62. Now You Are The People Of God

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

We are continuing to look at Matthew 24, and seeking to let the Bible interpret itself rather than seeing it through our own filters, or imposing a particular set of doctrines upon it. If you are new to this blog you might want to skip back a few posts to see where we have come from.

In the sky

Today we have reached Matt 24:30, “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory”.

Again, this is not talking about the end of the world: this is about Jesus coming in authority judgement. It is about the destruction of Jerusalem. The end of the Old Covenant system had come because the New Covenant had been established.

All this language is very symbolic, and ‘in the sky’ is really a poor translation. It does not mean that a sign will appear in the sky. What it is saying is: the sign that the kingdom has come is that the Son of Man is in heaven.

Jesus said later said to the Pharisees and to the High Priest, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matt 26:64).

So He told those who were alive at that time that they would see it.

This is the prophetic fulfilment of what Daniel saw: Jesus coming at His ascension, His blood being presented on the mercy seat in heaven and receiving the kingdom from the Father.

I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-14).

Mark 16:19 tells us, “So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God”. Do you see how this is all the same language? It is talking about the end of the Old Covenant system, and the beginning of the New. We have to prepare for kingdom dominion.

angel-4928_640Messengers

And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other  (Matt 24:31).

The Greek word ‘angellos’ means ‘messenger’, and the trumpet is symbolic of the proclamation of the gospel: ‘Behold, I send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ (Matt 11:10). ‘Gather’ is the word ‘synagogue’: it speaks of what church was to do, being gathered as part of God’s people.

Misunderstanding arises if we take statements in isolation rather than allowing the Word to interpret itself.

The people of God are revealed. We are now the true nation, city and temple. The same language continues to be used of us because we are the continuation of the people of God. Some say the church has replaced Israel; but actually the church is the continuation of Israel (the covenant people). We are the same. Jews and Gentiles are now one in Christ; but we do all have to come together in Christ.

One people of God

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven (Heb 12:22-23).

The same language is being used here of the New Covenant people as was being used of the Old Covenant people. That’s because it is the same people being described. Abraham himself was ‘looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God… But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them’ (Heb 11:10, 16). We have a city prepared for us, the New Jerusalem of which we are part. We are living stones being built into that city and into that temple.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy (1 Peter 2:9-10).

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57. This Generation Will Not Pass Away

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

It is important to understand the covenant background to Matthew, chapters 21-25, and please do take a moment to read that here if you missed it, before we get into what Jesus said. Because this is quite a challenge.

Woe

But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people… Woe to you, blind guides… Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!… You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of Gehenna? Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city…” (Matt 23:13, 16, 29, 33-34).

‘Woe’ is a covenant word which we are not really familiar with, but which they understood very well, and they were very offended by it. In fact it got them so mad that they began plotting to kill Jesus in earnest. In saying ‘woe’, He was prophesying that judgment was coming to them under the terms of the covenant. ‘Serpents, vipers’… He was calling them children of the devil, as they also understood very well. ‘Gehenna’ is often mistranslated ‘hell’, but what Jesus was referring to was the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. Then, the bodies of thousands of the city’s inhabitants, including all the priests and other religious leaders, would be piled up in the valley called Gehenna (i.e. the valley of Hinnom), the rubbish tip outside the city.

He refers to that time again as He goes on to explain in more detail what the consequences would be for them: “so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth from Abel to Zechariah… Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! (Matt 23:35-38).

“On this generation” – there it is again. He was speaking of that generation living between the years AD 30 and AD 70, and warning that all the righteous blood ever shed upon the earth was going to come upon them.

‘This evil generation’

El Greco“Your house is being left to you desolate”. This again is covenant language that we really need to understand. Remember how Jesus came into the Temple and drove out the moneychangers and traders with a whip?  You can read Matthew’s account of that incident in this same section of his gospel, in chapter 21. And when Jesus left the Temple, swept clean and put in order, they had the opportunity to follow Him.

But what did happen? Well, Jesus had already described what would happen. You can find it in Matthew 12:43-45. “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.

Did you notice that last sentence? Maybe because we are so familiar with it, we have just skipped over it. Jesus specifically says that this has an application for the generation of which He was part. And indeed, that is what happened to them and their Temple. Their last state was worse than the first. That is why the unbelieving Jews persecuted the church – they were demonised. Literally, the whole house was full of demonic influence.

Babylon

Rev 18:2 speaks of this: And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird”.

The book of Revelation is talking about the persecution of the church and the judgments that came upon Israel. And it is Israel who are described here as ‘Babylon the great’. Jesus said that the guilt of all the righteous blood was upon that unbelieving generation. In Revelation 17:6 and 18:20,24, we can see that same blood-guilt is assigned to this ‘Babylon’. Here is the Bible interpreting itself; and we need to know it, because accepting this is going to be a major difficulty for some as God begins to challenge the church.

Three questions

And so we arrive at Matthew 24. Jesus came out of the Temple, and was going away from there, with His disciples; leaving it desolate, because the Holy Spirit left with Him. That was the last time He went there. “Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down” (Matt 24:1-2).

So He was prophesying physical destruction of the Temple. 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). So they were asking 3 things: ‘When will be the destruction of the Temple?’, ‘What will be the sign of Your coming?’ (to bring about this judgment, not His last coming), and ‘What will be the signs of the end of the age?’.

The next 30 verses, up to verse 33, are the answers to the first two questions. We will see that very clearly as we look at it in a little more depth in coming posts. For now let’s skip ahead to verses 33-34. “So, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door”. So they, His disciples, would see all the things mentioned in the previous 32 verses. And when they did, they were to know that He – Jesus – would be ‘at the door’ (that is, ready to come in judgment).

And then He goes on, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place”. I think that is clear enough, isn’t it? Everything in the previous 32 verses was to take place before that generation passed away. It was not to come upon a future generation, as so many of us have been taught, but upon that generation. It was on them that the curses of the covenant were to be outpoured.

Jesus was coming in covenant judgment.

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42. A Dwelling Of God

Mike Parsons 

In Daniel chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar saw in a dream that Jesus would come in the time of the Roman Empire to set up a kingdom which would continue to grow, and would overcome all other kingdoms. Daniel 7:18 tells us that … the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to comeWe are those saints, and the kingdom is ours to possess.

… the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom (Dan 7:22).

No end

We will possess it for ever, and for all ages to come. It is not going to be another group of people, it is going to be God’s people, His saints, the church, who will possess that kingdom and be involved in continuing to expand it. Even after Jesus returns, and we go into the age to come, the kingdom will go on increasing. There will be no end of the increase of His government. It will not end when Jesus returns and there are a new heavens and a new earth. There is a whole universe, multiverses maybe, into which that kingdom will expand, and ‘the saints of the Highest One’ are going to be instrumental in that.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this’(Isa 9:6-7).

If the government rests on Jesus’ shoulders, who are the shoulders? We are His body, and His shoulders are part of His body.

Above

… He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Eph 1:20-23).

So Jesus is above everything. This is a New Testament scripture now, saying the same things about Jesus’ rule, His kingdom. Look at the last few words there again, ‘the church … His body … fills all’. The expansion of the kingdom is going to come through Jesus’ body, the church.

The early church was made up originally of Jewish people. Then Peter had a vision which led him to preach to Cornelius and his family, who were not Jewish but got saved and became part of the church, and in Acts 15 at the Council of Jerusalem James talks about the Tabernacle of David being restored, meaning that the gospel is going out to the whole earth.

Stone

That is why Paul writes to the mostly non-Jewish believers in Ephesus, So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit (Eph 2:19-22).

Here again we see that Stone which was ‘cut out without hands’ in Daniel 2. You can say He is the foundation stone too, because the foundation which the apostles and prophets laid was none other than Jesus (this passage is not saying that the apostles and prophets are the foundation, but that the church is built on the foundation which they laid). We are the temple now, a ‘holy temple in the Lord’, and – this is the most wonderful part – ‘a dwelling of God in the Spirit’.

We know He dwells in us individually, but this passage is saying that He dwells in us corporately. We are beginning to experience this, that when we come together we are a dwelling of God in the Spirit, and His Presence manifests among us – that is what the glory of God is all about.

Soundtrack: Dave Fitzgerald (feat Jenn Johnson) We Are An Ark live at Bethel Church via YouTube

Heart/universe image courtesy of finemayer via Pixabay.

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40. Challenging the Sacred Cows

Mike Parsons 

I pointed out last time that there are widespread demonic doctrines entrenched in the church, which attempt to place the kingdom of God and the authority of that kingdom in another time, or give them to another people.

Old Covenant

The enemy will always try to take us back to an Old Covenant system. The Old Covenant system was one country, one city, one temple. That is where God was, He wasn’t manifest anywhere else, whereas in the New Covenant God is everywhere. He is in His people; we are the temple and we don’t need another temple. But to try to rob the church of power and authority, the enemy has tried to make the church equal a building, a temple somewhere. That is not what the church is. It is a people called out by God, in relationship with Him and with one another in the kingdom of God.

Again, the enemy will always try to bring us back to an Old Covenant system where there is a priest, rather than all of us being priests, all of us having access to God. God does not want us to have any mediator other than Jesus; He is the only one we need. Yes, there are people with different gifts and calls within the church, but every one of us has the capacity to hear God for ourselves. Leadership in the church does not need to hear God for you. You need to hear God for yourself, otherwise all you are doing is obeying somebody else.

Destiny

God wants to inspire and touch each of our hearts, and release everyone into their personal destiny. Every person reading this has a destiny in God to fulfil, but the enemy has tried to rob us of that destiny by all sorts of methods and means. So God is saying, ‘Rise up, fulfil your destiny.’

Now there are a whole herd of sacred cows that we are going to have to challenge in the church. I am only doing this because God told me to challenge them. Left to myself, I really didn’t want to do it. But as I have mentioned before, I went to a conference with Bill Johnson and Jill Austin, and I shook for a whole day until I stopped resisting what God was telling me to do. God was wanting to put a sword in my hand, and I knew what that would mean. But if persecution comes because of it then we need to be prepared and we need to have the answers. We need to know what God is saying, we need to know where we fit into that, what God is calling us to. We need to know what we believe and why we believe it.

Kingdom dominion

We have to prepare for kingdom dominion. Kingdom dominion is what God’s intention was from the beginning. ‘Now it will come about in the last days  that the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains and will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it (Is 2:2). This is one of the key scriptures to understand, and this truth runs right throughout the bible, yet the enemy tries to put it off so that we think it is not for us.

We are going to see that it is indeed for us. This scripture is talking about the kingdom of God operating through the church. It will be chief of all the mountains, and mountains speak of authority. Authority will operate through the church; I am not talking about political authority, but about spiritual authority in the earth. We are to have spiritual dominion over all the works of the enemy, which will bring the blessing of God to the earth. That is what Adam and Eve were called to do.

Centre of the world stage

All the systems of the world culture will fail – they are only ‘hills’, you notice – they will come to nothing, and in the shaking of the world’s systems we will need to be ready to be raised up. I am sure that shaking will be beyond anything we can imagine right now, and in the midst of that, the church must be ready to rise up to provide the answers that all those worldly systems were unable to provide.

We need medical answers, financial answers, spiritual answers, governmental answers, societal answers; we need demonstrations of wisdom and knowledge and authority and power. Ryan Wyatt says (quoting Bobby Conner, I think), ‘The church is going to be taken out of the corner of the field and placed right in the center of the world stage’. When the medical systems fail people are going to be desperate for healing. Who is going to be able to heal? We are. We can lay hands on the sick and see them recover. When the financial systems start to fall, folk are going to be drawn to a people who are flourishing and being blessed. Again, that will be us, because we have supernatural provision and supernatural transfer of wealth to us.

We need to be ready to receive all these things and operate in them, because we are blessed to be a blessing and to bring heaven to earth.

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