241. You Have Not Desired

Mike Parsons
and Jeremy Westcott   

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Religion sees the Father punishing and forsaking his own Son on the cross. Yet the early Church Fathers (who were discipled by those that Jesus discipled in love) did not believe that God punished Jesus. The cross is not about abandonment but quite the opposite: healing and reconciliation.

Relationship sees the death of Jesus as the communion, oneness and togetherness of Father, Son and Holy Spirit breaking into our separation.  It sees the love of God breaking into our alienation and darkness with light. The purpose of Jesus’ death is to find us, to establish relationship with us, in our sin, in our death, in our bondage; and to recreate us or to make us alive, to bring us from death into life. That has been His desire all along.

If God is not ‘counting their trespasses against them’, then there is no reason for Him to punish anyone. And fear of punishment is absolutely not the way Perfect Love operates in any case: instead, His kindness leads us to repentance:

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realising that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? (Rom 2:4 NIV).

What is wrong with this picture?

So if we look at the Old Testament law and the sacrificial system and see an angry God needing appeasement, something is very wrong with this picture.

Cain and Abel were the first people we know of who brought God an offering:

So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions (Gen 4:3-4).

God had not asked them for anything. So I wonder who told them that God required offerings or sacrifices. I would suggest that it was the same satanic DIY religion whose lies inspired Adam and Eve to make coverings and hide in the bushes.

Since then, and throughout mankind’s history, making sacrifices (including child sacrifices) to appease angry do-it-yourself gods has been integral to religion. Sacrifices are made to ensure fertility, bountiful harvests, security and victory. Abraham was told to leave his idol-making family behind but he didn’t (Gen 12:1). Jacob’s wife Rachel stole her family idols when she was leaving home (Gen 31:19). Israel sacrificed to idols while they were in Egypt, and even took them with them into the wilderness (Acts 7:43), where they got Aaron to make a golden calf (Ex 32:1-4).

Delight in sacrifice?

It was anger at the sight of the golden calf that caused Moses to break the original tablets God had given him (Ex 32:28), God’s own handiwork which according to the original Hebrew were actually sapphire cubes of heavenly revelation.

For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).

Moses wrote the law from His own interpretation on the replacement tablets he cut out of stone. He gave the sacrificial law to stop Israel sacrificing (including child sacrifice) to idols such as the golden calf, Baal, Molech and countless others. God allowed Moses to introduce the law to limit sacrifices that could be made, not to endorse them. He neither wanted nor needed the sacrifice of animals to appease His wrath.

At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands… as it is written in the book of the prophets, “It was not to Me that you offered victims and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, was it, O house of Israel? You also took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of the god Rompha, the images which you made to worship” (Acts 7:41-43).

God really did not want their sacrifices.

For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices (Jer 7:22).

Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a body You have prepared for Me; In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure” (Heb 10:5-6).

King David, even after committing murder and adultery, knew that appeasement was not what God required:

For You do not delight in sacrifice,
otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God,
You will not despise

(Psa 51:16-17).

Justice, not sacrifices

“What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?” says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle; and I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats… Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow” (Isa 1:11, 16-17).

“I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings… But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:21-22, 24).

“…and to love one’s neighbour as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:33-34).

A change of heart, righteousness or justice could only come from relationship with God, not out of the self-righteousness associated with our own DIY religion, or with the Law. In fact the Law only served to demonstrate to those who were under it that they could not have a relationship with God through their own DIY efforts.

A living sacrifice

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1).

Paul is not writing here about trying to appease God by serving Him. It is very easy to slip back into the mindset that we need to do something to make us more acceptable to Him. Political and religious spirits constantly seek to subvert the gospel. Jesus warned his disciples about this:

“Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod” (Mark 8:15).

So let us consider, are we in any way still living a DIY religious lifestyle?

  • Are we praying and reading our Bibles more out of fear than faith?
  • Are we doing good works to earn forgiveness, or brownie points?
  • Are we paying our tithes and giving our offerings out of obligation?
  • Are we sacrificing our children on the idol of ministry?

There’s nothing I could do
That would ever make You
Love me more
There’s nothing I could do
That would ever make You
Love me less
(Outrageous Love by Jonathan David Helser and Ed Cash).

Nothing we can do could possibly make Him love us any more than He already does. Nothing we can do can make Him love us any less. He loves us consistently, perfectly, passionately. Once we recognise this fact, the idol of ‘GOD’ as the distant, angry, punishing deity begins to be demolished in our lives.

What if?

  • What if God was ACTUALLY good?
  • What if God was ONLY good?
  • What if God was ALWAYS good?
  • What if there was NO dark side to God – at all?
  • What if God was FOR us, not against us?
  • What if God doesn’t allow evil, but rather seeks to DISALLOW it by applying His curative energies to both victim and offender?
  • What if God cares deeply, tenderly and intensely for the wellbeing of everyone at all times and in all places?

A.W. Tozer famously said that “by a secret law of the soul, we grow to resemble our image of God.” We become like who we behold; so we need to know the true God if we are to be like Him and represent Him on the earth.

Once again, let me say, I am not trying to invent or convert anyone to a new theology or belief system but I am encouraging us all to meet God face to face and find out what He is really like. Instead of agreeing or disagreeing with me about these things, why not ask God for personal revelation and let Him reveal Himself as the Truth?

SoundTrack: Outrageous Love by Jonathan and Melissa Helser via YouTube

This blog post is adapted from Mike’s teaching in the ‘Engaging God‘ subscription programme. Find out more…

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99. Everlasting Doors

Mike Parsons
and Jeremy Westcott – 

Between the heavens and the earth are the everlasting doors. These are the portals that were open when Adam was first created, so that he could manifest God’s glory. The earth still retains the residual memory of when they were open – the grid pattern of ley lines whose power is recognised by New Age people and those who practise the occult. But it is only a memory – they have now been guarded and mostly blocked by territorial spirits in the atmosphere of the earth. We find them in Psalm 24, (and we often sing a song based on this passage):

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.

Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Even lift them up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.

Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory.
(Ps24:7-10).

The glory of God

‘The King of Glory shall come in’. The King of Glory will come through those doors from the heavenly realms into this realm, bringing with Him the glory of God. This still happens from time to time, and we call it revival, transformation, awakenings. These are all manifestations of the power of God and the presence of God through the angelic which come through those doors.

We are the gates

Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Things begin to happen as soon as we start lifting up our heads, as gates. We understand that each of us is a gate for the presence of God to come through, a gateway between heaven and earth.

By now we know to think Hebrew not Greek, function not form. Your head is the place of government, authority and rule. The function of the head is to rule, and to lift it up is to rule at a higher level. Once we start to lift up our government to a higher level, then the lifting up of the everlasting doors starts to take place and the glory of God begins to manifest.

God stands in the gateway

As often in the psalms, the phrases are repeated, but with subtle changes. Next time around, in verse 9, we notice that it says, ‘even lift them up, you everlasting doors’. Once you have been lifted up to a realm in the heavenlies, once the gateway is open, God comes and stands in the gateway. I’ll show you that from scripture in a moment. When God comes and stands in the everlasting door, that whole realm lifts up the gate to a higher level.  It is the fact that God is standing there in the doorway that enables things to go to an even higher level of authority in the Kingdom of God.

Lord of the Angel Armies

Who is the King of Glory? The Lord of hosts. Now we have a name. Before, we had what He did, but now we have His Name. Do we understand the Name of the Lord of Hosts? It means ‘Lord of the Angel Armies’. Once we start accessing the courts in the heavenly realms, the Lord of the Angel Armies is actually releasing the angelic to operate amongst us. Some of us know this by experience. In fact, more and more of us are starting to see angels, and experience the reality of angelic activity, and recognise what is going on in these realms. He is the King of Glory, and the King of Glory is going to manifest Himself through the angelic in these days.

Jacob’s dream

Where in scripture do I see God standing in the gateway? Genesis 28:12-15 talks about Jacob.

He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac… Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go”.

I met Jacob in the heavenly realms – he was the first of the ‘cloud of witnesses’ that I met, one of the men in white linen who are there to help us from past generations. He spoke to me about this passage and told me to study it and to understand how this works. So I have been looking at his experience and his life (and talking to him about it).

That ladder was set here, on the earth, not in heaven. Its top reached into heaven, which means we have access here to reach into heaven. The angels are mentioned first as ‘ascending’, so they were already here. They were going up, and they were coming back down bringing the kingdom and the revelation of the glory of God back down with them. And here is where we see God in the gateway: “the LORD stood above it” (v13) – He was standing at the top of the ladder. Ho promised to be with Jacob and keep him – the King of Glory starting to manifest His presence.

Bethel, the house of God

He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (Gen 28:17).

Each of us as an individual is now the house of God, because God dwells in us. We are also a gate of heaven, and we need to be lifted up as a gate into the heavenly realms to manifest the glory of God

Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God”. So Jacob said “Put away the idols which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments” (Gen 35:1-2),

Jacob had called this place Bethel, meaning ‘house of God’, and God told him to go and live there. We have to go and live in the place where we are the house of God and where we are a manifestation of the gate of heaven. “Make an altar there”, a place of sacrifice. “Put away the idols which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments” – that is a description of what is going on with us right now in God’s Prophetic Timetable.

There is sacrifice, a purifying, a removing of idols, and a change of garments taking place. And no, it is not necessarily a painless process.

SoundTrack

Jeremy Riddle (Bethel Music) – We Will Dance (For Your Glory) via YouTube

Image attribution: Detail from Jacob’s Dream by William Blake (c. 1805, British Museum) – William Blake Archive, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1869973

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27. Surrender, Crucifixion and Sacrifice

Mike Parsons –

I surrender

We are continuing to look at the Prophetic Timetable that God showed me, the plan of what He intends  to do in our days, until Jesus returns. As I have said, there are no specific dates here, but periods of time in which God will be working in particular ways.

In the coming days, God is going to equip people in supernatural ministry. There will be cities of refuge (we read about cities of refuge in the Old Testament: they were places where people could go and be safe). God is speaking to us here at Freedom about being one of those cities of refuge. And there will be others because in the times that are going to come, people will need places of safety that only the kingdom of God can provide.

Surrender

All the creative gifts are going to be released, whether in music or the arts or media – all sorts of areas. God is going to release that, but He has first to remove the stumbling blocks: and the gathering angels are waiting. We do not have to wait for that time, do not have to wait till He comes and pins us to the ground. We can be proactive: we can surrender and allow God to do it right now; we can get on our face before Him and allow Him to do anything He chooses in our lives: get rid of the flesh, pride, rebellion, impurity, unbelief – anything. And if we surrender, He will do it.

He wants us to surrender, He wants us to say ‘Yes’ to Him, so that we can shine like the sun, shine with His glory: the light has come, and that light needs to be released, manifested through us as true sons of God, manifested in power. The whole of creation is groaning, waiting for the manifestation of God’s sons (Rom 8), those who are actually reflecting the glory of Jesus, who are truly living as Christians – ‘little Christs’. You know, ‘Christ’ is not Jesus’ surname: it means ‘Anointed One’ and it puts the focus on His anointing. So when we are Christians, we are anointed ones; and we carry His anointing and His power. All those ancient anointings, together with new ones, are going to be released in these days. So please, let’s not miss out, any of us.

Crucifixion

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20).

That is a key scripture in surrendering to God. This is what Jesus has already done for us on the cross: are we going to embrace it? Are we going to count ourselves crucified with Him? We are going to have to surrender ourselves to that crucifixion of the flesh. Everything that could hinder, and cause us to be a stumbling block, or cause us to miss out; everything that has happened to us; all the pain and the hurt, the disappointment, the people who have let us down, and the abuse that we have suffered – are we going to allow any of that to stop us? Or are we going to use it as a springboard to surrender to God, to be healed, restored, and made whole?

Let me make it personal: will you ask yourself, “Am I going to allow God to change my life, so that I can get on and do the things that He has called me to do?”

He wants to live through us. The New Age movement has robbed us of so much, because they have counterfeited what is real. When you talk about being a channel of the Holy Spirit or being a channel of God’s power, there is a sharp intake of breath as people say, ‘Oooh, you can’t do that”. And that is because the New Age people talk about channelling spirits. But we are actually supposed to be a channel of the Holy Spirit; rivers of living water are supposed to flow through us; we are supposed to be those who God breathes through, who God lives in, so that people see Him in our lives.

Sacrifice

This is how we do it:

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

That is what worship is. Worship is not singing songs, though singing songs may be a way we express our worship. Worship is bowing down in obedience and saying, “You are God, and I submit and surrender to You. I present my life as a living sacrifice: You use it how You want to use it. I am not going to get in the way, I am not going to determine what I am going to do in my life, I am going to surrender it to You. I will allow You to lead me”.

Those who are children of God are led by the Spirit. We are not conformed to this world, we don’t have to come under the rules and regulations of the world. I am not talking about the laws of the land, we need to respect and honour those in authority over us; but I am talking about the things of the world that seek to keep us down, things that say to us, “You’re not good enough, you’ll never be anything”.

God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. He is not looking for people of great intellect, He is looking for people who are available, people who are willing. It is not about how much head-knowledge we have of the Bible: what counts is knowing Jesus. It is actually having a personal relationship with Him. No-one reading this is excluded from that, no-one at all. You might have university degrees, that is great. I had an education like that, but did it help me in knowing God? Not a bit. Most of the time it got in the way, because I rationalised, analysed and thought about Him rather than feeling Him, experiencing Him and knowing Him.

And now that I am feeling, experiencing and knowing Him, it is a total revelation! To meet with God and know Him, to meet with the Holy Spirit and know what God is saying; to receive visions and direction and dreams from God: that is what He wants for us, and that is how He wants to speak to us. We cannot know God except by experience. It is not about gaining knowledge, it is about being transformed by the renewing of our mind. Then we will know what God’s will is for our lives, and we will be able to outwork it.

That is why God wants us to sacrifice ourselves to Him, to surrender and to submit to Him as Lord of our lives: to allow Him to determine what our lives are like – who we are, where we go, what we do, what we say.

How do we surrender and submit to Him? We come as a living sacrifice, a prepared sacrifice; and in the next post we will see exactly what that involves.

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