72. Bound For A Thousand Years

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott 

We saw last time how important it is that our faith is in victory, in overcoming, in seeing God’s kingdom fill the earth.

A theology of victory

Kingdom and Covenant theology is a theology of victory. More and more people are starting to realise this because of the nature of what God is saying prophetically in these days. If you are someone who believes Jesus is going to come and rescue us, you are going to struggle to reconcile what God is saying with that belief. How does it fit? It doesn’t: Jesus is not going to come and rescue us: we are going to be victorious.

In succeeding periods of church history, people tended to hold different views on the book of Revelation. I want briefly to make it clear how we see things.

Firstly, Revelation is a  historical book which deals with God’s covenant judgment on Israel and Jerusalem.

Also, Revelation illustrates the triumph of the church through history, overcoming all persecution.

Soon… the time is near… quickly

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).

I’m sorry, 2000 years later is not ‘soon’. Now I know that for God, everything can be now. Bur this was not written for God, it was written for people to read and be encouraged and comforted in the midst of the persecution they were facing. It would have been very poor comfort to say that judgment was coming soon, if in fact it was going to take centuries. The book of Revelation was written before AD 70 to servants of God who were alive at the time. It was written about events which would soon take place. And what soon took place was the destruction of Jerusalem. John repeats it, so there can be no mistake: ‘the time is near’.

‘Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near’ (Rev 1:3).

Again, at the end of the book, Jesus says:

“And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book… Yes, I am coming quickly” (Rev 22:7, 20). And Jesus came quickly: within a few years of this being written, He came in judgment upon Jerusalem and it was destroyed.

Bound for a thousand years

While we are considering Revelation, I also just want to look at the only scriptures in the Bible which actually mention a thousand-year reign.

dragon-253540_640Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time (Rev 20:1-3).

So here we see that for a thousand years Satan is bound and not able to deceive, and then is released. It continues:

Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years’ (Rev 20:4-6).

When we read ‘the beast and his image’ we immediately think it must be future. But if you think about the beast and his image in terms of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, you will read this in a different light. It has already happened. And this is not a bodily resurrection – the scripture specifically says it was the souls of people which came alive. So this has happened before a bodily resurrection, not after. If Jesus had already returned, there would already have been a bodily resurrection, and that is not the case.

‘Priests of God… will reign with Him for a thousand years’: we know the language about being a royal priesthood belongs to us. So this is talking about us, and it is talking about something which happens on the earth.

We have already seen that Satan was bound (Rev 20:2). When is or was that? Look at Matt 12:28-29: ‘But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house’. All deliverance that we see today is on the basis that the strong man is already bound. Otherwise we would not be able to cast demons out.

If Satan were not bound, we would not be able to do what we are doing right now. If he were deceiving the nations, no-one would be getting saved. Remember the Great Commission: Jesus sent his followers out into the whole world to disciple the nations. It is possible for us to do that because Satan is bound and not able to deceive them. His power is limited.

In John 12:31 Jesus said Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out” (my emphasis). And in Luke 10:17-18, ‘The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning”’. It already happened.

Jesus first bound Satan in the wilderness, when He did what Adam had failed to do in overcoming temptation. Then He went further, in releasing authority on His disciples to go out and minister because of that. The fact that the disciples were ministering in kingdom power showed that Satan had no authority any longer. But then Jesus went on to actually conquer death: the wilderness had dealt with spiritual death, the cross dealt with physical death.

‘When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him’ (Col 2:15).

And if Satan is bound now, then the thousand years, the Millennium, must also be now. That is what the scripture says: he is bound, and remains bound for a thousand years. So we are living in the time right now when God’s kingdom is active on earth, because Satan is bound. It is not an exact, literal 1000 years.

Satan will be loosed. That will be just before the end. I believe there will then be an increase in Satan’s power, because we are going to have to overcome him. Warfare will be much more open, but God’s church will be raised up in light, as the mountain of the house of the Lord.

And that church will be victorious.

Related articles from others

71. Defeat? Or Victory?

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott 

In the past couple of posts we have briefly sketched some of the widely-held views about the Millennium. So what did the early church believe about the scriptures we have been considering? And what has the church believed through the centuries?

Persecution

Up to AD 70 most of the focus of teaching was preparing believers to live in that persecution leading up to Jesus’ coming in judgment upon Jerusalem. Initially, then, the prevailing conditions were persecution by Jews. After AD 70 persecution continued, but it was persecution by the Romans. The church took on a Jewish apocalyptical view of a literal kingdom on earth. Some thought that the kingdom might be before Jesus returned; some thought it might be after. It was still a very difficult time, and they were looking for Jesus to come and do something.

Political control

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
“Rome-Capitole-StatueConstantin” by I, Jean-Christophe BENOIST. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons (see below)

A major change happened for the church with the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine in 310 AD – and not all of it good. The church was now accepted by the political authorities, and it was OK to be a Christian. But the church was also controlled by those political authorities, so that Greek thinking and Greek influence began to pervade it. At this time the prevailing view was amillennial: the old interpretation (which had made a lot of sense under persecution) seemed not to relate so well to the changed conditions, so people began to interpret things in a less literal way, and say it must all be spiritual. You can see the Greek mindset having its influence in that distinction.

Political control continued into the medieval period, 596-1517 AD, as church and state started to mix together. Politically motivated and powerful popes, the crusades, the Holy Roman Empire, the whole idea of Christendom: all these arose during this time. The church was used by those in power to exercise control. Hardly anybody could read the Bible for themselves because it was available only in a not-very-accurate Latin translation, and that meant the priests had control of the whole system. Postmillennial theology became the norm. Their expectation was that things would get better, that the church would increase to fill the world  – but to achieve that they expected to use the sword, and to compel people to become Christians by killing those who would not comply. The preaching of the gospel was certainly not done in a way we would recognise today.

Reformation and revivals

After that came the Reformation (1517-1648). The truth began to be restored to the church and people began to question both the spiritual and the political authority of the Roman establishment. They continued to hold a postmillennial view, still expected things to get better, and saw the restoration of truth as part of that process.

Charles_g_finneyThen we come to a period where the Holy Spirit was poured out in revivals in both England and America: Wesley and Whitfield and so on in the UK; the First and Second Great Awakenings in the USA with Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney (photo) and others. Those revivalists were predominantly postmillennialists: they believed that Jesus would be coming back after the church had succeeded in its mission. Maybe that was because they saw the church actually succeeding; they saw revivals in which many thousands were saved and the work of the Holy Spirit was very obvious.

Tares sown in

But from 1826-50, so much that was negative began to be sown in, as we have seen. The tares were sown into the world, with the rise of cults and so on; and in the church the leaven of dispensational teaching and false doctrine began to spread and permeate everything.

From 1909, when the Scofield Bible was published and so many people read it and adopted the dispensational premillennialist views it reflected, the predominant mindset became very pessimistic. There was a great deal of scientific and philosophical attack on Christian belief, Darwinism began to become generally accepted, and two World Wars seemed to indicate that far from getting better, things were getting much worse.

A whole generation which had been impacted by the Welsh revival saw its young men wiped out in the First World War. And even after the Second World War, the pessimism continued into Cold War, a period of intense uncertainty in which nuclear destruction looked to be a distinct possibility. So much went into print at that time identifying Russia as the Beast or the Antichrist or whatever – and now those books are completely obsolete.

It didn’t stop the same thing happening with the Common Market in Europe, which was supposed to be the twelve heads of the Beast coming out of the sea in Revelation – and how many nations are there in the EU now? Then it was going to be Saddam Hussein. Well, he is no longer around either. North Korea next…?

All this material was written by authors looking at the prevailing conditions and trying to interpret them using biblical prophecy; looking at events in the world and imposing that onto Scripture, instead of the other way around. When we read biblical prophecy, we want to allow it to tell us what is (or was) going to happen. We do not want to interpret it from looking at the newspapers or the television news.

Renewal

Around 1960 there was a turning point, the charismatic renewal movement, when the Holy Spirit was poured out across the churches. That has led on to the whole prophetic movement, and the restoration of prophetic and apostolic ministry. With that has come fresh revelation – and a fresh challenge. It has caused warfare within the church, because when you challenge a status quo which is dominated by the enemy you get Jezebel spirits and all kinds of demonic activity being stirred up. They do not like the truth being preached when they have had things their own way for so long.

We need to preach the truth. The truth is that the kingdom of God is going to fill the earth. The truth is that Jesus is going to come back for a victorious church. The devil would just love us to believe that we are going to be defeated, because then our faith would be in that defeat.

But our faith is in victory, in overcoming, in seeing God’s kingdom fill the earth.

Related articles from others

Image of the Emperor Constantine
Attribution: “Rome-Capitole-StatueConstantin” by I, Jean-Christophe BENOIST.
Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rome-Capitole-StatueConstantin.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Rome-Capitole-StatueConstantin.jpg

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.

Related articles from Freedom ARC

 

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.

9. Broken Seals, Open Warfare

Mike Parsons

warfare no logo“But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase” (Daniel 12:4).

Seal up the book

We are in a time when the seals are being broken and the books that were sealed up are being opened. There is revelation coming, revelation of the truth of God’s Word, revelation from the heavenly realms, and its purpose is to prepare us for these days.

‘But just as it is written, “things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him.”’ That is 1 Cor 2:9 and it is not a very encouraging verse unless you read the one that comes after it, verse 10: ‘For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God’.

You see, verse 9 is a quotation from the Old Testament, and there were things in the Old Testament that could not be revealed. Before the Holy Spirit came, there were things that could not be revealed, not even to Jesus’ disciples. Nicodemus could not understand spiritual things that had no earthly counterpart. But today, by the Holy Spirit, God is revealing those things.

‘The Spirit searches all things’ – that is, everything about us, everything about God, even to the very depths of God, and he is revealing them to his people in these days to prepare us for what is to come. The prophetic books are being opened, and in opening those books there is new and fresh revelation being released, and we need to listen.

God’s Prophetic Timetable

Now when I talk about God’s prophetic timetable, I am not going to give you dates for things, I am going to give you a prophetic expectation about periods of time in which God is going to be working in particular ways.  I am not going to tell you everything that goes on in those periods because I don’t know it all, but I am going to tell you the things that God has shown me that are going to go on in those periods. We need to get ready and be prepared for these things that are coming.

We need to get ready and be prepared, because there is a challenge that God is going to bring. And if we are not ready and if we are not prepared, then we are in for a big shock. There are things you are going to have to do very soon in the kingdom of God that, if you had to do them now, would really, really challenge you.

Spiritual warfare

Spiritual warfare will become more open. In this country, spiritual warfare is hidden. Most of it is done behind closed doors by those ministering deliverance, or intercessors who are trying to engage the atmosphere of the earth. This is the kingdom in darkness where Satan rules as prince of the power of the air and his fallen angels rule over principalities, powers and territories.

Intercessors and others are engaging that kingdom in darkness mostly from this earthly realm, when, if they are engaging it at all, it should be from a position seated in authority in the heavenly realms of the kingdom of God or kingdom of Heaven. We need to go to the realms of the kingdom and directly obtain mandates or court orders if we are going to engage the kingdom in darkness, and we can then come down through the kingdom in darkness bringing the light of God’s glory to transform it, refine it and purify it. I will teach more about that as we go along.

But where spiritual warfare is concerned, I am telling you, things are going to ‘hot up’. The enemy’s schemes that are hidden are going to be exposed, and it is our light that is going to expose them.

The days of Noah

Jesus said that ‘As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man’ (Matt 24:37).  Now that is a challenging verse. He is saying that if we look at how it was in the days of Noah, that will give an indication of what is going to be going on in the day when Jesus returns. But the difference between what happened in the days of Noah and what is going to happen when Jesus returns is that one was defeat and the other is going to be victory.

Then the whole planet was wiped out, other than Noah and his immediate family; now the whole planet can be saved. I am not saying that everyone is going to be saved, but the potential of these days, when there are so many billions of people on earth, is that there are going to be more people in heaven than not. There is not going to be a defeat for God’s people. Jesus is going to come back for a church without spot or blemish, prepared and ready for his return. But we have to be ready to deal with whatever we have to face.

In the next post I will say more, but for now I’m just going to give you a glimpse of this. I shared when we talked about spiritual warfare that the seed of woman and the seed of Satan are in opposition, that they have always been in conflict. Satan has always tried to wipe out the seed. Cain killed Abel; later the enemy would try to wipe out Moses, he would tempt and try to kill Jesus. But in the days of Noah, his strategy was to pollute the seed, to make the people on the earth genetically impure.

Available in other languages

Engage with God like never before!

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.

Related articles from Freedom ARC

3. Choices: Constantly Connected?

Mike Parsons

Amos 3:7 tells us, ‘Surely the Lord GOD does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets’.

God is speaking today: the key question is, are we hearing his voice? Jesus said “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12).

Parables

Until the Holy Spirit came, Jesus couldn’t reveal everything because he was speaking about spiritual things his hearers couldn’t understand. He used parables, but today God is using parables of a different nature because we have a different measure of understanding: ‘But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come’ (John 16:13).

All the truth: that’s a lot of truth. Ian Clayton said he picked up a blade of grass in heaven because he wanted to know all of God, but the amount of information that was in that blade of grass made him drop it because it would have fried his brain. Because God is infinite, there is so much truth.

But still, the promise is ‘all truth’ and that means that everything is available to you: within ‘all truth’ God wants to reveal all that you need for your life and destiny. God wants to disclose what is to come for us as individuals, for our life, for our destiny in God; he wants to reveal the things he has already prepared for us before the foundation of the world. As that scripture tells us, the Holy Spirit came to reveal to us those things that are to come.

Your future destiny

Now the choice is, are you listening to Him? Have you seen your future destiny? If you have seen it, you can have it, that’s how it works. In fact you have to see it in order to have it, and you cannot have it unless you have seen it. ‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for’, that is to say, the things you have seen in the spirit. In the realm of the spirit, God wants to show all of us the things that are our destiny. He wants to show us what was written on our scroll in heaven before we were even thought of in a worldly sense (although in God’s thoughts we are eternal, we have always been with God, because he breathed his essence into us).

Constantly connected

Jesus was constantly connected. He only did the things he saw the Father doing and he only said the things he heard the Father saying (John 5:19). He was constantly connected to the realm of heaven and he has given us the opportunity to be connected too.

So what realm are you connected to? Are you connected to the earthly realm most of the time, and occasionally a little bit of heaven? Or do you constantly live in two realms? Can you be connected to both every minute, every fraction of a second, of every day? Twenty thousand times every nanosecond, Planck’s constant blinks us in and out of that spiritual realm (and a nanosecond is one billionth of a second). That’s a bit hard to get hold of but the reality is we are constantly connected – or we can be.

So what are you seeing? Whose voice are you resonating with? Who are you listening to? Are you listening to the voice of God or are you listening to other things?

4 sources of ‘wisdom’

James tells us there are four sources of ‘wisdom’ you can be listening to: wisdom from above (heavenly wisdom), earthly wisdom, natural wisdom, and demonic wisdom (James 3:15). Which of those are you resonating with? Who or what are you coming into agreement with? Because when you start to agree with the frequency of heaven, when you start to resonate with the heart of God, then heaven comes to earth through your life. So are we resonating with heaven (where God’s throne is), the atmosphere of the earth (where the battle is waged between the devil and the angels), this physical realm, or ourselves? Those are the basic choices, and the choice is ours.

Ten little 2-letter words: IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME. God doesn’t force it, he has given us free will to choose Him. In all of heaven and earth there are only two power sources: God’s and ours. The devil has no power source other than what we give him. And if we choose to agree with the enemy we choose to empower him, rather than God. Every time we say ‘yes’ to God we empower God and enable Him to operate. That is why he speaks prophetically. It enables Him to operate, because when we speak out of the prophetic realm of heaven, it can manifest on earth. That is because God has chosen to partner with us. It’s an amazing thing: God, the creator of the whole universe, has chosen to partner with us – and we have been given free will to choose to partner with him or not.

So what are you going to choose? What realm are you going to listen to? I would encourage you to listen to the realm of heaven, because what you see and hear there will engage you for your future and will reveal that future to you.

But the choice is yours.

This article is also available in French
Cet article existe également en français

Engage with God like never before!

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.

Sons Of Issachar is a blog edited and maintained by Jeremy Westcott
on behalf of Freedom Apostolic Resources.

©2011-2015 Freedom Apostolic Resources
Freedom Apostolic Resources is a trading style of Freedom Trust,
a charity registered in England. Registered charity number 1039290.
Registered office: Freedom Centre, 1 Howard Avenue, Barnstaple EX32 8QA, UK.