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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93. What Is A Mountain?

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

On this blog, we have been talking about mountains and thrones in the heavenly realms. I want to give you some scriptures now about mountains, what they represent, and how they outwork here in this earthly realm.

We have seen this passage before about the fall of Lucifer, or Satan as we now call him:
“You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you. By the abundance of your trade You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire” (Ezek 28:14-16).

From this scripture we can understand that ‘the holy mountain of God’ is what it looks like in heaven. It is a mountain of authority, and God rules from a throne in that mountain. Satan would have had access to all that until he fell. He walked in the midst of the stones of fire. We can all walk on those stones of fire now: they are a place of revelation.

God appears on the mountain

When God suddenly started coming and appearing to man, it was on a mountain top.

And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the mountain top (Ex 24:17).

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
In the city of our God, His holy mountain (Ps 48:1).

The city of God and the mountain of God are synonymous terms. They refer to the same place. And the bible uses lots of different terms to describe how God rules and where His throne is. Sometimes it will be like a temple, like a city, like a mountain, but they are all talking about the same place. So when we talk about ruling over cities, we are using the same kind of language.

Mount Zion

But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain. (Psalm 2:6).

The heavenly Zion is God’s holy mountain, the place where He rules. Here God is saying that David and his offspring, his descendant Jesus, would be king on His holy mountain. That mountain is obviously in heaven, but also here on earth: the mountain of the house of the Lord is to be raised up (see below), which refers to the church.

So in Hebrews 12:22, where it says ‘But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels’, the New Jerusalem is a mountain. We will look at the structure of the New Jerusalem in a future post, but I can tell you now, it isn’t what most people think it is.

The mountain of the house of the Lord

Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it (Isa 2:2).

This is an earthly outworking of what is in heaven. The hills are lesser authority figures compared to the mountain, but they are not insignificant. The highest authorities, whether natural authorities or ungodly supernatural authorities, will have less authority than the church. This is the way it will be in the last days when God raises us up and we take up His delegated authority in the way He intends. God will raise us up once we have occupied authority in the heavenly realms – because that is the only place the authority to rule comes from. It is not earthly, natural leadership or rulership.

Jesus talks about the authority figures on earth how they lord it over people (Mark 10:42). And He says His kingdom is totally different. He didn’t come to be served, but to serve. So everything about rulership in God’s kingdom is about serving, not dictatorship. The first will be last and the last first. That turns on its head the whole system of the world, in which people want to be more highly placed than others so that they can stamp on them and keep them down. And what do most church leadership models look like – the world, or a reflection of heaven? In the kingdom of God, authority is intended to be all about raising people up.

So yes, there is a place where you rule, and it is called a mountain and a throne, but the whole nature of the rulership we are called to is to raise people up into their own places of authority and power, not to keep them down and subservient.

My Father’s house has many rooms

Jesus said,

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?’ (John 14:2 NIV).

Now that refers to us, as God’s people here on earth, but it also says that there are many rooms within the mountain of God, the house of God in heaven. I have been in some of them, and there are many, many more that I don’t even know about yet. There’s the war room, the mantle room, the treasury room, the book room, and so on – and in those places we can obtain specific revelation that we are going to need to fulfil our call and purpose on earth. And we are able to access those rooms.

A very high mountain

When he was tempting Jesus, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory (Matt 4:8). Where do we think Satan took Him? Everest? No, to heaven. It is not talking about a physical mountain, but a heavenly one. He was showing Him all the glory of the kingdoms of the world. And not only natural kingdoms on the earth, but all the levels of authority in the heavenly realms, because those were the areas that Satan had rulership over.

He was offering Jesus a shortcut to rulership of everything He would later obtain through the victory of the cross – but without the suffering and dying. Jesus did not succumb to the temptation, as Adam and Eve did. Satan offered them the same deal – ‘do it your own way, instead of God’s way: in fact, you can do it without God’.

Satan took Jesus into the realms of the heavens and showed Him everything. As God, he knew all this already, but Satan took Him there as a man. And that is the key. We also can go there, as men and women, into those realms. We can go in the realm of the spirit, see the reality of heavenly authority, and begin to occupy thrones and mountains there.

Jesus withdrew to the mountain

In His earthly ministry, Jesus often went to mountains.

So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone (John 6:15).

This time it probably was a physical mountain, but I don’t think He stayed in the physical realm. You find that He went to mountains before He made big decisions. He was going into heaven to obtain the revelation He needed, and to bring it into this realm.

After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone (Matt 14:23).

It is the same again here. He is praying, not to a God far away, but into His very presence. Jesus lived in dual realms, heaven and earth: that is how in every situation He could see what the Father was doing (John 5:19).

Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then He went up on a mountainside and sat down (Matt 15:29). You might think that by sitting He was just resting. I believe He was taking a seat of authority in that realm. This is where we have  to start thinking Hebrew and not Greek. We need to think function, not form – and that is alien to the western mindset. The function of a mountain is authority. The function of a seat is a throne of rulership. All the scriptures we have looked at here show us what mountains are for, what they are about, what they represent. When we come across them in scripture, can we now stop thinking about them as big lumps of rock, things to climb and plant a flag on?

One more example: Jesus took Peter, James and John up to a high mountain and was transfigured before them (Matt 17:1-9). What high mountain was that? Moses and Elijah came too: it wasn’t here on earth. He told the disciples not to tell anyone else what they had seen until He had gone back into the heavenly realms.

They had accessed something of heaven that day. And in time they would be able to teach others to do the same.

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