Oneness Of God, Part 2

APRIL 1979

AS WE CONTINUE IN THIS MESSAGE, PLEASE BE AWARE OF THE FACT THAT OUR SOLE PURPOSE IN DEALING WITH THIS SUBJECT IS TO HELP THOSE WHO DESIRE TO UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURES WHICH DEAL WITH THE GODHEAD. THERE HAS BEEN A GREAT CONTROVERSY AMONG PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH WORLD AS TO WHETHER GOD IS ONE OR WHETHER GOD IS THREE PERSONS CO-EXISTING, EQUAL IN AUTHORITY AND EACH ONE OF THE THREE PROPERLY REFERRED TO AS GOD. WE HAVE TAKEN A TEXT FROM ST. JOHN 1:1, AND ENDEAVORED TO GO THROUGH THE BIBLE SHOWING FROM THE SCRIPTURES HOW FOOLISH IT IS TO BELIEVE THAT GOD WHO IS A SPIRIT IS THREE PERSONS. READ THE MESSAGE PRAYERFULLY, THEN IF YOU STILL HAVE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS, FEEL FREE TO WRITE US AND WE WILL TRY TO FURNISH YOU WITH ADDITIONAL HELP.

 

For those of you who may receive this issue without having read part one, we ended that part still speaking about the angels and the place they have in the plan of God, endeavoring to show why we teach that God was speaking to His angelic helpers when He said, “Let us make man in our image,” in Genesis 1:26.

 

THE ANGELS TAKE PART

 

We are in Hebrews, chapter 2, and we will go back to verse 1 and pick up our thought. If we can show that angels do have a part in God’s plan of redemption and that they are ministering spirits, (HEB. 1:14) ministering to those who shall be heirs of salvation, it should not be difficult to see that they had a part in creation also. Paul, writing to the Hebrew saints, started off in chapter 2 by saying, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” That means when we hear truth, we had better take heed to it and let it start working on our behalf or the day will come when that truth shall slip away from us, but we will still be held accountable for it, as you will see when we read verses 2 & 3. “For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; (That was the word spoken by the prophets of old, which word came to them by the angel of the Lord.) How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation which at first began to be spoken by the Lord and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him. God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost according to His own will.” Paul is not including himself in this reference even though in another letter we do read where he said, Have I not wrought the signs of an apostle among you? In this particular verse, Paul is referring to the apostles who walked with Jesus, how that God confirmed the word through them with signs and wonders, different miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost. Then he goes on to say, “for unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. (This is Paul’s own revelation of the part angels have in the plan of God), But one in a certain place testified saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him (MAN) a little lower than the angels.” That was in Genesis 1:27 when God created man, a spirit being, just a little lower than the angels, which were also spirit beings. God said to those angels, “Let us make man in our image.” God is the architect; it is His thoughts that are to be carried out. The angels did not design anything that was to be made; they only helped to carry out the plan of God. You can search the scriptures through and you will find that every time God got ready to change conditions or to make something known to man, there was usually always an angel on the scene. Gabriel came to Zacharias to announce the birth of John. It was also the angel Gabriel that came to Mary to announce that she had found favor with God and that she would conceive in her womb and bring forth a son which she should call Jesus. We certainly do not have any difficulty seeing that angels speak on behalf of God, for everything that Gabriel spoke came to pass exactly as he said it would. There was not one idle word spoken.

 

DISTURBANCE IN HELL

 

When Jesus hung on that old Roman cross that day, it looked like His friends had forsaken Him. He sure did not look much like God hanging there, crying, Eloi, Eloi, lamasabachthani? (My God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me?) But it had to be like that, for God had purposed to manifest himself in flesh, take the sins of man upon that flesh and die like a man upon that old Roman cross to pay man’s sin debt. God wanted men to see a man die willingly, when many of those nearby knew perfectly well that He could speak the word and ten thousand angels would come to His rescue. He could have spoken the word and every one of those Roman soldiers would have been lying dead or He could have spoke that old cross out of existence, but it was necessary that He die like a man to prove once and for all that He was truly man. After all, death is only the process of life being separated from the flesh and the life of that flesh had power to raise the flesh back up from the dead. Nevertheless, moments after His head went limp and fell on His chest, there was a disturbance in the corridors of hell. What was it? The Spirit of life that had stepped out of that flesh hanging there on that cross had suddenly made an appearance in the devil’s prison place. He had come to set some captives free and the devil knew what he was there for. This was to fulfill David’s prophecy in Psalms 16:9-10, “therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: My flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; (No! He has come to take it out) neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One (Jesus Christ, the Messiah) to see corruption.” That is right, He will go back and pick up that body of flesh before it has laid in Joseph’s tomb long enough to rot. You say, How do you know that, Bro. Jackson? Matthew 27:50-53, tells us that when Jesus yielded up the ghost, the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom and that a great earthquake shook things. Rocks were flying and graves were opening up. Then after Jesus’ resurrection many bodies of dead saints came out of the graves and appeared to various people in the holy city. Then in Ephesians 4:8-10, we read, “Wherefore he saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, (That was the righteous souls which were held in paradise in the heart of the earth until their Redeemer appeared) and gave gifts unto men. Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.” Well, what does that prove? We just published an article, titled, Hell is Not Eternal, which explains all this in more detail, but we will go to 1 Peter 3:18-20, and let Peter tell us where that Spirit of life went and what it did during that interval between the crucifixion of Jesus and His resurrection. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: BY WHICH ALSO HE WENT AND PREACHED UNTO THE SPIRITS IN PRISON; Which sometimes were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” By these scriptures we learn that the Spirit of Christ went right down into the lower parts of the earth, preached the good news to righteous spirits being held captive by Satan, preached the bad news to all those wicked spirits who were in hell to be tormented, and then led those righteous spirits out of that place into a heavenly paradise. Yes, He could have called ten thousand angels, but He died there that day for you and me. God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty and base things of the world and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are. That no flesh should glory in His presence. Paul said that to the Corinthians in his first letter to them. The gospel message seems very weak and foolish to the great wise men of the world, but to those whose eyes have been opened by the word of God, it is a wonderful and marvelous story, that one should love us enough to willingly suffer such pain and agony on our behalf. That was one thing angels could not do (die for the sins of mankind). God had to take on a body of flesh and do it Himself to satisfy His own demands. That was the only provision He made for lost man to be reconciled to their God and those who reject that provision are bound for hell. The difference between heaven and hell is believing something, for if you truly believe, you will obey. By the same token, the difference between believing that God is three persons or believing that He is One, is tied up in the question of, Who was He talking to in Genesis 1:26, when He said, Let us make man in our image? If you cannot see angels in Genesis 1:26, you will never be able to understand what Jesus meant when He said to Phillip, He that hath seen me hath seen the Father (John 14:9) or I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Neither will you be able to understand why Jesus would say, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” On the other hand, if you can see that God was talking to angels in Genesis 1:26, then all these other things in the scriptures will open up to you. Things that have seemed so mysterious to you in the past, will become very clear to you.

 

LET US – WHO?

 

I said in part one of this message that Genesis 1:26 is not the only place where God said, “LET US,” therefore I would like for you to open your Bibles to Genesis 11:7, where we will find this same language. Before we look at this though, let us look at chapter 3 for just a little bit. Time has progressed since the beginning of man’s history to a point where the man and his wife have both sinned. By this time, they are in physical flesh so that they are able to have physical contact with the earth and its environment and through a choice presented to them by the serpent, they have disobeyed God. In dealing with their sin, God cursed the serpent, put enmity between the serpent and the woman and between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, added sorrow and pain to the woman’s conception and child bearing, cursed the ground so that it would bear thorns and thistles, Johnson grass and horse weeds, and commanded the man to earn his bread by the sweat of his face, tilling that cursed ground. After He had made cots of skin and clothed them, the Lord God said, “Behold, the man is become as one of US . . ., to know good and evil.” Now, Brothers and Sisters, I ask you, Does that in any way rule out the fact that God is talking to His angelic helpers? Of course not! I assure you, those angels knew the difference between good and evil, just the same as God did. That is how Lucifer and one-third of the angels come to be called fallen angels. They failed to remain loyal to God when they were tested. (We have an article on the Testing and Fall of Satan) For more confirmation of whether angels know good and evil when they are confronted with it, let us consider the one that came to Daniel when he had been praying and seeking God for 21 days. He told Daniel that his words were heard from the very first day that he began to pray, but that he (the angel) had been delayed or withstood by the prince of the kingdom of Persia. This prince of Persia was an angel also, but he was a bad angel. In other words, the two angels had been in a fight for 21 days, not two good angels fighting, but a good angel and a bad one, and he said that when he left Daniel, he would return to fight the prince of Persia some more. Therefore, do not try to tell me that angels do not know the difference between good and bad. Those that are encamped about the people of God, which Paul refers to as minsters to those who shall be heirs of salvation, are constantly in a fight with demons (bad angels) on our behalf. You have heard people say, There has been a war going on inside of me for days. If you have experienced such a thing, it was probably because there was a bad thing trying to get hold of you and a good thing trying to keep it from happening. In other words, two angels fighting and you are caught between the blows. Your spirit is affected by it. Try to tell that to a psychiatrist and he will say you are crazy even though he may have similar wars going on inside himself. You do not get this kind of information from a scientific laboratory. Test tubes will not show up this kind of trouble, but it is real anyway.

 

CHERUBIMS – GOD’S GUARDS

 

Now God said, “the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever; Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.” If God was three persons, equal in authority, should not this next verse say, THEY drove the man out of the garden? It doesn’t say that; (we are reading in Genesis 3:24) “So HE drove out the man; and HE placed at the east of the garden of Eden (What?) cherubims, (cherubims are angels) and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life.” There is not much written about these cherubims, but there are definitely other references made to them and in other scriptures they are portrayed as winged creatures. (As we said in another message, there are different realms of angelic beings, just like there will be of immortal saints in the millennium. Some will invariably disagree with both statements, but the scriptures bear it out.) They are not to be thought of as the type of angels that are ministering spirits to man. The scriptures seem to place these cherubims in a much higher realm. In this particular instance they are entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the way to the tree of life. You will notice, it doesn’t say that they were guarding a gate somewhere, a gate to a certain geographical spot. That is where the church world in general make their mistake. They believe the tree of life is a literal plant life tree, so naturally they picture these winged angelic creatures guarding a literal gate to a fenced garden where the tree of life is growing. When you come to see that God Himself is the only tree of life, then you realize that these cherubims were set to keep man from the presence of God. When God instructed Moses concerning the tabernacle, he was to build a box for the tables of stone. That was called the ark of the covenant and over that ark, in the innermost part of the tabernacle was the mercy seat with one cherub on each end of it with their faces turned toward each other and their wings covering the mercy seat. These cherubims were of beaten gold and the mercy seat was of pure gold, but the point of it is this, God told Moses that He would meet with him and commune with him from above the mercy seat and from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony. This, in type, showed that God still had those cherubims between Him and man, keeping man from His presence. In other words, they are guards, guarding the tree of eternal life, which is the presence of God when Adam sinned, God separated Himself from him. He would not let the man enjoy the pleasures of sin and dwell in the presence of eternal life at the same time, so the cherubims were set between them. Remember, angels are offspring of God, but they are not gods. No angel has ever allowed any man to fall down and worship him.

 

MAN’S VAIN EFFORTS

 

We will go to the 11th chapter now, but let me remind you first that God had instructed Noah’s family to, “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish or fill the earth.” That was God’s command to them and they truly did begin to multiply, but when we come to chapter 11, we find that they are not carrying out the command to fill the earth, for they are all huddled together trying to keep from being scattered. Verse 1, “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech (this verse does not mean that they were spread out over the whole face of the earth, it only means that all the people upon the earth at that time were of one language.) And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, (get ready) let us make brick and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and lime for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, LEST WE BE SCATTERED ABROAD UPON THE FACE OF THE WHOLE EARTH.” This was what God wanted and they were trying to keep from spreading out over all the whole earth. Their plans were completely contrary to the Lord God’s command; “And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the children of men builded.” God moved by His Spirit to investigate their plans. He had heard what they said, so let us hear what God has to say about the situation. 6, “And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, (one in their motive, and one in their language) and they all have one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing shall be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” Upon investigation, the Lord found a people so unified in their purpose and motive, that God Himself said they would be able to do anything they imagined to do. Isn’t that good, Bro. Jackson? No, they were disobeying God’s word. God had given a commandment that they should be fruitful and multiply and fill the whole earth, but they all wanted to camp right together instead of spreading out. Brother, if God says move out, move out it had better be or He will tear your nest up just like an old mother eagle. We have heard Bro. Branham speak about how he has watched through binoculars and learned how the old mother eagle deals with her little eaglets. She will carry food to them until they are old enough to fly, then she will get in that nest, start flapping those great wings, just beating the tar out of those little fellows until they scramble out of that nest to get free from her licking. Then what does she do? She proceeds to destroy that nest. Those little fellows will have to go find their own food after that. They have nothing to come back to. Now she didn’t push them out of that nest to destroy them, it was her way of teaching them to move out by faith. They have no nest to come back to, but they still have mommy’s sharp eye watching over them. God is like that with His people. Ever now and then He has to give them a licking and break up their huddles and cliques, but He never fails to keep His great all seeing eye on them. Let us look at verse 7 and see what God does here to get these people back to fulfilling His purpose. God wants His word carried out regardless of how good your own personal plan may look to you. God said, Fill the earth and these people started building them a tower into the heavens. They never would have moved on from that place, but God said, (verse 7) “Go to, LET US GO DOWN, (not speaking to the son and the Holy Ghost, but to the angels) and there confound their language that they may not understand one another’s speech.” It would be mighty hard for a construction crew to build a high tower if they could not understand each other’s language, would it not? God had made a determination of how the situation was to be handled, then HE said, Let US go do it. He did not say, Let us go down and see what can be done about this situation. No, HE, singular, did the investigating and made the decision as to what should be done, just like in Genesis 1. We do not find God counseling with anyone else or anything else about what to do as He would have to do if He had two other partners. No, He makes the determination Himself, then He says, LET US GO DO IT, talking to is angelic helpers. Alright, let us read verse 8, before we move on in the message. “So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.” God knows what He wants done and He knows how to get it done. He does not have to counsel with two other persons of the Godhead or anyone else, but He does allow others of His creation to have a part in the actual process of getting the job done. It is not because God needs help with anything. He did not have any help in the beginning when He was all alone in the Universe and He definitely was all alone, for only He is eternal (without beginning and without an end). Everything else was created by Him. It takes a pretty narrow mind to believe in evolution the way they are teaching it in our schools throughout the land today. I am one hundred percent convinced that God is ONE instead of THREE PERSONS and that He created all things by His word making this theory of evolution just plain childish and silly. I am completely convinced by the scriptures that God is an Omnipresent Spirit without bodily form and that He created a cell of life in Mary for the purpose of bringing forth a man-child into the world free from Adam’s blood line, which blood has death in it. I am completely convinced that God incarnated that Flesh, making Jesus who was already man, both God and man. I know that God did not need a pair of human lips to speak through when He spoke audibly to the prophets of old, nor when He spoke at the Jordan river the day Jesus was baptized by John, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” But He did have lips to speak through after that and Jesus made no secret about the fact that the Father was doing the speaking when He instructed His disciples. In John 8:49, He said, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” How did the Father send Him? The Father was in Him. To you scoffers who laugh at such a statement and make fun saying, That makes Jesus His own father. Let me tell you something, you are still without revelation and the day will come when you will have to eat your own words, either through genuine repentance or through the judgment of God pronounced upon you through the lips of Jesus Christ when you stand before Him in the end. I will not judge you and neither will I be personally offended when you make fun of the word of God, for I am only speaking what I see in this precious old black book (the Bible).

 

DEITY NAMES OF GOD

 

We are going to take some time now to deal with the basic deity names that pointed to God in the Old Testament. I am not an educated man who can tell you all the Hebrew and Greek words that serve to better express various things in the Bible, but I believe that by the help of God I can point out 3 basic deity names and 7 attributable names that will help you to see that God is ONE. I am not too concerned about the scholars who may criticize my way of saying things. I am only concerned with saying something that will better help the flock of God understand the simple truth of His word. If I, by the help of God, can say something that will help you better understand the Godhead, you will not have to go through the Bible trying to figure out which one of the three persons is doing the particular thing that you are reading about. You will know that God is one and that any time you see the word GOD, you can think O-ûE instead of, Is that the Father? Or is that the Son? Or could that be the Holy Ghost? The first word we want to look at is the word, GOD, in the very first verse of the Bible. GOD is an English word. The Hebrew equivalent is EL, or ELOHIM. EL is GOD, ELOHIM, (STRONG ONE, SELF-EXISTENT ONE) speaks of God from the standpoint of the world in general as in the sense of being creator or the object of man’s worship, while the word JEHOVAH, speaks of Him specifically as Lord God of Israel or God of His chosen people. “In the beginning God (ELOHIM) created the heavens and the earth.” He did not need any help. He is the STRONG ONE, the SELF EXISTENT ONE, but after God created the angels and tested them, those that stayed loyal to Him became His helpers. You ask why? It was because God did not choose to remain alone. He desired to share Himself with something, but in order to do so, He had to create something to share Himself with. Therefore, ELOHIM, points to God as related to creation and time. There is a word used in the seminaries to describe God. That word is OMNIPOTENT. It is a theological term. You will not find it in the Bible, but it means unlimited in power. This self existent one (ELOHIM) is unlimited in power. He is without beginning and has no end. Where did He come from? How did He get there? God is not going to tell us a thing like that. There is no answer to questions like that. He is eternal. He always was and He always will be. That is a great mystery, but I do not have to know any more about that in order to believe that there is an all powerful God in control of the whole universe. Do you? I am glad that He did not have a beginning and that He will not have an end. You can put your faith and trust in a God like that. You do not have to worry about living longer than your God, nor about some other God rising up to take His place. That is why He could say to John, on the Isle of Patmos, I AM ALPHA AND OMEGA, the beginning and the ending. I am He which was and is to come. I am He which was dead and am alive for ever more. Only He who is the Strong One, the self existing one, would be capable of laying His life down for a little moment of time and then take it up again to deal with sin in mortal man. We are going into these deity names that God has been identified by simply to show you that in none of them can be found any trace that these patriarchs believed God to be more than one. We want to try and cover this from the standpoint of why pagans did and believed like they did. We want to see, if we can, why mankind went so many different ways after the tower of Babel in their concept of God. It is pitiful how man forgets God so quickly. All eight souls that stepped out of Noah’s ark that day knew who God was. By the time that old ark came to rest on Mt. Ararat, you can be sure the family talked much about the god that had spoken to Noah to build that ark. Then in Genesis 9:1 we read where God blessed Noah and His three sons and gave them a commandment to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, but a few short generations later, mankind is building all sorts of idols, altars and worshipping demons instead of God. What went wrong? It all lays in the genes, the hereditary traits passed down through their ancestors that had intermarried with Cain’s descendants before the flood. That is how the serpent seed got over on this side of the flood, through the hereditary genes. That is why even in this very land of America, a generation of people that has had respect for God, respect for the Bible and respect for Christian people, can produce offspring from their own loins that are atheistic, demon possessed heathen as far as knowing God.

 

REINCARNATION

 

We hear so much talk about reincarnation these days, even to the point where people are put into a trance of some kind and they seem to re-live the life and experiences of someone that lived hundreds of years before. You never hear of anything like that happening to a person that is born again by the Spirit of God. It only happens to people who play around with such things, cultivating the presence of demonic spirits. We have already talked quite a bit about the angels of God that are sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. I want you to listen close to what I am going to say now!! It would be ridiculous for us to believe that God would send an angel to walk with us in our life time and then when we die that angel would have to go sit in a corner someplace. No! Brothers and sisters, when we die, that angel that has influenced our life and ministered to us goes to minister to someone else right on through the generations as long as time stands. The angel that walked with John Wesley is walking with someone right today. The angel that was with the apostle Paul is with someone right today and so on down the line. Angels do not die and neither do they become old and retire. They remain active and faithful to the purpose assigned to them by their creator. Now I ask you this, If good angels go from generation to generation ministering to the people of God, why would it not work the same way with the bad angels that fell with Lucifer??? Whatever angel we have with us will affect our personality and cause us to manifest certain individual characteristics. I will remind you also that every angel remembers those that he had ministered to in ages past and remembers all about them. I believe some of you are beginning to see already what I am getting at with this thought. On the good side, there is not too much to be said about this beyond this point, but when you take it to the other side where people of the world play around with witches and wizards, horoscopes, fortune tellers, seances and so forth, there is a lot more to be said. These people who supposedly go back in time and re-live the life and experiences of some ancient person, claiming that proves their theory of reincarnation, do not prove anything except that the wicked angel (demon) that lived with that person back then is now living with them. Why could not that spirit which caused someone to live and conduct themselves as they did hundreds of years ago, do the same thing with someone in our generation? The Bible shows the devil to be a schemer and a deceiver and it does not set any limits on how far he can go in his deception among worldly people. Furthermore, all these fallen angels are subject to him and must do whatever he wants done. People who are always fooling around with the devil’s devises are bound to become slaves to them. On the other hand, those who are truly born again do not play around with such things. If they need to know something, they talk to God about it. They will not go to a fortune teller nor a ouija board to find their answer. I would like to say also, I am not presenting this to you as some great revelation that should become a doctrine. I merely present it to you as an explanation of why people are conducting themselves in such demonic and heathen ways. We are living in the last days and the devil knows his time is short. Therefore, he is pouring everything he has upon this generation.

 

EL IS GOD

 

Alright, up to this point we have only talked about the Hebrew word, ELOHIM. El by itself means God, but when OHIM is added to it, you have a word that means GOD, SELF EXISTENT ONE, STRONG ONE, (ELOHIM). This is a deity name, but EL by itself which in our English language is translated GOD, can be applied to any god, true or false. It simply means just that, God. We are going to look at the three basic deity names that God is identified by in the book of Genesis. First, we will go to Genesis 14:18. This is where Abraham was coming back from the slaughter of the enemy that kidnaped Lot and the people around Sodom and Gomorrah. He has made a wreck of those kidnaping thieves and recaptured Lot, his nephew and the others and he is on his way back to the very place where he himself had been living. He is heading for Hebron, but as he came near to the city of Jebusites, called Salem in that day, not Jerusalem, but Salem, he is met by a man who brought forth bread and wine and revealed himself to Abraham as the priest of the Most High God, Melchizedek, king of Salem. As he revealed himself to Abraham in this high priestly role, he is revealed through the name EL-ELYON. Remember now, EL is God, but when ELYON is added to it, you have an attribute of deity, EL-ELYON-MOST HIGH GOD. This name is not showing God to be the strong one nor the self existent one, but through this name God is revealing Himself to Abraham as the God who sits the highest of any god. EL-ELYON is not a name that brings out His creative ability, but it brings out His deity as the highest, the loftiest or the greatest of all gods. As for the Melchizedek, he was not a natural, mortal man who was actually a high priest of Salem at that hour. Don’t you thing if there had been anything outstanding or special about this man to have attracted Abraham’s attention, that he would have returned to Salem at other times to see him? I did not say that right. If Abraham had believed that there was such an outstanding priest of the Most High God dwelling at Salem, don’t you think he would have wanted to go there from time to time to see him? In other words, Abraham saw God in theophany form and I believe Abraham knew who he was. Abraham paid tithes to him, but I do not read anywhere that Abraham ever said to Sarah, Honey, I believe I will go back up to Salem and see if I can find that same fellow that met me in the road that day. Would not human nature have caused him to want to do that if he believed such a person dwelled there? I believe so. In Hebrews, when Paul spoke of this Melchizedek, it seemed like there was a great mystery in this. Let us turn to Hebrews 7:1-3 and read what Paul wrote about Him. “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” It seems that Paul got a revelation about this man from somewhere, without father, without mother, without a genealogy. I want you to know that every mortal man that ever held the office of a high priest on the face of this earth had a mother and daddy and he had a beginning and an ending. That ought to help us understand who this man was. Though Abraham did not catch the significance of what was being prefigured here, time has allowed us to look back and see that the very God himself met Abraham in a theophany body and prefigures what was to come from his very loins. From this man’s seed would come forth many tribes of people. From them, God would choose one tribe (the tribe of Levi) to represent Him on earth to the other tribes.

 

THE TEMPLE SPOT

 

Many years passed and Abraham’s seed spent four hundred years in Egyptian bondage, but when they were back in the land of Abraham’s sojourning and David was king of Israel, he did a foolish thing causing the Lord to send pestilence upon the land of Israel. In his repentance before the Lord, he was instructed to build an altar unto the Lord in the place of Ornan’s threshing floor. Ornan was a Jebusite and his threshing floor was in the very place where Abraham was met by Melchizedek. David bought the threshing floor, built an altar unto the Lord, offered up sacrifice and the Lord stayed His hand of destruction on the land. Time passed by until Solomon, David’s Son who had succeeded him as king of Israel, was ready to build the Lord a house. He caught the revelation that he should build it on the same spot of ground where David had built the altar on Ornan’s threshing floor. The temple was built on that very spot, which today is called Jerusalem instead of Salem. To carry on through with what was prefigured to Abraham that day, Israel passed through the long period called the law age. Then the very God that had met Abraham in a theophany body, appeared to Abraham’s seed in another body. This appearing was in the flesh of Jesus Christ, who will one day at his 2nd coming, sit in a temple built on that very same spot. The King of all ages will take the throne of David and from that throne He will rule the whole world in the millennium. The King of righteousness, which is the King of peace, will be sitting in a temple built in the city of peace. Salem means peace. This was all prefigured in Abraham’s meeting with Melchizedek. In its former days, Salem was a city of pagans, full of wars and turmoil and it has not been free from such as the city of David, Jerusalem, but there is coming a day when it truly will be the city of peace as its name implies.

 

EL – SHADDAI

 

The next deity name that we wish to consider is found in Genesis 17:1. Later we will look at the 7 attributable names which are expressed in God’s plan of salvation, but right now we are looking at names that bring out His deity, His majesty, His position in the universe. When we come to Gen. 17, we find the Lord appearing to Abraham when he was 99 years old and identifying Himself to Abraham as El-SHADDAI, which in our English language is translated Almighty God or GOD ALMIGHTY. This deity name has characteristics involved that bring out the fact that God is liken unto a mother, the breasted one, the nourisher, one that satisfies. This could be the very place where this Women’s Liberation movement got their idea that we should stop referring to God in the masculine gender and make Him a woman. Let me tell you, God never did refer to Himself as a woman. Truly He is one that satisfies. He is a nourisher and sustainer, but Hallelujah! He doesn’t have to be a woman to be that. This name does not speak of His power, nor of the fact that He is the highest of all gods. It simply directs attention to the fact that He is a God that is able to give comfort to something that needs comforting. Isn’t that wonderful to know? In this old world of turmoil and unrest, we many times become nervous, frustrated, perplexed and feel all alone, even to the point where we sometimes act like a little child. You have seen how a little baby does when it gets hungry and lonesome lying in a crib all alone. It begins to fret, scream and cry. It becomes restless, tossing and turning in its bed. Why? It wants to be loved, comforted, nourished and satisfied. When the mother interprets the crying to be that, she will go in, pick it up, feed it, squeeze it to her bosom expressing her love for it and change its clothing if necessary so it will be completely comforted before she puts it back to bed. The very minute it feels mother’s hands slip under its little body, the whimpering begins to taper off. The mother’s touch gives it a secure feeling. That is exactly what is portrayed right here in the name EL-SHADDAI, (the breasted one who nourishes and satisfies). In this old sin tossed world of heartache and trouble where the devil is constantly throwing everything he has at us, we get hungry for God. We need to be nourished and strengthened. Let me tell you, when we cry unto Him, it won’t be long until we feel the tender hands of our God come under us, pick us up and draw us nigh to His comforting bosom. At a time like that, it doesn’t do the devil any good to tell us we are not even saved, for we just ignore him and lay there in the arms of God, feeling His strong hands around our soul and nurse away. At such a time as this, we do not need to know that God is highest (EL-ELYON) and we do not need to know that He is the Strong One (ELOHIM). We are interested in one thing, that He is a God who satisfies (EL-SHADDAI) because we need comfort and strength. What a wonderful God we have? We do not need gods and goddesses of love, fertility, wisdom, rain, sun, moon and medicine and the such like. We have a revelation that our ONE, true God is everything we need. Paul wrote to the Philippians, 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Those old patriarchs did not have that verse of scripture to read, but they did know that God is ONE and that He created the heavens and the earth and all things therein by His own word and they had complete confidence in their God. The third deity name used in conjunction with El which is derived from ELOHIM (God) is found in Genesis 21:33. EL (God) is revealed here to be EVERLASTING by the name ELOLAM. I am using terminology from the Scofield Bible to express the meaning of this deity name of God. The name EL-OLAM not only means that God is from EVERLASTING to EVERLASTING Himself, but it also carries the thought that He is God over EVERLASTING thing. Have you ever heard the expression, Bring back everlasting thing in there. Don’t you even leave one grain of sand. This illustration comes to my mind because I have heard such uses of the word everlasting from various ones in my lifetime. Nevertheless, we want to understand the use of it in Genesis 21:33, to mean that God is without beginning and without end and that everything that has been created was created by Him. Actually, you cannot separate one of these deity names from the others. They are all pertaining to the one and only God, but were used according to the circumstances of the one who was calling upon Him. ELOHIM (God) places Him in His position in His creation and the other three names we have mentioned are expressions of His deity. These are names that attribute to Him those virtues of deity that belong only to ELOHIM. In other words, He is the only self existent one. He is the only eternal one that is from everlasting to everlasting and He is the most High God of all gods.

 

SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD

 

Now we want to look at the 7 attributable names that are compounded with the word Jehovah to identify God with mankind in redemption. When you get over to Genesis 2:4, in the account of creation, you find LORD GOD for the first time. Up to this point the general term, GOD, has been used, but in Gen. 2:4, we find this term compounded with LORD which takes on a deeper meaning more of ownership and rulership. JEHOVAH, which in the Hebrew is YHWH and pronounced YAHWEH in our English language, is a word that Means Lord. Therefore, the translation Lord God comes from the Hebrew JEHOVAH ELOHIM, JEHOVAH, (LORD) ELOHIM, (GOD) and is used quite frequently after its first mention. We have a lot of people running around in our day with a doctrine built off of their ideas about YHWH. They will say, Pagan Gentiles (meaning anyone who does not agree with them) do not know the name of God. If they did, they would call Him YAHWEH. For the sake of clarifying such a statement, let me say this. It was God Himself that confused the languages of all people when before that, they had all been speaking the same language. I will agree with any critic that God was revealed to the Jewish race through these names or that God revealed these deity names and attributable names to the Jewish race, but you must remember this, while they spoke Hebrew, my ancestors were speaking English. God did not tell anyone that they would have to learn Hebrew before they could get to know Him. He did not tell me that I would have to learn Hebrew in order to find my way home. You call Him whatever you want to, but to me He is G-O-D and known in the Grace age by His redemption name, Jesus, J-E-S-U-S. This is the only name that Jesus ever manifested on earth and we have His own testimony that He had manifested the Father’s name to the men who walked with Him (John 17:6). The Jews believe that Hebrew is the proper language and the English speaking people, in their proudness, believe that English is the proper language. It doesn’t matter one bit to me just as long as I know who He is that is speaking to my heart. As long as I can get my spirit in tune with Him, who is Spirit, it doesn’t matter to me whether I talk to Him in Hebrew, English or whatever. My only concern is in being able to communicate with Him. Hallelujah! I believe He hears me! If you are a Jew or if you are someone who knows the Hebrew, go ahead and call Him, YHWH (YAHWEH) if you want to, but in the English it comes out JEHOVAH (LORD). The bride of Christ is made up of people from around this world and from the percentage viewpoint, I would be safe to say that only a very small percentage of them speak Hebrew. Maybe some of these people ought to go back and read Genesis 1:1 again. It does not say, In the beginning JEHOVAH ELOHIM created the heaven and the earth. It says, In the Beginning ELOHIM (GOD) created the heaven and the earth. I hope you catch the difference. God does not even have the compound word, Jehovah, attached to it in the beginning. Saints, we are just trying to place this word Jehovah, which means Lord or Master. Now the word, Lord, does not necessarily apply to deity. It is a word that can be applied to any man who rules over or is in authority over other. For instance, it is proper for any servant type person to refer to the one who rules over him as, My Lord, or the owners of the house you live in as your land-lord. Alright, I believe we have said enough for you to see that the word, Jehovah, is translated, Lord, in the English language so as we go into the 7 attributable names that deal with redemption, you will find each one of them compounded with the word Jehovah, which means Lord. This is what John referred to in Revelation a number of times as the seven Spirits of God. It does not mean that God is seven spirits. It simply refers to the 7 major attributable expressions of God on behalf of mankind in the process of redemption. There is no need for 7 spirits, 7 gods or anything like that. Everything we need is wrapped up in the ONE SPIRIT, (GOD) who is omnipresent and able to manifest anything necessary in His dealing with man. He is Lord of lords, and He is the Master of ever situation. We see Him as GOD (ELOHIM) in Genesis 1:1, but now we are going to see Him as Lord of every situation as we examine these attributable names. The very word, LORD, is a deity name in God’s relationship to man, but not in creation as in Gen. 1:1 where only the word, God, was used.

 

JEHOVAH WILL PROVIDE

 

Remember now as we look at these 7 attributable names of God, each one of them is compounded with the word, JEHOVAH, which means LORD in English. Before I mention the first one of the seven, let me say this, Seven is the number of completeness. Paul said in one of his letters, Ye are complete in Him. Therefore, these sevens are not recorded by accident, they have significance. In the 4th chapter of Revelation when John was told to come up hither, he was allowed to see things that would be hereafter. While describing what he saw, he said, “And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” Later, as he described the Lamb that came forth and stood in the midst of the throne, he referred to what he saw as a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. We know that such a creature would be a freak of nature, so this terminology has to be looked upon as having a symbolic meaning. We see the same thing back over in the book of Zechariah where Joshua the high priest brought forth the stone which had seven eyes. It was prefiguring a finished work of redemption and that is what you will see figuratively as we consider these attributable names. The first scripture we will look at is found in Genesis 22:13-14. This is where God had called upon Abraham to take his son, his only son, and offer him up for a sacrifice upon one of the mountains which He would show him later. God did not tell Abraham which mountain He had chosen the first day He spoke to him about this, but Abraham started out with Isaac just like God had told him to do. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place that God had chosen. It was right back in the same area where he had met Melchizedek. Do you see how God works circumstances to get His plans perfected? Abraham used a certain rock or mountain peak for an alter. Then later, David bought a parcel of ground from Ornan the Jebusite, because he needed a place to offer sacrifice to the Lord to stay the plague of death that was sweeping through his people. Where do you suppose he built his altar? Right in the same place where Abraham would have offered up Isaac. David later felt impressed to build a house for God, but God said, No, you are a warrior, you have shed blood. I will raise up one from your loins to build me a house. Solomon was the one to build the house for God and he built it right on the same spot that Abraham and David had used for an altar. That is the place where God chose to place His name. In 2 Chronicles 6:6, Solomon said that Jerusalem is the place where God had chosen to place His name. We just carried this on through to show you how God works circumstances to get men to do what He has purposed for them to do, but now we will return to Abraham and Isaac as they journey to the place where the sacrifice is to be offered up. In verse 7 we find Isaac speaking to his father, Abraham, saying, My father, and Abraham answered, Here am I, my son. Isaac then said, Behold the wood and the fire, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering? Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering. He said that out of necessity, walking along there with his heart all burdened down knowing only that God had told him to offer Isaac his only son. Oh how his heart must have ached as he raised the knife to cut Isaac’s throat, but he had faith in God. He knew that the very God who gave him that son by Sarah, when from the natural standpoint it would have been impossible, was able to raise him back to life if need be, so he followed God’s instructions. In verse 11, when Abraham had the knife raised to slay his son, notice who it was that stopped him from doing it, an Angel of the Lord. Isn’t it strange. It did not say, the Holy Ghost said don’t do it, nor did it say, The Father said, Don’t do it, nor did it say, the Son said don’t do it. It was an ANGEL of the Lord that said, Do him no harm, for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld they son, thine only son from me. 13, “And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.” 14, And Abraham called the name of that place JEHOVAH JIREH” (THE LORD WILL PROVIDE). There is your first attributable title. He is a provider and provide He did. HALLELUJAH! No doubt, Abraham’s old heart had been pounding like a jack hammer up to that very moment. He had no way of knowing what God would do. He just believed Him and trusted Him fully, believing that He would provide. Abraham already knew Him as ELOHIM (GOD). He already knew Him as EL-OLAM (Everlasting God) also as EL-ELYON (Most High God) and EL-SHADDAI (Almighty God). Now he calls Him JEHOVAH JIREH (the Lord that provides) or the Lord will provide. What else could he say to that little boy when he asked him about the lamb fo the burnt offering? He had waited 25 years for that promised son, and now after such a short time, the one who gave him that son asked for him back and in the most heartbreaking manner. How could he tell that little boy that he was going to offer him upon that altar for a burnt offering to God? How could he have understood such a thing? No, necessity caused Abraham to call God, JEHOVAH JIREH. Many times God has to work circumstances to cause us to give Him His place in our lives. He does not force us to do things against our will, but He will work circumstances in our lives that will make us willing to walk His way.

 

GOD IS A HEALER

 

For the next attributable name attributed to God, we go to Exodus, chapter 15, where God is leading the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. After God miraculously opened up the Red Sea and allowed them to go across on dry ground, the children of Israel became frantic and bitter against Moses because they had not found any water to drink in the 3 days they had journeyed since crossing. Therefore, they murmured against Moses until he cried unto the Lord for help. God showed him a tree, which when he cast into the waters of Marah, they were made sweet. The bitterness was taken away from the waters and now they were drinkable. God chose this occasion to prove the people and set before them a statute and an ordinance whereby He said unto them, “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: FOR I AM THE LORD THAT HEALETH THEE.” This is where God reveals Himself to the people as a healer, JEHOVAH RAPHA, (THE LORD THAT HEALETH) Exodus 15:26. Jehovah Rapha is the second of the seven attributable redemptive names of God that we are going to look at and for number three, we will go to Exodus 17:8-15. Prior to these verses, the children of Israel have been chiding Moses because of a lack of water again. This time God told Moses to smite the rock and there shall come water out of it. The people, in their time of complaining, had said, is the Lord among us or not? It seemed that no matter what God did for them, as soon as things got a little rough again they would begin to complain that the Lord had let Moses bring them out into the wilderness to die. In the last half of this 17th chapter we find that after they had drank water from the rock, their journey was interrupted by an attack from the Amalekites. Moses sent Joshua with chosen men to fight against Amalek, while he stood on top of a nearby hill with the rod of God in his hand. The battle was long and as long as Moses was able to keep his hands raised, the Israelites were able to advance and press the battle, but when he got tired and lowered his hands, they began to lose. This is where Aaron and Hur sat Moses upon a rock and they raised his hands and held them up until the battle was won. In this, God revealed Himself to them as a banner, JEHOVAH NISSI (the Lord our banner). Another of His characteristics was revealed in this set of circumstances. What is that Bro. Jackson? His ability to spark overcoming enthusiasm in His people. Let me give you an illustration. In many of the great battles that have been fought, we have had occasion to notice that much emphasis was placed upon raising a flag (or banner) representing the nation or the movement which was pressing the battle. World War II gives us a good example of that where 5 marines fought their way to the top of Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, to raise the American flag there. Why did they do it? It was a morale builder. It gave those other marines down on the beach a new enthusiasm. There on top of that mountain stood their banner and they had pledged to fight for it. Seeing those Stars and Stripes stretched out by that mountain breeze caused them to be encouraged to fight on with a greater determination to conquer their enemies. This is what was taking place when Aaron and Hur raised up Moses’ hands that held the rod. It was like lifting up a banner. Verse 15 tells us that Moses built an altar and called he name of it JEHOVAH NISSI (the Lord our banner). He is my flag! AMEN! HALLELUJAH! That is exactly what it means, the Lord is my flag. How many of you have determined to follow that banner? Tell me, are you ready to go into battle with Him? You had better be. Time is short and Satan is battling with every evil force at his disposal. There is one thing sure, you will be on one side or the other. There is no neutral territory. I guarantee you one thing, if you will get behind this banner, you will never have to worry about the enemy getting control and taking your banner down. “HE THAT DWELLETH IN THE SECRET PLACE OF THE MOST HIGH SHALL ABIDE UNDER THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY” (Psalms 91:1) He is our banner, our refuge, our fortress, our deliverer and everything else that we have need of in this evil age. Praise God, Saints, I hope this little message will help some of you who have never really stopped to think about it, to realize you do not have to be on the losing side in this constant battle between the spiritual forces of good and evil. All you need do is make sure you are on Gods side. Then He will be your banner also.

 

SHALOM – PEACE

 

We are going into Judges for our next attributable name. You will find it in chapter 6, verse 24. This brings us into another period of time where the Israelites have done evil in the sight of the Lord and He has turned them over to their enemies, the Midianites. When they finally begin to realize the shape they are in, they cry unto the Lord for help and He sends them a prophet. As the prophet begins to cry against them for their failure to recognize and serve God as they should, an angel of the Lord appears to Gideon saying, “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.” Gideon questions the angel as to whether the Lord is really with them, seeing that their enemies have gained the upper hand, and the Lord looked upon Gideon saying, “Go in this thy might and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites.” Gideon asks for a sign that would assure him that the Lord is really with them and when he received it and realized that he had been talking to an angel of the Lord, he began building an altar to worship God. They had been in a constant state of unrest, turmoil, confusion and oppression, so what they needed most at that time was peace. That is when the Lord spoke and said, “Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.” Because of that, Gideon called the place of his altar, JEHOVAH SHALOM, (The Lord our peace). SHALOM is a Hebrew word that means peace. It is used as a Jewish greeting and farewell. Many of you have been to Israel and heard them use the word as such. They speak freely of peace, but it is something they have never known much about. They have always been a hated, persecuted and oppressed people, constantly kicked about and standing in need of peace. Peace will settle you, regardless of whether it be in the natural or whether it is just an inner peace that we have because of the presence of the Lord. What did Jesus say to His disciples? “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” The peace that He gives is peace of mind, something that the world cannot give. Paul referred to it as the peace that passeth all understanding, (Phil. 4:7) saying that it will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. When you have that peace of God down in your soul, there is no reason to have a worry in the world and certainly no room for fear. But Bro. Jackson, they are always talking about me and persecuting me something terrible. Nevertheless, if you have the peace of God in your soul, and you re not doing anything deliberately to aggravate the situation. Have no fear, for God will eventually send that spirit of peace to put someone in their place. God Himself is that spirit of peace, JEHOVAH SHALOM. Therefore, if He is in you, just surrender up to Him and let Him flood your soul with that inner peace which passeth all understanding. When you learn the secret of how to draw upon that peace, your daily load will be much lighter. The Psalmist (David) knew how to surrender up to this Lord of peace. He was chased by Saul, hated by many of his brethren and he did wrong himself at times, but the Bible says that he was a man after God’s own heart. We will see an example of that in 2 Samuel 24:12-14. This was a time when David had ordered Joab, the captain of the host, to number Israel. In other words, he wanted him to take a census so he would know exactly how many fighting men he had behind him. This displeased the Lord, for He wanted his chosen people to trust in His strength and ability rather than in the arm of the flesh through great numbers. Therefore, He sent the prophet (Gad) to David with a message; “Go and say to David, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things; (as punishment) choose thee one of them that I may do it unto thee. So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? Or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? Or that there be three days pestilence in they land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to Him that sent me.” You believe me, David knew that either one he would choose would be rough, so notice what he did. By the way, this episode is what occasioned the purchase of Ornan’s threshing floor for the purpose of erecting an altar unto the Lord to stay the plague or pestilence brought on by David’s decision. Here is David’s answer to the prophet, verse 14, “And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; FOR HIS MERCIES ARE GREAT: and let me not fall into the hand of man.” David knew he could trust the Lord, but he had no confidence in wicked men. That peace of God in his soul caused him to know that the best way out of any situation was to lean upon the mercy of God.

 

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD

 

Let us go to Psalm 23, for number 5 of the attributable names of God. Here we will see how David expressed his confidence in the Lord when inspiration struck him. When his enemies tried to assassinate him or through insurrection, tried to overthrow his throne, he would go off and hide in an old cave. He did not want to fight his own countrymen. It was in his heart more to seek God than to fight against his own people. I can just see him as the Holy Ghost moved upon him one day while he was hiding out in an old lonesome cave; “THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD; I SHALL NOT WANT. (Hallelujah, he found the secret) HE MAKETH ME TO LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES: HE LEADETH ME BESIDE THE STILL WATERS.” Praise God! He is really on the right track here, but I am going to stop before I get too far away from the first line, “THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD,” (JEHOVAH RAAH). R-A-A-H is a Hebrew word pertaining to a shepherd or one who watches over a flock. David could think of himself as a sheep in the fold or flock of God. By that he was able to say, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; they rod and they staff they comfort me.” He knew there was a great shepherd watching over his soul. Therefore, regardless of the grim circumstances that he was confronted by, he knew that he could rest secure in Him. Did not Jesus say, “My sheep know my voice and another they will not follow?” He went on to say, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.” Why did Jesus talk like that? The Lord (Jehovah) is the shepherd of His sheep and that was the Spirit of Jehovah in Jesus doing the talking. That is why He could talk like that. “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth His life for His sheep.” I have heard Bro. Branham speak of how the shepherd would put his bedroll right in the doorway to the sheep-fold. Therefore, any old coyote or sheep killing dog would have to come right across his body to get to the sheep. That would awaken him and allow him to protect the flock. That is what Jesus was having reference to in St. John, chapter 10, where He said, “I am the good shepherd,” and so forth. The Lord is JEHOVAH RAAH, (The Lord is my Shepherd).

 

HE IS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS

 

Alright, we have two more redemptive names to look at. The next one is found in Jeremiah 23:6, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (JEHOVAH TSIDKENU). Jeremiah, picking up in the spirit, saw what God would do in the last days. Brothers and sisters, we are living in the days that Jeremiah wrote about in this chapter. The Jews have been scattered to the four winds for centuries because of their worshipping idols and for their failure to repent and turn to God when He would send a prophet to warn them. Therefore, that which Jeremiah is writing about here in this chapter pertains to the Jews of our day. Let us read the first 6 verses of chapter 23, down through the verse that calls God by this Hebrew name, JEHOVAH TSIDKENU, meaning THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! Saith the Lord. Therefore, thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people: Ye have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not visited them: behold I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord. And I will gather the remnant of my flock OUT OF ALL COUNTRIES whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; (that is what we have been seeing take place right in our day) and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth, (THAT IS JESUS CHRIST IN THE MILLENNIUM). In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” This is a picture of the Jews of our day, after the Lord has sent the two prophets of Revelation 11:3, and their eyes have been opened as to who Jesus really is. The mercy and grace that God extends to them will cause them to recognize Him by this name, JEHOVAH TSIDKENU, (The Lord our Righteousness). They will no longer say, We have done this, we have done that, and we have not done thus and so. They will recognize that all our righteousness are as filthy rags in the sight of God, and that His imputed righteousness is the only hope for lost mankind. I can just hear those redeemed Jews saying, OH! He is my Righteousness. HALLELUJAH! When those Jews are saying that, the little Gentile bride will be at the marriage supper with her race of life behind her. Not everyone that says Lord, Lord, shall be there. It will be only those who have run well and finished the course, recognizing that it is not by our goodness nor our good works, but by His righteousness. He was made sin for us so that we could be made righteousness in Him. The grace of God has been extended to us, His Spirit in us. Therefore, He is our Righteousness. That is why we sing that little chorus (He is all I need). We recognize that it is all in Him. In Romans, Chapter 3, the apostle Paul had something to say about righteousness. Picking up something that David had said in the Psalms, Paul wrote, in verse 10, “There is none righteous, no not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” He went on to speak of the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe. We learn from the Word of God that the only righteousness we have is an imputed righteousness, purchased at Calvary with the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is why we must say, He is my righteousness.

 

THE LORD IS PRESENT

 

We have one more name to talk about now and it comes from Ezekiel 48:35. This is a prophecy dealing with Israel, not only back in the land, but also living under the Messianic rule of Jesus Christ in the millennium. The nation has been restored to her place in the perfect plan of God and they are in the kingdom age that their forefathers looked so earnestly for. When that day finally dawns and they see that their Messiah is Jesus Christ whom their fathers crucified, then they will refer to Him as JEHOVAH SHAMMAH, (The Lord is present). What does that mean? It means that God is on earth in the form of man, ruling mankind. ELOHIM is restoring that relationship He had with the first man and woman before they sinned. Mankind has lived out almost 6000 years of what is history to our present age, since Adam and his wife Eve conducted themselves in such a way that God withdrew His eternal life giving presence from them and placed cherubims (angelic beings) between them and Himself to keep them away from His presence. You say, Why did He do that? Simply because they had chosen to exercise their will beyond what the perfect plan of God allowed them to do. God had said to them, Do not partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, (to eat of the tree is to partake of its fruit) for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Now let me say it like this, GOD IS eternal life. Therefore, to remain in His presence IS TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE, but to remain in the presence of God one must do the will of God. That is where Adam and Eve went wrong. In effect, they chose the pleasures of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil over the presence of God and mankind has had to suffer the penalty of their choice ever since, but there is coming a day and we believe very soon, that God will again place His eternal presence among men. When we say very soon,, naturally we are speaking of the millennium when God will be on earth again in the flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ, ruling over all the people of the whole earth, but even then it will be another one thousand years before the earth is restored back to the place it had with God in the beginning. As we said in Part One of this message, 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, does not have its fulfillment until the end of the one thousand years of Christ’s rule on earth. We will read it again. 24, “Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.” We covered this thoroughly in the January 1979 issue, titled, Hell is Not Eternal, but for you who may not have read it let me say, This 24th verse is pertaining to the time when God’s process of redemption will be completed. In other words, at the end of the millennium. That is when Christ Jesus will cease to rule on earth as the King and He will deliver the redeemed Kingdom back to ELOHIM, the ETERNAL SPIRIT from which all things had their beginning. God is one and in the beginning, He only dwell in Spirit form, for He is Spirit. It was only for the purpose of redemption that He created Himself a human body to dwell in among mankind. He created that cell of life in the womb of the virgin girl, Mary, and allowed her to bring it into life through the natural process of child birth, giving him (the baby) a genealogy that placed Him in line to inherit the throne of David. Joseph and Mary took the young child and fled into Egypt to protect his life from the wrath of King Herod who sought to kill him to protect his throne. They later brought the child back into the land of Israel and raised him up to manhood in a little town called Nazareth. Then there came a day when he was beginning to be about 30 years of age that he came to the Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist (the baptizer). That is when John saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him and heard a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” Time moved on to a day when he rode a little donkey into Jerusalem, went into the temple and overthrew the tables of the money changers and the seats of all them that sold doves saying unto them, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” With doves flying all around the place, money scattered all over the floor and amid the howling protests of His enemies; He began to preach. The lame and the blind came to Him there in the temple and He healed them, while the children cried, “Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Whose name did He come in? The name of the Lord. Who was the Lord to them? Jehovah. What name did He come in? Jesus. Do you see how plain it is that the redemption name of Jehovah Elohim is J-E-S-U-S? As we said earlier, J-E-S-U-S is the only name He ever manifested to His disciples, yet He said to the Father, (the eternal Spirit) in John 17:6, “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept THY WORD.” The words that they had kept were the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, yet He could say to the Father in prayer, “They have kept thy word.”

 

SEVEN REDEMPTIVE NAMES

 

Brothers and sisters, I am not an educated man, but God has graciously allowed me to have my understanding opened to receive revelation of His word. Now I am asking Him to deal with each one of you who are seeking such revelation, the same way, for we know that the natural mind receiveth not the things of God. These things must be revealed to every individual by the Spirit of God. Otherwise, they are just words. Once your understanding is opened to receive revelation, you will begin to see that every scripture carries a beautiful key to the furtherance of the revelation of the oneness of God. We have brought out these 7 redemptive names in an effort to help you see that this ONE GOD, (who is Spirit) has revealed Himself to men as the answer to every need they have. He is not limited to any particular geographical area for He is omnipresent, (present everywhere) and there is nothing too hard for Him, for He is omnipotent, (unlimited in power and ability) and He has infinite understanding, awareness, insight and knowledge. He is omniscient. Now notice, I did say that these are redemptive names. None of them reveal God’s deity. That has already been revealed in EL-SHADDAI, (GOD ALMIGHTY). These 7 names are attributable expressions of the one God who is Spirit toward mankind. When Abraham needed a lamb to replace his only son, Isaac, on the sacrificial altar, God provided one. He was revealed in that situation as JEHOVAH JIREH (the Lord will provide) and so on through all the other attributable names. He is our PROVIDER, our HEALER, our BANNER, our PEACE, our SHEPHERD, our RIGHTEOUSNESS and there is coming a day when we can say, in the full sense of its meaning, The Lord is PRESENT. He is already present in the sense of being omnipresent, but when redemption is completed, that presence will be in a much more glorious realm. When fallen mankind needed a Savior, God became that Savior (provider). Sin had entered the human race through the disobedience of one man. Therefore, it was necessary that there be an innocent man somewhere that could take the blame for man’s sin and bear the shame and reproach of the sin penalty on behalf of us all. Where could such a man be found? There was not a man on earth who did not have imputed death dwelling in him, so where would man’s redeemer come from? There was no such scene in heaven as the trinity people portray in their illustrations of what took place. It was not a situation where God, the Father looked over to God, the Son and said, Son, Will you go down and die for the people? We do not have anyone else to send. No, that was not the way it was at all. God Himself became one of us. Son, in this respect, is pointing strictly to flesh. We have already explained how God created the flesh that He would walk on earth in and that flesh being was called the Son of God or the Son of the Highest. The flesh was the Son, but the life of that flesh was the God-life that created all things. In other words, God came to earth in human flesh to save His own. He did not send anyone. He came Himself. To the natural mind this sounds confusing, but scriptural revelation makes this Godhead question clear as a bell. Some have said, The way you explain the Godhead makes Jesus His own father. That is the natural mind speaking. Regardless of how many times you read Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in the scriptures, you can never make three persons out of God.

 

THE FATHER OF JESUS

 

In the beginning there was no Son of God in the picture and God, being alone, was not even a father. How could He be? Anyone knows that you cannot be called a father until after you have begat life and by the same token, everyone knows that once you have produced or begotten an offspring, you have become a father. When God began to create, He became a father then when He created the cell of life that brought Jesus into the world, coming forth from the womb of a virgin girl that had never had sex relationship with any man. How could this baby be called anything but the Son of God? You must realize also that the Holy Ghost is not another Spirit, different from, nor separate from the sovereign Spirit that dwelt alone in the beginning before He began to create. God is a Spirit and He is holy, not unholy. Therefore, He is the Holy Spirit. Satan is the unholy spirit. We will all agree that God the Father is the father of the child born to the virgin Mary and called Jesus, but have we all noticed that the scriptures reveal He was begotten by the Holy Ghost? Common sense teaches us that whoever begat is the father of the offspring. Therefore, let us look into the first chapter of St. Matthew and read verses 18-23 where we will see what the angel of the Lord told Joseph about this miraculous conception. 18, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: when as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, BEFORE THEY CAME TOGETHER, she was found with child OF THE HOLY GHOST. (Did you catch that?) 19, Then Joseph her husband (or husband to be) being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.” In other words, Joseph and Mary were engaged to be married, which in those days was just as binding as a marriage contract in our day, but before they began to live together in a husband and wife relationship, Joseph discovered that this young lady was pregnant already. If you will try to picture in your mind how social and moral standards were in those days, maybe you can understand how Joseph must have felt. He was an honorable man and wanted to do the right thing, but regardless of how much he loved Mary, he could not put up with her being untrue to her betrothal vows. Therefore, he began to meditate on how to handle this delicate situation. He had no desire to have Mary put up for public ridicule, but on the other hand he did not feel that he could accept this already pregnant woman as his wife. His decision was that he would privately break the engagement without making any fuss about the reason why. This is when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying, 20, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary they wife: for that which is conceived in her IS OF THE HOLY GHOST. (There! You see! It was the Holy Ghost that planted the seed of life in Mary’s womb) 21, And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for HE shall save HIS PEOPLE from their sins, 22, Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, (notice now) and they shall call his name EMMANUEL, which being interpreted is, GOD WITH US.” For the benefit of you who may still have a problem with this question of whether God is one or three persons, we desire to cover every aspect of the question in the hope that revelation will strike your soul as you read this article. Once you see that God is not three persons, but that these are titles attributed to the ONE true God who is Spirit, and once you see that He does not need to cease being Father of His creation in order to fulfill the office work of the Son of God, you will wonder how in the world you ever believed such a perverted mess for as long as you did. God is one, but He is able to fulfill the office work of Father, Son and Holy Ghost without dividing Himself up into three persons. He is Father in the sense of being omnipresent, self existent Spirit, capable of begetting life, not just because of His ability to begat life, but because He exercised that ability in creation. He became Father when he created something else with life, He became God when there was something that could look up to Him in worship. He became incarnated in flesh only about two thousand years ago, and He paid man’s sin debt when He voluntarily submitted to the agonizing crucifixion on that old Roman cross through Jesus the Christ. The flesh of Jesus was not the Father and I say this only because of the interpretation that some people place on Isa. 9:6, and other related scriptures which we will get to a little later. The God-life in that flesh was the Father and He had no beginning. He is from everlasting to everlasting and He is God over everlasting thing.

THE BIBLE PRESENTS . . .

 

This Bible presents us with a beautiful story of how a self existent Spirit spoke in the beginning and said, Let there be light, and there was light, and from there went on to speak creative words right on down to include everything that we are familiar with round about us. It tells of how He created the first man and placed him at the head of all His earthly creation and how that man exercised his own free will to disobey his creator and how God, bound by His own word, was forced to separate the man from His eternal life giving presence. Then we have the written record of how God dealt with that man and his wife and their descendants through the various ages in His process of reconciliation, until such a time when the full payment for man’s sin debt was due and payment was required. Then the most wonderful thing of all that we could read from its pages is how God Himself, knowing that man was bankrupt and could not pay his debt, became a man and made sufficient payment to cover all of man’s sin debt throughout every age. He is God. It was His decision and His alone as to what He would do to satisfy man’s sin debt. What could have prevented Him from just saying, Adam, I forgive you for what you have done, just be sure you do not let it happen again? No, He could not do that, for there were attributes in Him (God) that could only be expressed through the process of redemption that He has been working out ever since the day Adam sinned. God knows everything, but how could man ever have known just how great a God he served if there had never been any occasion for God to express that greatness toward mankind? He is revealed to man as the provider in every situation that man finds himself entangled in. That is what we find in those 7 attributable, redemptive names of God.

 

I AM THAT I AM

 

Alright then, God became one of us so that He might be in a legal position to pay our sin debt for us. The wages of sin is death. It was man that sinned. Therefore, it had to be man that would die for that sin. God required a perfect sacrifice and there was none to be found. The whole human race was under the curse of sin with death flowing in their bloodstream. That is why God became a man so He could lay His life on the sacrificial atar for helpless mankind. He laid His life down, but He had power to take it back up again, HALLELUJAH! What a God! You may say, Alright, that pretty well covers the Father and the Son part of the question, but how about the Holy Ghost? What does He do? Since we did not all live in the days of Christ and the apostles, there had to be a way for this wonderful redemption story to be expressed in every age. That is the office work of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Christ, which is the same Spirit as the great omnipresent, self existent one, ELOHIM, who in the beginning dwelt all alone. By His Spirit, this glorious gospel is revealed to every generation. Each generation comes on the scene, lives their allotted days and years, and then they die and leave the scene, but the Spirit of God lives on. Some people say Holy Ghost, and others refer to Him as the Holy Spirit, but regardless of which word you use, you are not talking about another person in a trinity. You are talking about the only true God there has ever been. He is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, Paul, Peter, James and every other Christian in this old world. Those Old Testament saints such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, looked forward to the day when their God would fulfill His promise and Jesus, speaking to a gathering of Jews one day said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad, (John 8:56-58) The Jews then said unto Him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? (They were striving with Him.) Jesus said unto them, (notice this) Verily, verily I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.” That statement was not made from the standpoint of the flesh. The man, Jesus, was not before Abraham, but the God-life in that flesh was doing the speaking and He spoke just like He did to Moses at the burning bush. Moses said to God, “Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you: and they shall say unto me, What is His name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you (Exodus 3:13-14)” Since we are dealing with the fact that God is one and not three persons, what I want you to see from these two passages of scripture is that Jesus Christ, who is called by trinity people, the second person of the holy trinity, spoke exactly the same words in identifying Himself to the Jews that God (who is called by them, the Father) did to Moses. If God the Father was one person and Jesus, the Son, was another separate person, they could not both be identified by the same name. Are you following me? If that had been the case when Moses said, I AM hath sent me, the children of Israel would have needed to ask, Which one? Was it the Father or the Son? No, those Israelites knew their God was one. They had been taught right. They knew their Messiah would be God. They just failed to recognize Him when He came, because of the meek and lowly way that He came unto them.

 

EMMANUEL

 

Let us now go to Isaiah 7:14 where we will pick up Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the birth of Jesus and what they would call Him. “Therefore the Lord Himself (meaning Jehovah) shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name IMMANUEL.” This name translated, means God with us, but when the angel of the Lord appeared to Mary, he did not even mention the name EMMANUEL. He told her to call His name, Jesus. Many of the Spanish speaking people name their little male babies Emmanuel, but in those instances it sure does not mean, God with us. The name itself in the case of Jesus was appropriately applied and the angel of the Lord reconfirmed Isaiah’s prophecy when he appeared to Joseph in Matthew 1:23, but when Gabriel appeared to Mary he said, “call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest.” Yes, He was called the Son of God and we have explained why. The Son terminology applies only to the flesh, or human side of Jesus. By revelation we understand that He was none other than God with us. Now, let us go back to Isaiah 9:6 where we will see more details of what this Son, Emmanuel, is to be to the children of Israel. “For unto us (the people of Israel) a child is born, (He was not to be born into a Gentile family) unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and is name shall be called WONDERFUL, COUNSELOR, THE MIGHTY GOD, THE EVERLASTING FATHER, THE PRINCE OF PEACE.” There is a verse of scripture that you might wonder how any trinity person could read it and still believe in the trinity. That is why Jesus used such terminology as He did at times when He was teaching. Out by the seaside one day He spoke the parable of the seed sower, then He said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Then there was another time when the Pharisees were complaining about the disciples of Jesus eating with unwashed hands and Jesus responded to them by pointing out some of the hypocritical ways that they supposedly keep the law of Moses and concluded by saying, “There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.” Then He said, “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” It just goes to show that a person does not hear spiritual things only with those natural ears that stick out on each side of his head. If he doesn’t have spiritual ears, truth will pass right through his hearing and he will never catch it. Praise God! I’m glad, and thankful to have hears to hear. Aren’t you? Hallelujah! Isaiah said, His name shall be called Wonderful. Did that mean that people who met Him on the street would say, Hello Wonderful? Do you think they greeted Him by saying, Good morning Counselor? No, that is not what these names imply. We know from the scriptures that He was called Jesus, but knowing who he was (God in flesh) gave those who came in contact with Him the kind of feeling that caused them to go about saying to each other, Oh, He’s Wonderful. Those who received Him and believed on Him had that kind of feeling about Him. Furthermore, when you can truly see that He came in the name of the Father, His name embraces all that Isaiah said He would be called. “His name shall be called wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” How could three persons be called, THE MIGHTY GOD or THE EVERLASTING FATHER? Now let me present the question another way to you who believe in the trinity. How could a prophet of God apply such titles to the second person of the trinity you believe in? Would you not want to know just exactly which one of the three was to be called THE MIGHTY GOD, THE EVERLASTING FATHER, or even THE PRINCE OF PEACE? If you have ears to hear and eyes to see, then this verse alone should open up your understanding. You should be able to see that in this man called Jesus Christ was every attribute and virtue that the Bible applies to ELOHIM, EL-ELYON, EL-SHADDAI and EL-OLAM.

 

YE ARE COMPLETE IN HIM

 

Saints, it ought to make your hearts leap for joy to think that your souls are resting in the hands of a God who loved us enough to veil Himself in human flesh and walk along with man in order to set us free from the bondage of Satan. He lived with men, he walked with men, and when the time was right, He suffered and died as a man. The glorious part of it is that He had power to take His life up again and by that same power, He will take ours up again if we go by the way of the grave before the translation. All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth, said Jesus to His disciples just before He ascended into heaven that day. Please tell me how He could have all power in heaven and in earth if He was not The mighty God Himself? That is why the apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 2:9-10, “For in Him (Jesus Christ) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power.” We are complete in Him because He is The mighty God and being The mighty God, He is the very God of peace or The God who is Peace.

 

PRINCE OF PEACE

 

Let us look at this Prince of Peace terminology for just a moment. Prince always speaks of royalty, a son of royalty. I realize the word is used in a more general way, but we are only interested in the sense in which it is used in these scriptures. The prince, the son of a king, is the king’s ambassador. He is the king’s ambassador of peace. Brothers and sisters, this is a beautiful picture of how God, the great Kingly Spirit, sent His Son (The Prince) into the world as an ambassador of peace. No, this does not make Him another person. We have already made that clear enough for any right thinking person, but we have to say certain things in order to bring out the symbolism part of the scriptures that make it sound like God is more than one, but the evidence of His oneness is overwhelmingly stacked against all of man’s traditions which declare Him to be three persons. This Son of God, called The Prince of Peace, was the Father’s mouthpiece to the world, but like every other prince, He had a name that He was called by and that name was JESUS. When he was growing up playing in the streets of Nazareth with the other little boys and girls, they did not call Him Wonderful, nor Counselor, nor Prince of Peace, they called him Jesus. We will come back to this name, but before going on, let me say this, Do not become disturbed about this Prince of Peace terminology just because you may have read in Matthew 10:34 where Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword.” From the standpoint of the world in general, He did not come for the purpose of peace at His first coming. There truly is coming a time when He will reign for 1000 years on earth and that will be a time of peace for sure.

 

GABRIEL SPEAKS TO MARY

 

Now let us go to the first chapter of Luke and read the scripture where the angel of the Lord spoke to Mary about her unusual conception. The verse we read from Isaiah 9:6 had been hanging for over seven hundred years and many generations had come and gone before the angel of the Lord appeared to Mary to begin the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. Beginning with the 26th verse we read, “And in the sixth month (the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John) the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” We have said a lot about angels already, but please note the fact that God sent an angel to speak to Mary about this very important event. It was not that God had to have angels do His talking, but as we said earlier, God created His angelic family to be helpers with Him in His great plan for the ages. Therefore, Gabriel came to her and said, “Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” I wonder if you noticed that in verse 26 it said, God (ELOHIM) sent Gabriel, then in verse 28 Gabriel says, “The Lord (JEHOVAH) is with thee.” This word, LORD, identifies God with man, while the word GOD simply speaks of The Self Existent One or The Strong One. As we read these verses we are made aware of the fact that God, the creator of heaven and earth, has purposed to be identified with man and He has sent an angel to make it known to Mary the instrument through which He would work His plan. Now when Mary saw him, (verse 29) “She was troubled at his sayings, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.” She was no doubt frightened as well as very troubled at hearing such words, and the angel said to her, Fear not Mary: for thou hast found favor with God (ELOHIM). Did you notice how he puts God right back in His highest position in that verse? In his conversation with Mary, this angel had identified God with man in His role as MASTER (LORD) over us and then turned the conversation to place God right back in His identity as God of all creation. I can only try to imagine how Mary felt as the angel continued to speak. What human has ever been prepared to see an angel without being just a little frightened or at least surprised? You just do not go around expecting an angel to appear and talk with you. Everywhere we read in the scriptures that an angel appeared to someone, it always took them completely by surprise. How would you feel if an angel suddenly walked through your door? You would be just like Mary, you would be very troubled in your mind. The angel continued on (verse 31) “And behold, thou shalt conceive in they womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.” This is the son that Isaiah was prophesying about, but this angel did not even mention the name, EMMANUEL, nor counselor, nor wonderful, nor anything like that, did he? “AND SHALT CALL HIS NAME JESUS.” Jesus is our English translation of the word. In the Hebrew, it was Joshua, which actually implies He will save His people. A shorter term is JEHOVAH SAVIOR. All of this is implied by His name. Verse 32, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: (Son of the Most High God) and the LORD GOD (Notice the compound name, JEHOVAH ELOHIM) shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” Now I want every one of you who may not be completely settled on whether God is ONE or THREE, to pay particular attention to verse 32. In this one verse Gabriel speaks of Jesus whom you call the second person of the trinity, first as the Son of God, then as the son of David. My question to you is this, If He was with God as the second person of a trinity when God said, Let us make man in our image, (Gen.1:26) how could He be called the son of David and be in line to inherit the literal throne of Israel’s King David? Here is the wonderful thought that this message is all about. The life in Him was not the son. Son, pertained only to the flesh which was called the son of Joseph and Mary. This made Him a descendent, or a son of David, when in actuality the life in him was not the son of David. It was the Father of David. Do you see it? It is such a beautiful picture when you do see it by revelation of the spirit. In other words, the very creator of David (from the standpoint of the spirit) was going to be robed in a body of flesh that would be looked upon as the son of David according to the natural genealogy. HALLELUJAH! No wonder David said in Psalms 110:1, “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool;” He was speaking by the Spirit. He didn’t know all that we know about Jesus, so that he could speak from the standpoint of the natural, but the Spirit of prophecy that came upon him knew all about the whole plan. From the physical side, Jesus was the seed of woman, the seed of Abraham, the seed of David, and the seed of God. The flesh side of Jesus fulfilled all of this. Then when we look at Him from the standpoint of the Spirit, he is the Most High, the Almighty, the Everlasting God, the God of peace, the God of the attributes we spoke of earlier, and he God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and even David. Now do you begin to see why the scripture says that the natural mind receiveth not the things of God? It is because they must be spiritually discerned. To the natural man of the world, this sounds like just so much babbling, but to the spiritual man who is capable of receiving revelation, it is like music to his ears. He loves to sing, “Down from His glory, ever living story, My Lord and Savior came and Jesus is His name.” He came from so high and willingly went so low, (right into the depths of hell itself) in order to lift us up out of the muck and mire of sin and restore us to a right standing with our Creator, then take us to glory. Praise God! Yes! He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever and of His kingdom there shall be no end. That verse takes us right back to the 9th chapter of Isaiah again. “And the government shall be upon His shoulder.” He will rule the world from a literal throne in Jerusalem for one thousand years, during which time God’s complete process of restoration will be climaxed and sin will be remembered no more. That is when 1 Cor. 15:24, will have its fulfillment. The last enemy to be destroyed is death itself. After that, Jesus will lay down all rule and authority, and return the kingdom to God the Father (the self-existent, Omnipresent Spirit) which created all things in the beginning. Now the angel told Mary that He (Jesus) would reign over the house of Jacob forever and that there would be no end to His kingdom, but you must understand that this only applies to time as long as time is measured. When the millennium comes to an end and the earth enters into the eternal age, then time will be measured no more. This is when Jesus assumes the role of our elder brother. He will no longer be King. He only reigns as King until the earth is completely restored to its original, sin free status.

 

HOW SHALL THIS BE?

 

You will notice in verse 34 that Mary reacted as any human would when the angel told her that she was going to bring forth a son. She said, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” In other words, she said, I am not even married, how is that going to come to pass? Then the angel said, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.” Brothers and sisters, I know you of Faith Assembly know this, but we are sending this message around the world. Therefore, I want to challenge any trinitarian (three persons in the Godhead) believing individual to explain what the angel said to Mary when she said, How can this be? If there are three persons in the Godhead, and God the Father is the Father of Jesus, why would Gabriel tell Mary that she was going to conceive by the Holy Ghost? As I said earlier, anyone knows that he who begat is the father of the child. Surely, you must be able to see by now that the Holy Ghost, which you call the third person of the trinity, is none other than God, the omnipresent spirit, who, in the beginning dwelt all alone. Therefore, also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. If you make Jesus the 2nd person of a trinity, then according to the scriptures, He would have two daddies. Do you see how ridiculous that is? He cannot be the Son of the Highest, and the offspring of the Holy Ghost, both unless they are both the same spirit. I don’t know why the Pope still keeps on preaching that junk and at the same time claiming to be the successor of the apostle Peter. That is the biggest lie that the devil ever told. You would never have heard Peter preaching such junk as that. Furthermore, I say this, If the Pope wants to be the successor of Peter, then why does he no get married like Peter did? In other words, why does he teach a way of living that is contrary to the way Peter lived? I hope you understand what I am getting at. If he is Peter’s successor, then he ought to believe like Peter. It was what Peter believed that caused him to have the keys to the kingdom committed to him in the first place. This reminds me of a little story I heard. A Catholic priest thought he would belittle the Jewish Rabbi, so he called him on the telephone and said, How about coming over and have a ham sandwich with me? He thought he was really pulling one on the Rabbi, for the Jews do not eat pork, but the Rabbi was just as witty as the priest. He said, I will, when you get married. They both had qualifications to step up to, didn’t they?

 

TRUTH OR TRADITION

 

In trying to bring this message to a close, I would like to return to the gospel of St. John where we began the message. We are just going in a great big circle, but not because we are lost. This is one of those eternal revelations that take you all the way through the Bible and then comes right back to where it started to tie it all together. We are not going back to St. John 1:1-5 though. We are going to St. John 5:39-43. Verse 43 is the one we are after, but these others build the thought up to what we want to show. Those Jews that Jesus had been preaching to thought they new everything. They were standing there so full of tradition that they were blind as a bat a far as being able to see truth. They were ready to slay Jesus just because He had healed a man on the Sabbath day. Their traditions were more important to them than seeing miserable human lives straightened out and their bodies made whole. It is the same way in our day. If you cross over people’s traditions for any reason whatever, they are ready to fight. Some of them, while professing to be Christians (Christlike) will get so mad and red in the face that you could almost strike a match by touching it to them. Jesus, while talking to such a know-it-all, hard hearted crowd of people began to say to them (verse 39) “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: And they are they with testify of me. 40, And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” What He is really saying to them is this, You think you have eternal life because you practice a set of traditions you think came from the scriptures, but if you will search those scriptures closely, you will see that every one of them with promise is pointing to ME. They would not come to Him because they had been too blind to see Him in the scriptures. That is why we have been reading many of these scriptures. We want to see Jesus fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy, David’s prophecy, Ezekial’s and all the others which proclaim Jesus to be the anointed one, The Christ that should come, Emmanuel, (God with us) Counselor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God and Everlasting Father. That is the reason we can sing the little chorus, He is all I need. When you see by revelation just exactly who He is. Then you do know assuredly that He truly is all you need for all of life is wrapped up in Him. From the scriptures we have read, if those Jews had not been blinded by traditions, they could not have helped but see who Jesus was. They felt so much above Him that they were not about to defile themselves by paying attention to such a common looking person who had no educational degrees attached to His name. He knew their thoughts though and said, “I receive not honor from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.” He was really laying it on them because of the name, neither is Father a name, and by the same token, Son is not a name; all these are titles that belong to the ONE, OMNIPRESENT, SELF EXISTENT GOD who is spirit. God (Spirit) was in His Son (Flesh) manifesting His redemption name (JESUS) to lost mankind, but there came the day when the Son laid down His life for the sins of lost mankind. The life of the Son, which was the Father (Spirit) that was in Him, raised that body back to life and allowed Him to be seen of above 500 brethren after His resurrection. Then He was caught up to heaven and a few days later His Spirit returned to enter into the loyal disciples who followed Him. When the spirit of Jesus Christ (THE HOLY GHOST) returned to the disciples on the day of Pentecost, they had the Comforter with them, even in them, which Jesus had promised before going away. These disciples had grown very attached to Jesus during the 3+ years they had walked together. Therefore, he knew they would need a Comforter when He was suddenly taken from their midst. This very concern for them carried a revelation of His deity as revealed in EL-SHADDAI (the breasted one that satisfies).

 

TEACHER

 

Notice as we read this next verse of scripture what the Holy Ghost is to do in the life of a believer. John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, HE SHALL TEACH YOU ALL THINGS AND BRING ALL THINGS TO YOUR REMEMBRANCE, WHATSOEVER I HAVE SAID UNTO YOU.” Is He teaching you all things? That is what Jesus said he would do when he is in your life and without Him you cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). Now, whose name was He to come in? Jesus said, He will come in my name. Right? Alright now, Whose name did Jesus come in? He said that He came in the Father’s name, (John 5:43, John 17:6). Well, what does this all add up to you may say. Simply this, after his resurrection, Jesus gathered His disciples together (Luke 24:46-49) and said unto them after He had opened their understanding so that they could understand the scriptures, “thus it is written and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47, And that repentance and remission of since should be preached IN HIS NAME among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48, And ye are witnesses of these things. 49, And, Behold – I – send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be ended with power from on high.” This was said to the disciples just before he ascended up into the heavens and it was said in the very same period of time that Matthew wrote about. He was only with them forty days afer His resurrection, so He did not change His mind about what they were to do after He departed from them. In Matthew 28:18-20 we read, “and Jesus spake unto them saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them (that is for remission of sins, same as Luke 24:47) in the NAME of the Father, (what is the name of the Father?) and of the Son, (the name of the Son is Jesus) and of the Holy Ghost: (What is the name of the Holy Ghost?) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” If you are going to do what Jesus commanded His disciples to do, then you are going to have to baptize believers in the NAME that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost is represented by in this age of Grace and that name is JESUS. On the day of Pentecost when about 120 disciples received the Holy Ghost while waiting in the upper room, they caused quite a stir when they came down into the streets speaking in other tongues and glorifying God. This caused some of the skeptics to remark, These men are full of new wine. That is when the apostle Peter stood up and preached them a short sermon that pierced their hears. He ended it by saying Acts 2:36, “therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37, Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, What shall we do?” In other words, what can we do now to be saved? Peter answered, verse 38, “Repent and be baptized every one of you IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST (No he was not confused, he had a revelation of the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Ghost) for the REMISSION OF SINS, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Brothers and sisters, right there is where it all lays. Right there is the first opportunity Peter had to use the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Please do not be so vain as to think Peter made a mistake in his instructions to those repentant souls. He made no mistake. He unlocked the revelation of how to enter into the kingdom and a perfect God had no need to make an alternate way. There is only one way to enter into the kingdom of God and that way is through repentance and baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Upon your obedience from a repentant heart, you have a promise awaiting you. That promise is the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is the spirit of Jesus Christ, which is the Spirit of eternal life and that is the Spirit of the eternal God (ELOHIM) which was before all things. Oh what a glorious book we have here. It is the word of a Great and glorious God, who is worthy of all praise and all glory. Let us be glad and rejoice in these days ahead while we await our change. Brothers and sisters, it can’t be too much longer. This old Gentile clock is running out of time and Israel’s clock is just about ready to start ticking in that last week of Daniel. I pray that this message has helped to clear up some questions, but if you still have unanswered question, write us. May God keep each of you in His perfect love. Amen

Oneness Of God, Part 1

MARCH 1979

 

WE ARE APPROACHING THIS SUBJECT DEALING WITH THE ONENESS OF GOD IN AN EFFORT TO TRY AND HELP THE LARGE NUMBER OF SINCERE BELIEVERS WHO DESIRE TO KNOW THE TRUTH, BUT IF GOD SHOULD SO DESIRE TO USE THIS ARTICLE TO PUT TO SILENCE THOSE WHO WILLINGLY TEACH THE DEVIL’S PERVERTED VERSION OF THE GOSPEL, THAT IS ALRIGHT WITH ME. I HAVE FOUND (ESPECIALLY IN OTHER COUNTRIES) A SCARCITY OF LITERATURE DEALING WITH THIS MOST ESSENTIAL TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD (THE FACT THAT HE IS ONE, AND NOT THREE PERSONS.) THEREFORE, IF GOD WILL HELP ME, I WANT TO USE EVERY SCRIPTURE THAT IT REQUIRES TO MAKE THIS SO CLEAR THAT EVEN A CHILD CAN UNDERSTAND IT. THERE IS NO LACK OF SCRIPTURE TO ESTABLISH WHAT WE ARE GOING TO BRING OUT IN THIS MESSAGE. IT JUST REQUIRES A PERSON TO STUDY THEM WITH AN OPEN MIND. WE KNOW THAT THE ANTICHRIST SPIRIT IS IN HIS MAJOR ROLE OF DECEPTION AS THIS AGE IS FAST CLOSING OUT. THE GODHEAD DISPUTE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THAT BEGAN TO CAUSE TROUBLE IN THE CHURCH AND EVENTUALLY LED TO THE NICAEA COUNCIL WHERE THE TRINITY VERSION WAS ADOPTED AND DECLARED TO BE THE CORRECT UNDERSTANDING OF THE GODHEAD. THROUGH THE YEARS SINCE THEN AND ESPECIALLY COMING OUT OF THE DARK AGES, MANY A POOR SOUL HAS CALLED UPON THEIR PASTOR TO EXPLAIN THE GODHEAD ONLY TO BE TOLD THAT THEY MUST JUST ACCEPT IT BY FAITH FOR NO ONE IS ABLE TO EXPLAIN GOD. THE REASON THEY WERE NOT ABLE TO EXPLAIN THEIR VERSION OF IT WAS BECAUSE THEY DID NOT HAVE ANY SCRIPTURE FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVED. WE HAVE ALL THE SCRIPTURE THAT IS NEEDED TO EXPLAIN THE ONENESS OF GOD AND TO UNDERSTAND THE OFFICE WORK OF HIS ATTRIBUTABLE EXPRESSIONS. HE DOES NOT REQUIRE US TO BELIEVE ANYTHING THAT WE DO NOT HAVE SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY. THEREFORE, WE ARE GOING TO BEGIN OUR MESSAGE IN ST. JOHN 1:1, AND BUILD FROM THERE.

 

THE WORD

 

John was one of the apostles that Jesus called to be with Him as He walked by the sea of Galilee in the beginning of His ministry. John is presumed to have been about the same age as Jesus and seemed to have a closeness with Him that most of the other apostles did not have. He wrote from a personal understanding of the deity and ministry of Christ for he was an eye witness of the events of the 3╜ years of Jesus’ ministry. That is why we want to begin our message in St. John 1:1 where we will see just exactly how revelation struck him. Let us read it now. “In the beginning was the WORD and the WORD was with God and the WORD was God.” Let me say first of all that a statement like this is only made by the revelation that only the Holy Ghost can give. A little later we will see what the apostle Paul had to say. A man who never walked with Jesus on earth, but a man who took his scrolls and went into the Arabian Desert and stayed there until he came out with a genuine revelation. When we hear him expressing the revelation given to him by the Holy Ghost as he tarried there, it matches John’s revelation perfectly. That is what makes the scriptures so beautiful. When the Holy Ghost reveals them, every person believes them the same way. That is why I say that in these last days we are going to see just how many of these people who profess to be filled with the Holy Ghost will come up with an empty sack. I say they will come up with an empty sack. If the spirit you received does not reveal truth to you, truth that separates you from your old traditional ideas, then you had better get down on your knees and seek God for the Holy Ghost, you do not have Him in you yet. Yes, every professing believer is carrying around something and in time the Holy Ghost will reveal whether it is truth or error. The men who wrote the Bible were all unctioned by the same Spirit and we have that same Spirit present today to reveal the truth to us if we hunger for truth. These men were all human beings, subject to the same human feelings and emotions as we and I am persuaded that there must have been times when they were temporarily disillusioned especially when they saw Jesus hanging there on that old cross. Some said, We had hoped that he was the one who would deliver Israel, but now he is dead. Nevertheless, those who picked up the pen to write what they had witnessed, gave a revelated account of what they had seen and heard.

IN THE BEGINNING Let us direct our thinking back to the verse we read from John 1:1, “In the beginning was the WORD.” First we want to consider the word, “BEGINNING.” This is not referring to the beginning of a man, nor is it referring to the beginning of creation. It is speaking of a time before creation when ELOHIM (God) was thinking and planning. Why do I say that? Simply because it is attached to another word, which is “W-O-R-D”, and that was before the WORD was made flesh as we find in the 14th verse that it was. (To you Hebrew and Greek scholars I will just say I know nothing about either one, but I do know that when you begin to express a thought, it is becoming a word. Anything that I am saying right now had to be a thought first. Our thoughts are arranged in our mind and then they can be spoken as words. Otherwise, we would just stand here and let our mouth rattle.) Remember now, God Himself had no beginning, but there was a time when He began to counsel with Himself, (THINK AND PLAN) as you find in the first chapter of Ephesians. At that time, His thoughts, which later became creative words, were with Him. God is a master designer. Before He ever set His plan of creation in motion, He planned every detail of all His creative work throughout the ages to come. That is why we read in the Bible that Jesus Christ was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. As God planned that which He would do naturally, His foreknowledge allowed Him to know that if He created man giving him a will to make choices, he would sin and need to be redeemed. That is where the slain lamb came into His thoughts even before He began to create. On the other hand, if He created man and gave him no choice, he would be like a robot. There would be no honor, respect, glory or worship attributed to God by man if that man could only do what he was programmed to do. You must keep in mind the fact that until He created something that could worship Him, He was not God. He was sovereign spirit, omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient, meaning He was present everywhere, all powerful and his intellectual abilities were unlimited, but as long as He was not God, there was nothing to bow down and worship Him. The very word G-O-D means object of worship, so in order to be God, He had to create something that could worship Him, but He did not start a haphazard creation. He planned every detail and left no loose ends and he made no secret of the fact that He did. The bible declares it from Genesis through Revelation. That is how we know that in the eternal age, only those who have worshipped God from a free choice will be present. All who have rejected Him will have been cast into the lake of fire. Now you may say, That doesn’t seem fair. Yes it is, for you must remember that every one of those who will have been destroyed had their chance to worship and serve God and rejected it. To further clarify your thinking on this subject, let us turn to the book of Colossians and read what the apostle Paul wrote to them. In chapter one, we find the apostle expressing his feelings toward the saints at Colosse and his desire for their spiritual growth. Then, as we read on down to the 13th verse, we find him starting to speak of their inheritance in Christ Jesus. Verses 14-15, speak of our redemption through His blood and declare Him to be the very image of the invisible God. Then verse 16 reads like this, “for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: ALL THINGS WERE CREATED BY HIM, AND FOR HIM.” Did you see what I wanted you to see in that last verse? All things were created by Him and for Him. Try to get the picture now, God was all alone. There was nothing for Him to express His many attributes through. Therefore, His creation was for Himself. It had to be. There was no other life that it could be for. Now in order for his attributable qualities to be fully expressed, there had to be not only that which He had created, but also that which had fallen from its first estate. In Him lay the attributes of redeemer, intercessor, judge and all the other abilities that never could have been expressed if man had never sinned. You should never accuse God of being unfair, because everything that had ever been created was for Him and he who creates is the one who decides what his creation is to be like and also what it is to be for. Furthermore, like I said already, every person upon the face of this earth since the day Adam was created, has had to make a choice concerning right and wrong. God did not force any of them. He even told Cain if he would do well, he would be accepted. Therefore, when we say that God planned everything from the beginning unto the end, we are saying that He did not leave any loose ends. He did not force Adam to sin, but He knew that he would. He did not force the serpent to seduce Eve, but He knew that he would. It had to be like that in order for God to be able to express all of His many attributes and then in the end have a multitude of sons and daughters that will walk with Him throughout eternity having made Him their choice after being tempted and tested with all of Satan’s evil devices. Yes, in the eternal age, God will have a great family of people who truly love, worship and adore Him, a people who will never sin nor turn from Him and every one of them will be where they are by their own free will. That is the beauty of it all. There will not be one single one of them there against their will.

 

WHEN GOD BEGAN TO SPEAK

 

Now, in the beginning when God began to think of His great plan for the ages, His thoughts were His words. Then, after the whole plan was fixed in His great mind, He began to express those words and they were creative words. “The Word was with God and the Word WAS God.” God and His Word are one. We are not yet talking about the Word that became flesh for the flesh (Jesus) that was the Word expressed and made manifest two thousand years ago, came into time and we are still dealing with the Word that was the thoughts of God before time began. The word, B-E-G-I-N-N-I-N-G, in John 1:1 is not related to time. However, when we go to Genesis 1:1 and look at the same word, it definitely does mark the beginning of a time, a time when God began to express His thoughts (WORDS) in creation. Yet time, as we measure it, still had not started. We measure time by the earth’s rotation to the sun and the sun was not made until the fourth creative day. That is when God placed the two great lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth. One to rule the day (the sun) and the lesser light (the moon) to rule the night and said that they should be for signs and for seasons and for days and years. Let me say before moving on, God’s creative works in the first chapter of Genesis did not literally manifest these things upon the earth, that is, there was still nothing visible. All of his creative works were in the spirit. You will notice that in the sequence of creation, man was the last thing that God created. After that, God rested from all of His works sanctifying the seventh day, because in it, He rested from all His creative work.

 

MANIFESTING HIS CREATION

 

Now, verses 4 and 5 of chapter 2 give us enlightment on God’s creative acts, actually explaining that up to this point nothing has been visibly manifested upon the earth. Then in verse 7, we see that man was actually the first thing of God’s creation that was manifested upon the earth. Let us read those verses with this in mind. 4 “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth WHEN they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens and every plant of the field BEFORE IT WAS IN THE EARTH, and every herb of the field BEFORE IT GREW. The Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth and there was not a man to till the ground. You may read the rest of the chapter to see the order in which all of God’s creation was actually visibly manifested upon the earth. In verses 18-20, you will see that the animals and fowls, etc. were formed because God said it was not good that the man should be ALONE. I will not read any more here, for this is not our message. I only used this much in an effort to help you see the word BEGINNING in its true relationship with the verses it is used in. In the beginning was John’s way of expressing his revelation of the Godhead and I think it was a good way to say it. Look at it like this; In the beginning when God began to think, His thoughts became fixed in His mind. When His thoughts became fixed in His mind, they became His Word. They were unalterable. God’s Word never changes.

 

LOOKING AHEAD

 

I want to use a little illustration that I believe will help you better understand what we mean when we say God counseled with Himself (He meditated and planned). Take a young man and his wife for instance. Let us say they have just gotten married, started housekeeping and they desire to build a house. They talk among themselves and plan until they have a fixed plan in their mind of what the house is to look like. They try to work out a plan that will not only be sufficient for the two of them when the place is new and everything is working well, but they also take into consideration room for guests and also for an increase in the size of their family. They will also want to build the place with excess space to repair plumbing and other things that may need to be serviced as time goes on. In other words, they must work out the details and get a picture in their mind of what they want before they can ever start drawing up blue prints for the construction crew to go by. The point we are making is that they have a picture in their mind of what the place is to be like. They have said, this is it, this is what it will be like. Creation is completed in their mind, but the creation must yet be manifested. After those thoughts have formed a complete picture and it is time for the blueprint, those thoughts become their words. They say, Let there be a living room here and let there be three bedrooms at such and such a location and so on until the whole structure has been laid out. They see it clearly, but it is yet to be materialized. This is just a little illustration to call your attention to the fact that in the beginning, before there was anything, a great architect, a mastermind chose to have things a certain way. Therefore, the natural, material world that we are so accustomed to was at one time, somewhere in the billions of ages back, nothing more than a fixed thought in the mind of God. Those thoughts became His word and His word manifested them. John recognized that because a man’s thoughts cannot be separated from him and still remain to be his thoughts so is it with God. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and Word was God.” The trinity oriented person reads that verse and thinks it is speaking of the Son, (Jesus) for they have read the 14th verse that declares, “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Brothers and Sisters, that would be reincarnation if Jesus (the Son) had been with the Father in creation and left whatever form he was in then to take upon himself the body that came forth from the womb of the Virgin Mary. The Bible does not teach any such thing as that. The Bible teaches resurrection. Resurrection is the act or process f being reunited with the same. I repeat, the S-A-M-E body that you walked on earth in. Reincarnation would be where the same spirit being would come back in another body or form. You certainly cannot get the Bible to teach anything like that. But, Bro. Jackson, what does it mean the where it says, The same was in the beginning with God?” Let me say first of all, you should not even think of a flesh and blood being when you read that verse. There is no such thing as eternal Sonship even though some are teaching such thing. The reason they teach a thing like that is because they are without revelation concerning the Godhead. The flesh of Jesus Christ had a beginning some two thousand years ago. Therefore, we know that the flesh is not eternal. What do we say then to these questions? Simply this, the life that was in that flesh is what was with the Father in the beginning for it was eternal life. Please do not become confused here. Remember what we have said already. God, who in the beginning dwelt all alone, is a spirit. He had no physical form nor anything of matter yet He (THIS SOVEREIGN SPIRIT) could think and speak. That is why John said the Word was with Him in the beginning and that all things were made by the Word that was with God in the beginning. We have already explained how that God (who is Spirit) and His thoughts and His Word are all one and the same. Could you say that your thoughts are not you? Could you say that your word is not you? Of course not. You, your thoughts and your word are one. That is why John said (concerning the Word of God) that it was with God in the beginning, because it was just as much God as the sovereign Spirit from which it originated.

 

HOW WORD BECAME FLESH

 

None of the other gospel writers ever expressed their revelation as did John. He saw the oneness of God and had perfect understanding of the deity of Christ and wrote it in his account in very plain words. He understood how God, who had no physical form, created all things by His Word and how, in the fullness of time, He created a cell of life and placed it in the womb of a virgin girl who brought forth a son and called his name Jesus. John understood that in the veins of Jesus, flowed the only blood of all humanity that was not contaminated by sin from Adam’s disobedience. Why? Because it was a created blood. In other words God spoke and created Himself a human body that He could incarnate for the purpose of walking among man as one of them and afterward, offer that sinless body upon the altar of sacrifice for the sins of all mankind, but He allowed that body to come forth into the world in the same manner as any other little baby that is born of woman. This gave him an identity in the natural genealogy of mankind, but he did not have imputed death in his blood because he was not begotten by any man. He was begotten by the creative Word of God and that is why John said that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus was in the mind of God from before the foundation of the world just like everything else that God created by His spoken Word and that is the point we are endeavoring to make. Though the flesh had a beginning two thousand years ago, the eternal life which dwelt in that flesh was the very life of God which made Him God, incarnated in flesh. That did not empty the universe of the presence of God, for God is omnipresent (present everywhere) but Jesus Christ was every bit God. That is why the apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 2:9 (speaking of Christ) “For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Also, we find in 1 Timothy 3:16, these words, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; GOD was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” When Jesus uttered the words recorded in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life;” He was not speaking of His flesh. He was speaking of the life of that flesh which was the eternal God. In his mind, before the foundation of the world, God saw the sun, the moon, the stars and the Milky Way, all the trees and animals of every species. He knew exactly what man would look like and what his span of days and years upon earth would be. Right here is where predestination and eternal security come into the picture. God knew exactly what He was going to create before He ever spoke. He knew exactly what man would do when he was tempted and He knew exactly what provision He would make for man to be reunited with Him after the fall. He knew which men would accept His provision for restoration and He knew the ones who would harden their heart against Him. Therefore, by foreknowledge (His ability to know the end from the beginning) he knew the destination of every person who would ever live upon the fact of this earth. By knowing the end from before the beginning, He was able to record the name of every person who would surrender their life to Him in this earthly journey. All their names were recorded in the Book of Life before Adam was ever created. Every detail was worked out in His mind and those thoughts later became His Word, but in the beginning, his Word was with Him, for He had not spoken any of those words. In the third verse we find John saying, “All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made.” What does that verse say to us? If you read verses 1 and 2 correctly, this verse will tell you that God created everything upon the earth and even all the other planets by his Word. He simply spoke saying, Let there be thus and so, speaking that Word that was with Him in the beginning and it was so. Hallelujah! Saints, I am thankful to be serving a God who is able to carry through with His thoughts with perfect accuracy. There have been many who desired to be called God and there have been many gods through the span of the ages, but there is only one true God and He earned the right to be called God by making something out of nothing. True, He made man from the dust of the ground, but remember this, He is the one who made the dust. Often when we say that God made this or that, when there was nothing to make anything out of, someone will say, Tell me, Where did God come from? Brothers and sisters, that is a question we do not need to ask. If you are a believer, you know that God (Spirit) had no beginning. He always was. If you are not a believer, there is no answer that will satisfy you, but unless you are completely blind, you certainly must realize that there is a Higher power somewhere. All the celestial bodies being so precise that men are able to calculate, years in advance, certain conditions and positions, is not mere chance. They were designed by a Master Creator. Yes, all things were made by Him. Not by the flesh man Jesus, but by the Word of the eternal Spirit (God) that walked on earth in that flesh. In Jesus was a full expression of all the attributes of the eternal God. He was God, walking among men so that men could touch God. The flesh was not God, but it was a medium by which men could come to God. Prior to the days of Jesus, God could not be touched nor observed with the human senses. There were times when God would manifest Himself in some particular form in order to commune with men as He did with Abraham in Genesis, chapter 18, but these were all temporary manifestations for the purpose of getting man’s attention. When he veiled Himself in the flesh of Jesus, it was to be a permanent habitation. Jesus would be the Godman throughout eternity. As we said earlier, the flesh was strictly man, but it did not have inherited sin attached to it. There was no death dwelling in its physical structure, yet it was voluntarily subjected to death to pay man’s sin debt. Then it was raised from the dead to become the first fruits of them that slept. God is still in that body of flesh, but now it is immortal flesh having conquered death. It can never be touched by death again.

 

GOD IS LIGHT

 

Let us look at verse 4, in the 1st chapter of John. “In Him was life (in this God who is Spirit and Word) and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” This is the same light that you read of in Genesis 1:2-3, “and the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters and God said, Let there be light; and there was light.” God is not only Spirit and Word, but He is light also. If you do not believe that God is light, then you will never get past Revelation 21:23 and 22:5, for John said, (speaking of that holy city, the new Jerusalem, which he saw coming down out of heaven in a vision,) “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the GLORY OF GOD DID LIGHTEN IT, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord god giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” God is light; He is all light; there is no darkness in Him. He is the light that spoken in Genesis 1:3 and said, Let there be light. Do not think it strange when we say that God is Spirit and then that God is Word and now that God is light. He is all of this and much more. John recognized that light. That is what caused him to say, “The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” Brothers and sisters, we were all born in sin, shapen in iniquity and until we were redeemed, we were in darkness, but now we are children of light. I am sure that most of you will confess along with me that when God shined His light upon our soul, it made us feel so condemned. I couldn’t stop until I had bowed down at an altar and said, God, come into my life and give me a know-so salvation. Now, what does that light do? It reproves men of sin and calls them into that marvelous light.

 

SOME CHOOSE DARKNESS

 

Some people do not want to get out of darkness. They are just like bugs, they love the darkness. I am not calling anyone a bug, I merely said that some of them are like bugs the way they enjoy the darkness. Did you ever go down into an old damp, dark basement with a flashlight? If you have, you know what I am referring to. When that light pierces the darkness, you can see bugs of every sort scurrying for a hiding place. That is exactly how sinful mankind reacts when the gospel is preached in its true revelation. When it begins to shine on their sinful hearts and reprove them or their sinful and wicked ways, they begin to say, I have got to get out of here. I cannot stay in the presence of this; I feel miserable. Saints, I am glad that Jesus Christ is a full expression of that glorious eternal light. He is the light, He is the door, He is the life, He is the way, He is everything. No wonder He could say, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

 

DOORWAY TO LIGHT

 

God is everything we need, but He has purposed that men this side of Calvary must come to Him through Jesus Christ. He is the doorway into the presence of the eternal God who is light. The apostle Peter expressed it very clearly in 1 Peter 1:18-21, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your VAIN CONVERSATION or BEHAVIOR received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. Who do believe in God that raised Him up from the dead and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.” Just to sum that up in few words, Peter was saying, you are REDEEMED from your VAIN TRADITIONS, (which was darkness) handed down to you from your fathers, but the price of your redemption was the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ who was foreordained to shed His blood for all our sins from before the foundation of the world, (while it was all still in the mind of Elohim) but was manifest in these last days. Looking back, we can see that Jesus had his manifested beginning just about two thousand years ago, but as we said already, he was in the mind of God before creation ever began. Furthermore, all of God’s plan for creation and redemption was perfect, nothing was overlooked. Therefore, He only made one doorway for sinful man to come through to be reconciled to his Creator. That doorway is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, which makes every other way that men are trying to reach God, vain and hopeless. “No man can come to the Father, but by me.”

 

IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD

 

Let us go now to the 14th verse of this 1st chapter of John. We have already talked some about it, but let us go back, now that we have fully established the fact that God created all things by His Word which were His thoughts before He started to speak. When you read in various scriptures that God created all things by Jesus Christ, you must realize that the writer is speaking from the standpoint of the eternal Spirit which dwelt in that body of flesh and think not, that the flesh of Jesus had anything to do with creation. 14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” How was the Word made flesh? God sovereignly created a cell of life by speaking the word and placed it in the womb of the young virgin Mary. That is how the word was made flesh causing Him to be the very image of the invisible God. Yet we find Jesus saying, “the Son in himself can do nothing,” speaking from the standpoint of the flesh of course. There was nothing impossible to the eternal Spirit that dwelt in that flesh. Let me read that verse of scripture from John 5:19 and when we read it, please keep in mind that the Son reference is to the flesh, the human side of Jesus the Christ and the Father reference is to the eternal Spirit, (God) that indwelt that flesh and blood man. We read, “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth these also doeth the Son likewise.”

 

TRUTH WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE

 

Brothers and sisters, I just have to say this right here for the sake of the message. People who have been raised up to believe that God is three persons will read a verse like John 5:19 and almost be willing to fight anyone who mentions the fact that God is ONE and not THREE persons. Listen to me now, if you are one of those person’s who believe like that. Please! This whole message is being published just for the sake of giving you a chance to gain by revelation of the scriptures, the understanding of the Godhead. If you are willing to be honest with yourself in the presence of the God we are speaking of, I beg you, lay aside your traditional teaching and sincerely study this message. It can change your whole life. To further clarify the fact that GOD IS A SPIRIT, we will read John 4:22-24, with special emphasis on verse 24. Jesus spoke these words to a Samaritan woman who approached Him as he sat on the side of Jacob’s well one day. Verse 6 tells us that He was wearied with His journey. In other words, He was tired. This very scripture by itself proves the humanity of Jesus. God, who is a Spirit, does not get tired. (This is for you who try to place Jesus as the 2nd person of a trinity, which in the beginning said, “Let us make man in our image.” If he had been back there, He would not be sitting here on the side of a well, tired from walking.) No! God (who is Spirit) said to his angelic helpers, (which are spirit beings) “Let us make man in our image.” (In other words, a spirit being) But here sat Jesus (a young man in His early thirties) on the side of well, tired and thirsty. Along comes a woman of Samaria to draw water and He asked her for a drink. The woman thought it was very strange to have a Jewish man (as she commented) ask her for a drink since the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans, but Jesus told her that if she only knew who she was talking to, she would ask of Him and He would give her living water. The conversation went on, then Jesus said to her, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (Speaking of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of eternal life.) As they continued to talk, the conversation came around to how and where man should worship God. That brings us to verse 22. “Ye worship ye know not what: we (the Jews) know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. (He came to the Jews first and they rejected Him) But the hour cometh and now is when the TRUE WORSHIPERS shall worship the Father in SPIRIT and in TRUTH: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. (If you are still trying to worship God believing that He, (singular) is three persons, you are not worshipping Him in truth.) 24 GOD IS A SPIRIT: (now a Father and a Son and a Spirit co-existing as three distinct persons of a trinity, like Babylonian tradition teaches) and they that worship Him MUST worship Him in SPIRIT and in TRUTH.”

 

IDENTIFYING THE UNKNOWN GOD

 

When you attach the word Father to man, you have a person who can be seen, heard, touched and fellowshipped with through the physical senses, but when the same word is attached to God, it pertains to an omnipresent Spirit which can not be fellowshipped and worshipped through the five senses. Furthermore, as we said in the beginning, He is Father in that all things had their beginning in Him. He wasn’t even God until after He had created something that could worship Him. When He is called Father, it is because all life came from Him. It is no wonder the apostle Paul spoke as he did, standing in the midst of Mars Hill in Athens, Greece, that day. He had observed an altar dedicated TO THE UNKNOWN GOD as he passed a certain place. Therefore, when the philosophers prevailed upon him to declare unto them the strange or new doctrine he had been speaking of around the market place and in the synagogue, he said, I am going to tell you about this unknown God that you have been ignorantly worshipping, the God who is the creator of heaven and earth and all things therein. We are all His offspring by creation for He has made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth and has determined the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitation. This is not an exact quote, but this is the thought that Paul was conveying to them as he spoke (Acts 17). Now when you begin to talk about offspring, you are talking about something that has descended from a source that could give life. Therefore, referring to God as Father, does not make Him a visible person that can be seen with the natural eye. It simply identifies Him as the source from which life originated. God who is Spirit began to express Himself in the earth by begetting offspring which carried a resemblance or likeness of Himself. He gave His offspring earthly bodies to have physical contact with the earth. Before Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, he could move just as freely in the spirit world or realm of the spirit as he could in the natural surroundings where he was placed. He willingly forfeited that privilege and passed his penalty on down to the whole human race.

 

REVELATION IS THE KEY

 

Saints, we are trying to lay this message down clear and plain by the scriptures, but I realize there are a lot of people who will still try to interpret these scriptures carnally or I should say by the natural mind, strictly from a human level. I am here to tell you, they cannot be understood except by spiritual revelation. That is why Jesus said to the apostle Peter (Matt. 16:17) “Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father (not a physical person, but a Spirit) which is in heaven.” What was he talking about? He (Jesus) had asked His disciples, Who do men say that I the Son of man am?” Naturally they answered that question according to what they had been hearing from the multitudes, but then He asked them another question and this time they were required to give their own answer. “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” Peter was always the impulsive one among them and before the others could answer, he burst forth with, “thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” How did he know that? Here was the very Life-giver Himself, incarnated in flesh, standing, talking to His disciples, but how did they know who He was? No man had ever seen the Father, but here He was, in flesh, communicating with them on their human level and Peter recognized Him to be the Christ, the anointed one that their forefathers had longed to see. How did he know? There was only ne way he could have known and that is the only way that you and I can know. That is by revelation of the spirit. Men can point you to a revelation, but unless God Himself opens up your spiritual understanding, all you will ever have is head knowledge, which will never be a real part of you like a revelation is.

 

HUMAN SIDE OF JESUS

 

Not very long ago, I received a letter with a certain question which I did not try to answer in personal correspondence. I thought at the time that it would be better to wait and preach a message that would answer the question and print it, for others have the same question. The question was; Bro. Jackson, I believe in the oneness of God and I believe that Jesus Christ was none other than God manifested in the flesh, but I have a question. Did Jesus have a human nature like other men? Yes! He absolutely did have a human nature. Listen carefully. Once life becomes expressed in human, earthly, physical form, it takes on a human side as well as a divine side. The human side is that which is intended by the Creator to have intimate contact with tangible things while the divine side is to have intimate contact and fellowship in the realm of the spirit. As we said earlier, when it comes to the flesh side of man, there are no two humans exactly alike. Even if you find two people who look exactly alike, close observation will reveal that their likes and dislikes are not the same. For instance, one may like cherry pie and not care a thing about apple pie, while the other one might be crazy about apple pie. Apple pie would cause the taste buds of that person to get full of saliva, just like mine do when cherry pie is mentioned. In other words, you can be sure that Jesus had some taste buds. He had affection and desires just like any other man or it could not be said of Him (Heb. 4:15) that He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. He did not yield to any of the temptations, but the point we are making is that if He had been completely divine, without any human nature, He could not have been tempted. That is where many people have their greatest difficulty in understanding the Godhead. They just cannot see how Jesus could be as human as anyone else and still be a full expression of the eternal God manifesting the works of God among men. You have two extreme factions in the religious world concerning this. No group holds that He is completely divine with no human feelings or emotions, while the other extreme denies His deity, claiming that He is just another creature made out of nothing, like all other created beings. True revelation causes us to see that both of these views are wrong. All one needs to do to settle that question is read the four gospels, carefully noting all the times that His human makeup is revealed as well as all the times that His divinity is displayed. When He wept over the city of Jerusalem and at the report of Lazarus’ death, that was human emotions. When He stopped in at the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus on His travels, that was human choice, but when He stood before the tomb where Lazarus had been lying dead for four days and cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth,” that was deity speaking. That did not come from the human side of Him. From the human standpoint, Jesus was very fond of this young man, Lazarus, but to further show the divine side of Jesus, let me point out to you that He never did call this young man to be one of His apostles. He walked along the sea shore and called men who were fishermen, smelling with the odor of their occupation, saying to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Why? This was the predestined plan of God, foreordained from before the foundation of the world. These were the men chosen by God when His words were still just unexpressed thoughts, before He began to create by speaking. If Jesus had chosen His apostles from the human standpoint, He would have just sort of sat around with these men until He had made friends with them, then he would have chosen the ones that impressed Him the most, but He did not choose these men like that. He chose them by revelation of the Spirit, never having tried any of them. We will say it like this, God spoke to them through the lips of Jesus saying, Follow me.

 

SUBMITTING TO DIVINE PURPOSE

 

We have used some illustrations in an effort to show you that Jesus Christ was both God and man, so please do not take what we have said and try to separate the human side of Him from the divine side. You cannot do that. By the spirit we see that God and Christ are one. Take for instance when the sisters of Lazarus sent word to Jesus about Lazarus being sick (John 11:3). They said, “Behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.” Notice verse 4 now. “When Jesus heard that He said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God that the Son of god might be glorified thereby.” The next verse tells us that Jesus loved Lazarus and his two sisters. We know that if Jesus had given in to human feelings when He received that report, He would have went running, but He submitted His human feelings to the divine purpose that was being worked out through this occasion. Two days later when He and His disciples were talking, He told them plainly that Lazarus was dead already and said to them, “I am glad for your sakes that I was not there to the intent that ye may believe.” He waited until the man died, then He went and raised him from the dead. That was God in action. Human responses are not like that at all. He loved these people humanly as well as divinely, but the divine purpose of God always had the pre-eminence in every situation in the life of Jesus as He walked on earth among men. On the other hand, it is very foolish for people to think that every little conversation Jesus had with people was the Word of God. I believe He was just as apt to comment about a beautiful flower or a cool refreshing breeze as anyone else, even though the life of that flower and the source of that breeze was the very Spirit that was in Him. The flesh did not have anything to do with either one in creation or in effect, but now that God is manifesting Himself to mankind in this human flesh, he is also using this flesh to fellowship man on a human level. The Bible does not go into detail about these things, but it does not have to. Surely we would have no trouble realizing that Jesus, as a little boy, played in the streets just like all the other little children did and played with the other children. If he had stayed secluded all his boyhood days as some are prone to believe he did, when he grew up, he never would have wanted to go among the multitudes. I do believe that he was a child that knew all along, every day of his life, that he was destined to be something for the Father, the eternal spirit. You will recall when he was 12 years old, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover, according to their custom, but when they left, Jesus stayed behind and upon returning back to look for him, they found him in the temple sitting in the midst of the doctors (teachers and instructors in the law of Moses) both listening to them and also asking them questions insomuch that they were all astonished at his understanding and answers. When his mother questioned Him about his actions, he replied, “Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” He was not talking about Joseph when he answered Mary like that. He was talking about the eternal Spirit (God) that had created a cell of life in the womb of Mary when she was still a virgin and sent His angel to tell her that this child would be called the Son of the Highest and that his name should be called JESUS. By this, we know that Jesus grew up knowing that he had a purpose to fulfill which would be beyond the ordinary man, but that did not keep him from being just as human as anyone else. The scripture states that after the occasion in the temple when he was 12 years old, he went down with Joseph and Mary to Nazareth, their home town and was subject unto them (Luke 2:51). In other words, he obeyed them and respected their decisions. He grew up physically to an age of mental maturity. This set a pattern and a perfect example fr life on this earth. We have no record of his life between the age of 12, when he was in the temple at Jerusalem and 30, when he came to John the Baptist (or baptizer) to be baptized, but you can be sure of one thing, he was not a rebellious teenager who acted like he knew it all and Joseph and Mary were a couple of old fogies who didn’t know how things ought to be done. No! He was subject unto them as every teenager ought to be to their parents.

 

I AM THE RESURRECTION

 

I want to come back to Lazarus now, for this story which is recorded in the 11th chapter of John enables us to see so clearly both sides of Jesus, His divine nature on one hand and His human nature on the other. Jesus was beyond Jordan preaching, when the word reached Him that Lazarus or he whom thou lovest is sick. He sent a message back to Martha and Mary and stayed there two more days after that preaching to those who came out to hear Him. His reply to the messengers was not from His human nature, but strictly from the deity standpoint. He knew perfectly well as He spoke those words that Lazarus would be dead very shortly and it probably sounded to those messengers like He didn’t even care. This is probably what made His disciples sort of wonder two days later when He said, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I go that I may awake him out of sleep.” His disciples thought Lazarus was just taking a nap and that he should be left alone. This was done to get their attention. Therefore, Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.” When He finished speaking to His apostles on the matter, then He started for Bethany. By the time they arrived there, Lazarus had been dead four days. It was already in the 4th day since he died, we will say. Upon His arrival, one of the sisters came rushing out to meet Him saying, Lord, if you had only been here, my brother would never have died. They had seen what he did with the widow’s son in Galilee and all these others, but here is Martha saying, Lord, if only you had been here, he would not be dead. It just goes to show that they were looking at Him strictly from a human standpoint. Martha did go on to say, But I know that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. That is when Jesus said to her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha replied, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said, I am the resurrection. (The conversation really begins to get deep along about here. It looked like Jesus was just waiting to see what kind of revelation she would actually get.) This led Jesus to say, He that liveth and believeth in me shall never die. This is a spiritual statement. More than 1900 years have passed and all of those who believed in Him are physically dead, but they are spiritually still alive. When you carry that statement over to the end of the age, it will apply to a group of people who will not die physically nor spiritually.

 

LAZARUS RAISED FROM DEATH

 

Martha called her sister, Mary, saying to her, The Master is come and calleth for thee. Upon hearing this, Mary runs to Jesus saying much the same that Martha had said, but by this time most of them were weeping and Jesus just asked, Where have you laid him? They answered, Lord, come and see. Right here is where it is recorded that Jesus wept. Some said, Just look how much He loved him, while others said, It seems like a man that could open blind eyes could have prevented this man from dying. Their lack of understanding caused Jesus to groan within Himself as they came near the grave, but upon arriving at the cave where they had laid Lazarus, Jesus said to some of the men who were with them, Take away the stone. Martha said, Lord, by this time he will be stinking, for he has been dead four days already. (It seems like some of these critics who believe Jesus had to lay in the grave a full 3 days and 3 nights, “72 hours” ought to learn a little something from this account of Lazarus’ death and resurrection.) By this we see that when Lazarus passed that third day, he was stinking already, yet many of these fault finders insist that Jesus had to be buried a full 72 hours in order to fulfill scripture, when they have to walk right over another scripture to do so. That is the prophecy of David in Psalms 16:10, where he said, Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption (speaking of Jesus). When you pass that point, you are already entering the fourth day and these people knew that such a body would be stinking already. Jesus had deliberately waited until this dead man’s body had reached such a point of decay, knowing that eternal life, which is the fountain of all life, is not limited by circumstances such as these, for out of this occasion many should receive a revelation. Quite a crowd of people had gathered by the time the men had taken the stone from the opening of the cave where Lazarus lay and many of them were weeping, but all attention was focused upon Jesus. What will He do now? This was a question in the minds of all who stood there that day. Jesus lifted His head and prayed a short prayer of thanksgiving; then cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” Immediately, that man who had been dead four days stood before them, still bound hand and foot with graveclothes, just like he was when they laid him in that cave. He probably looked like a mummy and was helpless to loose himself, but, Praise God! He was alive. The words that called Lazarus forth and gave him his life again, came through the same lips that had fellowshipped this man and his sisters on a very human level in former days, but this time deity was speaking. This God man could weep one minute on a completely human level and speak life into a man the next, something that mere human could not do.

 

CAN GOD WEEP?

 

Christian Science, along with some others, deny the deity of Christ because of the very fact that He wept. They say, If He was God, He wouldn’t have wept. It is true that the omnipresent Spirit that fills all space cannot weep for the simple reason that a spirit has no tear ducts, but when that omnipresent Spirit incarnates a human body, even though that man is every bit human, he also is every bit God. Brothers and sisters, it may seem that we are dwelling on this point longer than you think we should, but please be patient for the sake of all those who have so much trouble trying to understand the Godhead. This is the most important revelation a person can get for every other genuine revelation is hinged upon knowing the God who is behind that revelation. If we dwell on a point for a little while, it gives everyone a chance to think and consider the things we are speaking of. Our only reason for printing a message such as this is to help those who desire to know the truth. We are not doing it to pick at anyone else. God is the source of all life and the God man, Jesus Christ, is none other than a full expression of that ONE GOD. He could carry on a natural conversation with His friends, but you can be sure of this, He never participated in an off color conversation, nor took part in foolish jesting. He was without sin in every aspect of life. When He spoke of spiritual things, He could say, These words that I speak unto you are not my words, they are the words of my Father, therefore, that which I speak unto you is not of me, but of my Father. The words that I speak unto you are Spirit and they are life. Why? Because He was the literal expression of God’s thoughts. The scriptures declare that He was full of grace and truth and in Him was no lie. He was the channel through which grace and truth was passed to man from the fountain of all truth, God, the sovereign Spirit. God is the fountain of all truth and He channeled that truth through the personal flesh body of Jesus Christ who was an outlet, chosen by God, before the world was created.

 

NOW I SEE

 

The reason I chose to approach this message from a New Testament setting was to show the readers of our paper just how men in that first century reacted to a revelation when they saw God come down on their level. If you can truly see that God did definitely come down and walk with man on his own level, it will help you to better understand later as we go back into the Old Testament to bring the revelation through the Bible. Later in the message we are going all the way back to Genesis 1:26-27, where God said, let us make man in our image and try to cover this Godhead subject from every angle of the scriptures. We are fully persuaded that there can not possibly be two separate revelations on any subject taken from this Bible. Therefore, by the help of God, we will try to make the one revelation on the Godhead so plain that it will automatically show up every other version to be of human origin and not by the revelation of the Spirit of God. Anything that is a genuine revelation must line up with everything else in the book and ultimately climax by forming one great big beautiful picture. In this message we want to deal with the 7 attributable names that God was called by and also prove by the scriptures that God never did speak of Himself in plural terminology. Trinitarians read certain verses in the Bible and without revelation, they do just exactly what Nicodemus did when Jesus told him that a man must be born again in order to see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus looked at what Jesus said strictly from a natural view-point saying, How can a man enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Any man who looks into this book and sees God as three persons coexisting in complete unity is just as carnal in his thinking as Nicodemus was. Brothers and sisters, I do not say this to ridicule you. I say it as a fact, for there was a time when I was just as carnal in that area as anyone else and except for the grace of God, I might still be blind, but praise His wonderful name, He opened my eyes and now I see and now that I see, I desire for everyone of you to see also. Once you see exactly who Jesus is, you will understand better the depth of what He said to the Samaritan woman at the well that day. Jesus said to her, If you only knew who it is asking you for a drink, you would ask Him and He would give you living water (John 4:10). A little later He said to her, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst again; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” These words were coming from the lips of the man Jesus, called the Son of God, but that which was said proceeded forth from the Father that was in Him.

 

JOHN SAW ONLY ONE

 

Every time a trinitarian hears the word Father, they think of a person. They know the Son is a person, therefore, when the Holy Ghost is mentioned, they automatically think of another person. You can show them scriptures like 1 Timothy 3:16, “and without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: GOD was manifest in the FLESH, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, PREACHED UNTO THE GENTILES, believed on in the world, RECEIVED UP INTO GLORY,” and regardless of how many scriptures you show them, stating that God is one and that God and Christ are one, they will still argue with you until they are blue in the face if you will let them. They will say, I know there is three, Grandma had a vision where she was caught up into heaven and she saw all three of them. Let me tell you something, if Grandma saw three, she sure wasn’t in heaven. I am not saying that she went anywhere else, but there is one thing for sure. She did not go to heaven and see three. John went to heaven in a vision and he only saw one. There hasn’t been anyone else up there since then that saw more than one either. He saw one and that one was Jesus Christ and He was sitting on a throne, but one day in the near future He will leave that throne and come back to get a group of people that have known who He is and have been conformed to His very image. I do not mean that their physical appearance will look like Him, but spiritually, in every aspect, they will be like Him.

 

PAUL’S REVELATION

 

This far we have based most of our comments on the writings of the apostle John, one of the fishermen who walked in the footsteps of Jesus during the 3╜ years of His ministry on earth, but now I would like for us to go to Ephesians 1:1 to pick up the writing of another apostle, one who never walked with Jesus, the one who wrote most of the New Testament letters and whose revelation lined up perfectly with John’s, the apostle Paul. Notice how he starts his Ephesian letter, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, (he did not hold back on declaring his apostleship even though he was not one of the Twelve,) to the saints which are at Ephesus and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.” The Gentile churches were founded upon this man’s revelation and teaching, but the apostle John closed HIS personal ministry by writing the last revelation given to the church, the book of Revelation, which we call God’s love letter to the Gentile bride even though most of it is written about the Jews. Paul was a man who could stand up and defend his revelation as well as his apostleship. Listen to how he did just that in the Galation letter 1:10-12. “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. (Listen) But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” He goes on to remind them of his former life as a Pharisee and how he profited in the Jews religion above many until such time as it pleased God, who separated him from his mother’s womb and called him by His grace to reveal His Son in him in order that he might preach Him among the heathen; (Gentiles). He says, I did not immediately go up to Jerusalem to confer with them who were apostles before me, but rather, I went into Arabia and returned again to Damascus. In other words, he took his scrolls and went out into the Arabian Desert alone and the Lord Jesus Christ taught him by revelation of the Spirit. Now, we are going to pick up with verse 2 in Ephesians 1 and read Paul’s revelation. “Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Now that may sound to some of you like Paul was speaking of two persons when he greeted the people like that, but you will see as we read on in this chapter that Paul expressed his revelation of God very clearly. Nevertheless, this is one of the verses that trinity people use trying to prove their three god doctrine. It seems that some people spend so much time just picking at the scriptures that it is almost impossible for them to get hold of a revelation. Saints, I am so thankful to God that He opened my blind eyes so that I do not spend my time just picking at the scriptures trying to find something to prove a particular doctrine or something that will not cross the feelings of prominent men in my congregation. When God opens our eyes to truth, we give up that pickiness and just begin to feast. It reminds me of bygone days when a nickel for an ice cream cone was hard to come by. On the occasions when I had the nickel and was able to get to town where I could spend it, I did not stand around picking and fussing about what flavor of ice cream I wanted. If it was ice cream, just let me at it regardless of the flavor. I am the same way about truth from the word of God. If it is truth, just let me have it even if it hurts this old flesh or separates me from something I have been holding on to. The only time I am picky is to be sure that I am receiving truth.

 

GOD’S CHANNEL OF BLESSINGS

 

When Paul said, Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, do not think he was speaking of two persons. He approached this in the same manner that John did. Just as John went all the way back before time had a beginning, so also did Paul and this is his way of approaching it. First, by referring to the Father in the sense of creation and secondly, by referring to Jesus, the avenue by which this sovereign, creating Spirit had personal contact with His creation. You will notice in verse 4 that Paul takes his revelation all the way back before the foundation of the world just like John, but first let us read verse 3. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” Pay attention to how Paul says this. Blessed be the God (who is the object of worship) and Father (who had begotten us all through His creative process) of our Lord Jesus Christ (the channel through which grace and peace was extended to the human race). Paul knows and desires to have others know that it is through the Lord Jesus Christ that we have access to this sovereign, omnipresent, creating Spirit. The spiritual blessings are what God does for us by the Holy Ghost. In other words, these blessings are in the realm of the spirit, but Paul is exalting the channel through which these blessings are extended to us (the Lord Jesus Christ). Yes, we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, but it is through Jesus Christ. When Jesus was on earth, he could only touch a limited number of people, but when He ascended from the earth, He left a promise. You will find it in Acts 1:5,8. Just before He ascended, He said, “For John truly baptized with water but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” I want you to know, when Jesus spoke of baptism, He was not talking about sprinkling of a few drops of water upon them, nor was He using the term in relation to pouring a little water upon them. When He said baptize, He was talking in terms of being immersed, completely covered as in the case of one being buried and then resurrected, which is what Romans, chapter 6, explains more fully. Therefore, to be baptized is to be completely covered, immersed, saturated with the agent by which we are baptized. In Acts 1:5, Jesus left a definite promise or stated fact that they would be BAPTIZED with th Holy Ghost very shortly. Then in verse 8, He spoke further upon the subject. “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: (remember, He called it baptism in verse 5) and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Now some will say, But that was just for the people of that first age. No, it is for as many as the Lord our God shall ever call. We will read that from Acts 2:38-39 where Peter was preaching on the day of Pentecost when three thousand souls believed were baptized, in water and received the Holy Ghost. Let us read, “Then Peter said unto them. Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you and to your children and to all that are afar off, EVEN AS MANY AS THE LORD OUR GOD SHALL CALL.” Praise God, Brothers and Sisters, that is where we were included in the promise. Do you see where that places us when we believe and obey the gospel? It means that we become partakers of all the heavenly blessings that Christ Jesus purchased for the family o God with His own blood at Calvary.

 

PATTERN OF HOLINESS

 

We will look at verse 4, Ephesians 1, now and see if Paul does not have the same revelation as John about when God began to set the wheels of His great plan in motion. We will go back and read verse 3 again to get them both together in our thoughts. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. (Notice now) According as He (God) hath chosen us in Him (when?) Before the foundation of the world, (when you choose, it requires you to think, meditate and plan, which is what God did before He ever spoke those creative words) that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. We make our plans for the future, but because we do not know what the future holds, all our plans are subject to circumstances. Therefore, we can only make tentative plans, but with God, since all circumstances are in Him, He could lay out the plans for all time and eternity in His great mind before the foundation of the world and there is nothing that can prevent every one of his thoughts from coming to pass. All eternity is in Him. Every one of us were a part of His fixed thoughts before He began to create. As we said earlier, the flesh of Jesus was not even in the picture, except in the mind of God as He thought and planned. That is where every one of us were. When we became fixed in the thoughts of God, His objective for us was that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Now I ask every one of you this question, What did man know about being holy? Down through time, men knew that God was holy, but what did mere humans know about how to be holy? I am asking this question because I want you to think about it for just a moment. We see here that God purposed in Himself that we should be holy and we see in the Old Testament scriptures that men have tried to write about the holiness of God, but until He manifested Himself in the human form of Jesus, no more than two thousand years ago, men did not have a pattern of holiness, an example that they could look to and pattern themselves after. Now we see Jesus, a full expression of the holiness of God, and we learn from the scripture that God has purposed to work His great plan of redemption and holiness in us until we are conformed to the very image of Jesus Christ. In other words, God Himself had to come down and walk among men in human flesh in order for man to know what kind of sons God desired to have when his redemption process is finished. In other words, the only way we can be holy is to be like Jesus. Man made versions of holiness are just the devil’s way to get man’s eyes off of Jesus and get them looking at themselves. I have always said that God requires a life of holiness, but that holiness must be according to the Bible. There are no acceptable substitutes. Some people get so wrapped up in their man made ideas of holiness, that they get completely away from God. They become so crankified that God has no place in their lives. Brothers and sisters, I must say this right here for the sake of the message. I am not saying it just to run someone else down. The Amish and Mennonites are good examples of man made holiness or should I say of man’s ideas of what holiness is? They refuse to partake of any form of what they call luxury even to the point of not having an automobile and some of them will not even have buttons on their clothes. Their mode of dress has been the same for nearly four centuries now. Why? It is because they believe that our form of dress is completely of the world. There is nothing wrong with people riding horses if that is what they want to do. I like to ride a horse now and then myself, but there is no virtue as far as holiness goes in using horses instead of automobiles. I will just say this and then we will move on to verse 5. Saints, there is a very fine line or narrow margin between godliness and worldliness when we begin looking at the word of God. That is why we must have the Holy Ghost. God wants us to be holy, but it must be His holiness and there is no chart that we can tack up on the wall to go by. We must be led by the Spirit of God.

 

PREDESTINATION

 

We learned from verses 3 and 4 that we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ and that is according to God’s own choosing from before the foundation of the world, but look what verse 5 says about that operation of God. “Having PREDESTINATED us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of HIS WILL.” Did you notice that we were predestinated according to God’s own will? You know there are a lot of Evangelical people running around these days, harping that anyone can be saved. What about that? They get that idea from the verse of scripture in 2 Peter 3:9, where Peter is talking about the longsuffering grace of God toward us, for God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Let us interpret the scriptures correctly now. Does that verse say that anyone can be saved? Isaiah and John both wrote, Whosoever will, let him come and partake of the water of life freely. Let him that hath no money come and buy without money, but does that say that anyone can be saved? This is God’s universal call to mankind, but we cannot put those scriptures ahead of all the other scripture that we have to consider. In John 6:44, Jesus said, “No man can come to me except the Father (Spirit) which hath sent me draw him.” Then in verse 65 of that same chapter, He said, “No man can come to me except it were given unto him of my Father.” Jesus also said, “many are called, but few are chosen.” So you see, when we begin to level this thing up by putting all these scriptures in the scales of time, we have no scriptural authority to declare that just anyone can be saved. We will also see that man is not running God’s program, God is still in control. Men may have their text books and their carnal plans, but God is building His kingdom on spiritual revelation in the hearts of those who believe. As I see it, the main reason so many people fight against predestination is because they do not understand it. They obviously think that it means God created some men to be saved and others to be lost. That is not the fact of it at all. Pre, speaks of before, and destination, speaks of the end. Therefore, the great omnipresent, omnipotent God who is also omniscient, meaning that He knows everything, knew before He ever created man upon the face of the earth, who would accept His plan of redemption and also, who would reject it. Therefore, our destination was pre-determined by the foreknowledge of God and that allowed Jesus to say, Of all that the Father has given me, none of them are lost. Because of that foreknowledge, Jesus Christ could look into the faces of men and know their destination before they ever said a word. That is why He did not hesitate to tell a certain group, You are of your father, the devil, one day when they were contending with Him. He knew who they were. God did not create them to go to hell, but God knew what they would do with their choice in their hour of visitation. Some will say, If God already knows every man or person who will be saved, then why preach the gospel? And why worry about people being saved? God did not tell us to worry about anything, but He has purposed to have His children called to their inheritance by the preaching of the gospel and those who do the preaching do not know who will believe nor who will not. That is why the gospel is preached to all men everywhere. Brothers and sisters, I rejoice in the fact that God knows everything. He wouldn’t be much of a God if He didn’t. The only reason we can have complete confidence in Him is because we know in our heart that He has every area of His plan for the ages under complete control. Nothing is run haphazardly. We may go bankrupt down here and we may build air castles and have a lot of day dreams that never become reality or responsibilities that we fail to fulfill, but God is not like that. Hallelujah! Everything with Him is right on schedule. All He asks of us is that we get caught up in His spirit, in His love and fellowship. The world may look upon us as a bunch of fanatics, doing a lot of crazy things, but I say this, they have had 6000 years to produce something that God would put His approval on and all they have been able to do is just speed poor lost sinners along their road to hell. David wrote in Psalms 9:16-17, “the lord is known by the judgment which He executeth, the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God.” Brothers and sisters, America is fast forgetting God and on her road to hell. It is almost unbelievable that a nation whose founding fathers believed in God and based their lives on Godly principles could stoop so low as this nation has. By this we can see why God chose a race of people to upbreed for the purpose of conveying a revelation of Himself to this sinful world. For that reason, the Bible is a Jewish book, handed over to Gentiles until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. Then the Jews will get it back.

 

ADOPTION

 

Let us look at Ephesians 1:5 for a few more remarks. God predestinated us unto the adoption of children. We all know what the word adoption means in our present society. By law, the adopted child stands in line to inherit from the adoptive parents just the same as a child born to the parents. Here we see that we are adopted into the family of God and some will say, But I thought we were born into the family of God by the new birth? Remember, Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. All the rest of us were born in sin, wandering through this world like a bunch of homeless paupers until God’s grace touched our lives. He picked us up from a life of hopelessness, imputed His righteousness to us through a divine act, placed His Spirit within us and declared us to be joint heirs with Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. If that isn’t adoption, then please tell me what it is. To be born is to be projected into life. A baby is not given life when it is born. It already has life. Birth is the process or act whereby that living being is projected into an environment. A man and his wife might take a child into their home, feed and clothe it and treat it exactly like their natural born children, but if they never did legally adopt that child, it could never be a legal heir with the other children. That is how it is with this family of God. Jesus said in John 6:63, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth, (makes alive) the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” All who believed those words were actually receiving life, but until they were filled or baptized with the Holy Ghost, they were not legal heirs with the only begotten Son of God. It is the Holy Ghost that actually places that seal of adoption on us so that we can never be disinherited. God does not make any mistakes. We do not receive the seal (Eph. 4:30) unless we are of those who God knows will endure until the end. In Romans 8:15, the apostle Paul referred to the Holy Ghost as the Spirit of adoption. Now we are talking about the fact that God is one in this message, so please notice here in verse 5, that this adoption was according to the good pleasure of His (singular) will. Then, drop down to verse 9 and we will read it. Paul is talking about how God has dealt with us in so many wonderful ways. “Having made known unto us the mystery of HIS will according to HIS good pleasure which HE hath purposed in HIMSELF.” That verse leaves no doubt about Paul’s revelation of the ONENESS of God.

 

THE FAMILY NAME

 

Alright, we are adopted into the family of God. First, we take on a name and that name is Jesus, the redemptive name of the Father. You say, How do you get that? Look at John 17:6, where Jesus is praying to the Father, He says, “I have manifested thy NAME unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world.” Did He manifest any name other than His own name among those who followed Him? Of course not. That is why we read in Acts 4:12, where Peter was speaking to the rulers and elders of the Jews concerning the lame man that was instantly healed showing them that it was by the name of Jesus Christ and said to them, “Neither is their salvation in any other name: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” Then we read in Ephesians 3:14-15, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, (not another person, but a life giving omnipresent Spirit) of whom the WHOLE FAMILY in heaven and earth is NAMED.” After we take on the family name, then we are placed or positioned in the family. After this placing, we begin to execute and carry out the will of our Father in this adopted role. Just think about it. Before time began, our adoption was in the thoughts of God, our Father. Now that wasn’t three persons making those plans or it would have been written that it was done according to their will and according to their good pleasure instead of using the singular, masculine term. If there had been three persons, as trinity people teach, then neither one of them could have acted in an individual way. They teach that God is three persons, coexisting in perfect unity. That leaves no room for anyone to refer to God as HIM or HIS WILL. Do you understand what I am saying? We must keep this thing in the scriptures. Recently, when my wife and I were in India, we saw a painting on a wall there which was supposed to be Buddha’s concept of God. It showed one manlike body with three heads. That supposedly was Buddha’s concept of God, but such a creature would be a freak and God is not a freak. Even as far-fetched as that may seem, it is no more ridiculous than trying to explain Him (God) as three persons, co-equal in authority and in complete unity in the face of all the scriptures that declare He is one and that prior to His incarnation, He did not even have a physical form.

 

GOD STILL SPEAKS

 

It may be that I should take time right here to clarify what we said about the Word being made flesh. We explained the miraculous conception in the womb of the virgin, Mary, but I feel that I should clarify the fact that all of God’s Word was not made flesh. It was only the part of His Word that pertained to redemption that was made flesh. The sun, the moon, the stars, the trees and everything else that was made was also part of the Word of God, but none of these things sinned as did man. All that God ever created was first a thought and His thoughts became His Words in creation, but when John said that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, he did not mean that every bit of God who is omnipresent became flesh. If that had been the case, he no longer would have been omnipresent. He would have been present only in the flesh of Jesus. No, it was only that portion of God’s thoughts which pertained to redemption, that became flesh. The omnipresent Spirit still had the ability to speak and function in all the rest of the universe even after He incarnated the flesh. Take for instance, when Jesus came to John to be baptized. As soon as John raised Him up out of the water, the Spirit of God descended like a dove and lighting upon Him, a voice from heaven declared, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” That showed that God could still speak and that He did not have to speak through lips of flesh. Another instance was when Jesus took Peter, James and John up to a high mountain where He was transfigured before them. When Peter got all enthused about it and wanted to build three tabernacles, one for Jesus, one for Elias and one for Moses, a bright cloud overshadowed them while Peter was still speaking and a void out of the could said “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.” That was God speaking and what He was really saying was this, From now on, when you want to hear from God, you listen to Him. Now they could walk right up and ask God a question just like they would anyone else, but do not forget this, God did not vacuum all of Himself into that body of flesh. If you will remember this, it will keep you from becoming lop-sided with your revelation of the Godhead. The fact that Isaiah, in his prophecy concerning a child that would be born unto them upon whose shoulders would rest the government, and whose name would be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, said all these things, does not make the human flesh God, nor the Father, but The Mighty God, which is The Everlasting Father was manifesting Himself to the world through that flesh. In other words, God’s thoughts pertaining to redemption, became flesh. Then let me say this, as we study the gospels, we see that this God-man concerned Himself with every aspect of man’s redemption.

 

THROUGH THE BOOK

 

We are going into the book of Genesis now, for I want to illustrate something for you. Up until now we have been dealing with scriptures that focused our attention on God as He was in the beginning before time had its beginning. What I want to do now as we enter into the scriptures that actually deal with, or in time, is to take the trinitarian side of the Godhead question and try to show you where such an idea will lead you when you try to take it through the scriptures. Remember what we have said before, any idea that will not line up with the whole Bible is not of God for the whole Bible was written by various men who wrote under the inspiration of the Spirit of God.

 

ILLUSTRATION

 

Now, let us just suppose that I wanted to accept this idea that God is three persons, each one with a distinct personality of his own and that they worked together in creation. Will I be able to line that up with the scriptures or will I have to go to man’s book of creeds to find something that will agree with this idea? Turn with me to Genesis 1:26, and we will begin. Remember now for the sake of this examination of the scriptures, we are assuming that God is three persons and when we come to this verse of scripture, we are believing that one of the three said, “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Naturally, for the sake of this illustration, we will say that the other two agreed to the suggestion. Remember, a suggestion is all it could be if two other equal in authority, persons, was to be in on this endeavor. Now we come to verse 27, where the agreed to plan was set in motion. “So God created man (up to this point it could still be three persons) in HIS own image.” Oops! There is something wrong here. Which one’s image was man created in? Oh well! I will read some more. Maybe it will explain it. “In the image of GOD created HE HIM.” You know, that sure sounds like only one of them was doing the creating and He created the man in His own image. Nevertheless, I am not going to let just one verse of scripture change my whole idea about God. After all, I have been taught ever since I was a little boy in Sunday school, that God is three persons, so I must be missing something here. I think I will read further on down and skip this part for now. Verse 29 “And GOD said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of the earth.” I just do not understand that. Could that have been written wrong? Why doesn’t it say, WE have given you? It just keeps on saying I, instead of WE, everywhere I read. There must be some mistake. I have always believed God is three persons, co-equal in authority, and anyone knows that neither one of the three would have any right to keep saying, I all the time without recognizing the other two. I think I will just quit reading here, close the Bible, and then open it, trusting the Lord to show me what to read. OH! Right to the book of Joshua, this must be what I am supposed to read. Chapter 1, “Now after the death of Moses, the servant of the LORD (Let’s see now, Moses must have been a servant of the SON) it came to pass that the LORD spoke unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses minister, saying, Moses MY servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which-I-do give them.” Joshua is doing the same thing. He is talking about God as though there was only one person in the Godhead and I am sure there are three. I think I will read somewhere else. Surely the Lord will lead me to something that is written, right. I think I will just close my eyes and stick my finger in the pages, then I will read whatever the tip of my finger is closest to. Oh! Yes! David was a man that knew all about God. This should be good. Psalms 68:20, “HE that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto God the LORD belong the issues from death. But God shall wound the head of HIS enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses. The LORD said, I -will bring again from Bashan, I – will bring MY people again from the depths of the sea.” That’s enough of that. It seems like every where I read in the Old Testament, they are all talking about God as though they didn’t even know that there are three of them. I think I will read something from the New Testament. After all, they do say that all of the Old Testament has been fulfilled already anyhow.

 

CHECKING PAUL’S REVELATION

 

I have heard that the apostle Paul knew all abut God. I will read something that he wrote. I will just kinda skip around and read whatever my eyes fall on. 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Oh yes, this is better. I have always been told that we ought to study. Let’s see now. What do we have here? 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” That says all scripture. That must include the Old Testament as well as the new. I will just turn the page. Titus, chapter 1, “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, (Paul mentioned two of them in the first verse) according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began But hath in due times manifested His Word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of GOD our SAVIOR.” I have always thought that Jesus is our Savior, but surely the apostle Paul could not be worn, for it seems like most of the New Testament epistles were written by him. What is this here? Ephesians 4:4, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling: ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM, ONE GOD AND FATHER OF ALL, who is ABOVE ALL and THROUGH ALL, and IN YOU ALL.” That says that God the Father is in us and I just read in Colossians 1:27 last week where it said that CHRIST, in us, is the hope of glory. Seems like I remember that Brother – read me a verse from Acts 2:4 and it said, They were all filled with the HOLY GHOST. Could it be that all three persons of the trinity are in us? That sure is confusing. There must be something that I don’t know about all this.

 

MALE CHAUVINIST

 

Brothers and sisters, I am sure that my critics will find fault with this little hypothetical illustration that I have used, but I believe it will help honest hearted souls who desire to examine what they have been feeding into their spirits from man’s traditions. All who believe God is three persons need to have occasion to ask themselves which one of the three we are created in the image of. They also need to face the questions of why God is spoken of in masculine, singular terminology throughout the rest of the scriptures, whether He is doing the talking Himself or someone else. The real truth of the whole matter in this, in order for a person to believe the trinity version of God, they have to shut themselves up in a dark closet of tradition and flatly refuse to let any light whatsoever shine in. If they allowed any light at all to shine in their little closet, they would soon see that what they think they believe, is a scriptural impossibility. Also, these blind leaders of the blind, who read Genesis 1:27, where it says that, “God created man in HIS own image, in the image of God created HE Him: male and female created HE them, and think that means that God is a woman are just about as far off of the revelated word as anyone can get. They use the terms, Male chauvinist, something I never even heard of until a few years ago. I never was taught that word when I was growing up. There was no need for it. I will say this though, if they want to vote for women’s liberation, that is their business. I will not physically try to stop them, but regardless of what they do, they will never change God one bit. God has always been identified in the masculine gender and He always will be. Females do not begat offspring. Let us look at this 27th verse like this. Since God, as Father, is not a man in the sense of being a man or a woman, this makes it very simple for any right-thinking person to understand that He who is now becoming a Father is one who has the authority, the ability, and the choice of taking of Himself to make another like Himself. Since He is a Spirit, then that which He is begetting is another Spirit being and since it was in His mind to have the man reproduce himself upon the earth after he received his flesh body and since He had determined for it to be done through a male-female relationship, it was necessary for there to be a female. They were in the image of God because they were spirit beings. Now some will say, But Bro. Jackson, the Bible says that Eve was made from one of Adam’s ribs, so how does that add up? That is very simple to answer. You are now talking about flesh bodies, and verse 27 does not have any flesh in it at all. Therefore, when God said Let us make man in our image, He was speaking of a spirit being, but if God is only one instead of three, who was He talking to? That is very simple to answer also. He was talking to His angelic helpers which are spirits also. God had an angelic family long before He ever created man. How do you know that, Bro. Jackson? The Bible is full of evidence to establish that, but I will only call your attention to one thing right now, that should be sufficient. You will all agree that it was the devil which inspired the serpent to seduce Eve in the garden that day and you will have no trouble establishing the fact that the devil was formerly known as Lucifer, the chief among the angelic family until he tried to exalt himself above God and God had to cast him out of heaven, never to be reinstated. We do not have the space to go into all that, but you can read it in Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekial 28:11-19, as well as other places. Nevertheless, you will find that this Lucifer was cast out of heaven before God ever created man. Therefore, when I say that God was talking to his angelic helpers when he said, “Let us make man in our image,” I feel that I have the whole Bible to back up that statement, but you who say that He was talking to the other two person’s of the trinity have no other scripture that you can use as the authority for making such a statement. I say that here, because some have said, Bro. Jackson, that is just your idea about all this.

 

WHOSE WORD IS IT?

 

Brothers and sisters, I am just a human being, but I feel that I am doing what God has called me to do. Therefore, whether these be my words in this message or whether they be God’s words, will be proved out in eternity. In the meantime, by the help of God, I intend to furnish enough scripture to satisfy every person who is willing to let God speak to them by His written word. I have searched the Bible through, knowing that the word, US, had to pertain to something other than God Himself. Gen. 1:26, is not the only time you find God saying, Let us, but right now, I would like to go to Hebrews and show you what kind of revelation the apostle Paul had about angels, then we will go from there. Turn with me to Hebrews 1:1. To me, this is where angels are clearly recognized as having a part in what God does. We have already read Ephesians 1 to find out what Paul said to them about the great plan of God and the process by which we have attained the place in Christ that we have, so now we want to see what this same little Jew has to say about angels. I realize there are a lot of critics who will rise up and say, He doesn’t know for sure that the apostle Paul wrote Hebrews, but brothers and sisters, there are keys to those things and to me, the key to who wrote the Hebrew letter is in chapter 13, verse 23. It was Paul who was always talking about Timothy. You do not find the other New Testament writers associated with Timothy, but Paul constantly referred to him.

 

LOOKING BEYOND THE FLESH

 

Alright now, Heb. 1:1, “God, who at sundry time (that means at various times) and in divers manners (different ways) spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, (the fathers here are the patriarchs) hath in these last days (it has been the last days ever since the advent of Christ) spoken unto us by His Son, (Jesus Christ) whom He hath appointed heir of all things by whom also He made the worlds.” Let me say once again that it was not the flesh of Jesus that made the worlds, but rather that which was in that flesh, the eternal God. Just as it was in His thoughts to become a man one day for the purpose of redeeming His creation, it was also in His thoughts to have that creation in the first place. It was all manifested by His word and now His word is being manifested through Jesus or has been, and now Paul is writing about it and bringing it out this way. Verse 3, still talking about Jesus, “Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person and upholding all things by the word of His power.” To put this in my own words, this is Paul’s way of saying, God, who is light, who is power and unto whom belongs all glory, is manifesting all His attributes and virtue through Jesus, making Jesus a full expression of what man had never been privileged to see prior to that and Paul desires to give Him this exalted place, making sure that He is distinguished apart from every other man. It was not that a person would see a halo of light nor a ball of fire if they met Jesus in the road. That is what men had been seeing in the Old Testament period and it scared some of them half to death. No, God wanted men to see Him on the level where he lived, yet He wanted them to be able to see the beauty of a life lived above sin, a life of perfect morality and perfect character, so that when they caught a revelation of who He was, they could say, as did John, We beheld His glory. In the 14th chapter of John, we find that Phillip had not discovered yet who he had been walking with, for he said to Jesus one day, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus said unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Phillip? He that hath seen ME hath seen the FATHER; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I – am in the FATHER, and the FATHER in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the FATHER THAT DWELLETH IN ME, He doeth the works,” (8-10). After all those months of walking with Jesus, seeing the 5,000 people fed from five barley loaves and two fishes, the raging storm stilled, the dead raised to life again, the lepers cleansed, and all the other works that He did, Phillip had never looked beyond the flesh. That was God in action and they should have recognized it. God’s thoughts were flowing out through the mouth of Jesus just like electricity flows out through a light bulb. The bulb itself cannot give light unless it is hooked up to the source of power. The bulb is jut the transmitter of the power that makes the light. By the same token, the flesh of Jesus could do nothing by itself. It was just as limited as any other normal flesh being; it was subject to the law of gravity, and every other law of this old earth, but brother, there was something inside the flesh of that man that was not subject to any of those laws and that is what Paul was writing abut. He had never seen Him like that, in person, but he could talk like he did because he had seen Him in a vision on the road to Damascus and because he had come to know Him by revelation of the Spirit. Therefore he says, (talking about Jesus) “Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person and upholding all things by the word of his power, (power, here, means authority) when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Brothers and sisters, when Paul speaks of Jesus sitting on the right hand of the Majesty on high, he is not talking about another person. Majesty on high, implies supreme authority, supreme royalty, or supreme position. On earth, the term your Majesty, is used in reference to people, especially in the days when kings and rulers of nations was the supreme authority over that people. The term was never applied to janitors, gate keepers, nor servant type people though. It is reserved for those of supreme authority. It speaks of one recognizing the supreme authority of another. Therefore, we see Jesus taken into the heavens and seated on the right hand of glory, power and authority. It was all invested in Him, by Jehovah, the eternal God, who, being spirit, had no physical form that Jesus could sit down beside of. In Matthew 28:18, when He was giving the great commission to His disciples, Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (You who insist that God is three persons, co-equal in authority, ought to meditate on that verse 18 for awhile, then perhaps you would be better able to understand verse 19.) The eternal God, (who is one Spirit and not three persons) has invested in Jesus, all power and authority. Therefore, it was right that Thomas, after his eyes were open, said to jesus, MY LORD AND MY GOD. He had finally seen that this was God, walking with them in human flesh, but by this time it was immortal flesh.

 

MINISTERING SPIRITS

 

As we come to verse 4 in this 1st chapter of Hebrews, Paul begins referring to the angels and this is the main reason we are reading these verses. We want to establish the angels place in the plan of God and this is a good place to start. Paul has been talking about Jesus and now he says, “Being made so much better than the angels as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. (Paul knows that angels play a big part in what God does) 5, For unto which of the angels said He (God) at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to Him a Father and He shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him and of the angels He saith, Who maketh His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.” You will notice that while Paul is exalting Jesus Christ, he goes on to say that they (the angels) are spirits and since God is a Spirit, that very verse of scripture ought to begin to let us see who God was talking to in Gen. 1:26, when He said, “Let US make man in our image.” Paul knew that God did not create angels just to be idly present while God Himself did everything that was to be done. We ourselves talk about all the things that God has done, but upon careful investigation one can learn that angels have always been instruments through which God dealt with mankind. Paul said a little later in the Hebrew letter that angels are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation. This shows that they have a place in God’s plan of redemption. In Psalm 34:7, David said, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, (GOD) and delivereth them.” In the 63rd chapter, we find Isaiah speaking about the loving kindness of the Lord toward Israel and in verse 9, he says, “In all their affliction He was afflicted and the ANGEL of His presence saved them.” I am thinking also of the account in Matthew 4, where Jesus was tempted of the devil after His baptism. We find the devil even quoting scripture about angles. He said something like this to Jesus, If you are really the Son of God, you ought not be afraid to jump off of this high place, for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning thee and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Then we find that after the temptation was finished and the devil had left Him, ANGELS came and ministered to Jesus. Then in Luke 16:22, we find that the beggar, Lazarus, died and was carried by the ANGELS into Abraham’s bosom. If you have a concordance you might find it very interesting just to search out and read all the scriptures where angels are doing something in the plan of God.

 

LET US TAKE HEED

 

For our next reference on angels, let us go back to Hebrews and read the first three verses of chapter 2. Paul says, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word SPOKEN BY ANGELS was steadfast and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him.” We were after the part about the word being spoken by angels, but read all three verses to keep from breaking the thought. Paul is admonishing these people to give earnest heed to the things which they have heard, calling to their attention the act that every transgression of the word of God will be dealt with and that it was even so when that word was delivered by angels. Now some of you may say, But I thought angels were not supposed to preach. That is right. God has called men to do that, but angels went to Sodom to deliver Lot and his family. They had something to say when they got there and everything was carried out according to their word. Well, Bro. Jackson, that brings up another question. I thought angels were spirits, but that was two men that went to Sodom. Yes, angels are definitely spirit beings, but they are able to present themselves in a manifested body for specific purposes. That is why we find in Hebrews 13:2, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Now, back to our thought. If angels worked in the plan of salvation and if they work in all the other areas that the Bible tells us they do, then I know beyond a shadow of doubt that they worked in creation also. When Paul speaks of the word spoken by angels being steadfast and every transgression and disobedience receiving a just recompense of reward, he is mainly referring to the word spoken by the Old Testament prophets. The word that God sent by angels was the word spoken through the lips of those prophets. Practically every time you find in the scriptures that the word of the Lord came unto this prophet and that prophet. God sent that word by His angelic helpers. It wasn’t just the ideas of those prophets that we find recorded in the Bible, it is the word of angels. Did not Daniel see angles or an angel? Did not Ezekial, Isaiah, Zechariah and others see angels? What was the purpose of those angels? Take the case of Daniel. It was the angel that explained the meaning of Daniel’s dreams and visions. That was the word of the Lord and we are seeing it come to pass right in our generation. It just goes to show that when those prophets spoke, it was not their idea, it was from the anointing carried by that angelic being.

 

ANGEL MESSENGER

 

I want to say something here for the sake of the message. There are always those who will find fault with what you teach if you are trying to follow God in truth and many of them will pick this part of the message to pieces and yet they are among the ranks of those who run all over the world preaching that God sent a prophet to this age. They will not hesitate to call him the messenger to this church age. They call him, and rightly so, the earthly angel messenger sent forth to call this age back to the faith of the fathers. I believe that also and I have been privileged to be in many of his services. Of course I am speaking of Bro. William Marrion Branham, a man who screamed to the top of his lungs, GET BACK TO THE WORD!!! Get out of those denominational prisons and return unto the faith of Peter, James, John and all the rest of those apostolic fathers or you will miss God completely. Was that just his own idea? Absolutely not! I have seen him stand many times waiting for the anointing to come on him. When he was ready to start praying for the sick and that anointing would come, I have heard him say, That ANGEL of the Lord is not three feet away. He could see the light. He could see the expression of the Lord’s presence there. That was a sign to him that the angel had come to anoint him for what he was ready to do. Without the presence of that anointing, he was like other men. He liked to fish, hunt, talk about nature and world events, but the real point of what I am saying is that his ministry was not without the presence of angels. By the same token, I believe that every one of us are affected by spirit beings. For, as we said before in Hebrews 1:14, it says, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Brothers and sisters, we are going into quite a bit of detail establishing the place of angels in the whole plan of God, but we feel that this is necessary in a message such as this. It is not sufficient just to say, God was talking to His angelic helpers when He said, Let us make man in our image. People who have been taught that God is three persons want scriptural proof when you begin telling them that He is one. We feel that every believer ought to have a revelation of the word of God and not depend completely on the word of someone else for what they believe. This has nothing to do with what the ministry is for. After you hear it or read it, you should desire to understand by revelation whatever subject you are being taught on. That is why you need scriptural proof for what you hear. We are going to end part 1 right here for we cannot put everything that should be said on this subject in one eight page paper, but look for part 2 where we will go into the deity names of God and also into the seven attributable names of God. We will also give some illustrations that will enable you to explain the Godhead to others. Then by the time we finish this message, some of you should have a better understanding of the scripture which says, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.

 

Hell Is Not Eternal

WE ARE NOT GOING TO USE ANY PARTICULAR TEXT FOR THIS MESSAGE, BUT RATHER USE MANY OF THE SCRIPTURES THAT PEOPLE HAVE A TENDENCY TO USE BY THEMSELVES IN ORDER TO BUILD THEIR CERTAIN DOCTRINE. WE WILL ENDEAVOR, BY BRINGING TOGETHER ENOUGH SCRIPTURES TO ESTABLISH OUR POINT, TO SHOW YOU THAT MOST OF THE TRADITIONAL IDEAS ABOUT HELL ARE JUST NOT SCRIPTURAL. THEY ARE TAUGHT WITHOUT TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION, ALL THAT JESUS AND HIS APOSTLES TAUGHT ON THE SUBJECT. I REALIZE THAT MANY PEOPLE GET UPSET WHEN THEY HEAR YOU SAY THAT HELL IS NOT ETERNAL, BUT IT IS TIME THAT THE BRIDE OF CHRIST CAST OFF HER OLD TRADITIONAL OPINIONS ABOUT THESE CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES, AND BEGIN TO ALLOW REVELATION TO HAVE A PLACE IN WHAT THEY BELIEVE. READ THE ARTICLE PRAYERFULLY, AND I AM SURE YOU WILL HAVE NO TROUBLE RECONCILING THE VARIOUS STATEMENTS MADE BY THE SCRIPTURE WRITERS.


HELL IS NOT ETERNAL


We are going to deal with a subject that has generated quite a bit of controversy, especially in the Pentecostal circles, ever since Bro. Branham made the statement that he did not believe that hell is eternal. He never did take it as a subject and deal with it by the scriptures that show why it cannot be an eternal place; he just made the statement. That is why we are going to take it as a subject. We want to bring in the scriptures that will enable every sincere believer to understand completely, just what hell is, and also, just exactly when there will be no more use for the place called hell.


EVERLASTING – ETERNAL – FOREVER


I want to say, right in the beginning of the message, that we are living in the closing hours of the grace age, and much of what we believe is a result of ideas that have come out of the years of reformation as the church began to emerge from the dark ages. There are three words in particular, commonly used in the Bible, that do not mean, every time they are used, what our English language has attributed to them: therefore they can only be properly understood by comparing scripture with scripture until we get everything in its proper place. The three words are EVERLASTING, ETERNAL, and FOREVER. Our English language causes us to look at each of them from the standpoint of being without an end. That is why people read the scriptures that speak of everlasting punishment, and think it means that people will be punished forever, and ever, and ever, and ever, without an end. Without consecrated study, we just assume the Bible teaches that, but I will have to say, if we will just examine the whole scope of those verses, we will not miss the true interpretation. Just remember this, the apostles, Paul and John, had the last two revelations concerning the state of the lake of fire. You cannot use Isaiah nor Jeremiah, nor even the words of Jesus for the final analysis on the subject; you must look to Paul and John. Naturally, some will say, I would rather take the words of Jesus than anyone else, but let me show you where an attitude like that will lead you; that is what causes so many people to hold on to Matthew 28:19, and reject Acts 2:38. In this particular instance it takes the words of Jesus, as well as the words of Peter, for us to have proper instruction on water baptism. Jesus said that believers should be baptized in the NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, (Matt. 28:19) but it was the apostle Peter who made that NAME known to those who inquired of them, on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:38. Therefore it is very foolish for people to hold to one verse of scripture, while trying to reject another one. Take for instance St. John 5:28-29, where Jesus said, “The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” He put it all together, as though it would all take place at the same time, but Paul and John separated the two events, to let us see that the resurrection of the wicked dead does not take place until after the millennial reign of Christ on earth. The two resurrections are not even associated, even though Jesus referred to both of them in the same statement as though they were.


WHERE IS HELL?


I believe that as children of God, if we will sit with an open mind, we will be able to see just exactly what the scriptures teach on these various subjects that cause disputes and divisions. Let us establish first of all, just where the Bible teaches that hell is located. Some will argue about it saying, No one knows where hell is located, but that is not true; the Bible tells us, if we will just get the scriptures lined up properly. We will get our first glimpse from the 12th chapter of Matthew as we begin reading with the 38th verse. “Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.” In other words, they were wanting Him to do something extraordinary, to fit their ideas of what He should be doing if He was who He claimed to be. He had already done outstanding things, but they did not pay attention to that; they were wanting Him to do something strictly on their terms. They approached Him the same way the devil did when He had fasted forty days following His baptism by John. In other words, they wanted Him to do something special in an effort to convince them of who He was. Do a sign that we may believe; that was the same old story that He had heard before, Matt. 4:3, “And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Jesus did not submit to that temptation, and neither did He submit to theirs. Verse 39, “But he answered and said unto them, an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: (Verse 40 tells us where hell is, notice now) For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the HEART OF THE EARTH.” Now if you are one of those who would say, Bro. Jackson, that doesn’t say that hell is in the heart of the earth, just bear with me. We only use that verse to establish the fact that the Son of man (who is Jesus Christ) was going into the heart of the earth. We will show you what He was going there to do, by another scripture. Turn in your Bibles to 1 Peter 3:18-19, and we will see what He did while He was in the heart of the earth. 18, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened (made alive) by the Spirit: 19, By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” When did He do that? It took place in the time between the crucifixion and the resurrection, while His body was lying in the tomb. He was not preaching in some earthly jail house or natural place of confinement where men are placed for a time. While His body lay in that tomb, His spirit went right down into the regions of hell itself; that is the prison that Peter was referring to. Peter said He went and preached to the spirits in prison, and Jesus had already said that HE would go into the heart of the earth during that time. Do we have a contradiction? Of course not; the simple truth is that He went right into hell, which is in the heart of the earth, and preached to those who had been confined there from every age since mankind had his first taste of death. It would be very foolish for us to think that hell was one place, and the heart of the earth is someplace else, and that Jesus was going from place to place while His body was lying in a tomb on the surface of the earth. I realize this paper may be picked up by some of the Jehovah Witness people who believe in soul sleeping, and such like, but there is no such thing as soul sleeping. The body sleeps in death, but the soul does not sleep. The soul and the spirit are inseparable; therefore, for the benefit of you who may think that is unimportant, let me say, the very life of every person is the spirit of that person, and within that spirit, God has placed wisdom, knowledge, emotions, the five senses of see, hear, taste, smell and feel, causing him to have a personality and an intellect. In other words for the sake of clarifying our understanding, we can say, the soul is the intellect and emotions of the spirit, but since the life is in the spirit, when the spirit goes out of a person, so goes the intellect and emotions. Keep in mind that God is the source of all life, whether it be human life, animal life or whatever; therefore when the spirit of life goes out of the body, that body returns to dust. God is a spirit and in the case of man, (who is created in the very image of God) it was a matter of God separating from Himself the very life that dwells in every one of His offspring. That is the sense in which God became Father: He produced offspring that were in His own image. It is not the flesh of man that is in the image of God. Man’s flesh is just a shell, or dwelling place for the purpose of identifying Him with matter, but the man himself is that spirit being, within that shell. Let me say also, that, even though we are begotten of God in the essence of life, there is within that spirit, something that gives us an identity apart from God, otherwise we would be identified in the same greatness of God, who is life everywhere. That is the something that gives each of us our individuality, and keeps us from being like molded copies of each other. That is why some of us like one thing, and others, something else. For instance, if a person is an inventor: that person was born to be an inventor; there is no amount of studying that could make an inventor of an individual. A person might study certain techniques of other inventors, and incorporate that knowledge in his own invention, but that is not what makes him an inventor. He is an inventor because of an endowment from the Creator. That is why every prophet could speak of future things, record them, and later generations watch them come to pass. They were born to be prophets by that special endowment of the Creator. God puts these things within the spirit that man is, and that is what makes up his soul. That is why we have to say that they are part of his spirit; not his body, and that is why we say that the soul and spirit of man are inseparable. Now you may say, Bro. Jackson, I differ with you. That is your privilege, but it will not get you any place, for when the spirit of life goes out of this old body, it no longer hears, sees, or has any feelings. That is why you can cremate it, and it does not howl and scream, and make a big fuss. Is that clear? Can you see why there cannot be any such thing as soul sleeping? I believe that is why we read in the book of Ecclesiastes that there is no wisdom nor device, or anything in the grave. What that really means is that the body lying in the grave has no more life in it, and therefore it is apart from all of the things that speak of life. The question then, is, Where would that life be? That is what this message is being published for: to answer that question, along with some others.


SIN SEPARATES MAN FROM GOD


Before there was an atonement, before God came in the form and likeness of man, and took the sins of man upon Himself bearing them on that old cross at Calvary, every man, regardless of whether he was good or bad, had to be confined to this planet. Death could not put his spirit back in the presence of God, for sin had separated man from God. Therefore, until the sin debt was paid, all men, both good and bad, had to be confined to a prison place somewhere in the heart of the earth. It was on this planet that sin originated, and this planet is God’s workshop, so He kept man here until the redemptive work was completed. We are still establishing the fact that hell is in the heart of the earth, before going on to show that it is not eternal. Remember now, Jesus said, as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so would He be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, and Peter said that when Christ had suffered for the sins of man, He went and preached to the SPIRITS IN PRISON. With that in mind, open your Bibles to the 16th Psalm, and let us hear what David had to say about this place called hell, this prison place in the heart of the earth. Apart from Job, David was one of the first that began to speak of this place in the heart of the earth called hell.


Let us begin reading in verse 7. “I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” In other words, he put the Lord first and sought His will in everything. That is why he could say, “He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 9, Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 10, For thou wilt not leave my soul in HELL: neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” David was anointed to speak this prophetic Psalm which carried a revelation of the hope for man, beyond the grave. As we look back to verse 9, notice that he said, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: My flesh also shall rest in hope.” He is speaking of his body; it will rest in the grave with a certain hope. What is that hope? Notice verse 10, “For thou wilt not leave MY soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One (that is Christ) to see corruption.” This was a prophetic utterance, pointing to the first advent of Christ in His sacrificial role, and when David saw that, it caused him to say, My flesh also shall rest in hope. Why? He could see the resurrection. He could see that, if his soul was not going to be left in hell, then to take it out of hell, was to reunite it with his fleshly body. That is what gave him hope for the flesh, and it has nothing to do with soul sleeping. I just do not see how these people get such an idea from scriptures such as these. David saw that the Redeeming One, the Holy One, would not see corruption. That meant that His body would not be left in that tomb beyond the point where it would begin to rot. According to Peter’s revelation, it just laid in the tomb while the life from it, went and preached to the spirits which were in hell.


THE RICH MAN & LAZARUS


Brothers and sisters: I believe we see that hell, in the sense that we think of hell, is a place in the heart of the planet earth. Now we want to see from the scriptures, just when this place had its beginning. We know that, according to the scientists, the heart of this earth is nothing but just a great big mass of hot molten gases. That is what THEY say. I am not telling you that the Bible teaches that; I only mention the fact that scientists teach that. We are not going to dwell on the various Greek and Hebrew words that deal with hell, for in the sense that we are dealing with it, we know that it is a place for imprisonment. Jesus spoke of it in Luke 16: 19-31, when He gave the illustration using Lazarus and the rich man. Those who believe in soul sleeping, call this a parable, but if you will check closely, you will find that Jesus did not use names in His parables. He would say, a certain man, a certain place, and so forth, but in this illustration, even though He did say, a certain rich man, there was also a man by the name of Lazarus in the story. This was a living illustration, given before His crucifixion, and he knew the characters in the story. We will just read two verses of the account, strictly for the purposes of establishing the point we are making; that will be verses 22 & 23. “And it came to pass, that the beggar (Lazarus) died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom; the rich man also died, and was buried; And in HELL he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” From those two verses we establish where both men were after their death; the rich man was in hell and tormented, (do not jump to conclusions; it does not say he was in the lake of fire, burning; he was in hell, tormented.) And Lazarus was in Abraham’s bosom, and that was hell too, but you must realize that the righteous and the wicked were not both imprisoned together; they were separated according to the words of Jesus. Lazarus was in Abraham’s bosom, and that was hell too, but you must realize that the righteous and the wicked were not both imprisoned together; they were separated according to the words of Jesus. Lazarus was in the portion of hell called paradise. Certainly I realize that when you begin to preach on a subject such as this, you have to expect the doctors of divinity, those who know all the Hebrew and Greek words, to find fault with your terminology. They think it is all wrapped up in their education, but I assure you it is not. It is wrapped up in the way the Holy Ghost led the various scripture writers to lay it out; one takes it so far, then another one adds a little more and so on, until the picture is complete, but you still must get it together properly or your picture will be distorted. That is why we want to add Paul and John’s revelation to the words of Jesus; it takes all of it together to open our understanding properly. When we just read of hell, in one, of the many places it is spoken of in the scriptures, without searching the scriptures to see what the word actually pertains to, it is possible to come up with all sorts of ideas about the place. I am afraid that is what most Christians are guilty of.


DAVID WAS IN HELL BEFORE CALVARY


In the story Jesus told concerning the rich man and Lazarus; the rich man was in hell, suffering, for he said, I am tormented in this flame, but he was able to look over in to the place where Lazarus was, the place called paradise, referred to as Abraham’s bosom, and remember former days. These souls were not sleeping; the one was comforted, and the other was tormented. Some have even said, I thought that meant that Lazarus was in hell also, and the reason a statement like this bothers you, is because you have not yet seen what the place called hell, actually is: A place where the souls of those who departed from this life were held. David was in hell before Calvary, but when you say that, people say, Do you mean to tell me that David was in hell? Yes, David was in hell. When David spoke the 16th Psalm into existence while he was still very much alive, he knew that his soul would go to hell when he died, the place of imprisonment where the souls of departed persons was kept, but he also had a revelation, or at least an insight of the fact that the Redeeming One was coming, and that He would not leave his soul in hell. He knew he would go to hell when he died, but he said his flesh would rest in hope, and that hope was the resurrection of the dead, and the fact that his soul would not be left in hell. When Cain slew Abel, his soul went to hell: not to be tormented, but to be kept there in the paradise part of it, waiting for the day when someone would conquer the very thing that caused him to be there, (death). When Cain died, his soul went to hell also, but he went into the tormenting section of it, where Jesus said the rich man was, in His illustration. From the time of Cain and Abel, right on down through the centuries to the cross of Calvary; every righteous person, as well as every wicked person who passed from this life was kept in a place of confinement in the heart of the earth, called hell. The flesh of those persons went into the CRUST of the earth, but the spirit, which is the life, the soul of those persons, went in the HEART of the earth. The righteous were comforted, but the wicked had to go through all kinds of torment and anguish, weeping and wailing, with no hope, nothing to look forward to. David knew his soul would not be left in hell, but the wicked have no such hope.


JESUS PAID MAN’S SIN DEBT


Brothers and sisters, as we establish the fact that hell is in the heart of the earth, we want to keep in mind, the fact, that it is the purpose of God to deal with sin, the thing that caused man to be in hell in the first place. Now, sin took place on the CRUST of the earth. The garden of Eden was on the crust of the earth, the outer surface of it. I am sure you all realize that, therefore, let us continue on. The body is laid in the crust of the earth to return back unto the elements from which it is made up, but the spirit which is not subject to tangible things was kept locked up in the heart of the earth where Jesus went to preach to them while His body was lying in the tomb. The very process of redemption began at Calvary, where Jesus willingly offered up His sinless life to pay the price for fallen mankind’s redemption. Once that price was paid He went right straight to the prison place to make the announcement. His preaching to the spirits in prison was not for the purpose of redeeming the wicked and giving them eternal life. We are not teaching anything like that. Brother, if you do not find your place in Jesus Christ in this life, and you go on in your sin and rebellion against God until the cold, clammy hand of death settles upon you: the lake of fire where you will suffer for awhile, and then be destroyed completely, is your promised reward. You may say, I just cannot see that. I say, God’s word is true and it declares that to be your end. I do not rejoice in your destiny; I only rejoice in the accuracy of the word of God. I have learned that if God said a thing: I can stake my life on it without fear.

 

 

GOD’S PROCESS OF REDEMPTION


When the time came for God’s process of redemption to be set in motion, and Jesus Christ (who was God in the flesh of man) walked on earth, being tempted and tested in every are of life that any other man was ever tempted: He actually set an example before all mankind showing us how to face the tempter without being overcome by the temptation. The Bible says that He, being made perfect, became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him, and that, though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered, (Heb. 5:8-9) The last thing that He suffered was death itself. As we look at this man, Jesus, He was every bit man, in the essence of flesh, yet He was not a sinner; He did not have the attributes of death, dwelling in His flesh; His flesh was perfect. His blood was perfect also, for He did not have the blood of Adam’s race in Him. Yet He was foreordained to die, that is, to taste of death for the sins of every man; therefore we will say that death was the final affliction that was heaped upon Him. He was crucified, and He submitted to it willingly. It was not cancer, nor tuberculosis, nor heart trouble, nor any of the other diseases that mankind is plagued with, that took His life; He was nailed to an old cross, and pierced with a spear, and those who stood by, watched until His head went limp and fell upon His chest. What was it all about? Simply this, mankind was hopelessly separated from God, and helpless to do anything about it, requiring God Himself, to take the initiative, if man was ever to be reconciled to His Creator. Now for the benefit of you who still do not have the trinity question straight in your minds, let me say this, it was not a question of God being three persons, (as some believe Him to be) and one of them having to go down to earth to take man’s place in the penalty for sin. Absolutely not! God is one. There never has been three persons in the godhead, and there never will be. This was purely a situation where God Himself, (being Spirit, and having no tangible form) spoke the creative word, to plant the seed of life in the virgin Mary’s womb, actually creating Himself a flesh body, for the purpose of walking among men on earth, but allowing it to be manifested through the natural process of human birth, so that He, coming to be man’s redeemer, and the Messiah that the Jews looked for, would have the prophesied identity with those whom He came to first. When I said His flesh was perfect; you must understand, there was no sickness, nor disease, nor any attribute of sin in His makeup. There was no hereditary death sentence hanging over Him. He was a perfect man from the standpoint of the flesh, and He was the very God of all creation from the standpoint of the Spirit. Hanging there on that old cross, He had all the sin of the whole human race piled upon Him, past, present, and future. He paid the sin debt for every man, woman, boy and girl of the entire human race. We read in Romans 5:19, “For as by one man’s disobedience (Adam) many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Christ) shall many be made righteous,” (those who believe and obey the gospel). Through the disobedience of one, the death sentence was passed upon the whole human race, but, Praise God, through the obedience of one, all shall be made alive. Bro. Jackson, did you really mean to say, All shall be made alive. Yes, that is what I meant to say; not that all who are made alive will receive eternal life, for the wicked dead will be resurrected for only one purpose, that is to stand before the great white throne judgement where their final sentence will be pronounced upon them, Rev. 20:10-15, but that is another part of the message. What I am trying to show you now; is what took place at Calvary. In other words, His death on the cross was the beginning of a process of redemption. That body that hung there on that old cross that day; though it had walked on the water, and done many other things that went beyond natural man’s limitations, when the life went out of it, there was nothing else for it to do until He, who is life, came back to it. In the meantime they hurriedly wrapped it, and stuck it in a tomb. It was just as dead as any other man’s body that the spirit of life had gone out of, but, Thank God, the life that went out of that body, was life that had no beginning, and shall have no end. That is the life that Peter said, went and preached to the spirits in prison, 1st Pet. 3:19. No, He did not preach a salvation message, to give the wicked another chance; He rather, reminded them that when they walked on earth, there was a chance given to every one of them to do right and they rejected it. He reminded them of all the times that when they were planning to do certain wrong things, there was a feeling, or an urging, not to do it, and they ignored that urgency. He is awakening their conscience to the fact that God gave them their chance to do right, and they chose to do wrong; therefore they must be judged, and they will be judged upon the basis of what they are hearing, especially those who lived in the days of Noah. I am sure that every one of you can remember times when you were planning to do a certain thing, and just about the time you would have done it, something go hold of you, and stopped you from doing it. You were just not able to go through with it. Is that not right? That is exactly what we are talking about. That was the spirit of God. That is what Christ is testifying to the imprisoned spirits about. Now once more, Why did He do it? It was to put their conscience alive to what God had offered them, and they rejected it. This was to give them a feeling of guilt. Now let us go to the next chapter, 1st Peter 4, and read a few verses which will clarify what we are saying. We will begin with the 3rd verse, but it is verses 5 & 6 that we are getting to. “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revelings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 5, Who shall give account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. 6, For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” Keep in mind that He (Jesus) preached to the righteous as well as the wicked spirits, who were in hell. In the days before the flood there was no law written; therefore men lived under the law of the conscience. That is why something had to be said to them to activate their conscience. You cannot hold a person guilty for doing something wrong, if he knows nothing about any wrong, but once Christ came and preached to them, reminding them of the times in their lives on earth when the spirit of God dealt with them, and they refused to take heed: that put them under guilt. Now when they stand, in the flesh, to be judged; they will be judged according to men in the flesh, for it was those things that they did in the flesh, that will determine the degree of their punishment. God keeps a perfect record.


PREACHING TO IMPRISONED RIGHTEOUS SPIRITS


Now, when Christ steps over into the realms of hell where the righteous have been kept, and begins to preach to them: it will have an opposite effect. Many of these also lived in the days when there was no written law to abide by, but they were sensitive to the spirit of God as He moved upon their conscience. They were righteous in their day because they were sensitive to something that gave them convictions, and standards, not knowing exactly that it was God dealing with them. That is why they are in the place of hell, called paradise. I can just hear David, as he saw Christ walking down the corridors of hell, saying, There is the One I sang about. He is the One I have been looking for. Think also how old Job must have felt. He is the one who said, (at a time when all outward appearances seemed that God had forsaken him) “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another,” (Job 19:25-27) In other words, his very own eyes, in an immortal body, of course, would see his redeemer stand upon earth in the latter day. Job spoke those words more than 1500 years before the advent of Christ, when he was in the darkest hours of his sufferings at the hands of the devil. Now, here he is in hell with David and all the rest of the righteous ones who had died before that hour. Suddenly that Redeeming One appeared, having come to conquer death, hell, and the grave, He is ready to lead these captive souls out of hell, and the grave, He is ready to lead these captive souls out of hell, and restore them back to their bodies. He had paid the penalty for the death sentence that hung over mankind, and now He was ready to take those righteous souls out of hell with Him when He went out. There will be no further need for the part of hell that held those righteous souls captive, for every one of them was going out. Why do I say that? Brothers and sisters, we are not to preach redemption, just from the standpoint of keeping people from going to hell; we are to preach it to cover the whole scope and objective of God. Now the objective of God is that, eventually He will erase from this planet, all traces of the original sin. It was on this planet that death had its beginning, and death has separated the life from the bodies; therefore, on this planet, God is working His plan of redemption to abolish death.


CHRIST TOOK CAPTIVES


In Ephesians 4:8-10, Paul wrote, “Wherefore he saith, When He ascended upon high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9, Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens that He might fill all things.” (check what David wrote in Psalms 68:18-19) We find that when Jesus went down into the lower parts of the earth, (hell, in the heart of the earth) He led captivity captive. Those who had been held captive by the devil in the paradise section of hell, were now taken captive by Christ, who had earned the right to do so. Praise God! I would rather be a captive to Christ than the devil anytime, wouldn’t you? That was Paul’s terminology, but we are grateful to God because He has led us to know what it means. There are no righteous souls in hell today; only the wicked were left in hell, to be tormented for their evil ways when they were alive upon the crust of the earth. Abel went up with Christ, but Cain stayed, and he will remain there until after the millennial reign of Christ on earth. Many times, people have asked, Was there really a resurrection of all the righteous dead when Jesus came up? They ask that question, mainly, because the account of it in Matthew 27:50-53, states that MANY of those saints which slept, arose from their graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, (Jerusalem) and appeared unto many. Think of it like this, What would have been the purpose of any Gentile going into Jerusalem after he was resurrected? Who would have recognized any of them? What purpose would have been accomplished, by anyone other than Jews (who could be recognized by some who would be in the streets of Jerusalem) going into the streets of the holy city after their resurrection? Do you see what I mean? That does not mean that only part of those righteous souls were resurrected. If that had been the case; which one’s would He have taken out, and how could it be said that hell was conquered, if it still held righteous dead, after the price of their redemption was paid? Now, as to how many arose, (number-wise) that is intruding into God’s business. We have no need to know that. Paul said, Foolish questions, and genealogies gender (that is, lead to) strife, or arguments. It does not matter whether there were 10 thousand, or 10 million, or what; that has nothing to do with what we need to see and understand, namely, that hell is in the heart of the earth, that Christ went to hell, that He took out all the righteous souls, and that the souls of the wicked are still tormented there.


WHAT ABOUT OFFENDING MEMBERS?


While we are thinking of questions that people ask, let us turn to St. Mark 9:43-48, where Jesus used certain terminology to make a point, and carnal minds have taken that scripture literally, and done exactly what the words in these verses say to do. Brothers and sisters, that has been a trick of the devil, to blind their eyes to the true meaning of that passage of scripture. I am going to read the whole thing; then I am going to explain something to you. 43, “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands, to go into hell, into the fire that shall never been quenched; 44, Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45, And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46, Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” Let me say first of all: this is figurative language. Jesus is not teaching that we should actually cut off our physical members, hands, feet, and so forth, and He is not talking about entering into eternal life, maimed. Brothers and sisters, we will not enter into eternal life with our immortal bodies maimed. Now I want to say this so it will be perfectly clear to you when I am finished. In figurative language, Jesus is saying, If it were a case where we would place more value upon having two hands, two feet, and two eyes, than we would upon having eternal life, or in serving God with all our heart, then we would be better off, entering into this present life maimed, than to value these members to the point where it would cause us to miss God, and wind up in hell. “IT IS BETTER FOR THEE TO ENTER INTO LIFE (this present life) MAIMED, THAN HAVING TWO HANDS TO GO INTO HELL.” In other words, put God first, instead of giving in to the lust of the flesh. You can live for God in this life with only one hand, eye, and so forth, or even without either one, but if we have all our members, and neglect God in this life we will go to hell when we die. It is not having two hands that will put you in hell, but if you have a healthy, whole body, and use it in the fulfilling of the lusts of the flesh, leaving God out of the picture, you will go to hell when you die. The actual physical body will not go to hell. It will lie in a grave or tomb of some kind until the maggots destroy it. Now, in hell, the worm that dieth not, is not these maggots that destroy the physical body, for remember, the physical body will not be in the heart of the earth, (hell) it will be left in the crust of the earth. Only the spirit goes to hell in this present realm of death; therefore if the body is not in hell, then there is no worm. Let that soak in real good, then listen to me. Jesus said, where the worm dieth not. Now what kind of a worm was He speaking of? When you have done something that is really wrong, and you can look back to see where you could have made a change, (in other words, to see where you had opportunity to do right, and you rejected it) your conscience begins to gnaw at you. You realize that it is too late to change circumstances, and you are carrying that guilt, with no relief to look forward to: it is just like a worm gnawing away at something. That is how it will be in hell, when a person suddenly realizes that his eternal destiny has already been sealed by what he did while he was still alive. That is what the rich man was experiencing in the illustration Jesus gave. Lazarus was comforted in Abraham’s bosom, while the rich man’s conscience gnawed at him, just like a worm gnawing. It just keeps gnawing, you are guilty, you are guilty, you are guilty, until it seems unbearable, but there is no let up, no way out, and the worst thing about it is realizing that you could have done differently, but now there is no way to change it. WHERE THE WORM NEVER DIES, does that give you an understanding of what Jesus was trying to get across to those who heard Him? This is what happens, many times, to prisoners who are facing capital punishment. They may not have had much to say in the courtroom, when they were being tried, but as the weeks, and months roll by, and they begin to move them from cell to cell, moving them into death row: it has been observed that when their final week arrives, they become very nervous and lose their appetite. What is it? In their mind there is something gnawing, I had a chance to do right; I did not have to be here, but I missed my chance. Many times they are drugged, while screaming, I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die. The gas chamber, or electric chair, or firing squad, etc., will separate life from the body, but in hell that same conscience just keeps gnawing at them. The worm dieth not, and the fire of their torment, in their conscience, is not quenched. This same condition will be present for a period of time, in the lake of fire, after their final judgement at the great white throne, but for now, we are dealing with scriptures that pertain to hell, the prison in the heart of the earth. There is no one in the lake of fire yet, and please do not ask me where the lake of fire is located; I do not know, but I do know this: it will not be on this planet. It will have to be somewhere, apart from this planet. Some will say, Now Bro. Jackson, you are speculating when you say a thing like that. No, I am not speculating. It is very clear in the scriptures, that the final resurrection, which takes place in Revelation, chapter 20, will take out of the ground, and out of the sea, even out of hell itself, all traces of sin. Every wicked spirit, and everything that in any way identifies with sin, will be cast into the lake of fire. That is God’s final act in His plan of restoration for this old planet that has suffered the penalty of Adam’s sin every since the day he disobeyed God in the garden of Eden. When that final judgement is finished, and everything that defiles has been cast into the lake of fire, this old planet will be clean again. That is why we know that the lake of fire is not on this planet: if it was, there would still be those traces of sin, so that redemption and restoration would not be complete.


WHAT DO THEY SEE?


Within the past few years scientists have discovered something far out in space that they cannot distinguish for sure. It is so far away that no earthly instrument can measure its distance. They do not know whether it is another galaxy, or whether it is just an ocean of, or masses of gas, but I will never forget, when I read that article, it came to me that it very well could be the lake of fire, that God is moving into place for that day of final cleansing of this old planet. I will just leave this for you to think about. There is really no more to be said about it at this time, but we do know that there will be a lake of fire, and we are sure that it will have to be apart from the planet earth.


THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NOW


We must drop back now and finish our remarks on this scripture in St. Mark 9, for there is yet one verse that troubles people, which we have not covered. Verse 47, “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the KINGDOM OF GOD with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.” Listen to me, and be sure you catch this. Entering into the kingdom of God is now. That is our opportunity to receive eternal life. Remember Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21). How can we believe in the resurrection and the glorification of immortality, and still believe that we will come up in the resurrection with only one eye, one foot, and so on? We enter into the kingdom of God, in this life, regardless of our physical handicaps, by believing and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, then if we die before the Lord comes again, we will enter into that heavenly paradise, to await our change. On the other hand, if we have all our physical members, and find ourselves in good health, so that we can do anything we please, and we fail to surrender our lives to God; when we die, hell is waiting, and there, is that worm of our conscience activated, which gives us no rest, day nor night. While we are on the subject of the loss of physical organs, I will relate to you a little story, told to my by another pastor. It seems that he was in a camp meeting somewhere, and a certain man walked up to him and said, You know, the Lord has just given me a revelation concerning those who suffer the loss of a part of their body for the gospel’s sake. In the new life, when they receive their immortal bodies, they will be without that arm, leg, eye, or whatever member they lost for the sake of the gospel. (I suppose for a testimony, or a reminder of what they had sacrificed.) What do you think of that, he asked. This other brother, (being a very witty man) thought for just a minute, then said, Poor old John, He is going to look mighty odd, running around without his head. Some, like John, were beheaded for the gospel’s sake, but the kingdom of God is within you, now, and when we walk in the millennium, in our resurrected bodies, we will have a perfect body. It is ridiculous to think otherwise. When you consider the fact that those bodies that were buried years ago, have already decomposed, and the immortal bodies of all those dead saints will have to be called from the elements anyhow; it just doesn’t matter if parts of your body were buried in another place, or even burned. It is a very small thing for God who created all elements, to call them together from wherever they may be scattered to. Yes, we will all have perfect bodies when we walk in the millennium.


WHO WILL COME WITH JESUS?


Let us just carry our thought, concerning our resurrection bodies, right on over to 1st Thessalonians 4:13-17, where we will try to clear up another question in the minds of some. The question is this, What does it mean, where it says that God will bring those which sleep in Jesus, with Him when He comes to call the dead from their graves? We will read the scripture first, then I will explain it. 13, “Bur I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14, For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus (SAINTS FROM THE AGE OF GRACE) will God bring with Him. 15, For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16, For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17, Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Now to the question? Who will come with Jesus when He comes for the resurrection of the bride saints? Remember, we have already showed you that Christ went down into the paradise section of hell, and took all of those righteous spirits with Him when He left. Furthermore, He took them to glory with Him when He ascended. That left only the wicked spirits in hell, in the heart of the earth. Ever since that day, when a righteous person dies, (one that has found their place in God’s plan of redemption) his spirit goes right into the presence of God, into the heavenly paradise, to await the day of resurrection, which Paul was speaking of in this scripture we just read. Try to get the picture now, the spirits of those righteous ones are in heaven, and their bodies have been buried in the crust of the earth, or buried in the sea, or cremated. At any rate, they are all earthbound. But it was revealed to the apostle Paul that, when Jesus comes for the resurrection, He will bring those righteous spirits with Him, and that brings us to verse 16, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, (all the grace age righteous spirits will be with Him) with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” That will be the bodies of those spirits that are coming with Jesus. That is when their bodies, and spirits are joined back together. When that is accomplished, 17, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, (actually, it is a simultaneous occurrence) to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Those bodies will come out of the ground in immortality, and those who are alive on earth at that time will be changed, taking on immortality, and together, all will ascend, to meet the Lord in the air. Then we see the words, “And so shall we ever be with the Lord.” There is where some others miss it; they think Jesus will take His bride to heaven, and there, spend the rest of eternity. That is the farthest thing from the truth. They go to the marriage supper with Jesus, but at the end of the week of Daniel, when the great tribulation has run its course, We find all those saints coming back to earth with Jesus, to rule and reign with Him (on earth) for a thousand years. You will find all the scripture you need for that, in Revelation, chapters 19-20, especially 19:7-14 & 20:1-6. Before we move on in the message, let us turn in our Bibles, over to 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, and read what Paul had to say to the Corinthian saints about he resurrection of the dead. 51, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, (die) but we shall all be changed.” That word, WE, applies to the believers who are still alive when the grace age runs out. These will be changed; let us read verse 52. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: (that is what we read in Thessalonians) for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we (living saints, believers) shall be changed.” Now, notice the process. 53, “For this corruptible (that is the dead bodies that have rotted) must put on incorruption, (that is, to be free from physical decay) and this mortal (those who are still alive) must put on immortality. 54, So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then (after the resurrection) shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55, O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Of course, we understand that the bodies of the wicked dead will lie in the ground until after the millennium, and their spirits will remain in hell until then, but there surely is coming a day when every person that has ever died, will be resurrected. After that, there will never be any need for another grave.


FOR EVER – UNTIL THE END


Having just made mention of the millennium; this seems like a good time to bring in some scriptures that use the term, for ever, and call your attention to its actual application. Like we said in the beginning of the message: our English language understands the term for ever, to be time without an end, but in the scriptures, that is not necessarily so. Turn to Isaiah 9:7 for the first example we will use. Actually we will read the 6th verse first, to establish the thought. This is speaking of Jesus. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: (in the millennium) and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth EVEN FOR EVER.” Right here, we find the term, FOR EVER, used in a setting that we know, applies to the millennium, which is a period of one thousand years of time, not time without end. When we go right over to the 43rd chapter of Ezekiel, and read verse 7, which pertains to the same period of time as that which we have just read, we find the term, FOR EVER, used again. 7, “And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel FOR EVER, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, not their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places.” Now to show you that this period of time, is exactly that: a period of time, let us go to 1st Corinthians, chapter 15, where Paul is speaking to them of the resurrection of the dead, and when we get down to the 24th verse, we find these words. “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” That will be for a period of one thousand years. Then at the end of that period of time, verse 26 has its fulfillment, the verse which reads, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Let us go over to Revelation, chapter 20, and pick up the apostle John’s revelation of that. We will just go ahead and read these verses in connection with the others. This is pertaining to the great white throne judgment which takes place at the end of the millennial reign of Christ. Verse 11, “And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, (Christ, as the judge of all ages) from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12, And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, (the books of the deeds of men) according to their works. 13, And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14, And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” This is where death will be destroyed. There will never be another body put back in the crust of the earth. Now, that should help you to catch Paul’s revelation, which we have read from 1 Corinthians 15:24-26, and enable you to see that, for ever, does not always mean what most of us take it to mean. Keep in mind also, that even though the millennium is a time of peace and restoration, it still is not the perfect age; that comes later. In the millennium, Jesus will be ruling the nations with a rod of iron. That is because of the mortal realm of people that is repopulating the earth, and even though the devil is bound, all those mortal people still have that inherited nature, that just naturally rebels against God. That is why the devil must be loosed for a little season at the end of the one thousand years; all those who are born while he is bound up, will have to be tested before the final judgment. Those who do not submit to Christ will follow the devil, and will have to be destroyed, along with all the rest of the wicked people, from every age of time. Jesus Christ will grant life to all who submit to Him for He has the authority to do so. You will remember that He said in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” That means He can grant life to whomsoever He will. It also means that He can, and will, raise from the crust of the earth, both the righteous and the wicked; He is the resurrection. He is redemption, and resurrection is a part of redemption. Saints: I realize that maybe this message just sounds like so much going around and around, but we are just endeavoring to follow the process of events that are to transpire, and in so doing, cause you to see that hell is not an eternal place. As we said before: these are not salvation truths that you would expect to hear in an evangelistic message, but the bride of Christ will be straight on all these controversial issues before she leaves the ground in immortality. Furthermore, let it be clearly understood that Faith Assembly is not a church that only teaches the salvation side of the word of God. We believe Christians ought to know what is in the Bible, and who it applies to. If you disagree with what we teach, I ask, only, that you study the scriptures we call to your attention, and keep an open mind, so that God may have opportunity to reveal His word to you. We could never list all of the scriptures that could be used to establish what we are teaching, and we are trusting God to bear witness of this fact to every believer who reads our paper.


RESURRECTION


Before we bring in the scriptures that deal with the word, EVERLASTING, let us go to Revelation, chapter 20, and establish the 3rd phase of the first resurrection. Matthew tells of the 1st phase. That was when the Old Testament righteous one’s were raised at the time of Jesus’ resurrection. Then Paul tells of the 2nd phase in Thessalonians. That is when the bride of Christ is raised, but now we want to see what the apostle John had to say about the 3rd phase of the first resurrection. Verse 1, “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. (Notice what he does, and remember, this is symbolic language.) 2, And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (or for a thousand years.) 3, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: (This verse tells us where the Devil is, during the millennium) and after that he must be loosed a little season.” Pay attention to verse 4, for it holds the key to our understanding the 3rd phase of the resurrection of believers. 4, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.” This is the bride saints that came back with Jesus after the marriage supper is finished. Rev. 19:14. John is seeing all this in a vision, and the remainder of verse 4, identifies a group of people who were martyred for their faith, and lets us see that they are resurrected before the millennium starts, for they LIVE and REIGN with Christ for a thousand years. Let us read it. “And I saw the souls of them that were BEHEADED for the WITNESS OF JESUS, (FOOLISH VIRGINS) and for the WORD OF GOD, (JEWS THAT DO NOT KNOW WHO JESUS IS) and which had NOT WORSHIPED THE BEAST, neither HIS IMAGE, neither had received his MARK UPON THEIR FOREHEADS, or in their HANDS.” This lets us know that they were beheaded during the great tribulation period, for that is the only time in history when mankind will be required to receive a mark for identity, and also, to worship the image of the beast. “And they (those who had been beheaded) LIVED (that is resurrection) and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” There is only one place for the resurrection of this group, if they are going to live and reign with Christ for a thousand years: That is between the great tribulation and the beginning of the one thousand year reign. John says these people were beheaded, and it was because of their faith in God, but when he sees them, they have already been resurrected, and I assure you, every one of them had their head when John saw them. This very scripture should settle the question about whether those who have lost members of their body in this life will be without those members in the life to come. If these had their heads back on, then those who have lost hands, arms, legs, eyes, and so forth, will have all their members back when they come up in the resurrection. Some may say, Why did you bring that up again? We are printing this message in an effort to help those who want to be set free from their traditional teaching by knowing the truth, and there are still a lot of people who disagree with the idea of a resurrection between the tribulation, and the millennium. This gives us a chance to emphasize the fact that there is going to be, literally, thousands, killed during that tribulation hour which is just ahead. They will refuse to worship the beast and his image, and they will refuse to take his damning mark in their hands and upon their foreheads. This will cause them to be beheaded, but it will seal their testimony of their faith in God. When John first saw this great multitude, (recorded in chapter 7:9-17) the angel which spoke with him, identified them saying, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple.” Verse 9 speaks of them as being a great multitude which no man could number, yet, in the churches of our day, people are being taught that all who believe in God will be raptured when Jesus comes to take his bride. Can you now begin to see why we need to present the word of God (in its revealed form) to people who have been taught in such ways? We may as well face up to it: there is a great multitude of people (living on earth right today) who believe in God, but will not go in the rapture when Jesus comes, for the simple reason, that they will not settle down to be taught the revelated word of God. They will not be dressed properly when the rapture takes place, so they will have to stay here to be killed by the beast. Where will their soul’s go? Their souls go to glory, but their bodies must go into the ground until the time for their resurrection, just before the millennium begins. We can see that they are not bride people, but they do live and reign in eternal life, with Christ. Therefore, when their bodies are raised from the ground, that will leave only the bodies of the wicked dead to remain in the ground until after the millennium reign of Christ. This is what verse 5, in the 20th chapter of Revelation shows us. “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” This also lets us see that the first resurrection is in phases, for according to this, all who will be resurrected before the millennium, are in the first resurrection: “on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”


EVERLASTING – How Long?


We will have more to say on some of what we have talked about already, but now I want to dwell for a little while on the word, or term, EVERLASTING. We find this word used throughout the Bible, and in most instances where it is used it is speaking of time without an end, or of God who is eternal, without beginning, or end, but there are a few instances where it is used, and cannot possibly be taken to mean time without an end. These are the ones we want to concentrate on for just a little while hoping to clear up some other areas where tradition has had the preeminence over the scriptures. Just for a few examples, Matt. 18:8 speaks of everlasting fire, and Matt. 25:46, of everlasting punishment, while 2 Thessalonians 1:9, speaks of everlasting destruction, all in connection with the wicked and ungodly who do not obey the word of God. Just looking at these scriptures we have mentioned ought to open your eyes somewhat, for how can you have everlasting punishment, and everlasting destruction, at the same time, still holding to our English understand of the word? In other words, take Matt. 25:46: If everlasting, in that verse is to be thought of as time without end, then those who were sentenced to everlasting punishment, could never be destroyed. But we know that the scriptures teach that the wicked will be destroyed in the lake of fire. Their destruction will be in the same sense that a stick of wood is destroyed when you cast it into the fire. It is not annihilated immediately, therefore if it had feelings like we do, Would it not be expressing itself as it burned? Of course it would, but there would come a time when it would be completely consumed; then there would be no more expression. The difference between burning a stick of wood in your stove, and God burning these souls in the lake of fire is this, The atoms that make up the piece of wood will not be destroyed, but it is the purpose of God to rid the earth of every trace of sin and wickedness, so, after a period of time, in which they will suffer, they will be completely annihilated. Every trace of them will cease to be. In Revelation 20:14, John called this the second death. Why? Not only will life be separated from the body, but the individuality of that life itself will be completely destroyed in the lake of fire. Do not ask me how long those souls will be left to suffer before they are finally disintegrated; I do not know. That is God’s business, and His alone. In verse 12, John says, “And I saw the dead, small (that is servant type people) and great, (these would be the kingly type, or upper class) stand before God; and the books were opened.” This is a time when mankind will be judged according to their deeds in life, and that judgment will reach all the way back to the first family on earth. In other words, it will cover the whole scope of time between Adam and the end of the millennium. Only those who have already been resurrected, and dwell in immortality, will be exempted form the last resurrection, and God’s final judgment. Remember, this judgment takes place after the one thousand year reign of Christ with his resurrected saints from all former ages, after Satan has been loose for a little season, and after he has had opportunity to gather up a great host of people from all nations through his deception. Verse 8 allows us to see that the number of those he deceives, is as the sand of the sea, but their lives are cut short when they join forces with Satan, for the first thing he does is gather his great army against the people of God, and God causes fire to come down from out of heaven and devour every one of them.


CREMATION


From the standpoint of the resurrection, people have asked many questions, and one of them is, What about the people that are cremated? Are they not approximately 87 percent water? Where does the water go? The water does not go down into the fire. In the process of cremation, the extreme heat causes all the liquid of the body to vaporize and go off in a gaseous form. Every element that was used in the makeup of that body returns to its original form. Every atom remains, and only the carbon itself is left to make up the ashes, but when it comes time for that body to be resurrected, God will not have any trouble reforming that body. For Him, it will be just as easy to resurrect a body that has been burned, as it will be to resurrect one that has completely decomposed over a period of time. Let me say this, When the wicked are cast into the lake of fire, it will be for the purpose of destroying every trace of body, soul, and spirit. Every atom used in the makeup of those individuals will be completely destroyed.


SPIRIT OF ETERNAL LIFE


Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about being born again, and Nicodemus did not understand how that could be possible, thinking only from the standpoint of the natural, for he did not understand that Jesus spoke of a spiritual condition. That still remains to be a great mystery to the man of the world, for it is only understood properly, by those who have experienced it. God gives every person a chance to do right, just like He did with Cain in the beginning, but if we, as individuals, do not surrender our lives to God, and allow Him to place that seal of eternal life (His Spirit) within us, we are destined to be utterly and completely destroyed in the lake of fire. When we are born again, we receive the Spirit of God, (the Holy Ghost) which places us in a state of eternal, or everlasting existence. Keep in mind the fact that the word eternal, means, without beginning, and without end. Only God is eternal; therefore when we read in the scriptures, (John 3:15-16) “That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” That means, He will place His spirit (which is eternal) within us, and that gives us, as individuals, everlasting life. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” In this particular use of the word, EVERLASTING, it truly does mean time without end, for when we receive the Spirit of God, it makes us so that we will never die. Now what did we say? When one receives eternal life, that means he has received the life of God, (God is spirit) and even though that man had a beginning, with the life of the eternal God in him, he will have no end. I hope this is clear to you, for we are dealing with the various uses of certain words, in an attempt to show you that hell is not eternal, as some refer to it, and neither is it everlasting, in the sense of having no end, for I believe we have sufficient scripture to establish the fact that hell will have an end. You say, Bro. Jackson, why is mankind so long in finding this out? It is because of the way this Gentile society has treated the Gospel. They have built their seminaries and great institutions of learning, (please understand that I am not speaking against education, nor intellectualism) but there is not one of those places upon the face of this earth, that has been instrumental in bringing forth a true revelation to mankind. They are institutions that have been built around the teaching of some man that had an inspiration from God. Somewhere in his dedicated life with God, he received an understanding that stood apart from tradition. Naturally, he acquired some followers as he began to teach from his new understanding, and eventually, that lead to a denomination, an organizing of those who believe that teaching, and today we have hundreds of different religious denominations in the world, and most of them have their schools, but not one of those schools has produced a genuine revelation. They are built around theory and supposition, and their very approach to God, (intellectualism) limits them to just that.


LUCIFER – THE DEVIL


Now we have some more scriptures we want to get cleared up in this message, so turn with me to Isaiah 14:12-15. What we are looking at here, is the word hell, but let us read the whole thing. 12, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to HELL to the sides of the pit.” Somewhere in the ages past Lucifer was a righteous angel, but his attempt to make himself equal with God, caused God to cast him down to the earth. His domain became the heart of the earth, Hell became his place of confinement, his headquarters. Then later, God made the man, Adam, then Eve, to be with Adam, and placed them in the garden to have dominion over this planet. If they had obeyed God, they would have remained in complete control of the earth, and everything on earth would have been under their rulership, but when they sinned, they forfeited their right to have supreme authority over spiritual forces, as well as natural forces. In other words they sold their right of authority, and who do you suppose fell heir to that authority when they had to give it up? Old Lucifer of course, and he has continued to exercise his evil will on this old earth ever since. Since he was the one that introduced sin, and the penalty of that sin is death, we will have to say that he is the author of death itself. Now, as we said earlier, before Calvary, every soul went to hell when death came, regardless of whether they were righteous, or wicked. I know how some people will look at you when you say that, but it is true anyway. That is why David said, Thou will not leave my soul in hell. He was looking forward to Calvary, knowing that God would do something to deliver him from imprisonment in hell. David’s soul was truly delivered from hell by that which was accomplished at Calvary, but Lucifer, that old devil, is still the great prince of all evil in the world, and he is exercising his will on natural mankind in our day at a very much escalated pace. He knows his time is short. God is a spiritual power for good, and Satan is a spiritual power for evil. armor of godThat is why the apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, chapter 6, verses 11-12, “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, 12, For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Our greatest battles in this life as we try to live for God are not with flesh and blood people; they are with the spiritual forces of darkness. It is true, Satan does use people to come against us, but the real battle is with spiritual forces that cannot be seen.


JUDGMENT OF MATTHEW 25


Let us go now, to the gospel of Matthew for another of the scriptures that trouble many people. This will be in connection with the judgment that takes place in the last part of chapter 25. Many have asked, Where is this judgment going to take place? Others ask, When will it take place? Then others want to know who will be judged. To answer the first question, (WHERE) let it be clearly understood that it is to take place right here on earth. Then the second question (WHEN) is one that many have trouble keeping straight on. It will take place after Christ and His bride saints have returned to the earth, after the marriage supper, and after the great tribulation has run its course. Christ and His bride will be back on earth in their immortal bodies, and the answer to (WHO) will be judged, is this, All the nations of the world will be judged, that is, all the living, (mortal people) who are still on earth after the tribulation, will be gathered together and judged to see who is worthy to live in the millennium age. I know you will not find the word, millennium, mentioned in the Bible, but, as we have said, it is a word that means one thousand, and the scriptures do mention one thousand years, as the number of years that Christ and His immortal saints will rule and reign on earth. Therefore, we are to see this judgment in Matthew 25:31-46, as taking place between the great tribulation, and the start of the millennium. This is not the great white throne judgment; there are no books opened here in this chapter. It is strictly limited to selecting a number of mortal people from each nation who will be left alive to repopulate the earth in the millennium. Let us read some of it now. Verse 31, “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory.” Now, to sit on the throne of His glory, is to sit on the throne of King David, fulfilling the promise God gave to David concerning David and his seed. The exact location where Christ will sit, is in Jerusalem, naturally. 32, “And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.” They will be judged, exclusively on their social and moral principles. After separating them into two groups, (verse 34) “Then shall the King (Jesus) say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37, Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?” Notice now, everyone of these things that were mentioned are just basic things that a good moral person, or persons, would do in their natural every day life. These are traits of good social and moral character, and have nothing at all to do with the people being Christians. Christianity does not even enter into this judgment; it is based solely upon the character and actions of these people, especially at a time when certain people were really being persecuted. I am talking about all those people that the Antichrist and his beast system will have tried to kill and abuse, during the great tribulation hour that they will have just come through. Notice how Jesus answers them. 40, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” All of man’s words, and deeds, are open before the Lord. There is nothing hid from Him. He sees the good and the bad, and He does not have to write it down in a book to remember it. The books that are opened at the great white throne judgment, will not be books as you and I think of books. This is figurative language to enable us to realize that God keeps a perfectly accurate record. Before moving on to the fate of the wicked, let us notice how perfectly the words of Paul to the saints at Thessalonica match verse 31, here in Matthew 25. What Paul describes in 2nd Thessalonians 1:7-9, are the events that take place just prior to the judgment we are talking about. 7, “And to you who are trouble rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, (That is what Matt. 25:31 states) In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with EVERLASTING DESTRUCTION from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.” The first thing He does is lay hold on the spirit of Antichrist, who is the false prophet, and the spirit of the beast system, and cast those two spirits into the lake of fire. You will find that in Rev. 19:20, if you care to read it. When those two spirits (fallen angels) are cast into the lake of fire, the darkest hour of man’s history will be brought to a close. Jesus will take His throne and begin setting up His righteous kingdom. As the nations of mortal people pass before Him, He will be selecting a number of people from among them, who are fit to be His subject people in the millennium. Please do not misunderstand this judgment, for there are those who believe it will include people from the complete grace age. That is not true; there will be no resurrected people judged in this judgment. I want to state emphatically, that only mortal people will be judged here, and it is based upon how they reacted to the desperate need of the brethren of the Lord Jesus during that dark tribulation hour. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” After that He turns to those on His left hand and says, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into EVERLASTING FIRE, prepared for the devil and his angels.” It sounds like they are immediately cast into the lake of fire, but that is not the case at all. That will not happen until the thousand years are completed. The only thing that is cast into the lake of fire before the millennium, is the two spirits we just mentioned. This is their potential, (those on the left hand) for if they are not found fit to live through the millennium, they will not be fit to live after the millennium, so we may as well look at it as though they have been judged already. Can you see that? Even though they will be raised to stand before the great white throne judgment one thousand years later, they will already know what their fate is to be. Now, even though verse 41, declares that the lake of fire was prepared for the devil and his angels, remember, they are not in the lake of fire when this judgment is taking place. You can see why one must bring in other related scriptures on a study like this, or they might get something done a thousand years too soon. The two spirits that are immediately cast into the lake of fire when Jesus returns to earth are two of the chiefest fallen angels, of the great host that was cast down from heaven with Lucifer, but even though they were powerful, Satan still remains to be the ruler over all of them. We will just say that they are two spirits of the devil, one of them allowed to be characterized in the form of so called Christianity. The other one in that combined world system, called the beast. Brothers and sisters, the unifying of Europe, (the rapid rate in which they are coming together) lets me know that the beast of Revelation 13 is rising fast.


CATHOLICISM WILL RIDE COMMUNISM


One sister in the congregation spoke recently of something written to her in a letter from a sister down in Florida. It seems that during the time when the whole world was speculating on who was likely to be the next pope, she heard a statement made by one of the great leaders within the Catholic church. The statement went something like this, The church (meaning Catholicism) will ride communism to gain world attention. That is exactly what we read in Revelation, chapter 17, and remember, that did not come from the lips of a Protestant. That came from a Catholic dignitary. Saints, I do not know what your religious background has been, nor what your political affiliation may be. That is of no interest to me, but I want you to know that this old world is fast moving toward the end of this Gentile era. There is a little nation across the water that is just like a time bomb, and they have a leader, named Menachem Begin, that is very determined to do everything the Bible way. The rest of the world exerts pressure in an effort to gain a compromise, but to this date, Israel is still holding her ground. Not only is she continuing to build settlements on the West Bank, but she has also determined not to allow any more foreign troops to be used as a buffer between them and their enemy. We do not have the space to go into that, but, saints, I beg you: shake yourselves, and realize that this book (the Bible) is being fulfilled in current events right before our eyes. We have preached, and published messages, trying to show you that, even though communism and Christianity have always been bitter enemies of each other, in the end, Catholicism, (which is the great whore of Revelation, chapter 17) will ride Communism until she (Catholicism, the whore) shall be made desolate, stripped and burned, by the horns of the very beast that she is riding upon. The world beast system, as it runs its course, will become so politically, communist oriented, that Catholicism will be swallowed up by it. That is why we see the 10 major countries of Europe having such upheaval, and such drastic changes in their form of government. Communist power, and influence, is rising in those governments, and stands a threat to the now existing power of Catholicism within those governments. That is why the Christian Democratic party in those countries has been taking such a beating: we are getting close to the end.


I have said, many times, When the hour arrives for that false prophet (religious prince, Antichrist) to move on the scene, he will update Catholicism to make it more acceptable to the world at large, but in doing so, he will become so politically oriented that he will be the very cause of Catholicism meeting her doom, when that beast system has run its course. When we speak of the beast system, please understand that we are referring to the world order, the ruling power as Gentile time runs out, made up of Catholicism and united Protestantism, which is combined to rule the world, and the Pope of Roman Catholicism will be in command. That is the time when he will fulfill his identified role as the Antichrist, but the sad part of it all is, that his teachings have been Antichrist all down through the ages, and in these last days organized Protestantism is too blind to recognize it, therefore they join forces with him. It will be a dark hour for mankind, but after it has run its prophesied course, Jesus will return with His great army and destroy all of man’s works, casting those two spirits, immediately, into the lake of fire. This brings us (in time) back to the judgment we are speaking on, in Matthew 25. We are just trying to pull into this message, related events that will help to establish the chain of events that are just ahead, as well as a time factor for them to take place.


PACIFICATION AND DECEPTION


Saints, do you realize that if Jesus was to come back to earth in the same way He did 2000 years ago, preach the same as He did then, teach and live the same, this Gentile religious system would be the ones to say, Crucify him? Do you know why? It is because their teaching is Antichrist. They will hold their creeds and dogmas, above the revelation of God’s word every time. Religion is a cruel thing; there is no life in it. Gentile organized religion is nothing more than the devil’s pacification program, designed to deceive people into believing they have eternal life. That is what we read in Revelation: that the devil which deceiveth the whole world, was cast out into the earth. Ever since God placed Adam and Eve in the garden, the devil has carried on a program of deception among mankind. Let us read three verses from the 19th chapter of Revelation that will help clarify the chain of events of Christ’s return to earth. Verse 19, “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. 20, And the BEAST (the spirit of the beast) was taken, and with him the FALSE PROPHET that wrought miracles before him, with which he DECEIVED them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 and the remnant were SLAIN with the SWORD of Him (JESUS) that sat upon the horse, which SWORD proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” Now, we have been talking about a judgment where Jesus will select an element of living people to rule over in the millennium, as they repopulate the earth. The verses we have just read, enable us to see what happens to all those who are not fit to live during that time. The King (Jesus Christ) will smite them to death with the sword of His mouth. All the wicked are physically slain, before the millennium starts, but they are not cast into the lake of fire until after the millennium, when the great white throne is set. How does He kill them? With the sword of His mouth. Does that make Him a sword swallower? Absolutely not! This is symbolic language. Think of how Paul spoke to the Hebrew Christians, (Heb. 4:12) “FOR THE WORD OF GOD IS QUICK, AND POWERFUL, AND SHARPER THAN ANY TWO-EDGED SWORD, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The sharp two-edged sword that Jesus slays the wicked with, is the word of judgment that proceeds out of His mouth. He speaks them to death. You can get a little preview of that kind of judgment, from the account of the deception of Ananias and his wife Sapphira, recorded in Acts 5:1-11. No one laid a hand on either one of them until after they were already dead. That is how it will be when Jesus speaks to the wicked at His return to earth. To slay the remnant, as it says in 19:21, is to slay the wicked, those that are left after the righteous selection has been made. I realize that it is very difficult to get these events laid out in a way that makes it easy to see, but we are depending upon the Holy Ghost to clarify these things for you. Some of the scriptures we read would lead a person to believe that Jesus comes riding out of the sky on a literal, white horse, and slays every wicked person with one great sweep of His great sword. John saw these things in the spirit, but he did not record them detail for detail in chronological order. That is why we must depend upon the Holy Ghost to lead us, as we collect the various verses together to complete the picture. John just saw all the wicked slain, but let me remind you that it does not all happen at once.


COMMUNIST FIGHTING COMMUNISTS


During the last half of that week of Daniel, when that beastly world order is in full swing, persecuting and killing those who refuse to take the mark of the beast, the kings of the East (Oriental Communists) will begin to make their way to the Middle East, their armies numbering about two million. As they gather there (their purpose being to take a spoil and conquer) the stage will be set for the battle of Armageddon. When that battle gets under way, you will have the Oriental Communist forces fighting against the communist armies of Western Europe. Russia will no longer be a great world power as she is now. She will already have had her whipping from the Almighty, when she came against Israel before the week of Daniel, to fulfill Ezekiel, chapters 38 & 39, and God kills all but one-sixth part of her invading armies. Now as that week of Daniel runs out, and the battle of Armageddon is raging: This is when Jesus and His great army from heaven, returns to earth. At that time, the scripture we read from 2 Thes. 1:7-9, speaking of Jesus being revealed from heaven, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, will be fulfilled. Those wicked armies will be destroyed, and the means of their destruction will give occasion for the fulfillment of the scriptures in Isaiah and Malachi, which scriptures caused Brother Branham to make the statement about the righteous walking out into the Millennium upon the ashes of the wicked. That is because they will be burned to death. But please do not think all of the unrighteous will be killed at that time. They will not. There has to be people left alive to fulfill this scripture we are dealing with in Matthew 25, and then, in Rev. 19:21. If Jesus kills all but the ones who will live in the millennium, when He is climaxing the battle of Armageddon; there would be no one left to fulfill this scripture. By this very scripture, we establish the setting on earth just prior to the millennial reign of Christ, on earth. We read down through verse 41, where the King said to those on His left hand, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into EVERLASTING FIRE, prepared for the devil and his angels,” and you will notice from the verses following that, the very reason they were placed on His left hand in the first place, was because they had failed to do the humanly moral deeds that the group on His right hand were rewarded for doing. This group is heard asking a similar question to the one the righteous group asked: Lord, When was it like you say it was? He answers them (verse 45) saying, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” This lets me know that these people are separated and judged strictly by the deeds they did or failed to do. Those on His right hand are not to be thought of as though they believed and accepted Christ, and that was the reason they were rewarded for He plainly tells them that it is because of the way they had showed compassion and ministered to His brethren in their desperate needs, that they, themselves, received mercy. He also makes it clear to the other group that it is because of their lack of compassion, and their failure to do what seems like very humanly deeds that sealed their doom. 46, “And these shall go away into EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT: but the righteous into life eternal.” As I said earlier, their fate, (the lake of fire) is actually pronounced upon them right there but they are not going into the lake of fire until after the one thousand years has run its course. At this particular time, He speaks death to them, (by the sword of His mouth) their soul goes into HELL, (the prison place in the heart of the earth) where they will be punished, until they are resurrected one thousand years later, and cast into the lake of fire to be destroyed completely. During that time their bodies will be confined to the crust of the earth where all the other bodies of the wicked are held. By the time the millennium starts, all three phases of the first resurrection will be completed. Only the bodies of the wicked will be left in the ground, and the souls of all the wicked will remain in hell.


DEGREES OF PUNISHMENT


Most of you have heard me teach that, just as there are degrees, or different levels of reward for those who live in eternal life, so also will there be different degrees of punishment for the wicked before they are finally destroyed completely. When final destruction comes, punishment and suffering will be over with. For this group in Matthew 25:41, I have looked at it like this, These are people that, even though you could not consider them to be mean people, they somehow just never did have any time for God. We have all known people like that. They would not cheat you for anything in the world. They believe in paying their bills, and they are just as honest as the day is long, but when you start talking to them about God, they are no more interested than a jack rabbit. In fact, they will become offended if you talk too much about God in their presence. Some of these intellectual, business dignitaries, which you could never class as being mean people, are exactly like the ones we are talking about. They do not go around trying to make life miserable for other people, but they are quick to say, I have never done anything wrong; Why would I need to repent? The fact of the matter is, God’s word says, All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23). We are born with an inherited nature to sin. The attributes of sin are passed on to us in birth, so that we are born a sinner. The very fact that a person does not want to repent, does not want to live for God, or even to talk about Him, proves that they are a sinner. The Bible says that God created man in His own image and likeness, and our own natural lives prove that we like to talk about our daddy once in a while. Is that not right? You show me a boy that does not like to talk about his daddy, and I will show you a rascal. To go a step further, you show me a man who feels that he has no need to repent, and regardless of how honest he may be, or how high he may be on the social ladder, and regardless of how many degrees he may have listed on his achievement record, I will still show you a rascal, for that is a man who feels that he is so good already, that he has no need for God. You may say, Bro. Jackson: That is a little strong, isn’t it? No! I repeat: I will show you a rascal. The Bible clearly teaches that all our righteousness are as filthy rags before God. As you read the first three chapters of Romans: you find the apostle Paul speaking explicitly about such people who have no time for God. I realize Paul covers the whole scope of man’s unrighteous ways in those chapters, and we are not calling such people as these in Matthew 25, murderers, gamblers, nor anything like that, but the self righteous man who trusts in his own goodness, is just as far from God as any murderer will ever be. Consider for instance, Sodom and Gomorrah: The people in those cities were not all abominable perverts, but because they had no time for God, they were all in the same boat; they all perished together. Therefore when we consider the lake of fire, and maybe feel that we know some who ought not be judged so severely even though they will not serve God: let us remember: there is no middle ground. A person will either be blessed with the righteous, or that person will be condemned with the wicked. You may say, Where is the justice of God then? I will try to show you. First, let me say this, God grants mercy to every soul that genuinely repents, regardless of how bad that person may have been, but where there is no repentance, that person must be judged with the wicked. Now I will try to show you something. We will use for an example, the man who went into the Chicago apartments some years ago, with a gun and a knife, and killed those nurses. I am sure many of you remember the case. He went in there, killed them, and then he cut them to pieces. I can see a man like that, as he goes into the lake of fire, lie there just like an old wet blanket. If you can catch what I am getting at: you will see that there are degrees of punishment, even in the lake of fire. This man’s spirit being so evil, if he never found any place of repentance before God, when he is cast into the lake of fire he would be just like a wet blanket, or a soggy piece of wood. He will lie there in the flames and smolder, and all the time he is lying there: that worm of remorse will be gnawing at his conscience. He may lie there smoldering in torment for a thousand years, or even a million years, I have no idea how long God will see fit to punish such a person. I am sure of this, though, He will hear the screams of those nurses over and over again as that worm of remorse gnaws at his conscience day and night. On the other hand, these people who were never so evil in their ways, those who morally, were real decent people: I believe God will allow them to burn up rapidly when they are cast into the fire, not having much to be punished for. That is little consolation, and a very thin thread for a person without God in his life, to hang on to, when you stop to think that such people are eternally separated from God, or for the sake of proper terminology, we will say they are everlastingly separated from God. In this instance the word, everlasting, truly means for ever, and for ever without an end. Their separation from God is without an end, for when their punishment is completed, every trace of them will be completely obliterated. That is why we say, HELL IS NOT ETERNAL, and that is why we say also, that even the lake of fire will serve its purpose and be needed no more. As for the degrees of punishment: God would be very unjust as a judge, if he gave every person the same degree of punishment. He is just, in destroying every one of them, but he would be very unjust, if He punished everyone the same.


REWARDS FOR THE RIGHTEOUS


Let me back up my statement about degrees of punishment, by showing you that God rewards the righteous by degrees, according to their works and faithfulness in life, and you should realize that God’s principles remain the same. He is not affected by emotions in His rewards, and His judgment. Let us first read 2nd Cor. 5:9-10, “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him. 10, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” This is strictly a judgment of the righteous, to determine the degree of their rewards in the life beyond this life, and it is determined by the measure of obedience and submission to the will of God in this present life. There are some who work hard trying to do something for God, but much of their labor is through fleshly zeal, and not a result of the leading of the Lord; therefore their reward will not necessarily be the greatest. Let us look at a few verses in 1st Corinthians, chapter 15, now. In this chapter Paul is presenting revelated facts about the resurrection of the dead, and of the different resurrection glories. We will pick up the reading in verse 40, and read through verse 42. “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the GLORY of the celestial is one, and the Glory of the terrestrial is another. 41, There is one GLORY of the Sun, and another GLORY of the moon, and another GLORY of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in GLORY, 42, So also is the resurrection of the dead, It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.” Now, if you can see it there; the apostle is saying that, just as the sun, moon, and stars all have a different degree of glory, so will it be also, with those who are resurrected from the dead to dwell with Christ in the realm of eternal life. The bride will have the highest level of reward, for she will have become one with Him, (Christ) and will reign with Him as His queen. Certainly there are other scriptures that we could read from the standpoint of various levels of reward for the righteous, but I believe this is sufficient to get our thinking pointed in the right direction. Revelation 20:12 shows books being opened at the great white throne judgment after the millennium, and the dead are judged out of those things which are written in the books, according to their works; therefore if there were no degrees of punishment; the books would be unnecessary, since they are all to be cast into the lake of fire after their sentence is pronounced upon them. Then the 13th verse which we used earlier to show you that hell is to be emptied of all its captives at this judgment, also states that every one of them were judged according to their works, and the 14th verse shows that everything that comes up from the graves, the sea, and hell itself, is cast into the lake of fire. Matthew 25:41 calls this EVERLASTING FIRE, and 25:46 refers to this punishment as EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT, and the apostle Paul in 2nd Thess. 1:9, refers to this last state of wicked mankind as EVERLASTING DESTRUCTION FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD, and from the glory of His power. Since God is life, and that life is omnipresent, these people who are cast into the lake of fire will have to be completely annihilated, after their allotted time of punishment, in order to be EVERLASTINGLY DESTROYED from the presence of the Lord. Therefore there will eventually come a time when the lake of fire has no further use. We must reconcile these various uses of certain words and terms, for we are fully persuaded that there is no contradiction in the revelatory teaching in the word of God.


EVERLASTING GOSPEL


For another use of the word, EVERLASTING, let us go to the 14th chapter of Revelation, verse 6, where we read, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the EVERLASTING GOSPEL to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” We have recently published an article showing what the everlasting gospel is, who preaches it, and what affect it will have on the inhabitants of the earth at that time, but right now, I am only referring to it in order to pull out the terminology that pertains to our present subject. Understanding the setting here lets us know what this everlasting gospel pertains to, and how much time to allot to it. I suppose there are some who read that verse and say, When that angel flies in the heavens, he will preach a gospel that will last for ever. That is a wrong understanding of this verse. If you will read the next four verses, and find out what the message of that gospel is, you will know that it is for a certain period of time. If it was to be preached continuously, throughout the endless ages, then there would never be a millennium. This is the last gospel that will ever be preached to the inhabitants of the earth, and its message is for a short period of time: giving mankind one last chance to recognize the source of eternal life. It is because of this gospel that Jesus is fully justified when He comes from heaven in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God. There will not be one individual engaged in the battle of Armageddon that can say he had no chance to obey God, for, listen, as I reread a part of verse 6, that tells who this last gospel was preached to. “Having the EVERLASTING GOSPEL to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, AND TO EVERY NATION, AND KINDRED, AND TONGUE, AND PEOPLE,” (that includes them all). Let us read on down through here now, and hear the message of these angels, and you will know why I said men had one last chance before judgment fell. This is no longer a gospel of grace for the purpose of sealing a Gentile bride for the Lord Jesus Christ, she will already be at the marriage supper when this everlasting gospel begins to be proclaimed in the middle of the week of Daniel. Here is what is being declared with a loud voice, verse 7, “Fear God, and give Glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 8, And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen (they are pronouncing judgment upon spiritual Babylon) that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. 9, And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man WORSHIP THE BEAST and his IMAGE, and RECEIVE HIS MARK IN HIS FOREHEAD, OR IN HIS HAND, 10, The same (those who are guilty) shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone (notice this now) in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” We know this message will not be proclaimed after the millennium starts, for it will no longer be needed. The beast and the false prophet will already be in the lake of fire, and the devil himself will already be chained up, for he is chained before the millennium starts. Therefore the term, EVERLASTING GOSPEL, only applies in the sense that it is the last message of good news that will ever give man a chance to turn to God. You will notice also, that the massage contained a warning against being identified with the beast in any way. That message would be of no benefit after the tribulation is over.


COMMON MARKET CURRENCY


In connection with the beast, let me say to you, That beast system is rapidly forming for its end time role in the history of mankind. We have read in the newspaper that the nations of Europe already have printed up, and ready to use, a Common Market currency. The article stated that, because of the decline in the value of the American dollar, it is believed that the hour is approaching when it will be necessary for the Common Market nations to begin using a common currency, one that would replace the German marc, the French franc, the Italian lira, the British pound, and all other individual currencies, so that one common currency would be acceptable to all. Saints: the world is getting close to the hour of that beast system. The ten horns are taking their place, and with Israel where she is, along with what we see in the realm of religion, and especially in the Catholic church, we know that the living element of the people of God are on the verge of being shook hard enough to get all their old Babylonian ideas shook loose from them, and allow them to get hold of the word of God. In Canada, many of the stores have already converted to a cashless system, and many more will soon follow. This is not the mark of the beast, just because it required those to participate to have an identifying number, but it is a forerunner, preparing the world for the mark, when it is time for it to be introduced. We will not dwell on this, for we are dealing with another message, and there are a few more things that I would like to point out to you from the scriptures we have read. In verse 10 of chapter 14, we read something that seems contradictory to a verse we read from 2nd Thessalonians 1:9, and I want to be sure that there is no misunderstanding about it. Paul said the wicked would be punished with EVERLASTING DESTRUCTION FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD. Then John says they will be tormented with fire and brimstone IN THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY ANGELS, AND IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LAMB. Do we have a contradiction between two verses? No, there is no contradiction. Here is the beauty of it. God is Spirit; He is invisible, but He is the source of all life, and He is the supreme ruler of the whole universe. Everything rests in Him. If He ever rejects you; you do not have life; therefore when He rejects you from His presence, figuratively, it means that you are destined to perish, for you are without the source of life. On the other hand, to look at what John said about the wicked being tormented in the presence of the angels, and in the presence of the Lamb, we have to realize that God has always dealt with man through the ministry of angels, and the shed blood of the Lamb was the price of our redemption. The redemption that God offers to mankind, was purchased by the shedding of the blood of the Lamb which is Jesus Christ. In order for us to be reconciled to God, there is a process which we must pass through, and that process is brought about by the ministration of angels. When we carry that thought to Hebrews 1:7, where it is speaking of these angelic spirits, we read, “And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.” Then in verse 14, we read, “Are they not all ministering spirits, (still speaking of the angels) sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” You do not see those angels, but they are ever present with us. Our lives are constantly affected by these angelic beings. You may say, Bro. Jackson: I thought it was the Lord that is ever present with us. It is; but please do not overlook the fact that God has delegated the responsibility of ministering to His children, to His angels. Now I will tell you how all this fits in with what we are considering. If a person constantly turns his back on the wooing feelings that would lead him to God: there will come a day when it is everlastingly too late for him to find a place of repentance. He will die in his sins, be tormented in hell, and then when he is finally resurrected and cast into the lake of fire; he will suffer day and night in that fire of destruction, with gnawing consciousness that he had a chance to be reconciled to God and he spurned it. He will be constantly reminded; there are those angels, there is the Lamb; in other words, he will be constantly conscious of the fact that he rejected, one time too many, the very avenue back into the presence of the Lord. That is how the angels and the Lamb are present while the wicked soul is being tormented. It is in his conscience, that gnawing worm that dieth not. Some will say, But if he was not foreknown of God; he could not have been saved anyway. Well, that is right, if you keep foreknowledge in its proper place. A person is not condemned because of God’s foreknowledge. He is condemned because he was offered a chance to receive eternal life, and he rejected it, and the foreknowledge of God is what let Him (God) know that the man would reject his chance, even before the world was created. In other words, foreknowledge does not deny the man his chance, but foreknowledge does let God know ahead of time what that man will do with his chance.


MINISTRY OF THE ANGELS


I want to make it perfectly clear that we don not make a practice of preaching on angels, but if we are to have a proper revelation of the scriptures; we must recognize the place that God has given to his angelic creation. As I said in another message; anywhere you find God doing anything, you can be assured that angels are present. We need to recognize what place they have in God’s dealing with man, and by so doing, we will rid ourselves of a lot of our old traditional ideas. The church seems to have forgotten what they read in the Bible. Even the Lord Jesus Himself, who was God incarnate, with power to lay His life down and take it back up again, when He came forth from the tomb, who rolled the stone away from the door? Matthew 28:2, says the angel of the Lord rolled it back. We are not saying that Jesus could not have gotten out of the tomb without the help of an angel; He could come out with the door closed just like He did later, in the room where His disciples were waiting, but the fact remains that God’s word says an angel came and rolled back the stone. How did he do it? By causing an earthquake to shake the mortar loose, and roll that old stone back down the track. Why did he do it, if Jesus could have gotten out without it? That empty tomb had to be revealed. That empty tomb, and the presence of the Lord among His disciples later, produced some eye witnesses who could testify to His resurrection. But the point we are making is, that, God works through His angels, in His process of redeeming His creation back to Himself, and fallen man, as he burns in the lake of fire, will be tormented day and night with the thoughts of how he had a chance, but rejected the wooing presence of the angels, and the blood of the Lamb.


We have already talked about the millennium, how that Jesus will reign as King for one thousand years over the whole earth, with His literal throne being in Jerusalem, the throne of David. When that thousand year reign of righteousness and restoration is completed: Jesus will never be King any more. After Satan has been loosed for a little season to deceive as many as he can; he collects those whom he has deceived together, and surrounds the camp of the saints, and the beloved city: and fire comes down out of heaven to devour them. From there, the great white throne judgment is set, and Jesus then becomes the Supreme Judge. He grants eternal life to those whose names are in the book of life, and all the rest are cast into the lake of fire. They are everlastingly destroyed from the presence of the Lord, but during the time of their punishment in the fire, the memory of the holy angels that would have wooed them to accept the provision of the Lamb, is ever present with them, gnawing at their conscience. Since the lake of fire is not on this planet, when all the wicked are finally cast into it: this old planet will be clean again, completely redeemed back to God in every aspect. We will go back to 1st Corinthians 15 now, and read verses 24-28, for this is where these scriptures are fulfilled. 24, “Then cometh the end, (the end of God’s complete process of redemption) when He (Christ Jesus) shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, (ELOHIM, ETERNAL SPIRIT) even the Father; when He (Christ) shall have put down all rule and authority and power. 25, For He (Christ) must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. 26, The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27, For He (ELOHIM) hath put all things under His (CHRIST JESUS’) feet. But when he (DAVID Psa. 8:6) saith all things are put under Him, (CHRIST JESUS) it is manifest that He (ELOHIM) is excepted, which did put all things under Him, (CHRIST JESUS). 28, And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, (CHRIST JESUS) then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him (ELOHIM) that put all things under Him, that God (WHICH IS SPIRIT) may be all in all.” This puts all of God’s redeemed family into the eternal age, and Jesus Christ, who has been, on our behalf, PROPHET, PRIEST, LAMB, (SIN OFFERING) INTERCESSOR, BRIDEGROOM, KING and then SUPREME JUDGE OF THE WICKED, now becomes our elder brother, and the scriptures declare that we are joint heirs with Him. Can you fully appreciate that? Let me explain what I mean by that question. In ancient times the eldest son was the sole heir of all his Father’s wealth. All that the other children in the family could expect to receive, was some lesser gift which the father would specify, but the bulk of the inheritance always went to the first born son. It was his to do with as he pleased. Now Romans 8:29, tells us that Jesus was the firstborn among many brethren. In other words He is the legal heir of the whole family of God. To Him is given glory, honor, power and authority by the great eternal Spirit, (God) but He did not want it just for Himself, therefore, we who were paupers, condemned, and doomed to destruction by the eternal God, with no hope for eternal life, have become joint heirs with Him by a voluntary act on His part. Did not He say that He had power to give life to whomsoever He would? Did not He say also, while speaking to the Father in prayer, “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one?” This is one elder brother that divides His inheritance among all of His brethren, making us joint heirs with Him, of all that the Father hath bestowed upon Him. In that great eternal age we will sit with Him, and share with Him, in immortality, and the glory that is with Him will be with us also. Brothers and sisters, this is a rich inheritance we have come into; let us be grateful in our hearts, and live for God with all our strength as these last days of this present age fulfill themselves.


A LOOK AT MAN


Before closing I would like to share with you a little illustration I used in talking to some of the brethren on this subject. Maybe this will help some of you to better understand the makeup of man, and enable you to understand the final estate of mankind without God. Alright now, God is Spirit, and that Spirit is life. In Him is love, wisdom, compassion, longsuffering, and all the attributes that we have ever heard attributed to God. He knows all things, and He is unlimited in ability. When God made man: the very spirit life that we are, came from Him. He did not go out somewhere with a bucket and stir up a bunch of chemicals to make the spirit of man. No! He took of Himself, for He is life, and made man, but the process by which you and I came into the world causes us, in our physical makeup, to be a sinner. Therefore because we bear the trait of sin in our makeup, unless we find our place in God’s redemptive process, and allow Him to place His seal of eternal life upon us, we are destined to partake of the lake of fire burning with brimstone, in our last state of being. Our rejection of God’s way is what brings about the necessity for our destruction. Anyone who refuses to be joined to God, must be everlastingly separated from God for His redemption process to be complete. Now I will illustrate something for you. Suppose I take a glass and fill it full of water: I can hold it up and say, Here is water, but in that state, that is all I have in that glass. If it is pure water; it is aroma-less, practically tasteless, and without color; it’s clear. I am using this as a comparison to spirit, for I want to show you something. Water is the very essence of life to all vegetative life. If you cut off its source of water, you know what happens; it dies; it ceases to exist. Now, let us suppose that I decide to take that water and make some kind of drink out of it. I put a spoonful of cherry Kool-Aid in and stir it up, and I have not only added color; I have also added flavor. The color can be seen, the flavor can be tasted. Now I will add some sugar, and that sugar contains carbohydrates. That means I have added nutrients. In this I have added certain chemicals that have a certain amount of carbon of the earth in it; water itself has no carbon. Now I have taken water, added certain substances to it, and made a tasty drink, but basically, it is water. On the other side of this illustration is man. The life of that man is spirit, and basically, that spirit life, is life that came from God. That is why, from the standpoint of creation, we can call God, our heavenly Father. God took of Himself, (SPIRIT) and to that life He added the five senses, SEE, HEAR, TASTE, SMELL AND TOUCH. This is not in your flesh; it is in your spirit. Next He added INTELLECT, WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE, the ability to think, make decisions, and determinations. This is the sense in which we are like Him, for God is all of that. Then He added affections. Our likes, dislikes, and so forth, come from that, and this furnishes our motivation. All of this makes up the soul, the intellect of that spirit that we are. That is why from time to time we hear people say, What you see is not the real me, for the real me, is inside of this shell of flesh. The real me is what was made in the image of God, and in His likeness.

 

Alright now, when the body dies: what has actually happened? The spirit has left it, and the soul has left it also, for the spirit and soul are inseparable. When the spirit leaves; the soul is in it. That is why, before Calvary, every soul that departed from the body had to go to hell; there had not been a way made before then to blot out the taint of sin, so that the spirit could go back to God from whence it came. Therefore it was held in a place of confinement until the sin debt was paid, and from that time until the end, when a righteous person dies; his spirit returns to God, and his body goes into the grave. David somehow knew this, and it caused him to say, Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.


We come back to the glass of cherry Kool-Aid now. I am using this just for an illustration. If that cherry drink is ever going to have an eternal existence, somehow, I am going to have to come up with a chemical that I can add to it to seal what I have. Once that is done it will remain the same throughout time and eternity, regardless of where it is. But let us see what will happen if I purpose to destroy it, since it does not have the seal to preserve and keep it. Suppose I just pour it out on the ground. You know what will happen; the earth will absorb the water, but there will be a colored spot left on the ground. The water that was the main carrier of all the added substance, will separate from all the molecules, and fiber, and substance, and will eventually be filtering through the earth, and be completely free from all the added chemicals, and it will return to the main stream from whence it came. After a period of time that water will be free from every trace of anything that was added to it, and also, those additives will eventually break up, and go right back into creation; like I have said before; an atom is never destroyed; it just changes its cycle and function in creation. When God destroys those bodies, and the souls of all the unredeemed that have ever lived by casting them into the lake of fire, even all those wicked spirits of demons, it will be for the purpose of destroying every trace of individuality that has ever been attributed to them. Conscience, intellect, the five senses, and everything that God added to make up the individuals, will be eventually destroyed in the process of their punishment. When each one has finally suffered the punishment that was allotted to them, and they reach the end of their destruction, then the spirit that was the life of that individual, that spirit that came from God, being indestructible and being completely free from all traces of what it was the life of, will return to God. That spirit came from God, for God is the only source of life that there is; therefore, in the end, it will return to God.


I will close this message by saying this: The lake of fire is God’s incinerator where He burns up everything that is not redeemed back to Him. Therefore, in the eternal age there will be no more graveyards, no more dead carcasses, and nothing that is impure; all will be dwelling in eternal life. This old planet will be completely redeemed, and Satan, with all of his evil, will be remembered no more. AMEN

The New Jerusalem

The New Jerusalem

REVELATION 21:1 – 22:5


HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO VISUALIZE A CITY FOURSQUARE, MEASURING TWELVE THOUSAND FURLONGS, AND DESCENDING TO EARTH FROM OUT OF HEAVEN? IF YOU HAVE, I BELIEVE YOU WILL FIND THIS MESSAGE TO BE VERY ENLIGHTENING. WE HAVE TAKEN IT VERSE BY VERSE, AND TRIED TO SHOW THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CITY DESCRIBED BY THE APOSTLE JOHN IN REVELATION, CHAPTERS 21 & 22. PLEASE READ IT PRAYERFULLY, AND STUDY THE SCRIPTURE VERSES USED, FROM YOUR OWN BIBLE, AND THEN IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, OR COMMENTS, WE WILL BE GLAD TO HEAR FROM YOU.


I have had a number of people ask me questions lately, about he New Jerusalem which John wrote about in Revelation, chapter 21. It is interesting to note the various ideas and opinions which people have about this city, some believing one thing, and others, something else. It is for this reason that I feel led to publish this message, with all the details and explanations the Holy Ghost will call to our remembrance. Years ago, when I was still in the Methodist church, I too, looked upon that city as a literal city, with all its gold, precious stones, pearls, and so forth, but now we have the Holy Ghost which wrote the book, in us, to reveal its true spiritual significance; therefore we want to take this 21st chapter, and consider the things that are recorded therein. Time-wise this chapter picks up after the great White Throne judgment has been completed, and all fallen mankind, and every evil spirit has been judged. Whatever, and whoever is left alive after that judgment, will live in the 8th day, which is the eternal day. Everything will be restored back to what it was in the 1st day, before Adam sinned. This 8th day will not be broken up into dispensations as the other 7 days, or 7000 years have been. Though it is hard for our finite minds to grasp the reality of such a thing: It will be an endless eternity of bliss, in the presence of the Great God of all ages. The apostle Paul wrote, in 1 Cor. 13:12, “Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.” I only use this verse, here, to call attention to the fact that we do not yet see all things as clearly as we will later. To see through a glass, darkly, does not mean that we do not see anything. It simply means that we do not see clearly, the profile, or image that we are looking at. However, I do believe we are living in a day when it is scripturally reasonable to expect the Holy Ghost to clear up the picture for us, as we are endeavoring to take on the mind of Christ.


RESTORATION


In 1 Corinthians 15:24-26, we find the apostle Paul referring to the beginning of the 8th day like this, “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered (speaking of Jesus Christ) up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He (Christ) must reign, until He hath put all enemies (sin and death) under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” In other words He will rule and reign for 1000 years, on earth: then when His millennial reign is concluded, and the last judgment is all over with, it will be time for the New Jerusalem to descent from heaven. Before going into our subject of the New City though, I want to clear up some of the misunderstanding about the millennial age. I have had many people come to me and say, “Bro. Jackson: If Jesus is going to be ruling with a rod of iron, and the devil is going to be bound: how come there still seems to be death present through the millennium?” It is very simple. These very questions prove that people have not been taught what is written in the word of God. It is not that sin is raging during that time, as we know it now, but that inherited nature to sin is still present in those mortal beings that pass from this age into the millennium. That is why Jesus Christ will rule with a rod of iron: it is to be a disciplinary age. The Millennium age is not the perfect age, but His rod of iron rule over the national subjects will produce a people that can be passed into the perfect age. At the same time He will be releasing the animal kingdom, so that the enmity between man and beast will cease to be. It will be just like the old song, “Peace in the Valley,” the animal kingdom will lie in peace, and be at peace with man. Then the earth will yield her full increase. All of this is written in the Old Testament. In Isaiah 11:6-9, we read, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like an ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, (venomous viper) and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice den, (another of the reptile family). They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” When? After the Millennial rule has had time to have its effect. That is when the whole earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord, as the Psalmist wrote.


DEATH, IN THE MILLENNIUM


When we speak of the eighth day, please remember, the eighth day is the first day, just like our calendar. It is a new beginning, with everything restored back as it was before the fall of man in the garden. In Isaiah 65, we find that the prophet was actually looking through the Millennium, to the eternal age. Look at verse 20, “There shall be no more thence, an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.” Now in our present day, with our life span being an expected 70 years, more or less, we look upon an person who is a hundred years old, as an old person, but in the Millennium when longevity of life is restored, looking at it from a percentage standpoint: a hundred year old person, then, would be as a seven year old child is, to us. Death, then, will not be from tuberculosis, heart trouble, cancer, nor any of those physical diseases; it will be strictly a disciplinary tool in the hands of God, and it shall be administered to those who have had ample time to be corrected. In other words, a child born in the Millennium; being born of mortal parents who have passed from this age into that age, still having the nature to sin and rebel, would be warned and worked with for 100 years, giving him, or her, that much time to submit to the righteous rule of Christ, before death would be administered. In that same verse where Isaiah says, “There shall be no more THENCE (from the beginning of the eternal age and onward) an infant of days,” he also says, “Nor an old man that hath not filled his days,” meaning of course, that if he has been allowed to pass into the eternal age, he has already been tried, tested, judged and found to be worthy, or he would not be there. Saints: Do you realize that if we are living as close to the end as we believe we are: there is a people living, right today, that will live forever. This is not speculation. Either we believe the Bible or we do not. If we believe the Bible, it will bear these things out. Like we said before: the Millennium is not the perfect age. It is a period of time in which God is repopulating the earth, a period when divine government is restored, as well as divine knowledge. The earth will be beautified, and the animal kingdom will again be at peace with man. “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain.” This mortal realm of people will still have the same inherited nature, which will pass on down to, and through all of their offspring. That is why Zechariah 14:16-17, states, “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” Verse 17, shows what the result will be for those who refuse to do so. “And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.” In verse 18, he goes on to give an illustration, using Egypt as an example. “And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19, This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.” This is the effect of that rod of iron. Every individual will have to submit to discipline and come under the law of that age, or death will be the means of getting rid of them. I have my serious doubts that there will be any need for a lot of undertakers, and I do not believe there will be a need for a large casket manufacturer, for I believe those things will be few and far between. Nevertheless, when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be loosed from his prison, and shall go out to deceive all whom he can of those millions born in the Millennium. If you can get the picture here; you will see that a just God could not let those millions of people pass into the eternal age without first being tempted by the old adversary, the Devil. He will not be allowed to corrupt the earth again, as before, but he will have his opportunity to gain a following of people who will think to gather for battle, as they compass the camp of the saints, and the city of Jerusalem, but fire comes down out of heaven to devour them. That is when the devil that deceived them will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are. There is one thing sure though, he will never touch one of the immortal saints of God that have been ruling with Christ during this time. He can only tempt those who were born in the peaceful atmosphere of the Millennium while he was bound. Carnal minded people will say, “Bro. Jackson, do you mean to say we will be here, and we will see all of what is going on. Well, I just would not want to be here at a time like that. You are not there yet. When that time comes, if you are there, you will think differently than you do now. Immortality will make a great difference in the way we see things.


NEW HEAVEN, NEW EARTH – WHERE?


Just think, the bride of Christ will rule with Christ in the Millennium, executing the affairs of the kingdom, with the same authority that Jesus rules with. Then when it comes to a close, and Satan has been loosed for a little season, until his efforts are stopped by the fire of God, the 2nd resurrection will bring up the spirits of all degenerate men, from Cain all the way down to the end of the Millennium. There will be no more hell in the heart of the earth. This is the time for verse 13, of Revelation 20 to have its fulfillment. “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14, And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” There will be no more graves, no more dead bodies to mar the beauty of the replenished earth. This will be the last phase of redemption for the earth itself. The planet will be clean again, for the first time since sin was introduced. This climaxes what Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 15:25-26, “For He must reign, until He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Jesus said, I AM the resurrection and the life. This means that at the sound of His voice the wicked dead will rise, just as simple as the righteous do before the Millennium. I am so thankful that those apostles could write, or speak, as the Holy Ghost moved them, for if they had been confined as some men are today, that is, if they had only been allowed to say what Jesus said, we would not have 1 Thes. 4:16-17, nor 1 Cor. 15:12-58, which help us to know what is ahead for us in the plan of God. Then we have the apostle Peter’s words which declare, (3:13) “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” It is the same planet earth, but it is made new through redemption. We are not looking for new galaxies in the heavens, but a new atmosphere within the same realm of space that you and I are already familiar with. In other words, everything that man has been associated with, will be made anew through redemption. Do not ever think that we are going to be carried off somewhere, to some other planet or something. That is a completely wrong viewpoint. You say, “But, Bro. Jackson, doesn’t the Bible say that the heavens and earth shall melt with fervent heat? Let us read that verse in 1 Peter 3:10, and I am sure you will understand that it is the works of man that are going to be burned up. Verse 10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” If that verse stood alone in the Bible, it might leave room for some question, but it does not stand alone. Look in verses 5-7, of the same chapter, to see how the same man referred to the destruction by the flood, in the days of Noah. “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world THAT THEN WAS, being overflowed with water, PERISHED: But the heavens and the earth, WHICH ARE NOW, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” You need only ask yourself the question, “Is this the same planet earth that Noah and his generation lived on? The Bible makes it very clear that it is, but the writer, here, says that the old world PERISHED in the flood. When we reconcile scripture with scripture, we realize that these judgments are only a cleansing process, by which the Lord cleanses the earth of the works of man. You could ask the question like this, “If the heavens, and the earth, perished in the flood, how can they still be here to be burned?” Man’s works will be burned up, but the rocks, the dirt, the mountains and the water will still be here, when the burning is finished. As in the days of Noah, when the flood was abated, they stepped out of the ark and found that the earth was made new. There was not a hut, nor any trace of the works of man, to be found anywhere. It was a new, fresh beginning. Everything had to be started all over again. Therefore, if we connect these pictures together, it will help us to better approach our subject, on the new city.


WHY HOUSES?


When the great white throne judgment is completed, and the earth is completely free from all traces of sin and corruption, then Jesus will turn the kingdom, the government, the rulership of the planet back over to God, that God may be all in all. In other words, it will be God, Elohim, Eternal Spirit, placing himself back within his creation, as in the beginning. He will be able to fellowship His redeemed family in the full expression of His glory and presence, as when He walked in the garden in the cool of the day, talking to Adam. God does not need a house to dwell in, for He is omnipresent, (present in all places at all times) and He never gets cold, wet, hungry nor uncomfortable. Every drop of rain that falls, falls in Him. He doesn’t need man, nor anyone to advise Him, for He is omniscient, (with infinite awareness, understanding, and insight, and has complete knowledge of all things, at all times). Such a God as He, has need of nothing that we could do for Him, personally, but He does desire to have fellowship with His creation. I will say, also, if sin had never entered into the garden, this whole planet would be a beautiful, garden-like place, with perfect climate, beautiful towering trees, shrubs, flowers, rivers, brooks and streams with trout and other fish leaping in them. The animal kingdom would have continued to be at peace with man, and there never would have been any need for man to build his 40, 50, and 60 thousand dollar houses. He would not have needed them. Houses were only necessitated by the fact that nature began to work against man, and the animal kingdom began to express itself against him, causing him to begin to devise ways of secluding himself. The farther he went, the fancier he got, until we come to the day we are living in. All this has been man’s efforts of trying to gain a measure of security, when all the time, his only security was in the Lord. Brothers and sisters: we are secure in Him. Our comfort lays in Him, and without Him, we can do nothing.


WHY NEW?


As we try to bring our attention back to the announced subject, let us be aware that what we are going to talk about cannot be understood with our natural, everyday kind of thinking and reasoning. We will be dealing with something that carries our thinking into the eternal age, when all of these familiar things will have passed away. Paul spoke of it in Ephesians 3:21, as world without end. Let us begin now, by reading the 1st verse of Rev. 21, where John wrote, “And I saw a new heaven, and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Remember now, John was given the privilege of viewing THIS planet in its redeemed state. Why would Christ rule and reign on this planet for one thousand years, redeeming and restoring it back as it was before, only to wipe it all out and start with another one, when He had accomplished His purpose? We just do not interpret the scriptures like that. John was looking at this old world as it will appear in the eternal age. Naturally it looked new to him. It will look new to us when we get there. Well, what about the heavens, or the new heaven? We must think of heaven in this particular instance, as the atmosphere around the earth. According to the scriptures, the atmosphere around the earth (or the heavens, as it is commonly called) is the environment, or habitation of devils, or demons, or evil spirits, which ever term best helps to get the thought across. They all pertain to the same thing. Paul referred to our former days, as following the course of this world, walking according to the prince of the power of the air. Those evil spirits are out there battling against righteous angels who seek to minister to mankind for his earthly benefit. The devil and his angels are constantly trying to get man to defile the earth. The filthier it gets, the better they like it. Why? Because it is completely contrary to God’s final plan for this old world, and Satan will go to any extremes in an effort to hinder or prevent the plan of God. Well, what about the part that says there was no more sea? There again, we must settle the fact that it does not mean, there will be no water. There has always been water, and there will be plenty of water then, but I do not believe that two-thirds of this planet will be covered by it then. I might add also, there is no more water today than there ever was. It is just that somehow this planet is not in its proper relationship to the sun. Some of you have heard me say before, why I believe we have 365 1/4 days in our solar year, when it is scripturally clear that a perfect year was to have 360 days, twelve months of 30 days each.


PERFECT YEAR


I am not a scientist, but I believe with all my heart that when God let the fountains of the deep open up, and it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, collecting all that water together, it changed the relationship between the earth and the sun. That would account for the extra 5 1/4 days per year that it takes to complete the cycle of orbits. A perfect year, with 12 perfect months of 30 days each, would have one new moon for each month. Since the earth revolves around the sun, it would mean that the earth would need to be a little closer to the sun in order to complete its year of orbits in 360 days. If the earth were to be moved back a little closer to the sun, much of the earth’s waters would be out here in space like a barrier around the earth, which would produce a perfect climate. You would never have a cloud in the sky, and at night the air would cool off and cause the earth to sweat. That is exactly in line with what the scriptures say about how it was in the beginning. With such a condition you would have a perfect climate all the time, never too cold, and never too hot. With so much of the earth’s water moved out into space to form a protective belt around the earth, it would leave a lot more room for people, or I should say, for the earth’s inhabitants. If you had been viewing the world with all its oceans, rivers, seas and so forth, then suddenly you were shown a picture of that earth with all of that extra land showing, you would probably proclaim, as John did, that there is no more sea. Remember what period of time John’s vision was of. As this chapter 21 opens up John is seeing a vision of the cleansed and replenished earth as it is entering into a new age, or into the eternal day which is without time limitations. Now notice in verse 2, John did not say, I saw us going to the new Jerusalem in the heavens, but what did he say? 2, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, (out of space, out of the atmosphere) prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Notice his description of the new Jerusalem, and remember, Jesus only has one bride. As we assemble ourselves together, believing that we are in the true church of the Living God, that shall one day be presented to the Lord Jesus Christ as His bride, we wait with great expectancy, and the things that the apostle John wrote about are of special interest to us. That great marriage supper of the Lord is just ahead of us, then we believe, according to the Bible, that we will come right back here to rule with Christ for 1000 years, over a mortal realm of people who will pass into that age from this one, and also, over the offspring that they bear. We will be the wife of the Lord Jesus Christ, dwelling in immortality, having bodies just like the body Jesus appeared to his disciples in, after his resurrection.


HOLY CITY – BRIDE – TABERNACLE


In verse 3, John speaks further of this holy city, which is prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Read it carefully for it holds part of the key to a proper understanding of this terminology. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, (remember this word, TABERNACLE, and what the word means) and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” This absolutely links up with what Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 15:24-28, which we have read already. Christ will rule until the last enemy is destroyed, and redemption is completed. Then He will turn all rule and authority back to the great omnipresent, Eternal Spirit, the Father of all creation, that He may be all in all. Listen carefully now. As John saw this city coming down, he heard a great voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, the TABERNACLE of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Tell me, did John actually see a literal tabernacle coming down? All he said was, that, he heard a great voice declaring it. I want to show you a scripture further on in the chapter that will prove John did not see a tabernacle descending out of heaven, along with the new city. This is where many people become confused, and get tangled up in their carnal interpretations of these chapters. We want to consider all the details that are given concerning this city, and get it settled once and for all. Was the city that John saw coming down out of heaven, actually a literal city of literal gold, and so forth, or is this a language of the Spirit, describing something else? As we move on down through the chapter, we find John describing the city in it’s dimensional makeup, as well as of what sort it is; then in verse 22 he says, “And I saw no temple therein: (NO TEMPLE) for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” We all know that mortal men have always associated the two words, TABERNACLE, and TEMPLE, with a materialistic building or structure where the presence of God could be found. First it was a tabernacle in the wilderness, made of skins, and mobile. When the people moved on toward the promised land, the tabernacle was moved to be where the people were. The tabernacle was later superseded by the temple Solomon built on Mount Zion. Nevertheless, the tabernacle, and the temple have always been associated with the presence of God. Now I want us to look at 2nd Cor. 6:16, and see what Paul said about this temple of God. “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.” Is that not what John heard the great voice utter, as he watched the holy city descend toward earth? Before going back to Revelation 21, I want us to read Ephesians 2:19-22, and catch some more of the apostle Paul’s revelation of what John saw and heard in A.D. 96, when he was caught up in the spirit while on the Isle of Patmos. Verse 19, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; In whom all the BUILDING fitly framed together groweth unto an holy TEMPLE in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an HABITATION of God through the Spirit.” Did you catch the language Paul used here, BUILDING, TEMPLE, HABITATION OF GOD, all these references referring to believers? If we can accept the fact that the true church is a building of God, a temple where the Lord dwells, then we ought not think it strange to be referred to as a city also. With these scriptures and explanations before us, I hope every one of you are able to see that there is no contradiction between verse 3, which declares that there was no temple in the holy city, the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb being the temple of it. Certainly there is no contradiction; it is just the way some people are prone to look at it.


NEW THROUGH REDEMPTION – NOT CREATION


Brothers and sisters: do not be expecting to view this scene from an earthly standpoint. Those who make up the true church of the living God will be a part of that city which John saw coming down out of heaven. Verse 4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” This verse well establishes the fact that this scene is after the Millennium reign, for it states that there will be no more death, and we have already proved by the scriptures that death will be used in a disciplinary way throughout the Millennium. 5, “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” Remember now, John is in a vision, and he is seeing, and hearing things that are to come to pass many years beyond his time. As we have stated already, all things are made new through a redemptive act, rather than a creative act. God is a creator. That is how this planet got here in the first place, by a creative act of God. But there is the redemptive side, or attribute of God that must be expressed, and we should be able to tell the difference between the two. 6, “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7, He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” Praise God, when the reality of that age dawns, it will be exactly as it was in the original beginning, back in the garden of Eden. It was, and is, His desire to be God to every son and daughter of His. He wants to be in His people, and He wants to have a Father and son relationship with them. That does not exclude the feminine side (woman) from the picture. You will find the human race spoken of, as man, all through the Bible. Now verse 8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Now, just to test your memory, when will this take place? When will all these wicked spirits, along with all degenerate mankind, be cast into the lake of fire? At the close of the Millennium, before entering into the eternal age. John saw all this in a vision, and I have heard of people on their deathbed having similar visions. The have actually been privileged to see some of these heavenly scenes before passing from this life. Abraham, the scripture says, sojourned in a strange land, but he looked for a city which had foundations, whose builder and maker is God, knowing that the city he was looking for, was eternally in the heavens. Therefore, in actuality, what was Abraham looking for? He was looking for a place of refuge, for that is what a city was to those ancient people. When their enemies invaded their land, they would head for the city.


A PLACE OF REFUGE


Many of you have been with me on a tour to Israel; you have seen the city that is built on top of Mount Zion (Jerusalem). About 4 square miles around that city, is a wall. Its geographical outer circumference has been changed from time to time, through wars and earthquakes, but all through the history of Israel, since they have been in that land, when the land was invaded by their enemies, Jerusalem was the stronghold for the people. As the alarm was sounded, that the enemy was approaching, all the people living in those little villages around about, would gather up their personal belongings, put them on an old cart, get their donkeys and oxen, and head for Jerusalem, their city of defense. You may have wondered why they built such huge walls and why they were so deep in the ground. That is why; they were built to give the inhabitants of the land a place of refuge, a place of security and comfort. For thousands of years men built their cities with the main emphasis being placed on the fact that the walls furnished them a certain measure of protection from their enemies. Besides being a stronghold, the major cities were capitol cities, and the people came to those walled cities to worship their gods, whatever deity they worshiped, and the cities were crossroads of communication, and social activity. With those things in mind, Abraham looked for an eternal city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God, and he was not necessarily looking for a city built with eternal rocks, stones, and such like, for I will show you why. Turn with me to the 12th chapter of Hebrews, where we will begin reading in the 18th verse. Paul is talking to those precious Hebrew saints, encouraging them to lay aside anything, and everything, that would hinder them in running the race for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. He tells them to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. He says, consider what he endured at the hands of sinners, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds, for ye have not yet resisted unto the shedding of blood, striving against sin. He goes on to speak of the chastening hand of God, for their own good, reminding them of Esau’s great sin, where he sold his birthright for one meal when he was hungry. Then we come to verse 18, where he says, “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, (He is reminding them, for they, in former days, had lived so devotedly to the law, received by their ancestors at Mt. Sinai. He is reminding them of how it was before the gospel of grace was purchased at Calvary), nor unto blackness, and darkness, (that is how the top of the mount looked to their forefathers who stood there) and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and voice of words; which they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: for they could not endure that which was commanded, and if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart; And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake.” In other words, as the children of Israel stood there at the foot of Mt. Sinai, while Moses was on top of the mountain talking with God, the mountain became black, and shook, as the voice of God echoed down to them. The people because fearful and turned away to stand afar off. Later they came to Moses saying,  “You speak to us; we will hear you; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” Just the sound of the voice of God scared them half to death. Paul is using these things to remind them that they have not come to that kind of a mountain in their new found relationship to God. It just shows how helpless mortal man really is, in the presence of Almighty God. He then, goes on to say to them in verse 22, “But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn.” That is exactly what the church is: the city of the living God. You have heard me say before, in regards to this verse of scripture, I have never made a trip to Mount Zion, the literal city, in order to obtain salvation. You haven’t either. But we have come to Mount Zion spiritually, to the city of the living God. We have reached our place of safety, and refuge. We can say as the Psalmist did, 91:2, “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in him will I trust.” Hallelujah! Though the church of the living God is scattered over the whole face of this earth, it is still (in its spiritual makeup) the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven.


PILLARS IN THE TEMPLE


If you can begin to get a picture in your mind, of the terminology used in connection with the body of Christ, the church, it will help you better understand what God showed John in connection with the false church, Roman Catholicism, which He referred to as Mystery Babylon. Men have fled into that city, seeking a refuge for their souls, only to learn, too late, that instead of being a spiritual refuge for their soul, it is a cage for every unclean and hateful bird, a habitation of devils, and a hold of every foul spirit. Instead of being a sanctuary, that city is an unclean, unholy prison from which, only a few have escaped. Praise God, Paul says, “Ye have come to Mount Zion, which is the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. Ye have come to an innumerable company of angels. Ye have come to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven. Ye have come to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect; and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” Some of you are thinking, “Bro. Jackson, you have my head spinning with all of this; what does it mean?” I am showing you these things in an effort to lay a foundation for what we are going to say about the New Jerusalem, about its foundations, its wall, its gates, etc. We must first be convinced that the words, city, temple, building, refuge, and such like, do not always pertain to a literal, and tangible object, in order to approach the study of this heavenly Jerusalem, with an open mind. Let us turn to Revelation, chapter 3, for another example of what we are talking about. In the letter to the church at Philadelphia, the church that corresponds with the age of Methodism, God promised something that is so beautiful, something that enhances the harmony of the scriptures, and adds more light to our subject. Verse 12, HIM that overcometh will I make a PILLAR in the TEMPLE of my God.” Now I do not expect to be turned into a piece of marble, do you? Nevertheless, we do have these scriptures to deal with; therefore we must look at them from a spiritual standpoint. The Lord spoke of these things in spiritual terminology; they were recorded in spiritual language, and must be understood likewise. In Galatians 2:9 Paul is speaking of Peter, James, and John, and says that they seemed to be PILLARS in the church at Jerusalem. Now I want us to read all of verse 12, in Revelation 3, and I will show you what you are up against if you try to literalize everything you read. 12, “HIM that overcometh will I make a PILLAR in the TEMPLE of my God, (a pillar is a post, or column that holds up a structure) and HE shall go no more out: and I will WRITE UPON HIM (the overcomer) the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will WRITE UPON HIM MY NEW NAME.” Do you now see what the picture will look like if you make the new Jerusalem a literal city? If you literalize the city; you must literalize all that is said about the whole setting, so what do we have? Every overcomer would be a post, or column in a literal temple, (John said he did not see a temple in the new city) and would be stationary, for it says that they go no more out. Then, that overcomer would have the name of God, the name of the new Jerusalem, the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, literally written upon him. I believe you are beginning to see what I am getting at. You, Y-O-U, make up the city of the living God. You make it up, yourselves, Hallelujah! I want you to understand; when John saw the vision of the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, he heard a voice speak these words, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,” but there was no visible, tangible tabernacle or temple in that city, for he plainly says so, in verse 22, (as we have already pointed out) and he tells us why, in the same verse, “For the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” Otherwise, how could Jesus be in us, and we be in him, and all in God? It is altogether a spiritual environment. We will still be many individual bodies (immortal bodies) but our spirits, our soul, Praise God, can be in Him, and He in us. That makes up the environment for the inner man. What we have now is the earnest (a token) of that which is to come later, 2 Cor. 1:22, 5:5, Eph,. 1:14. In the mind of God, we already are, what we are still looking forward to being later. He sees everything, from beginning to end, in one picture. He just drew back the curtain and allowed John to see these things, as He sees them. But for now we must be content to keep this old mortal body under subjection to the Spirit of God, while we await our change.


NEW BODY – NEW NAME


We have a lot of people running around, these days, worrying about what our new name will be; wondering when we will get it. Let me say this to you, for whatever it may be worth, “When you get a new body, then, and only then, will you be able to handle a new name. In the meantime, this mortal flesh is still subject to a carnal mind that sees everything in a natural setting. That is why, if we do not keep our body under subjection to the Holy Ghost, we will be ruled by the five senses. Now that I have said that, let me read four verses from 2 Corinthians. The apostle Paul did not break his letter up into chapters, and verses, when he wrote it; that was done later; therefore I will read the last two verses of chapter 4, and the first two verses of chapter 5, straight through. 17, “Four our light affliction, which is but for a moment, (a moment, percentagewise, compared to eternity) worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the THINGS WHICH ARE SEEN, but at the THINGS WHICH ARE NOT SEEN: for the things which are seen are temporal; (they will pass away) but the things which are not seen (with the natural eye) are eternal (these are the things we desire to see with the eye of our spirit) For we know (by faith) that if our earthly HOUSE of this TABERNACLE (our fleshly bodies) were dissolved, we have a BUILDING of God, an HOUSE not made with hands, ETERNAL in the heavens, (eternal house, but John saw it coming down out of heaven) For in this (our earthly house) we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our HOUSE which is FROM HEAVEN.” Paul says so much in those few verses; it just sort of throws new light on the subject of our text, and at the same time, makes us a little anxious for what we have up ahead. When we get our new body, then we will be able to see the city of the living God, as it really is. Our sanctuary is in Jesus Christ. No wonder Paul could say, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the HOUSEHOLD of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the CHIEF CORNERSTONE; (meaning He is the beginning of all surveyed dimensional measurements of this TABERNACLE of God) In whom all the BUILDING fitly framed together groweth unto an holy TEMPLE in the Lord: In whom ye also are BUILDED together for an HABITATION of God through the Spirit,” he had a revelation of the plan of God for the Gentiles. (See Ephesians 3:1-6).


ABOUT THE GARDEN


We talk about the Millennium being the age of restoration, and we naturally, are trying to visualize how it was before sin entered into the garden of Eden. We talk also, of how God drove the man, Adam, from the garden, and I wonder how many ever ask themselves the question, “Where did God drive him to?” Did He send him a thousand miles away from where he was? Now, let us shake ourselves, and think seriously for a few moments. Do you realize, there is hardly a square mile, or acre of ground anywhere on this earth, that man has not set his foot upon at one time or the other, so I ask you: what kind of garden did He drive the man from? I must answer the question like this, I believe it was the presence and glory of God that man was driven from. Of course there was a certain geographical area of the earth where Adam dwelt, but somewhere in that, was a presence and glory of God that far superseded any natural, earthly beauty. It was that presence of God that enabled Adam and Eve to be both, natural and spiritual, equally, so that they could move freely in either realm. On the natural side they had the five senses just as we do. With their EYES they could see where they were walking, what was around them and etc. Their EARS allowed them to hear the sounds of their environment, the things that acquainted them with earth. Their NOSE allowed them to smell the wonderful fragrance of a rose, and all the other scents of natural life. They had TASTE and TOUCH which, with the others make up the five senses natural man is guided and ruled by. But besides that they had a nature, an inner makeup that made them like God. They could see just as clearly in the spirit world as you and I can in our natural environment. They could see the angels of God just as clearly as we see an automobile, cow or horse, until Adam forfeited his authority to rule over the earthly creation of God. From then on, they were earthbound, just as man has been ever since. You know the story; God drove them from the garden, from His presence, and placed cherubim and a flaming sword to guard the way of the tree of life. Saints, please do not try to picture that garden as a beautiful place, with a wrought iron fence, and beautiful gates with stone archways. That is a carnal picture. I grant you, there was a particular place, geographically, where Adam and Eve lived. It had to be someplace in the Middle East, but keep in mind, the fact, that God did not place cherubim before a literal garden gate, guarding a tree of plant life, called the tree of life. We have covered this subject so thoroughly in other messages, I feel it is sufficient just to say, the cherubim and the flaming sword were to keep the man from entering back into that eternal presence of God. As far as the natural surroundings are concerned, they remained the same. The rivers, the trees, the other plant life which was associated with the garden are still in the earth today. They may have been rearranged somewhat by earthquakes and other disturbances, but the earth itself is the same size as it has always been, no smaller, and no larger. Men, no doubt, have traveled right through the geographical area which the Bible refers to as the garden of Eden, for centuries, but the presence of God is no more there, than it is anyplace else, since Adam disobeyed God. Men have searched the world over, ever since that day God withdrew his presence from Adam , looking for a fountain of youth, when the only true fountain of youth is to be in the presence of Almighty God. Praise His wonderful name, Hallelujah! I am so thankful that every once in a while God lifts the carnal veil just enough to allow his people to get a little glimpse into that heavenly realm. As I said earlier, dying saints, lying with their eyes closed, have been known to have a smile come across their face, to be followed with such a beautiful description of what they were seeing in the spirit world, or in the life beyond this natural realm. Many have spoke of seeing a beautiful city, beautiful flowers, angels, and many other things. What was it? What were they seeing? They were allowed to have a little glimpse into the realm that Adam and Eve had complete access to before the fall, into the realm that we are looking anxiously to have opened up to us. When? After the Millennium. All of the old prophets have been given little glimpses into that heavenly realm, and they wrote about it, without ever having very much understanding as far as God’s complete plan of redemption and restoration goes. Every little preview that God has allowed man to have down through the ages, has caused him to grope for more of the reality of his creator. That is why there were so many ways, and places, where man had tried to contact God, while he continued to drift farther and farther away from the kind of communion that Adam and Eve had with Him. That inner man kept crying out, longing, searching for something to satisfy while four thousand years rolled by, then God moved upon the scene with His plan of redemption.


JESUS – THE GOD MAN


At a time when man, with his own carnal ways, had so corrupted every ordinance and law that was designed to give him a certain relationship with his creator, that creator veiled himself in human flesh and began working out His plan of redemption, that He had settled in His own mind before the world was ever created. The little baby that was born to the young virgin, Mary, who was espoused to a man named Joseph, was the means by which God would work out His beautiful plan to restore to man that which Adam forfeited. The little baby, which was given the name, Jesus, through a dream Joseph had before he was born, looked just like any other little baby. He grew up much like all the other little boys in that day, but Mary detected, and hid in her heart many things that she observed, which made Him stand out from the other little boys around their neighborhood. Then one day, when He had reached the age of thirty, he appeared on the banks of the Jordan river where John was baptizing, and asked to be baptized. John forbade him saying, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” Jesus answered by saying, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” (Baptized him.) When Jesus went up out of the water, the heavens were opened unto Him, and the Spirit of God descended like a dove, lighting upon Him. Then a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Now some of you may say, “Why was it necessary for Him to be baptized, since He never committed any sin? His baptism served a two-fold purpose. He was ready to enter into a ministry, whereby He would be in the capacity of High Priest, for He is referred to as the Apostle and High Priest of our profession. He also was the Lamb of God, to be offered up as a sacrifice for the sins of all people, of all ages; therefore since He was to be the sin offering, as well as the Priest who would offer up the sacrifice to God, His baptism served a two-fold purpose in fulfilling the righteousness of the law of washing. (Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.) He was washed by John, to fulfill the law of washing for the priest, as well as to fulfill the law of washing for the sacrifice that was offered. (They were still under the law of Moses.) When the washing was completed, and the voice from heaven put His approval on it, Jesus was led up into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. There, as He fasted forty days and became weak and hungry, was where He was tempted in every area that you and I are tempted in, but He overcame the tempter by that which was written in the word of God, truly setting an example for us who would be tempted later.


INNER MAN SINNED


Some have tried to dramatize the occasion of Jesus’ baptism, pointing out that many who stood by, actually saw a dove come down and light on His shoulder, and heard a voice thunder out of heaven that caused many to fall prostrate, trembling, and afraid, for they thought all heaven had suddenly fell upon them. Brother, I want you to know, just beyond the five senses of this human flesh there is a presence of God that would scare the outer man out of his skin, but the inner man, at the same time, realizes that if he is to ever have security, comfort and protection for his soul, he must find his way back into that presence. No natural city will ever be sufficient to give sanctuary to the soul that cries out for that which is beyond this mortal realm. Therefore, the city which John saw coming down out of heaven, was in reality, the glory and presence of the Eternal God, Elohim, coming down to earth, resting on His redeemed people. It is the glory and presence of God, being joined back with his sons and daughters on earth, forming an inseparable union that shall not be broken by sin and rebellion as before, for all these will have been tested, and will have overcome. It was the inner man that sinned; not the outer man, but the outer man had to pay, or suffer the penalty of physical death because of it.


LET DEAD BURY DEAD


I was asked by a young man some time ago, ‘What did Jesus mean when He said, let the dead bury their dead,” Luke 9:60. This was spoken at a time when various ones were making excuses for not following Him. One particular person came to Him and said, “Lord, I will follow thee; but first let me go and bury my father.” In other words he wanted to stay around home as long as his father was still living, but Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” Meaning let those who are spiritually dead, knowing nothing about eternal life, nor the power of God, take care of those matters, but you go on and preach the gospel. Brothers and sisters, there are ever so many excuses why this one, or that one is not serving God, but be assured of this one thing, those who make up the holy city that John saw, are those who put all those excuses behind them and run the race to win the prize. They will never have to be concerned for any of those chores again, when the glory of God is resting upon them. There will never be another icicle, snow flake, nor another winter like we have had here for the past 2 years. There will never be another need for a gas stove, nor for a 40 or 50 thousand dollar house to pay taxes on. Everything will be new, the heavens, the earth, the atmosphere, and the purpose and motive of the people. In that city there will be no need for the sun, nor the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God will lighten it, and the Lamb will be the light thereof. (Rev. 21:23.) This very verse has caused some to say there will be no sun nor moon, in that age. That is not what it says at all; it says there is no need for the sun nor the moon to lighten that holy city. Why? That city is people, and the glory of God is their light, but please remember, there was a sun, and a moon, in the days before Adam sinned, so why would God wipe them out in restoration? Besides that, the prophet Isaiah said, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven times brighter, in that day. Hallelujah! No wonder there will be no more night, with the moon shining brighter than the sun we are used to seeing. Do not ever try to put one verse, or passage of scripture against another one, when it looks like there could be a contradiction. Just remember, this is the inspired word of God, and what we need is a revelation of what it means. Since we are endeavoring to look beyond the veil of our five senses, and view this new city with John, we naturally, must depend upon the Holy Ghost to open up the spiritual significance of these things to us. If they could have been understood with the natural mind they would not have been a mystery to natural man for so many centuries. We are looking ahead to a time when man’s relationship to God is exactly as full and complete as the relationship Adam and Eve had with Him before the fall. In this age up ahead God will have many full-fledged sons and daughters thru the second Adam, the redeeming Adam, as he would have had thru the first Adam if he had not fell from his created place. Christ, who is the first begotten among many brethren, and who is our Lord and Savior, will in that day, be our elder brother in the full sense of its meaning. Having the full rights of heirship, as the first born, He willingly makes us joint heirs with him, of God. He shares His inheritance with us.


TREE OF LIFE PLURAL


To every person who will hear this message on tape, or read it in the paper, let me say this, John first viewed the holy city, New Jerusalem, seeing it in its external profile as it descended from God out of heaven, but when he was allowed to look within, there was everything that was in the original garden of Eden, and we do not hear him say, “I saw streets lined with houses and palaces, nor mansions,” but what did he say? He saw a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river was there the tree of life. The tree of life is now referred to in the plural, and also in the feminine gender instead of the masculine. Now I want to leave that right there and come back to the 21st chapter, verse 1, where John saw a new heaven and a new earth, the first being passed away. 2, “And I saw the holy city new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” It speaks of a bride, right? The city is prepared as a bride adorned, decked, clothed, robed for her husband. That was John’s observation, but now let us drop down to verse 9, “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee THE BRIDE, THE LAMB’S WIFE.” Think seriously now saints. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God will never have but one bride, wife, and that is the church, the people He has purchased with His own blood. Isn’t it wonderful how these various scripture writers were all led to write with such compatibility, using words to describe the church as being a building, a habitation of God. In this grace age, God is dwelling in us, but not in the fullness of His glory and presence, as it will be in the eternal age. What we have now, (as I said before) is the earnest, (the first installment, or down payment) of what we will, one day have in its fullness. In the day when our bodies are changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, then they become immortal, for a greater indwelling of the presence of God, to fulfill the purpose of the Millennium. I am sure most of you know the word millennium is not found in the scriptures, but one thousand is found in there, and millennium is a word that is used for one thousand. Christ will rule with his immortal wife, the Gentile church redeemed by His own blood, for one thousand years, on earth, restoring divine law, divine authority, divine knowledge back to the earth, conquering the effects of all the devil’s devises, propagated through man for 6000 years. So we see that the New Jerusalem, the city itself, is the redeemed church from the Gentile age of grace, and not a city of material matter. But Bro. Jackson, what about the walls of that city, and why were walls necessary in such an age when all traces of evil have been abolished? All of God’s dealing with mankind must be represented and accounted for in the eternal age. Since the city itself only pertains to the Gentile bride, that still leaves a great host of other people to account for. You have heard me say before, the church of the living God is the highest calling a mortal being can ever be lifted to. Then some have said, “Bro. Jackson, aren’t we all going to be equal in that day?” Listen carefully! All will be equal, only from the standpoint of God’s love, but not from the standpoint of position and authority. To feel that God is unfair in making a difference in such, only goes to reveal jealousy and carnality on your part. God made some of us to have blue eyes, other brown eyes, green, grey, black; some 5 feet 2 inches tall, others 6 feet 7 inches, etc., but His love for us is not measured by that. Regardless of our race, color, height, or station in life, if we could just be thankful and grateful unto God, realizing that we are not all equal or alike in any way except our opportunity to walk with God, we would realize that those things are not important. The only thing that is important, is that we are acceptable with God.


THREE REALMS OF MANKIND


I have said many times, God does things in threes. If you will try to follow what I am saying, I want to show you that (in the eternal age) there will be 3 realms of mankind, the bride of Christ, (his wife) being the highest of the 3 realms. Next will be those saints from the pre-flood days along with all the rest of the Old Testament saints, and those tribulation saints from the closing of this age. Then, in the 3rd realm, or category, you have the realm of people from all nations who were carried into, or were born in the millennium. This will be those who were not deceived by Satan when he is loosed for a little season to tempt and test them at the end of the one thousand years. They are the National subjects who will bring their glory and honor unto the city of the living God. In the Millennium, the church sits as kings and priest, ruling and reigning with Christ as His bride until everything, and everyone is brought under subjection, or destroyed, but in the eternal age the picture will be quite different. No longer will there be a need for a rod of iron rule; therefore the picture takes on a much more beautiful brilliance. Christ will no longer be looked upon as the conquering king sitting upon a gigantic throne, yet we do see that there will be a throne there. This throne is more to symbolize a place where worship is offered, rather than a place where authority is delegated from. Jesus will still be the central head of the whole family of God, and I know this cannot be grasped with the natural mind, but I say again and again, this is not a literal, tangible city. I can hear some of you saying, but does the Bible not say in John 14:2, In my Father’s house are many mansions? Yes, it does say that, but have you ever thought that the word mansion, or mansions, comes from a Greek word that could have just as well be translated, ABODES, or RESTING PLACES? Look it up for yourselves if you like, then you will see that every true son of God is an abode of His. He dwells there. The house of God is no more a tangible building than the house of Jacob, or the house of Abraham, or the house of David. The house terminology is the same; the only difference is that God is Spirit, and therefore able to take up residence in every member of His house. In other words, the house of God is the family of God. Anyone who has a revelation that Roman Catholicism, the false church which is described in chapters 17 and 18, of Revelation, is referred to as a woman, then as we read on we find that the woman is a system made up of people and referred to later, as a city, ought to be able to see that the city of the living God is people also. The Devil has a city, and God has a city. Satan has his city decked with natural gold, silver, and precious stones which have material value, but the city of God is decked with His Shekinah glory, and the stones of it are not carnal, but spiritual stones. We are talking about God’s spiritual city now, not the Jerusalem in the land of Israel.


GATES – TRIBES


Let us take a look at the other description of the city as John sees it, 21:11. He sees it coming down, “Having the glory of God; and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” (Bro. Jackson: I thought it was a city of Gold.) It is gold, but it is not the kind you and I are associated with; its beauty, its light, its glory was like unto a jasper stone, clear as crystal. That means you could see through it. It reflects something. In verse 12, we see it taking on dimensional form, “And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.” Now, if that is not a natural city, with a natural wall, then what does all that mean? It simply signifies that the way into that city was set forth in types and shadows in the age when God dwelt with the children of Israel, which was a nation with twelve tribes. We all know that the way into any city is through its gates, and the way into this age of grace, and the church of the living God was all typed out, or set forth in types and shadows in the law age. Let us take that back to what Paul said in Hebrews, concerning the tabernacle Moses was commanded to build in the wilderness. God said, “See that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed thee in the mount,” the pattern of the heavenly tabernacle which was pitched by the Lord. Think of this Saints, if there was a heavenly tabernacle, it has to be the blueprint of the church of the living God. That earthly tabernacle, in its natural structure and dimensions, was to type what the church would be in its redeemed state, and relationship with God. Alright now, there were three gates on the east three on the north, three on the south, and three on the west, “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations.” The foundation of a wall (in building terms) is called a footing. That which holds up the wall giving it a solid foundation, is called a footing, and I have never yet heard of a wall having more than one footing, regardless of how thick or how high it may be, but here, in this spiritual wall, we have 12 foundations. Why? Why have 12 foundations? Praise the Lord, this takes on real significance here; for in those foundations were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. John saw his name there as his eyes passed over those layers of the foundations. Can you imagine how his old heart must have leaped within him? Probably, there was a big teardrop run down his face about that time, as his head jerked back to take another look.


APOSTLES – FOUNDATIONS


Let me ask you a question now. Did the apostle Paul carry any earthly material up there while he was alive? Did Peter, James, or John carry anything up there to lay in the foundations of the wall of that city? We all know better than that; therefore those foundational layers portray the life and ministry of those apostles, and the revelation that they held in their bosom as they went forth under the leadership of the Holy Ghost, being inspired of Him to preach the gospel to every creature. Of course it all began with the Jews, and it is true that the apostle Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, but according to church history, each and every one of those apostles ministered, at times, to the Gentile congregations as time moved on. It was all in the plan of God for them to be instruments, by which, He would lay a sure foundation for his church. We will talk about this more, as we come to verse 19, but now, let us look at the dimensions of this city. Verse 15, “And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth four square, (we are getting in to the mathematical language of it now) and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.” I am a poor mathematician, and know very little about it, but I do know when you start talking about foursquare in mathematical terms, you are talking about a cube. I know this also; you cannot add to, or take away from a cube. If you have twelve thousand this way, twelve thousand this way, and twelve thousand this way, you have a cube. If you only had 11,900 on one side it would not be a cube, would it? I see that God used mathematical language here to show the climax, or completeness of something that would be of the total plan of redemption for the whole human race. It is all symbolized right here so beautifully. To the natural mind it looks like such a natural setting, but to the spiritual mind that already has that question settled, it presents a beautiful picture of completeness. If you try to change its form, you automatically uncube it, and it becomes an incomplete revelation. Any time you change the dimensions of a cube, you lose your cube, and the only way you can get it back is to put back what you took away. Is that not what we read in the last few verses of Revelation? It tells us what will happen to anyone who adds to, or takes from the words that are written in the prophecy of this book. We must accept it just like it is, for what it says, no more, and no less. Verse 17, “And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. 18, And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: (John evidently used the word jasper in an attempt to describe something that was too beautiful to be described with human words) and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.” The peculiarity of the description of this gold should tell us something. We all know that pure gold, in the natural, is not clear as glass, no matter how refined it is. We know that gold is either white or yellow; therefore we are made to understand that this is a spiritual term applied to pure, undefiled faith. This symbolizes the fact that the souls of the redeemed church are abiding in perfect faith, the faith they had in this earthly life, which was tested and tried by fire. What did Jesus say to the church at Laodicea? “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire.” Surely we do not think He is going to give us natural gold; what spiritual good would natural gold be to a people that were lukewarm spiritually? If we can see then, that the gold referred to is faith, we can easily see that the city of gold symbolizes the perfected state of that faith. Some will say, I did not know that the Lord Jesus would give us faith; and others are continuously praying for more faith. In each situation there needs to be some direction. The scriptures teach us that to every man is given a measure of faith. If that faith is exercised in believing God’s word, it brings an increase in faith back to us according to God’s law of sowing, and reaping with increase. Faith and revelation go hand in hand. We are given a measure of faith; then through that faith we receive a revelation of who Jesus Christ is (the incarnate God, Himself) and that revelation increases our faith sufficiently to believe the other things that are set forth in the Bible, but not without trials and tests along the way. Every revelation we receive has to be tested by the fires of ridicule and persecution; that is what determines whether it was a revelation or just an idea. A genuine revelation becomes a part of you that no amount of persecution can cancel out. Turn to 1 Peter 1:3-9, for just a few minutes, and we will see what the apostle Peter added to the subject of faith, gold and fire. 3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an INHERITANCE incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are KEPT by the POWER OF GOD THROUGH FAITH unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness THROUGH MANIFOLD TEMPTATIONS: (why?) THAT THE TRIAL OF YOUR FAITH, being much more precious than of GOLD that perisheth, though it be tried with FIRE (why did Peter use such an illustration if he was not making a comparison between our faith, – GOLD – and natural – GOLD – ?) Might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet BELIEVING, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your FAITH, even the salvation of your souls.” I believe these words of Peter more than establish the fact that our Faith is likened unto pure GOLD, and the reason John described it as being like clear glass is because the bride (the city) is pure and clean with nothing left to defile or corrupt her. In this verse the CITY is pure GOLD, and in verse 21 he said the STREET of that city was pure GOLD. Brothers and sisters, I would rather have this kind of gold to cherish in my soul than all the other you could load on a burro’s back. This gold isn’t heavy. It will not get you all humped over, carrying it. As a matter of fact, it will have a reverse effect on you; it will make you stand up straight and hold your head high. It will cause you to look up to heaven and say, THANK you, Lord, as you realize just how blessed you are. The devil has worked hard at his task of getting people to look at these scriptures from the standpoint of natural reasoning, and he has had a tremendous amount of success in his program, but bride saints must be able to look beyond the natural realm, and see the beautiful plan of God unfolding in those last days.


FOUNDATION STONES


Let us continue on now with verse 19, “And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was JASPER; the second, SAPPHIRE; the third, a CHALCEDONY; the fourth, an EMERALD; the fifth, SARDONYX; the sixth, SARDIUS; the seventh, CHRYSOLITE; the eighth, BERYL; the ninth, a TOPAZ; the tenth, a CHRYSOPRASUS; the eleventh, a JACINTH; and the twelfth, an AMETHYST.” Each stone is to typify the beauty and splendor of the life of that apostle, as he went forth carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth. His ministry and relationship to the people, reflected as the beauty of these stones as he went forth planting seed of revelation in their souls. Those apostles were pointing the way through the gates of that city where people could find rest and refuge for their weary souls, an eternal rest from their adversary, which is the devil. Watch this next verse now, 21, “And the twelve GATES were twelve pearls; (signifying something pure, which is exactly what was portrayed through the age of the law, in types) every several GATE was of one pearl: and the STREET (SINGULAR) of the CITY was pure GOLD, as it were transparent glass.” As you walk down the STREET of that CITY, you are walking in the eternal realm of perfect faith, faith that has been made pure and clean through redemption which God worked through Jesus Christ. Think of it, the CITY, and its STREET was of the same substance. A city is not just a street, but the street certainly IS part of the city. It goes to show that this city, with all of its splendor, referred to as the Lamb’s wife, the bride of Christ, is completely, and wholly, in every aspect of its makeup, souls that have been redeemed and made perfect through faith which is in Jesus Christ. Speaking of the gates of pearl in the wall of that city, and for whatever it may be worth, it is interesting to note, that the Collier’s Encyclopedia, 1963 edition, lists 12 colors, or shades of pearl. Then as we consider how a pearl is formed, by calcareous concretion, built layer upon layer, to protect the pearl oyster from whatever irritant caused the process to begin in the first place, we can see how this parallels with the lives of the people who made up the twelve tribes of Israel. The substance which forms into a beautiful pearl is already present in the oyster shell, in the oyster, but of little or no value gem-wise, until an intruder enters the picture. Reaction to the intruder forms the substance into beautiful pearls. Is that not how it was with the children of Israel? Their character, and stature was molded as they reacted to the intrusions of their enemies, which were enemies of God, who is the source of all substance. God does not need protection for Himself, but it was His enemies that brought out the best, of the children of Israel.


TEAR THIS TEMPLE DOWN


As we come to verse 22, it calls our attention back to verse 3, which we spoke of already, where a voice from heaven spoke saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men.” When John heard those words he was viewing the city from an outside position, but as we come to verse 22, John is seeing within the city, and that is when he said, “And I saw no TEMPLE therein.” What does that mean? It means he did not see any kind of a building within the city where a person could go to and say, This is where God is. In the natural Jerusalem which is built on top of Mount Zion, there stood a temple, the place where God chose to place His presence, His Shekinah glory. That city also had a wall around it, and gates in the wall, and buildings within; many buildings, but God only chose to place His presence in one of those buildings, the temple, which was a type, to foreshadow the very thing that God has given to you and I. Anything that was to foreshadow the bride of Christ, in her perfected state would, of necessity, have to be a thing of beauty for the eyes to behold. It was the beauty of it that the disciples of Jesus were taken with. They came to Him one day just to call his attention to the beauty and splendor of the temple, but Jesus surprised them by saying, Matt. 24:2, “See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” That was a surprise to the, but they were even more surprised the day He said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” That is when the Jews became indignant saying, “Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?” Every Jew standing there thought He was blaspheming against their most sacred holy place, but naturally, He was speaking of the temple of His body, the place where God has always desired to place His eternal presence, (in the body of His true people) since the day He created Adam. With such a revelation as this, it is no wonder the apostle Peter referred to believers as lively stones, built up into a spiritual house, and Paul referred to that house as a holy temple in the Lord. For a parallel thought let us consider a natural setting, using the temple in the natural city, (Jerusalem) where God place His presence. Like we said already; there were many buildings in the city, but only one where God had chosen to place His presence. Just suppose that while God’s presence was in that natural temple, all the other buildings of the city had been erased from the picture, leaving the wall around the city, but nothing inside the wall except the temple of God: you may consider this to be a poor example of illustration, but inside the wall of that new city, the spiritual Jerusalem, there will be nothing except the bride of Christ, the Lamb’s wife. Even though there will be many, separate, individuals making up the bride, they are all referred to as one body, one building which is the house of God. The whole city inside the wall is one building of God, one building, but with many individual abodes within that one building. That is why John had to say, “I saw no temple therein: because God’s eternal presence was in every building (immortal body) of that city.” It may sound like the picture gets a little twisted when John says, “For the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it,” but remember what Jesus prayed for in John 17:20-23, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word: That they ALL may be ONE; (one body) as thou, Father, art IN ME, (Father-eternal Spirit-in the Word-the Son) and I IN THEE, (Son-the Word-in the Spirit) that they also may be ONE IN US: (one body in God who is Word and Spirit) that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that THEY MAY BE ONE, (one body) EVEN AS WE ARE ONE: (Spirit and Word-one God) I IN THEM, (the Word in the body) and THOU IN ME, (the Spirit in the Word which is in the body) that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” Now you can see that, even though we are the temple of God, and He is in us, we also are in Him; therefore it is not strange for John to say that God is the temple of the new city. Verse 3, The tabernacle of God is with men, (He is in us) and verse 22, The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it, (we are in Him) go together to show complete oneness between God and His redeemed family. With Him in us, and us in Him, it becomes a beautiful picture. That is exactly as it was in the garden, in the beginning. Adam’s natural body was made to give him contact with the earthly realm, but his spiritual body (the inner man) which was made in the image and likeness of God, enable him to move freely in fellowshipping God at any moment. He had free access to both worlds, or realms of habitation. With redemption and restoration fully completed, it will be God in His people, and His people in Him, a perfect union.


NO SUN – NO MOON


Now we will take a closer look at verse 23, “And the city had no need for the sun, neither of the moon, to shine IN IT: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” My, what a beautiful picture that is: a city that has no need of the sun, nor of the moon, the glory of God being the light of it. Remember what I said earlier though, do not run off and say there will be no more sun or moon in the eternal age, for that is not what it says at all. It only says that the CITY (the bride) had no need of the sun and moon to lighten it; the natural world will have the same need for the light of the sun and moon that it has always had. The big difference will be in the fact that the sun will be seven times brighter than before, and therefore the moon reflecting such brightness will cancel out all darkness; there will be no more night. Just as there will be no night, or darkness in the city, (the redeemed church) there will be no darkness over the whole face of the earth. There will be light everywhere. Now some of you are sure to say, But how could men stand for the sun to be 7 times brighter? Would it not scorch them to death? No, you are thinking in terms of the way it is now. I assure you of this: if everything else stayed the same, and the sun was made 7 times brighter, we would not last ten minutes in it, but when God has completed His redemption process, He will have a perfect climate all the time. It will never be too hot, nor too cold again. The earth will be back in its perfect orbit again, and all the water will be back in its original place, much of it forming a protective belt around the earth. I realize it is hard for us, because of our present environment, to visualize a perfect environment, but we must remember that every unpleasant thing that we know anything about is a result of sin. It was not like that in the beginning, and therefore will not be like that when redemption is completed.


SAVED PEOPLE


Let us read these last four verses now to complete chapter 21, “And the nations of them which are saved (as we said earlier, this will be the mortal realm of people that pass from the millennium into the eternal age after their testing by the devil who is loosed for a little season) shall walk in the light of it: (the light of the bride) and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there, (the gates of the natural city, Jerusalem, were closed at night to keep out intruders, vandals, bandits, murderers, and such like, but there will be no need for any such in the eternal age) 26, And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Do you get the picture here? It is a picture of the large host of saved, (yes they are saved) natural people from all nations bringing their glory and honour to the BRIDE realm of God’s redeemed people. All these had their names written in the Lamb’s book of life from before the foundation of the world, because of the foreknowledge of God. He knew who would accept His offer of eternal life, and also who would reject it, before He ever created the first man, Adam. Election, predestination, and foreknowledge of God have been bo-gey subjects among denominational church people, all down through the ages, chiefly because of carnal reasoning. People who reject teaching on these subjects, say, “If God knew ahead of time that man would sin, why did He go ahead and create him in the first place?” Or they will say, “Why did He not create a man that would not sin? Could He not have done that?” Yes, He could have done that, but then, He would have had a family of robots. Where would He have received His honour, His praise, His worship? He is a God of many attributes, or abilities which He chose to express through His creation, many of which could never have been expressed if man had not sinned, such as forgiveness, mercy, longsuffering, patience, redeemer, and an endless list of other things. Some even say, “That sounds cruel,” but remember, God did not force man to sin; He created him with a will of his own, so that he could choose what he would do, (he was in the image of God) but God knew what choices he (the man) would make. Then, through this process, as the redemption process comes to a climax, God has a family of people that have counted their fellowship and communion with Him to be more precious than all of what Satan has to offer; therefore they worship Him by their own choice, after having known about all of Satan’s enticing offers. These are they whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life through the foreknowledge of God.


LET ME EXPLAIN


There are some things in chapter 22, for us to consider, as John continues his description of what he sees inside the new city, but first I want to say something to you, of a little different nature. When a preacher stands in the pulpit telling people what he is looking at, and declaring it to be truth, then he should be allowed to do his utmost to prove by the scriptures, to all interested parties, that what he is seeing is not just mere assumption, even if it requires repeating certain things over and over again. I have found that most people do not catch all of what is said, the first time they hear it anyhow. Therefore; as we go on into chapter 22, I will be repeating some of what has been said already, and I pray that it will be helpful and meaningful to each of you. I have never been a person that enjoyed probing around in things unless I felt like, when I got through, something worthwhile had come out of it. I do not like to poke around in something, and then have to back out of it, feeling that all my efforts have been in vain, still just as mystified as before I started. I realize that certain things in the scriptures have been shut up to man’s understanding until a certain time, and those things were to be left alone until we felt like we had something concrete to start with, establishing what we are talking about. I realize also, that because of our traditional teaching, in denominations, many times, when we start touching on certain subjects which tear down traditional ideas, it is sort of like a wrecking crew going out to tear down certain old landmarks of a particular area; all kinds of reasoning is brought to bear upon the subject. You hear statements like this, “It is a shame to tear down something that required so much effort to build, or, why tear it down, it isn’t hurting anything?” As you start tearing off the fancy trim, revealing the skeleton, hearts are saddened; then when those last 2×4’s are torn down you have nothing but a pile of rubbish, which, if left like that would be a distasteful situation, but when the rubbish is cleared away, and something more beautiful is built in its place, those same hearts are made to rejoice. That is what we desire to do with this message; tear down tradition which we have carried around with us, and build in its place, something of revelation truth that will help us in these last days. In approaching this subject, my purpose has been to try and give each of you something that would cause you to question your own mind, could it really be like this, or should it be, or can it be? In other words I want you to be thoroughly convinced when we have finished, that what we are talking about is right. Up to this point we have tried our best to show you, by the scriptures, that this city John saw coming down out of heaven is not to be looked upon as a tangible city of literal stones and such like, but rather, it is to be seen as the redeemed body of Christ, the church, and now as we come to chapter 22, where we find John giving a description of the internal setting of the city, we cannot help but notice that it is a description of a garden setting. That lets us know that this is God’s way of bringing us back to what we (in Adam) were driven out of in Genesis, chapter 3, six thousand years ago. There was no way we could look back through the scriptures, and even begin to get a proper picture of what the garden of Eden was like, for we have been walking away from it ever since that day, but here in the end of the Bible, at the end of the account of all God’s dealing with mankind, we find a description of what the garden of Eden was like in the day when man was first placed there.


RIVERS – WELLS – SPRINGS – FOUNTAINS


Let us consider John’s description of what he saw in the new city, chapter 22, verse 1. “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” This is a picture of God placing His throne, his eternal presence, right in the hearts of mankind. Let me say this, all the natural water this planet will ever have is cycled right here on earth today, and there is not one ounce of eternal life within any of it. Do you catch the picture? Every natural tree that will ever be here, is here already, but not one of them is the tree of life. This should speak to some of you who are still not quite convinced that the tree of life in the garden of Eden was not a natural tree of plant life. Remember, John saw this city coming down from God out of heaven. It was descending to earth, for the voice said, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,” then he looked inside and saw this river of water of life proceeding out of the throne of God. It grant you; it does sound like John was seeing a natural river, but be assured, it is not a natural river of water flowing there; rather, it is something that typifies the ever present flowing of the Spirit of God to the souls of His redeemed people. Even in this age Jesus spoke of the Spirit of God, the Spirit of eternal life, in terms of water. We read it in John 7:37-39, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, AS THE SCRIPTURE HATH SAID, (your believing must be according to revelation of the scripture, instead of denominational ideas) out of his belly shall flow RIVERS OF LIVING WATER.” (This spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) Various translations render it differently. Some have it rivers of living water, others, fountains, springs, or wells of living water, but regardless of what words the translators may have used, they all pertain to the Spirit of eternal life, the very presence of God in a measure, which He has placed in every true believer since the day of Pentecost. That LIVING WATER is not for the flesh to live on; it is for the soul to feed upon. He doesn’t take up, or make His abode in us only after we are perfect; He comes in when we truly believe and surrender our lives to Him. Then, from within, He bubbles up like a well, or fountain of water, leading us to perfection. That is the only thing our soul has to feed from, it cannot survive from natural water alone. Now, what are we saying? Simply this, God, who is Spirit, (John 4:24) and not matter, (material substance that occupies space and has weight) is that tree of life which was in the garden of Eden. There are many ways to express it, none of which are sufficient for the soul which is able to receive revelation of the scriptures. The cherubim, and flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life, in simple terms, were set between God and Adam, to keep Adam, who was created in the image and likeness of God, with free access into the spirit world, into the very presence of God, from being able to enter back into His eternal presence, as he (Adam) had been able to do before he sinned. Before man could have access into God’s eternal presence again, as Adam had the privilege of before the fall, all traces of sin and rebellion had to be blotted out. That is what God has been working out through His redemptive process for the past 6,000 years, but saints, be assured, the fulfillment of Revelation 21, doesn’t have very much more than the Millennium and the 70th week of Daniel, standing between then and now, if you get what I mean. Please do not say that I have declared the grace age to be closed out already; I did not say that. I will leave that in the hands of God, but I will say this to you, “Please do not try to push it way off in the future somewhere, for it is definitely a time for the bride of Christ to be watching the scriptures being fulfilled, almost daily. Jesus said, Matt. 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and THEN shall the END come.”


STREET – TREES – FRUIT


Alright, we were talking about a river of water of life, clear as crystal, which John saw proceeding out of the throne of God, in that new city, the holy Jerusalem, “And in the MIDST (same word as Gen. 2:9) of the STREET of it, and on either side of the RIVER, was there the TREE OF LIFE.” You will notice the wording of this verse 2; it speaks of the tree of life in plural terms (on EITHER SIDE of the river was there the tree of life) and to the natural mind, it says there will be two trees of life in that city, but the spiritual mind that is capable of taking on the mind of Christ, sees only one tree of life, which is the very presence of God (OMNIPRESENT) in the whole area of that city. The natural type setting, the river, the tree of life, and the street, are to typify the believer’s walk, and approach to God. We mortals must have a description of heavenly things in terms that we are able to relate to, then God, by revelation, can take that natural setting, and allow us to make a spiritual application of what we see. In other words, if the tree of life back there in the garden of Eden was not a natural tree, (and we know it was not) then the tree of life in the new city is not going to be a natural tree either; but let us consider the remainder of verse 2, which takes on a feminine gender. Take it right from the beginning now, and read straight through. “In the MIDST of the STREET of it, and on EITHER SIDE of THE RIVER, was there the TREE OF LIFE, which BARE TWELVE MANNER OF FRUITS, and yielded her FRUIT every month: and the LEAVES of the TREE were for the HEALING of the NATIONS.” The feminine gender here speaks of the church, which is always spoken of in the feminine, rather than the masculine, being the bride of Christ. The church is referred to as a woman all through the scriptures. She has been redeemed back to God, purchased with His own blood, and as a glorious result of that redemption, she has inherited that eternal life which is in Christ, which is in God. In this life the church is to bear 9 fruits of the Spirit, LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS, and TEMPERANCE, but the, after immortality has been swallowed up by mortality and carnality, to those nine will be added three more, in the eternal age, WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE, and VIRTUE, which we have not possessed in this life, but only tasted of, as God permitted from time to time. Now, we see through a glass darkly, (or faintly) but then, face to face. When we are able to see face to face, then we will know, perfectly, also, for wisdom and knowledge are kinward; they go together. If you can just keep in mind that this whole message is built around the new city, holy Jerusalem, and remember that everything in that city is something that speaks of the church and its relationship to God, it will be easier to make spiritual application as we continue on here.


TREE LEAVES – HEALING – THREES


Since John only saw one street in such a city, it ought to be easy to see that it is to have spiritual application, even if there was nothing else to look at, for such a city in the natural would have many streets. Think of this also; since the city is four square, (the height, the length, and the width all equal) it would be necessary to have levels or layers with streets on each level, if it were a natural city, Right? Some of you who have no trouble reconciling the fact that it is a spiritual city may wonder why we go into so much detail in establishing our point on the subject. To you I will say this, if you could hear some of the questions people ask about this city, you would understand why we want to give them everything we possibly can, to look at, as they study the subject. Getting back to the subject of the 12 manner of fruits the tree of life is to bare in that age, it says she yielded her fruit every month, and like I said earlier, I believe God will have this old planet back on its perfect 360 day to the year orbit by then, so that each month will start at the rising of the new moon. We do not have the time to go into every detail of it, but the Hebrew calendar runs like that. Remembering what the 12 fruits are, we know it will be continuous bliss, especially when we consider what the last part of that verse pertains to. “The leaves of the tree (catch that, THE TREE, singular) were for the healing of the nations.” Bro. Jackson, what does that mean? Will they use them to make medicine for the natural people? No, that is not what it means at all. Think of a park or garden setting. The leaves of those trees are mainly for shade and shelter. Try to catch my thought now; they shelter you from the heat of the sun and provide a more comfortable atmosphere. But Bro. Jackson: I thought you said we would have a perfect climate then. That is right. We will, but remember, we are not talking about a natural tree; we are only using natural trees to help us make a spiritual application here. The leaves of a tree cast a shadow, a covering, and under the covering of that tree is where men like to sit and talk. You do not see men going out into an open field to sit and talk. No, they go sit under the shade, or shadow of a tree someplace. There is something about it that creates a desirable environment. Where did Abraham talk with God? Or if you prefer; where did God talk to Abraham? Under the oak tree. That is where men have had some of heir closest fellowship. Therefore the leaves of this tree are to symbolize the casting of a shadow of fellowship among all nations of people. Remember, these are natural people who repopulated the earth during the Millennium, and in times past, (like in our age) there were many nations that did not fellowship, or have friendly relationships with each other. Not so in the eternal age, for then all breaches will be healed. Verse 3 says, “And there shall be no more curse.” Every curse that has been added through the ages will have been removed, done away with, so that there will be nothing to hinder or prevent people in that age from having perfect fellowship with each other. The people of the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city, presenting themselves to the bride, the bride being the highest calling of God, that men can attain to. There will be nothing of any defiling nature present in that day. All will be clean and pure in that city. “But the throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” We have already covered the part about the sun, and also the moon, in dealing with verse 23, in chapter 21; therefore I feel it should be sufficient just to say, it could not possibly be dark at night with the moon shining as bright as the noon day sun, Isa. 30:26. Then we have the verse, “His servants shall serve Him: And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.” You just heard me say, the bride church is the highest calling of God in His redemptive work, but I hope you can see that God completes certain works in the number 3. Just for a few examples, we know that there are three office works (not three persons) of the one God, FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST. There are three phases of the first resurrection, WHEN CHRIST AND OTHERS AROSE, WHEN THE BRIDE IS RESURRECTED AND CAUGHT UP WITH THE LIVING ELEMENT BEFORE THE GREAT TRIBULATION, and third, WHEN THE TRIBULATION SAINTS ARE RESURRECTED, AFTER THE TRIBULATION HAS CLIMAXED. Then for another example we can look at God’s angelic family. He has CHERUBIM, ARCH ANGELS, and the LESSER ANGELS who are referred to as MINISTERING SPIRITS for the HEIRS OF SALVATION, (that is, for you and I) making 3 realms of angels. There are many other illustrations we could use, but I believe this should be enough to establish the fact, and say that, in the eternal age there will be three realms of sainthood. But there will not be one bit of envy nor jealousy from any of the least of the redeemed. Just as there is no striving among God’s angelic family, neither will there be any among God’s family of redeemed mankind. This does not leave any room for argument as to whether all men are equal or not. It is obvious that in the whole scope of God’s redeemed people, they are not, but they are all equally loved by God, their creator. We ought to be thankful to God for what He has revealed to us, and for the privilege we have; He could have let us be born in the Millennium, you know.


REVIEWING


Now we have just about covered the verses which deal with the new city, holy Jerusalem, so let us review a little in the hope that we can collect it all together in our memory. After all, our mind is the doorway to our spirit; therefore every revelation we receive comes in through the mind where it must pass the scrutiny of the five senses. When it gets past there, into our spirit, we have a revelation which is then a part of our makeup. The devil cannot get it away from us after it becomes a revelation. Alright, 21:1, John saw a new heaven and a new earth which in reality are the same one we know, made new through redemption. 2, Then he saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. We carry that over to verses 9 and 10, and we are told that this city is the Lamb’s wife. The Lamb only has one wife, and that is His Gentile bride, the church. Verse 3, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men.” This shows us that in the eternal age God will place His full eternal presence back in the midst of His people, just as it was before the first man sinned. Verse 4 shows complete redemption, with all former things passed away. Verse 5, John’s attention is being directed to the fact that he is seeing things as they will be when God has finished His redeeming process. Verse 6 identifies the Eternal One, who is the beginning, and the end of all things, as the one who is doing the speaking up to this point, promising eternal life to all who are thirsting for it, (not all men are) and by revelation we know His name. His redemption name is Jesus, the Christ. Verse 7, shows us that there is some overcoming for us to work out in order to inherit all of what God has made available to us. Verse 8 gives us a look at who will be cast into the lake of fire, along with the devil, the beast, and the false prophet which are already in there, to completely cleanse the earth from everything that has defiled it since the garden of Eden affair. Verses 9 and 10 have already been covered, and verse 11, shows us that the city is saturated with the glory and presence of Elohim, the self existent one, the eternal God, which is her light that reflects as clear as crystal.


PRAISE – SALVATION – HOLINESS


When we come to verse 12, we find a great, high wall which is symbolic of perfect security and safety, the wall having twelve gates with the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel written on them, signifying that the way into this walled city was worked out in types and shadows through these Israelites in the law age. Verse 13, with three gates on each of the four sides of the wall, speak of the fact that the city is made up of redeemed saints that have come from every direction on the face of this old globe. Between verses 13 and 14, let me say this, Isaiah gives us another set of three’s, 60:18, violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shall call thy WALLS SALVATION, and thy GATES PRAISE. Then in 62:9 it speaks of the COURTS OF MY HOLINESS. Now when you connect PRAISE, SALVATION, and HOLINESS together, you see a threefold redemptive work accomplished in the saints of God. Alright now, we connect the praise with the children of Israel which pointed the way through the gates into that city of God’s redeemed. The wall of that city, verse 14, had 12 foundations with the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb in them. It was the apostles of the Lamb that laid the foundation for the faith of our salvation, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. Remember, the wall, or walls of that city are called salvation. Why? They symbolize the fact that the bride, the church, has found the security, that place of safety and protection, in Christ in God, which men in the natural, in days of old, sought from the protective walls of natural cities. Walls, in our day of modern warfare, are of little significance, since they cannot protect anyone from a nuclear attack, but they are symbolized in the scriptures dealing with this spiritual city because of the salvation (deliverance from enemies) they furnished to men in days of old. The reason Ezekiel 38 refers to the people of God who dwell in safety in unwalled cities, is because it is referring to the people in this age that have been brought back to the land of Israel in fulfillment of the scriptures, and God Himself, is their wall, their protection, their defense, for the simple reason that a wall around the natural city of Jerusalem could not protect them against an attack from Russia and her allies when it comes. We see that verses 15, 16, and 17, all go together, for they pertain to the measurements of the city, the gates and the wall. The twelve thousand furlongs of the city, and the hundred and forty-four cubits of the wall seem to speak of the vastness of the city itself. One thing we do want to notice though is that the city is four square. In other words, equal in every direction (cubed) pointing to a finished work. When something is cubed, you cannot add to, or take from, without marring the picture. That is why it could not be pictured as a pyramid the way some people think; the language here rules out any such thought. Four square, the length, the breadth, and the height being equal, could not be represented in a pyramid. No, this foursquare terminology definitely represents the fact that God’s redemption process is a completed work, and that the bride, (which is the city itself) is made up of saints that are all perfected. There are three realms of sainthood in God’s redeemed family, but the bride saints themselves are all those who were perfected in this life. Verses 18, 19 and 20 go together in their description of the wall, its foundations, and the stones which garnished them with beauty. The city of God speaking of the perfect faith of the bride church, is explained in detail earlier in the message, and remember these stones are to represent the life and ministry of the various apostles they apply to. In other words the twelve apostles of the Lamb which carried the gospel to all nations, laying the foundation stones of the church of the living God. Some stones (we are told) are formed by tremendous pressure, others by tremendous heat and so forth; therefore God used these different stones to symbolize the life and ministry, and character of those apostles. Verse 21, speaking of the twelve gates being twelve pearls, each gate of one pearl, remember, these gates represent the 12 tribes of Israel, which speak of the way into the city, how God worked it out in types and shadows in the law age, and the pearl which has its formation perfected because of an intruder, (an enemy) lays perfectly in line with what the children of Israel suffered at the hands of their enemies. The street of pure gold, even as transparent glass speaks of the fact that the faith of the church, which is more precious than gold, tried in the fire, has come forth so pure that there is not a speck of anything left to mar that faith or keep her from approaching God. The way to perfect fellowship with God is faith, faith which has been tried in the fires of ridicule and persecution, and come forth pure and spotless. 22, “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God and the Lamb are the temple of it.” In other words the city itself is made up of people. There are no natural buildings, and every immortal body there has the same measure of the presence of God; therefore there is no certain place designated as the place where the omnipresent God would place His presence. He will be in us, and we in Him; therefore He IS the temple of the CITY. 23, “The city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” The city itself, (the people) had no need of these lights, but the planet will still have the sun and moon to shine on it. 24, The nations of natural people will walk in the light of that city; in other words, in the light of the revelation of the bride, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory and honour to the church, the bride which is the city. 25, The gates of the city shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. This simply means that since the moon will be as bright as the sun, there will be no darkness, and the fact that the gates are never closed, speaks of the fact that the natural people of the nations will have constant access into the presence of the church, the bride saints. It speaks also, symbolically, of the fact that there is no more evil present, no robbers, no murderers and therefore no necessity or reason to close the gates. Every reference here, furnishes us with many avenues of thought, once we get a glimpse of the fact that everything man has associated with in this life, is represented symbolically, in this city with its wall and 12 gates. Verse 26, goes with verse 24, and verse 27 shows that every defiling thing has been cut off, and only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life remain.


NO MORE CURSE


You remember now that the pure river of water of life represents, symbolically, the very life and presence of God that is in the midst of His redeemed family. The tree of life in the midst of the street and on either side of the river is that eternal presence of God that the cherubim have kept guard on, ever since the day man was driven from the garden. The tree of life will bear 12 manner of fruits. Wisdom, knowledge, and virtue will be added to the nine fruits of the spirit that the church has had through the age of grace. Yielding her fruit every month speaks of a continuous condition of bliss, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. In other words, this symbolizes the fellowship that men have as they sit in the shade of natural trees. In that day all breaches will be healed between the nations, and there will be perfect fellowship between all people, from all nations; so the leaves are symbolic of casting a shadow of fellowship, creating a peaceful environment. The curse will be removed and everything that has kept men of various cultures from fellowshipping each other will no longer exist. Verse 3 also speaks of the fact that the servants of God will serve Him. Those servants will be people in the natural realm, people who have passed through the Millennium. They shall see his face; (remember, men in that day will be as Adam was before the fall) and His name shall be in their foreheads. There will be no night, because of the brightness of the sun, and the moon, and they shall reign for ever and ever. (We are going to print a message very shortly, that will deal with this tern, for ever and ever, also the words eternal and everlasting.) Verse 7, promises a blessing to those who keep the words, or sayings of the prophecy of this book. We are reminded here of something we read in the very first chapter of the book, verse 3, “Blessed is he that READETH and THEY THAT HEAR the words of this prophecy, and keep those thinks which are written therein.”


BROTHER BRANHAM SAID


Now I realize that we could never say enough to convince some people that John was not seeing a literal city, but before I close, there is something else I want to say. Some of you believe it is a natural city, a city of material matter that is constructed according to the measurements in chapter 21, verse 16, twelve thousand furlongs, and foursquare. It is bad enough for people who are supposed to be revelated, to believe that, but at least you have some scripture to look at. What is really hard to digest is the fact that there are others who believe it will be a natural city of material matter, constructed in the shape of a pyramid, all because of something Brother Branham said. They do not have the first verse of scripture for that idea. Let me tell you something else that Brother Branham said; it will line up with the scriptures, and it will lay right alongside this message. I will quote Bro. Branham; these are his very words, “I have never believed that heaven was a place where there was a bunch of buildings, where there was a bunch of houses up there, made with mortar, doped up with paper, paint on the walls. I have never believed that a supernatural being would have to live in a literal house. I believe, when Jesus spoke, in John 14; saying, in my Father’s house are many mansions, He meant, a body, a dwelling place, for the scriptures verify the same thing and say; ‘If this earthly tabernacle be dissolved we have one already waiting.’ It meant, mortal beings are the only ones who live in mortal habitations; immortal beings live in immortal habitations.” I could go on and on, but I feel that this should be enough to cause those who desire to follow truth, to shake themselves, and find out if they are really in the faith. There is no salvational merit in anything that anyone says, unless that which is said lines up with scriptures; God does not contradict Himself. Let me say this also; if you are unable to get a picture in your mind of how it was on earth before the fall of man, then you will probably have difficulty visualizing the eternal age, when earth has been redeemed and returned to its former state. Remember, the first Adam, the beginning of the old creation, brought sin, death and corruption to the earth through his disobedience, but the second Adam, the Lord of glory, in the form of flesh, has perfected a complete redemption for all of God’s creation through His perfect obedience. He did not come to create another tree, another blade of grass, nor anything else. His work was to redeem and deliver back to God, that which has already been created.


CONCLUSION


We have read these verses already, but I want to conclude this message by reading them again, 1 Corinthians 15:21-26. “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23, But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. 24, THEN COMETH THE END, (there is more than three thousand years of time covered in verse 23, for verse 24 brings us up to the beginning of the eternal age) when He (Christ) shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, (eternal Spirit) even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” We await that glorious day, Amen.

Mystery Woman of Revelation 12

REVELATION CHAPTER 12


THE WOMAN IN REVELATION CHAPTER 12 HAS BEEN A GREAT MYSTERY TO SAINTS OF EVERY AGE, AND THIS LAST AGE SEEMS TO BE NO EXCEPTION. VERY FEW PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SEE THAT WOMAN AS THE NATION OF ISRAEL, BUT IF YOU WILL READ THIS MESSAGE, I BELIEVE THE PICTURE WILL CLEAR UP SOMEWHAT FOR YOU. WE WILL SHOW YOU WHAT THE SUN REPRESENTS, THAT SHE IS CLOTHED WITH, ALSO THE MOON THAT IS UNDER HER FEET. WE WILL ALSO SHOW YOU WHY ISRAEL CANNOT COMPROMISE WITH THE REST OF THE LEADERS OF THE WORLD WHO ARE CALLING FOR HER TO PULL BACK FROM THE LAND THAT SHE DID NOT OCCUPY BEFORE 1967. WE WILL ALSO ENDEAVOR TO ANSWER SOME OF THE QUESTIONS THAT HAVE COME IN TO US ON THESE VARIOUS SUBJECTS THAT PERTAIN TO THIS AGE. FIND OUT WHY THE WOMAN CANNOT BE THE CHURCH, AND THE REST OF THE CHAPTER WILL BE MUCH EASIER TO UNDERSTAND. FIND OUT WHAT, OR WHO THE DRAGON IS, AND YOU WILL KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT TO LOOK FOR AS THIS AGE WINDS TO A CLOSE.


We have this message in print already, but there are a few thousand people on our mailing list now that did not receive our first mailing in 1969; therefore because of the many questions we still receive concerning the mystery woman in the 12th chapter of Revelation, and because of the many things that are being taught in various circles, I feel led to reprint the article with the addition of certain scriptures that will prove beyond any shadow of doubt who the mystery woman is. We will deal with the entire chapter, but our first concern will be to prove the identity of the woman who is clothed with the sun, having the moon under her feet, and a crown upon her head having twelve stars. There are people teaching things from this chapter that no right-thinking Holy Ghost child of God could possibly believe if they would just study the scriptures; yet confusion and projections are still running rampant on every hand. My desire is to furnish you with enough scriptural proof to put to rest once and for all, any questions that might still be in your mind. I ask you to give close attention now as we begin reading our text scriptures.


WONDER IN HEAVEN


Let us begin reading now with verse 1, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his head.” You will see as we progress in the message, that this is the same beast that is described in Chapter 13. Chapter 12 gives the heavenly scene of it, while Chapter 13 is the earthly fulfillment. We will talk about that later, but right now we want to read about two more verses. 4, “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a MAN CHILD, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne.” I do not see how many Gentile Christians could read that 5th verse and think it is a picture of the church, the bride of Christ, giving birth to an element of overcomers who will rule the world with a rod of iron, but there are a lot of people believing that, these days. Even in this following (these who supposedly are following the teaching of Bro. Branham) you will find certain preachers standing in the pulpit teaching that the bride of Christ will come out of the church, when actually, the bride of Christ IS the church. The apostle Paul never applied the term, CHURCH, to anyone other than the bride. When you begin to talk like that, you are walking right out of the scriptures. When the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesian church, the church that typed the first church age, he called the church the body of Christ. Even though you will not find the church referred to as the bride of Christ anywhere in the New Testament letters, Paul did say in his letter to the Ephesians, that Christ is the head of the church, showing the same relationship between the natural man and his wife. Then he goes on to say (Eph. 5:25) “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it: 26, That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of the water by the word, 27, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Then in the 19th chapter of Revelation, verse 7, we find that same group referred to as the Lamb’s wife, the group that was to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, which was revealed to be the righteousness of saints. As we go on over to chapter 21, verse 9, we find the Lamb’s wife, and bride terminology used in connection with a certain group of overcomers. All of this ties together to present us with a beautiful picture of the relationship between Christ and His church, but there is no place in the whole New Testament where you will find the church referred to as being expectant with child, but rather, the reference is to the fact that she (the church) is a chaste virgin. When Paul wrote the second letter to the Corinthian church he said to them, (11:2) “For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy; for I have ESPOUSED you to one HUSBAND, that I may present you as a CHASTE VIRGIN to CHRIST.” Brothers and Sisters; we need to stick with the scriptures. When you begin to play with words in order to please people; you have just walked away from whatever calling God may have placed on your life. God is not a compromiser. It is as Paul said in his letter to the Galatians, (5:11), “And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the offense of the cross ceased.” He was persecuted for preaching Christ, and what took place on the cross at Calvary, because it was not compatible with Judaism, and that crowd of mediocre persons who just played along on the borders of Christianity. They had them in that day, and we have them in our day. We have a bunch of mediocre preachers (the reason I refer to them like that is because they just play along on the borders of the truth without ever taking a stand for anything that would bring them any persecution) running around these days who just play along with this message of truth. They will never take a stand in respects of restored truth, to declare where they stand on controversial issues. Any issue that tends to divide people is taboo to them; they back away from it, claiming never to have studied it. I think it is high time some of them begin to study the Bible once in a while, instead of statements made by God’s prophet messenger to this age. Many of them will say “I don’t think God wants us to see all these deep things anyhow.” That will get them in trouble with the very scriptures that set the pace for Christianity. Look what Paul said to the Ephesians, (3:17-19). “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to COMPREHEND with ALL SAINTS what is the BREADTH, and LENGTH, and DEPTH, and HEIGHT; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the FULLNESS of GOD.” That means we are all to comprehend what He is revealing and giving understanding of in our age. Certainly we are never to put knowledge ahead of love, but this feeble excuse we hear all the time about it being more important to love each other, than to understand and teach things that divide, is a far cry from the way Jesus talked in the 10th chapter of Matthew. I know I have read this scripture to you many times before, but it is still in the Bible, and it still means the same thing; if you stand for truth, there will be some that will hate you. Let us read it again; Matthew 10:34-38. “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I come not to send peace, but a sword. (SWORD OF THE SPIRIT) 35, For I am come to set a man at variance against his father (you will find trouble everywhere you go when you stand for revealed truth.) And the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: (Who was He? The Word made flesh, John 1:14) and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” If a man is to put the word of truth above peace with his own family, where do these compromisers get the scripture for their love talk anyway? Love is truth; Love is corrective, and God is love, but He will not avoid truth to spare feelings. It is time some people begin to realize that. Love is the avenue we walk in, but I assure you, you will walk right into the mysteries of the word of God, the things that God has prepared for those that love Him. You remember how Paul expressed it in 1 Cor. 2:9-10, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for them that love Him. 10, But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” Now, did you notice that verse? The Spirit searcheth all things, and they are revealed unto us by the Spirit. Right before that, Paul said, “I did not come to you with excellency of speech or of wisdom (speaking of the natural wisdom of man) declaring unto you the testimony of God.” I will paraphrase it like this. “Brethren, I came to you speaking only what was revealed to me by the Spirit of God, for it is not right for your faith to stand only on the wisdom of men, but rather, it should be grounded by the wisdom that is spoken to you through the spirit.” In verse 7, he says, “But we speak the wisdom of God ordained before the world unto our glory.” I will have to say, (and I want you to hear me well) the deep things of God are not for the denominational church world. Neither are they for those who just want to play around with something. The deep mysteries of God are for those who have received a revelation of His name, been baptized properly, and determined in their hearts to walk with Him in truth, no matter what comes as a result of it. God will allow them to look in every closet and feast upon those things that are hidden to the world. The mysteries of the word of God are for our glory. They are stepping stones that enable us to get a glimpse into the world to come. Let me read a few verses from 2 Thessalonians, 1:6-10, where Paul is writing to saints who have suffered persecution because of the truth they have stood for. Picking up in verse 6, he says, “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to they that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; when he shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” In other words he is saying to them, “Though it may be a little rough right now because of opposition, there is coming a day when you who have suffered for truth’s sake, will be able to rest with us while the Lord repays those who have troubled you.” That is why it is better to stand for truth now, for we know that God will vindicate truth, and repay those who have opposed it for one reason or another, with tribulation. Then to take it one step farther, I will say this, “If you do, truly, have the Spirit of God in you, how can you fight against truth, and those who stand for it? Think on that while we get on with the announced subject.


A MAN CHILD – FROM THE GENTILE CHURCH?


For the sake of truth now let me say once agin (as I have many times before) the woman in Revelation, chapter 12, is not now, and never has been the church. It never has been the church, and it never will be the church; it is a panoramic picture of the nation of Israel. John was allowed to have a little glimpse of God’s complete dealings with the nation of Israel, from the very beginning of her history, all the way to her millennial glory. You all know the story, how God called Abraham from the land of the Chaldeans, made a covenant with him, and promised him a son by his wife, Sari, who was past the age of child-bearing. That promised son, Isaac, begat a son whom he named Jacob, and Jacob begat the 12 patriarchs who fathered the entire nation of Israel. God allowed circumstances to carry them into the land of Egypt where their families multiplied into the millions, and the hand of their oppressors was heavy upon them. Then God raised up Moses from their midst and anointed him to be their deliverer. From there the great scene of God’s dealing with her as a nation of people takes on a more personal relationship. God brings them back into their land and begins to deal with the nation as His wife. Therefore the woman, (Israel) the wife of Elohim, Jehovah, the eternal Spirit (God) is expectant with child. Nowhere in the scriptures will you find that there is to come forth from the Gentiles, one who will rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but we see this woman bearing such a child as we go down in the chapter. To me it is so clear, that there should be no question as to who the woman is, but it is obvious that not everyone sees it that clearly; therefore, there remains the great controversy: Is it the church? Is it this? Is it that, or something else? Let us examine verse one for just a little while. “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; (John was seeing this in a vision) a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” Now we all know that the moon which hangs out here in space and gives us light at night, is a reflection of the sun. It gives no light of its own. The moon in this reference is a type of the law age of Israel (the woman) went through, an age of types and shadows that pointed to something that was to come later. Now there are some who believe, rightly so, that this woman is the nation of Israel, but they err in the fact that they believe the sun that she is clothed with is the gospel of grace. It definitely is not the gospel that she is clothed with. That is a scriptural impossibility. Some of you will surely say, “Bro. Jackson, you are getting terribly independent and dogmatic about this.” Let me tell you, I have to. I learned a long time ago that you can never get anywhere with truth as long as you just play around with the scriptures. Those who do so, automatically fall into a category, and of necessity, must fellowship with those of like faith. It is just like a bunch of boys who hang together all the time. Before long, whatever one does, they all do. If you hang around with boys that smoke, drink, gamble, and such like, it will not be long until you will be just like them. By the same token, if I start compromising with preachers who just want to play around with this word of God, very soon; people will begin to say, “He is just another one of them.” Brothers and Sisters, it is too late for a thing like that; we must stand for truth, and seek to be a Holy Ghost revelated people as this age closes out. It isn’t that I do not love them; I do; but the principles of truth take the preeminence. The devil doesn’t like it, but I am not trying to please him, are you? Alright then, let us settle it; the sun that the woman is clothed with, pictures her (the nation of Israel) in her millennial glory. Did it ever occur to you as a Gentile, that the reason Israel failed to recognize Christ in His first advent was because they looked only for their Messiah and the kingdom age? Looking for a king who would be able to solve all their problems, they could not recognize nor accept the humble Nazarene who rode a donkey into Jerusalem, as anyone of any significance.


TWO ADVENTS OF CHRIST


Those of you who will hear this will not be able to see our visual illustration, but we are going to use these two chairs to represent the two advents of Christ which were foretold in the Old Testament. Then we are going to prove to you with every scripture reference, that this woman is Israel. Let me say this also, Israel is getting ready to experience some of the hardest birth pains that she has ever known throughout time. The political world is trying to inject a serum that will deaden the pain, and keep her quiet, but it will fail. The birth pains are coming very soon, and I love this word of God which declares it. I do not rejoice in their suffering; I rejoice in the accuracy, the preciseness, of the word of God. Now, John saw the woman clothed with the sun, a picture of the nation of Israel shining for 1000 years throughout the kingdom age, which all her prophets spoke of. God will be ruling on earth in human form. The Godman, Jesus, who took Peter, James and John upon a mountain with Him one day and gave them a preview of what the glory of God in the nation of Israel will be like in that day, will be ruling with a rod of iron and the nation of Israel will be shining throughout the whole time. But Bro. Jackson, I thought the Gentile bride was to have the number one spot with Him in the Millennium. Yes, that is right, but His glorified presence will be in the land of Israel as He takes the throne of David to rule and reign, and she, (Israel) will have the distinct honor of being the nation of people through which the Messiah came. All that she (as a nation) has ever looked forward to, will be realized in that day. You realize of course, that there were many Jews who believed the gospel of Jesus Christ, and became the first of all those who would make up the bride of Christ. Some of them were apostles, some were prophets, some pastors, evangelists, and teachers, and I am sure that some of them taught things that the other did not teach, but you can be sure of this one thing, Phillip was not down there in Samaria, criticizing Peter for the deep things he was teaching in Jerusalem. Shame on people who do such things just to get recognition. They have their reward already. The only recognition I desire, is to be recognized by the author of this book, the one who is able to make us understand the deep things of Jesus Christ, and solve every problem we may have. I never want to gamble with the souls of mankind, as some are doing in these days. Now the woman had a crown of twelve stars, and that speaks of her national identity. She is a nation of twelve tribes, and when God fulfills all that the prophets have prophesied about her, she will be over in the Millennium with all 12 tribes restored. As we said already, God allowed John to see a panoramic vision, covering the full scope of Israel’s history. The moon under her feet represents the fact that she has risen above the law age which she was subject to for more than 1900 years. To the Jews, the law reflected the glory of the kingdom age. They never did see the age of grace in any of the prophecies given out by her prophets. That is where the mix-up comes in; Gentiles read the prophets and try to make everything fit the age of grace and the church, but they make a terrible blunder when they call this woman of Rev. 12, the church, for this woman is with child. That means one of two things. Either this woman is married, or she is guilty of fornication. We have already proved by the scriptures that the church (the bride of Christ) is a virgin, and could not possibly be expectant with child. Therefore we can be dogmatic in saying that the woman is Israel, the wife of Jehovah. Remember now, John saw this picture in heaven, and what he saw was a complete picture, but down here on earth the process that must be worked out to form that complete picture in reality, takes many centuries, and involves many details. Each generation has contributed their part in filling in the details of what John saw. We can best describe the vision as a heavenly blueprint of what God is working out down here on earth. You who are familiar with blueprints, know that the blueprint shows the complete building or project, in every detail, and the place where the blueprint is first seen, is not the place where the building will take place. Furthermore, we will add this; what is seen on the blueprint will involve a process of time and effort to materialize it. So is it with what John saw as a complete picture. Israel still has a very great trial ahead of her, before she can be seen literally, as John saw her in the vision. He saw her with a crown upon her head, symbolizing the fact that she (Israel) is the queen of nations. An ordinary housewife does not wear a crown upon her head, but a queen does, and Zechariah 14 confirms for us that Israel will be the queen of nations in the Millennium. Verse 16, reads like this, “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” Certainly, Israel will be shining in the kingdom age, when her national identity has been completely restored so that she is represented by all of her twelve tribes. You realize of course, that this 12th chapter of Revelation does not incorporate all of the millions of Jews that are upon the face of this earth; it pertains only to the spiritual element of the twelve tribes, those who are loyal to Jehovah.


BIRTH PAINS – TRAVAIL – DRAGON


As we look into verse 2, we find that the woman being with child, is travailing in birth, paining to be delivered. Who is the woman? ISRAEL. What is she impregnated with? The word of God, spoken by the prophets, concerning a Son that would be born, who would rule all nations. God’s prophetic word was the seed, and the minds of the people, we will say, was the womb, and Israel (as a nation) pained to be delivered. They looked for a Son who would ultimately be their deliverer. Now, just as it involves a process of time, to work out all the details of what John saw concerning the woman; it also involves a process of time for Satan to fulfill the complete picture of what John saw him to be. Verse 3, In the heavenly vision, John saw a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. Brothers and Sisters, we all know that this is a description of the Roman Empire, motivated by the devil, which is the very spirit of that ungodly beast, but do you know that at the first advent of Christ, even though Rome was the beast, it did not yet have seven heads and ten horns. Daniel saw this beast come up out of the sea when it only had one head. It evolved into a beast of seven heads and ten horns through a progression of time, and the heavenly scene which John viewed, was a panoramic scene of the whole Roman Empire; not in the days of the first advent of Christ, but in the days leading up to His second advent; we are living in those days right now. When John was taken up into heaven (Rev. 4:1) he was shown things that would take place in the distant future, and the picture he saw of the Roman Empire is just now coming into focus literally. It is true that the Roman Empire ruled the holy land in the days of Christ, but the climax of what John saw is in the future yet. Israel has been travailing, in one sense, all the way through her history of recorded time, but her greatest hour of travail is just ahead, and the great red dragon with seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns upon his head represents that Roman beast that is motivated by the spirit of Satan, that destroying and conquering spirit that devours its adversaries.


BIRTH BEFORE TRAVAIL


God began to foreshadow the dark hour in Israel’s future, way back in the 6th and 7th centuries B.C., when he inspired Isaiah to write about it, but what we really want to see and understand from these scriptures is that, Israel’s great time of travail and birth pains, is not for the purpose of bringing forth the man child to rule all nations, but for the rebirth of the nation. We will see that as we read two verses from Isaiah, Chapter 66, (speaking of Israel). 7, “Before she travailed, (did you catch that? BEFORE SHE TRAVAILED) she brought forth; BEFORE HER PAIN CAME, she was delivered of a MAN CHILD.” This was written at a time when the ten northern tribes had already been carried away into captivity: Leaving only the two southern tribes, Judah and Benjamin, which were called by the name of Judah the predominate tribe in the south. It was out of the tribe of Judah that the messiah was to be born. That is why Jesus was referred to as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Therefore, Isaiah speaking in the spirit, referring to something that is to take place, not among the ten northern tribes which were still to be in captivity, but among the southern tribes which would be back in the land, says, “Before she travailed, and before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.” Let me break that down for you. We all know it is contrary to physical nature for a child to be born, and then, birth pains come later. Is that not right? In the natural process of birth, as the pains intensify, travailing sets in. I have read, and heard, of a few cases where a woman would give birth to her child with very little, or no pain, and then, later, would have a time of muscle convulsions. We would have to call that after-pain. That is the picture we have here of Israel, as we read verse 7, but let us read the next verse and notice how the picture clears up. Remember now, this was written more than 700 years before the book of Revelation was written, and it is speaking of a time when Israel will be delivered of a man child before her travailing hour arrives. When is her travailing hour then? It is when God is fulfilling all the other prophecies concerning her re-gathering, her re-birth. What will be after pains as far as the man child is concerned, will be birth pains for her re-birth and restoration, naturally, getting her ready for the second advent of Christ, her Messiah. Now let us read verse 8, “Who hath heard such a ting? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or SHALL A NATION BE BORN AT ONCE? (That is exactly what happened) For as soon as ZION TRAVAILED, she brought forth her CHILDREN.” Did you catch that? Remember, this is prophecy. Notice now, when she travails it is not to bring forth the man child, but rather, her children. Her children consist of the remnant of the house of Israel that will be brought back into the land for her last day role in Bible prophecy. Now, can you see that her travailing is to bring forth children, not a man child, but children? You must understand that her travailing is to bring her children back from out of dispersion, into the home land in the age of the end. That will fulfill the scripture regarding the birth of a nation.


ABOUT CHRONOLOGY


I must re-emphasize the fact that these scriptures are not recorded in chronological order of fulfillment. That is why we published the Chronology of Revelation in two of our volumes last year; to help you understand that what John saw in a heavenly vision, covered a span of many years, and he just recorded what he saw, without giving details about the order of fulfillment on earth. Furthermore, those who lived in ages past, would not have benefitted very much by the revelation that God has given to his church in these last days. What God is revealing now, is to get the living element of the bride of Christ, dressed up, and ready for His return.


WHEN DID ISRAEL’S TRAVAIL BEGIN?


Since we are living in the generation that shall see the fulfillment of all these scriptures, I want to take a little time right her, to bring us up to date on some of the details that God worked out in order to get the woman (the nation of Israel) back in a place where her travailing pains could begin. Please keep in mind that travailing is not just one pain. Some precious women have laid for hours and hours in agony, with pain after pain, almost unbearable. That is the picture I want you to get, of Israel: how that she has been in travail for months and years already. Hear me now. I do not want you to get the idea that I am referring to a period of two or three hundred years. That is not the picture at all. Her travailing will cover a period of time comparable to one human generation, fulfilling what Jesus said in Matthew, chapter 24, and bringing all scriptures into complete continuity. Try to catch the revelational side of this now as we proceed. In World War 2, six million Jews were slaughtered, mercilessly, and innocently. Why did God allow such a thing? It was for the same reason that God allowed the Egyptians to treat their ancestors as they did 3500 years earlier. There had to be some situation drastic enough to put a desire in their hearts to go home, back to the land that God gave Abraham and his descendants for an everlasting inheritance. When the war was over, those Jews who were left alive were displaced and scattered. There began to be a cry among them (birth pain No. 1) that caused the United Nations, in one night’s time, to come to a vote giving them a portion of their ancestors’ home land. As far as they knew then, that was all the land they would ever get, but God had other plans which we will go into later, but right now I want to go back a few years and look at some events of what is now history to us, just to bring our thinking up to date.


LEAGUE OF NATIONS – UNITED NATIONS


There is no doubt in my mind that, at the beginning of the twentieth century, as God looked down upon this world, the Gentiles having had the gospel for almost 1900 years, He set in motion certain things for the purpose of fulfilling His word. The Jews having been scattered to the four corners of the earth in the years since 70 A.D. when the Romans over-ran them, had very little thought about going back to the land of their forefathers, but let us watch a chain of events that will change all of that. By the year of 1914, Europe was being shuffled and shook, and prepared for war. This was to set the stage and prepare certain things for a future condition. Space will not allow me to go into detail, but notice what took place during World War No. 1; it disturbed and disrupted the Middle East, and Europe. When that was over they formed a unity of nations which they called, The League of Nations, its principal objectives being the preservation of peace, and improvement of human welfare. I do not know much about it, but I do remember reading about it as a little boy in school. It was formed in 1920, and during the years of its existence the United States, and Saudi Arabia were the only two, of the considerable nations, that never did become members at any time. Financially it did not hold up very long, but the history of its decline and fall was marked by its failure to resolve major crises between powers, and by the time World War No. 2 began to be fought the League was virtually powerless. Even though it made some impact on humanitarian issues, its ability to preserve peace in the world was never realized. Why? Time for the Gentiles was running out, and the world in general was asleep, even the church world; therefore it was time for the world to be stirred agin, and that is exactly what World War 2 did. It was a war that reached completely around the globe. American troops were scattered from the jungles of Africa through Europe, and into the islands of the Pacific, and the world was shaken. By the time that war was over Jewish people all over Europe were crying, “We want to go home; let us go back to our homeland.” By this time the leaders of the nations had gotten their heads together once again, and we had another peace-keeping body called the United Nations which first began to be planned as early as 1941 by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, and by 1943 was a functioning body with a determination that World War 2 should be the last war. I will never forget, sitting on an old clay bank in Okinawa, after the war was over, and along comes a Lieutenant with a hand full of papers that had been sent down from Washington. It was obvious that he did not know much more about what was in them than we did, but he looked them over real good and began to say, The United States government wished to thank each one of you for your loyalty, energy, time and devotion, contributed to the well being of your country. You are going home now, and we are supposed to inform you that the nations of the world are forming a charter of nations called, the United Nations, which will work together to help foster peace in the world. We want you each to know that we believe this war was a war to end all wars. As a young fellow sitting there on that old clay bank, I thought to myself, that is not what the Bible says. Nevertheless, this was the second time the world had adopted a unity of nations plan, for the preserving of peace in the world. We all know about Korea, and Vietnam, and all the other conflicts in this old world since the organizing of the United Nations, but what is really important is that the nation of Israel has been born, politically, in a night’s time, marking a generation of people that shall live to see the end of all that the prophets of old have foretold. Since that time God has sent a prophet to this Gentile church world, with a message to call the bride of Christ out of Babylon (spiritual Babylon-confusion) and back to the revelated word of God. Just as God (by His Spirit) is calling the Jews back to a geographical spot of land, (which is their inheritance) He is calling His church to come back to the word of God. It does not matter whether we are in America, Africa, Asia, Europe, or some other place, if we are filled with the Spirit of God, we are all looking to God, through Christ, not as Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, nor any of the other titles we have been called by, but as Christians. We will not have 101 different ideas about the same scriptures, but rather, by revelation, we will all see the same thing. Just as every Jew was to pray towards the same spot, no matter where he was, so is every one who is truly baptized with the Holy Ghost, supposed to see Bible truth the same way. They did not pray towards the hill of their choice. They prayed towards the hill of God’s choice. That ought to tell people who are always harping about going to the church of your choice, and believing whatever you want to, something, if they have any revelatory capacity about them. God is moving (by His Spirit) to place the Jewish people back in all the land that is rightfully theirs, and He is moving (by His Spirit) to place the Gentile bride in all the revelation of the scriptures, that is rightfully hers.


RESULT OF A DELAYED TELEGRAM


As I said before, up until 1967 the Jewish people did not know but what the little bit of land given to them by the U. N. was all they would ever have, but at least they were glad to have that. I marvel at the way God allows the devil to work situations, whereby the result will fulfill His word. The devil working through those Arab people, (I am not belittling the Arab people. We have stayed in their hotels and found them to be nice people, as individuals, but we are dealing with a plan of God; therefore sympathy must fade into the background as God unfolds His plan) the people who were telling the Jews, We are not going to let you stay there on that land, brought about a situation in 1967 that enabled Israel to take the Old City. Nasser said, “We are going to push you into the sea,” and Israel only fought for survival. Little did Nasser know that in a few short days these Gentile flags would come down in the Old City, and the Star of David would take their place. Actually, the Old City was taken as a result of a delayed telegram sent by Israel to King Huessein of Jordan, not to enter the war against them. Israel had no intention of fighting those Jordanians, but because the telegram was delayed and Jordan did not get the message in time, they opened fire on Israel. That was an open invitation for God to say to Israel, “Go on in and take the Old City.” I was told by a military man in Israel, that the reason they suffered so many casualties in taking the Old City was because of the antiquity of the city: with all its many religious sacred places, they would not use anything except small arms against the Jordanians. Nevertheless, they took the city, raised the Star of David, and declared, we are back at last, never to give up our city again. This absolutely fulfilled Luke 21:24, which speaks of Jerusalem being trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. That ended the times of the Gentiles. There is still one little spot of ground there, that Israel must have. That is the temple ground where the Moslem Mosque stands. They still have the temple ground, but they do not hold the city. I will say this, in the light of the scriptures, if Jerusalem was ever surrendered up again, it would put her back under the times of the Gentiles. Believing that 1967 ended the times of the Gentiles, we know that it can never come back under siege of the Gentiles again. Of course some will say, “What about the time when the Antichrist sits in the temple as God? Is that not a time of the Gentiles?” No, you cannot associate what the Antichrist will do as being again the times of the Gentiles. The times of the Gentiles was that long period of time that ran all the way from the time of Babylonian captivity, down to 1967 when Jerusalem was back under the sovereign control of Israel for the first time. The war of 1967 ended that long period of Gentile lordship over Jerusalem. What happens in Revelation chapter eleven, and the other events associated with the time of the Antichrist are only for a short period of 3 ½ years, then it will be all over. Now if we will let the scriptures talk to us, we will know that the very fact that the Gentiles are not in control of the city now, proves beyond any shadow of doubt that Luke 21:24 is fulfilled, so I say to you, What are all these politicians negotiating? They are endeavoring to make world conditions go contrary to Bible prophecy. That is like playing with fire. God will not allow them to run His clock backwards. Truly, the world is crying for peace, but there will be no lasting peace until the Prince of Peace comes to rule and reign on earth.


THIS GENERATION SHALL SEE


Let me clear up a question that some of you may have on your minds right now. No, we are not talking about the fullness of the Gentiles, spoken of in Romans 11:25. This verse in Romans is dealing with the time when the Spirit of God will not longer be convicting Gentiles for the purpose of leading them to a salvation experience, while the verse in Luke (21:24) is referring strictly to Gentile dominion over the city of Jerusalem. I grant you, we are drawing close to the time when the fullness of the Gentiles will be a very present reality, but the two terms definitely apply to two different situations. I have said, many times lately, that we are close to the end, and I don’t mind saying it again, for we are the generation that has lived to see many of the things Jesus spoke of in the Gospels, come to pass, and He said, “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” I realize that certain people have predicted the end in every generation, but they did it without the fulfillment of the necessary scriptures. We have those scriptures fulfilled, and we see ungodliness prevailing on every hand. Our schools and colleges have become incubators for every kind of filth and corruption. Alcohol and dope are the two dominant spirits that are paving the way for every other spirit that Satan has turned loose on this society, and our law enforcement agencies are powerless to do anything about it. Do you ever ask yourself the question, Why? I will tell you why; it is because God is slowly withdrawing His convicting and restraining presence from the Gentiles, getting ready to move upon the Jews once again. As the Spirit of God withdraws, the devil moves in, and we are seeing a society of drop-outs, become wandering drifters, with no constructive purpose in life, many of them so doped up they don’t even know what day it is. As we look at all these things, we certainly should be able to recognize that the fullness of the Gentiles is drawing nigh. When God had touched that last soul with His gospel of grace, and showed that person the way of eternal life, this Gentile church world in general, will be just like an old dried up corn stalk in the fall of the year. You could go out there and pour a bushel of fertilizer around that thing and water it every day, but I want you to know, you will never make it green again, because the law of death has already struck it. It will have to die. That is what we must realize about this Gentile church world; no matter how much charismatic fertilizer you pour on it, nor how much charismatic water you may pour on it, it cannot be revived, the law of death has struck. I do not know when the last one will be brought in, but God does, and He knows exactly where that person is right now, whether in the jungles in Africa, or in the desert of some far continent, it matters not, when he answers the gospel call, the Gentile clock stops, salvationwise. This I do know though, we are approaching the climax. It is almost time for this old world to be shook again. When it happens, you will see another great peace keeping unity of nations formed, but this time it will be different, different because the Antichrist will be the head man in it all. Now do you see how it all lines up to give us a picture of God working out His plan for the ages? World War One gave the world the League of Nations. World War Two gave the world the United Nations which swallowed up the League of Nations. In the year of 1946, the League of Nations turned its remaining physical assets over to the United Nations, and since that time we have heard much about the United Nations, but it is obvious by now that the next great world conflict is at hand, and the U.N. is powerless to do anything to stay it off. Why? There has to be something to cause the world to fulfill Daniel 9:27, in signing a great peace covenant, which we know will last for a very short time, and THEN comes the war that will end all wars ARMAGEDDON. When that one is finished the Prince of Peace will be on earth, and the world will be at peace for the first time since Adam disobeyed the word of God in the Garden of Eden.


GOD’S TRUE PROPHETS – WHAT THEY SAW


Let us come back to what we were saying about Israel travailing in birth. When those Jews began to cry and travail, and the U.N. gave them a certain amount of ground, this was the beginning of her birth process. This was not complete birth, but it was the beginning of the birth process. Remember, the nation will have to be reborn, naturally, before it can be reborn spiritually. She will get her spiritual rebirth when chapter 11 of Revelation is being fulfilled under the ministry of those two witnesses that are to prophesy for three years and six months before being killed by the beast. I want to go to the book of Micah now for a couple of verses, Micah 5:2-3. Micah was a prophet that stood between the carrying away of the ten Northern Tribes to Assyria in the 7th century B.C. and the two Southern Tribes which were still in the land at the time of this prophesy; therefore, his prophesy is to the two Southern tribes. We will pick up verse 1 for it shows what God is going to do with these two Southern tribes in about 100 years. This verse is referring to the coming invasion of the Babylonian army against them. Verse 1, “Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops; he hath laid siege against us: (God used the Babylonians to fulfill this prophesy) they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.” Now here comes the verse that was referred to in Matthew 2:6, when Herod the king asked of the chief priests and scribes where Christ should be born. Micah 5:2, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” That was Jesus the Christ, born in Bethlehem, marking the first advent of His coming. That was Israel, giving birth to the man child before her travailing hour. Remember, her travailing is to bring back all twelve tribes to her homeland in preparation for the 2nd advent of Christ. I heard a story about a woman who went to bed, expectant with child. While she slept her baby was born, completely without any pain. That is exactly what happened with Israel when Jesus was born. I hope you get this; it will help you. Those 10 Northern tribes were out of the land, never to return until the last days, but the two Southern tribes which were in the land at that time were enough to constitute the birth of the man child, but there was no travail, and therefore; they did not recognize what had happened. Now in the natural, when the woman wakes up she immediately knows what has happened, but the fact that Israel did not recognize Him goes to prove that she was asleep. Isaiah 66:7 was fulfilled when Jesus was born. Not only was He born of the tribe of Judah, but he was born in the little town of Bethlehem, which was in the jurisdictional territory of the tribe of Judah. Therefore, His lineage, fleshwise, went back to Judah, and the little city where he was born, called the city of David (Bethlehem) fulfilled verse 2, but look at verse 3. It brings us right up to our generation in its scope. 3, “Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth; Then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.” Do you see how perfectly this fits into the picture? She (Israel) brought forth a man child without travail, fulfilling Isaiah 66:7, and this verse 2 here in Micah, and because she did not recognize Him, God gave them up to captivity, and they were sold on the slave markets and scattered all over the world. That is exactly where the apostle Paul placed his revelation about the fulness of the Gentiles in Romans 11:25. He says, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that BLINDNESS IN PART is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” That blindness can only be laid actually, to the two Southern tribes, for the ten Northern tribes were not in the land at that time. God had prophesied to them by His prophet Hosea that He would scatter them to the uttermost parts of the earth, and that they would remain there, or out of the land, until the last days, so they were not responsible for failing to recognize their Messiah when He came. They, however, were responsible for the gospel they heard preached by Paul as he went to many of the places where they were, but that was on an individual basis, like it is with the Gentiles.


1900 YEARS BETWEEN VERSE 5 & 6


Alright now, we have taken you through these different prophecies to show you that nothing which has happened with Israel was a surprise to God, for he had already spoken of each event through his prophets. Therefore, as we come back to Revelation, chapter 12, we can see that, timewise, we are living between verse 5, where the man child (Jesus) was caught up unto the Throne of God, (His resurrection and ascension) and verse 6, which shows the woman (Israel) which gave birth to the man child, fleeing into the wilderness. Naturally, that reference is to be applied to the time of the end when Israel will have to flee from the beast into a place that God will have prepared for her, and she will be cared for throughout the whole three and one-half years of the great tribulation. You must place nineteen hundred years, which is the Gentile grace age, between verses 5 and 6 to get the picture straight in your minds. God had spoken through His prophet, Hosea, (you can read it in chapter one) that in the place (time) where it was said unto them (the two Southern tribes) “Ye are not my people, (because they rejected their Messiah) there it shall be said unto them, (the Gentiles) Ye are the sons of the living God.” There is your 1900 years of grace to us Gentiles in that verse 10, and then when you read verse 11, you will see that it applies to a time, after the grace age, when all twelve tribes will be gathered together, back in the land of their fathers, being ruled by one head, with no more Northern and Southern division; that is just ahead. The woman is in travail, and it is for the birth of her children. She will travail until all twelve tribes are back in the land. That will constitute the birth and fulfill Micah 5:3. We are living in a time when it seems like the main problem, for practically the whole world, is Israel. She is in travail and must soon be delivered. World leaders have great stacks of papers on how and what should be done with Israel, but it seems that none of them will look into the one book (the Bible) that would show them exactly what must be done with Israel. That does not mean that all 16 million of the world’s Jewish population will return to Israel, but there will be enough of them from each of the twelve tribes go back to fulfill the scriptures. We are made to realize, also, that not all of those who go back will be saved, for there will be a great number of them that will fall right in line with the Antichrist, and come under the wrath of God when He comes to take vengeance on them that know not God, spoken of by the apostle Paul in 2nd Thessalonians. Paul’s revelation was that a remnant of Israel would be saved. We do not know how many that remnant will include, but we are confident of this one thing, God knows every last one of them right now.


ABOUT THE 144,000


Some have asked me at various times if the 144,000 which are sealed with the Spirit of God are all that will be saved, and others have asked me if the 144,000 are raptured like the bride, since the scriptures refer to them as being redeemed from among men as first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb. Then others will ask if they are killed by the beast in the week of Daniel. I will try to answer all three of these questions in mind. I will begin by saying, No, they will not be the only Jews that will be saved; they are the servants of God who will preach the everlasting gospel around this old world during the last half of that 70th week of Daniel. As we pick up verse 6, of our text chapter, we see the woman fleeing into the wilderness. This is a spiritual remnant that has been awakened by the ministry of the two witnesses, whose primary function was to seal the 144,000 servants of God in their foreheads. Naturally, their preaching, or prophesying, will not be heard only by the 144,000 and as a result, you have another large element of Jews who will be sealed with the Holy Ghost along with the 144,000. These will hide while the 144,000 servants will preach the everlasting gospel, Rev. 14:6. Actually, by that time, you will have four distinct, elements of Jewish people. First, we will say, is the 144,000 men, then secondly, the spiritual remnant (the woman in 12:6) made up of men, women, and children of all ages. These are they who will be carried into the Millennium for the purpose of repopulating the Jewish race of people. Thirdly, there will be the political element among them, who, having no feelings toward God will co-exist with the Antichrist and be damned. They will be interested only in politics and finances, and therefore, the mark of the beast will be a very small thing to them. Revelation, chapter 16, tells of their fate, along with all the rest who have ignored God’s warnings to repent. Then, as we said earlier, all the Jews in the world will not go to Israel, so there remains, at that time, millions of Jews in dispersion. From this group comes the tribulation saints who, along with the Gentile foolish virgins, will give their lives in Martyrdom, rather than to take the mark of the beast and be damned. Naturally, from that fourth element there will only be a certain percentage that will recognize God; the rest will perish with all the other ungodly men. We have actually answered two parts of the three part question about the 144,000 men who are sealed in their foreheads, but let me say this, the fact that the Bible says they were redeemed from among men does not mean that they were taken up, as the bride of Christ will be. It only means that they are set apart from other men, redeemed in the same sense that we are redeemed. We readily confess that we have been redeemed, but we are still here. These men are set apart for service to God, and protected from the wrath of the beast. It is necessary for us to catch the revelation of these things, for it is just like the apostle Paul said in Colossians speaking of the Gentile Christians, or perhaps I should say bride saints; nevertheless, he said, we have been delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of His dear son. That is what our redemption has accomplished for us, but we are still right here on earth, doing many of the same things we were doing before we were redeemed from among men, or called out for service to God. As to whether these servants of God are killed in the tribulation hour, let me remind you once again; they will be going back to the nations from whence they came, preaching to their brethren which never returned to the homeland. Their message will be Fear God, give glory to Him, and worship Him, who has made heaven and earth and all that is there-in. At the same time, they will be pronouncing judgment upon spiritual Babylon, and warning all men not to have anything to do with the beast or his image. They will be protected from all harm by the power of God, and they will move right on into the Millennium with Christ when the judgment of God upon degenerate mankind is finished. Some will say, “Bro. Jackson, where do you get the scripture for that?” First let me say this, in the 9th chapter of Revelation , when the bottomless pit was opened, and hell turned loose upon earth for the purpose of tormenting unregenerate men, it was commanded them (the demons) that they should not hurt anyone who had the seal of God in their foreheads. All who had believed the testimony of God’s two prophets; and been filled with the Spirit of God were protected from harm when those demons were turned loose upon the earth. That comes under the sounding of the fifth trumpet angel, and is referred to as the first woe. We cannot take the time to go into the three woes, but we mentioned this only for the purpose of showing that these evil forces cannot touch or harm those who have the seal of God upon them. Then, as we deal with the part about the 144,000 servants of God preaching the everlasting gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, we will go to the 14th chapter, verses 1-10. I will not read them; you can do that later. In this chapter we find this 144,000 men, with the Lamb’s Father’s name written in their foreheads, following the Lamb withersoever He goeth. This means that they have a revelation of who Jesus Christ is, they have accepted Him as their Messiah, and the fact that they follow Him wherever He goes, lets us know that they are led by the Spirit of God. It is not a literal picture of a great host of men following along behind a lamb. That was only for the purpose of recording the vision so that, by revelation, we could understand its message later. In verse 6 we read, “And I saw another angel fly through the air, or in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.” Now you say, “But Bro. Jackson, that says an angel was flying in the midst of heaven with everlasting gospel, why do you say the 144,000 servants will preach it?” The answer to that is very simple. God has never, at any time, had angels preaching the gospel. That has always been done by men. If God was ever going to use angels to preach he gospel, He would have always used them for it. No, this is spiritual terminology, and it can only be understood by revelation. The natural mind cannot understand such things. When is this taking place? In the last half of Daniels 70th week. Who is being tormented by the demons that are loosed from the bottomless pit? Unregenerate mankind, those who have accepted the mark of the beast, and worshiped the Antichrist as God. Where is the woman (Israel) that brought forth the man child, without birth pains, at the time of these events? She is hiding from the wrath of the beast in the place that God had prepared for her (Rev. 12:6) until after the battle of Armageddon is fought, and the Lord Jesus, himself, is on earth in bodily form once again to prepare for the Millennium. Naturally, the temple will have to be cleansed, and consecrated before Jesus will take His place in it, after its defilement by the Antichrist, but that will be only a short transition period, and then Christ will take His throne to rule and reign for one thousand years.


SHEKINAH GLORY COMES BACK


What has happened to the people of Israel in the years between verses 5 and 6 would require many volumes to record, but for the sake of our understanding this chapter, it is necessary that we see verse 5 as pertaining to the ascension of Christ after His resurrection, and verse 6 as pertaining to the woman (Israel) who produced the man child, at a time when she was travailing in birth until the nation has been completely reborn, both naturally and spiritually, with the Grace age in between, or the rest of the chapter cannot be understood. Confusion comes in trying to place the events of the book of Revelation in the order that John recorded them. Brothers and Sisters, her spiritual rebirth will take place as a result of the ministry of the two witnesses, but they cannot come on the scene until she has every square inch of her land back under her control. Her last great birth pains will come in the last half of the 70th week of Daniel, a time referred to as Jacob’s trouble, when the Antichrist with all his armies will be making one last attempt on the behalf of the devil to completely rid the world of all the seed of Jacob. She must travail a while yet, but I want you to know that she will look up one day to see the heavens darkened and the moon turned to blood. Then she will see Jesus, her long awaited Messiah, her King, coming in power and glory, to rule and reign. That is when she can jump for joy, for His feet will not touch this earth in New York, Chicago, nor London, England; He will stand upon the Mount of Olives, right where Ezekiel saw Him in a vision of the Spirit way back in the 6th century B.C.. He saw the evil that had come among the Jewish religious society and the corruption among the priesthood. He saw the morals of the people of Israel as they declined continually, and the Lord allowed him to witness the glory of the Lord departing from the temple to return no more until the Millennial temple is ready to receive him. The Jews who came back under the leadership of Haggai and Zechariah to build the temple that stood at the first advent of Christ, never did see the light of God’s Shekinah glory in that temple. There was a reason why; the first day that Jesus came to the temple in the spring of the year following His baptism in the fall, He took a whip and drove out the money changers and overturned the pigeon coops, and drove out the sheep and oxen from the temple, saying to those that sold those things, “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.” Do you know what that was? That was the Shekinah glory of God coming back, but the sad part of it was that it came in form of a man, and they did not recognize it. He preached for three long years after that, coming to Jerusalem, (for the first six months of his ministry was in Galilee) then when He rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey that day and went into the temple casting out those who bought and sold in the temple for the third time, that ended His ministry. He came to them just as Zechariah had prophesied 9:9 riding on a colt, the foal of an ass, meek, coming right back over the Mount of Olives to the temple, but they were asleep, and did not recognize Him. He still came from Bethany to Jerusalem for the next two or three days and preached, waiting to be arrested and crucified, but His main ministry was climaxed when He came to them exactly according to the word of their prophets and they did not recognize Him.


GREEN TREE – DRY TREE


I want to call your attention to a beautiful type that was set, on one of those mornings as He left the house of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, coming to Jerusalem. As He came over the Mount of Olives He noticed a beautiful fig tree standing there before Him. He was hungry and would have eaten, but when He came to the tree, it had nothing on it but leaves; therefore (now catch this, the fig tree was a symbol of Israel) He looked at the tree and said, “Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever, and presently the fig tree withered away.” That lets us know that after three years of preaching to them, there was still no fruit. Just a few days after that, He was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane, half-way between where that fig tree was, and the Eastern Gate. He said to them, “Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled.” I have to put these things in the message to show you why those two Southern tribes were asleep, completely, during the birth and ministry of the man child. Walking toward Calvary to die, He heard all those people who were screaming because of what was taking place, and turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” Catch the symbolic language now? He is not referring to Himself as a green fig tree; He is a green tree of life, and the dry, or barren tree, is the Antichrist which has no life. In other words, if they have come to this in three and one-half years when they had a green tree of life in their midst, what will they do when they have the dry, or barren tree for three and one-half years? They could have eaten from the tree of life, but they did not, and when the barren tree comes, he will bring about the climax of Rev. 13, Luke 21, and Matt. 24. Jerusalem shall be compassed, not necessarily as it was in 70 A.D., but it will be filled with soldiers during the last half of Daniels seventieth week when the Antichrist is sitting in the temple in Jerusalem. You talk about spiritual drought; they will have one when that man is in control. Jeremiah saw every man bent over in anguish, as a woman in travail. Let us read a few verses from Jeremiah, chapter 30, beginning with verse 4, “These are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. (That covers all twelve tribes). For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether A MAN DOTH TRAVAIL WITH CHILD? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” He was looking at the nation of Israel having her final birth pains in that great tribulation hour of time.


HEAVENLY WARFARE


We want to get into the 7th verse of our text chapter now; actually 7-10, where we learn of a war which is taking place in heaven. That great warfare between Michael (the archangel) and the devil is taking place right now in the spiritual world. It is a battle for supremacy, and the people down here on earth can only act out that great heavenly play that is taking place among the spiritual forces. As Mr. Begin and Mr. Sadat have their meetings with Mr. Carter, they are just acting out, down here on earth, a scene that is taking place in the spirit world between Michael and his angels, and Satan and his angels. No sooner did the United Nations give Israel that little portion of land in May of 1948, then the devil began to get into those Arabs, and cause them to determine to drive Israel out of the land. Therefore, we see that the effects of verse 7 have been shaking this old world for quite a few years now. You know what happened in 1948, but did you know how God went about stripping France and England of their old colonial hold in the Middle East? I believe it was in the month of October of 1956, when Israel sent a mechanized force on a destroying mission into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula up to the Suez Canal. They had taken most of the Peninsula, captured 6000 Egyptians, and seized a great amount of equipment in just a few days. Great Britain and France called upon Israel and Egypt to each retreat 10 miles from the canal and to let them occupy the intervening zone. Israel accepted, but Egypt refused, and British-French military occupation of the zone began as a result. The United Nations Security Council, the United States, and the Soviet Union put pressure on Britain and France to withdraw from the Zone, which they did, and from that time on, they have been losing out, all over the world. That marked the end of the old colonial hold in the Middle East. Israel drew back also, but from that time on, she has had constant harassment from the Arabs. All she wanted was to be left alone, but they would not leave her alone. That lets me know that Michael and the devil have still been clashing swords up there in the heavenly realm, all this time. Verse 8 tells that the devil will lose the battle and be cast out of heaven, but we know that battle up there must continue until time for that 70th week of Daniel to begin. However close we are to the start of that week, is how close we are to the fulfillment of verse 8. Once time one earth corresponds with what is taking place there, and the devil is cast out, you can rest assured that men on earth, in the political structure, will have been so affected by the pressures of that heavenly battle that they will have revived the old Roman Empire. Rome will again be the chief city from which world leadership will come. It will take that to fulfill Daniel’s prophecy. Europe will be tied right back to Rome as it was in the days of old. I do not know whether it is true or not, but while I was in Norway a man told me that it is believed that Europe already has a Common Market currency printed up, just awaiting the hour to use it. If that is true, then I will say, the poor old American dollar has just about reached the end of its road. In the past, the American dollar has been used as one of the most stabilizing monetary structures in the world, in our present day monetary setup. If we have been watching the trend, we know that a different monetary system is at hand, for in the past few years, as we have seen the break up of these great colonial powers in Europe. As they release these various territories, and come back home, their own currency begins to be shook and affected. That is what is causing Europe, especially the heads of the economic structure to begin to work out plans for the future. Very soon now, America will not be able to underwrite it anymore. Much of our destiny (as a nation) hinges on what our leaders do in connection with the complete rebirth and restoration of Israel to her full identity. The devil does not want Israel restored, and we know why, he knows when that takes place, his days are short.


FALSE PEACE


When we come to verse 9, we see that this angelic battle process has reached its climax. “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” As that battle process ends in heaven, it will be time on earth for that beast system to come into full bloom. Notice why I say that; the dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which DECEIVETH the whole world. He was cast out into the earth, and all his angels with him. When all of that takes place, you can rest assured, there will be an embodiment of those spiritual forces here on earth. On earth will be the only place where Satan can reenact what has taken place in heaven. The affects of verse 10, will not reach its climax until the middle of the week arrives, but what I want to show you is that, once that spirit is cast out of heaven, he only has one week of time (7 years) to do what he is going to do. He begins his diabolical plot by ushering in a great peace covenant. Remember now, we are talking about this devil which DECEIVETH the whole world. How is he going to deceive the whole world? Through a false peace pact that the whole world is crying for in this very hour. Remember, Judas was one of the disciples of Jesus, chosen by Him, to be one of the twelve apostles, and he naturally, had the respect and confidence of the people who followed the ministry of Jesus. Who would have suspected that Satan would be able to enter into that man who, up until that time, had stood for the word of God, along side Jesus and the other eleven apostles? Who, (except the revelated people of God) will ever suspect that the pope of Rome could be incarnated by that same spirit that entered into Judas, causing him to betray the very God-man Himself. We are watching with great expectancy as the Roman cardinals gather once again to elect a successor to John Paul, who held the office for such a short time. Naturally, the question uppermost in our minds is, can this be the one who will fulfill Daniel 9:27, the Antichrist who will cause Israel and the world to go through its darkest hour ever? If he is the one, the bride will know it very soon, for she has been taught from the word of God, and she knows what signs to look for. Therefore, we will say, when the peace covenant is confirmed, it will not be the peace that the word of God promised to those who believe His word. It will be a short term peace, planned by Satan, that great deceiver, to throw the whole world off guard, and allow that wicked beast system an opportunity to move into complete control of all politics and economics. In the middle of the week, 3 ½ years from its initial beginning, the Roman Pope, who has been elected by world leaders as the mediator, or final voice in their peace arrangements, will become so provoked by the Orthodox Jews who will not give him the respect his position demands, Satan will completely take control of him. That is when he will break the covenant with Israel, drive the Jews out of their temple, and set himself up in it to be worshiped by the great host of deceived mankind. Right here is where verse 10 of our text chapter has its fulfillment. 10, “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, (what brethren? Jewish brethren) which accused them day and night before our God.” In other words, when the tribulation hour arrives, in the middle of the week, it will bring into focus the real saints of God, those who can stand and face the trials and tests of what is taking place. When the devil is cast down, and allowed by God, to start that persecution process, God will not have to listen to him anymore up there. I hope you can see, Brothers and Sisters, that as long as that poor Jewish nation is scattered among the Gentile nations, the devil can run to the throne of God and accuse them day and night. He has been doing that for hundreds of years now. He is not confined to just accusing Jews before God, but this prophecy is basically to the Jewish nation. Even though the prophecy is pointed toward the Jews, we know that there are definitely some foolish Gentile virgins tied to the picture. We begin to pick that up in verse 11, let us read it. “And they overcame him (SATAN) by the blood of the Lamb, (That is Gentiles, who have the blood of the Lamb) and by the word of their testimony; (that is Jews who believe in Jehovah, and have a testimony that they do, but have not believed the gospel of Jesus Christ) and they loved not their lives unto the death.” It is not the Gentile foolish virgins that make this chapter stand out. It is the Jewish people suffering their last travailing pains, that makes this chapter stand out. They will travail in that last pain until it brings or manifests the coming of Jesus Christ, their long-awaited King. Once that final hour of persecution starts, it will not let up before there have been thousands of Jews and Gentile foolish virgins martyred. When it says, They overcame him: THEY means people, not just Jews. They did not overcome him in a battle and keep on living; no, they overcame him by refusing to renounce their God, even though it meant their sure death. That is what the last part of the verse pertains to: “They loved not their lives unto the death: They chose to die rather than to renounce their God.” To further clarify it let us say this, they refused to accept the mark of the beast, in order to gain the offered privileges. We will say also, the reason many of them were not taken off guard by such gross deception, was because the 144,000 servants of God had already warned them not to have anything to do with that horrible beast system. The message of the three angels in Revelation 14:6-10, is in actuality, what the 144,000 preachers take to the inhabitors of the earth, Jews and Gentiles alike. Verse 12, in the 14th chapter, lets us see who was spared from the wrath of God, recorded in verse 11. We call your attention to these verses, mainly to show that they pertain to both, Jews and Gentile foolish virgins. 12, “Here is the patience of the saints. (Tribulation saints) Here are they that keep the commandments of God, (that is the Jews) and the faith of Jesus.” There is the foolish virgins. When we take this thought right on over to the 15th chapter where we see the spirits of those martyred saints standing on a sea of glass mingled with fire, we find the same distinct reference made to both elements. 15:2, “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.” The description of what they had gotten the victory over, marks the hour of their martyrdom, for there has never been another hour in the history of mankind when men were faced with taking a mark, or with an image to the beast, except in the last week of Daniel, which is just ahead. Now in verse 3 we find them singing a song that identifies, or I should say separates the Jews from the Gentiles. 3, “And they sang the song of Moses the servant of God (Jews) and the song of the Lamb, (foolish virgins).


JEWS – FOOLISH VIRGINS – WHITE ROBES


Coming back to verse 11, in the 12th chapter now, I want to answer a question. The question is this, Bro. Jackson, how do you know verse 11 applies to the tribulation saints, and how do you know it applies to both Jew and Gentile? Most of the question has already been answered, but I want to call your attention back to the 6th chapter, and the words pertaining to the 5th seal. Verse 9, “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the alter, (or at the foot of the alter) the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” Please notice that, before anything else was said, white robes were given to every one of them, and it was said unto them that they should rest yet for a LITTLE SEASON, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. Notice why they had been killed. They had been martyred for the word of God, not the word of their testimony, but for the testimony that they held. Their testimony was the word of God from the Old Testament. In other words, their testimony was not that they believed in Jesus Christ, that He was their Messiah, and the Savior of the whole human race. No, their testimony which they held was that they believed the word of God according to the law of Moses. Therefore, if they had a testimony, then the word of their testimony is what identifies them as being Jews. Gentiles who have a testimony must testify of their experience through the blood of the Lamb, and therefore, have their white robes already. This group was given white robes after they were slain. Therefore, as we come back to 12:12 and pick up the word which John heard, Listen! “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them, Woe to the inhabitors of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Some people are prone to believe that conditions just exist for a period of time, and then all of a sudden, something is done to change conditions. Prophecy does not work like that. There is always an introduction period. That is why I say Satan is cast out of heaven at the beginning of the week. There must be time for him to embody himself in that beast system before the middle of the week arrives. Furthermore, if he only came down it the middle of the week, you would have a lot of unexplained events in the first half of the week, a period of time when I believe he is setting the stage for one last great thrust at God through persecution of the saints of God, and the very nation that produced the man child, which he knows to be the rightful ruler of this world. We will see this in the next verse. 13 “And when the dragon saw that he was cast out unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.” Naturally, that reference takes us back to verse 5, which we have already proved by the scriptures, to be the first advent of Christ, (the man child) and the woman that bare Him to be the nation of Israel. We will see also, as we read verse 14, that it is a repeat of verse 6, with a little more elaboration on the details of her flight. 14 “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, (one year) and times (two more years) and half a time (six months, making a total of 3 ½ years, as stated in verse 6 by a number of days) from the face of the serpent.” Now, why is he persecuting the woman? It is because she brought forth the man child, and it is this persecution that brings her last travailing pain. Her last pain will bring Christ back again, and this time He will not be caught up from the earth as before. He will be back to take the throne of David for a reign of true righteousness. We find in this verse that the woman is given two wings of a great eagle that she might fly into the wilderness, into HER place. Verse 6 tells us that God has prepared a place in the wilderness where she will be fed for 1260 days. Do not ask me where that place is; I do not know. It will not be a wilderness, as we think of a wilderness. That simply means, in spiritual language, a place where she can hide from the devil which is incarnated in that beast system, headed by the Antichrist, which will be the Roman Pope in that hour. For the benefit of you who may not know, John saw that beast coming up out of the sea, having seven heads, and ten horns. When we go to Revelation 17; we learn that instead of using the word sea in connection with the great whore, the word waters is used. Then in verse 15 of that chapter, waters is explained as being people, multitudes and nations, and tongues. Therefore, the beast of Rev. 13:1, which came up out of the sea, is something that rises up from the midst of people. I don’t intend to go into that fully now, for we have other messages in print which go into full details on the subject, and you may have them just for the asking, but I do want to say that the beast with seven heads and ten horns and ten crowns upon his heads, is nothing but the old Roman Empire. We have watched it come back into prominence for a number of years now, in the forming of the Common Market nations of Western Europe. These Common Market nations make up the horns of the beast, and the fact that it is seen having seven heads, is nothing else but the seven forms of Roman government that the nation passed through from the days of the old Caesars, until the day that the government wound up with the Bishop of Rome sitting in the seat of the Caesars. That same system is being revived and will furnish Satan with all the embodiment he needs to carry out his diabolical deeds of persecution and murder. Therefore, the woman (Israel) will be hiding from that Roman beast, the same beast that crucified Christ at His first advent. In chapter 12 the beast is described as having seven heads and ten horns, and SEVEN crowns upon his head, but in chapter 13, he is described as having seven heads, and ten horns, and TEN crowns upon his heads. The seven crowns pertain to the seven forms of Roman dictatorial rule, and the ten crowns point to the ten nations which are the horns of the beast, and each of them having a king, or ruler. We see that old beast coming into focus for its last day role in the fulfillment of prophecy, and we have watched the horns spring up to take their place, in the past few years, therefore things are almost ready for that little horn to make its move. The little horn which Daniel spoke of in chapter 7 of his prophecy, came up from among the other horns, and plucked up three of the first horns by the roots. This little horn had eyes like a man, and a mouth speaking great things. Daniel says that he watched that beast until the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit. In other words, Daniel was allowed to see a vision of the whole scope of time that this beast would rule; he saw it materialize as the fourth great dictatorial kingdom upon the earth, and he says that he watched it until the Ancient of days did sit. He was still watching when the great white throne judgement took place, and the books were opened. He saw the beast when it was cast into the lake of fire. That little horn that rose up, did not put eleven horns upon the beast, for it was that ecclesiastical head (the Bishop) that just moved right into the seat of the old Caesars, so that he came to be looked upon as SOVEREIGN, IMPERIAL, UNIVERSAL RULER, which is blasphemy, for God Himself is the only sovereign one. In verse 21, of Daniel, chapter 7, Daniel says, “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints and prevailed against them,” and in verse 25, it says, “And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until (now watch, here is the same language that the apostle John used in Rev. 12:14, more than six hundred years later) a time, (one year) and times (two more years) and the dividing of time” (six more months) making a total of 3 ½ years, which is the time of great persecution, called the great tribulation. You will notice that he (the little horn, the Antichrist, which is to be the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church) made war with the saints of the Most High, and wore them out. Remember now, in this vision Daniel saw the millions of Christians that were slaughtered at the direction of the Popes all down through the ages; but this last reference in verse 25, pertains to the great tribulation hour. There is much that could be said about this horrible beast, and about the great whore, which is the Roman Catholic church, that is seen sitting upon this beast, by the apostle John, and recorded in Revelation 17, but let us get back to verse 14 of our text chapter. “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness.” Most of you have heard me say before, that the two wings of a great eagle given to the woman, was the message of the two prophets, (or witnesses) of Revelation 11, that preached Jesus Christ to her, and instructed her as to where to go when the fury of the beast would be turned loose later. Prophets are commonly referred to as eagles because of their far vision, their ability to fly high, and see afar off, we will say. For a confirmation of this terminology we will go to Exodus 19:4, God speaking to the children of Israel by Moses, says, “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on EAGLES WINGS, and brought you unto myself.” Now some of you may say, “But HE only brought them out of Egypt by one, Moses. Where do you get the plural, WINGS?” Read the whole verse again and you will see that it encompasses the whole journey from Egypt all the way to the promised land, for He said, “brought you unto myself.” We know God was with them all the time, in the cloud by day, and in the pillar of fire by night, but the reference, brought you unto myself takes in the whole trip, and we know that they were led into the promised land by Joshua, after Moses had passed off of the scene. The same angel (Michael) that was with Moses, stood right there across the Jordan river, and Joshua looked him right in the face. That same angel said to Joshua, “Be of good courage,” did he not? They did not inherit the land until Joshua led them over, so do not say it was just one, it was two, and it will be two the next time. It was Moses and Joshua that led them from Egypt to the promised land, but it will be Moses and Elijah that will lead them in the seventieth week of Daniel. I do not mean to infer that it will be the literal Moses and Elijah of old; it will be two modern day Jews with the same anointing that was on Moses and Elijah. That seems a more sensible way to look at it, for the simple reason that, if Moses and Elijah came back in this modern age, they would be very out of place. They would not know an airplane from a railroad boxcar. No, this will be two modern day Jews who have the revelation of Jesus Christ burning in their bosoms, and a great desire to share it with their Jewish brethren, therefore when God has everything else in order, He will bring them on the scene in Israel for a short term ministry that will last only 3 ½ years, but in that span of time the spiritual element of Israel will be reborn. The 144,000 servants of God will be selected, and sealed with the Holy Ghost, and in the process of that, there will be a great host of others who will hear the message, believe, and receive the seal of God, which is the Holy Ghost. As we said already, this other element of the nation of Israel constitutes, or makes up the woman that is given two wings of a great eagle, to flee the wrath of the beast. There are some who disagree with our teaching on who the two prophets will be, saying that because the Bible says, “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgement,” it is necessary for those prophets of old, to come back and be killed, since they were translated without seeing death. That is very foolish. A close look at what they will be doing during the days of their ministry (disturbing the elements, turning the waters to blood, scorching the earth with fire, burning up trees and green grass, and making the waters bitter Rev. 8:2-13 and 11:3-6) lets us know that these men have the same anointing on them that was on Moses and Elijah, for they are using the same signs. That being the case, if it had to be the Moses and Elijah of old, Enoch would still be left out of the picture for you cannot possibly identify him with any of these signs that the prophets of Revelation are using, and yet he was translated. When will he be killed, if you want to teach it like that? I would ask you also, what about the living element of the bride of Christ that will be translated; when will they be killed to fulfill your private interpretation? No, we must keep our revelation in line with the scriptures as a whole. We cannot build a revelation off of one verse of scripture that stands alone. It is very necessary that we begin to get these messages straightened out, so that we know what they are, and also what they are not. I want to tell you for sure, if you do not know who this woman of Revelation, chapter 12 is, then you are hung up on chapter 14. If you are hung up on chapter 14, you will also be hung up on the 70th week of Daniel, and if you do not get that straightened out, you absolutely will not know where chapter 11 fits in timewise. You can be sure of this though, Jesus will not come while those two prophets are lying dead, in the streets of Jerusalem. That would break the whole continuity of the scriptures. In connection with those two prophets, let me say this, their forerunners, Moses and Elijah, had the greatest anointing, and expressions of God, that were ever expressed in the earth, except for Jesus Christ Himself, and that is the anointing that will rest on those two prophets of Rev. 11, for a period of 3 ½ years.


THREE AND ONE HALF OR SEVEN?


There are some in this following who still hold to the thought that these two prophets will prophesy in the last three and one-half years of the week of Daniel. This is the same group that claims Jesus was cut off in the middle of that week. You talk about messing up the continuity of the scriptures, when you teach it like that. We will start with chapter 11, verse 3, “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” What is their prophesying to accomplish? Number one, we will say it is to awaken the nation of Israel to the fact that their Messiah has already come, and was rejected because their ancestors did not recognize Him, and seal the 144,000 servants of God in their foreheads. Secondly, they will warn their brethren of the great tribulation hour that is just ahead, of the deception of the antichrist, the great peace leader, and instruct them on how to protect themselves from the fury of the beast when he turns loose on them. Verse 7, shows that it is the beast that kills the two witnesses after they have prophesied for 3 ½ years, and verse 8, shows us where they are killed, for Jerusalem is the city that SPIRITUALLY, is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. When we go to chapter 12:6, 14; we see that the spiritually awakened woman element of the nation is fleeing into the wilderness from the wrath of the beast, and verse 14, makes it clear that it was the message of the two prophets that prepared her for her flight. Do you begin to see what kind of situation you will come up with if you try to harmonize all this with your 3 ½ year revelation? In other words, you would have Israel (the woman) fleeing for her life in the same 3 ½ years the two prophets are prophesying to her. They would have to chase her through the wilderness in order to preach to her, and to seal the 144,000 servants of God. You would also have the battle of Armageddon raging during the last few months of their ministry, for by the end of that week of Daniel, Armageddon will have run its course, and the Lord Jesus, Himself, with His heavenly army will come to climax that battle. When you come right down to scriptural facts, a person would have to be spiritually blind to believe that all these happenings could be crowded into the last 3 ½ years of the 70th week of Daniel. There just simply is no such thing as a special revelation that would enable you to explain all of this into a twelve hundred and sixty day period.


FLOOD OF WATER


Let us turn back to chapter 12 now, and look at the 15th verse, “And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.” We have to convert these words into a spiritual revelation. Many people read that verse, and try to picture a serpent belching out a stream of water against the woman. When we look back to verse 9, we see that the serpent is also called, Satan, the Devil, as well as the dragon, and when we look back to verse 3, we see that the dragon has seven heads and ten horns, so that lets us know that the serpent in verse 15, is the dragon of verses 3 and 9. We have already explained that the dragon was that old beast, Rome, (the 4th great world kingdom of the earth) filled with the spirit of the devil, and set to devour Christ, the man child, as soon as He was born. There is a 1900 year interval between verse 4, where that old Roman beast was standing ready to devour the man child, and verse 15, where that same old beast is trying to get rid of the woman that produced Him. But the question is, What is the flood that is cast out of the mouth of the serpent, (beast)? Remember, the waters are people, (17:15) and the beast system is made up of people, and the beast man, singular, is the Antichrist. If you can keep this picture in your mind, you will see that the waters that are cast out against the woman, is excessive hatred from the people who make up the beast. The flood, is that great flood of persecution that is cast against her. Satan hates the woman because she brought forth the man child, and because she recognizes and worships God. The Antichrist, who, up until this hour, as the Pope, the head of the Catholic church, has been looked upon as the Vicar of Christ, and reverenced by people all over the world, is no more of a politician than a spiritual leader with Christian principles. We are talking about the hour of this great persecution, and excessive hatred of the woman. Most of you know that these Western European nations have in the past, been mostly Roman Catholic, as far as their affiliation with religion goes, and we are talking about those which make up the ten horns (horn signifies power) of the beast, but in the past few years we have watched communism creep in little by little until it is becoming very obvious that, by the hour of the great tribulation, all of Western Europe that is a part of this beast will have a form of communism all their own. By that time the communistic spirit of that beast will have swallowed up the ecclesiastical element to the point where it will fulfill chapter 17:16, which says, “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, (the whore is the Roman Catholic Church that has rode those poor people for centuries. A church is always referred to in the feminine gender, and this is not the true church of the living God, but rather, is referred to as a whore) and shall make her desolate (void of any spirituality) and naked, (her shame shall be exposed) and shall eat her flesh, (in other words, communism just swallows up the religious element that is left) and burn her with fire.” That will be the fire of persecution and hatred. It is a known fact that communism and religion will not mix. Communism is against religion in every form. That is why the prophet of the age said that communism is a tool in the hands of God, for the destruction of Catholicism. Now you can see that this beast, in that hour, will be motivated by a communistic spirit which will hate everything and everyone that is in any way associated with religion. That is why all those poor Gentile foolish virgins will be martyred; they will hold to their faith in Christ, and refuse to be aligned with the world system.

 

 

EARTH OPENS HER MOUTH


Alright, so the serpent will cast out a flood of persecution and excessive hatred against the woman, but verse 6 lets us know that the woman will be helped by the earth. We will read it. “And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.” Did you notice that verse 15 calls the pursuing one, the serpent, while verse 16 refers to him as the dragon. This very thing was prefigured during World War II, when Hitler put out a decree, that all the Jews in Denmark must wear the Star of David. Hitler was determined to wipe the Jews from the face of the earth. He hated them with a passion, and this decree was just another way to mark them for assassination, but the earth helped them then, just as verse 16 says it will in that day. How were they helped? Well, the story was told that every Danish man wore the Star of David, as if to say, Hitler, if you take them, you will have to get us all. They had taken hundreds of these Jews into their homes where they hid them, and fed them, for the remainder of the war. I believe that is exactly what will take place when the devil tries to annihilate the Jews in the time of the great tribulation. There will be people on this earth who will have a sympathetic feeling toward the Jews, who will do exactly as those Danish people did. I believe that set a little type for us. Many people have said, I do not see how people could hide and survive for a period of 3 ½ years. That period of the war lasted just about the same length of time, and those people survived. There is no way we could go into details, telling you exactly how it will all work out, for time itself will work out the details as the situation demands. This we can say though, there will be enough of those people spared and kept alive, to repopulate the Jewish race in the Millennium. Of course when I mention that there will be babies born in the Millennium, that opens up another subject for my critics. There are ever so many preachers running around these days who refuse to accept that as a fact. Their excuse is that the prophet did not say anything about it. For me, the prophet did not have to say anything about it, for it was already written in the Bible. When you look at Isaiah, chapter 11, speaking of the Millennium, verse 6 says, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the SUCKLING CHILD shall play on the hole of the asp, and the WEANED CHILD shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den.” This should be enough to convince anyone who is open to truth, but you can still turn to Isaiah 65, and read more along these lines. Brothers and Sisters, I want you to know that the hour is coming, and very soon, when every one of these messages will set off an avalanche. These people will either wake up and begin to search the depths of God’s word, or they will perish in their rebellion. Please tell me what difference it makes, whether the prophet to this age spoke on a certain subject or not, if the Bible furnishes us with sufficient scripture to establish it? This old world is right on the brink of something that is going to leave no individual untouched by the impact of it; therefore it behooves us to seek all the truth that is available to us while we still have the freedom to do so.


I just read an article the other day which stated that the reason President Carter took the initiative in getting Prime Minister Begin and President Sadat together in an effort to bring about a peace treaty between their people, was because he had learned through intelligence sources, or maybe I should say, he believed, from what he had learned through intelligence sources, that Mr. Begin had ordered a build-up of his military forces, looking for Mr. Sadat to start another war. I want you to know, if this thing breaks down, there will not be one thing that President Carter can do to stop it. God is going to fulfill his word whether Mr. Carter cooperates willingly or not. I will say though, because of the line up of Russian satellite nations, those that will side with Russia against Israel, recorded in Ezekiel 38, I am prone to believe that Egypt will find a neutral position before that battle is fought.

 

 

THE WOMAN HAS TWO SEEDS


We have one more verse in this chapter 12 which we have not read, verse 17. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, (I want you to notice something here now as we read the rest of this verse, the dragon is making war with the remnant of the woman’s seed) which KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, (JEWS) and HAVE THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST, (GENTILE FOOLISH VIRGINS.) This lets us see why the foolish virgins are martyred right along with those Jews, and why you have that great mixed multitude which no man could number, from all the nations, kindred and peoples of the whole earth in chapter 7, verse 9, which are revealed in verse 14 to be those who were martyred during the great tribulation hour. You say, but how did the Gentile foolish virgins get to be the seed of the woman, which we know is Israel? Alright, I will tell you. When God led Abraham up that day and told him to look North, South, East and West, He made a covenant with Abraham, who was the pregenerator of the Jewish race of people, and gave him a promise, God said, I will give you all the land that you can see. It will be to you and to your seed forever. God also told him that his seed would be as the dust of the earth, and as the stars of heaven for number, and that in him and his seed would all the families of the earth be blessed. You can read that in Genesis 13:14-17, 15:1-5, and 28:14. When God made that promise to Abraham, he did not even have a seed, and his wife, Sari, later called Sarah, was well past the normal age of child bearing, but Abraham believed God, and the scriptures declare that God imputed righteousness to him because he believed. Here is how the promise to Abraham is fulfilled in the woman, When God told Abraham that his seed would be as the stars of heaven for number, He gave him a dual promise. Notice, “And in thee and thy seed, shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” There is where the spiritual seed line (those who believe the word of God from every nation) was included. Therefore, when the dragon goes to make war with the remnant of the woman’s seed, he will be killing everyone that in any way identifies with God. That will take in all the Gentile foolish virgins as well as every Jew who trusts in Jehovah. The devil is trying his best to completely annihilate the Jewish race of people, hoping to put to silence forever, all this talk about the Jews having a Messiah, or king, that will rule the world with a rod of iron for a thousand years. The foolish virgins will be in sympathy with the Jews, knowing the promise of God to them, and will therefore partake of that universal blood bath as the decree goes forth to imprison or kill all who will not cooperate with the world system, which would mean that they would be required to renounce faith in God. The devil will have a free hand to do as he desires, for God’s restraining power will no longer be holding back the forces of evil, as He has through this grace age. The devil will be free to do as he sees fit during that hour, with one exception, he cannot lay a finger on anyone who has the seal of God in their foreheads. This will be those who believed the message of the two prophets, and were sealed with the Holy Ghost. God will be watching over them. Contrary to what many people believe, God is still running His own affairs. He has not, and will not, raise a white flag and surrender to the forces of evil. The scriptures declare that God is able to put it in the hearts of men to fulfill His will. For six thousand years God has allowed Satan to pervert, tangle and twist men’s minds, and cause them to rebel against their creator and His righteous ways, but if you will look closely, you will discover that God has still been in control all along, for every prophesy recorded in the scriptures has been fulfilled right on time up to our present day. Therefore, we believe that God (who is the one that actually keeps time on these events of prophecy) will be right on time with what is still left to be fulfilled. He has everything portrayed so beautifully, if we will just allow ourselves to see it. I would like to show you something if you will just turn back to Ezekiel with me for just a moment. Starting with the 24th verse, we will read it. I would like for us to read it along with verses 1-4 of Revelation, chapter 11, which tells of measuring the temple of God, and the alter, and them that worship therein. It tells of the two witnesses that prophesy for 1260 days, prophesying to those who have been brought back from among the heathen (the Gentile nations) into their own land. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth, and it is through their ministry that God accomplishes what is recorded in Ezekiel 36:24-36. Now let us read it. “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.” That is what God has been doing for the past 30 years. It is a slow process, but I say it will all be over with, in one generation. Brothers and Sisters, I hope that everyone of you will realize that we are living in those days right now. Just think, these words were recorded more than 2500 years ago, and think of all the generations that have read them, and we are the people that God has ordained to see them fulfilled. Oh what a privilege we have bestowed upon us by our God. Even now we know that Israel is soon to have another great travailing pain when Ezekiel 38 and 39 are fulfilled. Then very shortly after that, the two prophets will move on the scene, and the remainder of chapter 36 will begin to have its fulfillment. Remember, God’s promised blessing upon the Jews is only effective when they are in their own land. I will remind you of one other thing, and then we will read some more. Israel does not yet have all the land that God gave to Abraham, back in her control, but she soon will regardless of what the rest of the world may think about it. Now verse 25, This will be accomplished through the ministry of the two witnesses of Rev. 11. “Then (in the first half of the last week of Daniel) will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.” The clean water is the prophetic gospel delivered by the two witnesses. Remember, it was because of their entanglements with idols, that God drove them out of the land in the first place. They built idols when they should have been worshiping Jehovah at the temple. 26 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” Stony heart seems like odd language unless you have had occasion to walk into a Jewish store on Monday morning, as dad and I used to do years ago, when we raised sheep, and took the wool to their store to sell it. We would walk in there and two or three of them would be cursing each other for all they were worth, letting each other know where to go. You would think they were mad enough to kill at any moment, and you would wonder if such people had any heart in them, but that is just their way. I do not say that to cast any reflection on them; they are like that because of the way they have been dealt with through all the years of their dispersion among Gentile nations. Furthermore, when God gets through with them, they will not act like that any more. 17 “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgements, and do them. 28 “And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” Just think how perfectly God fulfills His word, and then we have all these politicians yelling that Israel ought to give up certain portions of the land that she has already taken back. She cannot give it up; she must take more. You say, “But maybe it isn’t time yet.” If it isn’t time, there will be a stalemate, but if it is time, then some body had better look out. 29 “I will also save you from all your uncleanliness: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you:” The consummation of that is in the Millennium, but it is actually going on right now. Those of you who went with us to Israel last November, can surely testify to the fact that God’s blessing is already on their farm lands. It seems that almost everything they grow is of huge size and plentiful, like the verse indicates. 30 “And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.” Now we know that the two prophets will smite the land for a short period of time to establish their ministry, as that of God, and there will be a drought for a period of time, but that is to bring them to the condition of the next verse as we will read. 31 “Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loath yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. 32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.” That word is not just to the two Southern tribes, it is for the whole house of Israel, all twelve tribes. 33 “Thus saith the Lord God, In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded.” No wonder the government of Israel has just announced that they will build five more villages in the occupied territory. As soon as the Western world leaders heard it they began screaming, “You can’t do that.” She can do it. God said so. “You shall build the waste places.” Yes, “And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. 35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; (HALLELUJAH!) And the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become FENCED, and are inhabited.” In 1968 when we were over there, I remember the Jordan valley was a desolate looking area, but we showed you the little movie film we made over there last year, how that the land is now so fertile. Anywhere they can level it off enough to till it, they are growing big cabbage, cauliflower, and all kinds of vegetables that are beautiful to look at. No wonder it is said that the land is become like the garden of Eden; this is just the beginning. Another thing we noticed was the everyone of those little villages had a fence around it. That is verse 35, “the ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.” Now look at verse 36, and you will know why it cannot be stopped by all the big powers of the world. 36 “Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I THE LORD BUILD THE RUINED PLACES, AND PLANT THAT, THAT WAS DESOLATE: I THE LORD HAVE SPOKEN IT, AND I WILL DO IT.” Praise God! Ezekiel 36 is being fulfilled right before our very eyes, and the world in general knows not that it is God doing it, therefore He will have to fall upon them, and crush them because of their stubbornness. You noticed in verse 35 that they are fenced cities. I will just say this, the fences are only put there to keep out the guerrillas. Otherwise they could slip in at night. These fences are electrified for that reason.


GENTILES WILL HELP ISRAEL


We read the scripture in Isaiah 66:7-8, about the man child being born without pain, and the travailing that brings the rebirth of the nation, but I want to read one more that establishes the fact that Gentiles will help Israel with finances, weapons and so forth. God will draw what He needs from the Gentiles to benefit Israel. The verse is Isaiah 60:16, “Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.” Brothers and Sisters, I hope this little message will answer some of the questions that you have had on your mind, and I invite those of you who will read it in the paper to feel free to write me if there is still a question that has not been answered to your satisfaction, and may the God of this Bible that we cherish so dearly, reveal Himself to each of you in a very personal way. Amen

Paul’s Thorn In The Flesh

APRIL 1978

2 CORINTHIANS, CHAPTER 12

 

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED ABOUT THE STATEMENT MADE BY THE APOSTLE PAUL IN 2ND CORINTHIANS, CHAPTER 12, VERSE 7, WHERE HE SPOKE OF A THORN IN HIS FLESH? WE WILL TRY TO ANSWER SOME OF THE QUESTIONS THAT MAY HAVE COME TO YOUR MIND ABOUT THIS SCRIPTURE AS WE DEAL WITH THIS MESSAGE. WE WILL JUST LET THE BIBLE SPEAK FOR ITSELF, AND TRUST GOD TO LEAD US TO THE SCRIPTURES THAT WILL MAKE THIS STUDY MEANINGFUL TO EACH OF YOU. CERTAIN SCRIPTURES ARE USED BY VARIOUS GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS TO PROJECT CERTAIN DOCTRINES, BUT THEY ARE USED OUT OF CONTEXT AND DO NOT CARRY THE THOUGHT THAT IS PROJECTED. WE BELIEVE THE BIBLE HAS SUFFICIENT SCRIPTURE IN IT TO COVER EVERY NEED OF HUMANITY WITHOUT PULLING CERTAIN VERSES OUT BY THEMSELVES JUST TO MAKE A PLATFORM FOR INDIVIDUAL OPINIONS. WE BELIEVE ALSO, THAT GOD WILL VINDICATE HIS WORD WHEREVER IT IS PREACHED, AND THAT WE DO NOT HAVE TO HIDE ANYTHING THAT IS IN IT IN ORDER TO GET GOD TO WORK. WE ASK YOU TO READ THE ARTICLE WITH AN OPEN MIND, AND WE TRUST THAT IT WILL BLESS YOU, AND HELP YOU TO BETTER SEE GOD AS HE IS. IN OTHER WORDS, EVERYTHING OPEN AND ABOVE BOARD.

 

TEXT: 2 CORINTHIANS 12: 1-10

 

Let us enter into this message prayerfully, trusting God to open our understanding of this very controversial subject which we desire to deal with. For a title, we will just call it Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh, but it will deal with the subject of divine healing, and the questions of what Paul’s thorn in the flesh actually was. As far back as I can remember, Christians have discussed among themselves, even argued at times, about this thorn in Paul’s flesh, which he spoke of as being the messenger of Satan to buffet him, keeping him from becoming too proud and exalted as a result of the heavenly vision which the Lord had given to him. As I go into this message, I do so with the awareness that some will say, what is a man who has been in the hospital and had surgery, himself, tackling a message like this for? My answer to that is, I do not allow circumstances such as this to prevent me from preaching a message that the Lord gives me from his word. I may not use words of expression that some of you are capable of using, and some of you may have a lot more faith in some areas than I, but when it comes to establishing what the Bible has to say about a subject, then I will give no ground for any kind of a statement, sermon, or any human feelings. Ever since God led me into this Hold Ghost way of living and walking with Him, I have been concerned about this thing of divine healing, for in the Methodist church it was never taught. Neither was it taught in the Church of Christ, for they, like the Methodist, did not believe in divine healing; they claim that all of that ceased when the apostles passed off of the scene. The only kind of healing they believe in, is that which can be accomplished through doctors, and medicine. They have their confidence in medical science, and the ability of man, and I want it understood that I am not speaking against these things; I thank God for what he has enabled man to learn about this very complex human body, but we need to give God room to deal with us as he sees fit to do so. The world is full of testimonies of God’s sovereign grace in the lives of individual people, but let us try to understand that God did not write the Bible to fit your experience, nor mine, but somewhere, we will have to be able to see our experience in the Bible. That is the way we have to look at it. The truth of what God is, and what God will do for his creation, is all recorded in the book, and therefore, our experiences and ideas must harmonize with what the word of God teaches.

 

LET THE BIBLE SPEAK

 

I have read books through the years, of every sort, many of them by men who had outstanding ministries. I have read after Charles Price, Wigglesworth, F. F. Bosworth, and many others, books on how to have faith, what faith is, how to release your faith, what one must do to receive divine healing, etc., but I never did find one that actually set the scriptures straight, without leaving some verses unexplained. Therefore I would like to start with Isaiah 53, laying a foundation for our text, and endeavor to make the message clear, and meaningful to all who hear it, or read it in the Contender. This is not meant to promote any kind of a healing doctrine; it is for the purpose of trying to help people look at the word of God in a mature way, rather than to play around with it like a group of children playing musical chairs. Isaiah prophesied concerning Christ Jesus, and what he would do for lost mankind, more than 700 years before his birth. He spoke of a child that would be born, upon whose shoulders the government of the people would rest; going on to say, “And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor. The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform it.” Now we know that most of this is yet for a future date, but the child that was to be born was none other than Jesus who was called the son of Joseph and Mary according to the flesh. We know of his sacrificial death at Calvary, but I wonder if we really have fully comprehended all that was accomplished in the price that he paid when he laid down his life for the redemption of all lost mankind.

ISAIAH’S PROPHECY OF CHRIST

 

Let us turn now to Isaiah 53, and begin reading with the first verse. “Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, (talking about Jesus), and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” All of this was saying that when Jesus (the Messiah of Israel), comes, there will be nothing about his personal appearance that will be attractive to people. In other words people would not be attracted to him because of his good looks, nor by the way he dressed or combed his hair. Physically he would not look very much different than any other man around Jerusalem in those days. Certainly there was nothing about his looks that would draw a crowd, but Isaiah goes on in his prophecy to say, 3, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: (He knew what it was to be belittled, humiliated, made fun of and ridiculed by people, but his ridiculement and persecution did not come from the prostitutes, nor the criminals in jail; it came from the religious people. They had a fixed idea of what religion was to be like, and most of what he said and did was just the opposite from what they thought it should be; it did not match their seminary teaching, and therefore they could not accept him; neither could they just leave him alone; they criticized and persecuted him.) and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4, Surely he hath borne our griefs, (Have you ever just felt down in the dumps, and deeply distressed, full of anxiety and fear? I am not talking about feeling bad because we were unable to pay the electric bill, or anything like that; this word, as it is used here, comes from a Hebrew word that takes in calamity, sickness, disease, deep distress, unwholesome conditions, and anxiety, which goes far beyond our not being able to pay the bills, and that sort of thing. Jesus suffered all of this for us. That is why the apostle Paul wrote, “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched by the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.’ This takes in the rest of the verse we are reading.) And carried our sorrows.” This word, S-O-R-R-O-W-S, as used here, comes from a Hebrew word which takes in affliction, anguish, grief, pain, sorrow and sadness, and Isaiah prophesied that Jesus, the Messiah, would carry all this for us. Now let us read the whole verse straight through. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” This was when he hung on the cross at Calvary, (SMITTEN OF GOD), and his blood was spilled on the ground, not for his sins, but for ours. There is where he was heard to cry out, MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAS THOU FORSAKEN ME? That has caused many people, in trying to separate a trinity idea from the oneness teaching, to ask the question, “How could he be none other than God himself, and still be crying out to God as he did there? It was because the sins of the whole world were laid upon his flesh; he bore our sins in his flesh, not in his spirit. Therefore, when the sins of the whole world were laid upon the flesh man, God, who is spirit, forsook him. There is no other reason, but remember, he went to that cross willingly; he was not forced to do it. With his own words he said, “No one takes my life; I lay it down willingly.” When that same vessel of clay walked on water, it was not because the virtue was in the flesh; it was because the life that was in that flesh, has power over every law of nature. When he turned the water to wine; it was not because he had some secret formula hid in the palm of his hand. No, the virtue was not in the flesh. The flesh was only a means by which the Eternal God, (which is spirit, and is invisible), could have contact with man’s senses. In the flesh of Jesus, God could be seen, heard and touched by mortal man. In the flesh of Jesus, God spoke healing to sick bodies, He spoke life back into the dead, He restored sight to the blind, walked on the water, turned the water to wine, and taught a new way of life to those who followed Him, but the virtue was not of the flesh; it was the life that dwelt in that flesh that had the virtue. Now, if God, who dwelt in that fleshly form, was on day, going to cause an innocent man to suffer for the sins of the whole world; then that man would have to be a sinless man, a perfect man, a man who had not sinful attributes within his flesh, completely without a nature to sin, yet he had to be free to make his own choices or he could not have set an example for us, he had to be tried and tested in every area of life without yielding to any of the devil’s temptations, in order to show us the way to please our heavenly Father. There was not inherited nature in him to lust, covet, lie, cheat, steal or get drunk, yet he had to be able to make the choice, or his temptation would have been a farce. It was the same with Adam and Eve; they did not have a nature within them to sin against God, but they had the choice to make when temptation was presented. It was because of the choice they made, that it was necessary for the second Adam, (Jesus Christ) to come into the world and live a sinless life of obedience to the will of God. As for his walking on the water, and turning the water to wine, and other such things, we have to look at this as him establishing the fact that He is God over His own laws. It is not natural for mortal men to walk on water, the law of gravity is absolutely against that. Man was put here on earth, and this is to be man’s natural habitation, therefore the law of gravity keeps him where God meant for him to stay through all of His redeeming process. Yes, God has certain laws in effect, but He is not bound by His laws. He proved that when He walked on earth among men in the human form known as Jesus of Nazareth, but we see this man Jesus was smitten of God and afflicted, according to Isaiah’s prophecy. Everything took place just exactly as it was prophesied to. The very man that for 3 ½ years had defied the laws of nature, even to the point of telling a storm to shut up, was now hanging on a cross with the life’s blood running out of the wounds in His flesh. Hanging there is a man that from all appearances is helpless to do anything to help himself, yet His own words were, that, even then, He could call 12 legions of angels to help Him if He chose to do so. What is this all about? Why did He not try to help Himself at such a time as this? By His own words He said, “For this cause came I unto this hour.” Even Caiaphas the high priest prophesied concerning Jesus when the council of chief priests and Pharisees were gathered together for the purpose of deciding what to do about this man who was doing all those miracles. John recorded it in this gospel, verses 49-52 of the eleventh chapter. “And one of them named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself; but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation; and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.”

 

JESUS DIED AS A MAN – NOT AS DEITY

 

Now if it was necessary for one innocent man to die one day, for the sins of the whole world, past, present, and future, and that man was to taste death for every man, then He must not die as DEITY, He must die as a man. That is why as he hung there on that old cross, with the nails in His hands and feet, His muscles drawn, spasms wreaking through His chest, plunging away at His heart, and moments when His brain was attacked by faint, to the point where someone dipped a sponge into a mixture of vinegar and probably certain types of drugs that would have taken away all the pain if He would have taken it, He refused to partake of it, knowing that He was to suffer death for every man, woman, and child of the whole human race. He was smitten of God and afflicted. In other words, He was stripped of all DEITY powers; not in the sense that He could not have rescued Himself, but since He was ordained to die for the sins of all mankind, He had to be left to die like any other human. He had to be able to feel the pain throughout His whole being or it could not have been said that He suffered the penalty for all of our sins. The critics passed by spitting at Him and crying out, “You saved others, why don’t you save yourself.” It was all for the sake of mocking him when they said, “If he is the king of Israel let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will save him.” That sounds just like the devil, doesn’t it? The devil knew who that was hanging there. He was no stranger to Him, but there was one thing sure; it was not the second person of a trinity hanging there that day, it was none other than the very God himself, veiled in human flesh, taking upon that flesh the penalty for the sins of the whole world. While one of the prisoners that was crucified with Him hung there cursing and accusing Him, and the one on the other side was repenting, Jesus gave up the Ghost, life separated from Him and His head slumped over. “SURELY HE HATH BORNE OUR GRIEFS, AND CARRIED OUR SORROWS: YET WE DID ESTEEM HIM STRICKEN, SMITTEN OF GOD AND AFFLICTED.” He was not afflicted in the sense that He was made sick as some might think. No, His affliction was in the form of abuse and torture. Think of the almost unbearable pain as the crown of thorns was rammed down on His head. I can just see the blood run from those thorn pricks, run down on His face and dry there, also his back, where He has been beaten until it is nothing but bloody bruises and gashes. Why? Did you ever ask yourself, why? “He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities.” All of our disobedience, all of our ungodly living, all of our rebellious attitudes, and every wrong thing that we have ever done was all laid upon Him, (Jesus) at Calvary. “The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.”

 

DIVINE HEALING IS A SCRIPTURAL FACT

 

It is a positive fact that divine healing was in the atonement work at Calvary. A person who would deny that, would have to deny the word of God. Isaiah prophesied about it, putting it in a future tense setting, but Peter wrote about it in his epistle as a finished work. In other words, it was already accomplished, right? You can read it in 1 Peter 2:24, “BY WHOSE STRIPES YE WERE, YE W-E-R-E, past tense, already healed.” Who can argue with that, without being found arguing with God? Let us go now to Psalms 103, and try to get these scriptures all together which speak so positive about divine healing. In verse 1, we read, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.” The spirit of Christ speaking through David, the Psalmist, furnished us with the beautiful words which we have just read. Actually that is part of a song that David sung giving full expression of what the Lord is to mankind, but I want us to turn now to Exodus 15:23-26, “And when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters’ were made sweet; there he made for them a, Now listen to what God’s word says here. There he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, (that went with it) I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: FOR I AM THE LORD THAT HEALETH THEE.” I hear people quote that 26th verse often, but I never hear them mention the conditions which were set forth ahead of that promise. When God says that he will do a certain thing, if we do a certain thing, it is not right for us to expect God to do His part unless we do ours. What God told those Israelites to do went way beyond just trying to keep the 10 commandments, they were to keep all his statutes also. Very few people ever really understand just what his statutes were. You can read the Ten Commandments in Exodus, chapter 20, but you have to read Deuteronomy and Leviticus to find out what His statutes were. Now, what does that amount to in relation to the one verse of scripture which says so much? Simply this, even though he said, “I am the Lord that healeth thee,” that promise was absolutely conditional. When He said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and will do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians, He meant that their whole way of life must absolutely be centered around the entire word of God, not just two or three verses. The religious world is full of people who have grabbed two, three, or a half dozen verses of scripture which contain the promises of God for his people, and they have completely ignored the conditions set forth which must be met in order for us to come boldly before the throne of grace to receive the promise. God provided these benefits for his true children, those who would live just as true and clean after they are healed as they do before. You may say, “But Bro. Jackson, there are an awful lot of people getting healed that do not even serve God.” I still say the promises and provisions in the scriptures are for the true children of God; they are the only ones who have a legal right to them, but we do know that God is sovereign, and therefore He can bestow mercy upon who He will, then if they do not live for God, they will have to face Him in judgment. People are guilty of maneuvering the word of God to suit their own particular purpose, just like the Judiastic leaders had been guilty of doing before the first advent of Christ. The more some people study the Bible, the farther they get from the true revelation contained in it, all because they are studying it for the wrong reasons, not really seeking a holy walk with God.

 

WHAT DID PAUL PREACH?

 

I mean for us to take this message very slow, giving everyone a chance to look at the Bible, to see just exactly what it has to say on this subject. Let us turn now to 2 Corinthians, chapter 12:1-10 where we will begin to see something if we will watch closely. You must watch the man. I believe you will see something if you will just watch the man. The man is the apostle Paul who authored most of the New Testament letters to the churches. As we study the New Testament, there is not found anywhere, a sermon that Paul preached just on divine healing. You say, “Did he believe in divine healing?” He sure did, but he did not go around preaching divine healing messages, as such. This message may seem strange to some of you, but I am preaching it to clear out some of the cobwebs from people’s minds. Remember, the apostle Paul was healed at Damascus. Is that right? Therefore he had every right to believe in the act of divine healing. How is it he never preached a sermon on the subject, yet he had one of the greatest healing revivals that the Gentiles had ever heard about there at Ephesus? We read in the 19th chapter of Acts, how that God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul; so that from his body were brought unto the sick, handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. No, it was not because he was preaching divine healing; it was because he was preaching the gospel and in doing so, he made the people to see that God would meet all of their needs. He never even left Ephesus, but they came from miles around to hear this man preach, and when they did, many of them became revelated. Then, as they received personal healing, they probably began thinking about grandma or grandpa or someone else back home who needed to be healed. I can just see them as they began to get the idea to have Paul pray over, or even, just touch a handkerchief or an apron, believing that if they laid that on their sick folks they would be healed. Needless to say, God honored their faith. He healed the sick and the evil spirits went out of them, but Paul still did not preach on divine healing, and neither did he furnish the handkerchiefs and aprons; the people brought them to him. They no doubt brought handkerchiefs from the men, and aprons from the women. This was not just a ten day or two week campaign, either; this meeting lasted for about two years, giving all the people of Asia, ample opportunity to hear of the meeting, and attend the services. I will say this, also, when people came to hear Paul preach, they did not have to sit there for two hours while he took an offering from them. You know how it is in our day; these modern day evangelists will get up when it out to be time for them to start preaching and say, “The Lord showed me that there are three people in this building that should give one thousand dollars: you know who you are, now who will be first?” Then they will go right on down through five hundred, one hundred, fifty, twenty-five, and they will keep going until they get all the loose pocket change, and then they will preach a little twenty minute sermon on divine healing and call a prayer line, all in the name of the Lord. When the service is over with, the people do not know anymore about God than they did when they came in. Brothers and sisters, time is too short for us to play around with this gospel message that those early Christians loved enough to lay down their very lives for. It is time for us to hear it, and obey it the way they did. We are not going to get off the ground, in the rapture until we do.

 

PAUL DEFENDS HIS IMAGE

 

As we go into this 12th chapter of 2nd Corinthians, please remember, Paul has been criticized by the very people that he had established in the faith earlier. They had listened to a bunch of those roving preachers who drift from place to place teaching their private revelations, and their very purpose was to try to diminish Paul’s image, casting a reflection on his revelation and his character. Paul knew that he had taught the people right, and that he had not tried to make a name for himself, but now he is facing a situation that must be dealt with; therefore, in chapter 11 we hear him say, verses 2-3, “For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” He goes on to say, in verse 13, (speaking of these men who have stirred up the trouble) “For such are FALSE APOSTLES, deceitful workings, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” Now let us be sure we get the picture here, so we will understand why Paul speaks as he does of himself. These fellows are trying to change the grace of God, trying to change the revelation that God, through Paul, had delivered unto them so clearly. They have gone about it in such a way that it has, no doubt, come to a place where it is Paul’s image and character, against theirs, and even though Paul does not like to boast of himself, (and he plainly says so), he finds himself in a situation where he is compelled to glory in his flesh in order to put the others in their place. That brings us up to the place where we will start reading chapter 12, where Paul says, “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.” In other words, these other fellows must have had a very sweet, appetizing sort of revelation, but they could not hold a candle to the apostle Paul when it came to his, for there was one thing sure, what he preached ten years before, he would still preach, and if you heard him twenty years later, he would still be preaching it the same way. In verse 2 he said, “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago.” Now some will say Bro. Jackson, was he still here on earth when all this happened to him? That is not the important part. We are not here to debate that; that is like straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel. No, he said, “Whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth.” It did not matter to Paul that only God knew whether he was in the body or out of it. He just knew that when the spirit of God came on him, in this experience, he was taken up into glory; whether bodily, or visionary, it did not matter to him. He says, “Such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth);” Therefore if only God knew, and Paul did not, please do not expect me to tell you which it was. The important thing is that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words which were not lawful for a man to utter. We would say, he heard mysterious things. What he heard, were things that he knew it would not be good to talk about down here on earth among mortal, carnal minded beings. Therefore, (in the back of his mind), he just kept that which he had heard, and I am sure he spent much time recalling those words and musing over them, being thankful to God that he was allowed such a privilege, for he knew what they meant. He knew also that if they were told to anyone else it would just start a cycle of people playing with those words, and cause an endless string of questions, so he just kept all this to himself. But now the time has come for him to deal with the situation at hand and find him glorying in the experience that he had been keeping quiet about. Verse 5, “Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.” You must catch what he means here or it will sound confusing to you. What he is saying is, I will glory in the inner man; there is nothing wrong with him. Paul is in an area of dealing with the two natures of man, that which is spiritual, and that which is natural; therefore, (by the help of God) I want to explain what he is saying, in common everyday language, and try to show you what it would actually lead to if you interpret it wrong. “Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.” In other words he could glory in the inner man for he was without fault, but when it came to the outer man, (the flesh) he said, I will not say too much for him; he doesn’t look so good, meaning, of course, if he started talking about his flesh, he would be faced with how he appeared in the eyes of others. He might have been bald headed, rough skinned, snaggletoothed, and who knows what else. Remember now, as we read verse 6, this is Paul talking. “For though I would desire to glory, (Do you see? He said he would like to.) I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.” You can see here that he has dropped his whole line of thought down to a fleshly level. He says, I do not want to glory about that, realizing that it was his flesh that had been compared to these men who had caused the disturbance among these Corinthian people. No doubt these fellows had a way about them that, compared to Paul, they stood out and presented a better image in looks and personality and that sort of thing. Paul realizing just what was going on, and where he stood, he said, “For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool, for I will say the truth, but now I forbear, (or I will only go so far with it, lest some of you start thinking of me above that which you are able to see in me), or that he heareth of me.” To see him, and to hear him, was to know him after his natural makeup, and it was Paul’s desire for them to hear, “Thus saith the Lord,” without having the human vessel exalted. You know yourselves, that some very ordinary looking people (as far as the flesh is concerned) can go around talking of their spiritual experiences in the Lord, to the point where some will begin to look upon them as something special. They will begin to exalt them above other people, and at times, look upon them as deity, even to the point of bowing down to worship them. Paul avoided anything, and everything that could lead to a situation like that. He certainly did not want any glory that belonged to God, therefore he refrained from entering into any kind of boasting that might have caused some to stumble.

MESSENGER OF SATAN

 

Now as we go into verse 7, we find another thought opened up, a thorn in his flesh. I said earlier that this is a very controversial subject, therefore I want us to go into it thoroughly with the thought of getting our minds settled once and for all as to what this thorn in his flesh was. Let us read verse 7, “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, (not in his soul, it was in his flesh), the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” I will never forget reading what one man wrote on this subject. In his reasoning he made this statement, “If Paul’s thorn in the flesh was a physical affliction as some say, just imagine him being so boastful, so disobedient that God would have to deal with him in that way.” Now I just want to leave that statement right there for now, and deal with what Paul said about it. In verse we find him saying, “ For this thing I sought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.” I believe with all my heart that at least three times he had shut himself away, no doubt, with fasting and prayer for a number of days, where he cried out to God for deliverance from this thing. I believe it was more than just a little bedroom prayer at night. This was something that hindered him, and he felt that he should be rid of it, but look what the answer of God was to him, 8 “And he (God) said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for MY STRENGTH is made perfect in weakness.” What was sufficient? God’s grace. God did not deliver him from this thing, He just gave him sufficient grace to go ahead and do whatever he had to do. Brothers and sisters, consider this, the thing that plagued Paul to the point where he sought deliverance from the Lord had to be in only one of three particular areas, namely, PHYSICAL, SPIRITUAL OR MORAL; there is no fourth area for it to fall in. It was something that reminded him of himself, and no doubt, drove him to prayer many times during the course of his ministry. I am sure you know that I could just make a flat statement as to what I believe this thorn in the flesh was, but many of you would not be satisfied with that, therefore, we are going to look at this from every logistical standpoint, giving you the opportunity of discovering for yourselves just what the scripture makes clear to us. We will finish verse 9, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” This word infirmity or infirmities, did not mean that he was such a sick man that he had to be carried around on a cot all the time. Though this word infirmity is used in the plural, we still must remember that the word THORN is singular, and by this we know that he had one particular thing that was constantly flaring up to give him trouble. We would say it was a pricking sort of reminder that he had his limitations. It was something that would gouge at him from time to time, and he has come to the place of recognizing why God allowed such a thing to be, so he has learned to trust in the grace of God without constantly feeling sorry for himself. 10, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” Did you notice as we read that verse, that he mentioned many things that do not even fall in the category of infirmities? They are identities of God’s dealings, and of Satan’s harassment and accusations thrown against him. Some of these things do not even pertain to the flesh. The term, reproaches, for instance, that probably had to do with people telling lies about him. Who could say that was a thorn in the flesh? They lied about Jesus too. After reproaches, he mentions necessities. I hope you realize, Paul was not a rich man, material wise; he found himself broke many times, during the course of his travels. We can see that in some of the letters he wrote to other churches. He speaks of persecutions here, and certainly we have no trouble finding where he had persecutions. Every time he went into a Jewish synagogue, when he would get a little too deep in the word for the, and talk about the Messiah from his present day viewpoint, sure enough they would grab him, and his companions, whoever they might be, and out the door they would cast them. That was not infirmities: that was just plain persecutions. Unwelcome, unaccepted, unrecognized and hated by many, he continued to do what God had called him to do. I might say also that some of his persecution turned out to be exceedingly rough on the flesh, but it still did not fall into the category of infirmities. On one particular occasion they waylaid him and Silas and took them before the magistrates making accusations against them because of what they taught, and the result was that, after they had laid many stripes on them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely. Do you know what they did? At midnight Paul and Silas began praying and singing praises to God. They did not have any fancy guitars, nor amplifiers, nor any kind of public address equipment; all they had was just two plain old crude voices, probably singing about the amazing grace of God, giving praise to him who is able to grant them victory in every situation. The more they sang, the happier they got, and the happier they got, the louder they got, until they could be heard throughout the whole area. The other prisoners got to listening, the angels got to listening, and it sounded so sweet in heaven, do you know what happened? The Lord sent an angel to shake those prison doors until they swung open, and at that time everyone’s bands were loosed. I know what some of you are thinking, but Bro. Jackson, the Bible says it was an earthquake that shook that prison. You have heard me say it before, but I will say it again, whenever you find God intervening in the affairs of man, you will always find him working through angels, then when we look into the scriptures, we find many places where an angel came down, and there was a great earthquake.

 

GOOD NEWS FOR THE JAILER

 

I am sure most of you have recognized by now that we are talking about the events recorded in the 16th chapter of Acts, and we find that after the earthquake had shook all the doors of the prison until they swung open, and all the prisoners were loosed from their restraining bands, the old jailer awakened from his sleep, and discovered what had happened. At that, he drew his sword and would have killed himself, knowing that if he had allowed all those prisoners to escape, he would be killed anyhow, but the apostle Paul spoke just at the right time, saying, “Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.” That was the best news the old jailer had heard for a long time. He called for a light, and came running down the corridor until he reached the cell where Paul and Silas were, then he rushed in and fell at their feet trembling. When he regained control of himself, he brought them out and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? He knew who they were, and he knew why they were in there, and he had heard and seen enough to know that they had God on their side. They answered him, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

 

PRAYING FOR YOUR FAMILY

 

Right here is a good opportunity for me to answer a question that is often asked, “Bro. Jackson do I have a right to claim my household for the Lord?” Yes, claim them, hold them up before God in prayer, and do everything you can to set a Christian example before them, but remember, every last one of them is personally responsible to God for their own salvation. You cannot answer to God for them. Therefore if you see circumstances farther on down the road that makes it appear that God is not going to work on behalf of one or two of them, do not become discouraged to the point where you throw up your hands in defeat. Remember God is sovereign, and he works according to his own council, but if you will claim your family members, and hold them up before God in prayer, you will have that special feeling toward them that will care for them and set a proper example before them. Nevertheless, I am persuaded that Paul answered the jailer as he did because of divine inspiration. It was not standard procedure for one member of a family to believe, and obligate God to save the whole family. I am thinking of what Jesus said in the 10th chapter of Matthew, “A man’s foes shall be those of his own household.” On the other hand we do have scriptural examples such as the household of Cornelius, where the whole house was saved, but it was because each and every one of them believed the gospel, and personally accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior. It was the same way here in Acts 15; God had the scene already set up, and he inspired Paul to answer the jailer as he did, but they preached the gospel to the whole family, and they baptized every one of them because they everyone believed. You will find that in the 34th verse; he believed in God WITH his whole house. Now let me admonish you, trust God, let your request be made known to him, and pray for your whole family, but do not find fault with God if everything does not go as you would have it to. Remember the words of Paul, spoken to the Romans, “Shall the thing that is formed, say unto him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour and another unto dis-honour?” Yes, God will work out his plan for the ages, and he will do it with, or without, our individual cooperation, but I will go so far as to say this, If you are in the plan of God and you refuse to cooperate, you can expect Him to slap you around until you do start cooperating with Him. You say, “Will God do that?” I talk like this to get your attention; not to be silly, nor foolish, but God does know how to get your attention. When I was knocked off of my tractor by a drunken driver, and later, lay in that hospital with my head and face split open, I did not need anyone to tell me that God was trying to get my attention. It took that for him to get it, and I have been carrying the scar ever since, but I will say this, when God gets finished talking to you after an ordeal like that, you do not have any trouble remembering. I imagine Paul (if he was still alive) would testify to that. He could never have forgotten his experience on the Damascus road that day. I will only testify for myself on this next statement. When I came to my senses, there in the hospital, I did not need to ask anyone why that had happened; I asked them what had happened, but not why. When I became conscious enough to think, it was like a small voice deep inside me saying, “I know why this has happened; it is to bring my heart to God.” Then I am reminded of the scripture that says, “And we know all things work together for good to them that love God, (not to the whole world, but to them that love God), to them who are the called according to his purpose.” As we meditate on the things that have happened along life’s journey, this scripture will, many times, give us new courage to face the challenge of life.

 

A THORN GOUGES THE FLESH

 

Now, back to Paul, back to the thought of his infirmities, and the thorn in his flesh. I have said many times before, there are only three categories for this to be fitted into; it must be one of the three. He refers to it as a thorn in his flesh. How many of you have ever had a briar stuck deep down in your finger? You who have will remember that, after it has been in there awhile, if you do not rub it the wrong way, it doesn’t feel too bad, but every once in awhile you would pick up something in a way that would put pressure on the spot and you would feel the prick or gouge. At that you would think, “I wish I could get that thing out of there.” The reason he spoke of this as a thorn in his flesh was because a thorn is a gouging thing; it gouges the flesh. You might say, he had to be careful how he conducted himself, for every so often he would feel a gouge, and he said God gave it to him. You may say, “I thought the devil was always the one who does things like that.” The devil is only the instrument; look at the reason why it was given to him and you will know that it was God ordained. Verse 7 tells us that it was to keep him from being exalted beyond what he should be as a result of the heavenly vision which he had received.

 

PHYSICAL – SPIRITUAL – MORAL?

 

Remember now, in the beginning of the message I said, “watch the man.” As we reason this thing out by the scriptures, remember Paul wrote these letters, and he is the one who preached divine healing to the Gentiles as he preached the gospel to them with all of its benefits. If this thing was not a physical condition that flared up ever so often, then we ought to be able to establish by the scriptures just exactly what it was. Let us say, for the sake of exploring every avenue, that this was something that pricked his spirit every so often. His spirit in his soul, and we all know that a thing like that can be hid; it is not necessary for others to know of something that is not visible. Deep inside your heart you may be pressed down, burdened, very grieved; something may have your inner being in a turmoil, but that does not mean that others have to know. I know you have met, and probably could name someone right now that carries such a burden, but at the same time, that person, if asked, “How are you today,” might say, “Just fine, never been better.” Now, not everyone has that kind of victory, but the point I am making is this, if Paul’s trouble had been in his spirit, it would not have been openly obvious to those he preached to. He would have kept it hid from them. We will consider this some more later, but right now I want to open up the third area of man’s trouble, and see if we can lay Paul’s thorn there. If it was not a physical condition, nor a spiritual problem, that leaves only one other area that it could be; there is no fourth area for consideration. If it was not one of the first two, then it would have to be a moral problem, something that pertained to his fleshly nature. It would have to be a human weakness that he was not able to overcome; something like a drinking habit, or some other human weakness. If it was something like that, then the other two categories are eliminated. We have to settle it by the scriptures; therefore we will read some other scriptures to see what we can learn.

 

WHY GO BACK INTO BONDAGE?

 

You probably know that Corinth and Galatia were not too far apart, and that the Galatian letter and the Corinthian letters were written fairly close together, so let us turn to Galatians and read what Paul wrote to them concerning the same problem that he has been writing to the Corinthians about. The Galatian letter was written first. It seems that some one had gone behind Paul and perverted his teaching, telling these Galatians that now that they had believed, they could only be made perfect by keeping the law. He, or they, which ever the case was, had them trying to keep the law of Moses, and observing certain days, and so forth, which caused Paul to write to them using some very strong words. In the first chapter he said, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” We will hold those verses in our minds and go over to the 4th chapter where we will begin to read, starting with the 8th verse. Listen to what Paul says, “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, (meaning, when they were still pagans, before they had the gospel preached to them), ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. (In other words, you served all those pagan deities.) But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, (This is Paul’s way of reminding them that it was his revelation that had introduced them to God, or made known to them who God really is, and how that they, even as pagans, could be reconciled to that God by grace, through the Lord Jesus Christ.) How turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” Paul is taking this opportunity to remind them of who, and where they were, before he brought to them the gospel of grace. He is reminding them that they were just pagans, serving other gods which were not really gods at all. He calls their former ways, the weak and beggarly ways, and questions them for turning back to such, after having a revelation of the true God presented to them. He says, “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and yeas. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” In other words all these things are vain, for those who have been accepted into God’s plan of grace and mercy. He was trying to get them to see that they were placing themselves under bondage, and that all such effort is vain. But, after all of this admonition he still refers to them as brothers in faith. 12, “Brethren, I beseech you, (or I beg you), be as I am; for I am as ye are: (now notice this next statement), Ye have not injured me at all.” Paul had received word that, because of these other teachings he was no longer highly esteemed as a great man of God. His image had been cut down to about 8 inches tall. Whoever those other characters were, they had purposely conducted themselves in such a way, as to diminish Paul’s image, and influence on these Galatians, but Paul is telling them that they have not injured him. Praise God, he knew where he stood with God regardless of what had been said about him. He is the one who said, “I know in whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him, against that day.” This man knew what he was talking about. He told them right in the very beginning that the things he had taught them did not come by another mortal man, for he had been taught by the resurrected Christ himself. A man like that does not change his teaching every few weeks. You could hear him ten years later, and he would still hold to what he had taught the first time. Hallelujah! That is revelation. That is why he could say to them, If any man, or even an angel ever preaches anything contrary to what we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. He was absolutely sure that what he had preached was right; therefore he was not the least bit hesitant to reach all the way into the heavenlies and include angels in what he had to say.

 

PREACH THE WORD

 

We will now read verse 13, and I want you to notice exactly what he has to say in these next verses. 13, “Ye know how that through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.” Now he said, “THROUGH INFIRMITY OF THE FLESH, I PREACHED THE GOSPEL UNTO YOU,” and some will say, “Now wait a minute, Bro. Jackson, if you preach like that, it will not stimulate faith in those who need healing.” I beg your pardon; what I am saying is truth, and Paul taught it, and those Galatians saw his difficulty, or infirmity, and God still honored his ministry. You just do not change the word of God to make it fit someone’s expectations; you preach the word just like it is, regardless of circumstances, and God, who is sovereign, will see that it does not return unto him without accomplishing His will and purpose. Whatever God has done in our individual lives will never change his word; the word always remains the same. We have to find ourselves in the word; that is the important thing. Now, if someone should ask the questions, “Do you people at Faith Assembly believe in divine healing?” Absolutely, but we do not have to hide any of the word of God in order to have faith for it. We want to understand one thing: if we believe in divine healing, we want to get it straight, as we see it portrayed, and demonstrated, and lived, through the entire book, and not try to work it off of 2 or 3 verses of scripture. The fact of divine healing is established throughout the entire book. Here we find Paul reminding these Galatians that they knew of the infirmity of his flesh from the very first time he came to them: which takes us back to something I said earlier. If Paul’s thorn had been in his spirit, why was it so plain for everyone to see, and know about? Why was he reminding them in this letter? If he had a spiritual problem, he certainly could not help anyone by constantly harping about it, but on the other hand, if it was an obvious infirmity of the flesh, it could not be hid, and therefore it would be alright to talk about it when deemed necessary.

 

PAUL’S THORN – EYE TROUBLE

 

I will ask you another question, if Paul’s trouble was a moral problem, how could he speak to others with such boldness, and confidence, in dealing with moral issues, such as the one in 1 Corinthians, chapter 5, where a man was living with his own father’s wife? He spoke as a man who was blameless before God, in dealing with every problem in the churches. Now we find him speaking of an infirmity of the flesh. Is that a sin? Should he feel guilty because of it? Of course not. You all know better than that. Now listen to verse 14. “And my temptation, (or testing), which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.” You all know how some people are; they will say, “I don’t want a sick man praying for me.” Shame on any brother or sister that would talk like that. That is being childish. Actually, it is very carnal. What has my infirmity got to do with the grace of God working on your behalf? Are you trying to get a free ride on some other person’s faith? If you have your faith anchored in the finished work at Calvary, it will not matter what kind of infirmity the minister might have; that will not hinder God in the least. Paul said, (to use my own words), “Even though I have this trouble physically, when I came to you the first time, that did not make any difference at all. You even accepted me as though I were Jesus Christ himself, and in so doing, you gave me your full approval.” Then, in verse 15, he says, “Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? For I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.” Why? Why would they have been willing to pluck out their own eyes and give them to Paul? We all realize that this could have been just a figure of speech; there is no argument there, but, on the other hand, if this thorn in his flesh was occasional blindness, that would explain some other verses of scripture: one of which I will read to you from the 16th chapter of Romans, verse 22. “I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.” Do you see what I am getting at? This man Tertius, says he wrote the epistle to the Romans, yet it is written in the very verbal speech of the apostle Paul. Why did not Paul write it himself? He was there. I believe it was because the apostle Paul was blinded when the Lord met him in the form of that great light on the road to Damascus, and how that for three days he could not see until a man named Ananias put his hands on him and prayed for him to receive his sight and be filled with the Holy Ghost. Now, I know some of you will say, “But Bro. Jackson, if the Lord healed him, why would you think he still had trouble with his eyes? I will answer a question like that, with this. I believe that God healed him so that he never went blind again, but there could have been a lingering weakness that would flare up from time to time, causing Paul to refer to it as a thorn in the flesh, something that would gouge him from time to time. Ananias prayed for him to receive his sight, and he received it, and as far as we know, he was never blind again, but that would not mean that he did not suffer some weakness in his eyes, causing him to have other men do his writing. It was not because he could not write, for you will remember, he was a member of the Sanhedrin Court, the supreme council of the Jews, during post-exile times. He described himself as a Pharisee of the Pharisees, and blameless, as far as keeping the law of Moses. It would be ridiculous for anyone to think he was not capable of doing his own writing, except for some physical hindrance. He went on to say that even though he had so many things to his credit, he counted them all as dung (animal waste) that he might win Christ. In other words, even though his education had more or less gone to his head, in former days, he now considers obedience to Christ to be the most important of all.

 

REVELATION COMES FROM GOD

 

Many people try to interpret the Bible to fit someone’s experience, but if we are to be scripturally realistic, we will have to interpret our experiences to fit the Bible. It is really the sovereignty of God that we read about in the scriptures; it is also the sovereignty of God that gives some people these outstanding testimonies. For instance, I read about one woman who had been taken with a disease since childhood; she had been prayed for by every Holy Ghost filled Christian that knew her, seemingly, to no avail; all the doctors had given up on her, having done all they could do. Then, God, in his sovereignty, came to her, and told her exactly what he would do, when he would do it, and that she was to let her friends and neighbors know about it. Many of them came, doubting that it would happen, but God is faithful; he does what he says he will do. That woman has traveled all over the world giving this healing testimony. Can we interpret the Bible by this testimony? Of course not; God is sovereign, the next case might be dealt with completely different from this one. One thing is sure though; the time is at hand for God’s chosen people to gain understanding of what is written in this old black book, (the Bible). When we begin to get our minds clear from those old hand-me-down, traditional ideas, we will discover that we do not have anything to boast about, for we are all subjects of God’s bountiful grace. Nevertheless, some of us need a reminder, from time to time, and that is what we want to see from this little message. As we think back to our text, in 2 Corinthians, chapter 12, why do you suppose Paul talked in such terms as this, “AND LEST I SHOULD BE EXALTED?” Why would a Holy Ghost Christian man need something to keep him from being exalted above measure anyhow? You must remember that we all have an inherited nature that will exalt the flesh if we do not keep that nature under subjection to the inner man which is renewed by the spirit. In the case of Paul, remember, he was a Jew, and Jews had always looked upon Gentiles as dogs, something unclean. Paul himself stated that in his letter to the Romans, and here he finds himself faced with the responsibility of preaching the gospel of grace to them, telling then that they also, are to be partakers of the grace and mercy of the God of the Jews. It was not the purpose of God to pick up some pagan, fill him with the Holy Ghost, school him with revelation of the scriptures, and send him to preach to the Gentiles. No, when God was ready to present the gospel to the Gentiles, he chose a Jew named Saul, struck him blind, then healed his eyes, filled him with the Holy Ghost, changed his name to Paul, took him into the desert, alone, and taught him, by the spirit, what the Old Testament scriptures was all about. None of the New Testament had been written at that time, and Paul knew what was written in the Old Testament; all he needed was understanding of what it was all about. That is the reason he spoke to the Galatians as he did, chapter 1, verses 11-18, “But I certify you brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12, For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 13, For ye have heard of my conversion in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14, And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 15, But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen: immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: (meaning, he did not enroll in a seminary, nor seek instructions from any other man). 17, Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, (alone with God, and his scrolls), and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.” From these verses, it is easy for us to see how a man that had growed up from childhood, looking upon the Gentiles as common and unclean, nothing but dogs, could still have a tendency to do so if God had not dealt with him as he did. Somehow, God would not let Paul align himself with the church at Jerusalem. It would have worked for Paul’s convenience if he could have, but God had not called him to preach to the Jews in Israel. He was to go to the Jews in dispersion, and from that his ministry was to reach to the Gentiles. The Gentiles had always been a filthy people. Their morals were filthy; their religious ideas were blasphemous and filthy; therefore, every Jew looked down on them, and gouged them every chance they had, they could not help it; it was there nature to do so. For this reason we believe Paul would have done his share of gouging, especially, knowing what he did, as a result of his heavenly vision.

 

PRAY – THEN TRUST GOD

 

Now, says Paul, “And lest I should be exalted above measure THROUGH THE ABUNDANCE OF THE REVELATIONS, there was given to me a THORN IN THE FLESH, (SOMETHING THAT PRICKS AND GOUGES) the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure,” Tell me now, can we separate the thorn in his flesh from the messenger of Satan? Would we not have to say that the messenger of Satan, and the thorn in his flesh, are the same thing? If you will take a good look at verse 7, you will see that they are, and certainly, Paul is not saying that he has tuberculosis, nor heart trouble, nor arthritis, or anything like that. What he says does not mean anything like that at all. If this thorn in his flesh was the messenger of Satan, then it had to be a spirit behind some physical ailment. Paul said he had sought the Lord three times on behalf of it, and every time the Lord had answered him by saying, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” God did not need to keep him humble by dumping a basket full of various diseases upon him: just something to remind him that he could be blind, groping for someone to lead him, if it were not for the mercy of God. After God answered him as He did, (the third time), Paul reconciled himself to the fact that this was something he was going to have to learn to live with, for God said, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” This caused Paul to say, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities.” This did not make him a Catholic taking an attitude like that; it just meant that after he had prayed about it the third time, he came to see that the very thing he was trying to get rid of was actually serving a purpose of God in his life. Now, to explain what I mean by what I said, How many times have you heard Catholic people say, “ The Lord suffered for us; therefore we ought to suffer for him?” That is a very foolish way for a person to look at his health, when the Bible declares that, “By his stripes we were healed.” If God does not show you that a certain infirmity is for a specific purpose, like He did the apostle Paul, then you have no right to take an attitude like that. I have notice also, that the people who say they believe it is the will of God for us to suffer are always going to the doctor, and taking medicine, in an effort to get rid of the suffering and be healed. Do you see any conflict there? In other words, if we really believe a thing is the will of God for our lives, then we are very foolish to fight against it in any way whatsoever. On the other hand, if we really are concerned about the will of God we ought to find out what the Bible teaches, and try our best to live by it.

 

BEING SURE

 

Brothers and sisters: I pray that we can get a proper understanding of the whole word of God, rather than just hold on to a verse of scripture somewhere. If we will examine the whole word of God, we will see how he has dealt with others; then we will be in a better frame of mind to let God work out the affairs of our lives. For, we see here that the apostle Paul could only glory in this one thing, and he knew why it was there. Realizing that this particular infirmity was given to him to keep him humble, he could say, “I will rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” He came to the place where he realized that, if a man becomes proud and puffed up, if he gets to the place where he exalts himself, he is void of the anointing of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why, (in his letter to the Galatians), he could even call angels into account. He had so submitted himself unto the Lord that there was no question in his mind, as to whether the gospel that he preached was right or not. Brother, I want you to know, when you start calling angels into account of what you are preaching, you had better know what you are talking about. Up until that hour, no man had ever talked like that before. His boldness to speak like he did to the Galatians is one of the things that causes us to rule out the fact that Paul’s thorn in his flesh was any kind of a moral problem. Now, while we are speaking of the Galatian letter, let me remind you once again of how he said to them, “YE KNOW how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.” 4:13. The thing I appreciate about the apostle Paul, is his consistent speech; if he called his condition an infirmity of the flesh in one of his letters, you can expect him to call it that in all of them. He did not have a half dozen different terms for the same thing. The only exception is in our text where he actually identified the accusing spirit that would gouge him at various times. In other words he had an infirmity of the flesh, something no doubt, that he had seen others healed of (by the power of God) when he preached the gospel to them, or maybe, when he just prayed for them, but instead of being healed himself, he had this satanic spirit constantly following him around, probably saying something like this, “If you are who you say you are, why is it that you do not get healed? Or maybe he would hear something like this, “If this God you speak of is so great, why does he not heal your eyes?” You know, people are not too likely to exalt themselves when they have a constant reminder that they are only spared by the grace and mercy of God.

 

LEARNING THE TRUTH

 

Many people have a tendency to think the apostle Paul was a sickly person because he spoke of his infirmities, but let me point out to you that the life he lived was not that of a person with many different infirmities. He did not have tuberculosis one time, heart trouble another, and arthritis another. No, he had the one thing that aggravated him at various times, and for that reason he spoke of his infirmities in plural terms. Please notice also that right after he reminded them of his testing in his flesh, he goes right ahead in verse 15 to say, “You would have plucked out your own eyes and have given them to me.” As I said before, that lets us know where his trouble was. They would not have been willing to pluck out their eyes and give them to him, if his eyes were good, and his heart was bad. That would not even make sense to talk like that. Some of you will no doubt say, (in your heart), what difference does it make anyhow? Some have said the same thing about the tree of life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and they have asked the same question about the Seventieth Week of Daniel, and the woman of Revelation, chapter 12, and many other things which we teach, but let me remind you that the Bible is not just a book full of stories, put there to fill up space. The men who wrote these various letters of the New Testament, and prophecies of the Old Testament were inspired of God to do so, and our knowledge of God comes from that which is written in the pages of this blessed old book; therefore if we do not understand it right, we miss the picture all tegether. For too long now, people have had the idea that everyone ought to be able to interpret the Bible as each one sees fit to do so, but let me remind you that, even though the government of your particular country may grant you this privilege, God is not obligated to give you the same privilege. The word of God itself declares that there is no private interpretation of the scriptures, and 2 Timothy 3:16-17, plainly tells us that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for DOCTRINE, for REPROOF, for CORRECTION, and for INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS: That the man of God may be PERFECT, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. I will say also, the very people who say, “What difference does it make?” are usually the ones who you will find arguing the most, about these subjects. Brothers and sisters: knowing the truth about these various subjects, will enable you to move in the will and purpose of God in these areas. I have asked the question, Who wrote the book of Isaiah which speaks of the great promise of a deliverer who would bear our griefs, and carry our sorrows, and by whose stripes we are healed. The obvious answer is Isaiah, naturally. Then I asked the question, “Who wrote these letters in the New Testament that speak so clearly of the fact that Paul had an infirmity of the flesh?” You will say, “Paul, of course.” Now, my point is this, God is not a fool, and neither is he confused; if he had wanted any other image established than what you see in the book, he would have known how to get it done. If it had been the purpose of God for the apostle Paul to cover up the fact that he had an infirmity of the flesh, he would not have needed to speak of it as he did. It all boils down to the fact that he had nothing to hide; the power of God was present to vindicate the gospel Paul preached, and that is what it was all about anyway. Paul, like the others, went forth preaching the gospel, and the Lord went with him, confirming the word that he preached; therefore he did not have to hide his physical infirmity from the people in order to get them to believe. He left the believing part in the hands of God, realizing that if God was not drawing them by his spirit, it would be impossible for them to believe anyhow. Jesus made that clear in John 6:44, when He said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.”

 

A REMINDER

 

I realize that a message like this can get a little lengthy, but I would like to take a little more time to reason these things out with you, and try, by the help of God to set divine healing, and Paul’s thorn in the flesh, in their proper place. When we are dealing with a subject like this, it is most essential that we get the truth of it planted in our minds and hearts, then as God deals with our individual lives, we will find ourselves walking right down through the middle of God’s perfect will for us. I believe we have furnished enough scripture to prove beyond any doubt that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was none other than a physical condition in his body, and we have showed you why we believe it was his eyes that caused his trouble; a condition left over from the healing of them, after having been struck blind on the road to Damascus. I know some of you will say, “That just cannot be, but can you produce scripture to back up your opinion? I remember something that I heard Oral Roberts say while giving his testimony, years ago. He said that when he was a small child it was hard for him to say three words without stuttering; he just could not get the words out. We have all heard people like that try to talk; some of them go through life without ever being able to talk plain. That was not the case with Oral Roberts; God healed him, but in his testimony he told how that every once in a while he would catch himself right on the verge of stuttering. Then he said, “All I can say is, God just lets it happen for a reminder to me of how it could have been if he had not healed me.” In other words he could say, (deep down in his heart), “Lord, I thank you for what you have done; This is 100 percent better than it used to be.” I do not know if any of you have ever stuttered or not, but if you have, and if God has touched that condition, so that you no longer are troubled by it, you know how grateful a person can be for such a deliverance, even if you do find yourself right on the brink of stuttering every once in a while. There are many times that God actually heals people by a miraculous means, and yet those people, many times, will carry the symptoms of their former ailments for many years. Should we say that they are not healed just because they have a symptom every so often that reminds them of the condition they were in? Absolutely not; we do not treat the grace of God like that.

 

HARMONIZING THE SCRIPTURES

 

Let me call your attention back to a verse of scripture that we have read already, but did not finish dealing with. We have certain scriptures in the Bible that people use exclusively in an effort to establish a certain school of thought, but I want to remind you that a single verse of scripture will only carry you so far, and then you need another one to carry you the rest of the way. I do not mean to imply that God does not speak positive; he does, but we have a whole book (the Bible), that must harmonize with our understanding of each verse we like to use. Now, turn with me to Psalms 34:19, and I will show you how some people use this verse from all other verses of scripture that carry the same word, then we can use it for certain schools of thought, but that is not handling the scriptures as Paul told Timothy when he admonished him to study to show himself approved unto God, not man, but God. What, then, are we going to study in the scriptures. We realize of course, that the only thing Timothy had to study was the Old Testament; the New Testament had not been written at that time. What we are looking at now is the word affliction, (A-F-F-L-I-C-T-I-O-N) which people use to describe sickness, disease and such like. In our modern terminology the word is generally accepted to mean sickness, disease, infirmity and etc., but it was not used like that in the Old Testament. I looked up more than 30 times where the word affliction was used in the Old Testament, and every single instance, the word was used to express humiliation, debasement, ridicule, false accusations, persecutions, and so forth. Now, you say, “Bro. Jackson, you will have to prove that.” Well, that is what we intend to do. Turn back to Isaiah 53:6-7, “All we like sheep have gone astray; (That is you and I, we did not know the way, but he, the good shepherd, is the one who sought us, found us, and showed us the way. We did not seek him; therefore he used different ways to search for us and get our attention.) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.” How true that is. Every one of us, when we came into this old world, took on a mind of our own; we decided what we were going to do, and headed down the pathway of life. It is only by the grace of God that we did not destroy ourselves, but God is able to woo us, and turn us from our ways, into His ways, praise His name. In the foreknowledge of God He already knew what each one of us would do, and while mankind was running away from God, He laid on Him, (Christ), the iniquity of us all. While we were outside of His grace, the Lord Jesus Christ bore our transgressions in his flesh at Calvary; The innocent suffering for the guilty. He was our substitute; He took our place, and died for every one of us. Now, notice verse 7, (speaking of Christ), “He was oppressed, (pressed down, burdened, heavy hearted, lonely, etc.; He had to feel that way in order to know what you and I would feel like at times), and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth.” Did you catch that: He was afflicted, not sick, but afflicted. How could a man who was perfect, be sick? I believe you can see that the word afflicted, as Isaiah used it here, had no physical sickness attached to it, but for the benefit of those who may ask, “What was His affliction,” let me remind you of the times when He stood preaching, and someone would yell to Him in a way to poke fun at Him. For instance, one time when He was preaching, a fellow yelled to Him. “Hey Preacher, is it permissible for a man to put away his wife for every cause? What do you suppose that pertained to? It had been noised abroad, that He preached a message that covered marriage and divorce, (in the Beatitudes), that had upset the whole social structure of Israel in that hour. To paraphrase even farther let us say it like this, “Hey Preacher, preach us another sermon on marriage and divorce.” Those Scribes and Pharisees would do, or say, anything to gouge him publicly, trying to get the people to boo Him. Think of how many times He was accused of being an illegitimate child, and all the times that He was called a devil, or a false prophet. He was accused of being an insurrectionist, one who would not honor established authority, a trouble maker who defied the law of Moses, and such like. Those religious leaders would stop at nothing in their effort to destroy His character, belittle Him, and get Him ridiculed by the crowds that gathered around Him. Even so, you could never say that He was sick. As I said before, in our day, the word we are dealing with is commonly used in referring to sickness, disease, and infirmity, but the Bible was not written in our day; therefore we must study it with these things in mind in order to get a true picture.

 

NEW BIBLE OR HOLY GHOST?

 

I am constantly amazed at some of the modern day terminology that is being used in these liberal versions of the Bible. Many of them are detrimental to a true revelation of the original scriptures, and people do themselves an injustice when these modern versions of the Bible are all that they study. I have always maintained that a person does not need a new translation of the Bible, for what they really need is the Holy Ghost, and a mind that will submit to him. If a man is looking for an easy way, then he needs one of those modern Bibles, but if he has the Holy Ghost, and is seeking truth, the old time tested book is all that he needs. You may say, “But, Bro. Jackson, some of those words in the King James version are not translated right either.” Let me say this to you, if you have the Holy Ghost He will balance out the difference as you study different verses on a particular subject. Brothers and sisters: I could give you a long list of these scriptures dealing with the word affliction, and for the benefit of you who would like to check up on some of these I will name a few of them. Exodus 3:7, Deuteronomy 16:3, Psalm 119:50, Isaiah 30:20, 48:10, Jeremiah 4:15, Hosea 5:15, Mark 4:17. This one in Mark is where Jesus was explaining the parable of the seed sower speaking of those who fell upon the stony ground, he said, “They have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.” This is in reference to people who number into the thousands, which, when they hear the word they receive it with great joy, but when the persecution and afflictions begin to be heaped upon them they forsake their new joy and return to the world. Not because they are sick or diseased, but because they are AFFLICTED with ridicule and persecutions.

 

BONDS AND AFFLICTIONS

 

Let us turn to Acts 20:23. This is where Paul is bearing witness to something that the Holy Ghost has prophesied to him through other yielded vessels. We hear him saying in verse 22, “I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23, Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.” Now the Holy Ghost did not say bonds and sickness was awaiting him at Jerusalem; he already had the thorn in his flesh, but now he is finding out that imprisonment and AFFLICTIONS are ahead of him, meaning trials, tests, persecution, and all that he suffered at the hands of those who hated him. He had already learned to live with the thorn in his flesh; the messenger of Satan that buffeted him to keep him humble. One might ask the questions, “Why would God entrust such a revelation to a man that was likely to give himself over to boasting, and become a little too proud of himself?” The reason is this, Paul was called of God to be the apostle to the Gentiles, and any Jew that God would have chosen would have been subject to that same temptation, for that is the way Jews reacted to Gentiles in that day. If they were walking down the street and happened to see a Gentile somewhere, it was like they had seen a skunk; they would head for the nearest way that would allow them to avoid contaminating themselves by getting too close to him. If God had not allowed Paul to have this thorn in his flesh as a reminder of the grace of God bestowed upon him, do you think he would have given his life over to ministering to the Gentiles? They (the Jews), had the law; they had the prophets; this gave them a feeling of security which caused them to be proud and boastful, and for centuries they had looked down upon all Gentiles. Now the apostle Paul is faced with the responsibility of ministering the gospel to these dogs, these people who were looked upon as scum of the earth. He is to stand in the place of exemplifying Christ Jesus, who had suffered and died for all mankind. How could he have compassion for the people that were such a reproach to every Jew, expressing love and concern for their souls, unless God did something to humble him? If you will think upon these things, you will answer your own question. Paul was raised to observe the strictest letter of the law. He knew the law was given to the Jews, and he was very proud of his accomplishments as a Pharisee, but then he met the Master on the Damascus road. After that, God gave him a revelation that the Gentiles were to be partakers of the gospel without the deeds of the law, being saved and filled with the Holy Ghost without knowing anything about the law of Moses. When Paul got that revelation down in his soul he was ready to fight for it, and stand for it against any odds. What better man could the Lord have chosen than Paul? He was raised in a Gentile environment. He knew what their lives were like, and he knew about their heathen ways of worship. We would have to say (from a natural standpoint of course), that Paul was well equipped to fulfill the apostleship to the Gentiles. Fulfilling that office brought him much persecution from those, who formerly, were his colleagues. They would get so mad at him that they remind you of some of these steers that get mad in these feed lots. I have seen people mad myself, but I have never seen anyone so mad that they would paw the ground and throw dirt in the air. That is the way this one particular bunch reacted to Paul when he went to Jerusalem, after having received those prophecies that bonds and AFFLICTIONS awaited him there. They accused him of being a heretic, of speaking against the holy place, (the temple), and accused him of polluting the temple. This was AFFLICTION, and when they cast him into prison, there was his bonds. This bunch even plotted together to kill him while he was in custody after his arrest.

 

BEING MADE A GAZINGSTOCK

 

Turn with me to Hebrews, chapter 10, verses 31-33, where we find the apostle Paul speaking these words, “It is a fearful thing to fall in to the hands of the living God. 32, But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of AFFLICTIONS: 33, Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and AFFLICTIONS; and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.” Did you notice (in those verses), when the AFFLICTIONS started? It was after they had been illuminated, meaning, revelated. He said they were AFFLICTED, and made a gazingstock. Do you know what it is to be made a gazingstock? In this particular sense, it was to be publicly ridiculed and debased until all eyes were upon them. It is the devil’s business to AFFLICT every true child of God. From the day the new birth takes place, until the Lord calls that person home, the devil puts forth every effort to make that person a gazingstock. You will hear people of the world say, (when a Christian makes a mistake), “He is supposed to be a Christian, just look at him, he did so and so. That is all designed by the devil, to make the child of God a gazingstock. Paul really broke it down in verse 33, “Partly whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by REPROACHES and AFFLICTIONS: and partly, whilst YE BECAME COMPANIONS OF THEM THAT WERE SO USED.” To me, that verse of scripture seals it up. The devil always uses people to accomplish his dirty work. He will always try to make every child of God look like a big hypocrite to every other person. His greatest delight is to humiliate Christian people, but that is where the fight comes in. Our battle is not with flesh and blood; it is with spiritual forces. That is why Paul told the Corinthians that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. We do not use submachine guns, hand grenades, high explosives, or anything like that. The only thing we have is the sword of the spirit, and too few people know how to use that. You cannot avoid persecutions and afflictions, but if you will learn to use the sword of the spirit you will not be beat down so low that a mole can crawl over you without ever breaking the crust of the earth. Paul spoke of Moses in Hebrews 11:24-25, in this way, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25, Choosing rather to suffer AFFLICTION with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” I am sure that even though we could go on and on with these scriptural examples, we have said enough to provoke your thoughts, and cause you to examine these various scriptures that people use to establish their particular line of thought. I certainly do not have any objection to people using the word affliction, in connection with sickness and disease, and I am aware that you will find it used in such a way in the scriptures, but the point I am desiring to make is that, most of the scriptures that people quote, using that word, do not apply to sickness at all. Then, for the benefit of you who may think we are placing too much importance on our clarification, let me remind you once again, that if you read the book wrong, you will miss the mark. Every scripture must be used in the light of what it pertained to when it was uttered, and written. It is a shame the way people take the Bible and pick out certain scriptures, using them out of context to establish their own little ism, but God will not tolerate his bride people doing such things. We must realize that God is sovereign, and that he is not bound by our ideas and opinions. He can do whatever he chooses to do whenever he chooses to do it, but one thing is sure, he will not contradict his own word. Furthermore, every promise in the Bible is a positive promise on the part of God, but too many people are trying to reap the benefits of his promises, without submitting their lives to him who is the author and finisher of all things. God does not have to check with anyone when he desires to do a particular thing for someone, like healing a blind man somewhere, and allowing other blind people to remain so. For instance, the man we spoke of earlier that Jesus healed when he came to Jerusalem on one occasion, was not the only blind man around at that time. Then we notice here that His disciples were just like too many people are today; they said, “Lord, or Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” Look how Jesus answered their question. John 9:2-3, “Neither hath this man, sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” Now, did Jesus mean that this man, nor his parents, had ever committed any sin: of course not; He was simply pointing out to them that the man was not born blind because of someone’s personal sin, yet there are people who will take a verse of scripture like that, and interpret it literally, to prove something that they want to teach. The main point I want to make from this verse of scripture though is this, even though this man was not blind because of sin in his family, there are times when people are afflicted physically because there is something wrong between them and God. If God cannot get you to pray and seek His will without it, it is not uncommon for Him to allow something to strike your physical body that will get you to pray. Please remember, the fact that I said that, does not mean that you can apply it to every case. This should be an individual thing; it is not for others to go around pointing an accusing finger. A thing like that is for self examination. Please do not ask your preacher if you are sick because of sin in your life; if there is any question in your mind about it, ask God.

 

EVERYTHING HAS A PURPOSE

 

Brothers and sisters: we are in the hand of a mighty God who does all things well, and He allows certain things for His glory. The man that was born blind was one of them. Jesus said it was that the works of God might be made manifest. Some of you will say, (at least in your heart), “Isn’t that unjust for God to allow some to suffer like that unless they need to be punished?” The apostle Paul answered your question on another occasion. In Romans 9:20 “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why has thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another one unto dishonour?” This just points to the fact that God is sovereign, and that He can do things for His own honor and glory, and we, who are partakers of His grace, and do not deserve anything except to be cast into hell, have no right to find fault with Him.

 

FULFILLING GOD’S PURPOSE

 

For another example of such, consider Lazarus, a personal friend of Jesus. When he took sick, his sisters sent for Jesus saying, Lord, he whom thou lovest is sick. Jesus answered them by saying, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” One might think that Jesus should have dropped everything and gone to help his good friend whom he loved, but what did He do? He was beyond Jordan preaching, and instead of running to Lazarus, He remained two more days where He was. Then He said to His disciples, “Let us go into Judaea again.” (Reading in the 11th chapter of John) verse 11, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awaken him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, ‘Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.’ Howbeit, Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking a rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead.’ I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe: nevertheless let us go unto him.” Jesus waited until Lazarus was dead, wrapped in burial attire, and buried before he arrived. By that time Lazarus was stinking, but Jesus called him forth and had him unwrapped. Why? Why did He let it go that far? It was for the glory of God. Does that mean that everyone who dies is another Lazarus? Absolutely not. We have just read of a preacher who kept his dead mother in a freezer for many days, praying over her, trying to get enough faith to resurrect her, but a thing like that is not necessarily for the glory of God. Even though they said that if she could be resurrected, it would cause many others to believe, I am reminded of the rich man who was tormented in hell, and asked that the beggar who was comforted in Abraham’s bosom be allowed to return from the dead to testify to his brothers, in the hope that they would believe and avoid coming to the place of torment where he was. It was said to him, “They have Moses and the prophets, if they will not hear them, they will not hear one who has returned from the dead.” Brothers and sisters: we must check our motives first of all, and then we must make sure that they line up with the scriptures

 

Have you ever heard anyone say the reason Job got sick was because he feared the thing that eventually came upon him? I have heard people say that, but it makes me wonder if they have ever read the first chapters of the book of Job. The man was stripped of everything he had, and he, himself, was nothing more than a big running boil, sitting there in the ash heap with some old burlap wrapped around him. You might say, he was just about gone. Even his friends criticized him and found fault with him. They all told him what was wrong, or shall I say, each one tried to diagnose his case, but instead of helping him, they only made matters worse. There came a day when Job became so discouraged that he even cursed the day he was born; he wondered why he did not die in infancy. He did not know why such tragedy had befallen him, but one thing was sure, he did not turn against God because of it. This brings us to the real reason for his trouble. By the Lord’s own words, Job was a perfect and upright man that feared God and hated evil, but the devil challenged God to test Job and find out if he would remain faithful in the midst of calamity. As you will discover by reading the book, a contest was set up immediately, for the devil accused God of having a hedge around Job for his protection, giving him a good reason to pray and live for God. Satan said to God, put forth your hand and touch all of Job’s substance, and he will curse you to your face. That was the beginning of Job’s trouble, for God gave Satan permission to destroy all that Job had. Then when that was not enough to get the man to curse God, he asked for, and received permission to torment the physical flesh of Job. I call this to your attention mainly to get you to consider all of the scriptural examples before jumping to any hasty conclusions with the judgments you would pronounce upon people who are sick, diseased, or afflicted. In some cases it really is the chastening hand of God, in others, the trouble may be self inflicted through lack of wisdom, but there could also be a few cases like the one with Job, and we do not always know which one is which; therefore we had better keep our hands off, and let God handle the situation instead of us. God knows us when we are young, and He knows us when we are old; He knows everything about us all through life, and the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28, “That all things work together for good to them that love God, (not everyone, just those that love God), to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29, For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Brothers and sisters, we could go on and on with this, but my real point is that we should mind our own business and leave all of these positive promises in the word of God, in His capable hands. He knows how to minister them to us; all we have to do is keep ourselves in a place spiritually, and mentally, so that God can get our attention when He desires to. Every born again child of God ought to know that the promises contained in the Bible are for those who believe.

 

ONLY GOD CAN HEAL

 

Many times when the doctors have done all that they can do, that is when God takes over and brings about a miraculous healing. Now some will say, Oh, Bro. Jackson, do you believe in doctors? It is not that I have my faith in medical doctors, but I have sense enough to know what they are put here for. Surely we all know that a doctor cannot heal us; they do not even claim to be able to do that. A person who thinks that they can is just about as foolish as he can be. I was talking to my wife about this little surgery I had sometime back; they sewed me up with some plain looking, old thread, and put a little Merthiolate on the incision. I suppose that is what it was; nevertheless, the thread is gone, and the incision is healed up perfect as it can be. What caused it to heal? Thread? Merthiolate? You all know good and well that is not what brought about the healing. The Creator set a law in your flesh, if it gets wounded, and is cared for properly, it is supposed to heal. On the other hand, if the old devil is permitted to, he will cause an infection to set up in a physical wound. The place will not heal as long as it is infected. This gives the doctors something to do for they have the means to fight infection, but the healing must come from God.

 

In former days as God began to lead us out into the light of truth, only He knows how I began to study the promises and provisions of His word. I wanted to believe it the Holy Ghost way, the way the Bible teaches it. Do not ever think that we have not tried everything that we felt the Bible would uphold. We have tried to believe everything that we felt a true child of God should believe, but through it all, we discovered that you cannot put God in a mold and expect him to do everything just exactly like you would have it done. He deals with everyone of us as individuals, and He knows just exactly what we each need at all times. I have observed through the years, as I have tried to stand for the truth of God’s word, that when God does a particular thing for some people, they immediately make a concrete mold, and that is the only way they want God to do anything for anyone else. Let me tell you: when we begin to take an attitude like that, God will not have any part of it. You can expect him to move on somewhere else, and deal in a different way with someone who will not try to tell Him how to bless them.

 

GOD MOVES IN HIS TIME

 

I am reasonably sure that we all agree on the fact that when we are dealing with an earthly doctor he may be as carnal as anyone could possibly be, but are you able to see that some preachers in our day are just as carnal as any doctor of the medical profession. As a matter of fact, a lot of them are doing a much better job of what they are called to do, than some of these modern day preachers are doing on the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ which they are supposed to be standing for. If you wonder why I said that, it was to make a point of something that I am going to mention. The word of a doctor can be wrong, but the word of the Lord will never be wrong. We all agree on that, do we not? Now we come to another point that causes some folks a lot of trouble, it is that of a prophecy which someone feels inspired to give. While some have no confidence whatsoever in a prophecy given out by a brother or sister, others will go to the opposite direction and try to make every prophecy fit into their own personal lives. I just want to say this to you, “You must leave God free to move in your lives as he sees fit; if you try to put him into a mold, you are just hindering him as he tries to work on your behalf.” Brothers and sisters, I am not going to tell the story again now, for most of you already know how we had to wait eleven years for God to fulfill a prophecy that was given to us concerning our son David. God allowed circumstances to make it look impossible for us to have any more children, (according to the doctors), yet we had this prophecy hanging there which said that we would have a son and call his name Davis. You all know the story; eleven years after the prophecy, with one daughter born to us while we were expecting a son, God saw fit to fulfill the prophecy and grant us the son. By the time you read this in the paper, he will be twelve years old. I am telling this mainly to show you that you cannot put a time limit on God. I do not mean to be preaching my experience to you, but I have learned through experience, that God fulfills His word, and His purpose, in His own time, and for His own glory.

 

SOME WERE HEALED

 

Take the case of Lazarus, who Jesus raised from the dead; we have preachers, as well as other people, that would have told Martha and Mary, If you will just believe hard enough, Lazarus will not die, but it just so happened that it was not that bunch of people that God was going to vindicate; He had a preacher over there across the Jordan that He was going to bring there, to raise him from the dead. Do you catch my point? It was God’s purpose for Lazarus to die, and then be raised from the dead four days later; therefore, all the praying and believing that anyone tried to do would not have changed that situation. However, I beg of you, please do not try to apply these words to every person who gets sick; pray for them and commit them into the hands of God, who will work all things in harmony with his word. If you, as an individual, do not know how to interpret the situation, it is better just to lay your hand on the sick person and say, “May God, in his mercy, touch you, and make you well.” On the other hand, if God has inspired you to say, “You shall not die, but you shall live and be made well,” and you know that it is God beyond any shadow of doubt, then say it; God will vindicate whatever He anoints you to speak. In that early church those men did not speak until they knew what they were to say. Peter knew exactly what to speak to Ananias and Sapphira when they came in that day, and we have no record that those words were ever spoken again. You could not conjure up another Ananias and Sapphira if you wanted to, ever so bad. God is not a vending machine that you can drop a thirty second prayer into, and make your demands. We must consider the ministry of Jesus, for a closer look at how God deals with people. He had the power to heal every sick person in the land in His day; for He was the God man, but did He do it? Look how many times He healed just one person when there were sick and infirm people all around Him. Then consider the other times when He healed the multitudes. Was He a respecter of persons? No, He was just obeying the will of the Father. You may ask, why? But let me remind you that God was working out a perfect plan. Some of those very same people that were passed up by Jesus, were, no doubt, healed by the ministry of his disciples after the day of Pentecost. Some of those who turned back from following Jesus when he said, “Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye have no life in you,” probably reconsidered, and became Christians after Jesus had departed and left the ministry to His disciples. Many of them had probably wondered why Jesus had passed them up when they were just as sick as some others that He healed. That is the way people react even today. Many times, it is probably that very attitude that keeps them from touching God for their need. They come up for prayer, time after time, and still do not get healed. What is the trouble? Why do they not get healed? Is God still a healer? HE ABSOLUTELY IS, but He is not a vending machine. Remember that when you feel tempted to find fault with God. He will do what His word says He will do, but He is not obligated to cater to our whims; there are some conditions that must be met if we are to enjoy the full benefit of God’s provision. When you are reading the book, searching for the promises that God has made to believers, do not forget to look for the condition that the promise applies to. I thank God that He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, but I know that we have a generation of people who treat God’s word just like some of these teenagers do a certain record album they like. They will play it, and request it, until it becomes No. 1, all the way to the top, then back down until it fades out of the picture. Have we not seen the same thing in religion in our day? Has God changed? No, he is not just a record that you put on and play until you get tired of him, and then get something else. He is God, and He requires the Number 1 spot in your life. If He does not get that place, He will not take any other place. If you ask me, “Bro. Jackson: are you saying that God has quit doing anything?” I will have to say, “No, but we are going to have to have more respect for what He does, and recognize Him in the little things of life, as well as the big things.” If we fail to do that, we will find ourselves, discouraged and confused to the point where we will not know where to go or what to do next. That is what comes from failing to give God His proper place in our lives, but praise God, I am not discouraged, I find every day to be full of expectation, as we draw closer to the end.

 

OBEDIENCE OR TRIBULATION

 

Let me say something personal to you who read this, for I am sure this paper will be read by many of you that I have never had the opportunity to meet and talk with. We are living in a sick old world, and it is going to get worse; therefore you had better buckle down and run this race, praying sincerely that you are not left behind when the rapture of the bride church takes place. The tribulation that follows is going to be worse than the wildest nightmare you have ever experienced when all hell is turned loose here on earth. People talk about epidemics of different kinds, but the worse that any of us has ever experienced will be mild compared to what takes place in that hour. The devil will not have any mercy for anyone when he is in full control for that allotted period of time. There will be no place found for a decent, law abiding citizen. Sickness and disease will run rampant and morally there will be nothing but filthiness and corruption, a rotten mess. Thanks be unto our blessed Lord who has made a way for us to escape all these things that are to come upon the earth; if we will live right, and walk with hin while we have opportunity to do so, we will be enjoying the marriage supper during that dreadful period of time. I have always looked at life like this, “When the lord is through with me in this life, I am going to have to leave here one way or another.” How we go is not the important part; for the important part is the sad part; too few people are actually ready to go. There is still too much of this old world hanging onto us. When we are truly ready to leave this world, in our hearts we can say, “Lord, if you take me tonight, I am ready to go.” That is when we are finally ready to start living, for it means that we no longer love life more than we love the Lord. On the other hand, if you love life, and the things of the world, more than you love the Lord Jesus Christ, Brother, he is liable to let you be tormented by a lot of things that will be just like a boomerang; no sooner than you are able to get free from one bad situation, here comes another one. After all, if you are a child of God, you are not your own, you are bought with a price. The life you live is not your own, it is His. If He cannot get you to live for Him; He will not let you go your merry way without tripping over a stone somewhere. God is faithful; He chastens His disobedient children by letting the adversary take a whack at them to keep them in line. Think of it like this, saints, even in these perilous times, life can be beautiful if we will just get our priorities lined up right. I now that some of you who read this message are likely to say, “Bro. Jackson; you sound like you are in a hurry to get out of this world.” If anything I have said has left you with those thoughts, let me say this to you, “There are two ways to look at it. From the standpoint of working toward a goal for the future, there is not much left to look forward to, for everything you set before you as a goal in life, seems to get knocked all to pieces, leaving everything in a turmoil with anguish and heartache. That is probably what the apostle Paul was seeing in his day that caused him to say what he did to the Philippians in chapter one. His desire was for Christ to be magnified in his body, whether it be by life, or by death. Then in verse 21 and following, we read this, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” He really had a desire to be with the Lord more than in the world, but he was surrendered to the will of the Lord; therefore he went ahead to say, 22, “But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I want not, 23, For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: 24, Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. 25, And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith.” He heard the cry of a people wanting help. That was all it took to make the decision for him. It was not that he had the choice of ending his life: that choice is in the hands of God. It was just one of those times when he was feeling a little homesick to be with the Lord. Most of us have times like that, but we, like Paul, leave that decision in the hands of God.

 

NEW COURAGE

 

I want to say a few words now, that I feel will furnish you with new courage for the days ahead. I have always felt, and believed in my heart, that God has an end time move of his spirit, ahead for His children, but conditions will have to be right before we see it. When He gets the conditions in the world just right, it will come, but it will not be a commercialized rat race like we have going on right now. It will be God working with His bride people the way He has purposed to do. In our day we are seeing things done under the cloak of religion, that is actually worse than the mafia tactics. The power of God is being sold and traded for everything under the sun. It seems more for a commercialized show than for the benefit of a needy people. Please do not get me wrong; I am not against advertising, and letting a certain element of the world population know what God can do, but did you know that when God walked on earth in human flesh, His most effective advertisement was to tell those who were healed not to tell it. Before too long, everyone for miles around knew what had happened. If you really want something to get around, just treat it as a secret, and before long the whole world will know about it. Brothers and sisters, you know what I mean, I would never try to hide anything that God does, but I certainly do not believe in putting on a public show with the precious things of the Lord. God has a certain way to do things that He wants done, but the devil is always forerunning Him, like in the case where Paul and his company were ministering the gospel to the people of Macedonia. Everywhere they went, there was a certain young woman that followed them, and announced that they were the servants of the most high God which had come to show them the way of salvation. As we said before, this was the truth, and to some it probably seemed like a right thing for her to do. Even Paul did not do anything about it at first, but as she continued to do it for many days, he began to realize that this did not have the right spirit of advertisement about it. It was then, that he turned to her, and said, (to the evil spirit that possessed her), I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. The spirit obeyed, and the girl was set free, but it landed Paul and Silas in jail. Now, there are two points that I want to make from this. First of all, even though what she was saying was the truth, there was a wrong motive behind it, for the scripture plainly tells us that she was demon possessed. That ought to help you examine some of the things that you are faced with right now. I say this to whoever it applies to. Then, the second point is this, even though Paul did not like what was going on, he had to wait a little while until he knew what God’s will was, before he acted to stop it. That lets me know that we ought not be too hasty about some things. We need to take time to examine them in the light of our present day understanding of the word of God.

PRAYER – SUPPLICATION – THANKSGIVING – ASK

 

In closing I want to say this, “I have said some things in this message that may have sounded a little strange to some of you, but that does not mean that I have said anything in a negative way. There are just some things in the scriptures that need to be set straight. It does not detract from what God is doing, nor take anything from what he will do. It just give us a better opportunity to see the sovereignty of God in operation. He doesn’t have to have everything all painted up, and smoothed over, in order for Him to fulfill His word. The fact that Paul had trouble with his vision at times did not keep God from healing every person that believed, when Paul preached and prayed for them. Even though I have taught this scripture as I believe God has revealed it to me, that does not mean that I believe we all should have some physical infirmity to keep us humble. We will leave that in the hands of God. I still believe Him to be a healer, and I believe He will honour faith that is based upon his word wherever he finds it, but I do not agree that we should try to cover up something that the scriptures make so clear, in the fear that it will hinder someone’s faith. Our faith ought to be grounded upon something more solid than that. As for what we said concerning the word AFFLICTION, Just use the word where it fits, but do not try to make it fit the scriptures according to your modern day understanding of its definition. Learn to weigh scriptures against scripture until you get a proper balance. Do not go to seed on one particular verse that you find comfort in at times. The Bible is full of comforting truths, and there is something in there for every need that a child of God may have. Remember Paul’s admonition to the Philippians, chapter 4, verse 6, “Be careful for nothing; (in other words, do not allow yourselves to worry, nor be fearful), but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” You will find three key words in that verse, P-R-A-Y-E-R, S-U-P-P-L-I-C-A-T-I-O-N, and T-H-A-N-K-S-G-I-V-I-N-G, and with that, remember the words of Jesus, “ASK, and ye shall receive.” He did not teach us to beg. He taught us to believe His word first of all, and then, to ask is sufficient. Regardless of what some may say, God is still the author and finisher of our faith, and He is still the God of His book. He is not dead; He is very much alive. I want to restate this also, I am not the least bit discourage, nor am I the least bit ashamed of what I have taught and stood for through the years. I am patiently waiting for God to vindicate His truth, and at the same time reveal every false witness, and deal with them as He sees fit. That is out of my hands. I am only called to stand for truth as long as God gives me the privilege to do so. Pray for us, and may He keep each of you in His love and care. Amen.

Divine Love Is Truth Lived

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ST. JOHN 14:15


THERE IS MUCH BEING SAID IN OUR DAY ABOUT LOVE. IT HAS BECOME THE MAIN THEME OF A GREAT NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO DO NOT SEEM TO BE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE BASIC TRUTH WHEN IT HITS THEM IN THE FACE. THIS WORD LOVE, HAS FURNISHED SATAN WITH A TOOL OF DECEPTION, WHEREBY, HE HAS BEEN ABLE TO LEAD A GREAT MULTITUDE OF PEOPLE INTO A PLACE OF STRONG DELUSION. YOU WILL FIND THOSE PEOPLE JUDGING OTHER PEOPLE’S SPIRITUAL STANDING BY HOW MUCH LOVE THEY ARE ABLE TO DISPLAY, YET THEIR VERY CONCEPT OF LOVE IS BASED SOLELY UPON HUMAN EMOTIONS, RATHER THAN THE NATURE OF THE SPIRIT WITHIN THEM. FOR THIS REASON, I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE A TEXT FROM ST. JOHN 14:15, WHERE JESUS SAID, “IF YE LOVE ME, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS,” AND TRY, WITH THE HELP OF GOD, TO CLEAR UP SOME OF THE MISCONCEPTIONS THAT SOME HAVE OF THE WORD LOVE.


To begin our message let me say this, DIVINE LOVE IS TRUTH LIVED. Does that sound a little strange to you? Here is what I mean by such a statement, we cannot divinely love unless we have truth in us. We may have a very meek nature and pleasing personality, but that is not divine love. There are a lot of people that each of us know who have a wonderful nature, but they do not have the divine love of god in their lives. It is scripturally impossible to have divine love radiating from your life before you experience the new birth, and furthermore, there are vast numbers of people calling themselves “born again Christians,” who have experienced nothing more than a handshake from a preacher, and had their name placed on a church membership book. That kind of an experience will not produce the kind of love that we are going to speak of in this message.


THE APOSTLE OF LOVE


It seem that the apostle John must have caught every word that Jesus spoke on the subject of love. He was the author of the gospel of St. John, and was the one who leaned on the bosom of Jesus at the conclusion of the last supper, before Jesus was betrayed by Judas. John also authored the three epistles by that name, and has been called the apostle of love, or John the beloved, by many. He was very close to Jesus in those years of Jesus’s ministering to the people. He is the one who was exiled to the Isle of Patmos because of his Christian testimony, and in A.D. 96, received from the Lord, that which we read in the book of Revelation. In his writings he had much to say on the subject of love, therefore, we want to begin our study with the words spoken by Jesus, and find out what genuine love is cultivated by and built around.


SEEING THE SPIRITUAL SIDE


In the verse we are using for a text we find Jesus speaking to his disciples, “IF YE LOVE ME, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS.” He did not mean, by that, that if they loved him they would keep the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament. Words such as this were terminology words. At other times, instead of saying keep my commandments, he said, keep my sayings, or keep my words. It all means the same thing regardless of the terminology. He is telling the, if they really love him, they will do according to his teachings. I believe we can say, in the light of the truth that was preached in the first age, love without truth is not love at all. It is just carnal, or maybe I should say natural attraction. Its foundation is human emotions. In the beginning many people followed Jesus only because they were drawn to the human side of him rather than the spiritual side. If they had been drawn to him in a spiritual way, they would never have become offended because of what he said. If they had been following him because of a spiritual revelation as to who he was, they would not have let anything separate them from that revelation. You will remember, there was quite a difference between the multitude of his disciples that became offended to the point where they turned back and walked with him no more, and the twelve who stayed with him. You will find that account in John 6:66-69, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then Jesus said unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou has the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter had a completely different attitude about it. He was full of human weakness, and constantly displaying it, especially before the day of Pentecost when they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, but, one thing was sure, he had a revelation in his bosom, and he did not intend to let anything separate him from that. He did not bother to take a vote among the other eleven. He immediately said, “LORD, TO WHOM SHALL WE GO? THOU HAST THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE.” He, evidently, already had a revelation of something Jesus said to them in answer to a question asked by Thomas at a later time. In John 14:5-6, we find Thomas saying to Jesus, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH… AND THE LIFE: no man cometh unto the Father, but by ME…” Even though these words were spoken much later than the occasion here in chapter 6, Peter had heard what Jesus said in verse 63, of chapter 6, where he said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; THE WORDS… THAT I SPEAK UNTO YOU, THEY ARE SPIRIT… AND THEY ARE LIFE…” In other words, just to follow Jesus from a fleshly, human standpoint would profit a person nothing in a spiritual sense, for the gift of eternal life was wrapped up in what he had to say. He went on to say, (while speaking to the multitude before they departed), “but there are some of you who do not believe,” knowing from the beginning who they were that believed not. He then said to them, “No man can come unto me, (THE WORD), except it were given unto him of my Father.” Now, in case you may be wondering, what has all that got to do with love? Let me say this, LOVE without TRUTH is not LOVE at all, and TRUTH without LOVE is not TRUTH at all. I say it like that to get your attention. Now I will explain what I mean.


TRUTH AS A CLUB


Truth can be used as a club to promote human objectives. This has been done in many religious circles. They have used truth as a club to beat people with, and all for a selfish motive, just to build themselves an empire. People like that will use enough truth to get what they want, but the thing they build is never for the glory of God, it always turns out in a way that man gets the glory. Love itself, is the spirit of truth manifested. Therefore, it was the divine plan of God, that as truth was implanted in the hearts of people, the life of that truth could not help but be love, for God is love, and he is truth. Jesus said, “And ye shall know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall make you free.” You cannot separate truth and love. They go together, and those who would try to separate them will surely miss the mark. There cannot be a true objective in such.


WHAT THE CHURCH IS BUILT UPON


I hope you realize that the scriptures we are reading contain the words which were spoken in the beginning, that caused the church to be a church. In other words, it was the words spoken by Jesus that laid the foundation for the church. The church itself is made up of people who have this spirit of truth in them; it is not the large, eloquently constructed buildings with their stained glass windows. For this reason we need to get a clear picture in our minds of how and what Christianity lives on. Just what is the church, in the eyes of truth, obligated to reflect? That brings us right back to the 15th verse of chapter 14, “IF YE LOVE ME, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS.” There is no need for a person to say that he, or she, as the case may be, loves the Lord with all his heart if he is the kind of person who, when he has an opportunity to hear truth he begins to kick and squirm, rebel and draw back. There is something wrong with a person who locks his feet and refuses to take a step forward when truth is presented to him. I have always said this, if something is presented to you that you do not understand, and there is no opportunity for you to analyze it in the light of scripture, it is better for you just to file it away and say, “Now, Lord, I have never heard that before, and I just do not understand it. Right now, I cannot see it like that.” He will not hold that against you, but file it away, do not throw it away. Then, as you walk down life’s pathway, if you are open and honest before God, so that you can say “Lord, I want to walk in all the light of truth that you have for me,” I promise you that if you do your best to walk in the light of God’s love and truth, you will reach a place in your spiritual life where those things that you did not understand before will come ringing down through the avenues of your soul, and you will say, “Why didn’t I see that a long time ago?” When truth becomes revelation to you, it seems as though you have always known it, but for those who kick and struggle, and froth at the mouth, and become so frustrated that they cannot sleep at night, it is quite a different story. I have seen Christians react like that, but it is to their own hurt, for if they are children of God, He, (GOD), will work circumstances to get them into the place where they can see more truth. It is a bad thing for Christians not to know how to look at truth, but I have observed that some are so busy fighting against false teaching, that they cannot recognize the real thing when they hear it. Brothers and sisters: we need to keep our priorities in order. Jesus went on to say, in verse 16, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; 17, Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for HE DWELLETH WITH YOU, and SHALL BE IN YOU.” Let us be thankful for the Holy Ghost that abides IN US. I am glad for the fact that he is not forty or fifty miles away from us, but instead, he is ever present, even in us, and for what purpose? For the answer to that let us read a verse or two from the 16thchapter, beginning with verse 12, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13, Howbeit when he, the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, IS COME, (Where will he be? IN THE BELIEVERS 14:17), HE WILL GUIDE YOU INTO ALL TRUTH: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and HE WILL SHEW YOU THINGS TO COME. 14, He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and SHALL SHEW IT UNTO YOU. 15, All things that the Father hath are mine; therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” Brothers and sisters: he is not, just a Comforter to soothe our hurt feelings and patch up our wounds, (spiritually speaking), but he is with us, even in us, every mile of the way through this earthly journey to reveal truth to us, that we may take on the mind of Christ, as the apostle Paul admonished the Colossians to do. HE WILL SHOW US THINGS TO COME.


I WILL COME TO YOU


Let us now return to chapter 14, verse 18, “I will not leave you comfortless; I WILL COME TO YOU.” These verses could help a person see that God is one, and not three, if that person had eyes to see. Jesus was not saying I will come to you in flesh, no; he was to come back to them in spirit form, and that is exactly what he did. We read about it in Acts 2, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (There is your key, they were doing what he had told them to do, Luke 24:49, “And, behold, I sent the promise of my Father upon you: BUT TARRY YE IN THE CITY OF JERUSALEM, until ye be endued with power from on high.” They loved him and believed him, and by doing what he had instructed them to do, they were in the right place, at the right time, to receive the promised benefit). 2, “And suddenly there cam a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3, And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4, And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” That was Jesus fulfilling the promise that he made to them, “I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU COMFORTLESS, I… WILL COME TO YOU.” The Holy Ghost that filled them on the day of Pentecost, was the spirit of truth, which is the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is none other than the spirit of the Great God who spoke, in the beginning, and said, “Let there be light,” Gen. 1:3, and there was light. He is TRUTH, he said, “I will come to you,” and he came. Now, verse 19, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me; because I live ye shall live also, 20, At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, (SPIRITUALLY), and ye in me, (SPIRITUALLY), and I in you,” (Spiritually). We cannot have three persons inside us, but praise God, we can have the ONE SPIRIT inside us, which is the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost.


A WAY OF LIFE


Verse 21, “He that HATH MY COMMANDMENTS,” now, notice this, you will recall that in the 15th verse he said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” To keep them is to pay attention to them, to observe them, put them into practice and do everything you can to allow them to become a part of your life. Christianity is not just a belief. It is a way of life. On the other hand, it is not just a way of life that will allow a person to believe anything that he might be tempted to believe, while he continues his same old routine. No, it IS… a belief, but it is a belief that will affect your life, your way of living. It is a FAITH BELIEF that opens up a whole new way of life for those that enter in. Many who profess to be Christians never do allow the principles of Christ to affect their way of life, and therefore, their ways and beliefs are from that spirit of antichrist. The devil will try first to keep a person in the beer parlors, and away from church. Then if all his efforts in that direction fail, he will them try to push that person into a trap spiritually, on other words, he will get behind them and push them 90 miles an hour, trying to get them wrecked up in the word of God. That is where so many religious cults, and organizations get their start. It is the devil’s business to try and sidetrack us if he can, but truth will prevail for those that love it.


COMMANDMENTS – WORDS – SAYINGS


Let us go back to the 21st verse, “He that HATH… my commandments, (HATH… means that he is already living by them), and KEEPETH them, he it is that loveth me.” In verse 15, he said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” and now he has turned it right around to where he says the man that already hath his commandments, and is living by the, that is the man that loves him. Then, the rest of the verse, “And he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 27, Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23, Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my WORDS…” Not just a verse or two, but all of his sayings, and teaching. 24, “He that loveth me not, keepeth not my SAYINGS…” You will notice that the terminology has changed from COMMANDMENTS…, to WORDS…, and now to SAYINGS…, which all add up to the same thing. Those that love him, will endeavor to do what he has instructed us to do. I believe we can say then, in talking about divine love, that the love which was projected from God through Jesus Christ, which was the fountain of God’s love opened up at Calvary, is a love that will definitely change lives. Calvary made a way for that love to project through every individual that would purpose in their heart to walk with God and stand for his truth. Jesus did not come into the world just to speak every kind of an idea that some might like to hear, hoping that through it all love might be cultivated. It was quite the opposite from that. He came with a mission, and that mission was to do the will of the Father, to accomplish the Father’s purpose. In the sixth chapter of John we find Jesus speaking of what that purpose was, verse 38, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me, 39, And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40, And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which SEETH THE SON, and BELIEVETH ON HIM, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” We can see from those verses that Jesus had a definite mission in the days while he walked on earth. Then, in the 17th chapter we find Jesus praying to the Father and we hear him say, 14, “I HAVE GIVEN THEM THY WORD…, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world.” If a person really receives the WORD OF GOD, the world will hate them, and there will be no way for such a person to line up with the world. That is why the apostle Paul was inspired to write as he did to the Corinthians. In 2 Corinthians (6:14, we find these words, “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? 15, And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16, 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 the, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17, Wherefore, COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, and BE YE SEPARATE, saith the Lord, and TOUCH NOT THE UNCLEAN THING; and I will receive you, 18, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”


FOLLOWING TRUTH


I know that some of you will say, “But, Bro. Jackson, how will we ever win the people to the Lord if we don’t fellowship with them?” Therefore I want to say this, “The devil recaptures more people in those mixed situations, than the Lord ever gets hold of as a result of any witness you might have among them.” The Bible is against this idea of taking your light and your truth, and just mixing it with everything. Jesus even said, “Cast not your pearls before swine.” Yet we realize that he also said, “Ye are the salt of the earth,” and again, “Ye are the light of the world.” Now, how do we reconcile this: We certainly cannot win anyone to the Lord by joining them in their unrighteous ways, for they will say, “If what you have is so great, what are you doing here?” All sinners know how Christians are supposed to live and conduct themselves. Therefore, what is the conclusion of the matter? It is this, we must realize that if truth is to shine and reflect, it will have to do so by being exemplified in the believer’s life in every aspect of his whole being. If every believer would allow truth and love to reflect through their every day lives the way God means for it to, they would, (by their example) make others thirsty for what they have as they travel along life’s pathway. One thing is sure though, the divine love of God has certain guidelines. It will cause you to love all mankind, but you will not love their unrighteous ways. You will pray for them, but you will not seek your fellowship among them. That goes also, for those who profess to be Christians, but will not allow truth to guide their lives, for the Bible also says, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3;) As Jesus prayed to the Father we hear him say, 17:17, “SANCTIFY THEM THROUGH THY TRUTH: THY WORD IS TRUTH.” He went on to say, “Father, I am not praying just for these that are here with me, but for them also that shall believe through their testimony, or their word. It is my desire that they be one as we are one.” Those who walked with Jesus, and stayed with him long enough to be found in the upper room, all came out of that upper room teaching the same thing. They did not have a dozen different versions of what walking with God required of a person. That is why I say, “If a person in this age is willing to follow truth and be led by the Holy Ghost, they will be led to the light that has been revealed to this age.” Every church age has had its messenger, and the people of that age were required to walk in the light of the messenger of their age. Therefore, when you hear people say, “I am not going to follow any man,” you can be sure, that person is missing the mark. God never asked us to follow any man’s flesh, but there is the other side of the picture, that is what God would have us to see. That is what we are to follow. God sent his messenger to this age for the purpose of calling the children of God from all the various denominational circles they were locked up in, and his motive and objective is that they might follow truth and have the love of God perfected in their hearts. The Bible makes it absolutely clear that divine love cannot exist in its purity and perfection, except where people walk in obedience to truth. You will hear some say, “Oh, it was a lot easier for the early church to live as they did, for they had such power with God.” Let me tell you, the key to that is found right in the 2nd chapter of Acts. They were all in one accord, and they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine. They all believed the same thing, and they had it straight. The fact that they had a common ground of faith, motivated them to go from house to house breaking bread. You have heard the old proverb, “Birds of a feather, flock together,” that is the way with those who are born again. They enjoy fellowshipping together. The true nature of God can only be expressed in an atmosphere such as that. For this reason, anytime you have a mixed group of people together, with some believing one way, and others, another; you will always have an undercurrent that will prevent divine love from reaching its peak. God’s very objective is lost in such an atmosphere, for God is truth. That is why Jesus said, “I am the WAY…, the TRUTH…, and the LIFE,” he only spoke the Father’s words. He said, “the words that I speak unto you are not my words, they are the Father’s,” meaning, the Eternal Spirit. His teaching was not designed just to please a mass of society so that they could coexist. That is what we have in our generation, but it did not come from the spirit of God. It had its beginning with the spirit of antichrist. The modern church world today has a gospel that will appease everyone who comes in, no matter what his religious background may be, or what he believes. It is all done for the sake of love and unity when you hear them tell it. They will say, “It doesn’t make too much difference whether we believe everything alike or not, just as long as we believe in Jesus, and have love for each other.” Show me that in the Bible. Nevertheless, that is the main theme of twentieth century world religion. Wherever you find a charismatic meeting, you are likely to find people there from a dozen different denominations; and, doctrinal wise, they are not too concerned about what is taught; just as long as they can hear something exciting about someone’s personal experience. Such as this, many times, has served as a bridge for people who were imprisoned in some stiff collared denomination to cross over to a place where the spirit of God could deal with them, but a person who never goes any farther than these charismatic gatherings (with God), is not seeking truth; they are only seeking an experience. Some of these people have been in the same place for 10-20 years without growing one little bit, (spiritually speaking). They may seem more spiritual, but where is the apostles doctrine, and the revelatory truths that it takes to make God’s building strong? You will not find it there, for they have got he cart before the horse. They keep the Holy Ghost testifying of Himself; and Jesus plainly said that he would not do that, (John 16:13). The Holy Ghost will lead a person to truth every time, if that person is hungry for truth, and willing to follow.


OUR TEACHER


Let us continue reading in chapter 14:24; “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings; and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” Here we have a man speaking; (a man of flesh), but he is making it very clear that the words which they hear him speaking are not words with a fleshly origin, in other words, not just human thoughts. These were divinely inspired words, sayings, teachings, instructions, exhortations that were beneficial for proper conduct, proper living, and relationship to God. 25, “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26, But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” That is like saying, “I have not told you everything that you will need to know in this life, and much of what I HAVE TOLD YOU has already slipped your mind, but the Holy Ghost which will come to you after I am gone, will teach you all that the Father would have you know, and will cause you to remember the things which I have spoken unto you.” Brothers and sisters; the Holy Ghost is ever present to enable us to walk in the truth of God’s word. He will remind us of the right way when we are tempted to do something wrong. He is the SPIRIT OF TRUTH; He is the SPIRIT OF DIVINE LOVE. That is why we say, DIVINE LOVE IS TRUTH LIVED. When we allow the Holy Ghost to be our motivation, he will always manifest love and truth. That is why Jesus said, “By their fruits ye shall know them,” (Matt. 7:15-23). A Holy Ghost filled child of God can tell whether a person’s deeds are led by the Holy Ghost or by the spirit of antichrist just by observing that person’s life. That does not mean that you have the privilege of determining that person’s eternal destiny; that is in the hands of God alone. Our responsibility is to judge (by the person’s deeds) whether we should fellowship with that person, and be a partaker of those deeds.


ABIDING IN LOVE


Now, to keep on the subject of God’s love, and his commandments, let us go to chapter 15, verse 10, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in his love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” Notice here; YE becomes very personal, yet it is also collective for he is talking to his disciples. If YE keep my commandments, YE shall abide in MY LOVE. What is his love? It is the same love that caused him to be obedient to the will of the Father; never seeking to please himself, saying only what would express the mind of God. In such a love relationship, one does not seek to please himself, but rather the other. As he passes that on to his disciples, it is to make them an inseparable arm of God; reaching out to lost mankind with a message of salvation. Why? Because it is an inseparable love; and it is the will of God for all men to hear the gospel. Therefore, if they keep his commandments, they WILL abide in his love, for they will be living, walking, teaching and practicing what he has taught them; thereby ruling out all possibility of a separation. If they would live like that, they could not help but be one. That is why the apostle Paul admonished Eudias and Synteche to be of the same mind in the Lord; in his letter to the Phillippians. What beauty – what harmony – what bliss, when you find a group of people who are consistent in their thinking, and speak the same things, (in love), without carnal divisions. That is where God dwells. That is what God desires, among his people. Think of this; God is one, and he created the world and all things that are in it; yet when you go halfway around the world, you find that the people on the other side have another God. (I only say it like this to illustrate, or make a point. I know that we have people right in our own part of the world who serve other Gods.) We know that there is only one God, but this all goes to show what mankind in his journey through time has done; he has accumulated various deities, and built religious organizations around them until the world population is broken up into ever so many groups, all believing in a different God. This breaks the family, human relationship with the heavenly Father. God cannot be worshiped by a vast majority of the human race for the simple reason, they do not know who he is; yet we know that, for six thousand years God has been seeking to reconcile lost mankind back to himself. When we look to the Middle East we see the Jews on one hand, and the Moslems on the other; all claiming to be children (descendants) of Abraham, yet the Jews hold God to be one certain deity, and the Moslems another. Then, when we come into the Gentile realm many of them have him as something else. When we sum it all up, there cannot be but one God. The same God that created the Russians, created us. The God that created the Orientals, created the Indians also, as well as the black man, and he is ONE, not TWO, not THREE, but ONE. Many people who have their affections pointed to the one great God of all creation, still try to break him up into three persons. It is no wonder that it is so hard to find genuine love expressed in our day. It just cannot project through such a mixed up mass of confusion. The early church had it two thousand years ago. Wherever they went, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, that love projected; and Gentiles were turned from paganism to the true God through the name of Jesus Christ. That name also separated thousands from Judaism and turned them to a life of love and truth that they had never known.


THE BIBLE – A JEWISH BOOK


The Bible has always been a Jewish book. The truth of it was given to the Jews, and various ones of them wrote as they were inspired by God to do so; thereby giving us the Bible as we have it today. We Gentiles have become the guardians or caretakers of it, but the God of that Bible is soon to return to those Jews with the message of salvation that is contained therein. God raised up this race of people from the seed of Abraham, of whom we have spoke much in other messages. It was through this race of people that God began to reveal his great plan of salvation. However, in the old testament it is seen only through types and shadows, signs and symbols, but since Calvary it has been proclaimed to the whole world of lost mankind, and by revelation of the scriptures we are able to see and understand the whole plan of God for mankind from the creation all the way to the eternal age. In this great plan for the ages, I believe it is easy for us to see that the hub of all God’s dealing with man has been love. It is like the old hymn which has the words, “LOVE IS THE THEME, LOVE IS SUPREME,” that is God. God is love, and He is supreme. All his dealings with man are in truth, and his truth is given in love. Can you now see why I said, and so say again that, DIVINE LOVE IS TRUTH LIVED? It is because man can only project divine love when the very nature of God is allowed to project through him. Man in his natural make up does not have it, and cannot possibly produce it apart from complete union with God. Do you see how it works? If you are in complete union with God, and I am in complete union with God, there can be nothing else but love and unity between us. Now, how do we get in complete unity with God? Only through truth. How do we get truth? By hungering and thirsting after God and his righteousness. Read Matthew 5:6, “BLESSED ARE THEY WHICH DO HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS: FOR THEY SHALL BE FILLED” WITH WHAT? GOD, who is SPIRIT, who is TRUTH, who is LOVE, and who is righteous. That is why the early Christians of that first age conducted themselves as they did. They were filled, F-I-L-L-E-D with the Holy Ghost. God was once again being looked upon, worshiped, adored and fellowshipped as the great Eternal being that he was to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. God’s love was being perfected in the lives of humanity. No wonder the apostle Paul could write as he did to the Ephesian church which was made up of Jews, and Gentiles. Addressing his words first to the Gentile element of that congregation, he reminded them of where they had been, (spiritually), and where they had attained to in Christ Jesus. Let us read a few verses from chapter 2, beginning with verse 11, “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision 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 sometime were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For HE IS OUR PEACE, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby; and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, (Gentiles), and to them that were nigh, (Jews). For through him we both have access by ONE SPIRIT unto the FATHER. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; AND are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; In whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Some of the same words could be spoken to us. There was a time when we were without hope, (as individuals), and far from God, but now we are made nigh by the blood of Christ, and he is our peace. Furthermore, we do not look upon our brothers and sisters in Christ as foreigners if they are not natural citizens of our particular country; neither do we look at the color of their skin; for as Paul said, “Through him (Christ), we all have access by one spirit unto the Father.” We are one in him; if it be that we are in him. Look over in chapter 4, at some of the words spoken to the church at Ephesus. Remember, this church at Ephesus is set forth as the model church in this age of Grace. As we have said before, in other messages, it was from the revival fires that burned at Ephesus, that the other churches in Asia Minor got their start. Verse 1, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, FORBEARING ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE; Endeavoring to keep the UNITY of the SPIRIT in the bond of PEACE. There is ONE BODY, (made up of people from every race and culture), and ONE SPIRIT, (The Holy Ghost), even as ye are called in ONE HOPE of your calling; ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM, ONE GOD AND FATHER of all, and IN YOU ALL.” It would be impossible to have that kind of relationship, and fellowship, where you have a dozen different versions being taught on the same subject; all a result of carnal minded men trying to make a name for themselves. There are just too many self styled preachers that have not been called of God. When God calls a man into the ministry, that call is to stand for truth at any cost to the flesh. Jesus was our example for that: He stood for truth, speaking only what the Father showed him to speak, and it took him right to the cross. That is why he could say, “It is not I that doeth these things. It is the Father that dwelleth in me.” (Meaning the Eternal Spirit). Flesh should never receive any credit, or glory for that which God does. That is how many people have gotten themselves into trouble with God, and man. God began to use them a little, in some (out of the ordinary) way, and immediately, they began to take the credit, and receive honor from men. On the other hand, if a person will wait for the spirit of God to instruct him, and then give God the glory for whatever is accomplished, God will vindicate that person’s ministry.


TRUE JOY


God has given us the Holy Ghost, and He in us, should cause us to conduct ourselves in a godlike manner. When we begin to take on the mind of Christ we will begin to throw off our childish, human ideas about Christianity, and begin to see it from the divine standpoint. That is exactly why the scriptures point out, “You are a chosen people, a peculiar people.” That does not mean that we should go around just trying to be peculiar; but I will say this much, if you will allow God to lead your life as he sees fit, you WILL be peculiar to the world. To abide in him is to be peculiar, as far as the world is concerned, and beside that, in the 5th verse of this 15th chapter, Jesus said, “For without me ye can do nothing.” In other words, if we do not abide in him we are helpless anyhow. To abide in him is to live in the realm of his love and revelated word. 15. “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” Many people seem to have the idea that a person who is full of the joy of the Lord should be leaping up and down, shouting, and praising the Lord continually. That is a childish way of looking at it. The joy of the Lord is that inner feeling of confidence and security that holds a person steady even in the midst of storms and hard trials. Certainly there is a time for shouting praises to him, a time for leaping, running, dancing, or whatever the spirit of God would lead you to do, but it would seem mighty strange to find someone carrying on like that if their little child had just been struck down by a speeding automobile, or they had just received word that a close relative or friend had just passed away. Yet, in those times of trial we can still have the joy of the Lord in us.


Many people have followed preachers from one place to another because of fleshly attractions, and then when something happened to the man they were following they could be heard saying, “I just don’t know what I am going to do now that Bro. – is no longer with us.” When you are following a man because of his flesh, his flesh is all you see; you never see the truth, and for that reason you do not have anything to hold to when that man is no longer around. It happened to many of the disciples of Jesus, when he was taken from the earth. That is why he said to them, “It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” If Jesus had not departed, and sent the Comforter (the Holy Ghost), to dwell within those disciples, do you think Stephen could have faced the stones of that angry mob, calling upon God not to lay that sin to the charge of those who were killing him? Of course he could not. It was the indwelling presence of the Holy Ghost that gave him such great joy in the face of his murderers. Believe me, even though they were down cast in spirit when Jesus was taken from their presence, those disciples who received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost never spent one minute grieving about Jesus not being with them anymore after that; for they knew that he was living inside them as he said he would be. After that, it was his joy in them (HIS SPIRIT, HIS TRUTH), that made their joy full and complete. It is like the apostle Peter said, in his first epistle; it is joy unspeakable and full of glory.


VICTORY THROUGH SUBMITTING


I know you can say, as can I; that some of the times when you have recognized that joy the most, have been times when the devil has been slapping you around to the point where it seemed like there would be no end to it; then, God enabled you to duck, just in time to miss his licks and give him one. Then you know that you have seen the hand of God working on your behalf, when the old devil goes running off, and leaves you alone. Remember what James said, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” The key to that kind of a victory is for us to SUBMIT OURSELVES TO GOD: so that we can draw from his inexhaustible strength and wisdom. It is true, the devil is a bluff; for he was defeated at Calvary on behalf of every child of God; but his attack is very real while it is taking place. God allows all this for our testing, and growth, and so we will not be going around trying to bluff the devil all the time. God is not a bluff, and he will not allow his people to be; he will let them get into situations where they have to have the real thing to get out of them. It was in the letter to the Hebrews where the apostle wrote, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of Grace, (not proudly, boldly, there is a great difference), that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” In these trying situations that great joy is made more real to us. Our growth and stature in the Lord is not accomplished when we stay on the mountain top all the time; we have to come down to reality to find the grace of God working on your behalf.


CHURCH OF YOUR CHOICE – ANTICHRIST DOCTRINE


As we come back to verse 11 now, what does that joy depend upon? Is it going to the church of your choice that produces it? You know that is not right. Jesus never did teach anything that would give children of God that choice; neither did his apostles. That popular slogan is an antichrist diversion, but you can’t make the world believe that: for they see it as great liberty in the Lord. You point them to a church that stands for the apostolic truth of God’s word, and tell them that God is not in those denominations, and immediately you are branded as a fanatic. “I don’t want to get too close to that fellow,” they will say; well, let me say this, “Jesus was a fanatic, John was a fanatic, and so was Paul, if that makes you one. Did not Paul write to the Galatians, saying, “If any man, or even an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that we have preached, let him be accursed?” Did not John write in the little epistles, “If there come any unto you, and bring not THIS DOCTRINE, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed (SAYS GOD BLESS YOU BROTHER, KNOWING THAT HE IS NOT PREACHING THE TRUTH), is a partaker of his EVIL DEEDS?” We, as revelated children of God are supposed to be contending for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. How can we do that if we allow, or encourage those who preach something different, to minister in our assemblies, or even to come into our homes spreading their antichrist doctrine? Do not become offended at this, saints; for if it is different than what Jesus and his apostles taught, it is antichrist doctrine. We do not deny that every major denomination was originally strong in some scriptural truth that the early church taught; but where they missed the mark was in taking only the scripture that they agreed with and attributed everything else that anyone other than their particular group received, to the devil. One group believes one truth from the Bible, and another group believes another one; but they cannot get them all together. Those early Christians believed every truth in the Bible; therefore, it is no wonder they could go into the Roman Arenas to be killed, with such great joy bubbling in their soul; they knew the truth. As the apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” They went by the hundreds into the lion cages to have their flesh ripped from their bones; but they had the joy of the Lord in their soul. They could put them in jail and they would sing just as loud in jail as they did in church. At times, when some of them would wind up in jail, here would come an angel to open up the doors for them to leave. There was no magic involved in those activities; it was just the fact that they had a God who heard the joy of their hearts singing instead of feeling sorry for themselves, and he sent an angel to loose them. “THESE THINGS HAVE I SPOKEN UNTO YOU, THAT MY JOY MIGHT REMAIN IN YOU, AND THAT YOUR JOY MIGHT BE FULL.” What things? His commandments, his teachings and his words, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” The great theme of the Bible is love, all the way from Genesis through Revelation, and the world has caught the words, but they have missed the meaning. When Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you,” he was not talking about the kind of love that could be affected by human emotions; he was talking about a love that would be steadfast and consistent through every situation. When that kind of love is projecting, it makes no distinction between the rich and the poor; it is not affected by color of skin nor place of birth; neither is it affected by human weakness or bad attitudes. Remember now, when we talk like this we are talking about loving a human soul with a godlike kind of love, and loving that soul is quite different than fellowshipping the flesh. There are many that we can have that kind of love for, and still not be able to fellowship with them because of the life they live, and many times because of what they believe and stand for.


KNOWING OUR BENEFITS


When people do not know what to believe, and still have not come to the place where they will hear truth, they cannot have real joy: for just about the time that they get one little thought settled, and start trying to stand for it, the devil will hit them with something else that will be different. That kind of a person will spend much time sitting around, gloomy, and despaired; always grumbling and complaining that they just don’t know what to believe anymore. I want you to know, that believing truth is quite different than playing with it. When you believe truth you see it for what it is; then you allow it to get down in your soul and do its work in your life. The devil’s greatest delight is the keep people in confusion. He lives in confusion, and loves it, but God dwells in peace. That is why God desires for us to be in unity, and oneness of belief and purpose. There is no peace outside of it. I have heard denominational people say, when they would be confronted with truth, “We don’t want to believe a thing like that: that is just the devil trying to cause confusion in our church. Let me say, “If it is truth, inspired by the Holy Ghost, it is not the devil, and God is not the author of confusion, so where does that leave you?” It is not truth that causes confusion; it is the devil’s lie that people are holding on to that is causing confusion. Let me say also, “A person that never becomes grounded in truth is always groping, looking for some preacher to pray for them. They are in every prayer line that they can find; always hoping for a miracle, never knowing what it is to just rest upon the truth and reality of God’s word. Seemingly, such persons never grow up enough to distinguish between the blood purchased benefits that are available to every child of God, and the extra benefits that God bestows upon individuals from time to time for his own glory and pleasure; things that he does to bring about circumstances for the purpose of getting peoples’ attention, and changing traditional ideas. Through faith we can reckon unto ourselves sufficient grace for each day if we know what benefits we have available to us. For an example, let me say this, imagine an American citizen not knowing the difference between a one dollar bill, and a five dollar bill, and having to deal (in a financial way), with dishonest people every day. Do you think that person would get all that was coming to him in the financial transaction, once the other parties found out that he did not know the difference? You know he would not, the devil would see to it. The point I am desiring to make is that, in this natural life we have to reach a place where we begin to accept a certain identity, and certain responsibilities, and in doing so, we equip ourselves so that we are not completely at the mercy of the parties we are dealing with. We learn how to sell, buy, make change, get what we have paid for, and give others the same benefit. That is all a very necessary part of adult human activity. If the devil finds out you do not know a one from a five dollar bill, you can be sure he will do his utmost to keep you broke all the time; he will strip you of everything. Do you get my point? Can you catch the thought? Spiritually speaking it is the same way. If the devil finds out that you do not know for sure what the Bible teaches on a particular subject, he will do you exactly like he did Eve, (through the serpent), in the garden of Eden. God had said, “Do not eat, (or partake), of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: for the day that you do, you will SURELY (no doubt about it), die.” God did not leave any doubt about it, he said, “if you eat, you die.” The word surely as used in Gen. 2:17, is a word that means ABSOLUTELY, Not maybe. The serpent came along and said to Eve, “Did God say that you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Notice how the woman answered the serpent’s question, Gen. 3:23. This proved she did not understand it exactly as God had said it; for she said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the MIDST of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, (GOD SAID THAT), neither shall ye touch it (GOD DID NOT SAY THAT), LEST YE DIE.” (GOD DID NOT SAY THAT). Eve added the part about not touching the tree, and she changed the next part; for as she supposedly quoted it, she said, “LEST YE DIE.” The word L-E-S-T means, perhaps, maybe, or there is a chance you will die, but that is not the way God said it. He said you will S-U-R-E-L-Y die; no doubt about it. Right there is where the trouble for the whole human race began: the serpent saw his chance, (being inspired and led by the devil), he said, “Ye shall NOT surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Doesn’t the words of the serpent remind you of a lot of people you know? They will say, “Aw, come on John, Jim, Bill, Susie, (or whatever your name is), you know God doesn’t expect Twentieth Century Christians to live by those old fashioned ideas; He is a good God; he will not cast you into hell just for taking one little drink to be sociable. After all God doesn’t expect us to go through life without having any fun.” Young people: you had better watch that kind of talk; that is the old serpent talking flee from it, and lay hold upon the word of God, which is able to deliver your soul. The devil is always perverting (changing), the word of God, trying to cause unsuspecting souls to miss God’s true way. He does it many times through preachers who are just trying to make a name for themselves, rather than to build something for God. That is why if you do not know a one, from a five, (spiritually), you are likely to be led down a cold trail and miss God completely.


LIVE YOUR OWN CONVICTIONS


It is up to every child of God to get this word settled in his heart, gain some convictions concerning the way you are to dress, the way you should talk, the places you are to go, or not to go, the kind of people you should fellowship with, and find out what your benefits are as a child of God. If you will do that you will not be forever looking for someone else to pray for you. When you gain your own personal love relationship with your heavenly Father, you will no longer have to walk through every mud hole that some one else might choose to walk through. You will follow him, instead of the crowd. That is where you will find real joy, even if following him (GOD), causes you to wind up in jail. You will not find any sad letters written by the apostle Paul, while he sat in jail for so many of the last years of his life. Every letter that he wrote shows just the opposite. He spoke of his bonds many times, but never in a complaining way. He even said in one place that many of his brethren in the lord had become very confident because of his bonds, so that they were much more bold to speak the word of God without fear. In other words, his bonds were sort of an example to others; that is, if they wound up in the same shape, they could still have the joy of the Lord bubbling up in their soul. Prisons and chains can never destroy LOVE, TRUTH, nor the great JOY that is experienced by those who are genuine partakers of the grace of God. These virtues are perfected in trials, and testings; on the other hand, the spirit of the world will kill love and joy that is not founded on truth. How can we say that we even have divine love for Jesus, unless we love his teachings.


DIVINE LOVE TESTED


After his resurrection, and just before his ascension, Jesus put Simon Peter to the test by asking him the same question three times. “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” There was no question about Peter’s love for him from a human standpoint, and Jesus knew that Peter had a revelation in his bosom, but Jesus gave him a chance to examine himself a little bit by asking him the same question again the third time. By the time Jesus asked him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me,” old Peter had began to be a little nervous and provoked; probably realizing that Jesus had sensed a weakness in him; a weakness that caused Peter to deny the Lord for a short time right after he was arrested, but Jesus was tempering him; getting him ready for a time that was soon to come, when he would see him in the flesh no more in this life. At that time he commissioned Peter to feed his lambs, and his sheep. However, when he was questioning Peter, in reality, what he was really asking was, Peter, do you love me so much that you will allow nothing to stand in your way, to prevent you from carrying out the responsibility that you will have when I am gone? In other words, Peter was to have the responsibility of unlocking the kingdom of God for those hungry souls that would desire to enter in, just a few days later. That would require divine love, in the face of all that had taken place since the arrest of Jesus. A carnal, natural love could not withstand the pressure; it could not reach out into a throng of people, some of which, no doubt, had been present when Jesus was crucified, and extend love, mercy, and the grace of God to them. Peter displayed natural love and loyalty to Jesus when he grabbed a sword and cut an ear off one of the men who came to arrest Jesus, but Jesus displayed divine love when he reached over and put the ear back on his enemy. That is the kind of love that Jesus was speaking of in Matthew 5:44-45 when he said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” He went on to say, “If you love only those who love you, how are you different from anyone else? Even people of the world do that.” Divine love will project, even in unlovely situations. Jesus is our example in every area of life. He showed us how to face the onslaughts of the devil when we are under attack, as he was in the wilderness. He set a perfect example of obedience to the will of our heavenly Father, and he exemplified love in every respect as he walked among men. “THIS IS MY COMMANDMENT, THAT YE LOVE ONE ANOTHER, AS I HAVE LOVED YOU. 13, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. YE are my friends, IF ye do whatsoever I command you.” Just in case you may be one who is thinking that this does not seem like much of a way to judge friendship, (based upon whether a person does what you tell them to do or not), let me remind you that these are the very words of Jesus himself, and they reach way beyond any human understanding, (that is, grasping only with the natural mind), for only those who have the kind of love that he is talking about, can understand the depth of such a statement. What he said in verse 14 encompasses all that we have been reading and talking about in these two chapters. In other words a person could not keep his commandments unless he did have the divine love of God in him; then we turn right around and say, “If a person has that kind of love in him, he will do as Jesus said for us to do, and this automatically makes you a friend of Jesus. It is all wrapped up in one package, and the apostle John understood it, and recorded it, in order for us to benefit from it later.


REVELATION REMAINS THE SAME


Let us turn over to the little Epistles of John and see how he felt about this kind of love after more than fifty years had passed, and he was an old man. This was written somewhere around A.D. 90, when John did not have many of the old timers left who had heard it from the mouth of Jesus as he had. Let us read 1 John 2:3, and see if fifty some years of living, since hearing those words from the mouth of Jesus, has changed his revelation of them. “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS.” When you take that right back to the gospel he wrote, the revelation is exactly the same. He is actually saying, This is the way that we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments, or, as we said before, observe his teachings. 4, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” What do you think John would have done, in his day, if some preacher got up and preached for an hour on the “blessed holy trinity?” John, that guardian of love and truth, would have been bound to reveal him as a false prophet. The very words of such a person testifies to the fact that they do not know him. What if John could live in our day, and go into one of these charismatic meetings where some big priest or bishop, with a log chain and a big cross hanging from his neck would be shaking people, slapping them on the back, and trying to teach them to speak in tongues? How do you think John would react to that? Don’t forget, John was in that upper room when the Holy Ghost fell on the disciples of Jesus for the first time. He knew that there was no one present that day to teach them to speak in tongues. I believe John would create a disturbance in such gatherings, and I believe that when he got through with those charismatic leaders, they would have to admit that they did not have what they were talking about. I say these things only for the sake of illustration, because it is truth that we are after; Otherwise we would just be playing religious games like the church world in general. The truth that God has revealed to us in our day is like jewels, precious stones, diamonds, emeralds, and all the other things that natural man looks upon as valuable. You would not think of taking a 5 carat diamond, and setting it in a cheap ten cent store mounting; no, you would carefully choose a solid gold mounting that would compliment such a stone; something that would enhance and add to the beauty of it. We know how to display natural things, but we have a great deal to learn yet about displaying the precious gifts of the spirit of God that he has so bountifully bestowed upon us. 5, “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in him.” The love of God is perfected in those who keep his word, live by his sayings, and follow the example that he set before us when he walked in human flesh.


SALVATION – GOD’S FREE GIFT


God requires that we prove our love for him by accepting his love and truth on his terms rather than on our own. That is why some very proud folks have to be broken, so badly, when God begins to deal with them in a spiritual way. They want God to be real in their lives, but they want him on their own terms. That will not work; God is not a compromiser. There is only one way into the spiritual family of God, and all that come to him have to find that way. It matters not whether we are rich or poor, whether we are very smart or just average, and it doesn’t matter who we may or may not know. God does not care about any of that, for there is no way that we can merit the grace of God. Paul expresses it in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by GRACE (God’s unmerited favor), are ye saved through FAITH; (believing God’s word), and that not of yourselves: (You cannot earn salvation), it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” If we could work out our salvation, (do anything to earn it in any way) then we could possibly have something to boast about, for our abilities are not all the same. Some, far exceed others in many ways. Knowing this, we ought to be even more grateful, realizing that the apostle wrote in 1 Cor. 12:13, “By one spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one spirit.” That one spirit that we have all been baptized into one body with, is the spirit of truth, and God’s purpose in doing this is that we might be made one in him. He is cultivating truth in us, and that truth will make us free. We are free from the bondage that Satan has held us in for so long. We are now members of the body of Christ, “and God has set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” (1 Cor. 12:18) Every denomination on the face of this earth has their little formula for making new members in their assemblies. We will not go into those methods in this message for we are interested in only one method; that is the one we have just mentioned. These people speak of love and many of them refer to each other as precious brother, or precious sister, but you had better not cross their doctrine, or you will find out real quick that they do not have the kind of love that they talk so much about.


INTERPRETING GOD


Through the years while people were all mixed up in Babylon, they tried to interpret the word of God, and found that they could not do it, so they began to do what they considered to be the next best thing; they began to interpret God. Now we have the Baptist, the Methodist, the Presbyterians, the Catholics, etc., who are all mixed up in Babylon, and for years they have been fighting each other, refusing to let their members go to any other church, and now, as we approach the end, we can see them all climbing into the same nest. Do you know what happened? They each one (denomination) kept noticing that all the other denominations were growing instead of diminishing, and being unable to interpret the word of God, they began to interpret God himself, in this way; they began to say, “God can be in any denomination.” They read where Peter made the statement while in the home of Cornelius that God is no respecter of persons’, and that caused them to begin saying, “God is no respecter of denominations.” Time and conditions, and the grace of God has caused people to assume things about God, and take him for granted. They take the scriptures that speak of God’s love, mercy, and longsuffering, and it makes them feel secure, not knowing that the longsuffering of God does not mean that he has accepted our ideas. What they fail to understand, is that God knows we are all weak and he gives us plenty of time to accept his (God’s) ideas, his plan, his purpose for our lives. God, in his love and mercy, will tolerate, for periods of time, the things that we are doing, but it is his plan and purpose, to bring all of his foreknown children to a place of perfect unity, all believing the same thing, with nothing left to cause divisions. Now I hope each of you will understand what we are endeavoring to point out in this little message. I am sure some of you who have been around this message of truth for quite a while may be thinking, “Bro. Jackson; we don’t need to hear all that,” but I ask you to be patient, and have consideration for your younger brothers and sisters that are still trying to find their way out of Babylon. You would be surprised at some of the questions people ask me, concerning the very things that we are talking about. Many are wondering if it is alright to go hear Bro. So and So, who doesn’t teach everything exactly like we do here, but he seems to have an awful lot of love for everyone. To that, I will have to say, as I have said before, if it is love that you are interested in, you will still have to find it in truth or it will fail you. This modern theory that claims we do not have to see eye to eye on everything, just as long as we love each other, is from the pit; that never did come from the lips of God’s anointed preachers. I will grant you this much though, up until he sent a prophet to this age, for the purpose of turning his children back to his revelated word, God did accept those honest hearted, sincere people in every system who sought him with all their heart, and walked in all the truth they had available to them in their hour. Therefore, you can stop worrying about your great grandmother, and examine the truth that is available to you in your day, that is where your salvation lies.


BE YE THEREFORE PERFECT


God has been merciful to people in every system of Babylon, just as he was to the Jews who were carried away to Babylon in the days of old. It is also like God being merciful to Jews in dispersion throughout the world, but tell me, “Did God ever give them a city anywhere except in Israel?” There is only one capital city that God will ever give to the Jews, and that is Jerusalem. God extends mercy to Jews in other places, but it is only those who return to that land, who stand in the place of inheriting that which God has promised. Therefore, if we can see how God deals with the Jews in the natural, we will better understand God’s dealing with us in the spirit. We have to leave Babylon and return to our homeland, (spiritually speaking), in order to receive our inheritance. There is a transition period, of course; God allows for that, but the ultimate goal is to return to God’s original plan. God never did change, and he has never altered his plan for the ages; it is just that man (through the ages), lost his way, and God has been longsuffering, waiting for his children to return home. Right now all signs point to the fact that we are nearing our destination, and we know that it is the purpose of God to have a people that are perfect, not in the sense of being perfect in our flesh, as some believe, but in the sense of a perfect experience with God, perfect love, perfect unity, perfect fellowship and inseparability. Do you know, I have actually heard people scoff at the idea of the children of God being perfect. It is because they are carnal in all their thinking, and void of understanding, when it comes to spiritual matters. Would Jesus have instructed his disciples to be perfect, if it were not possible for them to obtain perfection in the sense that he was speaking it? Matt. 5:48, “Be ye therefore PERFECT, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” What did he mean? We all know that we can never be perfect (flesh wise), in this life. This word PERFECT, as used here, by Jesus, comes from a Greek word which means, “to be complete,” in the sense of fullness, or oneness. Jesus has just been instructing his disciples, teaching them, I should say, about love. In the discourse he said, “I know you have heard it said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy,’ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute (greet, speak to), your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publican so?” He has been teaching them that the God kind of love reaches beyond the bounds of one’s own little circle, and includes even the unlovely. In other words, he said, “This is the way God is; therefore if you want to be like him you will have to conduct yourselves the same way; “then he called upon them to be perfect, even as their heavenly Father is perfect. Does that help you to relate the statement to its proper application? In this particular setting he is talking about unselfishness, proper attitude, proper conduct, and the ability to love as God loves. No doubt, John heard every word that Jesus said that day, for it seems that the subject of love burned in him like an unquenchable fire throughout all that we have recorded about him, and by him. We find recorded in Luke 6:40 where Jesus said, ”The disciple is not above his master: but every one that IS PERFECT shall be as his master.” Also, in 1 Cor. 2:6, we find the apostle Paul writing this, “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them THAT ARE PERFECT.” Then, in Colossians 4:12 we find Paul writing to that church using the same language. “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand PERFECT and COMPLETE in all the will of God.” Being perfect in the sight of God is for us to be what God has called us to be, and to live our lives according to God’s principles. Just as the Bible says that Noah was perfect in his generation, so also can we be perfect in our generation if we will walk with God. Whatever God has called you to do, do that, and do not covet your brother’s job that the Lord has called him to fulfill. For an example, just to illustrate perfection: If you had a job some place that required you to cut strings from packages that had been shipped, you might use a very small pocket knife. For that job this could be a perfect knife, for the simple reason, it is doing all that you require it to do. But suppose you have need to cut a large branch from a tree in your yard that is located in a place where it is forever in your way. Will that same little knife be perfect for a job like that? You know it will not. Your requirements for a knife will be different in this situation. Walking with God is the same way. As he shines more light for people to walk in, there is more required from those who would be perfect in his sight.


TRUTH OR LIE


As we follow John’s writings on this theme of love, let us look at 1 John 2:3-4, where he approached the subject from another direction. We have already read the scripture, but let me say this; if we believe that God sent a messenger to bring us back to an original, them we could well be living in the very hour when this scripture will hang right over our very souls. We have been restored back to the word and now we are without excuse. If we say that we love God, and then allow ourselves to deviate, even a little, from the truth, we make ourselves a liar. No one else will have to do it, for according to the Bible, we make ourselves a liar. “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments IS A LIAR, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God PERFECTED: hereby know we that we are in him.” The days of playing around with religious theories is over for us. God tolerated that while we were still in Babylon, but he will not tolerate any such among those whom he has called out to be a part of the bride of Christ. You are going to see many people renounce every aspect of Christianity, and turn to the world, all because they have tried to hold onto some little old religious theory or idea that will fail them when they need it most. God will make sure that what you are holding onto will either cause you to grow in him, or it will be the very thing that will shake you loose from the vine. God is going to let every unclean and evil spirit of hell be turned loose to invade society, and rule apostate religion; for we are living in the age of falling away. People are going to get sick of religion. They will become almost hysterical when they finally begin to see just how apostate, religion has become. Only those who are keeping God’s truth will be spared from apostasy, from that spirit of apostasy that is pulling on the religious world. “BUT WHOSO KEEPETH HIS WORD, IN HIM VERILY IS THE LOVE OF GOD PERFECTED, (MADE COMPLETE).” We do not walk with God, ignorant of what his will is for our lives. You hear people say, “I hope this is right, or, I think this is right, or, that is what I have always been taught.” Brothers and sisters: it makes me sad to hear Christians talk like that, for it reveals the fact that they are without revelation, and that makes them an easy mark for the devil. In this hour of time, it is imperative that we come to a settled understanding of what our soul believes; for the enemy will throw everything he has at us as this age closes out. It will be his business to try and get us to throw up our hands and quit the race, but remember, “WHOSO KEEPETH HIS WORD, in him verily is the love of God perfected.” He (the Lord) is our shelter in the time of storm. It is in him that we are secure, and the way that we know that we are in him, is by keeping his word. When we keep his word, his love is perfected in us. Then we do not have doctrines to fuss about, therefore our fellowship is sweet. Now, did I say that we should not teach doctrine? Absolutely not, but we will all have the same doctrine. I want to read to you, the first 13 verses of the 2nd chapter of Titus. “But speak thou (Paul writing to Titus), the things which become sound DOCTRINE: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a PATTERN of good works: in DOCTRINE shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may ADORN THE DOCTRINE OF GOD OUR SAVIOUR IN ALL THINGS. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” It seems that the apostle Paul (in a very few words), summed up the Christian way of life, beginning, by exhorting Titus to speak the things which become SOUND DOCTRINE, and then went on to say that he should show himself to be a pattern of good works. In other words, he was to be an example before them in word and deed while he taught them sound, and uncorrupt DOCTRINE. God placed certain doctrines in the Bible for the purpose of setting a standard for those who would walk with him; however, it was never the purpose of God for some to hold to one Bible doctrine, and others to another one, causing division among believers, for as we said before, every doctrine of truth that men have found in the Bible belongs to the total makeup of every true Christian. We must keep in mind though, that God is sovereign, and that he is not obligated to deal with every person in exactly the same way as he begins to draw them into his great plan. Some think because the Bible says that God is no respecter of persons, he is obligated to give every believer the exact same experience that they, or someone else had. That only holds true in the overall benefit, or end result of each person’s experience of salvation. God deals with every individual according to each one’s particular personality and human makeup. That is why God can give you an experience that is not even like mine, and the end results of our experience will lead us both to the same place in our overall makeup.


RECEIVING THE HOLY GHOST


We hear people say many times, “Now in order to receive the Holy Ghost you must get it in such and such a way.” Such instruction is not correct. When I received the Holy Ghost I was lying on the floor, but that doesn’t mean that everyone must be lying on the floor to receive the Holy Ghost. In the upper room they were sitting when they were filled with the Holy Ghost, Acts 2:2, while others have been standing. God is sovereign; when it comes to certain experiences he will do as he pleases, but the end results will be the same. It doesn’t make any difference what position we are in when we receive the Holy Ghost; but once he is in us, remember, he is a teaching spirit; he will not teach you something contrary to what he is teaching me. He will lead us both to a true understanding of his plan and purpose. His plan includes doctrines which start at the Godhead, and come right on down through water baptism, sanctification, foreknowledge, election, predestination, eternal security of the believer, the catching away of the saints, the resurrection of the dead, the millennial reign of Christ, and many more, but he will teach each one of us the TRUTH of these DOCTRINES, for he is the spirit of truth. Now you may say, “Bro. Jackson, is it really necessary for a person to know all these things in order to be saved? No, I did not say that, but what I have said is that if what we know about these things are taught to us by the Holy Ghost that dwells within us, we will all be believing the same thing. There will be nothing to fuss about. Let me say right now, there are certain doctrines that are mandatory, for they form the framework of the Christian faith. A proper understanding of the Godhead, water baptism, sanctification, baptism of the Holy Ghost, these Bible doctrines form the foundation for your spiritual building, while others just add to your statural growth in the Lord, but my point is this, there is no two, three, or a half dozen ways, for as we have said already, God’s one way is perfect, and it will lead us all into unity and oneness when we find it. When God, by his spirit, gets us taught properly, and established in the same teaching, then we have nothing to fuss about; we can come to church and know that the brother sitting next to us has been baptized the same way we have, and that he believes the gospel just like we do, and that neither one of us have anything to brag or boast about. Just for a little illustration of boasting, I remember back to the depression days when money was scarce, and hard to get hold of, especially for little farm boys. We did not have nickels and pennies to carry around in our pockets in those days. But, once in a while when dad was a little fortunate to get an extra fifty cents from someplace, he would sometimes say, “Here Junior, you can take this penny and buy yourself a sucker today.” That was a treat for me, but at the same time other boys and girls whose families were better off financially might come to school with a sucker every day. Naturally a situation like that can cause bragging and jealously. Other little boys and girls were sometimes made to feel bad. It made you feel like, if you could just get one lick from that sucker it would sure be wonderful. Now that is the kind of thing that you expect to find among children, but it is sad to find such bragging and jealousy among the ranks of Christian adults. God is not pleased when we boast and brag, and do things that provoke jealousy. Quite the contrary, for he desires to lead us to a place in him, where we will realize that we do not have anything to boast about. Therefore, if you can understand my little illustration, you will realize that when God passes out the suckers, he makes sure that we all get one, and he makes sure that they are all just alike. We are still on the thought of doctrines; we will all understand them the same way when the Holy Ghost gets through teaching us. Jesus said, “He will take things of mine and show them unto you.” He will guide us into all truth if we have a love for truth.


LED BY THE SPIRIT


Brothers and sisters: I know most of you have heard different ones quote the verse in Romans 8:14, and apply it to the supernatural leading of the Lord, but I want you to know that the verse applies first to being led to truth. “FOR AS MANY AS ARE LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, THEY ARE THE SONS OF GOD.” Some people quote that verse so proudly, once they have experienced the thrill of being forewarned, or guided by the spirit of the Lord. It does make you feel good, but it should not make us brag, for God, many times, will do a thing like that to get our attention, but that in itself is not God’s ultimate goal in dealing with us. His first goal is to lead us into truth, for he (the Holy Ghost), is the spirit of truth. Will you just try to imagine what it would be like to take an hundred people and try to blend them together in fellowship when every one of them is believing something different. Instead of having true fellowship together, they would each one be trying to convert the others to his particular way of thinking. True love, and true fellowship cannot be cultivated in such an atmosphere. That is not the way God leads his people to truth. That is man’s carnal way of (as many would say), witnessing for God, but let me tell you this, a true witness for God will be found leading a hungry soul to truth, instead of promoting his man made doctrine. John said, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.” How can you get them to love one another, when they cannot stop trying to force their little ideas off on the other person? It just goes to prove that there is a carnal nature in humans that, unless it is harnessed by the Holy Ghost, it will cause divisions and separations. Such is the case, not only in religion, but in politics and society in general. Some people just feel like they have to be different, and many times they refer to their being different, as being led by the spirit of God, and therefore they hold themselves up as being the sons of God. There is nothing to be said against a person being led to do certain things, as long as it does not go contrary to revealed truth, but Jesus taught that a person should not exalt himself, (Matt. 23:12, “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”) and I believe that if we are truly led by the spirit of God it should have a humbling effect upon us, rather than make us proud and boastful. There is one thing sure; time will tell who is truly being led by the spirit of God, for their life will prove it. When the Holy Ghost is permitted to lead us into truth, our lives will be such that we will be able to stand against all the fiery darts of the wicked. We will not have to throw up our hands in despair when the adversary attacks, for the truth has made us free. We are not free to be proud, haughty and high-minded, for if we are like that we are no free at all; we are still in bondage.


ENDURING TO THE END


Let us look once again to 1 John 5:2, “By this we know that we love the children of God, (How?) When we love God, and keep his commandments. 3, For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: (Now look at this next part, brothers and sisters), and his commandments are not grievous.” I do not find this blessed precious way to be hard. When the Bible says in Matt. 10:22, that, he that endureth to the end shall be saved, it does not mean, he that endureth ridiculement and persecution from the devil, brought on by the world. God has so ordained it, that we can enjoy our salvation. I find it to be wonderful. It is true many times, as we walk down the street we will notice someone looking at us a certain way. They do not say it with words to you, but they might just as well have, for you recognize by their glance out of the corner of their eyes as you walk by, and you know that look of scorn; therefore you know that something was said about you. Actions speak louder than words, but just be thankful to God if that is all the persecution you ever get; and be thankful for the truth that keeps us from being bothered by those who react to us in these ways. They think we are very odd characters, but we can truly say that salvation is something to enjoy. Praise God, his commandments are not grievous. Verse 4, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world, even our faith.” We have read many scriptures that point us to this truth, but here it is; John said it, if we are really and truly born of God, we will keep his commandments, and we will overcome the world. Now let us back up to chapter 4, and read verse 7, where we see the picture painted from the opposite side. John seemed to feel that this subject of truth and love was important enough to justify his approaching it from every angle. You just cannot separate love, as it is talked about here, from other chapters. Listen how he words this. 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” If we love God we are going to keep his teachings. Then we can say, “if we love God and keep his teachings, we will love one another, for that is part of his teaching.”


LIVE WHAT YOU PREACH


What we really need to do, in the light of all that has been said on the subject, is to examine ourselves. Can we really see each other as souls that the Lord Jesus died for at Calvary? Are we able to see the grace of God extended to lost mankind? Do we feel that we are better than someone else? If so, do we know the other person’s circumstances? Brothers and sisters: we are, what we are, by the grace of God. Let us not boast, nor be filled with pride, as the Scribes and Pharisees were in the days of Jesus’ ministry on earth. The apostle Paul said, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” What do you think he meant by that statement? Simply this, it is easy to memorize, and speak the right words, but if you, yourself, do not become a partaker of the gospel that you preach, you will wind up like some preachers that Jesus referred to in the 7thchapter of Matthew, verses 21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Some of you may say, “Bro. Jackson: how can that be? How could they cast out devils, and perform wonderful works, if they are not genuine ministers of God?” Jesus said it would be that way, and the apostle Paul believed that a thing like that could happen, or he would not have said what he did. Please do not let these remarks confuse you. We are not saying that a person who is truly born of the spirit could lose his salvation. That will not happen. What we are saying though is this, if all you have is just the right words, without the experience of God’s work of grace in your heart, to give you this love that John wrote about, you cannot claim the benefits that go with that genuine born again experience. As for the apostle Paul saying what he did about being a castaway, he certainly was not concerned about losing his salvation experience with God. The main point that we should catch from what he said is that keeping our body under control is the natural thing for a child of God to do. It requires some extra attention at first, when we first become Christians, but as we walk with God from day to day, a life of godliness becomes natural for us. When we love God, we love his ways, his people, and his word.

ALL THINGS COMMON


For too long now love has been preached as a separate thing, apart from the whole teachings of the word of God. Also, for too long, people have thought that God is going to perfect those with this teaching of love, regardless of what the rest of their teachings may be. But you will not find that to be following a true pattern of the scriptures. You will find (if you care to search it out), that the early church all believed and taught the same thing. You will not find where anyone tried to build a larger congregation than anyone else had. That kind of a thing is carnal. We ought not to want anyone in our assemblies that the Lord has not brought in, and if God sets them in, then what do we have to boast about? As we look back to the book of Acts, we cannot help but realize that, in order for it to be said that they had all things common, they all had to be believing the same thing. That remained so, as long as those apostles of the Lord remained alive, and where they could hold a line on the word of God. Of course we realize that as they left the scene, the enemy (with his false teaching), moved into the churches, but in the early years of that first church age God kept it pure, and set an example for us to look back to. If anyone dared to bring a strange or contrary teaching into the church, the Holy Ghost immediately reached out to discipline and correct it. Why? Because the church of God was not to be a great body of people with a plurality of ideas. Jesus taught those apostles, and early disciples, for over three years, and he did not have to change his teaching, nor take back anything that he had taught, for he taught everything perfect the first time, and every time. God was setting in motion a plan of love, whereby he would bestow love upon all who would receive it, and they, in responding, would return love to God, and love each other. Love cannot have its liberty among a group of people where there are ever so many ideas, and opinions floating around. It is not that God cannot love. He loved us first, before we ever knew him, and as we said before, God is longsuffering but he will not tolerate people’s strange revelations forever. He is one, his word is one, and his purpose and objective is one. Therefore, when a person speaks, by the unction of the Holy Ghost, he will speak in harmony with revelated truth every time. That is why the early church all believed everything the same way. Those who taught them were unctioned by the Holy Ghost, the spirit of truth. Yes, God can love a human soul no matter where that individual may be, but the recipients of that love must allow themselves to be led out of the confusion, and into truth, or they, themselves, will never be able to genuinely express that kind of love to others. Every church group in world religion has some common ground of belief where, as long as they remain in that area they get along together alright, but when each one begins trying to teach his own interpretation of the Bible, right then, the fire begins to fly. What you see then is not divine love. It is human emotions being turned loose to battle for self. It works the same way with a bunch of gangsters and hoodlums. They can get together, and get along with each other very well as long as they stick to their common ground, (money), and only talk about how to pull off another bank robbery or a holdup somewhere, for a monetary gain, but when the job is over and human feelings begin to be expressed, they will usually wind up having a big shootout. That is the way our human, inherited nature, responds; it is self oriented. That is why we maintain that a person can only express divine love when their life is built upon, and motivated by truth. ”Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” This scripture deals with the real person that we are. We may not all like to eat the same food, or go to the same places that others may go, but we will all believe the same truth, or believe alike, about what is truth, and we will love each other regardless of our human likes and dislikes. I hope you can see the difference, for John is actually dealing with a situation where a man or woman, as far as outward signs, and actions go, has accepted his teaching, and has been faithful in church attendance and activities, yet as they come down, almost to the finish line, there are just certain people that they cannot accept. They just cannot accept them as a child of God, and will not accept them as being worth anything. They just absolutely ignore, and shun them, and will not have a thing to do with them. This is where the person that we really are, will begin to contaminate the love of God, “For he that LOVETH NOT KNOWETH NOT GOD: for God is love.” This is my illustration of what I believe John was writing about. In other words, if you are unable to love a human soul that the Lord Jesus has already died to redeem, then you have no right to be professing to know God, for if you knew God you would love as he loves: for God is love. 4:9, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10, Herein is love, not that we love God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for out sins.”


JESUS DIED FOR ALL


When Jesus Christ came into the world to take our place, and die at Calvary, he did not die, just for the good people. What I mean is, he didn’t die just for the good sinners, but he died for the crooks and thieves, the ill famed women, and the family abusers, and the lowest of the lowly. His love caused him to take the place of everyone, and he died, showing no partiality nor respect of persons, for the sacrifice that he offered up to God, covered the sins of all lost mankind from every age of time, before and after Calvary. As Isaiah was inspired to speak, “Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with is stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Yes, he loved us so much that he took our very faults and failures upon himself and bore the penalty for them to the cross. He bore them in his flesh. His spirit was undefiled. Take his disciples, (the twelve that he chose), if he had looked upon them, with all their faults and failures, the way natural humans look upon each other, (strictly from the standpoint of natural carnal nature), he would have sent every one of them back home. Look what Peter did, denied the Lord and cursed, but Jesus was looking beyond all that to the time when Peter would repent, get hold of himself, and be a genuine instrument in the hands of God. If I had been in the place of Jesus, or maybe some of you, we might have said, “I am done with Peter, a man who acts like that will never be worth anything,” but look what Peter did the moment he heard the cock crow, he went out and wept bitterly. What was he doing? He was repenting. He was not bragging about what he had done. He was crying out from the depths of his soul, OH GOD, FORGIVE ME, I am sorry for denying the best friend I ever had. He never denied him again after that. That doesn’t mean that Peter was free from human faults, but from that time on, we see him in the scriptural records, doing what Jesus had called him to do. On the other hand, if he had failed to repent, and just gone on his merry way, I seriously doubt that Jesus would have sent him word (after his resurrection), that he would meet them in Galilee. These are the things we must look at if we are to get a proper understanding of God’s personal dealings with the individual self that we are. God does not evaluate us on the basis of what we were guilty of doing when we were wallowing in the gutters of sin and debauchery. He evaluates us on our ability to receive truth, love truth, and follow truth. He knows if we will allow truth to have its perfect work in us, we will fulfill his word. 11, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” All of this is attached to the fact that, all other phases of his word are avenues that lead from the hub, which is truth and divine love. It is just like a big old wagon wheel; when you look at that wheel, the hub seems very small, compared to the whole scope of the wheel, but it doesn’t take a person very long to realize that the whole activity and usefulness of that wheel is built around the hub, so is it with love and truth. You may fly around this world a hundred times, and preach to millions, but if the center of it all is not divine love and truth, you are destined to wind up with the feeling that it has all been in vain. When the pressures of this life finally catch up with you, and you come to realize that all you have done has been with a wrong motive, and that you, yourself, do not have that essential ingredient in your own life, what will you do?

SOWING AND REAPING


We have observed through the years, that those who just never seem to get understanding of the true plan and purpose of God, usually just drift along until something grabs their attention and leads them completely away from truth. That kind of thing is not limited to the person who sits out in the pews, it happens to preachers as well. It will happen to anyone who does not cultivate truth. God has a law of sowing and reaping, working in every phase of our life in this earthly journey, and it works the same way as sowing and reaping a natural crop. We sow the seed, we cultivate the soil, and in due time we have a full grown crop, with increase. On the other hand, if we plant seed, (no matter how good the seed may be), and fail to cultivate the soil, you will usually find that the crabgrass and weeds will choke the life right out of your crop, whether it be beans, corn or whatever. Jesus expressed it in the parable of the sower, found in Matthew 13: 18-23, I will not read it all, but the 22nd verse reads like this, “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; (TRUTH) and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” There we see what Jesus said would happen to a person who received truth, and then allowed other things to keep him from following it. Without cultivation, the thorns choked it out, it could not bear fruit. On the other hand, look what he said about the person who received seed in good ground. Remember it is only good ground if it is properly cultivated. That will apply naturally, or spiritually, either one. It applies to both. 23, “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” That brings us to another point in dealing with the Christian life: that is, growth in the realm of the spirit, or spiritual side, but first, let me say this, you will notice that it is necessary for a person to understand truth, in order to grow spiritually. Now, to consider this spiritual growth, it is necessary (when we receive truth), that we cultivate the ground (this physical body), and make it a fit place for truth to abide, and bring forth an increase. When we love truth, and live truth, we gain more truth, and since we know that the scriptures declare that God is love, and God is truth, the more truth we have, the more of God we have, and when we have more of God, we have more of the Godlike kind of love. I will go ahead and say this though, there are some of you who have the idea that a person starts out as a thirtyfold Christian, and works his way up through sixtyfold to become a hundredfold. That is not true at all. A thirtyfold Christian will always be a thirtyfold Christian, and likewise, a sixtyfold will always be a sixtyfold. They will all believe the same doctrine, and the thirtyfold will have the same revelation as the hundredfold, but when it comes to bearing fruit (the fruit of the spirit), you can be sure that they will not bear fruit beyond the measure of the grace of God in their lives, and their ability to see ways to yield themselves unto God. What I am saying is this, the bride of Christ will have thirty, sixty and hundredfold Christians in it, and the hundredfold person will not be any more perfect before God than the thirtyfold, for God will not expect any more from a person than they have the ability to give. What God does require though, is that each one of us yield ourselves unto him according to our ability to do so. That is the reason Jesus said, “Unto whom much is given, much is required.” We must realize that all we are, and all that we have in this life comes from God; therefore we must make the best of what we have, and never find fault with God because we feel that we should have been given more.


MEASURING SPIRITUALITY


Remember, our greatest goal in life should be to have the love of God perfected in us, regardless of our abilities. In the 12th verse of 1 John, chapter 4, where we have been reading John says, “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” That applies to every born again child of God, and it is not hinged on how much ability we may have to bear the fruit of the spirit. It is all hinged on obedience. It is just like the parable of the householder in Matthew, chapter 20; the laborers which were hired early in the morning had the opportunity and responsibility of working a full day, and were required to do so. On the other hand, the laborers which ere hired at the eleventh hour only had opportunity to work one hour, but that is all that was required of the; their reward was the same as all the others. They did all that they were expected to do; therefore they received equal reward, and because they received the same as all the others, some of the first bunch complained, but the householder replied that he had paid every one of them all that they had any right to expect. I find the same grumbling among Christians. Some who have been Christians for years seem to feel that they have seniority rights with God, and many times they just cannot understand how God can bestow upon a new Christian, the same gifts and benefits that they have. Instead of rejoicing because another soul has received the grace of God, many times such people will feel hurt. Brothers and sisters: that kind of attitude is carnal. Such a person ought to realize that they are actually finding fault with the Holy Ghost when they act like that. As I said earlier, some of those same people measure the spirituality of others by how much they jump, shout, dance, and speak in tongues. You will hear them say, “Bro. Or sister so and so is not very spiritual, you never see them do anything.” They seem to feel that if a person is not doing something all the time, they are just not spiritual. I would hate to think that God measured his children like that. I love to see people get happy and dance, shout, or anything else that God would be in, but that is not God’s yardstick for measuring spirituality. If God measured people like that, then he would have caused every revelation that has been restored back to the church, to come through the snake handlers; they play with snakes, lay on the floor, climb the walls, jump, dance and shout all night long, but tell me, what revelation has been restored to the church through them? You will find that spirituality lies within the life of those who are consistent in the life they live, and how they treat the word of God. Some of the time they may shout, but there may be a lot of times that they will not. We ought to learn to appreciate what God does for others, just as much as we do, what he does for us, and vice versa. I am aware of what happens to a true revelation many times, when it winds up in the midst of a people that has not learned how to conduct themselves. They will wreck it up just like a bunch of six year old’s playing with a new car out here on the highway. Before long it is so battered up that it is hard to recognize.


AS HE IS SO ARE WE


May God bless you now, as we try to bring this little message to a close. I hope that it has helped some of you to see that divine love and truth cannot be separated, for, as we said in the beginning, if you try to separate them, to take one without the other, you do not have either one. We will move on down to verse 16, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love: and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” Seeing that verse in its true meaning, we will have to say, if a soul is truly dwelling in the love of God, and God in him, then you can be sure of one thing; that soul is yearning for the truth of God’s word. 17, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” How is he? We cannot read that verse without this question coming to our minds, but first let us see who John is writing to, then we will consider the part of, how he is, and whether it applies to us or not. Let us go back to the gospel of John where I will read 4 verses from the 17th chapter. Remember, Jesus is praying to the Father (the great eternal spirit), right before he entered the garden where he was arrested. We hear him in verse 6, saying, “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy WORD. 8, For I have given unto them WORDS which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.” In these verses we find out what he has manifested to those whom the Father had given unto him, (his name and his words), and that they received his words. Then in verse 17, we find him saying “Sanctify them through thy TRUTH: THY WORD IS TRUTH.” From these verses we learn that Jesus has manifested the Father’s name to a number of disciples which were chosen before, and that he has committed the Father’s words unto them, and they have received them, and that those words were truth that would sanctify them. Now that we know what THEY received, and we know beyond any shadow of doubt that the prayers of Jesus were answered, let us see if it applies to us. Verse 20, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which S-H-A-L-L BELIEVE on me through THEIR WORD.” Now with these things in mind, let us turn back to 1 John 2:21, where John says, “I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.” In this we see that John is writing to people who know the truth, the unadulterated truth that was preached to the disciples of that first age. Therefore, if you believe that truth, (as they preached it), and you are abiding in that truth, then the things that John wrote to believers is for you. Let us read a few verses from chapter 3, “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2, Beloved now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” Notice this next verse now. 3, “And EVERY MAN (PERSON), that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”


SONS OF GOD – WHEN?


Remember now, John did not write that letter to carnal church members. They have no part in it. This letter is written to the only kind of Christians that John knew anything about, namely, those who received, loved, and abided in truth. To him, there was no other kind of Christians. Therefore, “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Jesus sought to walk in the perfect will of God, by allowing the word of God to live and dwell, and flow through him. He said nothing of himself, only the will of God. This then, caused him to be the WORD lived and expressed in human flesh, and through human flesh. As he is so are we in this world. Are we ready to try and make an application of what we have been studying? Suppose you go to one of these charismatic meetings where you have Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, and on and on we could go naming denominations that would be represented in such a gathering. We know that those who enjoy these meetings, all believe in divine healing, receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and speaking in tongues as the evidence that they have received. In those things they can usually agree, but you let some person stand up in one of their meetings, and start preaching Jesus’ name baptism in water, or the oneness of the Godhead, and ever so many other Bible doctrines that we could mention, you would have a fight on your hands. You would hear them screaming, “That is of the devil, throw him out, all he does is cause trouble and division.” Then you would have some preacher stand up, when things have quieted down enough and say, “Now brothers and sisters, we may not all believe the same, doctrinally, but that is not the important thing; what really matters is that we all love each other, for God is love.” Tell me, can you apply what John taught to such a people as that? You know you cannot. Ask yourself this question, is Jesus the Christ of this confusion? If we are to be like him, what will he be like when he comes? Out of all those denominations, who can tell me which one of them Jesus is like? “Beloved, NOW ARE WE THE SONS OF GOD.” Remember, God’s family is not divided up into groups, some believing one thing, and others something else; they are all one, with one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18, There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” When people reach a true understanding of what truth is, and how to allow truth to take their lives and cultivate in them the life of Christ, God’s love is thereby perfected.


TWO SPIRITS – ONE RIGHT – ONE WRONG


All this fuss about doctrine has caused many preachers to stop preaching and teaching doctrine altogether, but I preach it, because doctrine is to the word of God, what steel framework is to a tall building. What did Isaiah have to say about how the Jewish nation would be, leading right up to the first advent of Christ? Remember, Isaiah prophesied these things more than 700 years before Christ, but listen to verses 8, 9 of the 28th chapter. “For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean. Whom shall he teach knowledge? And who shall he make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.” In other words, doctrine is to be taught to those who have a desire to grow up in God. Is that not what the apostle Paul taught in Hebrews? Is that now what he taught to the Ephesians? Paul knew how to feed milk to a new convert, but after they had been converted for a while, he intended to feed them some meat of the gospel. In this day and how when the spirit of antichrist is working right in this message of truth, taking statements, phrases, and quotes, and promoting this love for the brethren, many people are being drawn away from the truth, because that spirit is so close to the truth that they have not stopped to consider the difference. Some of them are trying to use the same love that the prophet messenger to this age, projected to the denominations, to accomplish the same thing, but it is for self, and not for God. That is why I have said before, and will say again, the true children of God will understand the message, and because they understand it, they will see the right spirit, and they will love one another with the right spirit. You watch what happens where quotes and statements are pushed at people continually. You will see friction that will cause division, and form little clans, that, in the end, God will scatter them just like chaff in the wind. I do not want to be caught as chaff. I want my soul to be anchored in the word of God. Brothers and sisters: in closing, I just want to say once again, let us love God with all our hearts, and love each other with an unselfish love, giving truth an opportunity to work its perfect work in us, and before very much longer, he will come and catch us away for the marriage supper. Amen

 

The Apostle’s Office, Part 3

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

 

We are entering into the 3rd part of our message, hoping that we can say something that will help clear up much of the misunderstanding that is associated with the late ministry of God’s prophet messenger to this age, Bro. William Marrion Branham. In the 1st part, we established, by the scriptures, that this age of grace to the Gentiles started with apostles, and certainly, the scriptures will testify to the fact that it will end with the apostolic ministry that God has set in the church for the perfecting of the saints, in the lead.

Through the seven church ages since the day of Pentecost, the gospel has been subjected to every kind of a spirit that Satan was capable of sending forth. It was because of Satan’s attack against truth, that God sent His prophet, to this age. His ministry was a unique one, for he was charged with the responsibility of calling God’s people out of the many denominations that they were scattered through as a result of Satan’s attack against truth. He fulfilled his part, as he traveled around this world, preaching a message that would have the effect of turning the people of God back to the gospel, as it was declared by the apostles. The sad part is that most of those who were called from these systems are just as confused now as they were then, yet, they will say that they have been turned back to the faith of the fathers. I find that rather strange, knowing that the apostles of the first age all believed the same way.

 

ACCOUNT OF GENTILES RECEIVING GOSPEL

In part 1, we spoke of how God dealt with the apostle Peter through a vision, to get him to unlock the kingdom of God for the Gentiles. Upon returning to Jerusalem, he was confronted by the other apostles and brethren who said, you went in to men who are uncircumcised, and did eat with them. In other words, they began to contend with him because he had gone contrary to their former customs. (The leading of the spirit of God will always cross over our traditions.) Peter seized the opportunity to tell them how God had showed him, (by a vision), that he should not call anyone common or unclean, that he, (God), had cleansed. He rehearsed the whole matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them. He told them all of the details of how God had led him to the household of Cornelius, the Roman centurion, to preach the gospel unto them. He told of how the Holy Ghost fell upon those Gentiles while he was preaching to them. The he asked the question, “What was I, that I could withstand God, seeing that he gave them the same gift, as he did us, in the beginning?” He reminded them that he had taken six brethren with him, who would testify to the things that had taken place. Upon hearing those things, the brethren held their peace, and glorified God, saying, “Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” This is how men who are genuinely filled with the Holy Ghost will respond to a true witness. If they had not responded in such a way, there would have been trouble in the church at Jerusalem for sure. It was quite different in that day, than what we find in our day. Those men were not trying to prove to anyone, how much they knew. They were interested in one thing. That was to please God in all that they did. No one was trying to make a name for themselves, for we see in the Bible that they moved, as they were led by the Holy Ghost. It was the Holy Ghost that directed their activity, and caused that apostles’ office to hold authority over the word of God. It was that office that Satan attacked, for he knew, if he could destroy that office of authority, he would really have things going his way, for an apostle is just like a police chief, or fire chief. Anyone can recognize that a policeman, or a fireman is what they are, regardless of the rank they hold within their department, but it is the rank they hold that reveals their authority to direct the affairs of their particular outfit. That is exactly why God placed within the church, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. He knew that there would need to be some offices of authority to direct and lead the people of God as Satan sought to destroy them, through the ages. These men were all different. They each had their individual makeup. Their personalities were different, and their offices within the body of Christ were different, but they all believed the same thing. There were no divisions among them. Every last one of them believed in baptism by immersion, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They all believed in the Holy Ghost experience. They all had the same revelation of the Godhead. They believed in the same holy walk of life, and death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They believed that he was born of a virgin birth, and that He was going to return again. They also believed that He was going to rule and reign on earth.

 

PLAYING WITH THE GOSPEL

It was when men began to play with the word of God as time progressed, that the true revelation began to be perverted. In that first church age, it was not permitted, that every kind of a preacher that might come along, get involved in trying to explain, and teach the word of God. No, it lay within the ranks of those men who held an office of authority, to do the teaching.

I do not say these things to try and puff myself up, or anyone else, but we are living in that much talked about, year of 1977, and it seems that just about everyone, is trying to be a voice. Each man seems to have his own revelation of how things are supposed to be. Some will come out alright, but I want you to know that, not everyone is going to come out alright, for some will sink with their revelation, and take others with them. The year is almost past, and I am sure that when it is over, and the events of it have become history, there will be a great host of people left with nothing to hold on to. Some of them, who are honest hearted, and just been led wrong, will repent and apologize for their carnal ways in the past, but there will, no doubt, be a great number who will go back to the world, and turn completely against all that they formerly stood for. That is the tragedy of setting dates for God to do certain things. If it doesn’t happen according to the projection, it usually always leaves a group of people confused, dissatisfied, their confidence destroyed, and with nothing to turn to. There is, however, something taking place in this year of 1977, and the history that is written in 1978, will record the events of it all.

 

TYPE OF SEVEN CHURCH AGES

I want to reflect back to something that I mentioned earlier. It concerns the six brethren that accompanied Peter to the house of Cornelius. These six, along with Peter, made SEVEN. Where did they go? Into the house of Gentiles. This set a perfect type. As the gospel would come in its completeness, over to the Gentiles, there would be seven Gentile ages, and there would be seven messengers. We find this number of men represented in the events recorded through the 19, 20, 21st chapters of Acts, but aside from that, and the account of Cornelius receiving the gospel, there is no other place throughout the book of Acts where that number of men was ever represented. It was not like that when Peter and John went down to Samaria, or when Barnabas went to Antioch, for their ministry was not designed to set a type. But it was when Peter was led by God, to go completely contrary to his Jewish nature, that we see such a thing.

 

GOD IS LOOKING FOR OBEDIENCE

It had come time for God to give His precious word to some Gentiles. Brother, he wanted it to go, through an office of authority, and Peter was the man that was to be used. He had stood for the word of God through the months, and years, (since his conversion), in the streets of Jerusalem, in the face of much criticism and persecution. He had been thrown in jail for what he stood for, and been delivered from the jail by an angel. His Jewish nature, (as was portrayed in the vision), was as carnal as carnal could be, but that did not change his office, and God overrode that carnal nature in order to use his office, because he had a loyal spirit about him. He loved that gospel truth. In the light of what we know about God and his works, we would have to say, “God doesn’t need help, all He needs is believing hearts, receptive minds, and obedience.” When God finds a person who has a believing heart, and a receptive mind, He can do anything through that person.

 

GENTILE NATURE IS PAGAN

Now, just for a moment, to show you what the Gentile nature was like, and for the most part, still is, as soon as Peter entered the house of Cornelius, that Gentile was ready to fall down on his face and worship him, all because an angel had appeared to him and instructed him to send for Peter, who would tell him what to do. That was a Gentile’s nature in that hour. Anyone they believed to be associated with deity in any way, they were ready to fall down and worship that person. This was the case with Cornelius, but Peter took him up, and said, “Stand up, I myself am a man also.”

Just to show you that God does not need help, I want to call your attention to how He worked His plan on this occasion. I am sure Peter must have been wondering as he stood there preaching to those Gentiles, just how are we going to do this? He knew how they had done it at Samaria, and how they had been doing it at Jerusalem, but this was different. These people were Gentiles. God just overrode his nature, and filled those Gentiles with the Holy Ghost while he was still preaching to them. He did not have to make an altar call for those who wanted to be filled with the Holy Ghost. God filled every one of them as they opened up their spirit to him. You will notice that the Holy Ghost fell on all them which HEARD . . . the word. I believe that implies more than just hearing the words from Peter’s mouth with their natural ears. I am speaking of the account as recorded in Acts 10, and particularly to the 44th verse. Brothers and Sisters: I do not believe that apostle had any trouble recognizing what was happening to those people as they began to shake and speak with other tongues. He certainly did not instruct the other six to jump in there and pray with them, or to pat them on the cheeks and try to help them speak, as we see it done in our day. If Jimmy Swaggart had been there, he would have been encouraging them to send for his record which would teach them what they ought to know. God doesn’t need any of that to fill His people with the Holy Ghost. I know that some of you are saying, “That Raymond Jackson’s church doesn’t believe in any manifestations at all.” You are wrong. I want you to know that before you get out of here, you are going to need some kind of a manifestation, but you will never judge me, nor the gospel that I preach, by how high I can kick my heels, or how I climb the walls, nor by how much I scream and yell. You just do not judge the scriptures like that. I do not say these things to be funny, nor to make fun of anyone, but there is a lot going on among the ranks of those who are supposed to be men of God, that just does not measure up with the scriptures. They may send you a charismatic course on record and such like, to teach you how to speak in tongues, but they can not give you the Holy Ghost. I know that most of you who are on our mailing list would not participate in anything like that, but there are some of you who still support the people who do, by sending them offerings and ordering their literature. Nevertheless, in spite of all this, God’s elect is getting through all this and finding the real thing. That is why I keep saying, “If they are getting the real thing, they will not stop until the gospel net gets them and leads them to a proper revelation of the word of God.”

 

EVERY MAN TO HIS CALLING

Praise God, I can hear old Peter, as he observed what was happening to those Gentiles that day, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” Peter recognized what God was doing, and he did not try to stop them from speaking in tongues to rush them down to the water hole. He just waited until things leveled off, and then he took them all to the water hole and baptized them. Each man, (in that first age), who had an office to fulfill, remained faithful to that calling. None of them tried to make of himself something more than he was called to be. Neither did they covet the other man’s office or become jealous. When Phillip went down to Samaria and watered the seed that Jesus sowed that day, as he spoke to the woman at the well, he saw a great move of the spirit of God, with many miracles, but he knew where his ministry should stop. As we said earlier in this article, that is when he called for those apostles to come down, and lay hands on the people that they might receive the Holy Ghost. Phillip did not take it upon himself to fulfill the part that God was using the apostles to establish. I realize that, as time moved on, and those early apostles passed off the scene, God still filled people with the Holy Ghost, but the point I am desiring to establish is this, it is not the will of God for all men to run everywhere, playing with the revelation of the plan of God. If we believe that God sent a prophet to this age to get us back in the word of God, then it behooves us to take stock of the order that God used, in that age, that established the gospel, that we are to be turned back to. In that age, the apostles held a line on the revelation of the word, and that produced harmony among the believers. Therefore, good common sense ought to teach us that, we, in this age, will never have the kind of unity and harmony, that will be acceptable to God, until we get back to the place of recognizing and giving place to God’s ordained ministry. It will take the office of an apostle to get this end time message straightened up and fed to the saints sufficiently to produce that harmony. That does not make the man who holds that office a bit better, in the sight of God, than the least among the saints, as far as the human side goes, but the office is to be recognized and given place in the body. I am not pleading with you to give place for these offices. God has already set them in the church for the perfecting of the saints. I am merely reminding you that you are not going to progress any further in the plan and purpose of God until you bring your life in line with the ministry of this late hour.

 

ORDER IN THE CHURCH

I will remind you of something that you may read in the 14th chapter of I Corinthians if you wish. This particular writing was necessitated by the fact that certain ones had began to get little ideas and revelations, and spread them through the church, to the extent that the church had gotten in a mixed up mess. This was just seven years after the church was established. We find the apostle Paul writing to them, explaining the gifts of the spirit, and the operation of such gifts. He explains to them what proper conduct, and order in the church is to be like. You will notice that I said ORDER IN THE CHURCH, and not CHURCH ORDER, there is a great difference. Now, when we get down to the 37th verse, we find him saying, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, OR SPIRITUAL, let him acknowledge that the things I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” Paul did not have the right to challenge any man’s call of God, for it was Paul himself, who said, God has set in the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, who had said, “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? All workers of miracles?” etc. etc. It was he, who said, “Who is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man.” Therefore, we can see that the apostle to the Gentiles was not trying to establish a one man route. He just wanted all men, everywhere, to know that you just do not play with the revelation of God like children playing with toys. That is the way a lot of people are doing in this age. They will believe certain things for a while, then they will throw them down and look for something else to play with for a while. That proves that they do not have a revelation, when they just play around with the word of God. That revelated word has life, and when that life comes to an individual, it gets rid of those playful ideas and causes that person to become serious about the word of God. Those early Christians received revelation of God that they were willing to die for if necessary, and many of them did have to die for their faith, but God gave them grace to die with. Those martyrs have a special crown awaiting them.

 

LOYALTY OF GOD’S TRUE MINISTRY

We will get back to the apostle Paul, who stood so staunchly for the word in his day. He did not have to take 2nd place to any man’s ministry. He held a tight line on the word as long as he lived. I will say also, that as long as there was one of those apostles of that first age, alive, they maintained an image of loyalty and respect, and held to a consistency of revelation that we will say, rode herd on, or kept a straight line on the word of God. In the face of hard trials and testings, those men remained loyal and true, and their revelation was unwavering. You take the apostle John, who was placed out on the isle of Patmos, because of the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, by 96 A.D., he may have been gray headed, or bald, wrinkle faced, and hump shouldered. In other words, physically, he might not have been in very good shape, but he had a good spiritual insight. Though the devil tried to shut him up by placing him out there on that island, God took the occasion to show him things that became the last supernatural revelation the church received, until a few short years ago. Through the revelation that God gave to John, the seven churches of Asia were exemplifying the spirits that would project through the grace age, (the seven church ages), was brought to light. Those churches had been in existence about 40 years, by that time, and we find, in the letters written to the individual churches, that God found quite a few things wrong with them. We can see from those letters, where the churches had drifted to. That will help us to understand the importance of that apostolic office, by observing the condition of those churches, so soon after the apostles had passed from the scene.

 

THE REFORMERS – HOW THEY CAME TO BE SUCH

We will try now to bring the message up to our present day setting. Down through the ages, God has had a man in every age that has been dealt with in a special way. The man himself, did not have to try to make himself anything. No, if you will study the life of the men that God has called, through the ages, to stand for truth, you will find that the man had quite a struggle with himself. Until Luther started preaching what he did, he had a terrible struggle with himself. His struggle was because he had a deep longing in his soul to find a closer walk with God. He wasn’t even trying to be a reformer. That thought had not even entered his mind. He just knew that he must find some peace in his soul, and he did not have the least idea where to look for what he needed, but the great God that had put hunger in his soul, spoke to him in a special way, “Martin Luther, the just shall live by faith.” From that time forth, Martin Luther, searched the scriptures. There was no more self condemnation because of being sick of the system that was holding him in bondage. There was no more wondering if the system could be right, and all the fault was with him. Now he was finding, (in the scriptures), what his soul had been searching for so long. There might have been other monks who could have quoted more scripture, or prayed the rosary better, or held higher rank, and would have enjoyed being made somebody, but God chose Luther. What Luther found in the word of God, gave him the peace that he had searched so desperately for. As a matter of fact, every man that ever got anything from God had to go to the scriptures to find it. When Luther made his soul satisfying search of the scriptures, it automatically put him in line to be a reformer; he could no longer hold his peace, and go along with the system. When he began to speak the move was on.

When you read the story of the life of John Wesley, you will discover that he was not trying to be the messenger to an age. All he wanted was to be a missionary to some poor Indians, but in tying to be that, he had a terrible battle with himself. He had a hard time getting them to listen to him. He went back home, feeling so miserable and dejected, in his rejection, but then, he had an experience that changed his whole life. He described it as the inpouring of assurance that God, for Christ’s sake, had forgiven him all his sins. It was so vividly impressed on his consciousness that he could tell the very moment when it happened, “about a quarter before nine,” on May 24, 1738. Thereafter, his doubts and fears, and inner conflicts, gave way to the inexhaustible confidence with which he preached the gospel. After that experience, his soul was so aflame, that he could not help but be what God had ordained him to be.

 

NO ONE UNDERSTANDS

When we come on up to the last church age messenger, (the messenger to this age), Bro. William Marrion Branham, we find the same thing. He did not have to try to make something of himself. His early childhood was a struggle, and as he grew up, he had a constant battle with himself. Feeling rejected and out of place with just about everyone that he ever tried to associated with while growing up, because of not being able to do the things that they would do, without that constant reminder of the wind sound in the tree, he felt like a black sheep. His confession was, that, “no one understands me, and I do not understand myself.” Certainly, he had no thoughts of every being a church age messenger, much less a prophet, but God works in strange and mysterious ways to accomplish His wonderful purpose. Bro. Branham’s peculiar life was such, because God was molding his life to fulfill a very important office. God works circumstances to get His chosen men in the place of their calling. We all know that Bro. Branham was no exception to that, for we have read, and heard his testimony of the moving of God in his life. He came on the scene, and his life and ministry was used by God to pull down many of Satan’s strongholds, while calling the people of God out of Babylon. Now he has left the scene, to return no more until the apostles Paul, Peter, James, John and all the rest return; even in spite of the hopes that so many of his followers still hold for his special resurrection. His ministry, and calling of God, was to turn a people back to the apostolic way that the Bible teaches. We would have to say that he fulfilled that calling. There is a people on the earth today that has been turned back to the Bible, but the greater percentage of the people that followed his ministry have given themselves over to a spirit that is more deadly than the one they were delivered from. Idolatry, after having heard the truth, is worse than the pagan practices we were mixed up in before. Nevertheless, Bro. Branham, cannot be blamed for that any more than the apostle Paul can be blamed for the Nicea Council, and Roman Catholicism, that came out of it. A man can only do what he is called to do. Bro. Branham was not called to hold a line on the word throughout the rest of the grace age, His calling was to deliver a message that the five fold ministry would stand by, as the age closes out. It will be that ministry, that holds the true revelation for the bride of Christ.

 

BOOK OF ACTS NOT COMPLETED

The bride will accept the biblical five fold ministry in the end time, but she is the only people who will. She will love it, hunger for it, and cherish it. She will delight in the office of an apostle to guide her through her testings, but the movement that follows the messenger to this age, will never accept any man as an apostle. It wouldn’t matter if he was 7 foot, 2 inches tall, with a degree a mile lone, that movement will never accept an apostle’s office. You ask why? It is because they are just like all other systems. They put a period at the end of what Bro. Branham said, just like every denomination did when their leader passed on. That closes the book for them. What they fail to realize is, that the messenger to the age was to put us back in the Bible, and especially, back in the book of Acts, which is still an open book. You will not find any, Amen, where the book of Acts leaves off in the Bible. That is because God has not finished writing the Acts of the apostles. That is why I say that it will take the office of an apostle to straighten this message out, and the five fold ministry to preach it, for those who follow the system that has formed from this message, have perverted and polluted it beyond recognition.

 

THE WORLD KNOWS

No sooner had God taken His messenger off the scene, than men began to rise up and play with the message that he delivered to this age, as I said earlier; just like children playing with toys. I have accepted the fact, to a point, that God permitted this, and I will tell you why. At least, (by men being allowed to run all over the world, preaching the prophet, instead of the prophet’s message), the world has been testified to, that God sent a prophet to this age, Now the world is without an excuse. God wanted that done, for as I have said before, so say I again, the living element of the bride of Christ will not leave here in the rapture to meet the Lord in the air, before she knows that God has fulfilled again, Malachi 4:5-6, having sent that Elijah spirit. Some of you are bound to say, “that is being too dogmatic.” I say, it isn’t being dogmatic, it is being scripturally sensible. Let us be practical, or maybe I should say let us be scriptural. You will have to agree with me, that everyone in the first church age knew that God had sent a man by the name of John, but you will also have to agree that those apostles did not go around preaching about John. They put the message of John in its proper place, and preached Jesus Christ. Take, for instance, the account we read in Acts, chapter 19, where the apostle Paul goes to Ephesus, and found certain disciples there. These were men who had become disciples the year before, as a result of the ministry of Apollos, another Jew. He had come from Alexander, Egypt, up to Ephesus the year before, and now Paul comes along and find twelve men that Apollos had baptized. Naturally, Apollos was preaching John’s message at that time. That message was to get men to believe on the Christ that was to come. There they were, sitting there at Ephesus, waiting for Christ to come. Then there came another Jew by the name of Paul. I want you to notice how that apostle’s office straightened up those men in their revelation, and baptized them properly. Notice the first question Paul put to them, verse 2, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” When they confessed that they had not even heard of the Holy Ghost, Paul responded, by saying to them, (3) “UNTO WHAT THEN WERE YOU BAPTIZED?” This question opened up their experience to Paul, for they answered, “UNTO JOHN’S BAPTISM.” This apostle was getting right to the point with them. We learned from the previous chapter, that a Jew, named Aquila, and his wife, Priscilla, had taken Apollos unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. In other words, they had straightened up the revelation that Apollos had, but they did not take it upon themselves to say anything to his disciples. They left them alone. Now we find the apostle Paul on the scene, ready to straighten up their revelation. He said, (4) “John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. (5) When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Did you notice, as we read those verses, there is no indication of any kind of a struggle. When the apostle had properly instructed them, they were baptized, and then he laid hands on them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost, speaking tongues, and prophesying. Now there are twelve men in Ephesus who are filled with the Holy Ghost, and have a right revelation of the message for their age. All they needed was proper instruction in the word. They did not hold on to John after more truth came. You will also notice, that Paul did not try to discredit John. He knew exactly who John was, and what his ministry fulfilled. But he pointed those men past John, so they could see Jesus, the one that John was preparing a people for. The messenger is not the message. I know there are a lot of people in our day who will tell you that the message is William Marrion Branham, but I am here to tell you that the message is the same one Peter and Paul preached. The difference is in the season. Those apostles lived in the sowing season, and now we are living in the season for harvesting the crop. I will quickly add this, though, the next order of business is for some people to get their revelation straightened out. It is a matter of getting back in step.

 

SCATTERING THE CHURCH – FULFILLED THE COMMISSION

For the last twelve years, since Bro. Branham’s death, certain men have run all over the world preaching the prophet, rather than the prophet’s message. I have heard many of them, listened to their sermons, and I believe many of them are sincere in what they are doing, but they are out of step. They want the world to know who Bro. Branham was, and that they knew him personally. They have almost given the name of Jesus, second place. Nevertheless, it is all serving a purpose in the plan of God. Take, for instance, the commission that Jesus gave to His disciples. He told them to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Now tell me, did they go as a result of Him telling them to do it? No, they did not, they all stayed right there at Jerusalem where He told them to begin. The church at Jerusalem was growing by leaps and bounds, but no one was planning any missionary trips. What was taking place at Jerusalem was a wonderful picture, but God saw that none of them would take any steps to fulfill the rest of the commission unless He did something. Do you know what He did? He let one, from the ranks of their leaders, get martyred, and great persecution come against the church. That is when they began to scatter. We read in Acts 8:4, “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the gospel.” There had to be a reason for them to leave Jerusalem. The great persecution furnished them with a reason to go, and as they went, the world received the gospel. I wonder what the picture would be like here in our day, if God had let everything continue to run smoothly, with all of us, and we had stayed in the same frame of thinking for the past twelve years. There would be scores of us here in Clark County, with the rest of the world virtually untouched by the message of God’s prophet.

 

SEPARATING – SPIRITS

Listen carefully to what I am going to say now, do not run ahead of me. I believe God has allowed these men to run everywhere, preaching the prophet, first of all, to catch the attention of the world, and cause them to know that God HAS sent a prophet to this age. Then, secondly, it has turned loose all of those spirits, and put them in circulation. They will serve as a separating factor. There has to be a separator in motion, to fulfill something else that Jesus said. He said that only a few would find that strait and narrow way that leads to life. I will have to say also, that of all the time that men have been playing with the gospel, God has been marking time. (God is the time keeper, you know. He is the one that actually closes the curtain on an age, and opens up another.) Now, by the time we reach the place in God’s plan, for the five fold ministry to come fully, on the scene, there will have to have been the office of an apostle established and recognized. If there is going to be a five fold ministry, that office has to be there. It is not an office to be coveted, but if God has laid that calling upon a person, He will work circumstances to manifest it, for the benefit of those who are looking for such a ministry.

 

LETTERS OF THANKS

I have told the dreams that God has used to guide my thinking over these past years, and I have received much criticism because of it. Nevertheless, through the years that we have been publishing the Contender, we have been able to print articles that have served to stabilize, and establish many people. I have sacks full of letters that have come in from all over the world expressing gratitude for these articles, that have guided them in their search for truth. Many of them just simply say, “thank you for helping us better understand the message.”

 

CONSISTENCY PAYS DIVIDENDS

While some were running everywhere preaching church order, I just endeavored to keep order in Faith Assembly. While others were preaching the seven thunders, I have been waiting for the time when the thunders will truly be sounded. There have been others declaring for over eleven years now, that Jesus is off the mercy seat, and there can not be anyone else saved; yet those same people still claim to be preaching the gospel. How foolish can anyone be? That is just plain childish to talk like that. I know it has only been because of the grace and mercy of God that has kept me from drifting into some of this, and I thank God for it, often.

Many of the people that have broken fellowship with me because of my uncompromising stand on these issues, have been people that I had a great love and respect for over the years, but I always try to remind myself that Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword,”(Matthew 10:34). As I began to hear these various things that were so contrary to what God had taught me from His word, I said, “Lord, if this call on my life is of you, then, I ask you to bear witness to it, but if it is not, then, wrap me up and ship me off some place to get me out of the way. There is too much going on already.” But down through the years God has enabled my soul to see things out of His word, that has not only helped to keep myself stabilized, but also has helped others who were saying, “God, there has to be an answer somewhere, to all of this foolishness.”

 

GOD TALKS TO MY SOUL

When others were preaching, BRANHAM . . . BRANHAM . . . BRO. BRANHAM said this, and BRO. BRANHAM said that; they said I had quit preaching the message, because I would not do that. I am glad, and deeply grateful that I was privileged to hear a man named William Branham that preached to me out of the Bible, for he made the Jesus of that Bible to have the preeminence. I believe the spirit of Jesus Christ lives in my soul, according to the gospel I heard that little man preach. He put me back in a book, (the Bible), and out of that book, God talks to my soul. I know also, that he was the messenger to this age, but when God took him from the scene, I realized that a person cannot stand and look at a tombstone, and get anywhere with God. A person must have the abiding presence of the great God that Bro. Branham preached about in order to keep stable when everything around you seems to be falling apart. Those disciples which stood looking up toward heaven after Jesus had been taken from them had to have something to take over. There had to be something within them that would take over, or they would have kept standing there looking up, probably saying, “Oh, I wish He would come back.” Do you know what they had within them? They had the words of Jesus ringing in their soul, “Wait in Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high, (the promise of the Father, which is the Holy Ghost), then you can be witnesses of these things that you have seen and heard.” That is the reason so many are experiencing defeat in these days. All they have to hold to is some statements made by God’s prophet. He did not tell them to hold those statements above the word of God, but they have; to their hurt. For over eleven years, many of them have been saying, “God will no longer speak by prophecy, nor by tongues and interpretation, nor by dreams, for the interpreter is no longer with us.” They have, (as I said earlier), preached that Jesus is off the mercy seat, that the 7th seal is already opened, that we no longer need the gifts, and such like, but now it seems that, (some of them at least), are beginning to see the error of their ways, and we thank God for it. I do believe that these people that have been so strong against the gifts of the spirit operating in the church, for the past 12 years, are going to be required, (by God), to go to the people that they have stood in the way of, and say, “Dear brother, Dear sister: I am sorry that I have hindered your spiritual growth for so many years, please forgive me this wrong.”

 

1977 – THEN WHAT?

I believe there is going to be a need for some apologizing when the year of 1977 has come and gone, and those who have held so staunchly to the statements that all will be over by 1977, are still here, and the year of 1978 has been ushered in. I wonder what some of these people are going to hold to then? Will they admit the error of their ways, or will they go on to destruction? Some of them are beginning to change their ideas about the 70 weeks of Daniel. It is strange how time changes things, but I always did say, “If given enough time, God will reveal who, or what, is right, and likewise, who, and what is wrong.” God, (in time), is going to wear some things, and some people out. God, (in time), is going to cause some people to want HIS . . word. He will create a necessity in their lives, that will be resolved by nothing less than THE WORD OF GOD . . . He will create a hunger in their souls that will cause them to cry unto Him for every true ministry that there is around. By that time they will no longer be children playing with the message, neither will they want to hear anyone who is limited to saying, Bro. Branham said this and that. Bro. Branham would have been the first to say that a thing like that is childish, if he could have. He would have said, “Read what Paul said in 1 Corinthians chapters 1:3 ” who is Paul, who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you have believed. Was Paul crucified for you, or were you baptized in his name?”” The obvious conclusion is that, these men were lifting up the name of Jesus Christ as the answer to peoples need. Likewise, Bro. Branham spent his whole ministry lifting up the name of Jesus, and while doing so he brought a message to the world that was destined to be the last message to this age. The true ministry will take that message, and lead the people of God right back to the Bible with it. But the rest will run with statements until there is no place left to run.

 

SEVENTIETH WEEK

During the course of Bro. Branham’s ministry, he touched every major doctrine of the Bible, but practically every major point of doctrine of mystery was spoken in plural language. Take for instance, the 70 weeks of Daniel. I happen to know that, before he ever preached the original 70 weeks of Daniel message, he leaned toward the idea of there being only three and one half years left, of the seventieth week. I remember one time while we were out rabbit hunting, he brought the subject up. I did not mention it. As a matter of fact, until that time, I had never even made a study of the subject. Nevertheless, for some reason, he made the remark that there was only 3½ years left. At the time, I did not think too much about it, but after quite some time had elapsed, I became interested in the subject, and sat down to prayerfully study it. I began to pray, asking God to make this thing known unto me. About that time, I happened to fall in line to receive some history books. Using those books, along with the Bible, I began to compile history and time factors, working them together, until I was completely satisfied that there had to be a full week left of the seventy weeks. That, of course, meant 7 years instead of 3½ years, but I thought to myself, “Now wait a minute, he is God’s prophet, and he has said there is only 3½ years left. I will not say anything contrary to that.” Do you think, I carried that in my heart until the time when he preached on the 70 weeks as a subject, how it made me feel when he proved by the scriptures, that there had to be a full 7 years left to the Jews. Not just 3½, but 7 years. I said, “Praise God, I am not crazy after all.” But then, we sat there through that wonderful week, while he brought to us, the revelation of the seals, and during that time he made reference to the seventieth week of Daniel, saying, that there was only 3½ years left. I thought to myself, “Oh, my, what in the world has happened now?” I knew that he had leaned to that previously, but, after proving by the scriptures that there was still 7 years left, I could not understand him saying 3½ again. Then some brother from down south wrote the question, asking Bro. Branham, if he had not taught that there is still 7 years left to the Jews. Bro. Branham answered that brother’s question by telling him that he must have got a little mixed up on what he had said. If that brother was mixed up on what he had said, then those who printed the book of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel, teaching, were mixed up too, for you will find it right in there, laid perfectly in line with the scriptures. I am not pointing out these things to find fault with God’s prophet. I believe he did exactly what he was called to do. God allowed these dual statements to be made, in order to set in motion, all of those contrary spirits, that will serve as a separating factor to shake the rotten fruit off the tree.

 

WHAT THE MINISTRY IS FOR

If there is a brother who would criticize me for pointing out these dual statements, I want to say this to you, I am doing it for the benefit of those dear people who have honestly studied the messages of Bro. Branham, desiring to find the truth, and having read these various statements that are contrary, one to the other; do not know which one is right. Not every one who desires to follow truth is able to take the scriptures and search out these things without some help. That is what the ministry is for, to help people get their lives in line with the word of God. I do not claim that knowing the right version of these many dual statements is essential, to make it in the rapture, but I do claim that our understanding of the truth, in its restorational revelation is essential to bring about the unity and understanding between brethren, that the Lord requires. Many of you will remember that I said, over 11 years ago, when God took his prophet off the scene, and all these conflicting ideas began to be circulated, that it is possible we could all be wrong, but it is impossible for all of us to be right. That is why we have had to wait for time itself to prove the right or wrong of statements, as well as people. I say, God willed the man to speak in these plural terms, for He knew that there would be carnal minds that would feed and live off of these things. It is hard to realize how many people have built their little private revelations off of these things. That is why, for over eleven years, many have been setting dates for the rapture, and the ushering in of the millennium. By the time you read this article, all of their projected dates will have come and gone, and every last one of them are still here, unless there be some who have gone by the way of the grave. The only people who are going in the rapture, when it does take place, are the ones who have come to a proper understanding of the purpose of God, and a oneness of faith. They will all be looking at the same thing.

 

GOD REQUIRES UNITY

I realize that there will be people all over the country who will say, “Just who does that Raymond Jackson think he is anyhow, talking like that?” I am nobody, but you can not sell me everyone’s teaching. When I hear one man teach a subject one way, and then hear another one teach the same thing a different way, and on, and on, then I know that there is definitely something wrong. I know also, that everyone of us who sat under the ministry of that prophet, is going to have to come back to a oneness of what he taught, if we are going to be acceptable to the Lord.

You take the lives of those disciples that followed Jesus for 3½ years. They did not have tape recorders, printing presses, nor any of the devices we find so handy today. All they had was the ears to hear, yet when the 120 disciples came out of that upper room, filled with the Holy Ghost, they all had the same revelation. What they had heard, produced a consistent unity, that brought them all out into the streets of Jerusalem speaking the same thing. Peter was not standing on one corner preaching, “Repent, every one of you, and be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” while James or some of the others were on the other corner saying, “Now wait a minute, that is not the way I heard it, Jesus said so and so.” That is the way it has been in our day. It has brought confusion on every hand, but it did not start out like that, and before we can get away from here, to be with the Lord, we will have to see that the Lord Jesus Christ is to have the pre-eminence. Everything we preach or testify to must point to him. Many of these who are constantly harping on the fact that they heard the prophet also, and he said this and that, I simply say to you, “Did you really hear him, or did you just hear words that came from his voice box?” There is a difference, you know. If you really did hear him, you would be back in the Bible by now, with nothing left to argue and fuss about.

 

YOU WILL KNOW SOMETHING

Bro. Branham was a prophet, we all acknowledge that. He was the messenger to this Laodicean age, we all acknowledge that. But he was not a prophet sent to add more to the Bible. He was sent to help us understand what was in there already. We do not need anymore added to the book, what we need is to line up with what has been in the book all along. Let me tell you this, also, being a Christian, is more than just saying, “Thank God I am saved, I am sanctified, I am filled with the Holy Ghost, and I am on my way to glory.” If you are a Christian, you are going to know something before you leave here. You are going to know why you are a child of God, and what goes with such a privilege, in the way of honor and responsibility. None of us are worthy, that is true, but there is one thing for sure, we are not going to nurse on a milk bottle forever. Listen to what the apostle Paul wrote to the Hebrews, chapters 5:12-6:2, (12) “For when the time came that ye ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again, the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. (13) For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. (14) But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use, have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Chapter 6) (1) Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection: not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, (2) Of the doctrine of baptism, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” It is interesting to note, that the apostle said, “When the time came that you ought to be teachers, you still have need to be taught.” That is exactly what we have been experiencing for the past twelve years. Many of those who have had opportunity to hear enough that they ought to be able to teach, or instruct others, still have need themselves, to be taught, if they were teachable. Paul said, “let us go on to perfection.” In other words, let us gain an understanding of the whole word of God, of the things of God, the mysteries. Not in the sense, or to the point where we would walk down the street ready to demonstrate how much we know, for we are only what we are, by the grace of God, but there comes a time when we ought to have these things settled. Head knowledge will cause a person to be puffed up, but heart knowledge, (or spiritual revelation), will humble a person. It will cause you, more and more, to realize, just how wonderful the grace and mercy of God really is. As I said before, it is only for the grace of God that any of us have been able to keep our head on straight.

 
IN THE GARDEN

 

Now, I would like for us to consider, for a little while, some of the statements that Bro. Branham made, concerning the garden of Eden, and man’s original sin. First, let me say this, the Catholics believe in original sin, but they do not know what caused it. They say Eve ate an apple. That is just about as far from the truth as a horned toad riding water skis. Brothers and Sisters: you do not find horned toads in the Ohio Valley, you find them in the desert, and there is no water in the desert for them to ski on. You may not like the illustration, but I am sure you get the point I am making. People from all over this world have fought against the true revelation of what happened in the garden of Eden to cause the fall of man. I am not going to take the space here, to defend what we have printed on that subject, but the prophet to this age taught that Eve had an intimate relationship with the serpent that brought about the original sin. Many of the critics in denominational circles have accused Bro. Branham of teaching that Eve had a relationship with the devil. Let me say this to you, Eve did not have a relationship with the devil. He is a spirit, a fallen angel. He is the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air. His imps are everywhere, but Eve’s disobedient act was not with Satan, though it was because of him. There was however, a creature in the garden, called the serpent. He looked like man, talked like man, walked like man, but he was not a son of God. He was of the animal family that God had given to Adam, to be a servant to him. The devil got hold of that serpent, took over his impulses, and controlled him, to lay a trap for Adam. God made him to be able to talk as well as understand, in order for him to be able to receive instructions from Adam and Eve. God did not make the chimpanzee to talk, or the gorilla, the baboon, the ape, nor any of the rest of the animal family, but this serpent stood next to man in his makeup. That is why scientists have failed to find the missing link between man in his lowest form, and animal in its highest form. They have not known where to look. They do not believe the Bible, or they would know that God cursed that serpent, taking off his arms and legs, and placed him in the reptile family because of what he did in seducing Eve to commit a sex act with him. Now he crawls like a snake, and catches flies for his food. Every one of those animals were created for Adam, for his helpmates, before God ever fashioned the woman from one of Adam’s ribs. Before there ever was an electric crane, man had the elephant, with his long trunk. The elephant was used in India, and Africa, in the log woods to carry those big old logs. They served man for centuries in the capacity of a crane, before the crane was invented. I have heard it said that when an elephant gets attached to his master, he will fight for him, and he will walk for miles to find his master. When his master dies, he grieves, and mourns. Why? Because he was made to be a helpmate. Adam never would have had to do any of the toiling if he had obeyed the word of the Lord. The serpent would have done the toiling, or had it done.

God wanted his beautiful plan to be tested, though. That is why He permitted the devil, (Lucifer), to put the impulse, or desire, upon the serpent, to approach Eve, and introduce this relationship to her, strictly for pleasure. That is where the word fornication had its origin, for the word fornication is applied, when the act is strictly for pleasure. It has no marriage possibilities, and there is no objective to have children involved in the act. God knew what the result would be, but He had worked out a plan, whereby, all of His attributes could be expressed, through the span of time, from the creation to the millennium.

 

THREE STATEMENTS – ONE RIGHT

Now, I will say what I started to say earlier. When God’s prophet began to deal with this subject, he made three different statements. I do not have the time, nor space, to take you back to the original message where he taught these things, but my critics will know, for they will look it up, and the children of God will already know what I am talking about. In one message he would say, “Now the tree of life was Christ.” Then in another message, Marriage and Divorce, he said that it was not through sex that God intended to bring life into the world, it was by the spoken word. Then in another message he said, before Adam could come to Eve, she was already defiled. The devil beat him to it. There you have three statements. One of them will lead you right to the word of God.

When I am called upon to explain the reason for such plural terms, or dual statements, I always say, “God permitted that man to speak in that way, concerning the mysteries hidden in the Bible, for God knew that some of these statements would be a means of separating some from the scriptures. But he knew also that the true Holy Ghost child of God could never be separated from the scriptures.”

 

THE TREE OF LIFE

I put all of this together like this; if the tree of life was Christ, then, in what form? It could be none other than the presence of eternal life in the garden, to overshadow a law of reproduction, which was God’s perfect plan for bringing life into the world. For Adam to come to Eve meant this, he never would have come to her for pleasure only, as man and woman do in our day. Their union would have been for the purpose of reproduction only. It would have been up to the woman to know the time for that law to be activated.

I am a farmer. I have studied the breeding cycles of horses, cattle, and other domesticated animals, as well as wildlife. I have not found any species among animal life that live in pleasure, as man and woman. The act was to be a sacred thing. It was the way God chose to reproduce another son, but the devil has taken over and drug it down to the gutter. That was his way of taking another slap at God. The whole world is defiled through the very thing that God ordained to bring life into the world. A thing of beauty, turned into a disgraceful act, because of wrong use. That is the devil’s way. If he cannot destroy something, he will try to pervert it. Many of you have gone through school without ever reading anything like this. It is all foreign to you, but this is where sin started. Now, I would like to say this, for the sake of the message, when that prophet to this age began to touch on these things, I said, (in my heart), “I know there is a nugget of truth in those statements, and it is not that Eve ate an apple. It has something to do with sex life.” But because I did not know what the tree of life was, it was not revealed. He would say that the tree of knowledge was sex, but I knew, if the tree of knowledge was sex, then the tree of life would have to be that also, and there was not two trees standing there in the midst of the garden. That is spiritual language. That is a language of God to hide a mystery from the eyes of the wise and prudent. If they were natural trees, they would have been trees of plant life, and I want you to know that every other tree that was there in the garden, regardless of what kind it was, is still in the world today, but you will not find one of them to be the tree of life.

 

MAN’S SEARCH

For 6000 years now, man has been looking for a tree of life. He has looked for a fountain of youth, he has dug holes in the desert, and even thought he found it in rocks, and minerals. He even thought he found it in the hot springs of Arkansas, but it is in Jesus Christ. I hope you are understanding me. Let me say it once again. To partake of the tree of knowledge, was to come to an understanding that the act could be used for pleasure, bypassing the original plan to use it only for the purpose of reproduction. The act, originally, was strictly for the purpose of bringing forth life. It is a divine law of God, and it lay in the female to control it. If Eve had told that serpent to get lost, and waited for that law to work in her body, she would have called to her husband and told him that it was time, then women would not be experiencing the nervousness, frustrations, and tensions, that go with that period. It would have been a period, but without all of those discomforts. They were added because of the disobedience.

Adam was not deceived in all of this, he knew what he was doing. Even had found that the act would be used for pleasure, then she began to put pressure on Adam to partake also. That is why, when God cursed the ground for Adam’s sake, he said, “because you harkened to the voice of thy wife, (the word harkened, means listened. She begged and pleaded until Adam finally consented), and hast eaten, (or partaken), of the tree of which I commanded thee saying, Thou shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake: in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” (Genesis 3:17) Adam gave in to her pleadings, and the result is that the whole world is living under the penalty of Adam’s deed.

 

THE SPOKEN WORD

Certain men have gone galloping all around the world harping that sex was the original sin, and that God never intended to produce life in any way other than by the spoken word. They claim that to be something that prophet revealed to them. I will simply ask such a one, who was supposed to speak the word, Adam, Eve, or God himself? If God was going to speak the word to produce his sons, Adam sure gave a false prophecy in Genesis 2:23-24, when he said, (23) “This is now bone of my bones, (speaking of Eve), and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. (24) THEREFORE SHALL A MAN LEAVE HIS FATHER. . . AND HIS MOTHER, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Can you see where such a revelation winds up? If every person had been spoken into the world, then where would the father and mother come into the picture? On the other hand, knowing that the world was to be populated through the sex act; if Eve had waited until her time, when that perfect law of God had set up in her body, then every child, that every woman would have birthed into the world, would have been exactly like that little baby that Mary gave birth to in the manger, in Bethlehem. There was that tree of life. He was the righteous branch, according to Isaiah and Jeremiah. He was the little branch, broken out of the tree of life, and grafted into human flesh, but brother, that flesh was perfect. It had no sin in it. There was eternal life. So you can see what Bro. Branham meant, when he said that the tree of life was Christ. It was not Christ, in the essence of man, it was Christ, in the essence of eternal life, overshadowing that law of reproduction. Brothers and Sisters: there is the truth of God’s word, for it takes us back to the Bible.

 

THE NEW BIRTH

The new birth was another subject that Bro. Branham spoke of in more than one way. We know that the new birth is God’s provision for lost mankind. We do not disagree on the fact that the Bible teaches we must be born again in order to enter into the kingdom of God, or even to see it. Where the disagreement comes in, is, what constitutes the new birth? Jesus told Nicodemus, who came to him at night, for fear of the Jews, “Ye must be born again.” Nicodemus thought he was speaking naturally, and answered accordingly, but Jesus told him, “That which is flesh, is flesh, and that which is spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (In other words, do not get confused.) Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” That is not an exact quote, but you can read it in the 3rd chapter of John. The point of it is, the new birth is the essential ingredient, in order for a person to see the kingdom of God, or to enter in.

I still remember the early years when God first began to lead us to the tabernacle to hear that wonderful man of God preach. There would be times when you would hear him say something like this, (I am paraphrasing), Brethren, you know how this religious world is, we all have our different denominational and theological beliefs. He said, “some will say that we are not born again unless such and such, and so forth. You are born again the minute you believe. You receive the Holy Ghost as power for service.” Then he would quote John 5:24, the words of Jesus, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life,” then he would say, “Then is when you are born again.” Then again he would be preaching away, and say, “The Holy Ghost is for every child of God.” Then he would quote Ephesians 4:30, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” I will never forget though, how beautifully he laid it all out when he preached the message on the Token. When he preached the church ages, he laid it all out perfectly. He said, “We are not even born again until we receive the Holy Ghost.” He would illustrate it like this, there are three works of grace, and it takes all three to constitute, and make up the whole new birth, JUSTIFICATION is like conception, SANCTIFICATION is like pregnancy, and the BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST is when life actually comes forth. On and on, I could go, taking you to different messages, showing you the many different statements that were made on this one subject, but I believe this will be enough for any honest hearted person to realize that we are not to base our salvation experience on EVERY WORD . . ., spoken by the prophet, but only on that which he spoke that points us back to the Bible, to a spiritual revelation. I am sure that some of you will say, John 5:24, IS…in the Bible. Yes, it is in the Bible, but, what did he mean by heareth my word? Surely you do not think he was talking only of hearing the words that he was speaking, with the natural ears. Actually, what he meant was, HE THAT HEARS MY WHOLE MESSAGE, will have the benefits that are set forth in that message, for to hear, the way Jesus meant hear, would be to obey his words. Even the Scribes and Pharisees, heard the words that he spoke, and they believed, (at least with the mind), on Jehovah God, (and that is the one that sent Jesus), but they did not have eternal life abiding in them. Can you begin to see the difference? It is one thing to hear with the ears, but it is quite a different story, when you hear with the heart, that is, catch a revelation.

 

REVELATION DEMANDS OBEDIENCE

That which becomes revelation to you, demands obedience, and the obedience, brings the benefits provided in it. You will notice, as you follow all that Jesus said, and did, that after His resurrection, when He was assembled together with His disciples, He breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. (John 20:22) Now some think that is when the disciples received the Holy Ghost, but that is not correct either. That was a preparatory command. If they had received the Holy Ghost then, why did Jesus turn right around and tell them to tarry in the city of Jerusalem until they were endued with Power from on high? (Luke 24:49) Both events took place at the same gathering. To further illustrate the fact, let us return to the gospel of John, chapter 21, verses 15-17. This took place at another gathering of Jesus and His disciples. He had breathed on them, and commanded them to receive the Holy Ghost, the first time He showed Himself alive to them, after the resurrection. Now the occasion of this gathering, is where Jesus prepared a meal for the disciples who had been fishing all night. The meal was finished, and Jesus looked over to Simon Peter and said, (15) “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He said unto, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He said unto him, FEED MY LAMBS.” Then, He said unto him the second time, (16) “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He said unto him, Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, FEED MY SHEEP.” Then Jesus said unto him the third time, (17) “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, FEED MY SHEEP.”

Now you may be asking, (within yourselves), just what does that prove? Nothing, by itself, but now, I will ask you to turn back to the gospel of Luke 22:31-32. Here we find Jesus talking to Peter right before his crucifixion. (31) “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: (32) But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and WHEN THOU ART CONVERTED, strengthen thy brethren.” Peter had walked with Jesus for 3½ years already, and here He is telling him, after you are converted strengthen your brethren. Peter was feeling real good about everything, for he said, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. That is when Jesus told him that, before the cock would crow, that following day, he would deny him three times. It happened just like Jesus said it would. When Jesus was arrested, Peter followed at a distance, then when someone tried to identify Peter with Jesus, he denied that he knew Him. This happened three times, and then the cock crowed. Jesus looked at Peter, and Peter was ashamed, as he remembered what he had said to him earlier. Brothers and Sisters: he was not yet converted. He was afraid of the crowed that night, but it was quite a different story, some 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus, when Peter and the rest of those disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost in that upper room. All fear had left Peter by the time he came down into the streets, for we see him in Acts 2, ready to take on the whole crowd if necessary. He was now converted, and ready to fulfill what Jesus had told him to do. He was now, ready to feed the lambs, as well as the sheep. Brothers and Sisters: you must be born again. You must be converted. I hope you get that. The very disciples that He had breathed upon, telling them to receive the Holy Ghost, were standing there with Him when he was ready to ascend into heaven. That is when He told them not to leave Jerusalem, until they had been endued with power from on high. There is no need for me to go any farther with statements about the new birth. I am sure that you who are spiritual can see the point of it all by now. The prophet made all of those statements, and many of my critics will say, yes, and I believe every word that the prophet uttered. No you don’t, you do not…. believe every word of it, or you would know how to take it and get back to the Bible with it. You are just like a child playing with toys. You go to your box of statements and take out a few to play with, until you get tired of them, and back you go, to get another bunch, and on you go, until you have them scattered all over every place you have been. That is the way children do their toys. If they are not taught how to use them, it keeps someone busy straightening up after them. For over eleven years, it has been like that with this message of truth. Some of you are so anxious to be a voice of authority, that you have run all over the world spreading statements, without having any revelation as to the application of such. The results is, MASS CONFUSION. It keeps others busy, straightening up your mess.

 

THE FAN

I have been accused of saying that Bro. Branham made a mistake in saying certain things as he did. I want to restate something that I have said many times before, BRO. BRANHAM DID NOT MAKE A MISTAKE, WHEN HE MADE DUAL STATEMENTS ON CERTAIN MAJOR SUBJECTS OF THIS MESSAGE. God willed him to say it as he did. That man, not only brought a message of truth for those who were seeking truth, he also carried a fan, to fan away those who had other motives.

We published a message in September 1972, titled, The Fan in Christ’s Hand, Vol. 4, No. 7. It explains the statement made by John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11-12, where 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: (12) 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.” In that message, we go into detail, showing how these dual statements made by Bro. Branham, are actually the fan in Christ’s hand, purging his floor. The reference, naturally, points to the ancient threshing floor, where the reapers would pile the harvested wheat for the winnowing process. The same reapers who brought the harvested crop into the threshing area, were the ones who would go in there and keep pitching it up until all the straw and hush were blown away. That is what the dual statements, made by Bro. Branham, have been doing with many people for over eleven years now. They are getting up in the air over them, and only God knows how many of them will actually fall back on the word of God when they come down.

 

THE PREHISTORIC AGE

Of all the preaching that Bro. Branham did, you will find very little reference made to a prehistoric world, or age, but I would like to refresh your memories on two particular statements that he did make, concerning such. In the preaching of the fourth seal, Bro. Branham told of being approached by a man who, more or less, tried to shame him, saying, “Aren’t you ashamed to say that God created the heavens and earth in six days?” Bro. Branham replied, “That is what the Bible said.” Then the man said, “We have evidence, and can prove that the world is millions of years old.” Bro. Branham said, “That didn’t have anything to do with it. In Genesis 1:1, it says that, “In the beginning God created the heavens and earth,” period. Now the world was without form and void, I believe every seed was laying right there from some other civilization or something, and as soon as the water lifted off, and the light struck it, up came the trees and everything.” Now that is what I wanted you to catch. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to let me know that he believed in a prehistoric age, and that lines up with many other scriptures. God did not have to create trees, grass, flowers, etc., all over again. Brothers and Sisters: When God judged the prehistoric world, and froze it up, no doubt, it hung in space for hundreds, and thousands of years. I will say this also, scientists may have their carbon tests, and all of the other processes that they use, in trying to determine how old this planet is, but there is no test, that can determine what happened during the time that God had it froze up. They can only measure where it started, and when it thawed up. God has a way of concealing his mysteries from natural man. He will not let scientific gadgets reveal them. He keeps that for spiritual revelation to His children.

Now, after having said what he did, in the fourth seal, about the seed laying there from some other civilization, we hear him in another sermon, say something that leaves the thought that there were dinosaurs in our garden of Eden. I have showed you these two statements. One of them will line up with other scriptures. When I heard him say what he did about the seed being there already, that rung a bell with me. It let me know that there had to be a revelation lying there somewhere, and I rejoiced because of it, but when I heard him preach another message, leaving the impression that there were dinosaurs in our garden of Eden, then, brothers and sisters; I knew that he was merely making a human statement. We all do it, but there are those who will not admit to the fact that Bro. Branham was capable of saying anything other than, THUS SAITH THE LORD. Be that as it is, I am ready to challenge my critics to prove that there were dinosaurs in the garden of Eden that we know. According to the word of God, as well as history, and geology, I say to you that there were no dinosaurs in our garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. As I said before, every animal that was in the garden with Adam and Eve, was represented on the Ark with Noah, male and female of every species. You will never find any trace of dinosaurs on the Ark. That all belonged to another era of time.

I have said enough on this subject for the benefit of those who would want to know. Any Holy Ghost person will understand, and the others will fuss and stew just like they did in their former denominations. It is not enough just to quote Ephesians 4, that God has set in the church a five fold ministry. A person must have enough of the spirit of God in them to recognize that ministry in its proper calling. Some have said that they believe in apostles, but the truth of it is that, they would never allow an apostle’s office to touch this message if they could stop it. Brothers and Sisters: let me say to you, you need that ministry to sift this message and line it up in digestible order. Do not fight against it, or you will be found to fight against God. He is the one who set the five fold ministry in the church, for the perfecting of the saints. I did not have anything to do with it. I only try to fill the place that God has called me to fill. The Bible says apostles, plural, prophets, plural, and so forth, but let me tell you, the ones that God set in the church will all have the same revelation, and be speaking the same thing, there will be no division among them, doctrinally speaking. Of course, they will have their human differences, but that will not affect their teaching. The ministry that God has set in the church will not be running every place saying, that each man ought to be able to teach the message as he sees it. That is the attitude that we find among many in this day. God will leave all, such as these, until they run their legs off. That is not why he sent a prophet to this age. The prophet was set to rescue us from our mess, and bring us back to the word of God, back to revelated truth.

 

CALLING GOD’S ELECT

Bro. Branham had a vision. He had a love for people, and he had a desire to help people. That is why I said, “he could not love a Pentecostal any more than he could a Catholic.” I will tell you why. God saw that there were Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Pentecostals, and such like, scattered throughout the religious world, that were elected people. Therefore, that prophet carried a message that the love of God had laid in his heart, to reach into all those places, pulling out those who would hear his message. God knew that the man’s personal ministry would not perfect the bride of Jesus Christ. It did not do it when he was alive, and it still would not do it if God raised him from the dead. I will say this to my brothers and sisters who may hear me on tape or read the message in print, if you ever saw Bro. Branham in this life, you will never see him again, until you see him at the wedding supper, at the judgment seat of Christ. Therefore, if you ever reach perfection, as it is written in the word of God, it will be because you have settled yourself down and listened to a man of God, who had truth in his soul, a man who will not stand with a handful of Bro. Branham’s books, to do his preaching out of. He will not be preaching a denomination, neither will he be preaching a cultish message. He will be preaching the unadulterated word of God.

 

ELIJAH WAS A MAN – NOT A GOD

I said before that God willed for Bro. Branham to make those many dual statements, for he knew that among those who would come out of denominational systems, there would be those who would deify the flesh of the prophet, all because they had never seen anything like the gift of God which operated through him, and the dual statements act as separating factors. We not only had to be separated from our systems, but the unbeliever, or make-believer, had to be separated from the truth, and also, from the true children of God. Therefore, do not say that I, Raymond Jackson, said that Bro. Branham made a mistake. He did not make a mistake in that. That was the will of God. By the same token, I am not saying that he did not make mistakes in life, as any mortal man will.

Let me refer you to something that James wrote, concerning the man Elijah. He said that Elias, (that is another term for Elijah), was a man, subject to like passions as we are. What did James mean by that statement about the very man that set the pattern, and example, of all those prophets who would walk on earth in that same anointing? The character, principles, conduct, and nature, of that man, Elijah, was to be recognized in those who would later walk in that same anointing. James pointed out the fact that, even though Elijah prayed and caused there to be no rain on earth until he prayed again, and asked for it, he was not God, He was a mortal man, subject to the faults and failures of any other mortal man. Some of you will say, “that is not what James was showing at all.” I say, “the point is made.” He was not God, he did not act like God. He did not believe himself to be God. He did act like a prophet though, and he lived, walked in life, thought, and talked like a man. Then, when God anointed him, he would talk like God. But notice, when Jezebel got after him, he ran like a man, a scared man. He ran so far away, that God had to send an angel to feed him. When he stood on Mt. Carmel, and challenged the prophets of Baal, it would have been easy for some to think that he was a god, for he displayed something beyond the natural makeup of man, but a little later, when he was running from a woman the picture was different. Who would want a god like that?

This is all being said to point out one thing, God can anoint a man so that the man can display the very attributes of God, but when the anointing is lifted, he is a natural, mortal man, just like anyone else, as far as human weakness, frailties, and mistakes are concerned. That does not mean that Elijah was a cheat, or a thief, or that he went around lying. Neither did John the Baptist, and neither did William Marrion Branham. The one who comes next, as one of the two witnesses to the Jews, will not be a liar either, but he will be a man, and he will be a man subject to mistakes, and as James said, “like passions as we are.” The anointing does not play around with statements. It goes right to the word of God every time.

 

THE EVIDENCE OF HOLY GHOST BAPTISM

Another subject that I have heard Bro. Branham speak in more than one way on is the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. When we first began going to the tabernacle, he would look down at you and say, “Brother, you need the Holy Ghost, Sister, you need the Holy Ghost, Brother, you need the gifts of the spirit in the church,” and statements such as that. Then he would talk about evidence, what Pentecost called the evidence. He would say, “Brother, speaking in tongues is not the evidence.” Then he would quote St. John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” How many of you have heard that statement? I remember it so well. It is on tapes, and in books. Is that not what Jesus said to his disciples? What did he mean? He meant, if you really follow what I am saying to you, and if you really live like I tell you, according to my teachings, you can not help but have love one toward another, and that kind of love displayed in you, will point right back to the fact that you are my disciples, or followers. There will not be one group going one way, and another group going another. You will all believe, and embrace, the truth that you receive from me. That, in itself, will separate you from everyone else, and their teaching. You will be squeezed together, and the love that you have will be different from the kind the worldly crowd knows about. Now, what does it say about them, over in Acts? They all continued, in everyone’s doctrine, is that what it says? No, they all continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine, the apostles teaching. It consisted of oneness. Yes, sir, it was oneness. He would talk like that, after quoting that scripture verse.

Sometime later on, we were sitting there, and that same little man said, “Now love isn’t it”. I will never forget an illustration he gave on that. He said, “Now, you take the Catholic priest, he shows such great love, there is no greater love than the Catholic people show to some other people, they minister first aid, they build hospitals, and many things like that.” I thought to myself, “You are saying that, but that sure isn’t the love of God.” Nevertheless, God let him say those things, and God will use every one of them in is sifting, and fanning, process, here in the end of the age. In other words, as we would sit there from service to service, you would hear the prophet say, in one service, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, when you have love one for another,” and then he would come right back in another message and slap you in the face by saying, “No, it isn’t love. It is believing the word.” Therefore, some would catch one statement and run with it, while others would catch another statement and run with it also. I will say to my critics, (for I know how they resent my talking like this), it is one thing to know verbally, what he said, but it is quite another thing to know spiritually, what he meant. If we ever get the spiritual understanding of what he meant in our souls, the Holy Ghost will illuminate that message to the point where it will cease to be QUOTES, QUOTES, QUOTES, but rather, it will be a consistent flow of revelation.

 

WHAT ABOUT CHURCH ORDER

Brothers and Sisters: I am not challenging what Bro. Branham said. That is not my purpose in pointing out these things. My purpose, and motive, is to show my brothers and sisters, as well as my critics, that, for over eleven years, certain ones have been riding their hobby horses, quoting statements, and they are right where they started. They have gained nothing. I will say, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul never taught church order, but he did teach that there should be order in the church. He taught that the Holy Ghost was to have the pre-eminence, and that the worshipers should conduct themselves in decency, godliness, and in adult like manner, but there is a long way from a church order. We realize also, that a church order can be a corrective thing, but certainly, there is no place for carnal minded men to make it a doctrinal yardstick, and whip, to measure and beat others with. Every carnal preacher that put church order in his assembly just because Brother Branham did at the tabernacle, drove the spirit of God out. God will not be tied by your church order. There is nothing in this message that has ever told anyone to stop manifesting the gifts of the spirit, that God placed in their lives. I think of the many, who had the gifts operating through them until the church order came into being, and how they began to feel like they were not to speak in tongues, or interpret, or prophesy anymore. Then I remember hearing some of those people say, especially preachers, “I believe in the gifts of the spirit, but I want the real thing.” Let me tell you, I want the real also, but I find that to be a feeble excuse to hide behind, while you try to justify your church order. You are completely out of the scriptures.

 

WHERE FALSE DOCTRINE STARTS

The church of the Living God was not built upon tongues and interpretation, nor prophecy, nor any other of the gifts of the spirit. It was built upon divine revelation of the word of God. But I will have you to know that there was a place in the church for all of the gifts to operate, and it was not in a back room. Furthermore, I will say that it was not tongues and interpretation that let the antichrist get in the church 1900 years ago, it was preachers. Do not lay the blame in the pews, lay it right where it belongs, on the pulpit. The false teachings did not, and do not, come from the congregation, they came from the preachers, those who wish to be known for their great revelation. It is true, we can have a false tongue and interpretation in the congregation, but most of the churches that have been wrecked through the years, were wrecked because of something that came from the pulpit. It was not a false prophecy that started the Catholic church, it was started from many revelations that came from the leadership. Let me give you an example, of how, many things get started. In the days of Bro. Branham’s ministry, he referred, many times, to what God is doing in this Laodicean age, using the scripture in Luke 17:30, that speaks of the Son of man being revealed. That began to give certain preachers the idea that HE…WAS…the Son of man. Some would say, “This man is none other than Jesus Christ, or this man is the word.” It wasn’t too long until they had others believing the same thing, and then it became a spirit, a strong spirit, that has captured many souls. Let me say to my brothers and sisters, who will hear this tape, or read this message, our brother, who lived in this generation, and spoke to us of the wonderful things of God, was truly a man, just like any of us, but he was filled and anointed with the Holy Ghost, to the extent where God manifested the spirit of Jesus Christ through him a major capacity. That did not change his flesh one bit whatsoever, but I thank God that his flesh was subject to the revelation of God’s spirit in his life. That ties right in with what the apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians. He said, (1:11-12), “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. (12) For I neither received if of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” He went on to tell of his former way of life, and how he profited in the Jews religion above many, and then when we get down to the 15th verse, we read this, (15) “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, (16) To REVEAL HIS SON IN ME, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: (17) Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia.” There is two things I would have you see from this scripture. The first is the reference he made of the Son of God being revealed in him, and the other, is the fact that he did not get his revelation from any other man. Can you see the likeness between Paul and Bro. Branham in those two areas? Jesus Christ was manifested through them both in a major proportion, and neither one of them received their revelation from any other man. Now, maybe you can see what I am getting at. Though the apostle Paul had the spirit of Christ to such a great degree, he never did claim to be God, or in any way lay any claim to deity. Neither can we find any record where his followers deified him after he had passed off the scene, as some have Bro. Branham. I say these things to sound a warning to those of you who have an ear to hear, please do not entertain thoughts and ideas that are not consistent with the scriptures. Some have done so, and now they are having hallucinations, imagining all sorts of things.

 

THE CHURCH IN TRIBULATION?

Let me call your attention now, to another subject that has caused much controversy in this message. There were times when Bro. Branham would say, “The church will go through the tribulation, but the bride, the elect, will be raptured.” I was challenged by a certain brother one time, in connection with that statement. You know what the apostle Paul said in Ephesians5:25-27, “Husbands, love your wives, even as CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH….and gave himself for it; (26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (27) THAT HE MIGHT PRESENT IT, (THE CHURCH) TO HIMSELF A GLORIOUS CHURCH, NOT HAVING SPOT, OR WRINKLE, OR ANY SUCH THING; BUT THAT IT, (THE CHURCH), SHOULD BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLEMISH.” He goes on, (in verse 30), to say that, “we are members of his body.” Therefore, when I used that scripture, and stated that the church is the body of Christ, which He is washing with the water of His word, and will come for one day soon, this brother said, “But, Bro. Jackson, the prophet said the church would go through the tribulation, and only the bride would be raptured.” I thought to myself, you poor child, what did you hear?” I read until I found the two statements, I knew was there, then I showed them to the brother. First, the statement that the church will go through the tribulation, and only the bride will be raptured, and then, in another sermon, the statement where he said, “THAT CHURCH WILL BE RAPTURED.” I laid the two statements before the brother and said this, “When the prophet was speaking in respect to the first statement, he was speaking according to what the world calls, the church…But, in reality, those denominations are not the church at all, and the real church is made up of that group of people that the world looks upon as holy rollers, religious fanatics, not fit to be associated with. There is where you will find the true church, the body of Christ. That is where the second statement belongs. The church will be raptured, for she is the bride of Christ, but the denominational lodges will go through the tribulation. Out of that group will come the foolish virgins, spoken of in Matthew 25:1-13, and seen over in the 7th chapter of Revelation as that great multitude that had washed their robes, and made them white, in the blood of the Lamb. When? In the great tribulation. Revelation 7:9-14. We must remember that, Bro. Branham, being the prophet to the age, and his ministry being to the world. God has to allow him to speak in such a way, as to catch the attention of all those who heard him. He cast out the large net, and drew in some of every kind, but if you have fished with a net like that, you know that there is always some that must be thrown back. After the catch is made, it is necessary to go through a sorting process. That is why we say, “the dual statements made by Bro. Branham, serve the same purpose in the following of this message, as the winnowing fan did on the wheat threshing floor in days of old. Everything got pitched up, and only the grain, which was heavy, could withstand the wind and fall back on the threshing floor, free of the straw and husk. That is how these dual statements are working in his message delivered by the prophet. Many people are being heaved into the air, so to speak, and only those who are heavy with the word of God are able to withstand those winds and return to their sure foundation. The rest are blown away, too full of pride to even admit they are wrong, even when it becomes obvious.

 

SEVENTY WEEKS OF DANIEL

Knowing that the teaching of the seventy weeks of Daniel’s prophecy concerning Israel, and the references made to it at other times by the prophet messenger, has become the greatest divider, or separator, among the people of this following, I would like now, to go back to that subject, and just briefly deal with the time element involved in the whole 70 weeks, or 490 years. Now, to familiarize you with the setting, let us read a few verses from the 9th chapter of Daniel. Daniel is in Babylon, in captivity, and he has become very burdened for his people, which are the children of Israel. They have been in dispersion for many years already, at the time Daniel becomes so burdened in prayer for them, that God sends an angel to talk to him. We will begin reading in the 21st verse, “Yea, while I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. (22) And he informed me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. (23) At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee: for thou art greatly beloved; therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. (24) Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon the holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” We note in verse 24, that there are six things mentions, that must be accomplished in those seventy weeks of God’s dealing with the children of Israel, each week being a seven year period, making a total of 490 years that God will actively deal with them to accomplish these things. The time did not start with the building of the temple, but with the building of the city, when Nehemiah was granted permission to go to the land of his fathers for the purpose of rebuilding the city itself. The first group that had returned under the decree of Cyrus, had only built the temple, but the city was still lying in waste. Therefore, most all of your historians will agree that the seventy weeks had their beginning in the year 445 B.C., when Nehemiah received permission from the king to go build the city.

We do not have the space to go into much detail at this time, but will just give you the key points to a proper understanding of this scripture. Let us now read verse 25, and you will see that the command to restore and to build Jerusalem is the starting point for the seventy weeks. “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah, the Prince, shall be SEVEN WEEKS, and THREESCORE and TWO WEEKS: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” We can see a seven week period, which is seven weeks of years, totaling 49 years. That is the length of time that Nehemiah and his crew used in rebuilding the walls and the city. This was a time of great revival among those who were back in the land, but no sooner than the 49 years were completed, we find the prophet Malachi on the scene, rebuking Israel for her apostasy, and corruptness. Malachi was the last prophetic voice in Israel, until John the Baptist came out of the wilderness with, “THUS SAITH THE LORD.” The commonly agreed upon date of Malachi’s short prophecy is somewhere around 397-400 B.C. It was at a time when the revival first had gone out, and the priest’s were offering polluted bread upon the altar of God. They had drifted so far from God that they were offering the sick and lame animals to God, and acting as though they could see nothing wrong with it. This prophecy was squeezed in between the 7 week period, and the 62 week period of the first 69 weeks of Daniel’s 70 weeks. Then for almost 400 years, Israel was without a prophetic voice of God, until John arrived, preaching, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Remember now, God only marks time against the 70 weeks, when He is dealing directly with Israel as a nation. Therefore, verse 25, of Daniel 9, is referring to a 69 week period of time that was to begin in 445 B.C., and run until the Messiah was cut off, as we will see in the next verse, with the exception of the short period of time that Malachi’s prophecy covered. This put approximately 2 years in between the 7 week period and the 62 week period which Israel was completely in apostasy. Now, pay attention to verse 26, “And AFTER THREE-SCORE AND TWO WEEKS, SHALL MESSIAH BE CUT OFF, (Now where is the one half week that so many of you talk about?”) BUT NOT FOR HIMSELF: and the people of the prince that shall come, shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” Please notice verse 27, when we read it, for it will furnish you with the key that can open your understanding to this great controversy. We read in verse 26, that the people of the prince that shall come, shall destroy the city. Now we know that the people who destroyed the city and the sanctuary, were Romans, led by Titus, in 70 A.D., therefore the prince that shall come, will be a Roman prince, and he, (verse 27), shall confirm the covenant with many for ONE WEEK. (Remember now, Jesus never did make a peace covenant with anyone for one week.) “AND IN THE MIDST OF THE WEEK, HE, (the Prince that is to come), SHALL CAUSE THE SACRIFICE AND THE OBLATION TO CEASE.”

If you have observed carefully as we read, you will have been convinced, by the scripture itself, that it does not say, that Jesus, the Messiah, was cut off in the middle of the week for a sacrifice for the people. It does truly say that after 62 weeks the Messiah will be cut off, and we all know that He was the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, and agree that He was not cut off for Himself, but for all of us. However, that does not give anyone the authority to change what the scriptures teach so clearly on the subject. Furthermore, when Jesus was crucified in A.D. 33, the sacrifice and oblation did not cease; they continued to offer up sacrifice until Titus and his Roman army, destroyed the city, around A.D. 70.

With that much for you to consider, I will now open Bro. Branham’s teaching on this subject, and we will see if he did not teach it according to the scriptures, on August 6, 1961. I know some of you will say, “oh, but he changed that when he preached the seals in 1963.” I will have to say to you, as the apostle Paul did to the Galatians, when a man of God teaches a subject, and proves it by the scriptures, not even an angel from heaven has any authority to change it. Please do not be one of those who say, “I just do not see that it makes any difference whether there is a three and one half, or a full seven years left to the Jews.” It must be terribly important, for the Devil to fight it like he does. This one subject has broke more fellowship than any other that I can think of in this message. Now, from the Seventy Weeks of Daniel booklet, page 69, paragraph 113, I will read you what Bro. Branham said about the prince that is to come. Bro. Branham speaking, “Now, remember, when we get in the Seals, that antichrist rides right out over in those Seals. Daniel spoke of it here, the Prince that would come, He would be cut off, Jesus would, to make reconciliations for the people, But that prince that would stand up, that would cause the abomination to make desolation, that was Rome through Titus; and this time it’s a prince coming out of Rome, (Here he is actually combining two scriptures in one sentence, or maybe it would be more correctly stated if we just say, we know it was Titus with his Roman army that destroyed the city, to begin that period of time mentioned in the 26th verse, and leading into the 27th, but the abomination that maketh desolate, pertains to the time of the end, when another Roman prince is on the scene, the antichrist), that will do it. And he will be revealed in the last days, (now listen), making himself God, as the Holy Ghost warns us in II Thessalonians 2:7-12.”

We will leave that statement right there and go to page 80, paragraph 139, in the same booklet, to see what Bro. Branham taught about the two prophets and who broke the covenant, in the middle of the week. “There will be two prophets like Elijah and Moses, who I think it is. And they will bring great curses, after they have seen that they have consolidated, and Rome has broke its covenant, (that Prince), in the middle of this SEVENTIETH WEEK. It will break its covenant with Rome, or Rome will break it with Israel, and that will cause the abomination to begin to scatter. And there will be a great flood, when the Gentile remnant, the sleeping virgins.” This is in reference to Revelation, chapter 12, but the statement was not completed. The part about the covenant being broken in the middle of the week is what we wanted to see there, so, now, let us go to page 81, paragraph 141. “And Rome will break it in the middle of the seventieth year, (he means week), three and one half years, he’ll break that covenant with them, and cause the abomination that maketh desolation to spread to the consummation. Then he will take both Protestant and Jew, and persecute them, and that time these two prophets will stand up and curse the earth that she will not rain in the days of their prophecy; They will call fire out of heaven and everything else. You just wait, We have got a lot laying here in store for us.” The two prophets will do that in the first half of the week, as Bro. Branham establishes in another place which we will show later.

Let us go now to page 101, paragraph 61, “Now, now, let’s outline Daniel’s seventy of weeks. Now I might repeat here again: Ministers of the Gospel, if you disagree with this, all right. They are divided in three periods, as we find out in Daniel chapter 9 – three periods: First, a seven week period; then, a threescore and two week, which is sixty two weeks; and then a one week period. They are divided in three different periods.” Now go to paragraph 63, for a further clarification. “Now, we know by all the gospels that Paul taught, and the others, that God will return again to the Jews. Well then, if He is going to return again to the Jew, how can we apply it back in Daniel’s time? We have got to apply it in this late age, and it is after the Gentile church has been gone, cause He deals with Israel as a nation, and we are individuals.” We are using Bro. Branham’s own teaching, hoping that some of you will care enough to sit down with your Bible and let the Holy Ghost reveal to you, the straight facts of these things. Go to page 124, paragraph 165, I might say, before reading this, we have passed over more references than we are actually using, but if you like, you may read them in the booklet printed by the Spoken Word Publications. Now, the words of Bro. Branham, “And in the middle of this week, now here is the seventy. Now if these exactly was seven years, each one of the weeks, and we have already had sixty nine weeks, then, we have the Gentile age, and we know we are at the end of the Gentile age, then there is one more week left for the Jew. Is that right? And that is exactly seven years. If this was seven years, that is seven years, ‘cause he said, “There is seventy weeks determined upon thy people.’ So we know we get seven years for the Jews. Is that true?” We will go right on over to page 136, paragraph 215, “Watch these two prophets, when they raise up here. And in the middle of the week they are cut off like that.” Now this lets me know that in the original teaching on this subject, he knew the two prophets would minister in the first half of the week, smiting the earth with all manner of plagues, and curses, and so forth, and in the middle of the week, when they have finished their 3½ years of ministry, (1260 days), they would be cut off. On the next page, paragraph 221, “But these three prophets – these three and one half years rather, and that is Revelation 11;3 – you have read it many times – I give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three score days. How many is it, a thousand two hundred and three score days? Three and one half years. And then they shall be killed in the streets, right in the midst of the seventieth week, So you see where we are at. We are at the end, my beloved friends, we are at the end.” I believe that will be enough from this book for you to see where the seventy weeks of Daniel have their fulfillment. We should be able to see that the seventy weeks definitely link up the sixth seal of Revelation, chapter 6, with Matthew, chapter 24, and Isaiah, chapter 13, which all lay in perfect continuity. However, when we go to the seal book and read those messages which were preached little more than a year and a half later, we are left with the impression that Bro. Branham has now gone back to his former way of looking at the seventieth week. In other words we find him saying in the seal book, that half of the seventieth week has been fulfilled already, even after proving by the scriptures that there is still one full week left to the Jews.

I am not trying to cast a reflection on God’s prophet, but I am convinced that it is time for some of you to get your heads out of the sand, and face some issues while there is still time. For this reason, I ask you to bear with me while I read a little from the sixth seal. I am on page 420, in the third paragraph, “All right, notice these messengers now, (he is referring to the two prophets), these messengers of Revelation 12, (he really means Revelation 11), these two prophets, they are going to preach, ‘The Kingdom is at hand!’ The kingdom of heaven is to be set up. The time – last three and one half years of Daniel’s seventieth week promised to the Jews, His people. Remember now, that to prove that, that this is Daniel’s past part of the seventieth week….I got a question on that for tomorrow. Now, seventy weeks was promised, which was seven years. And in the midst of the seven weeks, (he means years), the Messiah was cut off to be made a sacrifice. (The scripture does not read anything like that. The scripture reads like this, ‘And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself.’ There is nothing about him being cut off in the midst of the week.) He would prophesy three and one half years, and then be cut off for a sacrifice for the people, and there is still a determination that three and one half years is still determined for Israel.” We will go right over to page 422, at the bottom of the page where we find him saying, “And while the tribulation is falling, in there comes these two prophets of Revelation 11, to preach the gospel to them. And they preach a thousand, one hundred, (he means two hundred), and threescore days. See? (Notice that he keeps emphasizing the two prophets appear in the last part of the week in this book, but in the other book he had them as it should be, that they were smiting the earth with all sorts of plagues in the first half, and were cut off in the middle of the week. Brothers and Sisters: the scriptures will bear witness with that version.) Well, that’s exactly, with thirty days in the month, like the real calendar has, is exactly three and one half years. That’s Daniel’s seventieth…last part of the seventieth week.” Brothers and Sisters: it takes a carnal mind, void of any kind of revelation, to read those statements that completely opposite from each other, and say, “I believe them both, or, I do not see any difference.” I have heard both statements, made by various ones, over the years, people like that would drive a mathematics teacher to a nervous breakdown. How foolish it is to say that 3½ is the same as 7, or even that it does not make any difference. You may be that careless with the word of God, but God is not. He watches over His word, to perform it, exactly, to the smallest detail.

I will say this and then close. Even though the seals were preached after the original 70 weeks of Daniel, the reference here in the sixth seal itself, about 3½ years, has no continuity at all with the revelation of the sixth seal. The sixth seal is exactly what it says there in the 6th chapter of Revelation. It is dealing with a time when the sun is darkened, and the moon becomes as blood, it coincides exactly with Matthew 24, and Isaiah 13. The prophets of old, spoke of a day when the sun would be darkened, and would withdraw its light, the powers of the heavens would be shaken, and so forth. That is the sixth seal, and you must remember that Christ comes to the earth, under the sixth seal, which is definitely at the end of the week, therefore, the two prophets must minister in the first half of the week, sealing the 144,000 Jews, and at the same time they will be smiting the earth with plagues, just like Bro. Branham preached it in the original Seventy Weeks teaching. When the days of their ministry is fulfilled, that antichrist, the false prince, the son of perdition, will rise up, taking control of everything, kill the two prophets, and break the peace covenant that he had made with many. The two dead prophets will lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3½ days, then they will be resurrected and caught up to God. This is all to take place in the middle of the week. At the exact same time the woman, (Israel), of Revelation 12, is fleeing the land to get away from the wrath of the beast. Now, I would invite you to explain to me, how the two prophets could possibly preach for three and one half years, (1260 days), sealing 144,000 with the spirit of God, over in the last half of the week, when the woman, (Israel), is out of the land hiding. I will say no more. I leave it now for the Holy Ghost to deal with those who are Holy Ghost filled. The rest could not receive spiritual revelation, anyhow, no matter how much we might try to feed them.

Brothers and Sisters: it is my sincere prayer that this message will be of some spiritual help to you. I do not enjoy pointing out these things, but the devil would like nothing better, than for me to keep quiet and let his crew work on the minds of people who do not know exactly what to believe. I do not try to be offensive, but there are times when being honest, and telling the truth, makes it seem so. I loved Bro. Branham, and cherish the memory of former days when we fellowshipped together, but we can not let personal feelings prevent us from standing for a true revelation. I respected Bro. Branham, as God’s prophet, and as the 7th church age messenger. I believe that he fulfilled the last part of Malachi 4:5-6, and I am convinced that he delivered to us a message that will put us all back in the Bible, when we understand what the message is. It will point us back to the faith of our apostolic fathers, and cause us to recognize, and appreciate, every true man of God in these last days.

As the apostle Paul said to the Romans, so say I to you in these last days, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil: cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” We are living in the last days, and Jesus is coming for a church without spot or wrinkle, one that has no blemishes. We must be washed by the word, and Jesus is the one who will do the washing. The spirit of Jesus Christ in His end time ministry will wash the church and get her ready to go, by keeping her bathed with His revelated word

The Apostle’s Office, Part 2

THE FAITH OF OUR FATHERS

 

SINCE WE ARE PUBLISHING THIS MESSAGE IN A THREE PART SERIES, WE HAVE HELD THIS SECOND PART TO DEALING WITH THE FAITH OF THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS. WE HAVE ATTEMPTED TO SHOW WHAT THEY BELIEVED, HOW THEY CAME TO BELIEVE IT, HOW THEY CONDUCTED THEMSELVES IN THEIR DAY, WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE TRUTH THAT THEY STOOD FOR, AND WHERE WE ARE TODAY IN THE RESTORATION OF THAT TRUTH. YOU WILL READ ABOUT HOW THE ELIJAH MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST BROUGHT THE HILLS AND THE MOUNTAINS DOWN, AND HOW THE VALLEYS WERE RAISED. WE SHOW WHAT THE ELIJAH MINISTRY OF BRO. BRANHAM WAS SUPPOSED TO DO, AND WHY SO MANY PEOPLE FAILED TO APPRECIATE AND ACCEPT IT.

IN PART THREE OF THIS SERIES WE ARE GOING TO DEAL WITH THE MANY DIVISIONS AND IDEAS THAT ARE AMONG THE PEOPLE WHO WERE ASSOCIATED WITH THE MINISTRY OF BRO. BRANHAM, AND WE WILL SHOW WHY IT WILL TAKE THE OFFICE OF AN APOSTLE TO STRAIGHTEN UP THE MESSAGE AND GIVE THE SINCERE PEOPLE SOMETHING THAT THEY CAN HOLD ON TO IN THESE DAYS OF CONFUSION. THE MESSAGE THAT WAS BROUGHT TO THIS AGE BY BRO. BRANHAM, WILL PUT THE PEOPLE OF GOD BACK IN THE BIBLE WHEN THEY ARE MADE TO SEE WHAT THE MESSAGE WAS. WHEN THEY ARE RESTORED BACK TO THE BIBLE THEY WILL REALIZE THAT THE BIBLE WAY, IS FOR THERE TO BE A LIVE MINISTRY ON THE SCENE WITH THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE DECISIONS, AND HELP ESTABLISH THEM.

Having entered into this message with the thought of developing it fully, showing first of all, what the apostle’s office is to the church, and calling attention to the various functions of that office, it becomes necessary to cover the many things that the office has had to deal with, since the day of Pentecost, when the New Testament church was born. You will notice that right in the early stages of the first church there arose a dispute among the people that caused the apostles to have to make a decision that they did not have any scripture for. You will find it in the 6th chapter of Acts, where there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because they felt that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. This was at a time when the numbers of the disciples had multiplied to the extent that it was just too much for the apostles to handle without some help. Up until this time, the disciples had been bringing the money that they received from the sale of their houses and land, and giving it to the apostles, for they were in charge of the daily distribution among the believers. Therefore, the twelve apostles called the multitude together and instructed them to select seven men from among them. Let them be men that are full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, men to honest report, and we will appoint them over this business. For we must not leave the word of God, and prayer, in order to serve tables, said they. This was the apostles’ decision. They did not have scripture to tell them how to handle a situation like that. They became aware of a situation in the church that needed to be dealt with before it became more serious. It was because of this action on the part of the apostles, that caused deacons to begin to be recognized in the body of believers.

When there arose a dispute about the Gentiles that had believed and been filled with the Holy Ghost, it was up to the apostles to make the decision as to how the Gentiles should conduct themselves. They said, “we will not lay a heavy burden upon them, that will make the way too hard for them. Just tell them to keep away from idols, and from fornication, and things strangled, and blood.” This would be enough to put their new experience to the test, for this was the former way of life for these Gentiles. Their ways of worship were pagan; their gods were idols, and fornication was common among them. If their experience was not real, it would certainly show up through these avenues before very long. On the other hand, if they had been genuinely converted, there would be time, later, to teach them the more perfect way of life. We have the many epistles in the New Testament, that gives us the advantage of knowing what that further instruction was. But for now, we are just using these two accounts of the apostles, establishing believers, to call your attention to the fact that it was these apostles that actually became the fathers of Malachi 4:6, B-Part. It is the faith of these early church fathers, that the Elijah of Malachi 4:6, (second part), was to restore us back to, before the terrible day of the Lord comes. The great day of the Lord, in the first part of that verse, is referring to the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. We all know that John the Baptist was the forerunner of that coming. Likewise, most of you will receive this paper, will know already, that William Marrion Branham, of Jeffersonville, Indiana, was the Elijah of the other part of that verse. It was his ministry that was to turn the hearts of the children back to that of the Pentecostal fathers, (we say it like that because the church had its birth on the day of Pentecost), before the Lord comes in judgment. It is the faith of these fathers that I desire to speak to you about at this time. We want to see just what the faith of the fathers really was.

Now we believe that we are living in the closing days of God’s dealing with Gentile people. In other words, that which we refer to as the dispensation of grace to the Gentiles, is coming to a close. It behooves us, as Gentiles, to take stock of what God has done for us, as we are made aware of the things that are taking place in the religious world around us. I know that if it were not for what God did just a few short years ago, (to turn our attention to what He is doing in these last days), we would all be heading down the road to destruction. For we see now, that the church world is definitely going into apostasy. Revelation is dying out from them, all because they do not want truth anymore. They want just enough religion to cover their nakedness, (spiritually speaking), but in the eyes of God they are not covered. I hope you will excuse my illustration, but I believe God looks upon this world of religion, and sees them like a bunch of these night club strip tease performers. Creeds and rituals, will not cover a person’s nakedness before God. It takes a covering of His revelated word. It takes truth to lift a man out of his sinful condition. Religious creeds will not do it. True, christianity is a love relationship between man and God, based upon truth, and it seems that truth is not very popular in the world today.

 

WE SHOULD EXAMINE OURSELVES

Of course we realize, that because of much controversy, misunderstanding, and confusion, that is associated with this message of truth, we are looked upon, (by the religious world), as a cult, or a bunch of misfits. That is why I would like for us to take some time to examine ourselves in the light of what the Bible has to say. World conditions, should cause us to take inventory of what we have. We need to know, just what do we possess, and how does it measure up, in the light of what is going on in the world today? It is one thing for me to stand up here, and say, over and over again, that God sent a prophet to this age, but if He did, then let us find out why. For what purpose did he come? What effect should it have on you and I? Where will following his teaching lead you? You all know that is has never been my practice to preach to you, a man, except the man Christ Jesus. But, I will say this, I would ten times rather follow a man that has the love of God in his soul and some principles about him, than to follow one of these big organizations that, too much of the time, only use their members to build a greater empire.

 

EXAMINING THE SCRIPTURES

Let us begin, now, to examine the scriptures, beginning here in Malachi. This short book deals with the prophecy of Malachi, the last prophet that the Jewish nation ever had in the Old Testament period. We go back about 2400 years to pick up his ministry. He came on the scene at the closing of the great revival that had been brought about by the building of the temple walls and the work that was led by Nehemiah and Ezra. As that revival closed, the children of Israel went into apostasy. Therefore, as Malachi picks up the pen to write, he starts with a rebuke to that nation. They had enjoyed this great revival, and the privilege of being able to offer sacrifice to God again, but now the flame had died down and it became a form, a ritual, whereby they were bringing the lame, and the halt, from among the animals, to offer upon the altar as a sacrifice to God, knowing full well, that through the law they were instructed to bring the best to God. In chapter 1, verses 6-8, we read, (6) “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if I then be a father, where is mine honour? And if I be a master where is my fear? Saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? (7) Ye offer polluted bread upon my altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that, ye say, the table of the Lord is contemptible.” That is just like some of these half naked, short haired women, and long haired men in our day who go through the form of worship to God, yet we know that according to the Bible, their ways are abominable to God, yet they were offering animals upon the altar of God that were blind, sick, and crippled, and had the nerve to say; just how have we polluted you, Jehovah? God said, (in verse 7), When you ask a question like that, you are declaring that the table of the Lord is contemptible, in that, you see nothing wrong with what you are doing.

 

ABOMINABLE THINGS

It is the same in religion today. Those seminary graduates know that the Bible says it is abomination unto the Lord God, for a woman to wear that which pertaineth unto a man, also for a man to put on a woman’s garment, Deuteronomy 22:5. They know also that the Bible says women are not to teach, or to have authority over men, I Timothy 2:12, and they know that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of perversion, but do you think that makes any difference to them? They let all of this, right in their pulpits, and say, what is wrong with it? God wants us to enjoy our religion. They miss the whole concept of enjoyment, by their self willed ways of worship. That is where Cain missed the boat, right in the very beginning. He probably thought, what is wrong with all of these nice vegetables? God ought to be pleases that I have brought him so many of the best that I have raised this year. God was not looking for fruit and vegetables from anyone’s garden. He had no need for that. What He was looking for them, (and is still looking for today), was revelated obedience, from a heart that was genuinely sincere, and seeking that union with him.

Now, notice verse 8, (8) “And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if he offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? (Why is it evil? It is because they are doing what they want to do, instead of what God told them to do.) Offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? Saith the Lord of hosts.” Did you notice the test that He gave them? They were offering these sick and crippled animals to God, contrary to the law, and saying, “we don’t see anything wrong with it.” God said, “offer them to your governor, and see what he thinks about it, see if he will have respect for you, or be pleased with the gift.” The obvious conclusion is, that they expected a high and holy God to accept something that they would not even think of offering to one of the dignitaries among them.

 

GREAT AND DREADFUL

Malachi continued the rebuke, and pleadings with them, on and on, until he came to chapter 4:5-6, where he said, (in the name of the Lord), (5) “Behold, I will send you Elijah, (Now Elijah is the name of a man, an old testament prophet), before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Notice here, GREAT. . .AND . . . DREADFUL, AND. . . is a conjunction word. Those two words are not related. They are not speaking of a time that would be great and dreadful both at the same time. Each word is referring to a particular period of time. We do not have the space to go into it fully, but let me call to your attention the time when Jesus returned to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and as His custom was, He entered into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read. (I am referring now to Luke 4:16-21) (17) “And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah, And when he had opened the book he found the place where it was written. (18) THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON MEN, BECAUSE HE HATH ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR: HE HATH SENT ME TO HEAL THE BROKEN HEARTED, TO PREACH DELIVERANCE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERING OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET AT LIBERTY THEM THAT ARE BRUISED. (19) TO PREACH THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD. (20) And he closed the book, and he gave it to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. (21) And he began to say unto them, THIS DAY IS THIS SCRIPTURE FULFILLED IN YOUR EARS.” I read all of those verses in order for you to catch the setting just as it was. Jesus was reading Isaiah 61:1-2, but please notice that He did not read all of verse 2, for the first half proclaims the acceptable year of the Lord, and the last half is speaking of the vengeance of the Lord. He had only come that first time to fulfill the part down to the middle of verse 2. He is coming back at the end of the week of Daniel to fulfill the vengeance part of that verse. Therefore, you can see, from this scripture passage, that some verses are spread out, (time wise), over many generations. You have the same conjunction word . . .AND. . . used here, that you find in Malachi 4:5-6. It connects the prophecy, but there is a great separation, (time wise) in the fulfillment of the two parts. Therefore, in Malachi 4:5, . . . GREAT . . . is one period of time, and . . . DREADFUL . . . is another period of time, yet it is all connected in the same prophecy.

 

TWO FOLD WORK OF ELIJAH

I used to read verse 6, “and he, (Elijah) , shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children,” and think that there surely must have been a great generation gap in those days. Naturally, I was looking at it from the genetic standpoint, thinking that it was referring to natural fathers and their natural children. Of course, we really do have such a generation gap in our day, but this scripture is confined to the spiritual side, (spiritual fathers, and spiritual children). Elijah was first to turn the heart of the fathers to the children, (the spirit of Elijah in John the Baptist did that, before the great day of His coming, Matthew 11:14, Luke 1:17), Elijah was also to turn the heart of the children to their fathers. Now we have already established who these fathers were, (the apostles and leaders of that first church age), and we believe that the children are the true people of God in the age that we are living in. This was all to be accomplished before the Lord would come to smite the earth with a curse. We know that this prophecy has been hanging over the earth for almost two thousand years now, since John fulfilled the first part. The curse of God, (as referred to in this prophecy), is His wrath which will be poured out upon the unregenerate world in the very near future. Thank God for the Elijah Spirit in William Marrion Branham. His cry, for the people of God to come out from among the denominations and get back to the word of God, is having the effect of turning the heart of the children of God in this age, back to that of the apostolic fathers.

It was just as hard for the Judiastic leaders of that day to accept a message of truth, as it is for the clergy of today’s modern churches. Both groups have had their preconceived ideas, as to how certain scriptures were to be fulfilled, and when it didn’t happen like that, they rejected the whole thing and fought against it.

Nevertheless, truth has always tore up everything that God had not built, and our day is no exception. We are not teaching this to try to be different or arrogant, but strictly for the purpose of acquainting you with the fact of whether the word of God is worth the time that it takes to read it. We believe that a proper understanding and obedience to the word of God will spare a person much heartache in this life, and prepare that person to face God in eternity.

During the 400 years that followed the prophecy of Malachi, the priesthood in Israel developed many rituals, and perfected many theories, and ideas, in other words, schools of thought as to how this prophecy would be fulfilled. Some thought Elijah himself would return. They taught also, from Deuteronomy 18:15, 18, that God would raise up a prophet like Moses, and they talked of how the prophets of old, spoke of an anointed one that was to come, but not one of them knew how many of these scriptures would come into focus in their day. God never tells a people 40 or 50 years ahead of time just how to expect a thing that He is going to do. He expects them to receive it by faith when the time comes, and He Himself, through mercy and grace, gives the revelational insight for such a person to believe it.

 

JOHN’S BIRTH FORETOLD

When the time came for this Elijah prophecy to begin to be fulfilled, did God send Elijah, the prophet that was translated by a chariot of fire? Of course not. Let us read, (in the first chapter of Luke), the scripture that I mentioned earlier, where we will see how God set this fulfillment in motion. There was a priest named Zacharias, who, in the course of his duty as a priest in the temple, was approached by an angel of the Lord. When Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear came upon him. But the angel said, (13) “Fear not Zacharias, for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shall call his name John. (She had been barren, unable to have children.) (14) And thou shalt share joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. (15) For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. (16) And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.” Now who is going to do this? This boy baby that is to be called John, when he has grown up will have this kind of an effect on many people. Let us read verse 17, very carefully now, “and he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, (that is another translation of the word Elijah), To turn the heart of the fathers to the children, (Now that is an exact quote from Malachi 4:6. That angel didn’t have to carry the scroll with him to read that. He knew what it said, but he also knew where to stop quoting that prophecy too, for the rest was for another time), and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” It was not going to be Elijah, the prophet of old, and neither was it to be the spirit from that prophet, as some might say it at times. It was to be a man named John, who would have the same anointing from God upon him, as the prophet Elijah had. He would grow up and spend much time in the desert, away from all the religious laws and deeds of the scribes and Pharisees, but he was destined to play a great role in the lives of the people of Israel.

 

FATHERS OF JOHN’S DAY

We have talked about the children, and the fathers, of the last part of Malachi’s prophecy, but who were the fathers that were to be turned to the children, in the first part? That would have to be the religious leaders of John’s day, dignitaries among the people. Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken, that is the terminology that Stephen used when he was brought before the council. First of all, they were men, and they were brethren because of their racial identity, and then they were fathers because of their religious and social rank. Father, is a social rank that is recognized by their followers, the people that are subject to their judgment and council. Now we want to see if this will bear out in the scriptures.

 

GOD IS A SPIRIT

Turn in your Bibles to John 1:17, and let us begin to read here where John is already preaching. (17) “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (18) No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” Let me say this to you who would think that this scripture proves, that there are more than one person in the Godhead, it does not. I thought, for many years, that there were three persons in the Godhead. That is what we were raised up to believe. There stood people, listening to John, that had heard the accounts of the many manifestations of Jehovah, as he talked to the prophets of old. Now John stands there in the river of Jordan and says that no man hath seen God at any time. Where did he get his information? Either he knew something that they didn’t know, or he was completely off course. Which was it? How could a thing like that be reconciled? For our benefit, in this day, we will have to sum it up like this, when we go to Hebrews, chapter 1, and read, how “God, (who is an object of worship), at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets.” In our language, that verse would read something like this, At various times, and in different ways, God spoke to the religious leaders through the prophets. Verse 2, “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom he made the worlds.” What can we say of John in order to confirm him a true witness in the light of what we know from the word of God? When John said that no man had seen God at any time, he simply meant that no man had seen God in His eternal form, what they had seen was a temporary manifestation of some form that God used in order to communicate with them. Jesus backed up John’s revelation when he said, “God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth,” John 4:24. He fills the universe, but he is a spirit, and you cannot see a spirit. We read in Colossians 1:19, “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” In who? In the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice, verse 9, of chapter 2, still speaking of Jesus, “For in him, (Jesus) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” We are talking about the faith of the fathers now. This is part of what they believed. They did not believe in a blessed h