75. Lessons From The Moses Generation

Mike Parsons – 

Preparing the next generation

In closing this series on the Prophetic Timetable, I am going to be talking about three generations. There is the Moses generation, and you don’t want to be part of that, as we will see. There is the Joshua generation, which I am going to focus on over the next few posts. And finally there is another generation, the Jesus generation, who will see Jesus return.

God is releasing a generation to prepare others. This word really got to me when I was on the fast a few years ago: I saw in the spirit a whole generation passing away and a whole new generation being raised up, and I knew God was saying something significant.

Moses’ generation an example

It is important for us to understand what the Moses generation is all about:

For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.  Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.” Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Cor 10:1-11).

Although God showed them all the promise, and the Promised Land, they actually refused to go in and wanted to carry on operating in the place they had become accustomed to, and in the strength of their own understanding. ‘Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction’, so that is an indication that this is really important. We don’t want to miss what God is doing, and we need to be aware of things which could cause us to miss it. We are experiencing a time when the fire of God’s Presence is here to refine and cleanse us, to prepare us for what is to come.

An opportunity to choose

We don’t want to operate in idolatry. We know that idolatry is about putting other things before God. Our idols are stumbling blocks in our hearts, and God is gathering those up and removing them from us. God is giving our generation an opportunity to choose.

There are some obvious parallels in this story:

Coming out of Egypt’s bondage – Salvation
Crossing the Red Sea – Baptism in water
The pillar of cloud and fire – Baptism in the Holy Spirit
The wilderness – Testing, preparation, transformation
Crossing the Jordan – Embracing destiny
Promised Land – Kingdom inheritance (but that involves giant-killing)

God has called us to be giant-killers. Our Promised Land is not just physical. It is true that there is a physical aspect to it: ‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth just as in heaven’, just as Adam and Eve were given the mandate to bring God’s kingdom onto earth and to subdue and overcome and rule. But there is also a dimension that God is bringing His people into which goes beyond the physical here on earth, and into the realms of heaven. So the ‘Promised Land’ for us is not just a matter of embracing all the good things which are ours on earth, but of being seated in heavenly places with Christ and bringing that authority to bear in the atmosphere of the earth. We have thrones of authority as a church – and other churches and other people of God have thrones of authority. But most people have no understanding of these whatsoever: they have never been there, have never sat upon them. Going to the courts of heaven, obtaining judgments there that will affect what goes on in the atmosphere of the earth and in this physical realm, all these things we are going to really have to get hold of and embrace, because it is all part of our inheritance, part of our ‘Promised Land’.

Failed to inherit

Let’s see what happened when the children of Israel were brought to the borders of the land:

Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight” (Num 13:30-33).

Now this is what caused them to fail to inherit, when they were given the choice. Joshua and Caleb brought a positive report; the others saw the obstacles, including the giants, and the Nephilim (and we understand a little of what the Nephilim were all about); they saw them and they backed off. They were not prepared to go in, fight the fight and take possession of the land. And as a result, that whole generation missed out on what God wanted them to do.

Nevertheless, in spite of that generation saying ‘no’ to Him, God’s response was: “but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD” (Num 14:21). He would raise up another generation, because He was going to have His way.

And that is still the case today. God’s will is going to be done one way or another: our choice is whether we want to be part of it or not.

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68. As He Is, So Are We

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott –

When Jesus comes back, He is coming for His bride, the church. So this scripture is talking about us:

That He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless (Eph 5:27).

And since each of us are part of that bride, we have to be ready. That is why we are experiencing a season of purification and refining in our lives. For some of us, we may well have been here before. But we have a sense that God is doing something at a deeper level this time. God is removing stumbling blocks, He is removing all the idols we have in our lives. We are praying Psalm 139, ‘Search me O God, and know my heart’. And it is so that He can make us into that holy church that Jesus can inhabit in fullness, releasing His power onto the earth.

Confidence

Now, what does it take to be ready? There are some scriptures in the first letter of John that I want to look at:

By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world (1 John 4:17).

So we can have confidence, because ‘as He is, so also are we in this world’. As Jesus is: not as He was, but as He is now. He is enthroned in heaven: and we are outworking that kingdom, that enthronement, here on the earth. Our confidence comes from knowing that He is on the throne. His position as King is what gives us the confidence to outwork that kingdom, here in our lives, on earth.

‘Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming’ (1 John 2:28).

There is a relationship here: we abide in Him and He in us. It is an intimate relationship. And when He appears, as long as we are remaining in that relationship of intimacy, hearing and obeying His voice daily, doing the things we see the Father doing, then of course we will greet Him with confidence. It would be terrible to flinch away from Him when He comes in glory, not to be able to look at Him because we are ashamed of the way we have been living. If we stay close to Him now, we can have confidence when He comes.

Like Him

‘Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure’ (1 John 3:2-3).

So when Jesus actually appears, we will be like Him. We will be transformed. We will have a new resurrection body, and be transformed into an eternal being. In His resurrection body Jesus was able to appear to His disciples, walk through walls, eat a fish supper. We will be just like that: ‘we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.’ But because we have this hope, we also need to purify ourselves, just as He is pure. So we do have some work to do.

Baggage

When we see Him, we do not want to be carrying all the baggage that we might presently be going around with. We have an opportunity, right now, to be purified. We can allow Jesus to refine us, to prepare us to meet Him. All that holds us back and weighs us down, we have an opportunity to get it sorted out ahead of time.

I want to be properly prepared to meet Him face to face. I have my life here and now to work on that. And how do I make myself ready? I just surrender to Him. I allow Him to do whatever he wants to do in me. It is not something I have to somehow try to rack my brains and get all figured out. I just have to give Him my life on a daily basis. I need to present myself as a living sacrifice. I need to reckon myself dead to sin and alive to Him. I need to be crucified with Christ so that I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. My flesh no longer determines what I do.

Anointed One

‘Christ’ is not Jesus’ surname, remember. Whenever the word ‘Christ’ is used in scripture it refers to the anointing he carries. When it says ‘Jesus’, it is referring to the person of Jesus; when it says ‘the Lord Jesus Christ’, it is giving Him His full title and emphasising His lordship. So each time we read about Jesus in scripture, the name(s) used to describe Him emphasise what aspect we particularly need to understand about Him.

So it is Christ, the Anointed One and His anointing, who lives in me. I have been crucified – past tense – but I need to outwork that in a daily relationship, by presenting myself as a living sacrifice before God. I have written about how we do that in an earlier post. This may be stating the obvious, but the thing about a living sacrifice is that it is actually alive. I present myself on a daily basis, so that my life can be used for His kingdom purposes, so that I can be pure as He is pure.

That is how He would like me to be; how He would like all of us to be. How we need to be, because He is coming.

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65. Left Behind?

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Important note: as with the previous post, our view of this has moved on some since this was first written.

There is nothing in what Jesus says in Matthew 24 that we would now see as referring to the ‘last day’.

Below is the original post, largely as first published. Most of our comments about the ‘rapture’ still stand, but we would no longer apply Matthew 24:40-41 to the ‘last day’ at all, but (as with everything else in this chapter) to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.

As we have seen, the Last Day is just that – the last day, and there are no more days after it. It is also the day of resurrection, and the day of judgment.

“He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day” (John 12:48).

We could be the generation which sees that last day. That is why removing stumbling blocks and being purified by fire is so important for us right now: we need to be ready, we need to be prepared to face judgment.

Holy and blameless

This is how Paul describes the church as she will be at that time: …that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless (Eph 5:27).

Holy and blameless? He has some work to do, then. That is what this purifying is for. We must heed the warnings. He will suddenly come to His temple, purifying and refining like fullers soap. We can fall on the Rock and be broken, or if we choose to remain stubborn and rebellious, the Rock can fall on us and we will be crushed (Matt 21:44).

Jesus wants to come back to a church which demonstrates the kingdom in fullness, a church which does what Adam and Eve would have done if they had not sinned: a church which subdues and overcomes (Gen 1:28).

Coming with the clouds

How is He going to come on that last day?

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).

Jesus levitated before their eyes, in a cloud of glory (we are not talking about a fluffy white cloud here). That cloud is the same cloud He will return with: a cloud of witnesses. Nowhere does it say He will set foot again on the earth. In fact, as we shall see another time, there will be no earth for Him to set foot upon. We will not need to be gazing intently into the sky in order to see His coming. His coming will be visible, sudden, glorious and noisy. There is no ‘secret rapture’ here.

The rapture of the saints

‘There’s a talking donkey in Shrek, and a talking donkey in the Bible (Num 22:28), so that makes Shrek more biblical than Left Behind‘ (Benjamin L. Corey).

The whole idea of a secret rapture of the saints is just not there in the word of God.

At all.

The word ‘rapture’, by the way, is just from a Greek word meaning ‘caught up’. But a whole demonic doctrine has been built up around this concept, and has infiltrated the church like leaven – and you can easily tell it is demonic because it robs the church of power and effectiveness. It teaches a secret taking away of the church to be with Jesus and then everyone else being taken to judgment at some time later. The actual length of time between the two may vary, depending on the eschatology. But it means the church is expecting rescue, not victory.

What does scripture say?

Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left (Matt 24:40-41).

But who is taken first, and who is left? This is a trick question, so watch out!
Let’s allow the Bible to interpret itself:

Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’  But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’ (Matt 13:24-30). 

…and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age (Matt 13:39-40)

So what Jesus taught was that the first people to be gathered up and taken at the end of the age would be the tares. It would be sudden, it would happen in the midst of normal life…

And you would want to be ‘left behind’.

All scripture quotations are taken from the NASB.

64. The End Of The Age

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott  

Important note: our view of this has moved on some since this post was first written.

We would now say that the disciples’ questions were really about just one event and that the ‘end of the age’ Jesus is speaking of is the end of the Old Covenant age and the ‘age to come’ is the New Covenant age. This means that Jesus is not changing the subject from Matt 24:34 onwards.

‘Like the days of Noah’ is a description of the times leading up to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. However, there is still an application of this for us, as the enemy continues to seek to destroy the seed even today.

There is nothing in what Jesus says about the ‘last day’ in Matthew 24 (or in John 6:40) that we would now see as referring to the last day of history. The ‘last day’ is the end of the Old Covenant age.

Below is the original post, as first published.

We have seen that in Matthew 24, the disciples asked Jesus about three specific things:

Mount_of_Olives_(before_1899)
Mount of Olives (before 1899). Public domain.

As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matt 24:3).

In recent posts we have looked at how Jesus answered the first two of these. From verse 34 onwards He is talking about the end of the age.

And the first thing to say is that no-one knows when that will be. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah” (Matt 24:36-37).

So if you come across any books, blogs or articles telling you when it is going to be, don’t even bother with them. There is nothing and no-one that can tell you. And Jesus says that not even the Son knows. Now of course Jesus knows, but as the Word of God He has not revealed it anywhere, not the exact day and the hour.

We are not supposed to know the specific time, and there is a reason for that.

“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming… For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will” (Matt 24:42, 44).

Every single believer, from that time on, needs to live as if it is the last day. It could happen today. Then we will be ready. Jesus told the story of the wise and foolish virgins to illustrate that point; the parable of the talents, too. He wanted to warn us not to be found to have wasted our talents when the Master comes. We need to be prepared; we need to live in readiness not in complacency.

What we are permitted to know is what the times will be like when that day comes. It will be like the days of Noah, and we have already seen how that involved Nephilim, widespread evil, and pollution of the human DNA. Those times will come again, and the church must face them with authority and power.

“Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29).

Jesus said there would be a day of resurrection and judgment for everyone. When? On what He called ‘the last day’.

“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40).

Now there is something fundamental we need to understand about the last day: it is the last day. There are no days after it. So when Jesus comes and raises people from the dead, that is the end. There are not 7 years afterwards, not 3½ years, and not 1000 years. The clue is in the name: it is the last day.

Time itself stops.

And this also emphasises why Jesus will remain in heaven until every prophecy has been fulfilled, and does not come to fulfil them. There is no time for anything to be fulfilled after the last day.

‘…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).

I know that is not what is taught: the fulfilment of prophetic promises is routinely put off to a different age, or a different people. The truth is that the church has access to all the promises in order to see to it that the kingdom fills the earth. The alternative is the eschatology of defeat and failure we have looked at before, which only robs us of our position of power.

Here is another scripture which talks about the end in similar terms:

‘For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death’ (1 Cor 15:22-26).

The end is the end. At that point Jesus hands over the kingdom to God the Father. No more kingdom, no 1000 year rule, just the end. This scripture expressly tells us there is no more rule, authority or power after the end. They are all abolished. Jesus reigns until then, and He reigns through us.

Death too is abolished when Jesus comes, and everyone goes on to eternity, with or without Jesus.

52. Wheat and Tares

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott
 –

We have been considering the disciples’ question about Jesus’ return and the end of the age. It is essential to view all this through covenant eyes. God has always worked through covenants with men, and every time it was men who broke them. But they were all fulfilled in Jesus: every promise God ever made finds its ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen’ in Him. There are not two covenants in operation in our day, just one. And it is one which we cannot break, because it was not made with us, but with Jesus.

AD 70

We have seen that Jesus’ answer in Matthew 24 (at least up to verse 34, but probably the whole chapter) refers to the end of the Old Covenant age and the destruction of Jerusalem, especially its temple. “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place”. AD 70 would have been the end of that generation of disciples Jesus was talking to. The main fulfilment of all those prophetic words happened in that period. That is not to say that we cannot see further examples of them in our day – and throughout church history – but we are not waiting for them to happen as signs of the end. The end that Jesus was talking about already came.

We looked briefly at the decline and revival of the church over the centuries, how the Holy Spirit began to break back in once the scriptures were available in the common language again. I would encourage you to read the ‘God’s Generals’ series of books by Roberts Liardon, and see how God began to restore truth to the church through some amazing godly men and women. But as God sowed wheat, the enemy also sowed tares. Tares look just like wheat, and you can only tell the difference because tares don’t produce a harvest. So in the very period when God was working in revival and power, we also see the birth of Darwinism, Marxism, humanistic philosophy – false systems of belief sown into the world. And not only into the world – into the church too. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christian Science all started around this time. Some of them looked like the truth, and people are still deceived by them today.

False doctrines

In 1826 the Brethren movement rejected the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and put back the purposes of God for another 80 years. In rejecting the truth, they also embraced deception, as often happens. And the enemy was able to use this to sow in false teaching and false doctrines which have plagued the church ever since. This is what God is starting to challenge and remove so that we can regain a true perspective of His kingdom.

What were some of those things?

  • Dispensationalism. Separating up scripture into particular periods of time in which God works in different ways. That breaks up the continuity of scripture and prevents people seeing the whole picture of God’s plan and purposes through the ages.
  • Cessationism: The belief that gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for now, that they stopped in the New Testament when the last apostle died.
  • Pre-Millennialism: Jesus was going to come back before the Millennium. Up to that time the only people who taught that were the Jesuits. No-one else believed it. Now it is prevalent among large sections of the church.
  • The Rapture: God would come for His people in a ‘secret rapture’, take them and leave everyone else behind. That doctrine only arose in this same period. And now it is the subject of a whole series of best-selling Christian books and accepted without question by much of the church as being what the Bible teaches.
  • Seven Years of Tribulation on the earth: this belief only started to appear at this time.
  • The separation of Israel and the church.

This was all so insidious that it spread like wildfire. The Schofield Bible came out of all this, robbing the church of authority by promoting an eschatology of defeat and rescue rather than of victory and of the increase of God’s kingdom to fill the earth. All of a sudden it was maintenance, put the walls up, protect your beliefs, have nothing to do with the world. The Brethren church was so exclusive you were not even allowed into their meetings unless you could prove that you came from another Brethren Assembly. I was brought up in this, and when I got baptised in the Spirit, God just challenged my whole theology. I have had to re-examine everything I believed: even now I have to be continually open for God to show me the truth.

Greek and Hebrew mindsets

The background to this is that there is a difference between the Greek and the Hebrew mindset. We have briefly touched on that before. Let’s be clear, I am not talking about reading scripture in the Greek and Hebrew languages, but about our way of looking at things when we approach scripture. Here are a couple of tables I often use to illustrate some of that:

Greek Mentality

Hebrew Mentality

The goal of salvation is to escape this world and go to God’s dwelling place in heaven The goal of salvation is to prepare a place fit for God’s dwelling here, among His people
The kingdom of God exists in heaven, not upon the earth The kingdom of God is God’s reign among people here on earth
Jesus is coming to take us away from this world Jesus is coming to reign over us and through us in this world
Message: “Get your ticket now, or you might miss the train!” Message: “The kingdom of God is coming! Get ready to serve the King and manifest the kingdom.”

Greek mindset

Hebrew mindset

Form Function
What I do How I do it
Secular/Religious Unified
Heavenly/Earthly Dual
Knowledge Experience
What I know Who I know
Works Grace
Creed Deed
Analyse Live – Be and Do

You will recognise many of the approaches in the left hand columns. They sum up how most of us have been taught, and have affected how we view everything. God is removing stumbling blocks, and we are going to find that the Greek mindset is increasingly going to be challenged.

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50. And Then The End Will Come

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

I suggested to you last time that Matthew 24 is one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted of all chapters in the Bible. This is because people read into it what they expect to see, and do not come with an appreciation of covenant language and covenant understanding.

Good news?

We will look at the whole of Matthew 24 in due course, but for today I want to concentrate on two particular sections. Here is the first:

Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matt 24:11-14).

This is Jesus prophesying, and He is talking about an awful time. False prophets, people being misled, lawlessness, love growing cold, needing to endure. Then He says, “This gospel shall be preached…”. And I thought the gospel was supposed to be good news! If this is how it is, then no wonder some Christians are so miserable and pessimistic. No wonder some have a siege mentality and are just holding on, waiting for Jesus to come and rescue them.

And verse 14, I have heard that preached on so many times. We have been taught that Jesus cannot come back yet, because not every people-group has heard the gospel. The end cannot come until we have preached the gospel to every nation.

The end of what? That is the question we ought to be asking. The end of the world? The end of time?

Clearly not, because we’re still here. Why do I say that? Let’s look at the second passage I want to highlight today.

Amen, Amen

So, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place (Matt 24:33-34).

“So you, too…”- Jesus is speaking to his disciples directly here – “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (my italics). That phrase ‘Truly I say’ is the ‘Amen, Amen’, the ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you’ of the older versions, and it means ‘Listen carefully and pay special attention to what I am about to say – this is particularly important.’

‘This generation’. That means a period of up to about 40 years. You really have to twist the meaning of the word to make it mean anything else, which hasn’t stopped some people doing exactly that.

So everything that Jesus talked about in Matthew 24 right up to verse 33 – ‘all these things’,  including preaching the gospel to the whole world –  were to happen in the next 40 years or so, during the lifetime of most of those disciples. False prophets, people being misled, lawlessness, love growing cold, enduring to the end – it has all already happened. Now, there is an application of that, and in a sense of course it is always happening, has happened throughout the history of the church.

But the fact is, it happened already. And the end came.

Now that has blown many of your theologies right out of the water. Around the world, prophetic people are struggling to fit what God is showing them into an eschatology that simply doesn’t work, because it is based on a false premise, and a misinterpretation of this passage of scripture, amongst others. As I say, that is because people have not approached it with a proper understanding of covenant and covenant language.

Next time, we will look at how ‘all’ was fulfilled in that generation, and explore the question ‘the end of what’? Once again, we will be looking at some very familiar scriptures, and you will likely already have a very clear understanding of what they mean, because of what you have always been taught. And once more, I’m going to ask you to look again…

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45. Please Do Not Stone Me…

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

We are still looking at the Prophetic Timetable God showed me, but as part of that I am going to get into a subject now that could take quite a while to cover. We need to look at how we understand prophecy.

Sons of Issachar

Scripture tells us that the Sons of Issachar were people who understood the times, and who also had knowledge of what to do. We have had that prophesied over us here, but it is not only true for us, it is true for anyone who will lay hold of that truth for themselves. If we are to gain understanding from God, so that we know what to do, then we must deal with all that robs us. We need to face up to the fact that God is about to challenge and change things we have in place in our lives, in our thinking and in our understanding, so that we line up with Him.

And He loves to give continual opportunity for people to respond. If you look at the Prophetic Timetable diagram, you can see that although God moves on to the next stage, He carries on doing everything He has already begun, so that people can get on board with it at any time, right up to when Jesus returns.

Understanding the times

Some within the church, and indeed some churches, have still not heard the call to intimacy, to identity, or to sonship. Some have not realised that God is highlighting the stumbling blocks, the lawlessness in the church. Not everyone yet sees that He is in the process of refining and purifying us so that the church can be presented to Jesus as a spotless bride (and no longer what Joan Hunter calls a ‘dalmatian church’ – covered in spots). Some may have seen or heard, but not yet responded.

Knowing what to do

pocketwatch0837-150x150

There is still time, but it is already shorter than it was. If we have received revelation, we need to take action. Are we willing to be that generation of harvesters? Or those who train up that generation of harvesters? A shaking is coming, and when it does, the world’s systems are going to fail, big time. It will be critical that we really do understand what God is doing and that we actually do know what to do. That is not the time to be caught unprepared.

In the next few posts I am going to challenge some of your sacred cows. I am going to call into question some of your deeply held beliefs and the way you have always understood and interpreted scripture. There are doctrines which up to now many of us have simply accepted without question; but which God is now exposing as doctrines of demons.

Please do not stone me, at least not until you have read and considered everything I have to say. I do not say it lightly. It is not my natural inclination to be confrontational. But God has shown me some truths and I cannot escape that I need to share them with you.

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25. Who Can Live With Consuming Fire?

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

rootoutidolsAre we willing to root out of our life the idols that would otherwise keep us blind, deaf and dumb in the things of God? We saw what some of them were last time. The reason they would keep us blind, deaf and dumb is that they themselves are blind, deaf and dumb. A carved image has no life, it has no voice, it has no vision. So we will be aimless, powerless and ineffective if we do not deal with our soul. This is what God is saying to us right now.

Consuming fire

There is a verse which asks, “Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual burning?” (Isaiah 33:14b). It is a good question: can we live with consuming fire? The answer is, we can’t, not without being continually burned. If we are to live with the fire then we will be continually changed and purified. “Who among us can live with the consuming fire?…He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity, he who rejects unjust gain and shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe; he who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking upon evil…” (Isaiah 33:14-15). We will need to not only be righteous but to walk in righteousness; there are things we will have to stop looking at, things we will have to stop our ears from hearing, because we must be found willing and ready.

Fix our attention

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you (Romans 12: 1-2, The Message).

We are to fix our attention on God. His eyes are fixed upon us, and those eyes of fire can see right through us. When we have God in our spirit, and the glory of God coming through our spirit, it will restore our soul. We will be changed from the inside out, as it says in this passage.

I have said before that the gathering angels are here among us. There is a time very soon, in fact it is about to come upon us, when the true church is going to be separated: there are things which are going to be taken out of the church, but the world also needs to come out of our lives. Then we will be able to shine like the sun, transfigured with glory; able to be true sons of God, revealed to the world in which we are living.

Ancient anointings

And I believe that all the ancient anointings and mantles that God has released in history are going to be released in these days, and restored to the church. The mantles of authority and power of every revival there has ever been are going to be conferred upon the church in the last days.

We can be eager for that, but if you have listened to and read the stories of revival, you know that virtually every one of the people who were involved in leading those revivals eventually fell into sin in some way. They ended up either dying early, or their ministries fell; and this happened to them because they were not pure and holy. God is not going to trust people who are not pure and holy with the mantles and the anointing that he is going to release in these last days. This is the reason He is wanting us to prepare our lives: if we are to carry this anointing and these mantles – and not fall – then we have to do now what is necessary in order to be ready.

Be hungry and thirsty for more. There is more to come, therefore be changed. God is wanting to  prepare us,  to equip us, to empower us; He wants us to truly be sons of God, to be superheroes of the faith. That is what God is looking for in these days, and we cannot afford to hold on to anything that will keep Him from finding us prepared and ready.

If He says to let it go, we let it go.

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24. For Such A Time As This

Mike Parsons 

We are in the middle of looking at some serious issues which require a response from us. We saw last time that Jesus is saying to the church, ‘Repent, or else!’. There are things which God wants removed from His church in these days and if we are wise we will remove them ourselves – because if not, the ‘or else’ is that He will come and remove them.

Jude picks up the same theme: Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah (Jude v11).

Cain was a murderer, overcome by anger and  jealousy; we need to watch out for unforgiveness in our relationships with each other – these things have no place and can no longer be tolerated in the church. Balaam, as we said last time, indulged in licence, immorality and idolatry; and he encouraged others to do the same. Ministry for personal gain was what that started with, being paid to prophesy against God’s people. Korah rebelled against Godly authority; he wanted to do it his own way. But the days of loose cannons in the body of Christ is over. There is no room for ‘lone rangers’. We work together, in unity and harmony; side by side, not on our own.

We need to keep in mind that all these things were written for our benefit: ‘Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.” Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.  Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come’ (1 Cor 10:6-11).

We need to be really careful about polluting our bodies. If 23,000 fell in one day under the Old Covenant, and the New Covenant brings greater responsibilities, then we had really better not try God’s patience. Grumbling? It doesn’t sound like much, but it was fatal, it brought destruction on them. God is not going to tolerate such things much longer; He is coming to clean His house, and if we carry on behaving this way then we are putting ourselves seriously at risk.

We are called for such a time as this. That is what was said of Esther; she was the queen and the bride, representing the bride of Christ in the New Covenant. She lived in a time of extreme danger, as do we, and she was able to go in to the king and rescue the nation. But she had to go through a time of preparation, of anointing with fragrant oil and perfume, she had the very best lavished upon her, and she made herself ready for the king.

We need to make ourselves ready because this is our time. We need to deal with all the idols that take priority over God. Those might be family, work, church, sport, relationships, ministry, money, success. Sickness can be an idol, as can addictions, problems, issues. Images you have seen, words you have heard and said, memories of past hurt and trauma, unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, disappointment… the list goes on. Mindsets and strongholds, things you strongly believe and hold on to, doctrines and traditions in the church (Mark 7:8) – anything that is bigger than God in our thinking. Smoking is a big one: using tobacco to cope with stress and trouble, to relax. Some people use food the same way.

Looking at the problem rather than the solution will magnify the problem, and then it gets in the way of our looking at Jesus. Maybe we can still see Him a bit, but it prevents us looking into His eyes; it prevents us looking into His heart. It can appear so big to us that it gets to the point where we can’t see past it. Or if we can see through it at all, it still acts as a filter; so that everything we see of Jesus is coloured by our issues. But Jesus is way bigger than any problem we might have. If we keep our eyes fixed on Him, the problems become diminished and He is magnified. Nothing is impossible for God.

Let’s remove the stumbling blocks from our hearts. Let’s not see everything through the filter of our idols. God doesn’t want us seeing Him that way; he doesn’t want us living like that. That sword is coming. That living, active, sharp word will come and judge the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. It will reveal our motives; it will expose selfishness and self-centredness.

When I was on the fast I spent time going through my life year by year, repenting and being cleansed. It was really valuable, but I know I only scratched the surface. God wants to take us deeper. He wants to cleanse and purify our conscience, the ears of our hearts; He wants to cleanse and purify our imagination, the eyes of our hearts; He wants to cleanse and purify our reason, the voice of our hearts. The deaf cannot hear the voice of God, the blind cannot see Him, and the dumb cannot speak with His voice. But we can do all these things if we choose to be cleansed and purified.

I have said it before: our choice empowers God or it empowers the enemy. God wants us undistracted; He wants our choice.

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23. A Bride Bejewelled with Splendour

Mike Parsons 

William and KateIt is, and always was from time and eternity past, God’s intention to have a bride for His Son. And that bride is going to be arrayed in finery, perfumed with fragrant oils, and adorned with precious jewels: she will not be dirty and dressed in filthy rags.

Royal Wedding

We had a royal wedding here in Britain a while ago when Prince William married Kate Middleton. Do you remember what that was like? The bride wore a beautiful lace dress – it must have cost thousands, maybe tens or hundreds of thousands – and she went through weeks and months of preparation to be ready for that day. God wants a bride like that for His Son.

He wants her meticulously prepared. The angels are going to be looking on in wonder and amazement. She will be adorned with the character of Christ – that is what the beauty is, the fruit of the Spirit – and bejewelled with gifts of splendour. Jesus is coming back for a bride like that. And who is that bride? It is the church, and we have the opportunity to be a part of that bride, or to be an obstacle that gets in the way.

Discipline

The Message version of Heb 12:6 says:

My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child He loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training.

And verse 11:

But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.

So God is doing His best for us, because He wants His best for us. He is looking for a people who are well-trained, people who are mature in relationship with Him. We need to risk letting Him see inside our hearts, and we need to surrender.

Eyes on Jesus

We also have a part to play if we want His best:

London_MarathonLet us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).

You do not run a marathon carrying heavy weights. You don’t wear a heavy costume – well, some people do, but not the winners! You are not going to win the London marathon dressed in a gorilla suit.  The winner will wear a lightweight vest and proper running shoes, and their focus will be on the finishing line, the goal, and on the prize. We need to have our eyes fixed on Jesus.

It is so easy to get distracted, to take your eyes off Him and start looking around at something else that catches your attention. Not everything that distracts us is bad in itself. But we can’t afford to lose sight of Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. We will need to be radical. We will need to be ruthless. We need to ask ourselves the questions: What is it that holds me back? Entangles me? Distracts me and draws me off track? People do get drawn off track, sometimes for years. Whatever it is, you need to turn away from it, and run the race with your eyes fixed on Jesus. Such things are idols, idols in our hearts, they become bigger than God to us.

Thus says the Lord GOD, “Any man who sets up his idols in his heart, puts right before his face the stumbling block of his iniquity” (Ezek 14:4). God hates idolatry; he has the right to first place in our lives, and that is what he demands. What idols are we bowing down to? God wants them thrown down.

You can put the name of this church, or any other church in the world, into this scripture, because Jesus is saying this to His church everywhere:

And to the angel of the Church at ……… write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this… I have a few things against you… The teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality… Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth (Rev 2:12, 14, 16).

The sin of Balaam was idolatry and immorality. God is going to clean house. Anything that we fail to deal with ourselves, He is going to come and deal with it. Jesus says ‘Repent or else!’ That is a strong word, and we had better sit up and take notice. The ‘or else’ is that He will ‘come with a sharp sword and make war against them with the sword of His mouth. I don’t want that; I’m sure you don’t want it; we don’t want it for ourselves, and we don’t want it for anyone else, come to that. God is giving us one last opportunity to repent and turn away from these things.

If we are smart, we will take that opportunity.

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