”

So He was promising to develop something in me which was not a construct but something more organic and relational as I engaged with the Source of life Himself. I felt this root system of truth began to form deep in my mind. Something was changing in the way my mind worked so that I would be able to see with a different perspective.

I had already engaged with the tree of life, and some of you may have too.

This picture represents various interconnecting spheres within the tree of life (of course it is not really flat, but multi-dimensional). We will have unique experiences of engaging with it, because the fruit is different for each of us depending on what we need. But I do believe that as you do so it will change the way you perceive and think about everything, right down to the very way your mind functions, just as it has for me.

God’s original design

So why is this deconstruction and renewal so important?

God has given us the power to affect our reality, but that will only be beneficial for us and for others if we are able to affect it from a perspective of truth rather than that of the lies we previously believed. Otherwise we will keep getting more of what we have always got. And that is the problem with thinking – you do not know you are thinking in a particular way, you just do!

“…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).

God is looking to restore everything back to its original blueprint design. As His sons, co-heirs in the kingdom, we have a part to play in that. But if we were to continue to see things the way we have always seen them, there would be no scope for them to change; restoration to God’s original plan and purpose would be impossible with the restrictions and limitations within which we have been operating.

We are not going to fix the problem with the same DIY methods that created it. There has to be a different way. We are not going to build embassies of heaven on earth in the way they built at Babel, using human construction materials and techniques, to make a name for themselves. It will not be for ourselves at all, but for the whole of creation, and we will have the ability to construct organically using quantum reality. Most technology that you see today is a development of something God has made in creation; God wants us to go beyond, and even beyond beyond, to creatively call things into existence which are not there at the moment.

Creation’s groan

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God (Rom 8:19 NASB). Or, as Francois Du Toit puts it in the Mirror Bible: Our lives now represent the one event every creature anticipates with held breath, standing on tip-toe as it were to witness the unveiling of the sons of God. Can you hear the drum-roll?

Creation is still groaning. So we can be sure that what it is witnessing at the present time is not the fullness of our sonship:

All creation knows that the glorious liberty of the sons of God sets the stage for their own release from decay. We sense the universal agony and pain recorded in history until this very moment. We ourselves feel the grief echo of their groaning within us while we are ready to embrace the original blueprint also of our physical stature to the full consequence of sonship. What we already now participate in as first fruits of the spirit will bloom into a full gathering of the harvest. (Rom 8:21-23 MIR).

God loves the whole cosmos but it is waiting for us to mature as sons. He has chosen us, and given us the responsibility. He is not going to do this for us. He is looking for sons who know the truth, the full reality of who our Father is; sons who see Him as He truly is and see ourselves as we truly are, created in His image.

The first stage of the restoration of all things is that we, the sons of God, return to our original design and blueprint. That is why it is so important that the illusions and delusions under which we have been operating are exposed, so that we can be unplugged from this false reality and plugged into the truth. Only the Truth that I know by experience will free me from being tethered to the earth, the physical realm, and from its rule and bondage.

The Truth desires to release us into the glorious freedom of our sonship as co-heirs of His kingdom.

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250. Pillars In My Mind

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

The truth that love reveals

When we behold God face to face it can lead us to experience metanoia (a radical shift of thinking), removing the veils and renewing our minds. In the last post I described how my introduction to the mind of God was like a conversation: communion, fellowship and oneness between God the One as Three and the Three as One.

He told me “Son, you can be one as We are One: your body, soul and spirit at oneness, unified and restored to godlikeness to be the light of love to the world. Let the conversation of love surround you and immerse you and fill you. Let the truth that love reveals define you; let it unveil your true image in Me. Know who you are by reconnecting with who you have always been. In Me, see your true image framed in love’s conversation, revealed in love’s true expression.”

One time the Father said “Come, walk with Me”, and we were walking in His garden. We were in a place of total rest, the most beautiful, living, vibrant place I had ever seen, felt, smelled or engaged with. Then it changed before my eyes into something completely different in colour, form and fragrance. And then it totally changed again. He said “Look through My eyes” and for just a moment I glimpsed all the infinite possibilities which exist all at once and I felt His pleasure and enjoyment in it all.

It was like a mind-expanding trip to prepare me for what was to come.

Free from limitations

Again, the Father said “Come, walk with Me.”

This time everything was dimly lit and it took time for my eyes to adjust. There were light pathways crossing and connecting but it was as if the power was down. He explained that we were walking in my own mind! We came to a gulf, and beyond it I could see doors that I somehow knew were closed but not locked. The Father said He would bridge the gulf for me, just this once. I saw a path extend across to one of the doors and knew the possibility of new pathways developing in my mind. I felt and sensed the potential possibilities of the eternal reality of who I was always intended to be as a son. Capacities that have been locked and hidden can now begin to reconnect. God wants us to be free from the limitations imposed by following Adam’s DIY tree.path.

We walked across the light bridge He had made for me. I knew it was up to me to open the door, so I reached out with my mind. I embraced the possibility of opening that door to discover new dimensions of reality. The door opened and I just gazed with amazement at ‘now’; seeing beyond time and space, I could envision all the possible creative choices I could make at that moment.

“Which one do I choose?”

That was my first thought. It was a fear-based response, the fear of getting it wrong. Because I was walking with the Father as a son, heart to heart, I immediately felt that fear just melt away. I saw a golden thread intersecting my time streams, fixed at both ends but flexible and movable by my choices, and I realised that as a son and heir all my possible creative choices were good and acceptable and would all lead to positive outcomes.

Pop the qwiff

I saw beyond the boundaries and limitations of my consciousness disconnected from true reality. I saw that I could choose a possibility, that I could (in quantum language) “pop the qwiff” and collapse the possibility into a reality.

I came out of this encounter and immediately I was faced with an opportunity to apply what I had just learned. I looked at my watch: it was 7.45am and I was due to meet Jeremy in my office at 8am. I saw the reality of being there on time and I chose to realise it and felt at peace. So I went upstairs and got ready to go out. When I came down and looked at the kitchen clock it was 7.55 but my watch (a Citizen Eco-Drive which never stops) still showed 7.45am.

I decided to test this reality. So I went out into the garden to water the plants in my greenhouse and feed the fish. After all that, my watch was still at 7.45am. Just as I was about to leave, my wife Deb reminded me that she needed the car that morning. I was going to have to walk. It is not that far, it takes about 10-15 minutes, so I set off. It was still 7.45 by my watch. Halfway there I noticed it had started to move again and I got to the office at 7.55am.

Pillars in my mind

“Son, walk with Me”.

We walked again within the recesses of my mind. “Son, look at the dysfunction of the broken paths. Look at the mindsets that are like obstructions blocking the pathways. Look at the rigid networks conforming and framing the pathways within your mind. Now see fluidity and beauty of the pathways that can be formed by your renewed mind linked to Mine.”

I saw the comparison. I saw the simplicity of the truth of the ‘now’ possibilities and compared it to the complex construct built from the interpretations of truth and reality that come from religion and culture.

“Son, let Me renew your mind to a new level, open up your mind to Me. Let the truth remove the cages constructed by following the pathways of the knowledge of good and evil.”

I saw a framework, a construction with pillars holding it up and a grid or series of connecting cross members as if bolted onto the pillars. He started to shine a spotlight onto these pillars:

“Son, these are the pillars upon which your paradigms are built.” He focused the light of truth on each of the pillars in turn:

  • Evangelicalism
  • Sola Scriptura
  • Greek thought
  • Hebrew thought
  • Augustinianism
  • Protestantism
  • Scientific rationalism
  • Cultural relativism
  • Humanism

It was not lost on me that there were 9 of them. There are 9 fire stones, stones of revelation which Lucifer the light-bearer was intended to reflect. Those 9 stones became counterfeited and perverted as 9 veils that frame our minds. Each veil filters the light of God and distorts the image of God and His image in us. Each veil controls how our mind interprets the data we receive.

The covering cherub’s role was to absorb and reflect the light released from the throne of God. He was responsible to release frequencies that would carry the image of God, revealing our sonship; but instead he chose the DIY path and led mankind down it too.

The veils are mindsets established from beliefs that someone has taught us; revelation from old theological truth meant for a previous day, the resting place of words that frame our belief systems. There is a new revelation of truth for our day to discover.

Deconstruction

“Do you want Me to deconstruct your mind?”

I did not answer right away but pondered for a while. Several days, in fact – I even had to google what some of those pillars were! Eventually I said “Yes, Lord, deconstruct the frameworks of my mind. Strip away the presumptions and the assumptions of my thinking. I want to think like a son.”

“Son, I can continue dismantling this from the outside or I can remove the foundations of the dogma, the pillars and supports of the constructs so that they collapse. This may be traumatic and disorientating for a short while but will be the most effective and quickest way to free your mind and consciousness from its constraints and restrictions.”

“Father, please remove the dogmatic foundations of my beliefs and restore the true foundations formed from eternal truth. Pull the pillars out!”

“But please do it one at a time!” I added quickly.

Mindquake

As the pillars were ripped from my mind the constructs began to become unstable. It felt as if my mind was wobbling – like I was having a mindquake. The truth began to challenge my established and entrenched beliefs and my mind was being set free. I started to see things I was not able to see before and realised how many assumptions and presumptions I had been living according to.

“The limitations are being removed and the realities are being expanded. Son, you are created and crafted with the creative nature of I AM as a son of God. Your true potential is limitless but is controlled by the boundaries that exist within your consciousness. Rest in the deconstruction at the end of the 7th day to embrace the new beginnings of the 8th day reality.

“Son, I am the master of all reality. Everything is contained within Me. I AM, therefore everything is contained within the infinite potential possibilities of My mind. You have access to My mind so your mind can be conformed and freed from its limitations.”

Beyond

These things are beyond what we can imagine with our present knowledge and ways of thinking. By faith you too can open up your mind for Jesus to walk in it, to reveal the veils and constructs operating in you, and invite Him to remove the pillars. You may share some of the pillars my thinking was built on; you may not. Like me, you may want to say ‘Please do it one at a time’.

But if you are to move on into the fullness of sonship, they are going to have to go.

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248. Multicoloured, Multifaceted Reality

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

We have looked at the mind in various ways within previous teaching. The Transformation series dealt with ‘trauma to transformation’. In Gateways, we considered the subconscious mind, the heart and the negative effects of our memories. The gateway of imagination was about activating the eyes of our heart to see the spiritual realms and in the gateway of reason we began detoxing our minds from the poisonous lies of destructive thinking.

These are all important processes in maturing as sons. But now we will be asking God to actually rewire our brain and the construction of our minds and our consciousness. Adam had abilities we have now lost. As sons of God, we should expect our mental abilities to be far superior to those we currently enjoy. It is our framework of beliefs which creates that limitation.

Savant syndrome is a condition in which a person with a developmental difference demonstrates abilities far in excess of what would be considered normal, often at the cost of healthy emotional development. The savant’s mind is wired differently. God wants to restore a whole range of abilities to his sons but in the wholeness and oneness of spirit, soul and body.

Religious tradition

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2).

These two processes, not conforming and being transformed, must run in parallel if our minds are to be renewed. We need to let go of the old DIY ways to embrace the new reality of our sonship with a new mind.

Live consistent with who you really are, inspired by the loving kindness of God. Do not allow current religious tradition to mould you into its pattern of reasoning. Like an inspired artist, give attention to the detail of God’s desire to find expression in you. Become acquainted with perfection. To accommodate yourself to the delight and good pleasure of him will transform your thoughts afresh from within (Rom 12:1-2 Mirror Bible)

Renewing our minds will enable us to know God and therefore know our true selves so that we can live in a new level of reality. So far we know only a tiny fraction of what there is to know. Patterns of belief have formed in us because of what we have been taught: religious tradition can be a big problem for Christians, even for those of us who thought we had escaped the bounds of religion decades ago!

When we align ourselves in relationship and engage personally with God’s good pleasure in us, He will transform our thoughts from within and give us a whole new way of thinking – about Him, about ourselves, about everything.

The mind of Christ

For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16).

This is not ‘might have’ or ‘will one day have’. We have the mind of Christ. Christ is the anointed one and the anointing is the divine enabling power of God. It is not a brain transplant: we do not have the actual mind of Jesus but we can have the restored, equipped mind of a son of God.

Jesus demonstrated an amazing range of unexpected abilities including telepathy, transmutation, pre- and post- cognition, telekinesis, becoming invisible, quantum tunnelling and creating reality.

Since we have the same empowerment that He had, we can do the same kind things He did. In fact, He told us we could do greater!

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father (John 14:12).

We have the mind of Christ to enable us to do things like that. Do we believe it?

When we really believe something, we will act on it. What we believe, whether truth or lies, will actually influence our behaviour. God does not want our intellectual assent but rather a belief that transforms the way we live. Lies will never enable us to be who God created us to be; only the Truth we know by personal experience (Jesus) will enable us to be free to be the real us.

So does what we claim to believe match up with what our actions indicate we really believe? If we find ourselves living in opposition with our supposed beliefs, let’s be willing to ask what the real truth is. Let’s be proactive and engage the Truth and let the Truth expand our reality to transform our lives. Let’s be willing to ask the questions that will bring a truth that we can live by.

Wired up

Even if we do believe that we can do greater things than Jesus, do we know how? Is our mind wired up correctly and connected to those abilities?

There is a popular myth that we only use 10% of our brains. That is not true, we actually use most of our brains but we only understand how 10% of the brain functions. We do not know how neurons from different areas of the brain collaborate to form consciousness or why some areas of the brain appear disconnected and some abilities are not yet (re)activated. I am sure that God does not want them to remain dormant in us, but He desires that we come into the fullness of our sonship.

Neural pathways are like superhighways of nerve cells that transmit messages. As messages travel over the superhighway many times, the pathway becomes more and more defined so that habits and beliefs form. Most of our pathways are formed by repetition, but trauma can cause a pathway to form instantly, as we saw before.

Deconstruction and Renewing

God spoke to me: “Allow your mind and your consciousness to be expanded beyond all that you presently know and have experienced. Experience the reality of all that is, all that will be and most importantly all that can be within My heart. Son, let your monochrome existence become filled with my multicoloured, multifaceted reality.”

It is always exciting when God says something like that, but I know by now that usually these things do not come without cost (and probably some unforeseen consequences as well). Expansion means being stretched, it causes tension. It is much more comfortable only to look at things the way we have always looked at them, only to see what we have always seen, and therefore only experience what we have always experienced. When God asks us to look at what can be, at things we have never seen, that creates the possibility that we will experience things we have never experienced before.

The way my mind was constructed made it impossible for me to experience that reality. It was not something that could change gradually and imperceptibly; something dramatic was called for. And so for me the whole of 2017 was a year of deconstruction and renewing. I experienced what I can only describe as a head explosion. I will share more about that in future posts.

God shows no favouritism, and everything He offered me He will offer you. Are you prepared to submit to whatever God needs to do in you? If not exactly prepared, are you at least willing? If so, tell Him and cooperate with what He says and does to make it a reality for you.

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246. Gnashing Teeth and Goats

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Recent posts on ‘hell’ have prompted questioning among our readers. That was their purpose – not to stir up controversy for the sake of it but to encourage us all to examine our beliefs about this subject and where those beliefs have come from.

We have looked at the occasions on which the actual word appears in English translations of the Bible, and then in the last post I shared with you the series of encounters with God which led me down this route in the first place. But we promised that before we move on we would also examine the passages where the word itself does not appear, but ‘the Bible clearly says’ that some people go to a place of eternal torture when they die.

Weeping, Gnashing of Teeth and Outer Darkness

“Weeping and gnashing of teeth in the outer darkness! That is obviously a reference to suffering eternal physical torture in hell.”

Is that so?

Look at what happened leading up to Stephen being martyred in Acts 7:54: his accusers (members of the Sanhedrin) became furious and gnashed their teeth at him. Weeping and gnashing of teeth was an expression not of tormented pain and anguish, but of rage.

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them (Matt 21:45). The only reason they did not seize Jesus then and there was because they were afraid of the public outcry.

It was not the general mass of humanity that Jesus was speaking of when He talked about gnashing of teeth and the outer darkness in Matt 8:12, 13:42, 13:50, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30 and Luke 13:28. It was this group of self-righteous individuals who would find themselves outside the covenant they were so sure was their birthright. In that ‘outer darkness’, having failed to heed Jesus’ warnings, they would respond with defiant anger.

Sheep and goats

Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life (Matt 25:46).

To be fair, you can understand why people tell us ‘the Bible clearly says…’. Our English Bibles certainly seem to. But we need to look at the Greek words used by the original writers of the New Testament books.

Firstly, what do we understand by ‘punishment’? Kolasis is the word used here, and it means ‘correction’, not ‘retribution’. Greek had a word for retributive punishment, timoria, which is never used of God in the New Testament. God’s discipline is always restorative.

Secondly, the Greek language had no word for ‘eternal’. They could have invented one if they had wished to: the language was exceptionally well-suited to building new words from component parts. They did not need the word because they did not have the concept. The root of the word used here, aionios, is ‘age’. For Greek speakers, an aion could mean a lifetime, a generation, or a longer period of time – but always of finite length. So not never-ending, not forever and ever, not eternal.

“Ah, but the same word appears in both halves of this sentence, and since ‘eternal life’ is everlasting, then the punishment must be, too.”

That depends on what aspect of the life we focus on when we read ‘eternal’. Surely it is not primarily the length, but the quality. The life being promised is the-God-kind-of-life: and the punishment therefore is the-God-kind-of-punishment: restorative and corrective, not retributive.

There are other reasons to treat this passage with caution, too. The sheep and goats in the parable are nations, not individuals. The criterion for escaping ‘eternal punishment’ is good works, not faith in Jesus. So if you are prepared to assert that whole nations will be sent to heaven or hell – based on their works, not on faith – then you can reasonably use this passage to argue your case for an ‘eternal hell’. So far I have not come across anyone in any theological stream who is prepared to do so.

“The eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels? That’s clear enough.”

The more I consider this phrase, the more I am inclined to Chuck Crisco’s view that it refers to ‘the accuser and his messengers’, which is a perfectly valid translation of the Greek words used. The Law, the religious system and those who fought to preserve it were heading for the fires of the Temple Mount and Gehenna at the end of the Old Covenant age (aion) in the destruction of Jerusalem by the armies of Rome (AD70).

But if that is a step too far for some, let’s consider the purpose of fire. The Greek word is pur, from which we get words like ‘pure’ and ‘purify’. Jesus came baptising with the Holy Spirit and with fire and Paul said that everyone’s work will be tested with fire. I believe we will all go through the fires of purification to restore us to our original design and identity as sons by removing anything that distorts that image. We can engage with that fire now, or wait until we die (I advise option 1). There is a fire which awaits everyone who has not gone through it already but it is for purifying and correcting, not for destroying. It is the consuming fire of God’s passionate love. And my testimony is that even those who did not accept Jesus while alive will still get to choose when they experience that fire after death.

So what was Jesus’ point in this story of sheep and goats? ‘Brothers’ was a term used by Jews to refer exclusively to other Jews. Again (as throughout these chapters of Matthew’s gospel) I would suggest that in His love He was setting out a warning to the religious-yet-unbelieving Jews, especially the leaders, who instead of serving ‘the least of these my brothers’ (the believing Jews) would imprison and kill them instead.

Lazarus and the rich man

We touched on this before, and for an in-depth look into this parable we recommend Brad Jersak’s analysis in Putting Hell Back in the Handbasket.

The context of Luke 16 is all about wealth and true riches. In the verses immediately preceding this parable Luke tells us that the Pharisees were lovers of money. Jesus is not offering a treatise on the afterlife, but a warning about putting your trust in riches and failing to help the poor. Jesus quite literally means that the rich and poor of that age will see a reversal of fortunes in the next.  Losing your soul for temporal gain is the cost of materialism and the results of living a DIY self-righteous life (Matt 16:26).

Abraham’s bosom is not a biblical phrase but a mythological or cultural one found in the Babylonian Talmud. Jesus is using a culturally accepted idea as the background for his story.

Aspects of the story make a crass literalism awkward: how does the rich man communicate with Abraham across the chasm? Does everyone there have a direct line to the patriarch? Does someone being incinerated in a furnace care about thirst? Are these literal flames? And since hades precedes the resurrection of the body, do we have literal tongues with which to feel thirst? Is this also the literal Abraham? Do the millions in his care take turns snuggling with him? Or is his bosom big enough to contain us all at once? How big he must be! And so on into implausibility. Taking the parable seriously means we mustn’t take it so literally. (Brad Jerzak – Putting Hell Back in the Handbasket).

Do we think that when we are in heaven we will be able to see our loved ones in ‘hell’, talk to them but offer them no hope, yet be happy with that?

Eternal destruction, away from the presence

… when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (2 Thess 1:7b-9).

If you believe in hell as eternal conscious torment, the word ‘destruction’ does not work for you. If you believe in the annihilation of the wicked, the combination of ‘eternal’ and ‘destruction’ makes no sense. However you look at it, we need to delve deeper.

The words in bold are all poor translations: diké (translated penalty) means justice, judicial hearing, legal decision; the related word ekdikesis (translated retribution) means that which arises out of justice; aionion (eternal) we know means pertaining to the age; olethros (destruction) means the state of being lost, lostness; apo (translated away from and from) does indeed mean from, but in the sense of coming out of or coming from and not separated from. Matthew DiStefano points out that the phrase Eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord (olethron aionion apo prosopou tou Kyriou) in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 echoes exactly that in Acts 3:19: Times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord (kairoi anapsyxeos apo prosopou tou Kyriou). No one translates that ‘times of refreshing away from the presence of the Lord’.

So Paul was encouraging the Thessalonians that there was a judicial decision about to come from the Presence of the Lord which would have a consequence for those who were persecuting them: it would involve a state of lostness pertaining to the age. Or you can read it as God’s consuming-fire-presence delivering a justice that totally ruins their lostness.

This is not about some future end of the world event or afterlife experience but what Jesus prophesied would occur in that generation (and did occur in AD70) – but even then, God’s justice is always restorative for everyone.

The Lake of Fire

Four verses mention the lake of fire in the Bible, all in Revelation 19 and 20. Revelation is an apocalyptic book, symbolic and cryptic in nature, the only one of its kind in the New Testament but very common in Jewish and Greek literature. Only those ‘in the know’ and immersed in the culture in which it is written will fully understand the symbolism. Symbols can represent multiple concepts. One thing is certain: apocalyptic literature is never intended to be read literally.

We can get clues about some of the symbols because they also appear in the book of Daniel, including the beast being cast into the blazing fire (Dan 7:11). Just as Daniel’s beasts were figurative, representing various nations, so too is the lake of burning sulphur figurative. The book of Revelation is not a prophecy for the far distant future but was an immediate warning to first-century Israel that just as Sodom and Gomorrah fell in fiery destruction, so too the Jewish religious system was in danger of ending in the same manner.

The ‘book of life‘ mentioned is a commonly understood concept in the Jewish tradition and refers back to the law where according to the Talmud this book is opened every Jewish new year on Rosh Hashanah.

In Revelation 20:14, we see Death and Hades thrown into the lake of fire. Here the lake of fire may well represent God’s (completed) triumph over evil, sin, the grave and death through the power of the cross. Many of the early church Fathers saw the lake of fire as a spiritual place where everyone in humanity was purged of their unbelief and sins so that they could eventually believe in God. I believe it is fed by the river of fire which flows from God’s throne.

And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Rev 20:10).

Forever and ever is a poor translation of to the ages of ages. Brimstone (Greek: theios, closely related to the word for ‘God’) was regarded as having power to heal and purify. Basanizo (translated torment) is ‘testing with a touchstone’ (in other scriptures it is translated as tossed or battered by waves, straining at the oars of a boat, and being in labour while giving birth).

Conclusion

Enough! No matter how many objections we address, how many scriptures we dig into, we know that some will not be persuaded. These posts are really not intended for them but for those who discover that God is already on their case – and even they will probably come up with other verses or passages not included in this brief survey. There are far more comprehensive treatments of the subject elsewhere; we have referenced some of them in the text and below. But ultimately all of us are going to need to go to God, in whatever way we know how, and hear what He has to say to us about the questions we have.

Fire and passion

We can all experience the fire and passion of God’s love today for ourselves. Let’s not hide from it or try to avoid it.

Son, it is time for everyone to embrace the fire
to experience deeper love
and the purification that My consuming fiery love brings.

Son, call on Me to stoke the fires
and increase the intensity of the heat
to reveal hearts, minds and motives. 

So I call for the purification of fire.
I call for the fire of love to penetrate the hardest, darkest areas of our hearts.
I call for the refiner’s fire to burn away the dross of self.
I call for the light to shine, to expose the things hidden because of shame.
I call for love’s overcoming power to reveal and break every chain tethering God’s people to the DIY path.
I call for the passion of God’s heart to be revealed in His wrath directed towards all brokenness and lost identity.

Let the consuming fire of God’s love burn in our hearts and minds to restore us to true sonship.

Recent articles from Freedom ARC
Older related posts
Resources on the topic of ‘hell’

These publications and websites raise issues we believe God is drawing to our attention today. We do not necessarily agree with all the doctrinal positions, conclusions or opinions of the authors.