Volume 1 – The Text Sample Chapter
© Copyright Scott Flanagan and John Graham
PREFACE: THE PURPOSE OF THIS TRAINING
This book represents the first installment in a training program that the Lord has commissioned us to develop. The purpose of this training is to introduce the reader to the next phase in God’s unfolding plan for the redemption of mankind. From the moment of Adam and Eve’s fall, our Father put in place His plan to restore us to unity and oneness with Him. It has been a long journey and we are about to enter into the fourth and final 2000-year age that will bring us to perfection. When that work is accomplished in us, it will bring our Father’s plan to completion. The Lord has asked us to develop this training to cast a wider net and bring more people onto the pathway to sonship. We will break it down into a systematic and easily grasped step-by-step approach so that every man and woman can participate in this journey back to our origins in the heart of God.
Acknowledgements – We want to begin this forward by acknowledging that what we are presenting here is not simply based on the unique revelations that we have received from God. Rather it is built on the teachings and writings of many forerunners in the Kingdom stream. We are indeed standing on the shoulders of giants, and we want to acknowledge our indebtedness to them. In this acknowledgement, we are obligated to highlight two major teachers who have been instrumental in showing us the way, Neville Johnson and Ian Clayton. These men have blazed the trail for us for many years at great personal cost. We recognize that we could not have done this without their teachings.
Neville Johnson came first and through his reporting of many visions and personal heavenly encounters, he made engaging the realms of Heaven seem natural and doable for all of us. His encounters have typically taken the form of allegories that do not seem so much as literal engagements with established places in Heaven as they seem to be experiences crafted by God to teach important lessons. In this way, we began to learn Kingdom principles and the importance of building character and making right choices. Neville’s special assignment was to explain the end times and make us aware of what is coming. He taught us the sequence of end time events and what we need to do to prepare ourselves to face the challenges ahead.
Ian Clayton followed with a very different assignment, but one that added greatly to the foundation Neville laid for us and takes us a giant step further down the road. Ian has been called the Einstein of the spiritual dimensions of existence. As a forerunner, he brought the realms of Heaven into focus. He has helped us to see all the different kinds of beings in Heaven, the different orders of angels, the men and women in white linen (the saints), the seven Spirits of God, the 24 elders and the other kinds of beings that populate the realms of Heaven. He has helped us to understand their function and the roles they play. He has also described the places, institutions, councils, courts and structures that comprise the government of Heaven. While he has taught us very little about the end times, he has opened up for us a new understanding of our beginnings. That has been crucial because we cannot know where we are going if we do not understand where we have come from.
At the same time, we are not holding them responsible for what we have written or in any way suggesting that they endorse our training. We are suggesting that readers that are unfamiliar with their work acquaint themselves with their teachings. Then they can see for themselves where we have built on their teachings and where we are presenting new understandings. We also ask the readers do the same for us. We cite the teachings of many of the forerunners in this book. Just because we endorse many of their teachings does not mean that we endorse all of them. Because we are in a transition from the Church Age to the Kingdom Age, everything is in transition. God is beginning to once again change the nature of our relationship with Him and vastly expand our understanding of the truth of our existence and where He wants to take us. As our understanding is evolving, different forerunners are being given different pieces of the puzzle. Recently some of the forerunners have introduced new teachings about the restoration of all things which are presently dividing the Kingdom stream. Eventually, everything will become clear. In the meantime, we can only endorse the revelations and experiences that we have received. In Chapter 11, we clarify our position on some of these issues in the sections on Man’s Eschatology and Its Fate and The Restoration of All Things.
Our objective is to train you to walk in the pathway to sonship. To accomplish that, we are combining both cognitive and experiential sides of the training. The cognitive side will provide you with a framework of understanding so that you can grasp what the Lord in doing in these last days. The experiential side teaches you how to engage the realms of Heaven and begin to develop much deeper and more intimate relationships with all three persons of the Godhead. That takes us beyond the experience of most in the leadership of the Church today. It also requires that we develop relationships with other spiritual beings Ian and others have identified as part of God’s Kingdom. As we will see, they each have a role to play in helping us in our journey to perfection and transfiguration. Indeed, most of them were created by our Father to assist us in our journey back to oneness with the Trinity. Everything in Heaven is based on relationship. Just knowing about Heaven and those that populate it, does not advance the goal of union with God. We must learn how to engage them and develop meaningful friendships with them them.
There is another reason that makes it so essential that we begin to engage Heaven at this time. The source of all the problems of the human condition stems from our rebellion and separation from God. To return to all that Adam and Eve forfeited, we have to change. We have to become like God. That means we have to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. That turns out to be such a difficult task that 2000 years of church history has not gotten us much closer to the goal. The goal is coming “to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:13 NKJV). Holiness has been the missing element in the Church Age.
Becoming Overcomers – To defeat the enemy’s strongholds in our own lives and the lives of others we must now learn how to engage Heaven. This final phase in God’s plan of redemption can only be realized by going into Heaven and appropriating the tools and resources it holds. Dying and going to Heaven gets us no closer to this goal. What we fail to learn here, we will have to learn there. Most will fail to come to perfection and transfiguration before the Millennial Reign of Christ begins. Nevertheless, the Lord’s plans require that a large army of transfigured sons and daughters rise up prior to the final three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation. The way is now open and God’s grace is being poured out to enable anyone with the desire and commitment to successfully traverse this path. It is for these fellow travelers that this training is being developed.
God’s Plan of Redemption – God put in place an 8000-year plan divided into four ages at the moment that Adam and Eve fell.1 This plan is designed to take the human race back to oneness with God. That part of the plan will be completed roughly 7000 years after Adam’s fall. During the final 1000 years of this plan, the sons of God will work with the Trinity to restore the rest of creation throughout the universe to perfection. God’s plan of redemption for mankind will take this long to complete because we are so slow to learn new lessons. God can still say today what he said in the days of Moses, Isaiah and throughout the Age of the Law. He can still say, “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts” (Isa 65:2 NASU). Just as in Moses’ day, they have “refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways” (Judg 2:19 NIV). In every age, a few have found their way back to union with God, beginning with Enoch. But Father God has never been seeking to redeem a few. He will only be satisfied when He brings all of His children back to Him, a task which still seems impossible to us. That is why He is God and we are not. We have entered the final transitional generation from the Church Age to the Kingdom Age. During this period of forty years of more, there will be many surprises coming to light. We will discover that our God is abounding in more goodness and mercy than we ever thought possible
Our Assignment – Beginning in the 1990s, the Lord has been bringing forth new teachers that are taking us further down the road that Neville and Ian have pioneered. Thereafter, in each new decade a few more are being taken into spontaneous breakthrough experiences that launch their engagement with the realms of Heaven at an advanced level. That is not for everyone, but it is to provide us with more teachers. For example, around 2010 people like Mike Parsons, Justin Abraham, Joseph Sturgeon and Chris Carter had sudden breakthrough experiences. We have learned from them and a great many others as well. We do not put ourselves in their ranks. We are still beginning our journeys. Our assignment is to chart the pathway to sonship, not as ones that have already made it, but as ones who are taking the initial steps and teaching others what we are learning. The advantage of this approach is that it permits a more comprehensive documentation of the pathway than can be accomplished by someone trying to recall their journey twenty years later. We are learning as we go and we invite you the reader to come along on the most exciting journey imaginable, the journey into the heart of God.
What Is Unique About This Training – As laid out in Chapter 1, this first book is intended to be more than just another book. It is intended to be part of a training. It represents one of four books/workbooks that will comprise the Level 1 training. We are publishing these books as we complete them. We are making them available as soon as we receive the next installment of what the Lord is teaching us.
Here are five unique features in the design of this training that the Lord has given us.
- Graduated and Comprehensive – It is a graduated, systematic, comprehensive training that takes you step-by-step through the learning process. We believe it does so in a way that is easy to understand and follow.
- Marries Understanding with Experience – It includes both the cognitive and experiential sides of the learning process. Studies have proven overwhelming that if we combine teaching principles and procedures with practical exercises in which people are doing what they have been taught, the learning process is much more effective. When we combine principles and practice, people retain much more of what they are learning. So this training is not just teaching and it is not just exercises and ascensions. The teachings and the exercises/ascensions are integrated with each other. The teachings by themselves will not get you very far. The teachings have to be activated though the experiential side of the training. Similarly, the ascensions without the teachings will not bear the same fruit. The teachings give the ascensions a framework of understanding that enables us to embrace them more fully and effectively. The teachings keep us on target with where we are trying to go and what we are trying to accomplish. They teach us the best practices for going back into our heavenly encounters between group ascensions.
- You Do Not Have to See – The third unique aspect is that you do not have to be a seer to participate in this training. Until now, there has been the belief that unless you can learn to see, you cannot engage Heaven. The Lord has exploded that myth by commissioning two non-seers as part of the developmental team for this training. There is an alternate path called discernment, and the Lord has gifted John Graham with such an advanced level of discernment that most people that participate in his ascensions think he can see. The added benefit of discernment is that it comes with understanding. Discerners as a rule have a more developed capacity to understand what they are experiencing whereas seers see much more detail but they often miss its significance. It is the old left-brain/right-brain division of mankind. God made us that way on purpose so that we would need each other. Ascensions work best when there is a good mix of seers and discerners.
God has given the grace to see, hear and understand to a few forerunners because without their discoveries, we would have remained in the dark in regard to the mysteries of Heaven and what God is calling us to. That is not likely to occur for most people for two reasons. The first is the inherent dangers of being given the complete package of seeing, hearing and understanding at our stage of spiritual maturity. The second reason is because the Lord wants us to learn how to go into Heaven in groups so that we learn to work together in harmony. Therefore, He gives each of us different sets of gifting so that we need each other to get the full picture and understanding. When we have finally cleansed our human records, we will all see, hear and understand perfectly. Until then, we will continue to bring very different giftings to the table.2 So there is not just one way that we can learn to engage heaven. All paths lead through Jesus, but He tailors our experience to what is best suited and most effective for us.
- Focus on Relationships – As Ian Clayton, Mike Parsons, Justin Abraham, Joseph Sturgeon, Chris Carter and many others will tell you, Heaven is all about relationships. Everything in Heaven operates through relationships. Without developing relationships there with Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, the saints, the angels, the seven Spirits of God, the 24 Elders and the Fruits of the Spirit (the Virtues), your training for reigning will be limited. Many ascension groups focus on going places and seeing the sights in Heaven. That will develop your capacity to see and discern in the spirit. Beyond that, it will not get you very far. John Graham’s ascensions are all about going somewhere to meet one or more beings and beginning to develop a relationship with them. Where we meet them is generally not the important thing. It is who we meet that is important and understanding their role in our training.
- Our Experience is Replicable – Some of the very advanced forerunners, such as Chris Carter and Joseph Sturgeon, have written about their experiences in Heaven. These experiences make a fascinating read and they teach us some important principles. However, in most cases, they are not replicable. They are experiences that are unique to them and tailored just for their own training. They do not present us with a pathway that we can follow and have the same kind of experience they had. That makes it much harder to take what they are teaching us and make it our own. In contrast, the ascension experiences the Lord has given John Graham were designed by God to be progressive and replicable. God orchestrated them so we could take others down the same path that worked for us. So it is not the only path, but it is one that is very fruitful.
Biblical versus Extra-Biblical – Whenever a new teaching comes forward, Christians always ask, “Is it biblical? Where is that in the Bible?” We must be clear about what we mean when we say that. Neville Johnson gives us the correct terminology. He distinguishes between things that are unbiblical and those that are extrabiblical. Unbiblical in his definition and ours means that a teaching contradicts one of the central principles of our faith as they are set forth in the Bible, especially in the New Testament. No teaching that contradicts biblical principles should be accepted. By biblical principles we are referring to what the Bible actually says rather than what some person or denomination has interpreted it to mean.
There are many things, however, that are extrabiblical. Increasingly we are going to be taught in Heaven just like Moses, Elijah, Daniel, Jesus, Paul and the Apostle John were taught. Most of their experiences in the realms of Heaven were not written down in the Bible. As the Apostle John wrote, “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25 NKJV). He was saying that about Jesus’ life, let alone the lives of all the saints that came before and after Him. Many things were left out in that day because if they had been clearly recounted no one would have understood them. Revealing them then would have led to confusion and error.
Nevertheless, there are hints and clues throughout the Bible hidden in the text so that in our day they can be revealed. Just as in Jesus and Paul’s day, we have reached another fullness of time. Meanings that have been hidden in the text of the Bible are now coming into focus through the light of new revelations. What was true of Paul’s day is also true of our day, but now at a much deeper level of insight and understanding. Like Paul we are called “to make the word of God fully known, the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints” (Col 1:25-26 NRSV). So, you will find that all of our writings are filled with scripture. It is only through intimacy and relationship with God that the deeper meanings contained in the pages of the Bible can be gleaned and understood.
No one is going to spoon feed us. We will have to learn as the saints before us learned. We have to develop face to face relationships with Father, Son and Holy Spirit so we can dialogue with them. We must do the same with the other teachers we will encounter in the realms of Heaven that Father has prepared for our training. This training is designed to teach you where God is taking us and why. Father is beginning to reveal the destiny he has for mankind and it is beyond human imagination. Once you understand the goal, all the work we are outlining for you to do becomes worthwhile. It is worth everything you have and everything you are. This training is designed to help you develop real working relationships with Father, Son and Holy Spirit so that you can learn how to evaluate this teaching through their eyes.
Increasingly people are going to have experiences that are extrabiblical. They are going to learn things that will be necessary for our coming to perfection, the nuts and bolts of the process, that were not written in the Bible. We know for example that Isaiah, Daniel, Paul and John had experiences beyond what they reported in their teachings. There are lots of clues and hints in their writings, but they are not spelled out. We find deeper meanings to many of the things written in both the Old and New Testaments. To deny the teachings that all of the forerunners of the Kingdom stream are presently bringing forward because they are not explicitly detailed for us in the Bible is to condemn us to being locked into the worldview of the Age of the Law or the Church Age. That will keep us from moving forward in step with God’s plans.
The Accelerating Pace of Change – Change is accelerating. We have entered a period of radical change that will be played out over one generation. The Lord is moving us from one covenant and one kind of reality to the next. The Lord wants us to move to a new level of intimacy with him. We can only do that if we learn how to access Heaven so that we can engage with Him there. We can no longer wait for the next great theological tome, the new doctrine and orthodoxy that will explain everything. Everything will increasingly escape codifying because our experiential learning will be increasing so fast that we will have difficulty fitting it in any fixed dogma. Learning will increasingly be experiential, rather than the product of human reason. We need guidelines so we do not get lost, derailed or deceived by the enemy. The Lord has given Mike Parsons a very simply but profound plumb line. God is love. If a teaching, theology, prophecy or heavenly encounter is love, it is of God. If it is not love, it is not of God. If a teaching or revelation reveals the loving heart of God and His passionate desire to be reunited as one with all His children, it is of God.
The Lord is pouring out great grace to enable a remnant to navigate the shift from the Church Age to the Kingdom Age in one generation. Most Christians will not make it that far that fast, but everyone who calls on the name of Jesus will eventually make it during the 1000 years of Jesus’ millennial reign. They will either make it to perfection and sonship in Heaven or they will make it on the earth. Many will survive the coming challenges during this last end time generation and remain on earth at the dawning of the Millennium. We need to begin to take this giant step forward now so we will not become increasingly irrelevant to the Lord plans and purposes in the years ahead. New problems will require new strategies and weapons to deal with them.
Everything we learned at Passover (the tools and teachings that come with the salvation experience) and Pentecost (the tools and teachings that come with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit experience) are extremely important. At Passover we learn to love God and love his Word. We learned how important it is to separate ourselves from the major sins in our lives. At Pentecost we learn how to experience the presence of God and engage Him in dreams and visions. We learn how to operate out of the supernatural nine gifts of the Spirit and begin to heal the hurts and wounds in our heart through inner healing. All of that training is essential and preliminary to taking the next big step. The final step is Tabernacles, becoming one with God. In that final step in our journey back to the heart of God, we will have to develop new capacities. We will have to learn how to walk in the power and authority of Jesus and how to operate out of the courts and councils in Heaven.
The Call to Come Up Here – The book of Revelation was written to be lived out in this last generation before the return of Christ. In that book we read that there is a door standing open in Heaven and Jesus is calling to us and saying, “Come up here” (Rev 4:1 NKJV). The cloud is moving. Aslan is on the move.3 We will have to move with Him into an entirely new phase of our relationship with Him. It is an exciting journey. Church is not meant to be boring. It is meant to challenge us and open us up to new vistas. It is meant to train and equip us for the journey ahead. All aboard! This train is about to leave the station. Stations are stationary. We have enjoyed two thousand years of training to understand and assimilate the lessons of the Church Age. The Lord is calling us to take the next giant step. What Jesus preached to the Jews was built on Judaism but it went so far beyond it that most Jews saw it as heresy. The same will be true today. What will be different is the acceleration of the time frame in which these new changes will take place. Just as in Jesus’ day, a remnant is being called out to learn to live in a new reality in their lifetime. Just as in Jesus’ day, they will prove the truth of these new teachings with signs and wonders following.
Many Christians will take up to 1,000 years to finally learn to live and walk in the new relationship with God that is being offered to us now. This new relationship represents a new understanding of the new covenant that Jesus made with us. But it is not new, because it was prophesied by Jerimiah. He explained the transforming power of this new covenant. Paul quoted Jerimiah word for word in Hebrews.
This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. (Heb 8:10-11; Jer 31:33-34 NKJV).
It is quite obvious that neither the Passover experience or the Pentecost experience has been able to make that a reality. For all of its promise, Pentecost has only been able to bring a few rare saints to perfection and transfiguration, beginning with John the beloved disciple. The Tabernacles experience is what will make all the promises of the Bible a reality on the earth. It is not enough that people will be brought to perfection in Heaven. Adam’s task was to redeem the earth. That is still our task. The sons of God are rising up and they will come to perfection. They will walk in the authority and power of Jesus and bring Heaven to earth in the last days to prepare the way for Christ’s return.
Jesus inaugurated the Church Age and spoke about a new age that was to come following the end of the Church Age.4 2000 years later, we are on the brink of entering that new age. We call it the Millennium or the Kingdom Age, the 1000-year reign of Christ on the earth. Because so much remains to be done before Christ can return, a remnant, a throne room company, is now being called out to taste of “the powers of the age to come” (Heb 6:5 NKJV). You can be included in that number. The call is to everyone. More than that, to all who respond, the Lord is pouring out great grace to complete the journey. The door is open. The choice is yours. As Neville Johnson would say, if you can see it, you can have it.
The Plan of the Book – This book is the first of four books that will constitute the written portion of Level 1 of the Pathway to Sonship training program. The first chapter of the book introduces and provides an overview of the entire training. The following two chapters provide a grounding in the larger context and why this kind of training is needed in this hour. Following that introduction in Part 1 of this book, we turn to Part 2 and the heart of what this book is presenting. That is an understanding of the five steps that take us to deeper and deeper levels of spiritual maturity. These steps outline the transforming work the Lord wants to complete in us if we will yield to and participate in His plan to restore us to oneness with Him. Pursuing those steps will take us all the way from the salvation experience to perfection and transfiguration in this life. The first three chapters in Part 2, explain how we received these revelations. The last four chapters in Part 2 take us one by one though those five steps.
The book ends with Part 3, which contains two concluding chapters. The first of these covers the final two steps in God’s 7-step plan of redemption. The first of those two steps completes the redemption of our bodies. That takes us full circle to the restoration of our bodies to the form Adam and Eve enjoyed before the fall. The last step takes us to the consummation of our relationship with the Godhead and our becoming one with Them. The final chapter looks at the path ahead and invites you to pursue the amazing journey home to the heart of God. Because this is written as a text book that requires study and rereading, the topical index in the appendix is designed to help you locate topics you want to reread and refresh in your memory.
1 For an explanation of these four ages, see Chapter 2. 2 All of this is explained in the Level 1 Semester 2 Practicum book, Engaging God in Our Realm and in His, Vol 2. 3 Aslan is C. S. Lewis’ picture of Jesus as a lion in the Narnia series of books and movies. 4 Jesus speaks about “the age to come” in several places including Mt 12:32 and Mk 10:30 (NKJV).