141. The Flesh Profits Nothing

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

“I am the vine, you are the branches”

God intends us to be spirit, soul and body, in that order. Our soul and body should be subject to our spirit, now that our spirit has come alive to God. If we want to build a strong spirit, we saw last time how praying in tongues on the inside and on the outside is something we need to practise.

Meanwhile we also need to deal with the soul.

Nothing good

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
(Gal 5:16).

Our spirit needs to be strong to lead, direct and guide us in our everyday life so that we will not carry out the desires of the flesh. The desires of the flesh are not good, and we have to accept that. We want to believe there is a bit of good in there somewhere, but there is not. There is nothing good about our flesh whatsoever. It always gets us in a mess.

For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please (Gal 5:17).

So whilst my spirit is flowing from the Holy Spirit, and the purposes of God for my life and my destiny, my flesh has tried to get in the way and has to be brought into line. Our flesh wants to please itself; our spirit desires to please God.

Two completely different agendas, because if you please yourself you cannot please God (and our flesh does not even want us to understand that).

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing”
(John 15:5).

Nothing of any eternal value or significance can be done apart from Jesus; apart from Him who dwells in our spirit, and flows through our life.

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing…” (John 6:63).

Trust

That is really hard for the flesh to take. We really like to think we can at least do something. I went through a time in my personal times with God in which I was engaging Him in the garden of my heart, but I was in complete pitch-black darkness. It was not a place of fear, just of not being able to see anything and resting in complete stillness before Him. I found it so hard. I really wanted to know what was happening.

But God said, “Will you just trust Me? Just stay still, and let Me do what I need to do to prepare you for what is to come”. I thought, “Of course I can do that”. But when it came to it, my flesh was desperate to know what was going on. I remember one day I cried out to Him, “O God, what is going on?”. And He answered me, “I don’t need your assistance, just your surrender”. It was really difficult. But what it came down to was this:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding

(Proverbs 3:5).

I had to realise that maybe I did not trust Him as much as I thought I did. I had to die to that need to know what was going on. I had to choose to trust God even if I could not see anything. I had to trust that whatever He would do would be the best thing for me. So I know it is hard when we have to deal with the flesh.

Humanism is independence from God. It is doing things without God. That is what Adam and Eve bought into when they sinned. Satan offered them the opportunity to gain knowledge without God. Everything in dealing with the flesh is dealing with humanism and dealing with independence. There is nothing good that comes from independence.

Self

We need to die to self.

Self-centredness: it is very difficult because of course we are at the centre of all that goes on in our life, but that has to flow from the spirit, not the flesh. Selfishness is wanting to put myself first above everybody else, whereas when Jesus came He said, “I have not come to be served, but to serve”. That is a completely different attitude, and I should also seek to serve rather than be served. There is no place for selfishness or self-centredness in that. We are so accustomed to being self-centred, and life revolving around us.

Anyone who is married knows that when you get married, life does not revolve around you as a single person any more. You have to think about somebody else. When we become Christians, we enter into a relationship with God in which we are no longer in first place: He is. When we become Christians, we say that we make Him Lord of our life: we must make sure that He really is.

We need to die to self-importance, self-promotion, self-reliance, self-sufficiency, even self-belief. There is nothing of the spirit in these. We can have no self-righteousness. Self-help, self-expression.

You might think, ‘Surely they are not all negative?’. Anything that comes from the flesh is negative, and however hard we find that, we have to surrender.

Self-respect, self-esteem, self-worth. If my self-respect comes from what I have done in the flesh, if my self-esteem comes from what I can do, they are not good. I want my esteem to come from how God sees me; from knowing who I am as a child of God, knowing the love of God, knowing the value He places upon me. My worth comes from knowing that I am God’s child, that He loves me and has a purpose for me. My self-image is not how I view myself, but it is seeing myself as God sees me. If we could really see ourselves as God sees us, it would transform everything about our lives.

Some things are more obviously negative: self-gratification, self-indulgence. Making ourselves feel good, using food, shopping, sex, drugs, alcohol. Whatever it is, if the self is involved, it needs to die. It needs to go on the cross.

The cross

The cross is not a pleasant place. When Jesus went to face the cross, when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, His soul was in anguish. Literally, He sweat drops of blood, He was in so much anguish. He saw what He was going to have to carry on the cross; He looked into the cup, and in that cup of God’s wrath was every sin we have ever committed, every negative thought, every sickness that has been on our body, every sin committed against us: He took it all physically upon Himself, because He loved us so much.

He chose to say, ‘Not My will, but Yours be done’ even when His flesh, His soul, looked into what it was going to have to carry. Being sinless, because He loved us so much, He was willing to go to the cross and take our sin, our flesh, our self, and be crucified. He took our place, took the punishment of God’s wrath on sin, and He also represented us there so that we could identify with Him through the bread and the wine.

I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me
(Gal 2:20 JUB)

He died so that we could be free from the flesh, because our flesh died with Him.

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127. Relationship and Responsibility

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

butterfly-970170_640On this blog we are just at the beginning of a new series of posts about preparing for our destiny.

We prepare according to God’s Prophetic Timetable of events for the future, so that we will be ready for what he is doing and ready to play our part in it. From a place of intimacy with God, we will allow Him to change and transform our lives, removing from us everything that is a hindrance or a stumbling-block.

Prophetic Timetable

He is raising up a Joshua generation who will press into their own inheritance, and lead the following generation into receiving theirs too. We need to receive that inheritance so that in the situations we will face in the coming days and years, when the world’s systems have broken down, we will be ready with the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit operating in our lives. We must be like Jesus: He brought the kingdom, and He calls us to do the same.

From eternity, God has a destiny appointed for us to fulfil, and we have been invested with authority to fulfil it. We need to wake up and take hold of who we are as the sons of God

Man’s destiny has always been to rule, to bring heaven to earth (Gen 1:28). We bring the rule of heaven to earth so that we transform not just this planet but the whole of creation – our universe and even beyond that – which is groaning and longing for the sons of God to be fully revealed.

Psalm 24:7 says ‘Lift up your heads, O you gates’. It is talking about us being lifted up to that place of rulership and authority, so that we become a gateway for the King of Glory to come in and fill this world through our lives. That is what God wants to do through us: everything He is, grace, power, mercy, would be channelled through us, and that we would manifest them here on earth.

The Angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, the High Priest, who was standing in the presence of God in the heavens and said,

“If you will walk in My ways
and if you will perform My service,
then you will also govern My house
and also have charge of My courts,
and I will grant you free access
among these who are standing here”

(Zechariah 3:6-7).

This involves a progression of relationship and of levels of authority and responsibility that would bring us to our sonship.

We live here on the earth, with the atmosphere of the earth around us. In that atmosphere at present are the principalities, powers and rulers of wickedness. It is a kingdom in darkness. We ‘walk in His ways’ here, and we recognise that the kingdom of God is within us, but that we are also connected to the kingdom of God realm in the heavens.

As we keep the laws, the principles of the kingdom, as we administer righteousness and justice, so we learn to be lords, kings, and sons at that level in the heavenly realms (and also within us). Once we understand who we are and what our identity is, we can start ruling the house (our own house, but also the house of the Lord).

Then we can start judging the courts. The kingdom has foundations of righteousness, and justice, and it is God’s people who are eventually going to judge angels, and fallen angels. We have a right to bring judgment to change things in this realm, and eventually to have access to stand among those who are operating in the heaven of heavens.

When we start doing that, we remove those hierarchical authorities from the atmosphere of the earth, and we can rule. We rule in light, rule in love, rule in righteous power. The influence we have in the heavens will be manifested here on earth. God wants us to understand and to access those realms. The more we do so, the more we will bring the kingdom of God on the earth, both in us and through us, so that we shine with the glory of God.

That will deal with sickness, disease, poverty – all the things the enemy has done to rob God’s people (and the world) of their inheritance, and all that stolen inheritance will be restored.

We will manifest the rule of heaven on earth, just as Jesus did.

125. Preparing For Destiny

Mike Parsons
with
Jeremy Westcott  

Our destiny, our scroll, the book of the life God has prepared for us, was written for us before the foundation of the world. It comes out of eternity; it is a decree, and a commission, and it carries both purpose and provision within it.

We can access it in the heavenly realms, and within our hearts. We have the choice whether to pursue it or not, but that choice has consequences, both for us personally and for the whole world. In fact it has eternal consequences.

Everything about that destiny is about bringing heaven to earth:
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth, as it is in heaven

(Matthew 6:10)

It is not about healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons – that is just the ordinary basic stuff we should all be doing anyway as disciples of Jesus. Those things are not what our destiny is about (unless having a healing ministry or a deliverance ministry is actually written on your particular scroll).

Jesus warned us that people would say to Him, ‘We prophesied in your Name, We did miracles’ but that He would reply, ‘Depart from me, I never knew you’. Not that He did not know them in the sense of salvation, but He didn’t recognise them compared to how they should have been, according to their destiny.

All of us are called to rule, that was God’s mandate to man from the beginning, to demonstrate dominion and authority. We need to do that in heaven and bring it to earth.

Your destiny, everyone’s destiny, is to administer heaven to earth. Each of us has a different part to play, but we each have a sphere of authority we are supposed to operate in. And God wants us to bring that to earth from heaven.

That destiny is in time and eternity (Jeremiah 1:5). He has appointed each of us for a purpose. What we do in time, in this earthly life, will determine what we do in eternity. it is vital for us that we fulfil what God has called us to do in this realm.

And your destiny is not something you can just do, it is not something that you can step into without any preparation. Over the next series of posts we will be looking at what it takes to prepare for our destiny.

We cannot do this half-heartedly. It will take time, and it will take commitment. But it will be worth it.

124. Transforming The Atmosphere

Mike Parsons
and Jeremy Westcott – 

I closed yesterday’s post by calling forth people’s destinies, to fulfil that purpose of God for their lives. That calling forth of destinies is something written on my own scroll. Fulfilling their destiny is important not only for the individuals themselves, but also for the church and the purposes of God going forward.

Everlasting Doors

Everlating doors in the atmosphere of the earthHere is a diagram showing the sphere in which we live, the sphere of the earth, and the atmosphere of the earth that is around us. Within that atmosphere there are principalities, rulers and powers. Then there are the heavenly realms.

Think of these as dimensions that are around us. Not linear, 1, 2, 3, going up, but dimensions that we can access by simply stepping into them. And between the atmosphere of the earth and the heavenly realms, there are everlasting doors. We read about them here:

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
(Psalm 24:7 NKJV)

These doors were open in the time of Adam, but they were closed when God set the cherubim and the fiery sword to prevent him having access to the Tree of Life. When they are closed, they block the way between the two realms.

Mountains and thrones

Within the heavenly realms there are mountains and thrones of authority. Every church has its own mountains and thrones of authority, seven of them, but so too do each of us in our own lives, in the Kingdom of God heavenly realm.

We are supposed to rule there, and to bring heaven to earth. We have access to the Kingdom of God because it is within us, as well as being in the heavenly realms. When we are ruling there, it enables us to bring the glory of God down from that realm into this one.

We must see people raised up to occupy those dimensions of rulership in the heavenly realms. When that happens, the principalities and powers and rulers get forced out. When we just bring the light that is in us and the light of the presence and the glory of God into that realm, then they cannot stay there. Darkness cannot remain in the presence of light.

If you put a candle into a dark room, it is no longer dark. You cannot add more darkness to smother that candle, but you can bring more light in to dispel more of the darkness. The brighter the light, the more the darkness has to go.

We need to bring the light of God’s glory from the heavens into the earth.

Arise, shine, for your light has come
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you (Is 60)

The atmosphere of the earth

The devil is called the ‘prince of the power of the air’ (Ephesians 2:2), but only because we have not yet taken back that realm. So as we start to fill and occupy that space in the atmosphere of the earth, bringing the authority and rulership of God there, the everlasting doors are opened. When they are, we start to see the manifest presence of God in our midst. We usually call it ‘revival’.

There are everlasting doors associated with each of our mountains of authority. We have seen that we have seven mountains of authority, seven spheres in which God has called us to have influence. Within each mountain is a mandate from God, and there are thrones upon those mountains, from which we are to rule.

A measure of God’s glory?

As we have begun to see people raised up to rule on our Freedom Church mountains, and on the mountains in their own lives, we have begun to see a measure of the glory of God coming down through those everlasting doors. We see salvation, healing, deliverance; we see the angelic operating here, and the presence of God’s kingdom manifesting in our midst.

But we want to see God’s glory filling this area, transforming our community, the fullness of God’s kingdom being manifested, and at the moment that is not happening. We are seeing a little here and there, now and again. Some of the time, when someone brings a prophetic word, or comes from that realm of authority, we have a manifestation of the glory of God, but it is not there continually. Sometimes we see miracles, sometimes we see healing, but not enough. And I know that it is the same elsewhere too..

If we want to see these things happen consistently, we need people raised up as lords to operate in authority on those mountains. We need them ruling and bringing the keys of the kingdom, and using the declarations of authority  that they have been given. Then we are going to see full blown revival which will not stop.

So there is a task to be completed, and it is what this blog and the other resources we have available are all aimed at bringing about: to see people raised up to occupy those places of authority. There may be much that you need to learn, and protocols to understand and operate in, whether you are ruling on your personal mountain, or on a church mountain: but with practice every one who is called to that realm can learn these things.

Change the atmosphere

That will change the atmosphere of the earth from darkness to light. The enemy will do all he can to prevent it, but the only authority he has is what we give him. Our attitudes form an atmosphere around us which operates in the spiritual realm to draw things towards us, whether good or bad.

Fear is always the number one weapon he uses. But there are also specific things he will use to block each everlasting door, attitudes and strongholds which specifically oppose the area of authority concerned. Our strengths in those areas that God has called us to can also be our weaknesses, because the enemy will attack them.

Refinement and purification

Ultimately, this is about us all surrendering our lives. It is about allowing God to purify us and refine us and bring us into a place of holiness, so that the authority that our sin gives to the enemy is removed. And God is challenging us to do that now, bringing us to a place of refinement and purification.

We will see open heavens, blessing, and a harvest. We will see transformation. We will see the glory of God streaming in through those everlasting doors. We will see people raised up to occupy their place in the heavenly realms. You can be among them. That is our mandate: to encourage you and teach you how to come into that place.

The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Everything we need to fulfil our destiny is within His presence and within our relationship with Him.

Together, let’s pursue it.

123. Cultivate a Garden Relationship

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott  

edited DSC01906We have seen how we need to take the testimony of what God has shown us, given us, and done for us, and plant it in the garden in our hearts. But planting alone is not enough: if we want to produce fruit, we are to tend and keep what is growing there. And that means we have to cultivate a relationship with God on the inside.

If you do not yet know how to do that, you can learn. It is all about practice, and really no different from relating with God anywhere else. If you can sense God’s presence in a meeting, you can sense His presence on the inside when you are in worship in your own life.

Practice

We train our senses by practice. Some of the people in the church here in Barnstaple who two years ago were saying, “I can’t see anything. I don’t get any of this stuff” are now seeing angels and having the most amazing heavenly encounters. They have trained their spiritual senses to perceive the spiritual realm.

In the natural realm we have all learned to interpret what enters our eyes. It is no different with seeing in the spiritual realm. Actually, we all had this ability to see spiritual things when we were very young (how many stories are there of children seeing angels?), but most of us lost it. We need to recover that ability and start to see spiritual things again.

I am using the word ‘see’, but please do not get too hung up on that word. Really I mean ‘perceive’. Some people are very visual, and they will describe it as ‘seeing’, but others will become aware of what is going on in the spirit in different ways.

Angels, atmospheres, the four faces of God we are encountering in our meetings – you can train your spirit through practice.

The screen of our imagination

All of us have an imagination. Try it now. Close your eyes for a few seconds and imagine your front door, where you live…

I am pretty sure you will have been able to do that. That means you have an imagination. “But I’m just imagining it”. Good. Your imagination is the screen on which God projects things, like vision, and heavenly experiences. And our imagination can convey sounds, sensations, fragrances, tastes, and textures, as well as visual things. That is how we can know what our garden is like, and that is how we can experience the heavenly realms.

We can also use the screen of our imagination to open up the Word of God. That is an experiential way in which we can use the Word as another means of access into the realms of heaven.

I want to encourage you to open up your heart, and be willing to get into training. We will help you, on this blog, through the YouTube channel and with our other resources, so that your senses can learn to discern the things of the Spirit.

Let’s pray.

Father, I release the revelation of Your Word,
that the garden in our hearts will be open;

that all of us will be able to open the door in our hearts
and allow You to fill us,
to become Lord,
and that You will change us
and transform us from the inside out;

that we will be able to see in the realm of the spirit
from the inside out
as well as see naturally from the outside in.

And I release that prophetic word as a testimony
of what has happened in my life
and in the lives of people here in Barnstaple,
to declare that everyone reading this
will be able to see and perceive in the realm of the spirit,
engage in the heavenly realms,
enjoy an intimate relationship with the Father, with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit
on the inside
to fulfil their destiny
and to see what is on that scroll that has been written before the foundation of the world.

And I call forth people’s destinies
to fulfil that purpose of God for their lives.
In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

75. Lessons From The Moses Generation

Mike Parsons – 

Bacchiacca_-_Moses_Striking_the_Rock

Moses strikes water from the stone, by Francesco Bacchiacca

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 couple of 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.

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.

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’.

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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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.

AD70

We have seen that Jesus’ answer in Matthew 24 right up to verse 34 refers to the end of the 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”. AD70 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.

cereals-546310_640We 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: Gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for now, 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 had to re-examine everything I believed: I had to be open for God to show me what was the truth of His Word.

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 PowerPoint slides I use to illustrate some of that:

You will recognise many of the approaches in the left hand column. It sums up how most of us have been taught, and it has 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.

Jonathan Welton

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47. Just One Answer?

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Interpreting the times

no-plan-bMaybe you are old enough to remember all those books about the supposed significance of the Common Market being 12 countries, or about Communism and the USSR? Well, we can see now that none of it was true. Today those books are just gathering dust on people’s bookshelves, and if they were to read them now they would laugh. Dates, times, everything seemed so very plausible. But it didn’t happen.

That came about because the authors of those books just looked at the world around them, and tried to fit their own understanding of scripture with those events. We need instead to get a proper understanding of what scripture is really saying. As I mentioned before, that involves seeing things from a Hebrew rather than a Western viewpoint.

Covenant

Take Biblical symbolism and covenant language. The whole Bible is written in terms of covenant. We even speak about the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. If you have never considered covenants then I do not have space to go into the whole subject here, perhaps the best advice I can give is to get hold of some of Ian Clayton’s teaching on covenants.

In short, covenants are binding agreements, and they are something that God has always used in interacting with people. God initiates covenants, and He makes them in blood. He always upholds His part of the deal. The sad fact is that the human race never upheld their part: at least, not until Jesus came and made a new covenant of blood with God. That covenant is unchallengeable because Jesus cannot fail: His blood is eternal. So we now receive all the benefits, all the promises, because of what Jesus has done.

The Old Covenant was all about what we had to do to be acceptable to God. That is no longer the case. But covenant is still the basis on which God works, and to understand the Bible we need to understand covenant language and how that covenant language is used.

Personal revelation

Again, because Jesus is the Living Word, He can give you a personal revelation of any word, any passage, any part of Scripture that He chooses. It may be completely out of the context it was originally written for, but He can still speak it to your heart and speak to you in it. That may be for you and you alone, in your situation and circumstance, and it may apply to nobody else. But it is vital that you have a proper overall understanding of the purposes of God. That will safeguard you from error so that whilst God can give you things like that, you won’t completely go off at some tangent because of some fanciful thing that you have made up.

For example, if you get what you think is a revelation that tells you to go off and rob the person down the road, you will know it is not God. You need to have understanding of the nature and the character of God, of how God works, so that you don’t go off the rails completely. You have to realise that not every voice you hear is God. Sometimes our soul can speak to us, particularly if we have a deep desire, and it can convince us that it is God telling us to do something, or that what we want to do is all right, when in fact it isn’t. Jesus can take His Word and apply it to us as He sees fit – we just need to be careful that it really is Him.

Plan A

My point here is that we need to understand the context of the eternal purposes of God. He hasn’t changed His plan. He has no Plan B, C or D.

Now, there is a teaching which says He has. You have heard it, maybe been influenced by it. You may not have thought of it in quite that way though. It is the teaching that prevailed in the town I grew up in, as I have written about previously. It divides up scripture into blocks and periods in which God works differently. It says ‘that is not for now’, and it denies the continuity of God’s purposes from Genesis to Revelation. If you read those two books, so much of the symbolism is the same. What it is in the beginning, it is in the end, and that is why it is so important to get understanding of it.

1 + 1 = ?

Our Western mindset is based on Greek, linear logic. For example: ‘1 + 1 = 2’. That makes sense to us. How could it equal anything but 2? Hebrew logic doesn’t see things the same way. In Hebrew logic (also called ‘open block logic’) there are multiple understandings which can all be true even if they seem contradictory to the western mind. And that is how God works. So in Hebrew logic, 1+1 can equal 11. It is the same proposition, but a different way of looking at the answer. And in Hebrew context, 11 is actually a much more likely answer than 2.

If that makes no sense to you, look at it this way. There can be layered truth. There is the obvious thing that is on the surface, but there can be layers of truth underneath, which may not be so obvious. The first layer of truth may be literal: Joseph was given a word that God’s people would be 430 years in Egypt and then they would be set free, and history tells us that was how it was. That is very straightforward for us to understand. But that word may also have further meanings, and they can be equally true, and equally valid.

There may be different fulfilments of prophetic words in scripture. Often there is an immediate or initial fulfilment that we can see, for example in the life of Jesus, and there is also a progressive fulfilment that goes on happening. Now this is not true of every single prophecy, but it is true of some. Therefore you cannot just read something, see how it was worked out once, and think that because of that is it over and done with. It may happen again, in a different way.

So which meaning is correct? What did God intend us to get from a particular scripture? The fact is, you do not always have to choose just one answer.

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46. Revelation and Interpretation

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott 

exposed
Arise, shine; for your light has come

And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples:
But the LORD will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you.
Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising’
(Is 60:1-3).

I said last time that we need to look at how we understand prophecy. This is a very familiar scripture, but how can we be sure we are interpreting it correctly?

When is darkness covering the earth? How is this to be understood? Surely this is about the birth of Jesus? He came as the light into the darkness of the world. This is certainly how people who recognised Jesus as the Messiah when He came would have interpreted this scripture.

But what about in our day? Or what about the return of Jesus? We know there is coming (and perhaps we are already entering) a time of increasing shaking, of increasing darkness, and that only the Kingdom will remain.

It is vital that we know how to read scriptures in the correct light.

Religious doctrines and traditions are about to be exposed for what they are and religious spirits hate exposure. After all, Nephilim spirits are looking to rule and to exercise control of the world’s systems without anyone getting wise to them. If we allow that, then the promises of God are always going to be represented as being for another place, another time, or another people.

Looking forwards, looking back

I was brought up in a religious atmosphere like that. In the Cornish town where I lived, there was not a single church practising baptism by full immersion. When I read in the Word that that was how God intended it, I had to travel 12 miles to find somewhere they did it that way. No one had even heard of baptism in the Holy Spirit – I had to go even further to find people who were experiencing that.

And yet, in my town, the churches were all very keen on looking forward to the Second Coming, on what God would do in the future (their understanding was that He would rescue them so they would not have to go through the tribulation). They were also very hot on what God had done in the past, by sending Jesus to save us. But in the period in between, they were just hanging on, expecting (and experiencing) constant defeat and setbacks. It was all about the past or the future, never now. People did get saved, I saw them setting out enthusiastic and optimistic, but over time their enthusiasm was squashed, or just drained away. Religious spirits thrive on and seek to perpetuate this kind of situation.

Information or revelation

Revelation does not come through study. I know, because I studied the Bible a great deal. When it came to information about the Bible I could answer pretty much any question you could throw at me. ???????????But the Kingdom of God did not fit into my belief system. When God began to speak to me about it, my brain starting flashing ‘Does not compute’. Those who know me will tell you that I am very strong on what I believe. But I am also willing to change if God shows me I have it wrong. I had to get to the stage where I was prepared to jettison everything, if God showed me to. This is hard, and it may well be hard for you if you are willing to go there. You are not alone. I have had to let go of doctrines and understanding that I really thought were right. And that process continues – I know what it is to be challenged.

So if it is not through study, then how does understanding of these things come? It comes through meditation and the revelation of the Holy Spirit. We cannot expect to just figure it out from what we see around us today, to make it fit. The truth is, we don’t have to fit with the world, we need to understand God’s purposes. We need to spend time meditating on what the Bible says, and the best way to understand it is to let the Bible interpret itself. An important principle of Bible interpretation, and one that is widely accepted, is to go back to the first use of a word or phrase. Then we can see how words or phrases are used throughout the Bible. That will help stop us from falling into error.

Greek and Hebrew mindsets

To really get to grips with all this, we will need to consider the Hebrew context of scripture. In the West we are at a disadvantage because it is not really possible to grasp the true meaning of scripture from a typical western mindset: we have been taught to think in a totally different way. So in coming posts I will begin to explain how to see things from a Hebrew point of view.

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45. Please Do Not Stone Me…

Prophetic TimetableMike 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

pocketwatch0837-150x150There 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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