TEXT: MALACHI 4:5-6
I DO NOT EXPECT EVERYONE WHO MAY HEAR OR READ THIS MESSAGE TO BE OVERJOYED BY WHAT WE WILL SAY, BUT I FEEL THAT AFTER 18 YEARS OF UTTER CONFUSION AMONG PEOPLE WHO CLAIM TO BE FOLLOWING A MESSAGE OF TRUTH, SOMEONE NEEDS TO SAY SOMETHING THAT CAN HELP ESTABLISH THOSE WHO DO DESIRE TO FOLLOW A TRUE REVELATION. THEREFORE I COVET THE PRAYERS OF GOD’S TRUE CHILDREN, AS I ONCE AGAIN OPEN MY BIBLE TO MALACHI 4:5-6, TO READ A VERY FAMILIAR TEXT AS A FOUNDATION FOR WHAT WILL BE SAID. NATURALLY YOU WILL HEAR ME SAY MANY THINGS THAT I HAVE SAID BEFORE, BUT IN ADDITION TO THAT, I BELIEVE YOU WILL HEAR SOME THINGS THAT WILL CAUSE YOU TO EXAMINE YOURSELVES, TO SEE IF YOU TRULY ARE FOLLOWING THE MESSAGE OF GOD’S 7TH CHURCH AGE MESSENGER.
ONE MORNING LATELY, I HAD BEEN PRAYING AND READING THE SCRIPTURES, AND HAD ALREADY CLOSED MY BIBLE, WHEN SOMETHING WITHIN SAID, “OPEN TO MALACHI 4, AND READ.” NOW WE HAVE ALL READ THOSE FAMILIAR SCRIPTURE VERSES MANY TIMES, AND MOST OF US COULD QUOTE THEM, BUT I OPENED MY BIBLE AND READ THEM AGAIN, AND WHEN I CAME OUT OF THE ROOM, I SAID TO MY WIFE, “HONEY, THERE IS A MESSAGE COMING TOGETHER WITHIN ME, THAT I MUST PREACH SHORTLY.” I COULD SEE HOW WE HAVE BEEN READING RIGHT OVER THE VERY BASIC TRUTH OF THOSE TWO LITTLE VERSES. WE HAVE SEEN THE ELIJAH FULFILLMENT OF BOTH PARTS OF IT, BUT WE HAVE FAILED TO EXAMINE THE CROP OF B-E-L-I-E-V-E-R-S, OR MAKE BELIEVERS THAT HAVE ATTACHED THEMSELVES TO THIS LAST DAY MOVE OF GOD. WHAT DID THAT ELIJAH MESSAGE PRODUCE? TO WHAT EXTENT WAS THIS SCRIPTURE FULFILLED, AND FOR WHAT PURPOSE? IT IS A VERY SHORT LITTLE SCRIPTURE, BUT THAT JUST LETS US SEE THAT GOD DOES NOT HAVE TO TALK ALL DAY TO GET SOMETHING SAID. SCHOLARS CAN WRITE VOLUMES FROM WHAT GOD SAYS IN ONLY A FEW SHORT WORDS. IN OTHER WORDS, ONLY THE HOLY GHOST CAN REVEAL THE DEPTH OF TRUTH THAT IS ACTUALLY HIDDEN IN THE WORD OF GOD WRITTEN BY HOLY MEN OF OLD INSPIRED BY GOD FOR THAT PURPOSE. MALACHI WAS THE LAST OLD TESTAMENT WRITING PROPHET ISRAEL EVER HAD, AND HE CLOSED HIS WRITINGS WITH THE WORDS WE ARE USING FOR OUR TEXT.
Let us read the scripture now, Mal. 4:5-6, and begin our message. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to THEIR fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” There are two things that stand out, both in the first, and the last advent. It is FATHERS, and CHILDREN, then CHILDREN, and FATHERS. I believe the best way to approach this subject though, is to see what God had prophesied even before this was to be fulfilled, concerning the man upon whom this spirit was to rest. But first of all we must settle something within our own heart and mind. Is this Bible we carry, the sole source of authoritative scripture, or are there many books, all equal in authority with the holy Bible? Much to Satan’s delight, there are a lot of people claiming to be following this message of truth, who hold many books equal with, or even above the Bible. These are those who stir up confusion everywhere they go, and Bro. Branham’s name suffers reproach because of it.
- 1 LONGSTANDING PROPHECIES FULFILLED
- 2 TRUE HOLINESS IS WITHIN
- 3 JOHN’S MINISTRY BEGINS
- 4 WHERE JOHN PREACHED
- 5 EFFECTS OF JOHN’S PREACHING
- 6 A HIGHWAY FOR THE LORD
- 7 CHILDREN FIRST – FATHERS LATER ON
- 8 GOD WORKS IN SIMPLICITY
- 9 JESUS BAPTIZED BY JOHN
- 10 ALL ATTENTION TURNS TO JESUS
- 11 DESTRUCTION AND DESOLATION FORETOLD
- 12 WHAT GOD WILL ACCEPT
- 13 SOME ARE TARES
- 14 WHOSE CHILDREN ARE YOU?
- 15 MANY MEN, BUT ONE REVELATION
- 16 “DRINK YE ALL OF IT”
- 17 MAKE-BELIEVERS GROW WITH THE BELIEVERS
- 18 A MOTHER AND HER DAUGHTERS
- 19 SATAN’S HINDRANCES
- 20 WILLIAM MARRION BRANHAM COMMISSIONED
- 21 GOD’S PROPHET ON THE SCENE
- 22 SPIRITUAL RESTORATION PREACHING
- 23 CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
- 24 THE WEDDING GARMENT IS RESTORED
LONGSTANDING PROPHECIES FULFILLED
Let us look into the writing of Isaiah now, and read this prophecy that was recorded 700 years before Christ. Before Malachi, Isaiah looked down through the scope of time, in the Spirit, and prophesied these words, 40:3, “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: (It sounds like someone is going to build a super highway right out through the desert, doesn’t it?) And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Brothers and Sisters: I hope you will notice that verse 5, in particular. It says, The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, but you have to realize that this is all tied to the voice of verse 8. It is those who are drawn to that VOICE, that will see the glory of the Lord together; not all flesh of all mankind. It is the voice, that does the preparing of the way, and not everyone will hear that voice. Furthermore, God gets in no hurry. It was 300 years between Isaiah and Malachi, and another 400 years before the actual prophesied event ever took place, and almost 2000 years more before Malachi 4:5&6, would be completely fulfilled. Let us read Malachi 3:1 now though, for we are laying stepping stones that should lead to a true revelation. What Isaiah called, a voice, Malachi called, a messenger. Notice now, “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: (or look for) behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.” That one verse spoke of two different messengers. The first was John the Baptist sent to prepare the way of the second which was Jesus the Christ. Jesus was the messenger of the covenant of grace that opened up the plan of salvation that included us Gentiles. We have been made partakers of all that was wrought at Calvary. That is what Paul was referring to in Ephesians 2:11-13, when he said, “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision in by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made right by the Blood of Christ.” In other words, Before the advent of Christ, the Jews had a way to approach God, but Gentiles did not. That is why Paul wrote those words; he was reminding them, that before Calvary, Gentiles were without hope in God, for the covenants of promise were only to the Jews. But now, Praise God! We all have access to God through the messenger of the covenant of grace, Jesus Christ. When Jesus was born, the spiritual state of the Jews who had the promises of God to look to, was just like the spiritual state of Gentiles today. There was one race of people, one little nation, all under the same covenant, yet they had ever so many different beliefs concerning the law of Moses, and that caused divisions among them, just like it is today, in the Gentile church world. They had the Pharisees and the Sadducees, which were the two major religious bodies. But they also had the Zealots, the Herodians, and the Essenes. The Pharisees were the most strict adherers to their interpretation of the law of Moses. They are the ones that enjoyed the great revival under the leadership of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, and those coming out of Babylonian captivity. You read how they built the platform, and would stand up, and read the word of God, and the people would weep and repent. It lets us see that God was seeking to restore them back to His word, and in that particular generation, there was a zealous fervor generated in that direction, but future generations did not have that same zeal. Oh yes, in the flesh, they perfected certain religious rituals, but spiritually they were cold. They had their own interpretation of the scriptures that spake of the Messiah which was to come, the Elijah, and the certain prophet which would be like Moses, and they loved to sit in their synagogues and read about them. They had a very strict view of what true holiness was according to the law, and they loved to be recognized as a holy people, but their holiness was external. That is why Jesus and John always had to rebuke them publicly. Externally, you could not lay a finger on their lives, for they exerted every effort to be looked upon as a holy people. Saul (the apostle Paul) was a Pharisee, and by his own testimony, according to their interpretation of the law, blameless. But he later said, All those things that were gain to me, I now count them loss for Christ. In other words, when you have the true Spirit of holiness in you, you do not have to work so hard to appear holy. True holiness just automatically shows up on the outside.
TRUE HOLINESS IS WITHIN
Sometimes I just get to thinking of what those carnal minded Jews did to true holiness, and then I cannot help but compare it to what religious systems are doing in our very age of time. Starting right with the Methodists, to the Nazarenes, to the Pilgrim Holiness, the Church of God, the Assemblies of God, Free Pentecost, Pentecostal Church of God, and right on up to the Jesus name Pentecostals, they have all done the same thing to true holiness; they have murdered it, and made themselves a holy shell to wear externally. They put it on, and they take it off at will, but if you break that shell, you will find underneath it, something that is as carnal and mean as the old nature itself. They are religious, but they know absolutely nothing about true holiness. They claim to believe the word of God, but the sad part is, many of them are just like the Jewish Sadducees. They do not believe in the resurrection of the dead, nor anything else of the supernatural. Some of these Church of Christ preachers have publicly offered a thousand dollars to anyone who would heal certain people of their ranks. No, they are not offering to pay for healing, a lot of people would gladly do that; they are just trying to convince poor unstable souls, that there is no such thing taking place in our day. They even claim that the baptism of the Holy Ghost was only for the apostles of Christ, and all miracles ceased when the apostles passed off the scene. I do not know why such people even bother to read the bible. What benefit could such unbelievers possibly receive from God? Surely they do not believe that they will ever enter into God’s eternal rest. Hell is awaiting all such as deny the very hope of true believers. These modern day Sadducees shall not escape the wrath of God, for they go to great extremes trying to destroy the simple faith of those who believe that the word of God means exactly what it says. We do not try to build our lives around the supernatural manifestations of the Spirit of God, but we most certainly do believe that God still uses supernatural means to accomplish certain things of His plan and purpose. We leave all of this to God’s sovereignty though, realizing that we have no right to demand supernatural manifestations in our daily walk with Him. Neither do we look upon ourselves as being so holy that we must hide out in a cave somewhere, to keep from being contaminated by the world. The Bible teaches us that God called us to be a light in the world. We are not to hide that light under a bushel, but rather let it shine as bright as possible in this old sin cursed world. These “so called” Christians that separate themselves completely from the world, are worse than a soldier that is AWOL from his post of duty. God cannot even talk to them. Any religious extreme will put you out of communication with the Lord. That is why God had to send that Elijah Spirit before the first advent of Christ; most of the Jewish society was so set in their ways, that it took some preparation ahead of time, in order that any of them would be in a condition to receive Christ. Oh, there were a few such as Zacharias, Elizabeth, Mary, and certain others, that God could talk to, but they were certainly in a minority category; they were not in the main stream or religion. God looked upon the humble attitude of Zacharias, and saw something in him that He could not see in the other priests of that hour. Therefore He sent Gabriel to him, to announce something that was getting ready to take place. When Zacharias went into the temple to burn incense, there stood Gabriel the angel of the Lord, at the right side of the altar of incense, and he was afraid. But the angel said to him, “Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.” He said some other things to Zacharias, but verse 17 carries the main thought of what we are dealing with. “And he shall go before Him (the Lord) in the spirit and power of Elias (Elijah) to turn the hearts of the FATHERS to the CHILDREN.” Brothers and Sisters, please notice that Gabriel stopped quoting Malachi 4:6, right in the middle of the verse, and added a different statement, leaving the last half of verse 6, to be fulfilled by another man that would have that Elijah anointing upon him. Instead of saying, “And the heart of the CHILDREN to their FATHERS,” as Malachi did, Gabriel concluded his statement by saying, “And the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Saints: There is a picture of the grace of God. He sent John out to get the attention of the people of his hour, both the religious as well as the sinners, and when a bunch of those publicans and harlots and other such sinners believed John’s message, repented, and was baptized, (Hallelujah!) They were justified before God. They were then, wise children, ready to walk with God, ready to enter into a new dispensation of time; for John’s ministry was before Calvary, and the New Covenant required the shedding of that innocent blood to put it into effect.
JOHN’S MINISTRY BEGINS
All right now, we have John the son of Zacharias and Elizabeth in the picture, a promised son, to an old couple that was childless up until then. God gave them a son, but they had to give him back to the Lord, for he had a work to do in the redemption plan of God, and when that work was finished, so would John’s life be finished, for King Herod had his head cut off just to please his wife, simply because John had said to him, It is not lawful for you to have her. But let us look at John for a few minutes, for I believe the picture of his life has been terribly distorted by your great theologians through the years. Most of them speak of him as though he grew up out in the wilderness alone. I cannot accept such a picture of his life. Of course, the Bibles tells us that he was filled with the Holy Spirit from his Mother’s womb; therefore I do believe that God instructed him in many things as he grew up, but I also believe that he grew up, in the home of his parents, just like other boys did. He knew there was a work for him to do, and I believe he knew when the time was getting close, for that work to begin. I believe that is when he somehow just got to feeling like, I have just got to get alone for awhile. So he went down into the Jordan Valley, out into the wilderness, and when he reappeared, he was clothed with camel’s hair, and a leather skin, and eating nothing but locusts and wild honey, and he had the word of the Lord for those that went out to hear him preach. Now some of these Bible scholars have projected the idea that John joined himself to that bunch of Essene Jews, that lived down by the Dead Sea, but that theory will not stand the test, for John’s manner of life, and the way he dressed was completely opposite to them. They were vegetarians, and John liked those grasshopper legs. Actually, in my opinion, the only good thing those Essene Jews ever did was make copies of the scripture scrolls, and hide them in those caves where they remained until a few years ago, when a little Arab boy looking for his goat, came across them. But as I said earlier, those Essene Jews were two pious and holy, and self centered, to have anything to do with a wild looking character such as John. They lived in a holy shell, thinking that would put them in the will of God, but God had nothing to do with them. He just left them there in their little shell until the Roman army ripped it to pieces, and layed their camp waste. Now, do not misunderstand me. They were law abiding people. They were even stricter than the Pharisees; but they were a minority group, and many of their doctrines were completely contrary to the word of God. There was absolutely no marriage among those people, and if they managed to convert a family to their beliefs, they would break up that family in order to assure their celibacy. They also detested animal sacrifice at the temple, an ordinance of God. They were like a lot of people are today; they didn’t believe in killing anything, for any reason, so when you look at the whole picture, there was no way they were going to allow a character like John to lie down in one of their huts. He just simply did not match up with their holy standards. To most people, he probably looked like a wild man. But I assure you of one thing; he had a revelation, and he had a commission to preach it. Therefore when he stepped out into the midst of some people one day, preaching repentance, he was the voice of Isaiah 40, verse 3, the messenger of Malachi 3, verse 1-13, and the Elijah of Malachi 4, verse 5, to turn the heart of those religious Jewish fathers to the children. Now, did that mean that those fathers would repent, and follow the instructions of John as he prepared the way for the Lord Jesus to come on the scene? No. But their attention was centered upon what was taking place down there by the Jordan river. They either had to go themselves, or send someone, to find out just exactly what was taking place. Those that went themselves did not fool old John though, for he looked to a bunch of Pharisees and Sadducees one day and said to them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? You bring forth fruits that demonstrate repentance first. (That is not his exact words, but that is what he was referring to.) He said, Do not bother to say anything about Abraham being your father, for I say unto you, that God is able of those stones to raise up children unto Abraham. He didn’t stop there; he really got them told before he stopped. “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” Do you think John was speaking of the natural fruit trees that stood there? No. He was using that terminology to speak of those great ecclesiastical trees that stood so tall. They knew what he meant. This is all a part of preparing the way for the Lord. Isaiah referred to it as a highway in the desert, and we all know that when you build a highway, you have to take down some trees that stand in the way, so just give this a spiritual application, and you will see the kind of trees that had to be cut down to prepare the way for the Lord.
WHERE JOHN PREACHED
Now let me say this, John did not give to the children, the faith they were to have; he just introduced them to the One that would give them the foundation, and the faith. That is why John kept saying, I am not the one you are looking for, but He is coming, after me. John was not trying to be anything himself; he was only fulfilling something he was born to fulfill. He was a voice in the wilderness. Let me try to give you a little mental picture of the setting here. The summit of Mt. Zion in Jerusalem is 2700 feet above sea level, and when you leave there, going to where John was preaching and baptizing, you go down, down, down for about 16 to 18 miles winding around crooked roads which in John’s day were nothing more than caravan routes from Jerusalem to the Jordan Valley. By the time you reach the Jordan River you have descended approximately 4000 feet, for the Jordan Valley, or where the Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea is 1287 feet below sea level. Therefore we understand that John was not sent to literally build a natural highway over those mountain peaks from the Jordan Valley to Mt. Zion. He was building a spiritual highway in the hearts of some people. But how did he get the attention of the people? How did he get the first ones to come where he was? It is very simple; every stream of water always had (before bridges) a shallow place where it could be crossed by wading, or by ox cart, or whatever. That place was called the ford, meaning, a place where the river is crossable. The roads would always wind around through the terrain to that ford, and that is where old John went to begin his ministry. He would preach to the people as they crossed the river, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and he had the water right there, to baptize them. Now some would say, If the river was shallow, how could he baptize them? The Jordan was just like all other streams, in that way. You could have a shallow place where the water was only a few inches deep, and a few feet away it could be over your head. I guarantee you one thing, there were pools of water in the Jordan River that were deep enough to fulfill the purposes of God, and that is all that really matters. Furthermore, do not try to visualize a great crowd of people out there listening to John preach the first few days he was out there. In the beginning it was probably just one or two, or a half dozen at a time, but as they went on their way, and began to tell about him, that caused others to come, until people were coming from every direction to investigate this strange occurrence. Of course, there were a few Jews looking for John all along, for they knew what the angel had told Zacharias, but you have to remember, this is 30 years later. Many of those that knew first hand of the prophecy, had already passed from the scene in death. Nevertheless the Bible says that they went out to hear him from Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan. Among those who went to hear him, you could have heard many reasons why they came, but from among those that came, there were enough sincere ones to fulfill God’s purpose in it all. These truly repented, confessed their sins, and were baptized, and they looked for the One that John had said would come later. They were ready to receive Him, when He came. That is why John’s disciples came to him one day, and said, (John 3:26) “Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.” Did that disturb John? Absolutely not; it pleased him. He knew his purpose had been fulfilled. Notice how he answered them. “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him.” He showed no jealousy, nor disappointment, as you might find among preachers in our day. He was glad to know that the Messiah was on the scene for he looked for Him too.
EFFECTS OF JOHN’S PREACHING
I have stressed a certain point in other messages, that I also want to stress in this one. Jesus was not born, the incarnate God. He was the Son of God. He was perfect in every way, but for the first 30 years of His life, He was just that. He only became the incarnate God after He came to John to be baptized of him. When He came up out of the water, and the Spirit descended upon Him like a dove, and remained, He was then, the incarnate God. The Father was then in Him, but not before. Naturally some will say, But the angel appeared to the shepherds and told them, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” What about that? You have to realize that in the mind of God every prophecy is as a finished thing. Everything was spoken from the positive point of view, for with God, there is no doubt, nor hope so. It is just like Isaiah 9:6. Many who read that verse immediately apply all those titles to the little baby Jesus, when actually He was 30 years old before they were rightfully applied to Him. Nevertheless we have John at the river preaching, and baptizing repentant sinners, and this strange occurrence has caught the attention of the Jewish religious leaders in the headquarters at Jerusalem. The temple was at Jerusalem. All the records were kept at Jerusalem, and that is where the fathers were, the fathers that Malachi had spoken of some 400 years before. Now just exactly who were these fathers? Saints, you must see them from the standpoint of their spiritual identity. They were not just some Jewish men who had some sons. They were Scribes, priests, and elders who stood in the ranks of the multitude, but were spiritual overseers and guides to the rest of them. There is no genetic relationship included in the term fathers, as we see it used in these scriptures. Stephen used the term, and so did Paul. Men, brethren, and fathers, was the way both of these men opened up their defense before the Jews that questioned them. It was a term ascribed to a man in office. Therefore let us continue now, and see what effect John’s preaching had on those fathers. We have to look at these scriptures very closely to get the true picture of what Malachi’s prophecy covered. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children.” That is as far as John fulfilled this scripture, so we will hold the rest of that verse 6, for the proper time. We just want to think at this time, about what the first part of this verse really amounted to. First though, let me say this, many of those Jews that looked for Elijah, failed to understand that it was only the Elijah anointing that God was going to send. This anointing always dealt with apostasy. It was a God identifying spirit that always led men to repentance from out of apostasy. But let us look at the words heart, and fathers. We all know that the physical heart in man is only an organ that pumps the blood of life through the physical body, so it is not turned to anything. But on the other hand, have you ever heard anything with your ears, that just seemed to have a quickening effect within your innermost being? I am sure you all have at one time or another. I am also reasonably sure that you have experienced the opposite of that. You would hear something that would cause a little feeling of fear or fright within you, something of a negative nature. Either way though, you hear it with your natural ears first, and your mind must then decide whether it is of a benefit to you or not. In other words, your mind is like a transmitter, transmitting something that your whole being is affected by, and that is why those Judiastic fathers reacted as they did. I believe you are beginning to see what John’s preaching did to those old Judiastic fathers. For hundreds of years they had been on the same old repetitional merry go round, spiritually speaking, and all the time they were getting farther and farther away from God with their traditions, and their interpretations of the scrolls. But then word came to them, that there was a wild man down by the river, preaching about the kingdom of God. This caused their ears to prick up. What they were hearing was not necessarily a joyful report on their part, for they would first of all, question the authority of any man who would do what John was doing. Naturally the most prominent ones hesitated to go themselves, to investigate, but they did not hesitate to send others of their number to stand in the crowd as spies. Day after day, John stood at his post of duty down by the Jordan, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (The writers did not give the full text of John’s sermons, but I am sure he had many things to say to those who came out to hear him; good news for some, and rebuke for others.) As time passed, and the news spread, they were coming by the droves, and John was baptizing them right and left, as they repented and confessed their sins. Now, who was being baptized? It was not the fathers, yet. It was the down and out class of Jewish society. Spiritual dropouts, you might say. Jesus spoke of how publicans, harlots, and sinners believed John’s preaching, repented, and was baptized, and entered into the kingdom, and said to those others, But you are left without.
A HIGHWAY FOR THE LORD
We do not want to leave you with the idea that only prostitutes and that class of people came to John for baptism, but we do need to realize that it was not the Judiastic fathers that first came to him. It was the down and outers, that had just about lost all hope, spiritually speaking. Because of apostasy, spiritual death had set in, so God made the first move. (He always makes the first move.) He sent John with a message to restore something, and that something was spiritual reality, and hope in God. I can just see a lot of those poor souls, as they stood there with tears streaming down their cheeks, waiting for their turn to be baptized. John built that highway for the Lord while standing right there in the old Jordan River. It did not matter how high, nor how low they were, according to man’s standards, nor how crooked their lives were before. When John raised them out of the water, the high ones were made low, the low ones were elevated, and the crooked lives were straightened out. That is how the mountains and hills were made low, and the valleys lifted up, and the crooked made straight. It was a highway in the hearts of repentant sinners, where the Lord would have full right of way. God was not coming down, to ride up and down a highway from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea; He was coming to dwell in the hearts of a people that had been made ready to receive Him. Who were they? They were the children of Malachi 4:6. It is true that they were the children genetically, of that Jewish society, but that is not what gives them that identity in Malachi’s prophecy. Their Malachi identity, is that they were going to be children of God. Potentially they already were, in the mind of God, but the manifestation of it came about there at the Jordan River. Now John did not make them children, but he prepared the way for them to become children of God, and they came from far and near; it was not just a little group of local people from the immediate vicinity. That is what got the attention of the fathers. They just had to find out what was really taking place down there. Up until this time, John had been elevating the valleys, and straightening out the crooked places, but when those Judiastic fathers began to come into the crowd, he started blasting the tops off of the those mountains. With one huge blast he brought down a bunch of them; “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” In the churches of what the world looks upon as Christianity, they take plenty of time to honor those religious big shots. We will have Dr. So and So to read some scripture, and Bishop This and That to lead us in prayer, and all such like, but John could not have cared less about honoring anyone but God. Therefore He said also, “Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance; and think not to say within yourselves, (Be sure you get this point here.) We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” John knew that because of their natural heritage, these Jewish fathers were depending on the fact that they could say, We are Abraham’s seed. We believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We keep the law of Moses. But who are you? I’m just a voice. Hallelujah! The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord. You hear the same spirit speaking in our day. I have heard people say, My mother was a saintly old Methodist, and so was my grandmother. Therefore I was born a Methodist, and I will die a Methodist. What was good enough for them is good enough for me. Listen to me, people, No born again child of God will say that, for we know that God does not judge us, nor favor us, just because our parents were a certain way. This is an individual walk with God. Your genetical background does not mean anything to God, as far as your soul’s salvation is concerned. Yes, those fathers came out to look John over, believing all along that they were children of God, just because they could trace their heritage back to Abraham to whom God promised a blessing to him and his seed after him. Saints, do not ever forget what the scriptures say about Abraham; He believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness, and that is the only was any of us can stand before God, righteous simply by believing His word. We do not inherit righteousness from our parents, and neither do we earn it by any of our works; it is imputed to us when we believe properly. Not just any old man made doctrine, but the revelated word of God. So John called those big shot religious leaders exactly what they were, a generation of vipers. They did not know the first thing about the new covenant that was ready to be put into effect. Only those that were truly repenting, and being baptized, would be receivers of that new covenant. The only way any of those Judiastic fathers could ever become children of God, was to repent, and be baptized, for just simply being able to say, We are children of Abraham, would no longer be looked upon as having any spiritual benefit. There was a day when God would honor them as believers, if they wrote the law upon little emblems, and hung it on the door posts, and so forth, so they could see it both going in and coming out of their homes, and they honored it as God had instructed them to do. But here is a new dispensation coming into effect, with a new covenant that will replace the old one, and now God will only honor it. Notice what Paul wrote to the Hebrews about it, chapter 8; verses 6-13. We will not read it all now, but you can later. In verse 6, he speaks of how Jesus is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” On down farther we read, “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” Now, notice verse 13. “In that he saith, A new covenant, He hath made the first one old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” In other words, God took His law down from the door posts, and was putting it in through the door of man’s heart into his innermost being. But it has to pass through the mind before the heart can receive it, and that is what God was preparing this lower class of people for. They were to be the children of the new covenant, when the old covenant was cut off completely. What do you think John meant when he said, God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham? He was talking about revelation faith from among those stony hearts.
CHILDREN FIRST – FATHERS LATER ON
Now, coming back to Matt. 3:10, let us watch John cut down that old family tree that was so precious to those religious fathers. “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” That was like saying to them, You have trusted in your Jewish racial heritage until now, but God is going to cut that old family tree down, and from now on, only those who come through the baptism of the Holy Ghost will be children of God, and there is only one way to do that; you have to repent, and be baptized in water. Of course we understand that John was not the Holy Ghost baptizer, he was just the forerunner of the one who would do that. This is the reason he said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” But that is not all that He would do, for, listen to that next verse, Matt. 3:12, speaking of this one who is coming after John. “Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” This was John’s way of saying, I am not establishing the faith. I am not making a new covenant with you; I am simply announcing that the time is at hand for God to do it. John was not seeking to make a name for himself; he was only fulfilling something that God had raised him up to do. Now that did not keep some of John’s followers from trying to make him something more than what he was, but John himself did only what he was anointed to do. Those religious fathers who had always been in charge of every religious activity resented John, and resented what he was saying. No, let me rephrase that. They hated John, and they hated what he was saying even more, but there were some tender buds standing there, that would soon spring forth into life, taking the place of those trees that were being cut down. They did not know that, but God knew it. God knew what was going to be said that day, even before He ever created the world. Therefore to those Jewish fathers John was saying, Until now, you have read Isaiah, Jeremiah, the Psalms, and all the law of Moses and you have twisted everything to fit into your traditions, but from this day on, you will have to submit yourselves to God in a different way in order to be accepted to Him. Did they do it, you may say? No, because they had another spirit on them. It was not the Spirit of Jehovah that had led them into all those religious traditions. It was not the Spirit of Jehovah that caused them to have murder in their hearts. They washed their feet and hands, and went through all those Levitical purification exercises, but their hearts were far from the God that gave those laws, therefore their religion was vain. They had clean hands and feet, clean pots and pans, and they said all the right things, but God was looking for some people whose hearts could be made clean also, and those fathers were too proud of their traditions and accomplishments to humble themselves, so they rejected God’s new covenant, and pronounced their own destination by doing so. That left the way clear for God to raise up some other men who would one day be looked upon as fathers, but first, they would be “the children” of Malachi 4:6, in the first advent of Jesus Christ. The only one of those fathers that we have any reason to believe might have been counted among the children, was Nicodemus, the Pharisee that came to Jesus at night, to avoid being seen by the other fathers. That in itself showed the pride of those Judiastic fathers. They loved being referred to as Dr. So and So, Rabbi So and So, and all of that, and you believe me, Saints: Religion is full of that sort still today, but not true Christianity. We are living in a new era of time. God will never call another young man to enroll in a Bible school to study theology. As a matter of fact, God has never called anyone to do that, but I will have to say, We have passed through an era when God worked through such men, allowing some of them to be carriers of certain Bible truths that were to be restored to His true body of believers in due time. This gospel did not start out being preached by the great learned men of that first age, and it will not end up being preached by that kind either.
GOD WORKS IN SIMPLICITY
Let me read you a few verses from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, and we will see what he had to say about the wisdom of learned men. (1:19) “For it is written. I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believed.” The preaching that gets men saved is something more than just a bunch of theories hatched out in a seminary someplace. Divine revelation is not something that can be published in three, or six month courses, and sold for so many dollars. It is free to all who will receive it, and it is preached by some of the most uneducated men upon the face of the earth, and no matter who preaches it, nor how much anointing they have, it still takes the Holy Ghost to make it a revelation to you. Notice verse 26. “For ye see your calling brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” Why did God choose to work through such simplicity? Verse 29, tells us exactly why. “That no FLESH should glory in His presence.” If God allowed degrees of education to have any bearing on the effectiveness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then men who attained to certain levels of achievement in life would have somewhat to glory in aside from the pure grace and mercy of God. Hallelujah! I am so glad that God is no respecter of person. If He was like we have a tendency to be, then all the educated and important people in the world would have first chance at God’s bountiful gifts, and the rest of us would just simply have to get at the end of the line and beg for crumbs. That is not to say that there is not enough of God for everyone, but I think you know what I mean. It just simply comes down to the fact that God receives more glory working through weak and seemingly unimportant vessels. Praise Him! No wonder Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Notice that next verse, (Matt. 18:4) “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” That lets us see why those ecclesiastical fathers could not become children of God. They just simply could not humble themselves and come God’s way. They could not accept the idea that God would speak to the people of Israel without going through them first. I can just see some of them, with their head high, and their chest puffed out, “Who does this wild looking critter think he is? We have gone to school for many, many years to learn all the law and precepts of God, and this fellow, with no educational background, comes walking out of the wilderness claiming to be the voice of God. What kind of fools does he take us for? Does he really think anyone will believe him?” Brothers and Sisters: You have probably heard that very kind of boastful talk in some of the places God delivered you from. They still do it. The blind will lead the blind, as long as this dispensation stands. But let me ask you something at this point before going on, How many of you can see who the fathers of Malachi 4:6 were, in the first advent of Christ? How many can see who the children were? If you do not see who the fathers, and the children were in that day, you will never be able to receive a true revelation of who they are here at the end of the age. I will say this also; If you do not know what the faith of the apostolic fathers was, you will never know whether you have been turned back to it or not. In other words, you just simply cannot pick up a few remarks here at the end time and be looked upon as a revelated son of God, if you are void of understanding concerning all that proceeds a true revelation. John the Baptist knew what he was looking for. He also knew what he was doing, and why he was doing it, and you certainly have no reason to believe that he was trying to establish the faith that those children of his day were going to partake of . No. He was only carrying a message sent forth to separate them from apostate religion, and get them ready to receive the one that would initiate a new covenant with them. That was God’s way of rescuing a spiritual seed from an apostate system of death. John separated them from their old religious system, washed them up, got their minds open, and their spiritual eyes cleared up so they could begin to look forward to a greater unfolding of the purpose of God.
JESUS BAPTIZED BY JOHN
Let us go to John 1:15, now, and notice what was written of John there. This is the apostle John writing his record of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He starts out by showing that in the beginning, before there was anything else, was the WORD, and the WORD was God, and all things were created by the WORD. Even the cell of life that lay in the womb of the virgin Mary for 9 months, and was then birthed into life to be known as the only begotten Son of God. Then in verse 15, we read this. “John bare witness of Him, and cried, saying, This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me. And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” That simply means that the old covenant, the covenant of law, was given through Moses, but the new covenant, the covenant of eternal life is coming by Jesus Christ. Notice now. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” John was not afraid to call Jesus, “the Son of God.” He did not have to be afraid that such terminology would destroy his revelation. That is why I say, it might do some of those apostolic Jesus Name people a lot of good if they would just call Him “the Son of God” once in awhile. It seems that once they saw the oneness of God, and that He truly was manifested in flesh, they were afraid to mention the Son any more, lest they lose the impact of that revelation. Listen, Saints: When we have a true revelation of who Jesus Christ really was, we do not have to be afraid to refer to the flesh man as the Son of God, for that is exactly what He was. Nothing can change that. The incarnation could never be any stretch of the imagination, make the flesh of Jesus the Father of creation. The Father is Spirit. That is why it could be said that, “No man hath seen God at any time.” You just simply cannot see a spirit. Therefore John was not afraid to say that Jesus was the Son of God, Peter was not afraid to say it, Paul was not afraid to say it, and neither am I. No wonder some of these people are called “Jesus only,” they only have part of the revelation of who He was. Alright then, no man has ever seen God at any time, only the Son hath declared. That means, revealed Him to those who had eyes to see. Verse 19, “And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? (This was their big officials.) He confessed, and denied not: but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? (Meaning Elijah) and he saith, I am not. (He was not the literal Elijah, so he did not lie about it, even though he did know that it was the spirit, or we should say, the Elijah anointing upon him.) Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then they said unto him, Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaiah. And they which were SENT were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoes latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were don in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Right here is where we see Isaiah 40; verse 5, fulfilled. Let us read that verse at this time. “And the glory of the Lord hall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” How was it fulfilled? Turn back to Matthew 3:18. This will pick right where we left off, in John 1:29. “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of Him.” He was immersed, not sprinkled, and it did not take place where the cart wheels were crossing; John had a hole of water somewhere close by that was deep enough he could bury those repentant sinners in water, and when Jesus stepped out there to be baptized, He was immersed the very same way as all the rest, but not for the same purpose, for He had no sin. Now John had already seen the sign that he had been looking for, so that is the reason he backed off, and said, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” But Jesus knew that He must be washed ceremoniously according to the law of Moses before He entered into the ministry that was set before Him, so He said to John, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he baptized Him, and this is where Isaiah 40, verse 5, comes in. Notice what it says. “And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am pleased to dwell.” It matters not, how it was translated; for we know that it was at that exact moment, that the Father incarnated Him. From that moment on, the Father walked upon earth in human flesh, the flesh of His Son. Not only was there a voice heard from heaven, but there was another manifestation also; a dove descended from heaven and lighted upon Him. We say it like that, but what the scriptures actually say, if you caught it, was, He saw the SPIRIT OF GOD descending LIKE a dove, and lighting upon Him. The trinitarians grab that verse, and say, Here comes the Holy Ghost, thinking of it only from the dove view point. Now I assure you, it was the Holy Ghost, but you must always keep in mind, the Holy Ghost is the same Spirit that the Father is, so this was just the way that the Father chose to manifest Himself to the vision of those who witnessed the whole episode while hearing the voice from heaven. This was the glory of the Lord that was to be revealed, and all those Jews that had been out there listening to John preach, witnessed it together. They saw out there in the desert, what those Scribes and Pharisees thought could be seen only at Jerusalem, the glory of the Lord revealed. In other words, While they were out there picking on John for doing what he was ordained to do, God did an even more glorious thing among that gathering of people, and those religious leaders missed every bit of it, as far as any spiritual benefit is concerned. They just simply could not see God doing anything that seemed so ridiculous.
ALL ATTENTION TURNS TO JESUS
Those Jews could not see their great Jehovah dwelling in a human vessel of clay, yet that is exactly what He is redeeming His lost children, and restoring them back to, a time when He can dwell fully in every one of them. When you read the last chapters of Revelation: that is exactly what you see. “I shall be their God, and they shall be my people.” That will be the last phase of redemption when God finally places Himself fully, in all of His redeemed children. I want to take you back to the first chapter of John now though, and pick up John’s account of the events after Jesus was baptized. He did not go into the details of the baptism, as the other gospel writers did, he just picks up where Jesus comes off of His forty days and nights of fasting and testing, saying, “Again the next day after (I know that sounds like it applies to the next day after He was baptized, but we must remember that the other writers declare that the Father drove, or led Him into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil forty days and nights, so this is the next day after that testing has ended.) John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as He walked he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.” When John fulfilled his part of Malachi’s prophecy, he turned all attention to Jesus, and those who were truly looking for the one John was point them to, followed Him, when they found out who He was. But there came the day when some of John’s disciples came to him and said, “Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou bearest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.” That is when John began to rejoice for he knew that he had fulfilled his calling. He told them, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” This is what makes Malachi 3:1 really stand out, for this is the messenger of the covenant, that John was preparing the way for. He had come to preach, and now all men went to hear Him. How long did He preach? 3 ½ years. Who followed Him? Those who had repented and been baptized by John. Those Judiastic fathers did not get their lives changed, but there were some children that were cleaned up, and ready to follow Jesus, ready to walk with truth. It doesn’t take too much to get a large crowd of people following some man, but the question is, How many of them will follow the truth he stood for in life, after he is gone? That is the question, and that is where the problems arise. Some will turn back completely, others will try to find some other man that they can follow, and usually, only a few will actually keep their lives straight, and walk with truth. We will say more about that a little later, for right now I want to call attention to something Jesus prophesied to the city of Jerusalem.
DESTRUCTION AND DESOLATION FORETOLD
In Luke 19, beginning with verse 41, we read this, “And when He (Jesus) was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” This will let you see what can happen to people who hang on to their traditions so tight that they fail to take heed to the message of truth for their hour. When you go on over into chapter 21, you find Jesus telling His disciples what they can expect as they take their stand for truth. He tells them how they will be hated, and persecuted, and abused, and so forth. Then says, “In your patience possess ye your souls. (Some people never learn to have patience.) And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter there into. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” He tells them of a time of great distress, and wrath upon the people, and how they will be led away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles, until their time is fulfilled, and such like, but let us see who actually benefitted by the warning and instruction He gave them.
WHAT GOD WILL ACCEPT
After Pentecost, when the church really got its birth, and the new covenant was in full force, certain men from the ranks of the new covenant children began to stand out as leaders in the church. Peter took the lead on the day of Pentecost, when false accusations were laid against those who had just received the Holy Ghost, but there was James, and John, and Stephen, and many others that stood to defend the faith of this new covenant that Jesus had activated and made effective by His death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus was gone from the scene, and so was John the Baptist, but those Christians (the children of that day) had something in their hearts that kept them going on. Of course we understand that the gospel was first preached to the Jews, and God let it continue to be administered to that nation of people for several years, but He saw that the spirit of that old Judiastic system would never change, (He knew it all along by His great foreknowledge, but He allotted them sufficient time and opportunity, in order that they would be without excuse) so He began to unfold this great redemption plan to the Gentiles. The covenant He had made with Abraham would be fulfilled. Not only would Abraham have a natural seed, he would also have a spiritual seed. All who believe God’s word, and walk with Him in truth are the spiritual seed of Abraham. But what about that nation of people to whom Christ came? They were cut off completely, as the gospel was given over to the Gentiles. In 69 & 70 A.D. when the Roman army came in there, those pious Pharisees, and those holier than thou Essene Jews, that dwelt in caves down by the Dead Sea, died in their own blood, just like the rest. In the natural, they seemed to be the holiest, the purest, the most undefiled by the world, the most dedicated to God of all. But their righteousness was self-righteousness; it had no eternal benefit, and it furnished them no protection from that invading army. Was anyone protected? You might say. Yes. History tells us that not one Christian was left in the city of Jerusalem, when Titus and his army leveled her, leaving not one stone upon another. How could that be? It is very simple; they saw the signs that Jesus had told them to watch for, and they fled to the mountains, just like He told them to do. In other words, They reaped a double benefit by following the word of the Lord, while those others reaped destruction. I even read a book written by a Jew that was not even a Christian, and in it, he said, “All of the disciples of Jesus had already fled from the city of Jerusalem before the destruction came. Now I ask you, Who was holy among those that dwelt at Jerusalem? Who was clean and pure? Who was really serving God? Those who had believed the word of God for their hour. Those who by revelation, lived a simple, practical life, and were motivated from within a heart that was clean and pure before God. They escaped destruction, and all the rest died, either by the sword, or by the plague, disease, and famine that came upon them. God kept a few of them alive, to preserve seed, and they were carried away to Rome, in captivity, but all those self-righteous ones who thought they were serving God, and that God should be so proud of them, were destroyed. They rejected their opportunity to serve God in truth, so God rejected them, and God has not changed. He is still the same today. He is still rejecting those who reject the truth sent forth in their hour. That is why the religion that was good enough for your saintly old grandmother, is not good enough for you, in this hour. God is still on the move, and those who are accepted of Him, have to be willing to move with Him. What those Scribes and Pharisees were holding onto in the days of Jesus, was all God required from their forefathers who had followed the law of Moses out of a pure heart that desired to please God, but after Calvary, no salvation was wrought by keeping the law of Moses. The scriptures make it very clear that, in the first advent of Malachi 4:6, only those who were turned to children by the word of God, were accepted of God. Therefore I say to you by the word of the Lord, that in the second advent of Malachi 4:6, only those who are turned back to the faith of those first century, apostolic fathers, by the word of the Lord delivered in this age, will be accepted of God. That is why we are titling this message, “They Are Not All Children,” for we can plainly see what the word of God delivered to us by that Elijah in this age was supposed to do, and it is not doing it in the lives of all who claim to be children of God. That leaves one obvious conclusion. They are not all children, and we intend, by the help of God, to show you that they are not. What are they, then? They are tares. What else could they be? William Marrion Branham was not your church father. He was sent, with that Elijah anointing, to preach against apostasy, identify the one true God, and turn our attention back to what Peter, James, John, Paul, and all those early church fathers preached. He did that for me, and for a lot of you, but it is sad to realize, that a vast majority of those who followed his ministry, only left their denomination, to follow the word of the man, instead of the word of the Lord that he was trying to get us back to.
SOME ARE TARES
There will be people read this message, that will actually consider some of my statements to be blasphemous, simply because they are tares, and are not able to recognize truth when they hear it. Sure, they came out of denominations, to follow this message, but they still have the spirit of their denomination (which is a tare spirit) in them. Now let me clarify one thing here. The man that God used to bring forth the truth that these denominations are built around, was not a tare. The tares came later, and built a denominational fence around the truth. That is how they control it. Bro. Branham, who came to this age with that Elijah spirit, to turn us back to those apostolic truths, was not a tare, but those who glorify his flesh, instead of following the truth he stood for, are tares without a doubt. He delivered the word of God to this generation, and you can do with it whatsoever you choose. You can either follow that truth, and be one of the children of God that he was sent to restore to the truth, or you can deify his flesh and be a tare. Only time itself will reveal for sure which is which, but I see some that seemingly have already gone too far in idolatry to turn back now. Only God knows that though. One thing I do know for sure, is that all who are truly children of God in this day and hour, will see Paul, Peter, James, John, and all of those apostolic fathers who defended the faith in their day, and they will love the man that pointed them back to the truth, and will defend his character, image, and purpose, but they will worship God, according to the apostolic truth that he pointed them back to. Let us read Malachi 4:6, for it is important that you remember what we are dealing with, so you do not miss the main points. Talking about the Elijah that was to come, it says, “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, (that was John the Baptist) and the heart of the children to their fathers, (that was Bro. Branham) lest (or before) I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Now that is what we are looking at, and we do not need to prove that Bro. Branham was that Elijah which was to fulfill the second part of that prophecy, for that is generally accepted throughout the following of this message. It is only necessary that we understand what is meant by turning the heart of THE children, back to THEIR fathers. We have tried to help you see that the fathers of John’s hour were the last of the old law age covenant teachers. That is why they had to be made to see what John was doing, even though they could not find it in their hearts to repent and become a child, a child of God. Looking at the history we see, that as Jesus came back to Jerusalem just before He was crucified, every day He would go into the temple and preach. But then, one day, as He was leaving, going out over the Mount of Olives with His disciples, He looked back at that beautiful city, and the temple, and wept over it. In Luke 13:34, you read where He said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” Why would He say that? Simply because every time He went into the temple to preach, here would come that bunch of Pharisees and elders, questioning Him as though they really wanted to learn something, when really, all they wanted to do was trap Him. They wanted Him to say something they could use against Him. These are the ones that delivered Him to Pilot, to be crucified. These are the ones that stood there crying, Crucify Him! Crucify Him! It was not the man on the street that did those things, even though they might have been caught up in the excitement of it all. Nevertheless He could say, “Your house has been left unto you desolate.” Why? Because God, from henceforth would be found only in the hearts of His true people; He would no longer be found in that temple that they were so proud of. That natural building was only a type of the true temple of God, but those fathers of that day could never see that. That is why Jesus got into so much trouble when He said, Tear this temple down, and I will raise it up again in three days. He was speaking of the temple of His body, and they thought He was claiming to be able to build that literal temple back in three days, if it was torn down. Tares never get a genuine revelation of the word of the Lord, the most they can do is repeat what they hear, but it never becomes a living reality to them. Jesus was the first stone that was to be laid in the foundation of God’s new temple, for it is written, that He is the chief corner stone, but those fathers of that day could never see that. Nevertheless it was necessary that they all be shook by the message of the hour, for they were to be left without excuse before God. Were they looking for Elijah? Yes they were, but he did not come according to the way they demanded that he should. In order for them to have accepted Him, he would have needed to pass through their seminary, and be approved of them first. But I say to you, my dear brothers and sisters, God is not bound by anyone’s traditional concept of what He can, or will do. The only thing that He is bound by is His own word. He watches over that, to see that every jot and tittle of all that He has ever spoken will be brought to pass. That is the reason we can say with dogmatic authority, that anyone in this age who is a true child of God, will be separated from manmade doctrines, and returned to the pure unadulterated apostolic truth of God’s word, and anyone who is still holding to traditional denominational doctrines when this age closes out, is a tare, along with those of this end time message who have defied Bro. Branham, and even those who may not have defied him, but are afraid to say or believe anything other than what he preached. Whether you want to believe it or not, before this age closes out completely, God is going to reveal a lot of things to the bride of Christ, that Bro. Branham never did preach on.
WHOSE CHILDREN ARE YOU?
Now I want you to notice how Jesus spoke to the people of John’s day. In Matthew 11, John is in prison, and Jesus is preaching, and John sent two of his disciples to inquire of Jesus, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (The Lord had not shown John what his end would be, after he had fulfilled his God ordained ministry, so for some reason, a question came up in his mind, and he sent these two disciples to find out if he really had fulfilled his calling.) “Jesus answered and said unto them, God and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. (Now notice) And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, (This is where He vindicated John.) What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: not withstanding (nevertheless) he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Now the kingdom of heaven designates a period of time during which God will have His kingdom in the hearts of His true people, for the kingdom of God scripturally, is that kingdom in the hearts of redeemed people. The violent take it by force, lets us know that it is an uphill battle. We do not just simply slide right on through to glory without a fight. Verse 13, “For all the law and the prophets prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, This is Elias (Elijah) which was for to come.” There is his vindication for anyone who may have doubted He was that Elijah that Malachi spoke of. Now over in Luke 16:16, we read these words. “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the KINGDOM OF GOD is preached, and every man presseth into it.” That lets us see two things, John’s ministry was closing out the law age, and a new covenant was about to be introduced, and those who would be beneficiaries under this new covenant would have to press their way into it, for Satan would always try to prevent anyone who would try to follow truth. This new covenant was for a number of men, women, boys and girls, who were referred to as children, because they would be children of God under this new covenant, but as time progressed, those men who were the children of that day, became the fathers of the faith of the gospel of Jesus Christ which we are all partakers of, if we are true children of God, therefore it became the responsibility of the Elijah of our day, to call all of God’s children back to that original faith that was once delivered unto the saints, the gospel as it was preached by Peter, Paul, James and John, and all of those first age preachers, and apostles. The fathers of John’s day could not become children, because they were of the opposite spirit. They trusted in the virtue of being the natural seed of Abraham, but Jesus, when confronted by a bunch of them one day, said to them, “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 was no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” That is proof that they were of an opposite spirit, and so, also, do we have men of that opposite spirit claiming to be Christians in our day, and they are just as sure children of the devil, as those who Jesus spoke to that day. Why do I say that? I am really just saying what Jesus said to them, that day. In John 8:42, Jesus said, “If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God.” It isn’t hard to find people today that think more of Bro. Branham than they do of Jesus, so you tell me, according to the Bible, can they be children of God? If not, then whose children are they? They call themselves Christians. But are they? Could they be?
MANY MEN, BUT ONE REVELATION
It is very interesting to note that Jesus took the very elements of the Passover supper, which was celebrated under the law of Moses, and instituted an ordinance to be observed by the New Testament church, under a new covenant. He took of the bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, saying to them, “Take, eat; this is my body. Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; (or, as we would say, All of you drink of this) For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” In 1st Corinthians 11:24, where Paul was conveying his revelation of this ordinance to the church there, it reads like this, “Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new Testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”
“DRINK YE ALL OF IT”
“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.” This Passover supper, under the law, pointed forward to Jesus Christ, and what He would accomplish at Calvary on behalf of those that believed, and the Lord’s supper, as we refer to it, points back to Calvary, and what is already a finished work. We do partake of this ordinance in remembrance of what He has already done for us, but we do it with the understanding that there is no salvational virtue in the elements of this ordinance. It is an ordinance for Christians; it will not make a Christian out of you. This new covenant that Jesus put in effect gives every believer direct access to the throne of God without having to be represented by an earthly mediator. There is no priest upon the face of this earth, that has any more access to the throne of God than the most insignificant little believer who humbly prays from the depths of his hungry soul. Relationship to Jehovah was no longer hinged upon the fact that the person was a Jew by natural birth. Soul’s salvation is a personal experience with the Lord Jesus Christ, and no tare can experience it. When the 120 souls were filled with the Holy Ghost, in the upper room, there was no tares among them. All of them were true children of God, and it remained so for quite a few years, for the Lord Himself added to the church daily, such as should be saved, and they all continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine, and in breaking of bread from house to house, for they had all things common. What a people! What a faith! The more that old Judiastic bunch persecuted them, the stronger they got, and the more were added to them from the ranks of them that had been held under the bondage of the law according to the traditional interpretation of those elders. But from the Bible itself, we only know of two from the ranks of those fathers, that actually came to Christ. That was Nicodemus, and Saul. Nicodemus came to Jesus at night, for fear of those other Jews, but Saul was struck down on the road to Damascus, by the hand of the Lord , as he was going there to arrest any of the disciples of Jesus that he could find. He thought he was doing God a service by persecuting what he considered to be heretics, and all the time he was fighting against God. He had no use at all for the children of this new covenant, but the Lord stopped him cold in his tracks, and turned him around, and made him the apostle to the Gentiles. Did God violate his will, and force the new covenant upon him? No. God just got his attention long enough for him to see that he was going the wrong way, and he immediately became willing to turn around, and go with God. Was he of the ranks of those Jewish fathers? Yes, but he had a different spirit about him; he wanted to please God. There is always hope for a person who has a genuine desire to please God, no matter how wrong they may be. Saul, whose name was changed to Paul, by the Lord Himself, testified later, that he was a Pharisee of the Pharisees, and blameless according to the law of Moses, but that he counted all of that as loss, that he might gain Christ. God gave that man such a revelation of His word, His will, and His purpose, that he spent the rest of his natural life trying to tell about it. He wrote most of the New Testament epistles that are in our Bible, and it is in his epistle to the Hebrews, and to the Romans, where we find election and predestination taught so clearly. He always carried a burden for his Jewish brethren according to the flesh, that they also might believe and be saved, and wherever he went in his missionary journeys, he always sought them out, and preached the gospel to them first. But his chief calling, was to be a light unto the Gentiles, a means of salvation to the ends of the earth, so to speak, and that still stands true even in 1983. His gospel has not been replaced with anything, as far as God is concerned, and it never will be, as long as there is any need for the gospel to be preached. Do you know how he got his revelation of the will and purpose of God? He went out into the Arabian Desert alone, and studied the Old Testament scrolls, and the Holy Ghost directed his thinking until he got the whole picture connected together. Then he went up to Jerusalem, and met with the other apostles, and the beauty of it all, is that he had the same revelation of the One God, water baptism, baptism of the Holy Ghost, election, predestination, and the foreknowledge of God, that Peter and those other apostles had. That proves to me that they all had the same teacher. Would you not agree? Then when they taught holiness, they did not have to hide behind some mask, as the Pharisees did, for they were holy from within, made holy through the revelation that God had placed in their souls. Praise God! It was a holy God living inside of His people. That is why Jesus told those Jewish fathers, “Your house is left unto you desolate, because there would be no further need for that literal temple until the last week of Daniel’s 70 weeks was ready to be fulfilled. Starting with His Son Jesus the Christ, God was laying the foundation stones for a new house that he would dwell in, a house of flesh and bones, instead of stones and mortar. It was the apostle Paul writing to the Corinthians that said, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” How does He get in that temple? You may ask. By the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which in reality is the new birth that Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about. In 2nd Corinthians 6:16, you find Paul asking, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Now this is going to tear Satan’s kingdom all to pieces, and he knows it, and he does not like it, and he proposes to stop it one way or another. This new faith was threatening the Roman empire, one of Satan’s strong holds. It would bring about the destruction of all those pagan temples, and it would bring an end to Judaism, so naturally Satan would try to prevent God from ruling from within the hearts of His people, if there was any way to do it. That is where the tares come into the picture.
MAKE-BELIEVERS GROW WITH THE BELIEVERS
Now a tare is a make-believer, a child of the devil, pretending to be a child of God, and the churches are full of them today, but there were none of them among the ranks of the believers in the book of Acts, for those early apostles guarded against any attempt of Satan to pervert that true gospel, so he had to wait until after they all passed off he scene, before he could actually successfully sow his tares in this field of God. (The church) as early as 54 A.D., Paul wrote to the Thessalonians concerning that man of sin that would come upon the scene in the end of the age, and stated even then, that the mystery of iniquity was already at work. Then in 90 A.D. John wrote, in his little epistle, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whither they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” John thought the end was getting close, because he saw that spirit of Antichrist at work, but little did he know that it was only the beginning of what God would allow Satan to do for the next 1900 years. It was really in the second church age, that Satan actually succeeded in placing his tares in the congregation of the saints. How did he do it? Without those staunch guards of the faith to detect them, make-believers, falsely converted to the faith, were able to slip into the fellowship, and naturally, after they were in, the same Holy Ghost that fell on the true seed, also fell on them, and they could shout and dance right along with the rest of them. But they never could receive a true revelation. Instead, they began to inject their own ideas little by little until the church was plunged headlong into the period known as the Dark Ages. It did not happen suddenly; it actually took several hundred years for it to reach its worst hour of time. You know, that according to the 2nd parable of Matthew 13, once that tare spirit gets inside, it will grow just like the true crop, and actually the Lord said, “Let them all grow together until the harvest: and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Why did God allow Satan to get by with a thing like that? It puts true believers to the test. Will they walk with God, or follow the crowd? Those tares were allowed to attack, and pervert eery true doctrine of the New Testament church, and the first thing they went to work on, was the one God revelation. They got that perverted into a trinity. The new birth experience (the baptism of the Holy Ghost) was changed into a formalistic ritual, and a holy way of life was pushed completely out of the picture. That does not mean that everyone was like that, for God has always preserved seed, but the ruling spirit in the church was like that, for it was tares running things during those Dark Age years. No true child of God would throw out the truth, but when your are outnumbered so badly, all you can do is live your own convictions, and let the rest do what they want to do. Therefore coming out of the Dark Ages was Martin Luther, a monk that God revealed an apostolic truth to. The just shall live by faith instead of by the word of the pope. Now remember, God was not restoring the faith of the fathers, He was restoring His children back to it. It took almost 500 years for Satan to rob the church of that true faith, and God has now been in the process of restoring His church back to it for about the same length of time. It was the restoration of God’s children to these apostolic truths that brought the Dark Ages period to its end, for every scriptural truth is light, and people simply cannot dwell in darkness, and light both at the same time. No, Satan had his millennium of darkness, and now the church of the living god has been restored to the light. The vast majority of world religion is still in spiritual darkness, but God’s true church is walking in the light of His word once again, HIS NAME, HIS WORD, HIS WORKS.
A MOTHER AND HER DAUGHTERS
Now let me ask you something, Saints: When Martin Luther began preaching, “The just shall live by faith,” was that a new truth? Of course not. The apostle Paul wrote that to the saints of Rome 1500 years before that. (Romans 1:17) Also, in Romans 5:1, Paul wrote, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This was an apostolic truth that God fed Luther’s hungry soul with. Just like I said earlier, God restored the church back to the faith of the fathers by degrees, just like she left it. The church did not go from light to darkness suddenly, so God did not bring her from darkness to light suddenly. He restored her to one truth at a time, and He did not have to use a tare to carry that truth. Luther was not a tare himself, but the moment he started to preach faith, the tares started gathering around him, Hallelujah! We have faith. Hallelujah! Faith is wonderful. You see, the tares will rejoice right along with the saints, and they will grow right along with the saints, but they can never become children of God. Once a tare, always a tare. You may have heard people say, I used to be a child of the devil, but now I am a child of God. But that is not correct. A person that was foreknown of God, was never a child of the devil; that person, before they come to a true salvation experience, is simply a servant of the devil, a prisoner, you might say. That is why they are referred to as LOST; they are lost from their heavenly Father. That does not mean that God does not know all about them; it simply means, that such a lost soul does not know where his true family is, and God always makes the first move, to draw that lost soul to Himself. Alright, so the tares began gathering around those true children of God that had embraced Luther’s revelation, Oh, this faith is wonderful, but we had better ger organized, so that we can better administer it to the world. It has never been the true children of God that founded these religious organizations; that tare spirit does that, in order to keep the truth they have from moving any further, or to keep those who have a certain truth from moving any further with God. Do you know why they can never move any further with God? When they organize, they write up their bylaws and articles of faith, and that is all they will allow, in their organization. Every one of them looks at themselves as exactly what God wants his church to be like; therefore they leave no room for God to add any further revelation of His word to them, so they rally around what they have, for a while, and then death and decay begins to strike their system. But all the while, they are affecting some people that are true children of God, and even though death strikes the system, the truth they organized around, never dies. It was the same pattern all the way through the Reformation. God would reveal an apostolic truth to a chosen vessel, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Wesley, and on down the line, and the followers of that man’s teaching would take that truth, and build a denominational fence around it. That is exactly the way the devil wanted it. That is how these daughters of that old Roman Catholic whore were defiled. Now do not get disturbed at me for saying that, for it was the angel talking to the apostle John, in 96 A.D., that first called her that. He showed John the final judgment of that great whore, before the whore ever even came into existence. You can read it in Revelation 17:1-5, and you will see there, that this great whore had some daughters, for she is called, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. Those daughters are all of the religious organizations that have come out of the Reformation movement. When those daughters embraced a truth that separated them from the old Roman Catholic mother system; they were clean and pure, but before too long, that old tare spirit would get in, take over, build an organization, and cause the whole thing to commit spiritual fornication with the world. That made them harlots; they were no longer in a place where a holy God could entrust, nor impart divine revelation to them. Methodism, founded off of John Wesley’s holiness teaching was built into the most wonderful, and largest Protestant denomination upon the face of the earth, and that brings our little summary up to around the dawning of the 20th century, a point in time when Laodicea was just about ready to be activated. Laodicea is the age of materialism, the industrial age that has lifted the standard of living from where it remained you might say, for hundreds of years, to where it is today, in only a few short years.
As the age of Laodicea came into focus, God began to lead certain ones from the ranks of those denominations to an experience of the baptism of the Holy Ghost; those that were hungry for more of God. Now let me say at this time, the Baptism of the Holy Ghost was not given in the fulness of its potential. God withheld the revelational quality of the experience, and only moved in the area of the manifestations of the Holy Ghost, as pertaining to speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, healing, and so forth. In other words, That which pertained to the gifts of the Spirit. But no sooner did the true children begin to receive this experience, than here came the tares. They could sing, shout, speak in tongues, dance, prophesy, and anything else that the true children were doing. Now some will want to know how a tare, that does not have the Holy Ghost, could do all those things, but it is very simple. They have that counterfeit spirit in them, the same spirit that enabled Pharaoh’s magicians to duplicate all the signs that God gave to Moses and Aaron, down there in Egypt. But there came the day and hour that God was ready to test this experience they were receiving, and that was like dropping a stick of dynamite into a can of gasoline. Satan had finally succeeded in getting the one God revelation out of the church, in 325 A.D., and 1600 years later, here it came, right back. God dropped that apostolic truth right in the middle of trinity Pentecost, and brother, those old tares (bishops and presbyters) really let out a squall, Get that Satanic mess out of here; that is good for nothing but to split the church. That is like the pot, calling the kettle black. The devil sure is sly. He will say, or do anything, to keep revelation truth out of the picture. It is always his children, the tares, that raise the loud protest, and brand something of God as Satanic. The true child of God is hungry for truth, and they will not play with it for 18 years before receiving it. The sad truth is, Anyone who plays around with truth for 18 years, does not have anything in them that can receive truth by revelation. I think you know what I mean. Nevertheless the children of God began to receive the revelation of God’s oneness even in spite of all the opposition from the tares, so when the devil could not stop it, he just joined it, like he did all the rest, Praise the Lord, it sure is wonderful, to know that God is one, and not three persons. Hallelujah! This will be the greatest organization of them all, so that is where the church of the living God stood, as the man destined to be God’s prophet to this age grew to manhood. God had restored the church little by little, back to the apostolic truth that she had let slip away from her, but the tares were still running things. Here was all those beautiful truths that the New Testament church was founded upon, all fenced in and divided up, and if God did not do something those tares would sap the very life out of those true children of God that were scattered around in those systems. He could not perfect His church as long as it was divided up like that, and He could not call her to glory before she was perfected, so what did He do? Hallelujah! He raised up a prophet messenger, and anointed him to call His children out of those places, and lead them to see that the true church of the living God is not divided, nor built into a denomination. Who was that prophet messenger? His name was William Marrion Branham, born under very unusual circumstances, in a simple little cabin near Burkesville, KY. He was not a theologian. As a matter of fact, he did not have very much of society’s formal education, but he did have the hand of God upon his life from the time that he was a very small boy. We will not go into his life, for that is recorded in ever so many publications that can be obtained. What we want you to see from this message, is what his ministry fulfilled in the redemption process of God. We do not need to lift up his flesh, in order to lift up the purpose of God that his ministry fulfilled. I truly thank God for the day He sat me down at the feet of that man, for as I listened to him preach and teach, he pointed me right back to the apostles Paul, Peter, James, John and all of those other New Testament writers. He made that Bible that I once was afraid of, talk to my soul. Hallelujah! I could never feed my soul on Methodist Church doctrine after that.
WILLIAM MARRION BRANHAM COMMISSIONED
It was in the year 1933, when Bro. Branham, as a young evangelist, was baptizing some converts in the Ohio River, at the foot of Spring Street, in Jeffersonville, Ind., that God spoke to him, and commissioned him for his role in the fulfillment of Malachi 4:5-6, of the Old Testament. We started our message with this scriptures, because it is the most quoted, and seemingly the least understood of all scripture, among the following of this humble servant of God that fulfilled exactly, what he was called of God to fulfill. While he was baptizing, there in the river, just like John the Baptist, he heard a voice say, Look up. Look up. When he looked up, there was a great light hanging right there over his head. Then a voice spoke, and said, “As John the Baptist was sent to forerun the first coming of the Lord, so are you sent with a message that shall prepare the way for His second coming.” What he would do, had to be worded a little different than what John did, for John was sent to introduce a physical man. But Bro. Branham was not able to introduce a physical man. It is the message Bro. Branham delivered to this generation, that is forerunning the second coming of Jesus Christ. John prepared the way and actually introduced a physical person in which dwelt the very God of all creation. There in the Jordan River, that day, stood both messengers of Malachi 3:1, one messenger introducing another one. But when you look at Brother Branham, you do not see two physical messengers. You see one messenger, with a message from the throne of God, sent forth to this generation, for the purpose of calling God’s people out of denominational bondage, and allowing them an opportunity to dress themselves up and get ready to meet the Lord. All of this had to be accomplished before the Lord would return in person to smite the earth with a curse, as Malachi 4:6 states, (or to smite all wickedness with judgment) Gentiles have never been privileged to know Christ after the flesh, but they can know Him, for He is living in the pages of a book, but the book has to be read under the leadership of the Holy Ghost, in order for the reader to see Him, and before Brother Branham came upon the scene to cry out against it, Satan’s shrewd tactics prevented that. God’s people were more or less forced to read the Bible through the eyes of their denominational system. Those who were so blessed as to see one God, and water baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, were blinded to most of the other great truths of this new covenant that was introduced by the Lord Jesus Christ in His first advent, so that left God without a crop that He could reap from the pure seed that was sown.
GOD’S PROPHET ON THE SCENE
Now Brothers and Sisters: what we have to realize, is that God Himself is the only one that can change His covenant with man, and until He gives a new one: the old one is still in effect, and only those who meet the conditions of that covenant are acceptable to Him. Therefore I would remind you, that the covenant placed in effect by the Messenger John the Baptist introduced, was the last covenant God made with lost mankind that needed redemption, and only those who meet the conditions of that covenant will be acceptable to God. He has not changed the formula, not even by one word, since the day the church was given life there in Jerusalem, in that upper room. All of those first age Christians understood that, but they were not the crop that God would harvest, they were the seed, so to speak. When you plant a seed, you make sure you plant the kind of seed that you want a multiplied reproduction of at harvest time, and you cultivate and care for that crop until you do everything you need to, to get it ready to be harvested. Therefore I ask you, Do you think God, who is the author of perfection, would plant a church in the earth different than the kind He intended to harvest? That would be a careless perversion of His own law of reproduction, and only the devil is a perverter. But any person with spiritual insight could plainly see, that the church of 1933 was not like the church in the book of Acts. It was a long way from it, even after almost 500 years, since the Reformation started. What was the answer? How would God ever get an exact reproduction of that first age church? There was only one way, short of starting all over again. (And there was no scriptural provision for that.) He would have to do something to get the end time church back to believing exactly what that first age church believed. There is scripture for that, Malachi 4:5-6, our text. But who was there in the land that had a universal voice of authority, of the caliber that could turn the universal body of Christ around, and get them all going in the same direction? There was no one. But that was because it was not yet time for that, back before W.W.2. God would raise up such a man in due time, but it would not be his voice of authority over the church, that would get the job done; it would be the authority of the word of God in the message he delivered to this age, that would accomplish the purpose of God, long after the man himself had been taken from the scene. At the time God began to introduce Bro. Branham to the church world, the Pentecostals had the greatest light, but that was still not what the church of the living God was to reflect back to Him. Some of those Jesus name Pentecostals that had the same evidence as the trinity element, were so set in their way, and so sure that they were what God wanted: they referred to the trinity as false brethren. When some of them came out to investigate Bro. Branham, they were heard to say, IF THIS MAN TRULY IS A PROPHET, WHY DOES HE ASSOCIATE WITH THESE ASSEMBLY OF GOD TRINITY PEOPLE? They were like Peter, before God sent Him to the house of Cornelius. You must remember, he was not the messenger just to the Pentecostals; he was the messenger to the whole age. God still had children in all those denominational systems, and they had to hear their call to come out, and be separated from man made traditions. As Bro. Branham preached from place to place, the big bishops and presbyters came out to look him over. They would sit there so proud, but they would see a display of the power of God that they just simply could not understand, and you would see tears come into their eyes as the light of God reflected from that man. I am not talking about the light of truth that he preached. Do you know what happened? They looked right into that light, and it was so bright, it blinded the. Why? They were tares. They were sold out to a tare system. The light of truth did not blind God’s true children that looked into it. No, it illuminated their souls. What was he doing out there? He was delivering a message first to call God’s children out of those systems, and secondly to turn them back to the faith of THEIR fathers. He was one of the endtime children that was to be turned back to the faith of the fathers. God raised him up from among the ranks of those who were to be turned back, and placed an anointing upon im that had never been displayed in that magnitude upon any man, since it was displayed in the life of Christ without measure. That still did not change the fact that he was one of the endtime church children. God raised him up at a time when a lot of the predestinated children were getting so fed up with manmade traditions, they were ready to become spiritual dropouts. I had just about come to that place myself, before I received the Holy Ghost.
SPIRITUAL RESTORATION PREACHING
You have heard me tell how I was turned down by the district superintendent of the Methodist church, as pastor of our little neighborhood church, because of educational requirements. That struck me such a hard blow, I determined that I would never preach again. I promised the Lord that I would still go to church, and I would still live for Him, but I would never preach again. About one week later, after I had prayed like that, I was so very discouraged, and that night, Jesus came to me in a dream. We had already started going to the tabernacle to hear Bro. Branham, so a few nights after I had the dream, I had a chance to tell it to him. (I will not tell it now for lack of time, but it is in part 2 of the series we printed on Bro. Branham, if any of you want to read it.) He only replied, Bro. Junie: Walk with God. He is getting ready to lead you out into deep water. He sure did that, for a short time later, He led me right into the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and that gave me an altogether different outlook on things. Praise God! I have never been the same since. I am thankful to God for allowing me the privilege of sitting under Bro. Branham’s teaching, and I could never find words to express my heartfelt feelings about it all, but one thing I do know for sure, he never said anything that caused me to feel like worshiping him. He always pointed me right back to the Bible. Every text I ever heard im preach from, was taken right from the Bible, and he always lifted up Jesus Christ, and was not afraid to call Him the Son of God, and the gospel he preached, was the same that Peter, Paul and all of them, preached. It makes no difference how important some of you preachers of this message may feel, if you did not hear that little man pointing you back to the Bible, back to the faith of that early church, there in the book of Acts, you missed the message he delivered to the children of God. He also had a message for the tares to run with, and it is obvious after 18 years since his death, that some of you are traveling the world over, with that message. That is why you refuse to use the Bible as the sole text book for what you preach. If you had truly been a partaker of Malachi 4:6, you would not want to use anything else. No. You saw a man display attributes of the God he served, and instead of seeing God, you only saw the man, and he has become your idol, and God hates idolatry. Before I even received the Holy Ghost, (according to the Pentecostal teaching) the Lord had already showed me, while reading the first chapter of Luke, that before Jesus would come again, that Elijah spirit would have to come upon the scene, and the first time I ever heard Bro. Branham preach, I knew that he was that Elijah that was to come. He preached predestination, justification, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, along with eternal security of the believer, and that just about covered the main doctrines of your major denominations, and he showed by the Bible that all of these truths belonged to the true children of God. When he preached on the serpent’s seed, I said, That makes mor sense to me than Eve eating an apple. However I did not fail to notice that he did make what we refer to as dual statements, on certain subjects, from time to time, but none of that ever kept me from receiving what God anointed him to feed to the true children. Therefore the children of Malachi 4:6-B, do not find it necessary to quote Bro. Branham every time they open their mouth, any more than those early apostles did the Lord Jesus Christ. They preached the revelation they received from Jesus without quoting His exact words, and I am here to tell you, that any true God anointed preacher of this age, will preach from that same revelation without quoting Bro. Branham in every breath.
CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
I will never forget one time when we went over to the church of the Open Door in Louisville, to hear Bro. Branham preach. He opened his Bible to Jude 3, for a text, and preached that the children of God should earnestly contend for the faith, which was once delivered unto the saints. He laid it down plainly, Get back to Jesus name water baptism. Get back to the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Get back to the gifts of the Spirit, back to divine healing, and all the other teachings of the apostles. That is the faith that we should contend for. Brothers and Sisters: I can tell you as straight as you will ever hear anything, he was not giving us another Bible; he was leading us back into the one we already had, but had gotten away from the true revelation of. As I have already said, Some of you got so close to the light that shined through him, it blinded you to the truth of that light, and all you could see was the man that the light shined through. You can never see Ephesians 4, because you have never really seen Malachi 4. Now, to turn that right around, If you had really seen Malachi 4:6, in its end time fulfillment, you would be reading Ephesians 4, and shouting, God, help me to walk in the light of those scriptures. But no, you would rather have your Joseph. I know this will sting some of you, but there is not going to be any man’s blood on my hands. I am delivering my soul of a burden that I have carried for a long time. I know it will not help any of you who have to have an idol, but I believe there are yet some souls out there, that just simply have no yet heard the message represented from the revelation viewpoint. I pray that we can help some of them. You who went into polygamy after hearing Bro. Branham preach on marriage and divorce, Do you really believe you heard the message that man preached to the bride of Christ? I would like to know just what fathers your faith was turned back to. That is the sort of thing I see in the Cain line before the flood, and in pagans before the gospel came to them. The children of Malachi 4:6-B have been led to the true revelation of Deuteronomy 24, and 1st Cor. 7, and they know better than that. You may say, I came out of denominations as soon as I heard Bro. Branham preach. I know you did, but you still have a tare spirit, and you have nothing to feed to the true church of the living God. That is why we are titling this message, “They Are Not All Children.” It is true that we are all children of one spirit or the other, but it is obvious that not everyone that has followed after the teaching of Bro. Branham, is a child of God. Some of you have clung to the children of God, like husk will cling to a grain of wheat. The messenger to this age did not change those religious systems, for the simple reason, they have a tare spirit, and they are on their way to hell, and I will have to say the same thing about any individual that never gets his spiritual vision turned back to the faith of our apostolic fathers, no matter what you can quote from Spoken Word books.
THE WEDDING GARMENT IS RESTORED
I just want to say before I close, I am not preaching like this because I am mad at anyone. But rather because it is truth, and there is not much time left for anyone to play around. Jesus is coming back for a church that has been restored to the faith of those first age Christians, and been purged of all former traditions, a church that universally, is receiving the same revelation of the word of God, and brought to that place by the ministry of Ephesians 4:11. In other words, Once the children are turned back to the faith of their fathers, God will raise up the five fold ministry of Ephesians 4:11, from among their own ranks. They will not have to search through Spoken Word books for something to preach either, for they will be hearing from God themselves. I will not even take the time to mention all the things that various one’s are teaching about our precious deceased brother, but I will emphasize that, our brother, and not our God. He will truly be resurrected from the dead, but not before Peter, Paul, James and John, and not even before those who die in the Lord tomorrow. So let us get things settled in our hearts, and start living the truth that the man was anointed to turn us back to, if we really are children of God. Do not take any part in this date setting, nor in trying to squeeze 7 years into a 3 ½ year period of time, for all of this is just plain nonsense. All of these date setters are still here, except those who have gone by the way of the grave, and Jesus is still waiting for the rest of the word of God to be fulfilled to the point of His return, before He returns. The wedding garment has been restored to the bride, and she is busy dressing herself, but some others are being thrown out according to the words of Jesus, because they do not have a wedding garment. The wedding garment for our day is the same as it was in Paul’s day. It is a robe of pure revelation of the word of God. Not a pure quote from one of Bro. Branham’s sermons. The seventh seal is yet to be opened and revealed, and the seven thunders are yet to sound, and these are only for the bride of Christ. No quoter will even hear them. You who preach the prophet like the Catholic Church does Mary, are going to miss God just as much as the Catholic Church does. There is no difference. There was nothing wrong with Mary, and there was nothing wrong with the person of our brother. It is only what the Devil causes people to believe about the, that is wrong. Let us worship the Father of the one Mary gave birth to, (for His flesh was not God) and let us give proper respect to the instruments God works through, and above all else, if you do not remember anything else that we have said, remember this, Jesus Christ is Lord of all, Jesus Christ is the Messiah, Jesus Christ is the one that is coming again to take His bride unto Himself, and there is no private interpretation of the word of God. Amen.