WE ARE PUBLISHING THIS ARTICLE, PRIMARILY, FOR THE PURPOSE OF ESTABLISHING THE OFFICE OF AN APOSTLE, WHAT IT IS, WHAT IT IS FOR, WHAT IT HAS BEEN IN THE PAST, AND WHAT IT IS IN OUR DAY. HOWEVER, WE WILL SPEAK OF MANY THINGS IN THIS DISCOURSE THAT SHOULD BE OF INTEREST TO ALL OF YOU WHO READ THE ARTICLE, SUCH AS, RECOGNIZING THE SPIRIT OF GOD, TESTING YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE, WORKS OF THE HOLY GHOST, GOD’S PERFECT ORDER, GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY, THE HOLY GHOST SPEAKING, AND MANY OTHER THINGS, INCLUDING MY TESTIMONY, AS TO HOW GOD HAS LED ME, AND WHY I HAVE CONDUCTED MY MINISTRY AS I HAVE. WE ARE TRUSTING GOD TO MAKE THIS ARTICLE MEANINGFUL TO EACH OF YOU. THEREFORE, I ASK THAT YOU READ THIS FIRST PART PRAYERFULLY, AND WATCH FOR THE CONTINUATION IN OUR NEXT ISSUE.
TEXT: ACTS 11:1-18
I have never approached this subject nor tried to go into it in the way that I desire to do so now, if the Lord Jesus will help me.
WHAT IT IS FOR
In the ranks of Christianity we have heard for years that there is to be APOSTLES, PROPHETS, EVANGELISTS, PASTORS, AND TEACHERS, but it seems that no two groups of people are able to agree upon the fact of who is to do what among this ministry. Some have gone to the extremes of selecting certain men from among their ranks and installing them in these particular offices. But that is not the answer to man’s spiritual dilemma, for if God has not called a man to a certain office of authority, that man will only add more confusion to that which is present already. When God calls a man to a certain ministry, that man will be enabled and equipped to fulfill that calling. He will not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, which is nothing but man’s carnal ideas. It is because of this confusion, and the nearness of the return of the Lord, that I feel led to deal with this subject, THE APOSTLE’S OFFICE, what it is for, where it ranks among the others, and how it functions among believers.
We have said over and over again that God sent a prophet messenger to this age, and I will say right now that if He had not, every last one of us would be on a road to spiritual wreck. We would be wrecked as individuals as well as assemblies. I am sure that there are many of you who do not catch the significance of what the news media reports from the ranks of religion in our day. Therefore, you may not be aware of the hypocrisy and evilness of it as it is in our present time. The decay of morals has reached a state of rottenness, to the degree that religion, as a whole, is nothing more than a cloak for people to robe themselves in. No more than forty or fifty years ago, religion was looked upon as being something holy, something that would acquaint you with God and show you how to live in respects to God. Brothers and Sisters: that is no longer true. Religious leaders are becoming more and more engrossed in politics and social affairs, and the souls of lost men are not even thought of when these groups come together. Apostasy is taking over the ranks of religion. I have said it before, from this pulpit, and now I will say it again, the time is near at hand that many people will literally hate and abhor religion with all of its corruption. They will feel that they can live better lives apart from such a system. This will be people that morally, socially, ethically, and principally, their standards will be much higher than what they see in the so called churches of the world. They will refuse to sit in, participate, or support such systems as these that feel they must become involved in world affairs. Brother, you can be assured of one thing, the apostle Paul never became involved in social matters, neither did he become involved in economical problems or international affairs. He was only interested in only one thing, that wherever God gave him an open door, he would, by the help of God, fully preach the gospel and point all men everywhere to repent and turn their hearts to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter was the same way, but we are becoming just another subject of study in your colleges and universities, along with Buddhism, Shintuism, and such like, so that there is no life in it.
A short time ago, while traveling, we had occasion to be in the Pittsburgh, PA, airport for about an hour while changing planes. As we walked through the airport we were approached by a young lady who had a bunch of these little red carnations in her hand. She just walked right up and pinned them on my wife’s dress without even asking if it would be alright. She just said as she pinned them on, “May I give you a gift this morning?” Then she said, “Would you like to donate to a charitable cause?” Naturally, I thought it would be for something like the veterans of foreign wars or something of that nature, so I reached in my pocket and gave her a dollar. At that time she reached in her little knapsack and pulled out a magazine, which she handed to me. I could see from the pictures on the cover that it was a magazine which deals with the idea of reincarnation and that sort of thing, but I thought to myself, I have paid a dollar for this thing, so I may as well see what they have to say about it. Brothers and Sisters: you would be surprised at the names of doctors, lawyers, university deans, and big names from all walks of life that were listed in there as having accepted this new concept of reincarnation, and what it has done for them. I thought as I read that, there was a time when you would not have found any such thing as this in your airports, but now we are invaded, here in America, with every kind of a spirit under the sun. It lets us know that the whole world is decaying and the gospel is absolutely being closed out. The vultures are moving in on every side.
Now in respect to the subject of the Apostle’s office, let me say this. I do not know what you may believe, or what you may have been taught about this five fold ministry, that is to perfect the bride of Christ in this last age. But I want to approach the subject from the standpoint of what an apostle was in the first church age. Then, if we can see what the apostle, (as well as the others), was in the beginning of the new testament age, we will have no trouble reconciling the ministry of that office in the closing of this age, for we know that we are to be restored back to the faith of our fathers. That, naturally, means the faith of our spiritual fathers, which were the founders of the new testament church, which began on the day of Pentecost when three thousand souls received the gospel.
As we read the scripture that I have chosen to use for a text for this message, please remember, this is an account of the apostle Peter vindicating his ministry to the Gentiles. He had been called on the carpet, (so to speak), by his Jewish brethren in the Christian faith. In other words, the other apostles and brethren, who were not aware of the fact that even though the gospel came to the Jews first, it was for all who would receive it, called upon the apostle Peter to give an account for the fact that he had, (in the eyes of the Jews), defiled himself by going among Gentile dogs. (This was the way Jews looked upon the uncircumcised Gentiles). You will notice in verse 4, that Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and told it to them in the order of its occurrence. He told of the vision that he received, and how that, through that vision he was able to understand that God is no respecter of person’s (as far as salvation is concerned), and that he should not call any man common or unclean.
Now let us read our text, Acts 11:1-18. (1) “And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of god. (2) And when Peter was to come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, (3) Saying, Thou sentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them. (4) But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying, (5) I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, a certain vessel descending as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me: (6) Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw a four footed beast of the earth and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. (7) And I heard a voice saying unto me, arise, Peter; slay and eat, (8) But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth. (9) But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. (10) And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven. (11) And behold, immediately there, were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me. (12) And the spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover, these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house. (13) And he showed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send me to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter: (14) Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. (15) And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them as on us at the beginning. (16) Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. (17) Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? (18) When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”
RECOGNIZING THE SPIRIT OF GOD
You will notice from the scripture that we have just read, that Peter did not have to wrestle with anyone, or make any threats as to what might happen to a person, or persons, among them, if they did not believe him. He just simply testified to them how the Holy Ghost had led him to go and do a thing that had never entered his mind before that time. He told them his vision, and testified of the results. Not only himself, but he had six brethren which had accompanied him on the trip, and witnessed the things that had taken place. You will notice, also, that the men who were questioning Peter, even though they themselves had no such leadings, they had enough of the spirit of God in them to recognize that this was a sovereign act of God, and from that moment on their minds were settled. They did not continue harassing Peter Because he had done something contrary to their former understanding. These men displayed a true Christian attitude, in that, they glorified God for what he had done. It has been quite the contrary in our day. We have lived to see that spirit of antichrist work from every direction, and through many people that we had looked upon previously as true brothers and sisters of the faith. To give you a little example of what I am talking about, we will call your attention to how the denominations looked upon Bro. Branham and the things that he taught. Yes, there were certain groups among them that enjoyed the healing ministry, and the gift of revealing certain things about individuals in the meetings, but there was not one denomination among them, that would accept his teachings and try to line themselves up with the word of God. Today, that man’s name is considered a bad word in denominational ranks. He is just about as well thought of as some stray dog that might have ran through their midst. Those who knew him personally, from among those groups, are quick to say, oh yes, he was a fine man, but just a little mixed up in the head. Some have been heard to say, he was right in the heart, but wrong in the head, all because he stood for the word of God rather than denominational traditions and creeds. That is the very same situation that John the baptist and Jesus faced in their day. The things that they taught did not fit in with that Judiastic way of thinking. Therefore, they could not see God in anything that was different from their preconceived ideas. Tares will always react like that, for they do not have a revelatory spirit within them. They can only accept what they are able to accomplish through their five senses. This is legalism, without compassion or mercy.
Now I want to bring it right down to where we are today. There are a lot of people, right today, who followed Bro. Branham, and supposedly believed him to be God’s prophet messenger to this age, who are conducting themselves exactly like the Judiastic leaders of the days of Christ’s ministry on earth. It is the same old spirit, just different people. These people thought it was ridiculous that the denominations did not receive Bro. Branham’s teaching on the god-head, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, serpent seed, and the various things concerning the different reformers, and now that Bro. Branham is no longer with them they are being led by the same spirit that they had formerly condemned. In most ways the denominations are better off. At least they are not waiting around for a dead man to be resurrected from the grave to lead them to perfection. God is alive, and His ministry is alive. He does not resurrect men from the dead to carry on His plan of redemption. I am aware that some of you who will read this paper are going to say that I am a heretic, and that I am speaking against Bro. Branham, but I will just say to you, that I am not speaking against that little man, who I loved and appreciated, as much, and maybe more, than most of you. It is that spirit that is so prone to deify the flesh of a man that God uses, that I am speaking against. I do not know where I might be right now, if it had not been for the life and ministry of Bro. Branham, but he is dead now and there is still a life to be lived, and a race to be run. I am referring to the race that the apostle Paul mentioned in I Corinthians 9:24 and Phillipians 3:14, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, not this race that so many are engaged in, trying to see who has the best collection of quotes from Bro. Branham’s sermons.
TRUTH OR LIES
If it seems like I am being a little too plain, I ask you to bear with me. It is too late in the hour to beat around the bush trying to spare someone’s feelings. Jesus did not do it that way. He looked at a group of people that had that spirit on them, and said, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” Now don’t you say that I called you a devil, or a murderer, I did not, but if that spirit in you does not have a love for the truth, well, you know what the scripture says. God will send them strong delusion, that they may believe the devil’s lie and be damned. There are many people among the ranks of religion that are forever murdering truth. All who do so will have to answer to God, not Raymond Jackson. John the baptist called a group of them vipers on one occasion. You certainly could not call that sparing their feelings. Neither was the apostle Paul very gentile with those people when he preached from Mars Hill in Athens, Greece. It simply amounts to the fact that there is a truth to stand for, and any spirit that opposes it, must be revealed and dealt with.
When God is on the scene with truth it is for the benefit of those individuals who are hungering after God to the extent of reaching far beyond what their former teachings held. That does not mean that there is no truth in the various places that we could name, it just means that it takes the whole truth and nothing but the truth to feed the bride of Christ. We all know full well, that the church of the living God started out on the unadulterated truth. They did not have a bunch of misfits sitting in their assemblies saying, “I just don’t see it that way,” “or I believe it should be like this.” God had His apostles on the scene to teach the people, as they believed and desired to know what this new way of life. You did not have people getting saved one day, and then find them out trying to preach the next day, as we have seen it in our day. It seems that there is a preacher spirit on just about two of every three professing Christians that you meet up with anymore. Brothers and Sisters: It was never meant to be that way. The men that God calls to preach will sit under a ministry somewhere till they have something to preach about. We are too close to the end for such folly among the true body of Christ. There is no time to fool around being polite. The Bible teaches us that it will take a five fold ministry to perfect the bride of Christ, therefore, why settle for anything less at this late hour.
In the 2nd chapter of Acts, we read that three thousand souls were added to the ranks of the believers in one day. Then what does it say? “And they continued stedfastly in the APOSTLES’ DOCTRINE, and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Now! Did you notice anything in that verse? Look at it again. “THEY CONTINUED STEDFASTLY IN THE APOSTLES’ DOCTRINE.” We gather from scriptures such as this that these new converts had some doctrine taught to them, and by who? By the apostles. It is always the apostle that holds the line on the word of God. The early church had all five offices in it, but it was the apostles who had the major role in establishing the believers. Take for instance, the time when Paul and Barnabas came to Jerusalem to discuss the doctrine that had been spread at Antioch, among new converts, saying, that they should be circumcised and keep the law. The apostle James stood up, after having heard all the discussion and testimony, and said, listen to me, (Acts 15) (14)“Simon has declared how God at first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. (15) And to this agree the prophets; as it is written, (16) After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will set it up: (17) That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. (18) Known unto God are all of his works from the beginning of the world. (19) Wherefore MY JUDGMENT is that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: (20) But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.” ETC. What I want you to see here, is that, these apostles had to deal with a situation that they did not have an exact scripture to go to for the answer. Therefore, James, being the chief spokesman at Jerusalem, first looked at the word of God that was available to them, (prophecy concerning Gentile believers), and made his judgment based upon that. When he made this determination, the others did not question his decision. They immediately took steps to set everything in its proper order.
You will notice further on down in this same chapter that the church at Jerusalem sent chosen men from among their number, with Paul and Barnabas, when they went back to Antioch, primarily, as witnesses to the fact that the apostles had made a decision in the matter. The men who accompanied Paul and Barnabas were new testament prophets, who, after bearing witness in the matters at hand, also exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.
As you follow the events recorded in the book of Acts, you will notice that each time God began to change His approach concerning a certain realm of people, the office of that apostle was right there. The early church did not start out as a hit and miss project in the books of Acts, and it will not wind up as such in the end, for God still has His voice in the land today.
TESTING YOUR EXPERIENCE
Some of you may not agree as to what an apostle is, but I will say this, your judgment in the matter is not what God will accept anyhow. He never bothered to ask the Judiastic world what they thought their Messiah should look like. He never asked them what they thought their Elijah was to look like, neither did he ask the denominational church world what they thought their Malachi 4 should be like. Most of them do not accept it, I can not see it, they say. Well, it just goes to prove the scripture where Jesus said, “No man can come to me except the Father draw him.” They are quick to say, “I know I have been saved and have the Holy Ghost, even if I do not see anything just like you do.” Time will prove who has the Holy Ghost. It matters not, what some may say, time will prove who has the real thing. I don’t care if you are able to kick your heels through the ceiling, that does not prove that you have the Holy Ghost. The real proof of it is what you do with the word of God when it is presented to you. You could never convince a true child of God that you are filled with the Holy Ghost, while you continue to resist water baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, according to Acts 2:38, and while you continue to believe that God is three persons. Does not the scripture tell us, (in the words of Jesus) that when the Holy Ghost comes, He will lead you into all truth? You can answer your own question if your are honest. Just ask yourself, if I have the Holy Ghost, why is He not leading me into all truth? Why do so many of the scriptures still seem so confusing? Ask yourself these questions, then, think on what I am about to say.
On the day of Pentecost, when the new testament church was born, every soul in that upper room had been affected by the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, but where were all of the others whose lives had also been affected. Let us ask ourselves this question, why were they not all assembled in the upper room? What had happened? There were thousands of people throughout the land of Israel, who had sat on the ground and eaten of the five loaves and two fishes. Where were they on the morning when the Holy Ghost fell? They were not in the upper room. How about the great throng of people who followed Jesus and witnessed the healing of multitudes who came to Him along the way? Are you beginning to see what I am getting at? It is not whether you spoke in tongues, rolled in the floor, shouted, danced, got healed or prophesied, that determines whether you received the Holy Ghost or not. The real test is whether you will do what the word tells you to do. The WORD, John 1:14, told those people to tarry in the city of Jerusalem until they received the promise of the Father, Luke 24:49. There were about one hundred and twenty of them who were gathered together with this promise on their mind, but the great multitude was someplace else. We have all enjoyed the manifestations of the spirit in the wonderful meetings that we have been privileged to attend over the years, and I have nothing to say against anyone who might have had an experience similar to one or more of these mentioned. The only thing that I will say is, when you leave the meeting to go about your daily routine, please let your life measure up with your spiritual experiences. Do not make a toy out of the spirit of God. He is not to be used as a puppet, where you pull the strings and make God do what you want Him to do. God is looking at the heart of each one of us. He is checking for a certain quality, a quality that has a sticking ability. When He finds such a person, He will talk to that soul out of His book. Oh, yes, there will be days of discouragement, we all have them. But the soul that truly knows God, will get up out of such a dilemma, and will stand for the word of God, which will bring everything under control.
WORKS OF HOLY GHOST
Think for just a moment about that 120 souls who waited for the promise of the Father, as they had been instructed to do. They did not know what kind of a feeling they would have when it came, neither did they know what it would look like. They just knew that Jesus had told them to wait at Jerusalem until it came, and they were obeying His word. When the spirit fell on them that day, it made such an impact on each of them, that they never stopped witnessing about it until they were either martyred, or put in the grave from some other cause. The spirit that they received had a life changing effect on them, and it affected others also.
Notice what happened when Peter preached his first sermon after receiving the Holy Ghost, three thousand orthodox Jews were literally pricked in their hearts, causing them to cry out to Peter and the other eleven apostles, “men and brethren, what must we do?” Praise God! I am so glad that there were no bishops nor overseers to show them the articles of faith. Brothers and Sisters: the Bible wasn’t even printed yet, but Peter, out of the abundance of his heart, and a right revelation that God had instilled in there, said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” After Peter finished speaking these words, three thousand souls were taken out and baptized the biblical way. This was all done at the word of an apostle. The point that I want to get across to you, is, that God used the office of apostles to begin the church on the day of Pentecost, and that he will use that same office here in the end of the age, as the bride moves toward her perfection.
You can tell by listening to the way many people talk, that they think an apostle is the man that can make water run uphill, or create some great miracle, or this and that. I will say this, that all went along with it, but, that was not the main object of the apostolic office. That was not the primary calling of an apostle. It started out as an office of authority to hold a line on the word of God. It was an office, ordained by God, to establish doctrine for the true believers to live by.
You know, as well as I do, that when Peter and John were instrumental in their first miracle, (that being the healing of the lame man which was laid daily at the gate beautiful of the temple, to ask alms of those who went in and out), that there was a great stir among the people. So much so, that the religious leaders, who were angered by all of this commotion and talk about this man Jesus, came upon them and took them before the high priest, and others who questioned them as to what authority they had to do these things. Peter seized the opportunity to preach the name of Jesus Christ unto them, but the sermon was not appreciated. The apostles were threatened and let go, with the command that they should not use this name anymore. During the time of their preaching though, there were another five thousand souls who believed the gospel and were added to the church. By this time, all attention was focused on this group of believers who were causing such a stir around Jerusalem. Miracles were being wrought by the apostles, the sick were healed, and spirits were cast out of those who were possessed. It was reported that the believers in this new way of life had all things common. But then the high priest and the Sadducees were filled with indignation because of these things, and when they could no longer contain themselves, they arrested the apostles once again and cast them into the common prison. This time, God sent an angel to open the prison gates, and when they were on the outside, the angel said to them, go, stand and speak, in the temple, to the people, all the words of this life. It was important that the church of that day be started out on right teachings. The right doctrine was most essential. The five fold ministry was busy among those early Christians, getting them established in the right doctrine. They had apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers: all active in that first age, and you can be sure of this one thing, they all taught the same revelation of Jesus Christ to the believers of that day. The trinity of the godhead sure didn’t get its start through the ministry of through the ministry of those men. Neither did that apostate substitute for water baptism. The gospel started out pure, through the teachings of these men, and that is what the bride of Christ must be brought back to, before she will be acceptable to God. All denominational creeds and traditions will have to be purged out of us by a right revelation of the word of God. Then we must live according to that revelation.
PHILLIP’S MINISTRY IN SAMARIA
When we talk about miracles, we sure can not overlook Phillip and his ministry down in Samaria. He was not an apostle. He was just a deacon, or a table waiter as some might prefer, but when the great persecution of Christians struck Jerusalem, causing them to be scattered to the regions round about, (after the death of Stephen), we find Phillip going down into Samaria, preaching the gospel as he went. We find the record of his ministry in the 8th chapter of Acts, where it tells that unclean spirits were cast out of many who were possessed with them. Many of those who had palsy, or that were lame, were healed. The Bible says that the people, with one accord, gave heed unto those things which Phillip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. Even Simon, the sorcerer, believed and was baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, along with the rest of that great multitude that believed the things which Phillip preached, concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. But the thing that I want you to see from this Bible account of Phillip’s ministry is, that, even though he had all of those miracles as a result of his preaching, the Holy Ghost did not fall on any of these new converts until the apostles went down and laid hands on them and prayed for them.
Do you think it strange that the Holy Ghost fell on none of them until the apostles prayed for them? The reason it seems strange to us, is that we have been prone to interpret the Bible by what we have seen taking place in the last 50 or 60 years, as we look backwards. But, my brother, when we take the Bible and put it on the other side of the dark ages, where the gospel light had just bloomed forth, and the plan of God had just been introduced, we can see that God absolutely had a divine plan for doing things. Therefore, Peter and John went down to Samaria and all they did was lay hands on the people and pray for them to receive the Holy Ghost. God did something there with a manifestation that caught the attention of all people. I do not know what the manifestation was, but something happened, for when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles hands, the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying, give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. Of course the gift of God can not be purchased with money, and Peter reminded him of this fact. It is free to all who repent and are baptized according to Acts 2:38, in the name of Jesus Christ. That is a promise to as many as the Lord our God shall call, Acts 2:39.
GOD’S PERFECT ORDER
Now let us look at the order in which the gospel was presented to the various people. You will recall, I am sure, the words of Jesus which are recorded in Acts 1:8, where he said, “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in JERUSALEM, and in JUDAEA, and in SAMARIA, and unto the UTTERMOST PART OF THE EARTH.” Do you see the order here? First, the gospel was to be preached at Jerusalem. This took place on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:1-47. Then we read in the 8th chapter of Acts, verses 1,4, that after the death of Stephen, there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem: and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of JUDAEA and SAMARIA, all except the apostles who remained at Jerusalem. In verse 4 we read, “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.” They covered the regions of Judaea and Samaria, preaching the word. Now we come to the 10th chapter of Acts, and we find that it is time to begin to fulfill the last part of chapter 1:8, where the uttermost part of the earth is mentioned. This is what included the Gentiles. They were not included in the regions of Jerusalem, Judaea, and Samaria, but now, let us watch the order of these next events.
When we come to the 10th chapter we find an account of a certain man named Cornelius, who was a centurion in the Roman army, (A Gentile), but the scripture says that he was a devout man, meaning of course, that he had heard something, somewhere, concerning the true and living God, and he had believed sincerely enough that it caused him to pray and give alms to the people. But according to Peter’s account of the matter, when he was approached by his Jewish brethren at Jerusalem, later, the man Cornelius, needed to hear words, whereby, he and all of his house could be saved. You can read that in the 11th chapter. It just goes to show that there are a lot of well meaning people in the world who pray and do many good things, but they are like Cornelius was, they are not saved. They need to hear the words of eternal life, and be instructed in how to make their calling sure. According to chapter 10:6, the angel that Cornelius saw in his vision instructed him to send for Simon Peter, who was in the house of Simon the tanner by the sea side. When he comes, said the angel, “he will tell thee what thou oughtest to do.”
We know of a surety that there were prophets at Jerusalem, such as Agabus, Judas, Silas and others. These men could, no doubt, have preached to this group of Gentiles, just as well as Peter did, but it was not those prophets that God chose for the job. There is something about that office of the apostle that God has ordained to use. We must see it if we are going to move on with God. It is not that we are trying to glorify flesh. There is no flesh that can glory in the presence of the Lord. We are just trying to help you to see that God has a certain order by which he does things, and those who resist God’s order will miss God altogether, and wind up back out in the world.
We are aware of the fact that there are many professing Christians in our day who detest the idea of having anyone over them. They will say, “Bless God, I am not going to have anyone telling me what to do. I get my instructions directly from God. The spirit leads me. I don’t need anyone.” Such an attitude, in itself, reveals that their heart is not right, and because their heart is not right, they could never submit to any kind of authority. As for myself, I do not want some denominational bishop over me either, but, brother, I will accept a biblical office over me. AMEN! As long as that man is leading my soul down the pathway of eternal life, in the revelation of Jesus Christ, and my soul has access to the word of God, here is one old boy that has no objections to following such a man. If your heart is right, and you are hungering after truth, then you will know who to follow, and also, who not to follow.
When they drafted me into the army, I did not go in there and try to tell them how to run everything. Whatever they were doing (or having me to do), that I did not like, was not for me to change. I had to fall in line and conform to the established rules, so is it in this great army of God. We can not all be leaders. Some of us are required to follow, but God will let us know who to follow.
GENTILES RECEIVE GOSPEL
When it came time for God to open the door of grace to the Gentiles, He took advantage of the hungry, weakened condition of Peter’s physical makeup to speak to him, for up until this time the apostle Peter had strictly observed the law of eating, concerning clean, and unclean things. Now, Peter was a man of prayer, so while he was waiting for the meal to be prepared, he just slipped away, up to the housetop to pray. (For those of you who have been to the Middle East, or know anything about their customs, this would not seem strange to you; for you will know that their houses are built with flat roofs, and they have a stairway leading up to roof so that it serves as sort of a balcony, or a place to get away from the main activity of the household.) On this particular occasion, as Peter began to pray, he became very hungry and would have eaten, but the food was not ready, so while he waited he fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and a sheet like vessel, tied together by the hour corners, let down to the earth before him. In this vessel were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. As Peter beheld this sight, he heard a voice, saying, “Rise, Peter; kill, and eat,” but Peter said, “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” Then the voice spoke to him again, and said, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” God gave him a threefold witness, for he repeated the incident twice, but Peter was still not completely settled as to what the vision meant, and while he thought it over, the three men that Cornelius had sent appeared at the gate making inquiry about him. The spirit spoke to Peter, and told him to arise and go with the three men, doubting nothing. Peter listens to the story of the three men as they relate the vision that Cornelius had been instructed through. About three days later, and some sixty miles up the coast, Peter and the man who accompanied him arrived at the Gentile man’s house. Immediately, Cornelius began relating the vision to Peter, and when he had finished, Peter began his sermon by saying, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all), That Word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” You see what Peter did, he did the only thing that he could do, he just began preaching Jesus to them. That is what he had been doing in every other place where the door was open, and that is exactly what God wanted him to do. For there is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved, except the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. God did not have to tell Peter what to say to these people once he was there, he just did what came natural with him. He gave a testimony of the things that he had seen and heard, but he did not stop there. Even though he did not have any idea that those people who were hearing him would start acting peculiar, he had no trouble recognizing that they were receiving the same experience that he and the others with him had received, for they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. I want you to read the last few verses of this 10th chapter and take note of the fact that they did not have anyone shaking their heads, patting them on the cheeks, or trying to teach them how to speak in other language, as some of these modern evangelists encourage people to do. I am truly sick of this whole apostate religious thing that we are seeing spread around everywhere. Brothers and Sisters: it is the cheapness of it all that is so bad, I am constantly amazed to see some poor soul that was sincere and hungry enough for God, to survive all of that nonsense, and make is way to truth. You can be sure of this, it is not because someone beat on them or caused them to repeat certain phrases. It is because God sees the heart of every person that comes through that route, and He causes them to get the right thing.
WAIT FOR GOD’S LEADING
I want you to listen close to what I am going to say. We are living in a day when man cheapens the program of God by making a show out of it. Modern religion likes to put everything on display, and count heads, to boast about numbers, how many got saved, how many received the Holy Ghost, how many was in Sunday school last Sunday, or how many has pledged to pray for such and such a time. These numbers may sound good to them, but I want you to know that they do not mean anything to God. For God already has the whole thing numbered from before the foundation of the world. His record book is already made out. Why should man try so hard to make the earthly record books show so much more than the heavenly record that God has made? Why can we not allow God to motivate and lead us along in His plan? Why do we feel like we must help God? I hear people get so frustrated and nervous, saying, Oh! But we have just got to help God or such a one someplace may not get saved. No, we don’t have to feel like that. All we need to do is yield ourselves to God and let Him direct us, and lead us. There will certainly be times that God will use your testimony to get someone’s attention, but it will be at a time when He has set the stage for it to be effective.
Jesus said, no man can come to me, except the Father draw him, meaning, that no one can come to an understanding of the word unless the spirit deals with him first. Let me read you a few verses from Romans, chapter 10:13-17, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (14) How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (15) And shall they preach, EXCEPT THEY BE SENT? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So THEN FAITH COMETH BY HEARING, and hearing by the word of God.” It will do no good for you to preach or testify to or twist the arm of a person that God has not already moved upon by His convicting spirit. In other words, you must be led by God to do what you do or it will all be in vain. What if Peter had suddenly felt that he ought to do something for God, and gone to the house of Cornelius before God had dealt with him in the trance, and Cornelius in the vision? Do you think that the results would have been the same? I assure you, it would not have been. When God is working on both ends of the line, the gospel will feed your soul. That is the way it was that day, when Peter was preaching and testifying to that group of Italian Gentiles, their souls were being fed. They were sitting there, wide eyed, eating up every word that Peter was saying. But do you think it would have been like that if Peter had gone there to teach them how to light a candle, or pray a rosary, or prepare a chicken for the next chicken fry? You know as well as I do, that a person will not be helped, spiritually, by such things as that, but are you able to see yet, that to go, without being sent to preach the gospel is the same thing? God is not just word, that is legalism, or ritual. Neither is He just spirit. Those who love the spirit but neglect the word, will always wind up in fanaticism. It takes an even balance of each to mold a true child of God.
As Peter stood there in the house of Cornelius that day, he had no motive of his own. He was not overzealous about doing something for God. He was there because he had been instructed to go with these men, without doubting. I am sure that he did not know what to expect any more than they did, but can you not imagine the sigh of relief that must have moved over him as the whole group began to speak in tongues and magnify God? That was the first sign that he had, that let him know, that God was going to deal with the Gentiles the same way that he had dealt with the Jews on the day of Pentecost. That is when Peter got excited and turned to the six brethren that were with him and said, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.”
Peter was not there to run competition with anymore else. He did not beg money to get him a large tent, with three thousand chairs, and two trucks to haul it all around on, as we see it here in this 20th century. Peter was a true man of God. It made no difference to him if God sent him to a man’s house to preach or if he was sent to the temple to preach to the large crowds. His message was the same in either place. He just lifted up the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and did nothing to bring a reproach upon the word of God. As we follow the gospel from Acts 2 on through the rest of the book, we see that apostolic office holding a line on the word of God. That does not mean that these new Christians could not testify and edify each other in the Lord. It simply means that as God reached out with the gospel, He made sure that there was an apostle on the scene to see that the people got it straight in the beginning.
This was a time when the former rain was falling. It was seed sowing time. If you are familiar with farm life, you can more easily understand this terminology of former rain and latter rain. In the spring, when the former rains are coming, you will see the farmers going out to the fields with corn planters, wheat drills, and other such equipment as is used in planting the crops. But when the latter rains began to fall, it is time to go out to the fields with a different kind of equipment. When you need now is harvest machinery. Now we all know that you do not harvest the crop with the same kind of equipment that you planted it with. Brothers and Sisters: apply this spiritually! But please, do not go out and say that Bro. Jackson said that no one could receive the Holy Ghost now. I did not say that. Neither have I said that it is too late for anyone to get saved. As long as Jesus is still on the mercy seat, a person who truly repents, can still be saved, but that is not the primary objective in this late hour of time.
SEPARATION AND TARE BUNDLING
When it comes to looking at the church as a whole, we are living in the time of separation, which is the time of harvest. We can see the tares, where they are going and what they are doing. It doesn’t take preaching to make tares. They are already in existence. No one had to preach to make tares in the 2nd church age. The devil just brought a condition and sowed it there. The condition produced the tares.
You will notice in the parable of Matthew 13:24-30, that when the servants asked the householder if they should go and pluck up the tares, he said, no, let them all grow together, lest while you are plucking up the tares, you uproot the wheat also. That is why we have had tares to put up with in the church for over 1800 years now. Yet we are living in a day when the tares are being bundled together for the burning, and the good crop is being gathered into the barn. You must apply this spiritually now, or you will miss the picture altogether.
Out in the denominations we see a certain move to bind all of them together. They are visiting from one denomination to the other. The great theme is love for each other. Doctrine has no place among them. No one, of their number, will preach anything that might be offensive to someone who might be visiting from some other denomination. They are ever so sincere, but they are being tied together for burning. That is why none of them could accept the 7th church age messenger, (a prophet to this age), he would not compromise with them to please their bishops and overseers. Therefore, when he stepped on the scene and delivered his message, it went around this world, causing the spirit of God to speak death to all of these systems. Then when the spirit of God left them, the devil took over. They can still feel a spirit among them, but they are unable to recognize that it is the spirit from another source.
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not speaking of individuals that may still be trapped in those systems for one reason or the other. I am speaking of the system itself. The spirit of God has left them. Therefore, we will have to say that the only way you will find God among those denominational systems in this harvest time, is to find Him dealing with an individual here and there. He will speak to that individual among those groups, who He finds to be sincere and hungry for truth, but He will not leave them there to be choked to death with programs once He has moved in their lives.
THE APOSTLE INSTRUCTING DISCIPLES
Every instance, in the Bible, where we see the spirit of God going from one order, or group, to another, we see that office of the apostle right there holding a line on the word. We have moved from Pentecost to Samaria, and then on to Caesarea, with the apostle Peter in the apostolic spotlight, but not as we approach the 19th chapter, we see another man begin to function in that office. We are speaking of the apostle Paul, who a short time before, (about 20 years), had been exerting all of his efforts to persecute the Christians. Now we see him, after God has knocked him down to the ground, got his attention, filled him with the Holy Ghost, and taught him for three years out in the Arabian desert. It took some time for Paul to gain the complete confidence of his brethren, seeing as how he had been so zealous in trying to stamp out the Christians, and even at the time of his conversion, he was on his way to Damascus, to arrest anyone that he might find there calling themselves a Christian. But, by the time we pick up his ministry, here in the 19th chapter of Acts, he has had time to prove himself, and gain the confidence and support of the other apostles. You will recall from the scriptural account of God’s dealing with Paul, that he never walked with the Lord Jesus, to gain His understanding of the gospel first hand, as the other apostles had, but as we pick up his ministry here in Ephesus, you will immediately recognize that his revelation is exactly the same as Peter’s. He comes to Ephesus, finds 12 men who have been converted under the ministry of Apollos, before Aquila and Priscilla had gotten hold of him, to instruct him, more perfectly, in the ways of God. Notice, the first question that he put to them was, (2) “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” (Acts 19:2) They said unto him, “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” Then, notice Paul’s next question. “Unto what then were you baptized?” (That Apostle knew that if they had been baptized properly, they certainly would have heard about the Holy Ghost, for that is part of the message of the gospel.) (3) “Unto John’s baptism,” they answered. Then Paul said, (4) “John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” (The apostle did not try to take away from these disciples, what they had already. He just showed them what they needed to add to their experience in order to make it complete.) (5) “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (6) And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” These scriptural accounts of God’s dealing with various people’s, should be enough to convince anyone that when a person comes through the right door, they receive the same experience as all of the others who have found that door of revelation. Out in the charismatic movement, they will baptize you just any way that you desire to be baptized, saying that the formula of baptism makes no difference. Some even go so far as to say, that baptism is not necessary anyhow. I would like to have heard them tell the apostle Paul that. You talk about a religious fanatic. When he got through answering such a statement, you would know what it is like to believe something with every fiber of your complete makeup. It is true, those people who use the name of Jesus so loosely, do call us fanatics, but that is not what the Bible calls us. Throughout the pages of the scripture, we are called believers, and such as these who will not obey the truth are called serpent seed. You say, Bro. Jackson: I have never seen any place in the scripture where a person was called a serpent seed; well, that is because your understanding has not yet been opened up as to what really took place in the garden of Eden in the beginning. As long as you think Adam and Eve ate an apple from a tree there in the garden, to bring about the fall of mankind, you could never accept the fact that there have been two seed lines among mankind ever since. That is another subject, which we have dealt with fully in previous messages. You may ask for a copy of the Contender dealing with this subject, if you wish, but now, let us return to our thought. These charismatic leaders will compromise on any issue for the sake of unity among what they call brethren. They want that spotlight on them. They want the name of being able to worship God with any group, any where, no matter what they believe, but that is a scriptural impossibility. In John 4:24 we read, GOD IS A SPIRIT: and they that worship Him must worship Him in SPIRIT and in TRUTH. In other words, if you are not in the truth, you can not worship God. I hear people say, “I don’t think it matters too much how we are baptized, just as long as our intention is right.” I want you to know that the apostle Paul would not accept that. Those 12 men there in Ephesus were doing all that they knew to do, but the apostle said, there is more to it than that. That was just to get your attention. Anything that you are holding on to, that does not measure up to a true revelation of the scriptures is just plain human reasoning. God will not accept it. That is what the apostolic office is for, to hold the reins and prevent a runaway. There are those in every congregation that will take any little thing that is dropped, and run with it, it doesn’t seem to matter to them whether it is truth or not, just as long as it is exciting. That is how false doctrine gets into a church, many times. You have heard people come in all excited and tell a dream or an experience that they had just after they finished praying. Naturally, if the person does not know how to examine the experience, with the word, they will be prone to believe it was from God. There will always be others that will pick it up and spread it, as a THUS SAITH THE LORD, when, many times, the thing is completely contrary to the word of God. Now do not misunderstand me. There are times when God will use situations like that to weed out those who do not have a love for the truth. But every assembly, that is established by God, will have access to that apostolic office, just like they did in the first church age. God does not leave His people without anyone that they can turn to for an answer to their questions. It was situations that came up in the various assemblies in that first church age that has enabled us to have the Bible as it is today. Even though some of the Epistles which were written by the apostle Paul, were just words of encouragement and instructions in general, there are others that were written in answer to questions about certain things that were going on in the church. That is one of the primary functions of that office. There must, of necessity, be some place where the local churches can look to for help in the settlement of disputes, that arise from time to time.
YOU WILL FOLLOW SOMEONE
If God has apostles in the church today, (and we know that He does because the Bible says so), then He has ordained that they be recognized by the believers of this age. That will not make the man with the office any better than anyone else. It is a spirit of jealousy that gets hold of a lot of people, especially preachers, and causes them to resent a man that God is speaking to. Brothers and Sisters: I will have to say, you had better get hold of yourself, this is God’s ordained way to perfect the bride of Christ. You are going to wind up sooner or later, following some man, somewhere. It is up to you who would value your soul, to make sure that you are following a man, or men, that will lead you down the pathway of eternal life, and true holiness. The men who fulfill these Bible offices are not doing so because they chose to. They are doing so because God has worked circumstances to get them into the place where they are. Look at the extreme measures that God took in dealing with Saul of Tarsus, before he ever got his life in line so that he could fulfill his calling. You may say, when did God call him to be an apostle? I will let the Bible answer that for you.
GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY DEMONSTRATED
As we read the account of Saul’s conversion in the 9th chapter of Acts, we are made very much aware of God’s sovereignty, for as Saul journeyed to Damascus in his attempt to stamp our Christianity, the Lord appeared to him in a great light. When Saul had fallen to the ground because of it, he heard a voice saying unto him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do?” You can see here that none of this is a surprise to God. He is working out a plan that He formed in his mind before He created Adam. Saul’s conversion was no accident. It was a carefully worked out plan of God. Saul stood up and opened his eyes, and realized that he was blind. The men that were with him led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus, where he fasted and prayed for three days before he heard from the Lord again. In the meantime, the Lord was speaking to a certain disciple named Ananias, (in a vision), concerning Saul. The Lord said to Ananias, “Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hands on him, that he might receive his sight.”
We see throughout the Bible that God has always used dreams and visions in order to alert His servants, and to instruct them, many times, as to what was just ahead. We see here in this account of the conversion of Saul, that God gave both Ananias and Saul a vision, instructing them what to do next. Naturally, Ananias had heard about this man Saul, how he had been so fervently engaged in his own private campaign to arrest and put to death these Christians, that were causing so much fuss throughout the land. Knowing this about Saul caused Ananias to respond to the Lord as he did. It was almost as if Ananias was thinking, “Lord: are you sure about that?” Notice, verse 13, “Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.” Ananias expressed himself to the Lord, according to what he had heard about the man and his life in the past. I am afraid that we, as Christians, are too prone to do that at times. It seems that we forget too easily what we might have been ourselves, if not for the grace of a sovereign God. For God can take the vilest sinner and clean him up, and put his sins as far as the East is from the West, from him, never to be remembered against him anymore. God, from that moment on, sees nothing but the blood of Jesus when He looks at that man, but we mortals still have a tendency to think of him in the light of what we have known him to be in the past. That is extreme conservatism. On the other hand, you will find people who go just as much to the extreme with their liberalism. They would take a man from the depths of sin and debauchery, and set him up as a great spiritual leader all because he might have spoken in tongues, or danced, or prophesied. Let me tell you, there is more to it than that. Every person’s experience in the Lord must be able to stand the test when the fires of persecution and reproach are heaped against them. It is true that there is nothing impossible with God, but I still maintain that God does not go to the camp of the hard criminals, or the camps of the filthy morals, to get his men for offices of spiritual leadership. You may say, “But Brother Jackson: Paul was a murderer.” I will have to answer you by saying, he was not a criminal. He did not do what he did out of lust, nor greed. Neither did he have any other selfish motive. He truly thought that he was doing God a service by ridding the area of what he considered to be heretics. He was very dedicated to what he considered to be a real service to the Lord.
Let us finish these few verses, here in this 9th chapter, then I want you to go with me into the 26th chapter for a few verses. In anser to Ananias, the Lord said, (15) “Go, thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: (16) For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. (17) And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, BROTHER SAUL, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way of thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. (18) And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith: and arose, AND WAS BAPTIZED.” I believe that should be enough to establish the point that I desire to make here. Now, notice, the order of events. First, we see that Saul had a great zeal toward God. He was trying to do God a service, without knowing what God wanted him to do. Secondly, we see that, God, (in order to get his attention), knocked him to the ground, you can always look up better when you are lying flat on your back. Now, don’t you bother to say, the Bible does not say that Saul was knocked down. “Neither does it say that he was lying flat on his back.” I said that to get your attention. Nevertheless, while he was there on the ground, God was able to talk to him. That is why many people wind up in the hospital, or on a sick bed somewhere. God has to allow something in their life that will get their attention. Thirdly, let us notice the words of Saul, after the Lord had gotten his attention. “Lord, WHAT WILT THOU HAVE ME TO DO?” Get this now, the Lord did not tell him all that He had in store for him. He simply pointed him in the right direction. God had his human instrument in Damascus, that He could call upon to minister to Saul, once He got Saul’s attention. Therefore, the Lord just said, you go into the city, and it will be told you what you must do. The fourth thing that I would have you to see is that Saul did what the Lord told him to do. He went into the city where he fasted and prayed till he heard from God again. If he had been like some of the people that I have met in my ministry, he would have said, “I don’t see why I should have to go into the city, when I can’t even see where I am going, I think I will just sit here on this rock, until I find out for sure what the Lord has for me do to.” Do you think he would have heard from God if he had taken that attitude? God might have caused an earthquake to jar him off of that rock, but he would not have sent Ananias out there to lay hands on him. Yet, think about this, and see if you do not see it as the exact same attitude of a great number of people that you may know; you may even be one of them. They will say, “I know the Bible says to repent, and be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, but my dear old grandmother was a good Christian, and she was never baptized like that, so what was good enough for her, is good enough for me.” Let me tell you this, there are people in hell right now who have used those exact words. God requires obedience. He will not settle for a substitute.
Now the next thing that I would have you to see is that, Ananias, the human instrument, did what God told him to do. When you come into a situation where everyone is doing what God has instructed them to do, it is a thing of beauty. It will thrill your heart.
GENUINE OBEDIENCE WILL ATTRACT PERSECUTION
Immediately after his experience of receiving the Holy Ghost and being baptized, Saul had himself a good meal, and was strengthened. After fellowshipping with the saints which were at Damascus for a few days, he went into the synagogues and began to preach that Christ was truly the Son of God. The people that heard him were amazed, and said one to another, is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem: They liked what they were hearing, but they were very suspicious of him, because of his past. It goes on to say that he increased in strength and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus. After that, they began trying to kill him. That is just like a lot of religious hypocrites today. As long as a man will stay with the system of his traditions, he can commit murder, so to speak, and get by with it. But let that man get a genuine Holy Ghost experience with God, and it won’t be long before his troubles start.
As long as Saul was killing Christians, he did not have a problem, but just as soon as he began to prove that he himself was one, he became a potential victim. Even the disciples at Jerusalem were afraid of him when he tried to fellowship with them later. What a predicament! On the one hand, he had his former associates trying to kill him, and on the other hand, the ones that he had tried to join were afraid of him; until Barnabas, a trusted one among them, took him to them and testified of his experience with the Lord. The true brethren accepted him, but the Grecians went about trying to kill him. This caused the brethren to take him to Caesarea, and send him to Tarsus. With Saul out of the area, things kindly calmed down around the churches in Judaea, Galilee, and Samaria.
THE HOLY GHOST SPEAKS
We pick up the ministry of Saul, next, in the 13th chapter where the saints at Antioch were fasting and praying, and waiting upon the Lord, and the Holy Ghost spake to them that they should separate Barnabas and Saul for the work that they have been called to. This was the beginning of Saul’s first missionary journey. From this chapter throughout the rest of the Bible, he is called Paul, (one sent). It was from these missionary journeys of Paul, that we are able to have the Bible as we have it today. Paul did not have the new testament to carry around with him, he wrote most of it, or had it done. What he had for a Bible was the scrolls of the law, and the prophets, but everywhere he went he was found HOLDING A LINE ON THAT WORD. He would bend a little for a weaker brother in the faith, in order not to be a stumbling block for such a one, but he would never compromise on the revelation of the word of God. He was so sure that his revelation of the word was right, that he told the Galatians that, “If he, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” He was so sure that he meant what he had said, that he even repeated it, so that there would be no doubt. You can read this book over and over, again and again, but you will not find those apostles preaching anything different than what the apostle Paul preached, and anywhere he was heard, you can be sure it was always the same revelation. He did not preach one thing to one group, and something different to the next. He gave them all the same thing. It was not from the apostles preaching that false doctrine got into the churches. It was because of certain ones, who for the sake of gaining attention, they would add a little something here and there, that the devil was able to sow his antichrist doctrine.
WARNING TO THE CHURCH
Let us read a few verses from the 20th chapter of Acts. These are words spoken by Paul to the elders of the church at Ephesus, where he had ministered so faithfully. (It was from the revival fires that burned there at Ephesus, that many of the other churches were started.) Paul has called these elders together, and now he tells them that from the first day that he came into Asia, he has served the Lord with humility of mind, and with many tears and trials, and that he has kept back nothing that could be profitable to them. He goes on to tell them of what his ministry has been, and that he is going to Jerusalem, not knowing the thing that shall befall him there; knowing only that he is bound in the spirit to go. The Holy Ghost had witnessed to him in every city that bonds and afflications awaited him there. In verse 24 he says, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (25) And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. (26) Wherefore, I testify unto you this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men; (27) For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (Now, listen to his advice and warning.) (28) Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. (Let the Trinitarians read that verse and get more than one God out of it. THE CHURCH OF GOD, THAT HE, “GOD” HATH PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD). (29) For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. (30) Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking preverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (31) Therefore, watch, and remember, that for the space of three years I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears.”
Even though he had warned them for three years, of what to expect, he takes this last occasion to warn them once again. His very words prove that he had been holding the line on the word of God as long as he was with them. That is why he said, AFTER MY DEPARTURE, SHALL GRIEVOUS WOLVES ENTER IN AMONG YOU, NOT SPARING THE FLOCK. He said, they will even raise up from among you, to make a name for themselves. That is why I said earlier that it does not take preaching to make tares, they are right there all the time. They are already there, they just wait for their opportunity to manifest themselves. In this case it would not have done them any good to have raised up while the apostle was on the scene.
Now, I said earlier that we would go to the 26th chapter. That was just for the sake of showing you, from the scripture, the uncompromising stand that the apostle Paul took toward the word of God, right to the very end of his freedom, or should I say, at the expense of his freedom. This is the account of his testimony before King Agrippa, after his arrest at Jerusalem, He started right at the first, telling of his life as a Pharisee, and how he persecuted the Christians. Then, he comes right on down to his conversion experience on the road to Damascus, and tells the whole story. Truly, as he said to the elders of Ephesus, none of these things phased him, for he had something inside him that couldn’t do anything else but stand for the word of God. When God said to Ananias, I will show him how great things he must suffer for my sake, it was with the knowledge of Saul’s makeup, knowing, that once he saw the truth, he would cherish it to his death.
GOD’S LEADING IN MY LIFE
Brothers and Sisters: I have tried to go into the scripture in such a way, in establishing to you, what an apostle is, and what his office is for, that you should have no trouble in recognizing that same office here at the end of the age. I am sure that I would not feel as I do, if God had not dealt with my life as he has for many years now. From time to time as the occasion seemed to call for such, I have told the various dreams that have served to move my life and ministry in the stream that it has gone in. There is one thing that I can say for sure, God has put something in my heart that will not let me go with the trend of religion. Ever since the day that I came to realize that God has his Elijah of Malachi 4:5-6, B part on the scene, my life has taken a different trend.
It is because of the way that God has led me through these years since Bro. Branham’s death, that I am thoroughly convinced that there is something for me to do. We have seen most of the preachers who sat under the ministry of God’s prophet messenger, take the message that was to turn us back to the word of God, and instead of allowing it to do that, they take it and use quotes from many of the various sermons, to build their own sermons. God has not allowed me to do that, and neither have I desired to minister to God’s people in such a way. The apostles who sat under the ministry of Jesus did not go around after Jesus had left the scene, trying to quote only what Jesus said. They took that revelation of the word of God that they had received as a result of following Jesus for three and one half years, and preached that revelation to the multitudes in their own words. That is exactly what I am convinced that the five fold ministry will do, when they are manifested to the church. They will not be running around saying, Bro. Branham said, Bro. Branham said, but rather, they will take that old black book that Bro. Branham used, and stand before the church and say, THUS SAITH THE WORD OF GOD.
WHAT ELIJAH WAS TO DO
I have said it before, and now I am going to say it again. I would not try to take anything away from Bro. Branham, for I believe him to have been the 7th church age messenger, the Elijah of Malachi 4:5-6. But that being true, it is time for a few people to wake up to the fact of what Elijah was to do. He was to turn the hearts of the children back to that of their fathers. We understand that to be back to the scriptural understanding, and faith, of the fathers of the new testament church, in other words, the apostles who sat under the ministry of Jesus, and conveyed that revelation to the people, on the day of Pentecost, where the church had its birth. That is why I never would put church order in my church. I could not see it in the early church. If we believe that the ministry of Bro. Branham was to put us back in the word of God, like we say that we do, then I say, let us start living like people who have been turned back to the truth, and put away all of this foolishness that has plagued this movement for the past twelve years, and begin to recognize that God has a live ministry on the scene. He is not going to resurrect Bro. Branham from the dead, to perfect the bride. That would be contrary to the word of God, that his ministry was to turn us back to. The Bible says, in Ephesians 4:11-14, that God has set in the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, till we all come to, or in, the unity of the faith. That is what we ought to be looking for.
Brothers and Sisters: I have never tried to make myself to be anything, and certainly, I have never tried to take Bro. Branham’s place. There could never be another like him, to the Gentiles. There is no scripture for it. But I do believe that I have a calling upon my life, to stand for the word of God, even at the expense of losing many cherished friends over the years. Therefore, for the benefit of many of you who do not know of God’s dealings in my life, we will publish a portion of my testimony in this message, with the hope that it will awaken a number of people to the time that we are living in, and maybe, cause some discouraged preachers to realize that there really is something worth standing for in this hour.
This Will Help You To Better Understand Why We Preach and Publish What We Do
The first dream that I will tell is the one concerning Bro. Branham, and the rock of revelation. Many of you have heard it already, but for the sake of the message, I am going to tell it, just as Paul gave testimony of his vision, and the events that took place on the road to Damascus.
THE ROCK OF REVELATION – DREAM
In February of 1961, after the church ages was preached in December of 1960, I saw myself in this dream walking over rolling, countryside, I knew that I was going to a certain point, where, when I arrived, I would find the place very congested, with many people that had gathered there from every direction. That was all in my mind as I was walking. Then after a period of time I began to notice that from every angle, I could see people approaching, coming from the north, south, east, and west. I could see myself still walking, constantly moving closer to a certain place where I knew that we would all gather. Finally, I saw myself as I came up over this last little knoll, in a rolling countryside, and looking down through a long valley in front of me, I saw a little figure standing by a rock, protruding out of the ground. As I saw the little figure standing there, I immediately knew who the man was. By this time the whole landscape was covered with a great throng of people, converging into a great circle, around that little man, there in the valley. As we all began to get closer, the circle became very congested. People were rubbing elbows with each other, but kept on crowding, moving in closer until we were within just a few feet of the man. Then I heard myself, in the dream, yell out, real loud, saying, LISTEN TO WHAT HE SAYS, FOR HE WILL NOT ALWAYS BE HERE! (Now he never told this, that night, when he referred to the dream, in the message, “Sirs, is This the Time”.) I kept on walking until the whole circle was really pressed in tight around him. Then, I spoke the second time, and said, LISTEN TO WHAT HE SAYS, FOR HE WILL NOT ALWAYS BE WITH US. (Now you will notice that the two statements were different. The first, was, HE WILL NOT ALWAYS BE HERE, and the second was, HE WILL NOT ALWAYS BE WITH US.
Now remember, Brothers and Sisters: I had that dream in February 1961, but I carried it in my bosom until October 1962. In the dream, as we all stood there, I noticed, laying on top of that big rock a large pinch bar, like they use in rock quarries. I knew that the little man standing there was the only one who knew how to use it. I noticed in the top layer of that rock, was a little hair line crevice, which let me know that there was a crack in the structure of that layer of the rock. And I noticed, in that top layer, large, engraved, words which read, THE ROCK OF REVEALED TRUTH, beautiful letters! Then, as everyone had stopped, and was standing there, he took that bar and drew back, and jabbed it into that little crevice, and lifted that whole shelf of rock. With that, he began to work it, till he slid the whole top layer of that rock all the way off, exposing fresh rock, that had never been exposed to sunlight nor weather. After he did that, he laid that pinch bar on the shelf of that rock, then he turned to look at the people, and said, “STAND BY THIS”. Then he began to slowly move out of the circle, as the people crowded in to look. Something inside of me, said “WATCH HIM.’ Therefore, I just sort of turned side ways, so that out of the corner of my eye, I just watched his little profile, while noticing that he had began walking westward. I could see him going over little summits, and then down in the valleys, up and down, until I began to notice that each time he came up, his silhouette was getting smaller, and smaller. Then I noticed that the sun was going down in the west, casting its evening shadows back across the earth. As I stood there watching his little silhouette go over the horizon, there was a feeling came into me; I will never see him again. Then, as I turned back to look at the rock for just a moment, I could see that everyone was busy, looking at that fresh rock, but then they began lifting their heads from looking at the rock, and realizing that Bro. Branham was no longer there, they began to say, WHERE DID BRO. BRANHAM GO, WHERE IS BRO. BRANHAM? WHERE IS BRO. BRANHAM? Becoming frantic as they asked the question. Suddenly, there was mass confusion, as they all began running in the many directions, and screaming, yelling, and crying. All you could hear, was OH, BRO. BRANHAM! WHERE IS BRO. BRANHAM? OH, BRO. BRANHAM! On, and on they went, running in every direction, calling his name in this frantic way. Even as I came out of the dream, I could still hear them yelling, Bro. Branham! It was just like an echo, as I heard it over and over still. With all of that, it left only a few of us standing by the rock, and standing there together, looking toward the west, we had a great feeling of sadness, as we realized that he was gone, never to return anymore. Yet I could see us still standing by the rock.
DREAM RELATED TO BRO. BRANHAM
I never told that dream until October 1962. Bro. Branham came to our church on prayer meeting night, when we were still over here in Clarksville at the old building. After he had finished preaching and the service was dismissed, people began to gather around him to talk and ask questions. I wanted to tell him this dream, but I did not know how to do it without being rude. Just then, someone pulled up in front of the church with someone sick in the car, and asked for Bro. Branham to come out and pray for the person. He turned to me, and said, Bro. Jackson, let us go out there and pray. When we were finished praying and the car had pulled away, I was standing there with Bro. Branham and Billy Paul. I said, Bro. Branham, I have a dream that I would like to tell you. He responded by saying, let us go sit in the car. With Billy Paul as a witness. I sat right there in his station wagon and related that dream to him. When I finished, he said, Bro. Jackson: no one else knows this yet, but that is about to happen. We are planning to move west. That would mean he would no longer be here in this area. After that he said, Bro. Jackson: when this all comes to pass, STICK WITH THE WORD, (as he laid his Bible over on the dash), for they will go after everything, teaching everything.
Then in December, 1962, he made reference to that dream in his message of “Sirs, is This the Time,” just a few nights before they left, to move to Tucson, Arizona, in the beginning of 1963. Then in March of 1963, he came back and preached the seals, you know how long he lived after that. Now we no longer have him with us. Do you see why the dream had the two different statements in it? HE WILL NOT ALWAYS BE HERE, pertained to his moving away from this area, but HE WILL NOT ALWAYS BE WITH US, pertained to his death. We can see that most of the element of people that followed his ministry has gone and done just exactly as he said they would do. They have taught everything. Then they will say, now, Bro. Jackson, I think we ought to try and understand each other, and love one another, and let each man teach the message as he sees it. Brother, that might be the way you would interpret the message, but God will never accept it like that. God did not send that man to produce a church, and a ministry like that. He sent him to bring us a message, so that we could see and hear by the Holy Ghost a message of restored truth to God’s word.
I will never forget, as he came back here and preached those seals, referring to this dream, and how it was being fulfilled even then, how conscious I was of the part of the dream that said, He will not always be with us. Now I am thoroughly convinced that the rock in that dream was the TRUE REVELATED WORD OF GOD, even though many of the people have gone after the man, rather than the word of God that the man brought to us. Nevertheless, I am grateful to God that He gave me the privilege and opportunity to sit under that man’s ministry. Furthermore, I want you who would read this message to know that I loyally stand behind this man’s character. God’s purpose in his life, his testimony, and the true Christian example that he set before us. I stand firmly upon the revelation that he brought, to place us back in the word of God, so that we might have our feet planted on that sure foundation, which is Jesus Christ, the true and living word. All of these things have worked together, to make me even more determined and firm, in standing for the word of God. My critics will come and go, but the word of God will stand the test through it all.
PRELUDE TO HORSE DREAM
The next dream that I will tell, is one that many of you know about also, but I want it in this message, for I give it in defense of why I feel that God has enabled us to teach some things that we have taught. It is the horse dream that I had in December 1964. On this particular night, I was awakened by a telephone call. It was Sister Wright calling, she said, Bro. Junie, (that is what they always called me), little Edith has just passed away, and she had requested that you preach her funeral. Brothers and Sisters: as I went back to bed, I said to my wife, Honey, this fulfills a dream that I had exactly seven years ago to the month.
In December 1957, when my wife and I took our little children and went to Cuba, while we were on that trip, I saw myself in a dream one night, looking and seeing Bro. Branham standing, with Sister Wright on one side of him, and Sister Hattie Wright on the other side, and Bro. Branham was praying for little Edith. He was lifting her up to God in prayer, and in the dream, I was watching this scene. As I continued to watch, I could see that Bro. Branham was praying with such a great burden upon his soul as he lifted her up to God. He was asking God to be gracious to this crippled girl and heal her. Sister Wright, and Sister Hattie, were the two women of the house that had taken care of little Edith, and ministered to her needs through the years. Here they stood, one on each side of Bro. Branham, with me watching, but then the scene changed. The next thing that I saw was a scene of me walking into a funeral parlor. I saw a casket sitting in one corner, and there was no one, except me, in there. I saw myself walk over to the casket; the lid was closed, but there was a little card laying on the lid of the casket, which read, funeral services will be conducted at such and such a place, on such and such a date by Rev. Raymond Jackson. Having had that dream in December 1957, seven years before it came to pass, naturally, Bro. Branham still lived in this area at that time. I came back home from Cuba, and all through the following years, I thought, that just can not be, for Bro. Branham’s life has been very closely associated with the George Wright family all through the years. If anything should happen to that crippled girl, he would fly around the world to come to her. But, do you know, Brothers and Sisters, the Lord did not take Sister Edith while Bro. Branham still lived in this area. He waited until he had moved to Arizona, and was in a meeting so that he was unable to come here for the funeral. Then Sister Edith got very bad off, and she died. That very day, as I went to the Swarens Funeral Home, up here at Ramsey, and walked in that place, it was just exactly like I had seen it in the dream; while in Cuba, seven years to the month, before it happened; not one detail different.
THE HORSE DREAM
When I went back to bed that night, after receiving the call, I briefly discussed the dream with my wife, and then I fell asleep. That is when I had the HORSE DREAM. I saw myself, and my wife in the car, traveling down the highway. I was going somewhere to a meeting, that I had never been before. Just then I saw a speck in the sky. My wife was driving, and I was sitting on the right side, relaxing. I kept watching that speck as it seemed to be moving toward me. As it got closer I saw that it was a man on a horse. Can you imagine what you would feel like, if you saw a man riding a horse in the sky? You would probably feel like I did. You would wonder if you were really seeing what it looked like you were seeing. I thought, I must be crazy, so I turned my head. Then, after a little while, I thought, I will take another look. When I did, I saw that the horse was coming very fast, right toward us. I knew that it was coming right to a place where it would intersect us. I thought, I surely must be seeing things, then I said to my wife, “Honey, pull off the road and stop.” I want to watch this. There is a man on a horse in the sky. I wouldn’t even look again until she got the car off of the road and stopped. That was my human reaction to such a thing. Then when she had pulled the car off and brought it to a stop, I turned to look again, and the horse was already on the ground just a few feet in front of the car, a little further off of the road. I immediately recognized the rider. He was dressed like a government range rider. I have seen them in the west. The rider was none other than Bro. Branham. This magnificent white horse was standing at attention, much like a Calvary horse would. The rider just turned a half turn in the saddle and pointed his finger toward me, and said, “YOU, GET READY, THERE IS A JOB FOR YOU TO DO,” and again he raised his hand and pointed to me, and said, “PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE WORK WHEREIN YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED TO FULFILL,” the third time he raised his hand and pointed to me, he said, “IF YOU WILL BELIEVE THESE WORDS, A POWERFUL HORSE WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU TO CARRY YOU IN THE CALLING WHEREUNTO YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED.” With that he touched the reins and that horse turned and took to the sky. I sat there in the car and watched as he rode that horse right into the sun. After he was completely out of sight, I looked back and right in the same spot, stood another horse exactly like the first one, but it was smaller. BROTHER! IT WAS SMALLER! Therefore, I know that there is no way that Raymond Jackson can be bigger. When my critics say, he is just trying to outrun the prophet, you are wrong! My horse was smaller, BUT BROTHER, I AM GOING TO RIDE THAT HORSE! He was a little smaller, but I could tell that he was of the same breed as the one that Bro. Branham was on, and I knew that it had come from the same place, and had been trained the same as the other one. I noticed that he was already saddled, and bridled, so I said to my wife, “Honey, I am going to try him out.” At that, I went over to where the horse was standing at attention. I stepped up into the saddle, and immediately noticed that the stirrups were already adjusted for me! I just touched the reins and that little animal made a turn and headed for the sky. As I sat there in the saddle, I looked upon the head of that little animal, which was running with such ease, and said to myself, “This animal runs with such ease, there seems to be no labor to his body.” As I said these words, I realized that we were lifting higher, and seemed to be getting faster, and the though came to me, “There is no end to where this horse will take me if I but let him go, but he will do whatsoever I ask him.” With that thought still fresh in my mind, I said to myself, “But I am only trying him out, I must go back.” I barely touched the reins to give the direction to the little animal, and he turned in the sky and brought me right back to the same spot where we started from. As I dismounted and got back in the car, the door slammed and I awoke from the dream. The dream was quite an unusual one. You just do not see men riding horses in the sky. For a long time, I treated it as nothing. Time marched on until July of 1965, when I received a call from a place in North Carolina, asking me to come for a meeting, a place I had never been before. When I received that call, I immediately thought of the horse dream, and wondered if this could have anything to do with that? Could this be the beginning of the fulfillment of that dream? After praying about it, I later called the party, and said, the Lord willing, I will be there.
DREAM TOLD TO BRO. BRANHAM
In the light of these developments, I felt that I wanted to talk to Bro. Branham about the dream, mainly because it was such an unusual one, and because it involved him. I phoned to ask permission for an interview with him, and arrangements were made for me to have the interview on Sunday morning, August 1, 1965. On that certain Sunday morning, with my wife present, I told Bro. Branham the dream. When I had finished telling it to him, he looked at me and said these words, “Bro. Jackson, something is about to happen, and when it does, you will have a work to do. I do not know when it is, he said, but this I do know, THE HORSE IS THE POWER OF THE WORD.” Then he picked up his Bible, and pointed to it, saying to me, “STICK WITH THE WORD.” I said, “Bro. Branham, I will do my utmost to do that.” Then he repeated himself, saying again, “Bro. Jackson, something is about to happen, I do not know what it is, but when it does, you will have a work to do, Bro. Jackson, STICK WITH THE WORD! I KNOW WHAT THAT HORSE IS HE SAID, IT IS THE POWER OF THE WORD.” After hearing him say that, I left the room, that morning, feeling confident in my heart, that when all of this began to take place, THE HORSE WOULD BE THE POWER OF THE WORD. I knew that the word, power, did not mean explosive, or forceful, it meant authority. In this case, it meant, the authority to handle the word of God. There was still a big question in my mind, as I left there that day. He had told me what the horse was, but he did not tell me what my job would be. You know, Brothers and Sisters; I prayed and sought the Lord about that in the days that followed, for I knew that if I had a job to do, that encompassed the authority of the word, it would have to be a job that would line up with the scripture. It would have to fit within the age of grace that we are living in. Therefore, I began to search the scriptures, thinking to myself, to have any authority over the word, it would have to be something to do with the five fold ministry. I firmly believed, and have been preaching in my own ministry, that the true church of the living God, (the bride of the Lord Jesus Christ), would have to have, somewhere in her midst, that five fold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, before she could ever be restored back to the image of the church that we read about in the book of Acts.
Now, I would like to say, to all of you who will read this article, I knew that there could never be a five fold ministry on the scene, until after something had happened to get the church in shape for such a ministry. Something would have to happen, that would restore back to the true church, the true word, that the early church was founded on. That would present an opportunity, and a platform, by which such a ministry could pick it up and have something to stand for, right on out to the very end. Over the weeks and months that followed, as I continued to seek the Lord about this, I received many invitations to come to various places for meetings. I accepted many of them as the Lord led me to do so, for my decision, in the face of much criticism, was to press on in the ministry that I had been called to.
BEGINNING OF FULFILLMENT
The next morning, after telling Bro. Branham the dream, I left home, traveling East, for that meeting. I recalled, as I drove along, that in the dream, when I was trying out the horse, he too, had gone East! As I traveled East, I knew that God was beginning to set that dream in fulfillment.
It seemed that from that time on out through the rest of the year, the followers of Bro. Branham began to be plagued with every kind of a wild statement that the devil was capable of putting in the minds of people. They began to say that Jesus was off of the mercy set, that there was nothing else to be done, that there was no need to preach anymore, and many of them accused me of running in circles because of my continuing to accept preaching engagements. Some of them were heard to say that I was running, out of the will of God, just trying to make a name for myself. This forced me to have to make a decision, would I listen to people, or would I listen to God. The choice was an easy one, for I had determined, a long time before that, to follow God wherever He might lead me. It was the results of that decision that were hard for me, for it brought about many broken fellowships, and the loss of many close friends, but as the apostle Paul said, so long ago, so say I, “None of these things move me, for to be faithful to God is first and foremost in my life.” I would like to say also, that I do not have any feelings of animosity toward the people. There is no malice in my heart because of anything that might have been said or done against me. I leave all of that strictly in the hands of God. Furthermore, I would say that I am thankful to God for the way that He has led me, for I can look back now, and see that my ministry has produced fruit for God’s kingdom. I am able to see certain people standing for the truth and endeavoring to line up with the word of God.
As time passed, and my opposition became greater, because of the stand that I had taken, I became very discouraged. These things bore heavy upon my mind, so that, by the fall of 1966, I had made up my mind to do something that would, once and for all, prove my stand for God, and give the people a chance to judge for themselves, why I stood as I did. I preached a message in Faith Assembly, which I titled, “MY DEFENSE”. We made copies of the message and sent them to every strategic point that we knew of, where the message of Bro. Branham was represented. I sent these tapes out, because it was my testimony as to why I had done and preached the things that I had, up until that hour. I received very few remarks from the message. Not even enough to know what the feelings of the people, as a whole, were. Therefore, I left it strictly in the hands of God, to work it out as He saw fit.
Vowing myself to God, I determined, once again, that whatever the cost, I would pursue my present course of standing for the word of God, rather than man’s ideas about the word, and the message, even if it cost me my friends, and everything in life. I AM NOT AFTER A NAME, FOR FAME, I AM ONLY INTERESTED IN ONE THING, FINDING THE WILL OF GOD FOR MY LIFE AND MINISTRY, AND PERFORMING THAT WITH ALL OF MY HEART.
I knew in my heart, and was still confident, as I remembered the words of that prophet, (though he never told me what the work was to be), that there was a work for me to do. At the same time, I knew that it would have to have a scriptural foundation. Two weeks had gone by since I had sent out the message, “MY DEFENSE”, then one night I had another dream.
In this dream I saw myself going to the mailbox to get the mail. Returning to the house I noticed in the mail a large envelope, something similar to one in which official documents are mailed. Coming into the house I was very excited wondering what was in the envelope. Tearing the front open I pulled the contents out and I could see that it was minister’s licenses and the thought came to me, why am I getting minister’s license? I have only held minister’s license once in my entire life and that was with the Methodist Church, yet here I am being presented minister’s license. WHO ARE THY FROM? (It was all so real in the dream.) As I looked at the minister’s license I could see they were drawn up different than that which would be drawn up by some denomination, and furthermore I realized this, many people once they read this, will never believe what I am saying, simply because they have never been led in this manner, therefore there would be no basis for them to recognize it. Nevertheless, as I feel these dreams are true I tell them as my testimony in how God has led and directed me. I never ask God to do these things. As I looked upon these minister’s license I noticed there was a blocked in area and immediately my eyes fell upon a word printed in the very top of the license, (which was like a certificate). As I looked upon the word I could see that it had been printed by Bro. Branham’s own hand, actually he had burned it in there with an engraving object, much like men engrave saddles with. At the top of the certificate or minister’s license was the word APOSTLE written in large bold letters. Underneath that in the area of writing where you read on any normal minister’s license, it read, Raymond M. Jackson being called of God is hereby ordained to preach the gospel according to, and in there in all that writing was written out, with an ink pen, in his own personal handwriting, with those different scriptures to back up my purpose in preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the bottom of the license certificate where normally the president of the association or organization or the bishop or elder of a particular denomination would sign his name, the signature read, WILLIAM MARRION BRANHAM. Furthermore, I noticed up in the right hand corner where the date is placed to show when the license came in force, the date was AUGUST 1, 1965. That, brothers and sisters, was actually the day I related the dream to him about the horse! In his office that day he had told me what the horse signified, but not the work I was yet to do. Now here a little over a year later it all comes back in another dream, and there is the date and his signature, then this dream would show, scripturally, the work I was to do.
Awakening from the dream my heart was made to rejoice over this one thing, now I knew scripturally where I stood, what my calling was to fulfill, and I knew if I would remain loyal to God, and not listen to man, it is true, I would receive much ridicule, much opposition, and many, no doubt, would seek to destroy my influence, as they would attempt to mar the image of my person; yet I knew if I would remain faithful to God, He would see to it that this ministry to which He had called me would serve His purpose. I believe it to be a biblical ministry, and furthermore, I believe it is truly spiritually, in line with the written Word of God. I realized if it is scripture, then as a minister of God I had a right to study the message which was brought to the age. I have that right from God to explain to people why there is so much confusion and contradiction among the people at large, over what this Prophet, Church Age Messenger taught to this age. At the same time I have no right to make myself above and beyond anything of any other minister, yet I know somewhere God is going to have someone who will have enough of God in his life, enough boldness, enough determination to stand for the true entire Word of God. No, he will not stand in defense of men’s flesh, but he will stand in defense of the resurrected Christ and the true revealed Word of God!
You may ask, how will we recognize an apostle in our day? I will just say, be true to God and he will reveal his end time ministry to you. As for signs and wonders, this all lays in the plan of God. It is his business to do whatever He wants to. Remember this, an APOSTLE’S ministry cannot be determined by signs. First of all you had a number of apostles in the scripture who never mentioned one word about a miracle or sign they performed. You would never be able to take the Bible, especially the book of Acts and prove, because of many signs and miracles that a man was an apostle. On the contrary, signs and miracles were even in the lives of the deacons, Acts, chapter 7 and 8. Therefore, signs are not the basis to say a man is an apostle. An apostle holds a line on the revelation of the Word, protecting it against error, therefore when you hear some man say he is an apostle simply because he has great faith or because of signs which Mark 16:17 says follow the believer, if you will examine his ministry closely you will probably find that is all he majors in. Certainly there is nothing wrong with great faith in God, although that isn’t the qualifications for the office of an apostle. Until that man has a revelation on the Word of God and the authority by God to absolutely apply it to the situation at large (through that revelation), then he will have to fill some other office; it isn’t that of an apostle. I repeat no one fills the office of an apostle unless he absolutely has an authority from God to hand that Word, and you recall the dream concerning the horse which I told Bro. Branham and he interpreted the horse as being the POWER OF THE WORD. THE POWER OF THE WORD IS THE AUTHORITY TO USE IT.
Brothers and Sisters: I have not told these dreams to exalt my flesh, for I know how vain a thing like that would be. I have told them, so that, all who read this article, may have an equal opportunity, to judge for themselves, whether they believe that God has led my life, and my ministry, over these past years, or not. As I said before, the apostle Paul presented his testimony in defense of his actions, therefore, I believe it is proper for me to do likewise. I cannot help what my critics may say, I must do what God has laid on my heart to do, and preach and teach, what He has showed me in these years since Bro. Branham passed away.
I feel that I must tell this next dream right here, for it will help you to understand why I preached these particular messages, when I did.
In March, after Bro. Branham had passed away in December, I saw myself in a dream where Bro. Branham came walking up to me, out in a field where I was walking. As he approached me, he said, “Bro. Jackson: I want you to go speak for me. I said, no, and he said, “Why?” At that, I said, “They will not believe me.” No, in this dream, he never did say that they would believe me, he just said, again, “Bro. Jackson: I want you to go speak for me.” And again, I said, “No, I will not.” He came right back with, “Why?” I said, “They will not listen to me.” Then he spoke again, this time, his voice was very firm. He said, “BROTHER JACKSON: I WANT YOU TO GO SPEAK FOR ME.” When he spoke in such a firm voice, then I saw myself take a pen and a little pad out of my pocket. Upon this pad, I wrote seven things, As I looked back upon the dream, I knew that it was seven titles, to seven certain types of messages. I wrote them on there, and handed it to him, and said, “If I can speak on that, then, I will go, but, if not, then I will not speak.” He took the paper, looked at it, then read it, and said, “PERFECT.” At that, a smile came across his face, and he turned, and walked away. I started to follow, and that is when I awoke.
As I thought on that dream, I said, “If there is anything to that dream, then it will have to be something out of this book, (the Bible). Brothers and Sisters: the first thing that I had on that list, was, The Prehistoric World, and that was because of the statement that he made about all of the seed laying there from another creation. With that, I said, “If there was a prehistoric world, then we have got to be able to find the traces of it, right here in this book. Therefore, when you read the article in one of the first Contenders, titled, “THE TESTING AND FALL OF SATAN”, that is what it is all about.
The next thing on the paper was, THE SEED OF THE SERPENT. Bro. Branham, had taught that, but I had said, “I will never preach on that until I know what the tree of life is, or was, for, if the tree of knowledge was pleasure, then the tree of life would have to be kindred in some respect. Later, when I was in North Carolina, one night, after I had been asked to speak on this subject, and I had said, “I probably will,’ but I was thinking about what I had said to the Lord, about not preaching it until I knew what the tree of life was, (realizing, that none of the statements that were going around, on the subject, made any sense, nor offered any explanation), the Lord gave me a dream. In that dream, he showed me where the secret of it all layed. It was in the curse that God had placed on the woman. That curse being, “And I will multiply thy conceptions.” The word, conceptions, means, I will greatly multiply your periods. Now that is as plain as I can say it, brothers and sisters, and still keep it in proper language. I pray that you will understand. You will have to agree, that no woman would ever had a child, if she did not have a period. I do not believe that there is anyone who will challenge that, for that is what the period is all about. Right? I was asked to preach on this subject in Norway this time, and, you know, when you are among foreign people, you are a little reserved about speaking on certain subjects such as this one, because of their different social customs. Naturally, you do not know what their mental attitude is, about subjects of this nature, so I had been very reserved. Nevertheless, so many of the brethren came to me, asking me to deal with this subject of the serpent seed, that I felt like it was the will of God for me to do so. I went at it the best that I knew how, and when I was finished, every person that I talked with, said, that there was not one thing that they could not agree with or accept fully. There had been so much confusion, and so many questions about this subject, that it was necessary for it to be settled.
When God said, “I will greatly multiply thy conceptions,” He meant, that, the period that she originally would have had only once, for the purpose of fulfilling, we will say, a divine act between her and her husband, for the purpose of bringing another offspring of God into the world, would now be greatly multiplied, and that, with pain and suffering, because she had disobeyed God, and used the act for pleasure. I had better get back to my subject, that of the dream.
In that dream, as I saw the finger of God dealing in my mind, I saw myself out of my body, watching the finger of God write this, and, you know, as I watched the finger of God do this, I said to myself, in the dream, when He is finished, I will know something. That was exactly the way it turned out. The very minute that finger was finished, I was lying there in my bed wide awake, and that scripture of the curse on the woman was on my mind. I will have to say this, everywhere that I have taught this, it has been understood and accepted, or maybe I should say it like this, there has not been one person that has challenged it.
Now I am sure, that at least some of you are wondering what the other five subjects were, that I had written on that pad. I will tell you the subjects, but not necessarily in the order that they were written there. The message on the first resurrection was one, the one on the Millennium, was another, then there was the controversial message on the seventy weeks of Daniel. This one still has many of my critics up in the air, but they will not challenge it with the scriptures, all they have is statements from the messages of Bro. Branham, that they have taken out of context. The woman of Revelation, chapter 12, is another one, and the 144,000, that are sealed by the two prophets during the first half of Daniel’s week, is number seven. We have printed these messages, and they will be sent free to all who request them. Write to the address on the back of your Contender.
In this first part of this message, which will be continued into the next issue, we have tried to establish for you, just what an apostle is, what his office is for, and how you will be able to recognize that office in your age. We have used nothing but scriptural examples in doing so. I have stated my case in giving you my testimony, and making you familiar with the way that God has led me, over the years. Now I leave it up to you, Will you examine these things by the WORD, or will you continue to waver, and stir up strife among the brethren? THIS QUESTION IS FOR MY CRITICS, and in no way meant to offend you wonderful people who have expressed your confidence in me already.
In our next issue we will go into the subject of, WHAT THE FAITH OF THE FATHERS WAS, AND WHERE WE ARE IN THE RESTORATION BACK TO THAT FAITH. AMEN