We ended part one looking at a few verses in John, chapter 17, where Jesus was praying to the Father, as the time drew near for Him to lay down His life for the sins of lost mankind. He knew what lay before Him, and He knew that His disciples would be shaken because of it, so His concern was for them, that they would be kept stable, secure, and that they be allowed to partake of the glory that He partook of. Verse 26, which is the last verse of John 17, says, “And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” Now to carnal minded persons of the world, it sounds ridiculous for Him to speak of being in His disciples; but the spiritual minded person knows that He is not in His disciples as a person, for He is just one person. But in every true believer that has received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, is that same Spirit substance of the father that was in Him. In other words, we are all of the same Spirit; so the light that was in Him, is in us also. When the time came for Him to be taken up to heaven, he said to His disciples, All things must be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms concerning me. He told them that it was necessary that He suffer death on the cross, and be raised the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name (which was the redemption name of the Father also,) among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Then in Luke 24:49 He said, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: (That was the Holy Ghost.) BUT TARRY YE IN THE CITY OF JERUSALEM, UNTIL YE BE ENDUED WITH POWER FROM ON HIGH.” That lets us know why his faithful disciples were gathered together in that upper room when the Holy Ghost was poured out upon them; they were tarrying there, just like He told them to do. Why? Simply because without that same Spirit in them, that He had in Him, they had no power to preach, teach, nor testify of the things they had witnessed while following Jesus. It is that anointing that enables us to speak anything that will glorify God, or cause a lost sinner to repent of his sins and seek the Savior. But let me tell you brothers and sisters, when that same Spirit that was in Jesus was poured into the Church: the Church was then able to do the same works He did. That is what we see throughout the book of Acts; the Church carrying on the works that Jesus had started. Those children of light were reflecting the same light He reflected; the light of the Father. What kind of ministry did God raise up, to lead the Church in those days? The ministry Paul described in Ephesians 4:11, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. There were no Catholic priests, nor Baptist preachers in those days; the Church was in unity, all striving together to fulfill the purpose of God in their lives. Those first Christians had all lived under the law of Moses; but after receiving the Holy Ghost, they every one saw God in a different light. They knew they no longer needed priests ordained of man, to intercede for them before the throne of God; nor did they need those animal sacrifices any longer, for the perfect blood sacrifice had finally been offered up; and it was good for all men everywhere, and for all times. Now does that mean that we should do away with the Old Testament, as some have done? No. There were yet many scriptures in the Old Testament to be fulfilled; and besides that, it takes the Old Testament scriptures to round out our revelation. We are living under the New Covenant; but we are still learning from the old one. Those who cast away the Old Testament, cast away the keys to a lot of revelations God means for His true children to have; especially here in the end time. As we have already said, When Peter wrote: (1st Pet. 1:19) “We have also a more sure word of prophecy,” he simply meant, Because of what has transpired in our very midst, those prophecies of the Old Testament are made more sure, or more real to us; therefore ye do well that ye take heed. In other words, take courage; do not doubt, no matter how hard your trials may be, for those prophecies have been made more sure to us, or more real. What was to be the result? The day star would arise in the hearts of every individual that would yield completely to God’s wooing efforts, and it would be a completely new day to those individuals; but we are still within this one day of salvation. A person’s inner life can be no more than what the dispensation reflects to them; but to be in the stream of God’s perfect will; our revelation must be kept up to date. Those early Christians would not have been continuing the ministry of Jesus, if they had gone out into the streets of Jerusalem and preached the law of Moses to the people. For Jesus came to set them free from the keeping of that law; by placing in their hearts the law of righteousness that would cause them to follow God because of a love relationship. Regardless of what we do though, no human being will ever outshine Jesus Christ. His obedient life on earth is the example we are endeavoring to measure up to. The world has called Him a superstar, in their greedy efforts to put more dollars in their bank accounts; but as we look at this dispensational day; He is the Sun that gives light to the whole world. In other words, There is enough light for every human soul upon the face of the earth to walk in; but as the scriptures say, Some men love darkness rather than light. (In other words, Believe on Him to the extent of actually receiving the new birth.) A lot of people have believed with their intellect, until something else came along and drew their attention away from the Lord, but none of those ever received that new birth experience They fall into either the 2nd or 3rd example of the first parable of Jesus, in the 13th chapter of Matthew. In that parable, only the seed that fell into the good ground, represent those souls in this dispensation of grace that believe all the way through to the born again experience. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is what seals a soul into the family of God. But as I have already said, When we receive the Holy Ghost, that is only the starting point for our statural growth, we are only baby Christians, and only able to digest the milk of the word of God. It is the revelational light we receive from that point on, that causes us to grow up in spiritual stature (in the image of Jesus Christ.) As I said early in the message, the word day, (DAY) has many applications, but once again, let me use the dawning of one 24 hour day, and the light of that day, to illustrate what Peter was talking about, when he referred to the day star arising in the heart of a believer, for our statural growth is a progressive thing, just like the rising of the sun. The sun does not come fully over the horizon in a flash, but when it first begins to show, daylight starts, and the light of that day gets brighter and brighter, as the day goes on; until at high noon, all the dark shadows are at their shortest point. That is what represents full stature in the life of a born again child of God. When we first believe and accept the gospel message, and receive the Holy Ghost: that is comparable to the light of the sun coming upon the horizon; we have a little revelation. The DAY STAR (Jesus Christ) has begun to give light to your soul that was in the darkness of sin and unbelief, but you do not learn everything in one day. It sometimes takes many years for the full revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to become a living reality to us; but as we receive more revelation, that is comparable to the light of the natural sun moving toward its brightest glow at high noon. Each day with Jesus gets sweeter and sweeter; unless we hit a place of stagnation in our spiritual growth. That can happen you know, if we allow the devil to sidetrack us by one of his clever diversions. Nevertheless it certainly is not the will of God for His children to remain in ignorance. Therefore you could never convince me that the Day Star has arisen in your heart; if you still light candles, and throw coins into the water at the feet of some statue with the thought of it having some spiritual value. If you do that, you are still just as blind and staggering as you ever were; for there is no light in any of that kind of thing. Peter’s usage of the day star arising in our hearts, was pointing to that recreating, remolding process the word of God works in us; to mold us into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ; for that is God’s ultimate purpose in the life of every born again child of His. We are talking about the spiritual image of course; and not that God wants us to look like Jesus physically. I am sure you all realize that. Physically, it does not matter whether we are short, tall, fat, or thin; just as long as our spirit is in tune with the Spirit of God; so he can lead us, and reveal His word to us.
We have spoken of it many times; but I wonder how many of you here, could actually explain to someone who knew nothing about it, just exactly what brought about the dark ages. Do any of you think the devil took the light away from any of those who already had it? No. That is not what happened. Those who carried the true light of God’s word in their bosom, died, and the 2nd, 3rd, 4th generations and on down the line, never really came into the full revelation; because the devil had preachers scattered around, preaching false doctrine, enough to keep the true revelation clouded over. Therefore by the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th centuries, there was very little true revelation left in what was called, the church. Generation after generation lived and died; without ever hearing the true gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, You could say that God allowed the devil to have his Millennial reign, a thousand years of darkness. But God was obligated by His own word, to fulfill the prophecies pointing to this end time hour of time. Therefore those dark clouds of dogmas and creeds of man’s religion, had to be forced back, and the true light of the gospel allowed to shine in its full brilliance; before the day of salvation comes to an end. That is why he started giving men like Luther, Calvin, Knox, Wesley, and all those various ones, little gems of apostolic truth. None of them ever preached the entire apostolic gospel; but what they did preach, lightened up those dark clouds, and allowed more light to be shed upon the earth. Many souls were delivered from that state of almost total spiritual darkness, that they were in, as those various ones began to preach what God had revealed to them. Dispensationally speaking, the day of salvation was on the declining side, and the sun was getting very low, coming into the twentieth century. But the hour came, that God raised up a little man; a sinner saved by grace, just like the rest of us, and anointed him for a special purpose. The anointing that was upon him, I have not seen on any man since. He preached the gospel with the same anointing and authority the apostles of Jesus had, in the first century. His name was William Marrion Branham, from right here in Jeffersonville, Ind., and we are fully persuaded that he was the Laodicean church age messenger. He was the seventh angel, of Revelation 10:7, and the seventh star of Revelation 1:16, and 1:20, and through his ministry, the light of that glorious gospel of Jesus Christ broke through those still very dark clouds of tradition and unbelief; and here in the evening time, the full glow of the sun (SON OF GOD) is seen once again. In the evening time it shall be light. Hallelujah! Brothers and Sisters: That is something to shout about! Just think: After all these hundreds of years of darkness, we are able to hear the gospel preached in its full revelation, just like it started out. We now have the revelation of all that those first age apostles preached about, and wrote about. We even have the revelation of the book of Revelation, that remained such a mystery for over 1900 years. I say, We are a privileged people; and we have much to give an account of. “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” Jesus said that in Luke 12:48. God will not hold a man accountable for something he never knew anything about; but those of us who have been given a clear revelation of the will and purpose of God, are accountable to Him for the way we handle the revelation; and for the way we live our lives with that revelation inside of us. Now for you who would associate the word star, with night time, let me remind you that there is another usage of that word. There are a variety of definitions in the Webster dictionary; but we are interested in only this one, “a person who stands out among his fellows.” You have movie stars, baseball stars, football stars, tennis stars, and on and on; but the stars we are dealing with, are the church age stars, those outstanding men of God who were the star messengers to the seven church ages in this one dispensational day. The apostle Paul was the star of the first church age, and Bro. William Branham was the undisputable star of the seventh church age. Oh that does not mean that all church going people accept him as that, but those who dispute it, have never received a revelation of the apostolic gospel. They are still existing on the stale bread from the Reformation. What was good enough for Luther, and all of those, is not good enough for end time children of God to receive proper spiritual nourishment from, for much has been revealed since then, and God expects us to eat of all of it.
THE HOLY GHOST – IN BELIEVERS
I want to turn to 1st Thessalonians, chapter 4, and show you how that first age star messenger fulfilled his calling. Jesus knew before He left the earth, that He had delivered the word of God to those Jewish people. He delivered to them all that God required Him to. That is why he said, (in John 17:8) as He prayed for all believers, “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them.” Yet the apostle Paul (who never walked with Jesus, when He was ministering on earth) explained things that Jesus never even spoke of; so how do we account for that? That is why Jesus said in John 16:7, 12-14, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; 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. (For our purpose, at this time, just drop down to verse 12.) I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, 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 SHOW YOU THINGS TO COME. He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” The Spirit of the Father that was in Jesus, caused Him to say everything He said. Therefore when that same spirit filled all those disciples; they too began to speak the word of God; as that inspiration rose up within them. God moved upon them, to speak the things Jesus said they could not bear, while he was still with them. What was the difference? Simply that they all had that revelatory spirit inside of them; to enable them to receive deeper teaching. Now they could be told of things yet to come; and that is exactly what we are going to read; something the Holy Ghost revealed to them through the apostle Paul, that Jesus never did speak of. Now Peter was a spokesman for God, on the day of Pentecost, for the keys that opened up the kingdom of God to lost mankind had been given to him. Therefore he stood in the streets of Jerusalem and said, “Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken (or listen) to my words,” and then he preached Jesus Christ to them, and three thousand souls were saved. But in the eyes of God, Peter was not the star to the age. Paul was the one that stood out among all of them, as the gospel went over to the Gentile; and that brings us to the scripture I want to read. It is 1st Thess. 4:13-17, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, (dead) that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. (That is the picture we see in Revelation, chapter 19) 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. 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: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (This is the rapture of the true Church ; something Jesus never even spoke of: but something every true Christian believes in) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” We are told to comfort one another with these words; for herein lies the hope of every true believer that has ever exercised faith in Christ. How did we learn about the resurrection and rapture of the Church? Through the Holy Ghost that was in the apostle Paul, doing exactly what Jesus said He would do when He came, that is, show you things to come. This is what enabled the church to know what to look forward to. No Jesus is not jealous of Paul, nor of Peter, nor any of the rest that have spoken of things that He never taught on; for that is exactly what they were supposed to do. Just think of all that is being taught here in the end time, that Jesus nor any of his apostles ever taught on. What is it? It is the Holy Ghost, in the five fold ministry of this hour, revealing things that saints of other ages had no need to know. That is why Jesus said, (John 17:20) “Neither pray I for these alone (His immediate disciples) but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” It is through their word that every one of us have been brought into the faith. Where would we be, without those New Testament epistles written by those men of that first church age? We do not believe on Paul, nor Peter, nor any of them unto salvation; but on the word of the Lord Jesus Christ hat they every one wrote about. They all wrote about Jesus; but Paul is the one that stood out among them: he was the star messenger to that age.
THE DAY OF THE LORD
This 5th chapter of 1st Thessalonians is what I like, for Paul just goes right on talking about the day of the Lord; which is actually the time when Jesus comes back literally, with His saints, to rule and reign. To the unrevelated person, it all sounds like one coming; but the last verses of chapter 4 are dealing with the rapture of the Church; when the resurrection takes place, and Jesus does not come to earth at that time; the saints meet Him in the air. Let us read a few verses, and you will see the difference. “But of the times and the seasons, (years, months, and so forth) Brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” Does he mean to the Church? No. To those who still sit in the darkness of sin and unbelief. To them He will come as a thief in the night, unannounced. Actually Paul had a little twofold thought running here, for he had been speaking of the rapture of the church, and the sureness of that blessed event; but it was not needful for anyone to know when it would take place. Actually the true saints of God will know when the time is getting close, because of the signs of the times, and the scriptures that are being fulfilled, but the world will know nothing; neither of this coming, nor of His literal coming, because they do not believe the scriptures. They will not be ready for Him, but the little bride will. In fact, they will say, How do we know this is the truth? That could have just been Paul’s own idea about it all. Besides, people have been saying that for years, and He has not come yet. Well brothers and sisters, that is how unbelief works; it deludes the minds of all those who refuse to submit themselves to God in truth. But the little bride knows what to look forward to. Notice verse 3 now, as we go on. “For when they (the unbelievers) shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” No woman knows three days in advance when she is going to be delivered of her little baby. In such a case, she lives in expectancy; will it be today? Will it be tomorrow? But when the time actually arrives, she may be in her car, heading for the shopping mall; and just barely make it to the hospital in time. To the world, the coming of the Lord is going to be just that sudden, and it will be too late for them to turn to the Lord; but the believer will be secure in Him who works all things according to His word. Hallelujah! How blessed we are. “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (Praise God! I like this.) Ye are the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” Go on, Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggart, write your books, and the time will come that you will all regret what you have done, but it will be too late. You can raise a lot of money with them; but they do not present a true revelation to the poor souls who read them. The reason we are not in darkness, is because the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ has lit the way for us. As I said already, God does not save us, for us to remain twenty years in the dawning of our Christian experience, saved, baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and not one inch beyond that. You are supposed to have a noon time in your experience also, and if the clouds do come, in your experience, I will have to say, that is your fault. God does not put them there, for Paul said, ye are the children of LIGHT, and the children of the day. There is no room for clouds of doubt and unbelief, in the lives of God’s revelated children. “We are not of the night, nor of darkness.” Hallelujah! Brother: we are living in the day time; both of our personal experience, and also of the dispensation. Do I say that just because we have heard God’s prophet messenger teach on the Church Ages and the seals? No You can know all about the Church Ages and the seals, but if you do not have a proper foundation (revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ) to lay all of that upon, it is as worthless as a week old newspaper. The revelation of Jesus Christ is not given to a lost sinner, so he can learn about the Church Ages and seals. All of that is for believers, as they progress in their salvation experience. When Bro. William Branham first came upon the scene, it was to the multitudes. The Baptists, the Methodists, the Catholics, and all the rest, both trinity and oneness, could sit and listen to him, for he did not normally touch upon the things that made them nervous. He preached the gospel of Jesus Christ in such simplicity, that a lot of those trinitarian people ran to the water hole to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. A lot of oneness got their revelation of the godhead straightened out, and multitudes were healed; both trinity and oneness, as the Holy Ghost spake and ministered through that little vessel of clay.
REVELATION MOVES US FORWARD
I remember one particular Sunday morning there in the Branham Tabernacle, after Bro. William Branham had preached and was ministering to people in the prayer line. I was sitting on the platform because of an overflow crowd; and there was a man and his wife from a trinity church over in Louisville; sitting just 3 seats back from the front. Brother Branham was anointed and began to discern various things, and tell people what was wrong with them and so forth. Then all of a sudden he looked right back there to those people in that third row and said, You, brother: you are suffering with such and such a condition! Isn’t that right? The man threw up his hands, and began to scream. Then Bro. William Branham said, I see a dark shadow moving right over to your wife, and he told exactly what her condition was, and she threw up her hands and began to scream. They both then broke down, and began to weep, and Bro. William Branham asked, Do you believe me to be God’s prophet? Then he said, May the Lord bless you, God has made you whole. That night, both of them came and were baptized according to the light of the gospel of Christ. Hallelujah! That is why God anointed him; that the true gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ might be confirmed. Brother, the way God used that little man’s ministry, tore down denominational barriers of tradition, and drove back those dark clouds of unbelief and doubt, and the minds of a lot of people were set free in Christ for the first time. That did not change the age, it only changed those individuals that were touched by it. They were able to see Jesus Christ in the same light the first Christians saw Him in. This was that light in the evening time, that Zechariah prophesied about. I must keep stressing the fact that the sun, dispensationally speaking, has not yet disappeared over the horizon. But thank God, we have been privileged to see the glory of the light of that sun in its evening descent, and it is going to take the total five fold ministry here in the evening time, in order for the bride of Christ to be brought to the fulness of the image that she is to project before she leaves here. Many men who profess to be a part of that ministry, are going about, preaching things that simply will not harmonize with the overall revelation of this hour of time; therefore let me say this, A man ought not be too quick about preaching something that comes to him. Each man of this true ministry will recognize that he is not the only one God is dealing with; and that will cause him to weigh anything that comes to him, against what the others are preaching and make sure it does not conflict with the truth that has already been established and confirmed by the word of God. Let me say this also, you who look at Malachi 4:2, and see the bride, there is something wrong, for that does not even apply to the bride. That applies to the Millennium when that certain element of mortal people are definitely going to benefit by the literal rule and reign of Jesus Christ on earth. Therefore there is no way that you can make this a part of the evening light message to the bride of Christ; except just to let her know what it pertains to. However the evening light message is still having its affect around this old world today, and will continue to do so until the little bride is ready to take her flight. I want to re-emphasize something I have already said though; just to be sure you understand it. Just as Jesus never brought forth every truth that pertained to the bride, but left much of it for His apostles to bring out later, so did Bro. William Branham do likewise, when he delivered the evening light message. God used him to restore the original truth of the gospel of Christ, and to clarify the plan of salvation, but there were a number of things he never did actually teach on. God used him to say certain things about serpent seed, a subject that had never been taught before to my knowledge; but he never did actually explain how it really fit into the overall picture. However the same anointing that revealed to him what he did say, was still here after he was gone, to complete the picture. Paul never preached anything about serpent seed; but does that mean that no one else should? No. God saved certain things for the end time element of the bride of Christ, that no other age ever needed to know. I received something from someone the other day and the person who sent it would not even sign his, or her, name, but said, stop preaching this false doctrine; there is no salvation in serpent seed teaching. Well I grant you, there is no salvation in knowing about serpent seed; but it sure does let one know why they need salvation. In other words, it puts more light on the subject. It lets you know why Jesus had to be born of virgin birth. You know, there are a lot of people in the world today, that are ready to tell you what the first sin of mankind was not; but none of them are able to tell you what it really was; and they forbid anyone else to tell it. But this is like what the apostles said, when they were forbidden to preach any more in the name of Jesus, Should we obey God, or man? God meant for the end time church to have certain truths revealed to it, that the first age Church did not have, or He would never have given the revelation to His servants in the first place. Surely you can all see that. Well my point is this, Brother Branham’s ministry drove back the dark clouds of tradition and unbelief; and allowed the end time element of the bride of Christ to see the same glorious light that was seen by the first age saints. Bur when God removed that little man from the scene, He did not remove His anointing. That same anointing is continuing through the five fold ministry, what was started through the ministry of Bro. William Branham, in order that the end time church may have a full revelation of the plan and purpose of God. These quoters that are running the roads quoting Bro. William Branham, have the same spirit on them, that was on those tares that got in, as the first age was closing out. They are doing exactly what was done then. Those men were not trying to bring beer and whiskey into the Church; they were trying to change what those apostles of Christ meant, when they preached the gospel. By the same token, these who are always quoting what Bro. William Branham said, heard his words, and saw his flesh, but never received one ounce of revelation on the things he taught. Therefore they quote him, and then put their own carnal interpretation on what he meant. Is it any wonder that there is confusion in the ranks of those who follow this message? People like that are like the blind man that Jesus prayed for: that saw a little profile of something, and they knew it was important, but they received no revelation on what was meant, so they just quote, quote, quote, and project their own ideas. That is why the true ministry of this hour must have a backbone in them that will fight against that spirit, in order that this glorious light be kept bright to the very end.
WE STAND FOR TRUTH
This little assembly has always been ridiculed and blackballed by various elements, simply because God protected me and kept me from falling into that trap of the devil that so many others fell into. I have said to my wife many times, honey, we sat right there with all those others and heard what Bro. William Branham preached; so except for the grace of God that kept our heads on straight, we could be right where a lot of them are, just running the roads, causing confusion. Just like in the days of Christ, there had to be some personal witnesses that would hear what was said, and allow the Spirit of God to give them a revelation of it, for as soon as the man was gone, that spirit came in like a flood, with all kinds of carnal ideas. That is why those first few years after we built here, were such hard years. I had been preaching for quite a few years; but I was still very young in the areas of criticism and pressure, that were constantly comparing my life with Bro. William Branham’s. I never compared myself to Bro. William Branham; but I did hear what was said, and God allowed me to understand what was meant; therefore as the years passed, I came to the place where I could not care less what they say about me. The way I look at it: when they speak against me because of the truth I stand for, they are only digging their own graves; because God Himself is my defender. He is the one that has kept me from all of that confusion; simply because I had only one purpose in mind, I wanted to be put back in the Bible and know the truth of God’s word; instead of just being filled with a bunch of quotes. That is why I am able to look out there at you, and know that you are not sitting here just because of my flesh; for I have not cultivated fleshly attachments in my ministry of the word of God. Furthermore I have heard the testimony of many of you, how you were searching for the light when you first came in those doors back there. I tell you brothers and sisters: I have learned a lot through all of this pressure and criticism, that I would not trade for anything in the world. A million dollars could not buy it; it can only come the way I got it. Furthermore, if I depart this life before Jesus comes for his church, I will leave knowing that I have preached the truth. I have not had to change what I preached twenty years ago, I have just added to it. Therefore regardless of what my critics say, I believe God raised up this little assembly to be a place where the evening light would shine brightly, so instead of hurting me, those critics only give us free advertisement, for we are known around the world. I cannot be accused of robbing anything else, nor of building anything for myself, for I have made every effort to build only for God.
RECEIVING POWER FROM ON HIGH
Let us get back to our subject. We are children of light: not by our meriting it, but because of God’s grace. What did Paul write in his Ephesian letter, concerning we Gentiles? Let us read verses 11-13 of chapter 2, and you will see. “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 was the Jews) 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: (That allows us to see clearly that Gentiles had no hope in God back then, in Old Testament times.) But now (after the Jews rejected their Messiah) in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh, by the blood of Christ.” Hallelujah! No wonder Peter could write about the day star dawning in our hearts. Brother that is what our personal experience with Jesus Christ is. It puts us in a brand new day. Where our soul used to be in total darkness; it now has total light. We can now look back and see why Jesus told his disciples to preach the gospel to the whole world, at a time when it seemed like the good news was only for the Jews. The commission was, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15-16) However they were to tarry in the city of Jerusalem, until they were endued with power from on high, and of course that pertained to the Holy Ghost that fell upon the 120 disciples who obeyed His instructions, and waited in that upper room there in Jerusalem. Without first tarrying, like he told them to do, there never would have been any results from what they had to say, for without the Holy Ghost to unction them, God would not have honored their words with the necessary vindication. What did they receive? They received the very presence of the Spirit of God in each of their individual lives. God, who is light, was then dwelling inside each of them, and that enabled them to continue the very same works that Jesus Himself had begun to do on earth. What they received was that light that shineth in a dark place, and the dark place is our sin laden hearts, before we receive the gospel. Alright they were to take it to the whole world; but we know there had to be some leadership as to how each individual would respond to that command. It was one thing for Jesus to say, Go. But our going has to be directed, so that it is according to the plan and purpose of God. Therefore the light that shineth in a dark place ultimately turns out to be the gospel preached by the revelation and anointing of the Holy Ghost. That may sound like a tongue twister, but when you analyze it, you will find that it all adds up to the same thing, for by believing and obeying the gospel, we receive that Spirit of God which lights up our souls, and determines our eternal destiny. That is why I keep stressing the fact that as long as the dispensation of grace is in effect, we are still in that daylight, or daytime period of what Isaiah referred to as the day of salvation. Once that day started, it has been daytime ever since, even through the Dark Ages, when very little light was seen. That light is available for all to walk in, but the world prefers darkness rather than light. Why did Paul say, (2nd Corinthians 6:2) “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation?” Because under the law of Moses, it was the night season before the dawning of this glorious day. That is why Peter would write, ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place; for before the day of Pentecost when the spirit was given, that light was not available. Before the dawning of that dispensational day, there could never have been the dawning of such a day in the hearts of individuals. The progression of our own individual experience does not change the dispensational day at all. That day will dawn in an individual’s heart, rise to its peak, and then that person can pass on to their reward, and the dispensational day not be affected at all. In other words, This is just Peter’s way of speaking of the new birth experience that individuals have, during this one day of salvation that covers many centuries. God has allowed Himself this period of time in which he is redeeming a people that can be called by His name, and this one day will last until the last predestined soul has heard and accepted their call, and from this last day element of Christianity, He is perfecting a people that can be taken up alive, like Enoch of old, who walked with God.
PROPHECIES MADE MORE SURE
Let us look at some of the scriptures Peter was thinking about when he said, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy,” or prophecy made more sure to us. We have to go back into the Old Testament to get them. In Genesis 15:18 before Abraham even had any children, God said to him, “Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” At this time, these two people were still known as Abram and Sarai. Bur shortly afterwards, God changed their names to Abraham and Sarah, because they were to be prince and princess of a great multitude of people. All of this was pointing to the great multitude that would cover the earth, from that one promised seed that Abraham was to have by his wife Sarah. In chapter 12, verse 3, when God had first spoken to Abraham, He said to him, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” That was a prophecy pointing to you and me, the spiritual seed of Abraham. Paul dealt with all of this in his epistle to the Romans, pointing out how Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness, and how that Abraham is the father of all who believe and trust in God. In Romans 4:13, Paul says this, “For the promise, that he (Abraham) should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” Then in verse 16, he wrote, “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.” Then Paul speaks of Genesis 17:5, where God said to Abraham, I have made thee a father of many nations. Abraham did not realize the potential that was in that one promise, for his mind was on the fact that at that time his wife Sarah had not even been able to give him a seed. Nevertheless God reconfirmed the covenant and promise He had made to him saying, (Gen. 17:15) “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.” It was through Isaac, not Ishmael, that all the families of the earth would be blessed; for through his seed Jesus Christ, that humanly is through the genealogy of Isaac, is where we Gentiles come into that promise. All families, means all races and all colors of all the families of the earth. Therefore through that one seed Isaac we are all included in the promise God made to Abraham. Isaac begat Esau and Jacob, and you all know the story there, how that even though Jacob was the youngest of the two, he received the birthright blessing from their father Isaac, and that promise of God to Abraham came on down through him. Jacob begat twelve sons, and brother, the promise of God was on its way to being fulfilled; that Abraham’s seed would be for number as the sand of the seashore, and as the stars in the sky. This was not altogether a beautiful picture though, when you look at it from the standpoint of the natural, for in Genesis 15:13-16, God told Abraham of the over 400 years of captivity that his seed would be subjected to, before they would come back into the land of promise. Let us read those 4 verses. “And He said unto Abraham, (or Abram) know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, (Egypt) whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” Well all of that was fulfilled just exactly as God had told Abraham; for 430 years after they entered that land, God brought them forth from it through the ministry of Moses, (so to speak) and they came forth as twelve tribes, a great multitude of people, to possess the land of promise. You all know the story of how their unbelief caused God to have to allow them to wander around in the wilderness until all of the older generation died off, and how Joshua and Caleb led the younger generation across the Jordan into the land of promise, and how they went about taking possession of that land.
DISPENSATION OF THE WRITING PROPHETS
After the children of Israel came into their land of promise, they are then dealt with in what we call the dispensation of the writing prophets. They would speak of past, present, and future, as the voice of God to this people of Israel, who were the natural seed of Abraham; to instruct, warn, and chasten them, as well as to promise them a Messiah. Each prophet, in his own generation of time, was a mouthpiece of God. There would be times when God would remind them of what He had done for them at the Red Sea, in bringing them out of Egyptian bondage, in order to encourage them, or to remind them of His great power and ability, and what He could do for them, if they would obey Him, or against them, if they refused to obey him. Elijah was not a writing prophet; but much of what he spoke was written by others, for he was a preaching prophet. Men such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, and all of them were the writing prophets, and it is those prophecies mainly, that Peter was referring to, as he spoke about the day star arising in our hearts, and a more sure word of prophecy. Those prophecies are made more sure to true believers, because of the revelation God has given us in this hour of time. Well I did not know when I started on this message, just how this thing was going to unfold; so this is where I really stick my neck out. If any of you leave here, not understanding why there is so much confusion following Bro. William Branham’s message, there is something wrong with you, for I am going to speak very plainly. Even if I had ten natural brothers following this message, I would still have to say what I am about to say. Percentage-wise, there are as many tares following this message as there are out here in the denominational churches. It should not be that way, but I am afraid it is. Furthermore I am sure that most of you must have noticed that God does not chasten nor speak to them. Well, that is the reason: He only chastens His own children. That is why I do not hesitate to say, we are not all children of God. Oh I know a lot of you do not like to hear me talk like this, but I have to. You know what Malachi 4:6 says: Whoever that spirit of Elijah would rest upon in these last days, was to bring a message to the age, that would turn the hearts of the children (children of God) back to the faith and revelation of the apostolic fathers. Therefore I say to you: If you have not been turned back to the revelation of Jesus Christ that those early apostles had, you are not my brother. Bro. Jackson! That sounds bad! I know it does, but conditions force it to be that way. Furthermore I am not the one that said it; the Bible declares it to be that way. The only ones that are going to benefit spiritually from Bro. William Branham’s message, are the true children of God, all the rest will just use what they can, to benefit their flesh in some way. You just simply cannot change prophecy. Malachi 4:6 is not just stating what should be, it is a prophecy telling us exactly what the results of that man’s ministry will be. Of course the man himself is gone, but his message is still in the earth today, and it is still accomplishing what it was supposed to accomplish: turning the hearts of some back to the faith of those apostles of Jesus. Remember this: Man will fail; but the word of God will never fail; it will always accomplish what it was supposed to accomplish.
Alright Hosea was a prophet of God in the 8th century B.C., when Israel had committed great whoredoms against God. Therefore God instructed Hosea to take a wife of whoredoms, and when he did so, and children were born unto them, God had those children named certain names that spoke of how He was going to deal with that nation because of their adulterous ways. First with the ten northern tribes called Israel, and then with the two southern tribes called Judah. Hosea writes of how God, in a certain span of time, would say to those two southern tribes, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said to them (the Gentiles) Ye are the sons of the living God. When the ten northern tribes were driven from the land, they were never to be back again and be dealt with, until the last days, just before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. However the two southern tribes, even though they were taken into Babylonian captivity, were brought back into the land of their fathers. For what? To be there for the first advent of Christ. They were the representatives of the nation of Israel, when those Messianic prophecies were fulfilled to that people, at the first advent of Christ. Even though the people rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah, the gospel message was still presented to them first. They were to be first partakers of the gospel, before the Gentiles were ever allowed to partake of it. But as a total nation of people, they rejected the gospel. That is why God allowed Titus and his Roman Army to cut them off, and scatter them to the four winds in 69 & 70 A.D., and that is why Paul became very bold one day and said to a bunch of them something like this, It was necessary that the gospel of Jesus Christ first be preached to you; but seeing that you reject it, and count yourselves unworthy of eternal life, Lo, we turn to the Gentiles. God will never deal with that nation again, as a nation of twelve tribes, until that last predestined Gentile soul has received the gospel. The Jews did not understand Hosea’s prophecy; but there it lay just the same, and God did exactly what He said He would do.
SETTLING A DISPUTE
When Paul and Barnabas went up to Jerusalem to discuss with the other apostles, the great controversy that had arisen at Antioch, over circumcision, James took the occasion to refer to a prophecy in Amos 9:11 & 12, that was being fulfilled. No matter what God does, there is always a bunch of legalists on hand to find fault with it, and that was the case at Antioch. Certain men came down from Judaea, teaching that except those Gentiles which had believed, be circumcised according to the law of Moses, they cannot be saved. That is what caused Paul and Barnabas to go up to Jerusalem to see the other apostles, and get their mind on the matter. After explaining how God had blessed their ministry among the Gentiles, and how certain of the Pharisees had caused this trouble there at Antioch, Peter was the first one of them to give an answer. He said, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made a choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel and believe. (Not too many years after Pentecost, Peter had been led to one lone household in Caesarea, the house of a Roman centurion, where he preached to all that were assembled there, and they believed. But Peter himself had no ministry to the Gentiles.) And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us; And put no differences between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. (We are reading from Acts, chapter 15, starting with verse 7, and we are now in verse 10, so listen to Peter’s conclusion.) Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our father nor we were able to bear? Peter had no revelation of what God was going to do for the Gentiles, when he went up to the house of Cornelius. He simply went because God had backed him into a corner, and there was nothing else that he could do. You all know the story, how Peter was upon the housetop praying, and the Lord gave him a vision in which he saw something like a great sheet, with the four corners tied together, let down from heaven before his face, full of all sorts of wild beasts and creeping things, and how a voice said to him, Rise Peter, kill and eat. That was done three times, and Peter would say, Not so Lord, for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth, and God said to him, What God has cleansed, call not thou common nor unclean. Peter was weighing all of this in his mind when the three Gentile men arrived at the gate below, and the Lord instructed him to go with them, doubting nothing. This was an altogether different situation than when Paul and Barnabas boldly declared that they were going to turn to the Gentiles with the gospel. Sure, Peter was the one to whom Jesus gave the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and Peter used those keys, both on the day of Pentecost, and at the house of Cornelius, but he did not stand out with any kind of calling to preach to the Gentiles. Are any of you wondering why I am going through all of this? Because I want to go back into the book of Revelation and talk about a star. We have already touched on it, but we want to look again at those seven stars in the hand of Jesus, in the first chapter of Revelation.
GOD MADE PAUL A STAR
Any time you mention stars, people have a tendency to think of night time, but in this particular setting, the stars do not pertain to night time. They are outstanding men of God, all within this one dispensation of time known as the grace age, and referred to in prophecy as the day of salvation. On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost was give to the 120 disciples, there were twelve apostles in that upper room, but it was not the purpose of God for any one of them to be the star of that first age of Christendom. That was reserved for a man that was still a devout Pharisee for quite a while after the birth of the Church. When Saul of Tarsus was out persecuting Christians, God Himself was the only one that knew what was in store for him. After giving his voice in the stoning death of Stephen which was one of the seven deacons of the early Church, Saul went on a real crusade persecuting all that in any way called upon the name of Jesus Christ, and God had to knock him down in the middle of the road to Damascus, and blind him for three days, in order to get his attention, and get him going in the right direction. Saul thought he was doing God a service, killing those Christians. In his state of spiritual blindness, his zealousness toward religious traditions had kept him from even imagining that God would have anything to do with such an unorthodox gang as that. He thought they were a bunch of fanatics, and that the world would be better off without them. But after God got through working on him, his testimony was, after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers. After God finally got him turned around (Not that God was trying before that) he became as zealous for Christianity as he was for trying to rid the world of Christians before that. Did Paul (That is the new name God gave Saul) know that he was destined to be the star of the first church age? No. Those apostles did not even know there would be any such thing as church ages. They only knew from written prophecies, that there was another dispensation of time wherein God would do something for Israel, but they saw nothing beyond that. John the Baptist introduced that period of time as the kingdom of heaven, and we know that within that dispensation called the kingdom of heaven, there was to be another term used, the kingdom of God. One term applies to the dispensation itself, and the other term applies to something that is taking place within that dispensation of time, the Spirit of God making His abode in the hearts of His children. That is why it could be said, The kingdom of God is within you, because the Spirit of God rules and reigns in the hearts of His true children. Speaking of the apostles though, there were none with any more boldness and fearlessness than the apostle Peter, after he received the Holy Ghost. He stood right there in the streets of Jerusalem, on the day of Pentecost, and rebuked that bunch of scribes and Pharisees that were making fun of those disciples speaking in tongues. He was also an outstanding figure in those early days of Christianity, in that the sick and diseased were laid in the streets in such a way that the shadow of him might pass over them, believing that there was healing virtue in it, and God honored it, but that still did not make him the star of that first church age. The night Jesus was arrested, Peter stood by the fire, scared half to death. But on the day of Pentecost, after he received the Holy Ghost, oh what boldness. This was the same man that had grabbed a sword, and cut a man’s ear off, when they came to arrest Jesus. Well I just mention these things to more or less cause you to consider his human reactions under certain circumstances, and then to see that same man moving under the leadership of the Holy Ghost. As we look at Peter in the scriptures, we see a man that seemed to have the potential to be a star, but remember, his ministry was mostly to the Jews, so we have to look at the whole age in order to get the true picture. Let me just mention one more prophecy pertaining to what God was going to do during this day of salvation, and then we will take a better look at Paul, who really was the star of that first church age. The scripture is Jeremiah 31:33, and says this, “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; (This gospel was first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles.) After those days, (after that period of the law) saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” This was a new covenant that God was making with the house of Israel, and Paul picked it up in the 8th chapter of Hebrews and says, “In that He saith, A new covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” The law was the old covenant. It dealt with types and shadows of the new covenant, which is the covenant of grace. That is why we can say, The law was the moon age, because it was reflecting the sun (SON) that was to be seen in the day season. The moon has no light of its own; it is just a reflector of the sun, and that is exactly what the law age was, to the grace age. It foreshadowed what sin was, and what God was going to do, to deal with it. Now God never did tell anyone how long this dispensation would last; but according to all the signs of the scriptures, we are the children of the evening light of this day of salvation, and I believe with all my heart, that this generation will live to see this day close out. But what we want to do now is go back to the dawning of this day and watch how the spirit of God administers this new covenant, and watch how the apostle Paul is led by the Spirit to become the star of the first age.
PAUL – MATTHIAS – AND THE EARLY CHURCH
Paul was not in the upper room with the other twelve apostles. He said of himself in 1st Corinthians, concerning those that saw Jesus after His resurrection, “And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” There has been much debate through the years concerning Paul and Matthias. Paul has been called the 13th apostle, and a lot of people have felt that the eleven apostles that elected Matthias, jumped the gun and missed God. I used to feel that way myself. But in the Psalms, concerning Judas, it says, “Let his bishopric be taken and given to another.” It is also restated in the book of Acts, so those apostles were merely fulfilling prophecy when they elected him, and it did not mess up the plan of God in the least bit. As we have already stated, In those early years, after the birth of the Church, Saul of Tarsus was very bent on persecuting the church, for as a zealous Pharisee, he looked upon those Christians as a fanatical cult, and felt that he would be doing God a service by getting rid of them. God had other plans for him though. He was to be a light to the Gentiles, and a means of salvation unto the ends of the earth, or the end of the ages, therefore his theology had to be changed. So God just knocked him down in the middle of the road to Damascus, blinded his eyes, and sent him to a man that could help him find the true will of God for his life. The man was a disciple of Christ at Damascus, and God gave him and Saul both a vision to show each of them what was ahead. Ananias prayed for him to receive his sight, and when he received his sight he arose, and was baptized and immediately began to preach Christ in the synagogue, that He is the son of God. Before he entered into his true ministry though, he spent three years in the Arabian Desert, studying the Old Testament scrolls, and receiving revelation of what they truly pointed to. (He tells that in his Galatian epistle). After three years he went up to Jerusalem, but the elders there were afraid of him and would not receive his testimony. But Barnabas took him to them, and explained to them the experience Saul had on the road to Damascus, and how he had boldly preached Christ after his conversion. The church at Jerusalem had been scattered abroad because of persecution, but that was really according to God’s plan, for except for that, they would all have stayed right there at Jerusalem, instead of obeying the great commission, and preaching the gospel to every nation. Philip, one of the deacons, ended up down in Samaria where he had a great revival. He was preaching the gospel, casting out devils, and the Lord was adding souls to His kingdom. The thing about it was, none of them actually received the Holy Ghost though, until Peter and John went down there and prayed for them. That is what finalized their new birth experience. The Church was then on the move. As the months passed, some of the others went as far as Antioch, in Syria, first preaching to only Jews, but then the Gentiles began to believe and turn to the Lord. The brethren at Jerusalem began to hear reports of what was happening at Antioch and they sent Barnabas there to verify the report. Now when Saul had been forced to leave Jerusalem, because of the Jews trying to kill him, he went to Tarsus, right back to the city he was raised up in. Therefore when Barnabas came to Antioch, and saw what the Lord was doing there, he went on to Tarsus to find Saul, and when he found him, the two of them went back to Antioch together and ministered to the church there fore a whole year, teaching them. It is a wonderful thing to see precious souls added to the kingdom of God, but it is a tragic thing, when they are never taught anything that could help them grow in their new experience. That is one of the main failures of these great crusades; many of those precious souls that are touched by conviction, are simply sent back to their local church where everything is as dead as last year’s corn stalks, and they never have anyone to lead them on into a genuine experience of salvation, nor to teach them anything beyond John 3:16. Nevertheless Barnabas has brought Saul back into the picture, and Christianity is making its impact in various areas, and the Jewish disciples are finding out that they are not the only ones God is interested in, and at first it was quite a shock to them, but when they understood it better, they were glad and glorified God.
PAUL’S MINISTRY AMONG THE GENTILES
After Barnabas and Saul had spent a year there in Antioch teaching an exhorting the Christians, the Holy Ghost spoke to the church and said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. That is when Saul and Barnabas took John Mark, and started on their first missionary journey. Along about this time, Saul began to be called Paul, but still there is no mention, nor indication of a star messenger. On this missionary journey, is when Paul and Barnabas, because of Jewish opposition, announced that they were going to turn to the Gentiles with the gospel. Now naturally we cannot take the time to follow their missionary journeys, so for the purpose of the message, I want to go directly to an event that took place in Paul’s third missionary journey, somewhere in the middle 50’s, as he came into Ephesus. A man named Apollos had been there before Paul arrived, who had preached only the baptism of John. Therefore as Paul passed through, he found twelve disciples there in Ephesus, and said unto them, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost (Acts 12:2) since ye believed?” They said, “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” Paul asked them about their baptism, and they told him they were baptized unto John’s baptism. Paul then explained to them how John had baptized unto repentance, looking forward to the one who was to come, and he gave them the true revelation of Jesus Christ, and re-baptized them, then they received the Holy Ghost and started to speak in tongues, and prophesy. Paul then went into the synagogue for the next three months and reasoned with the Jews. But when they hardened their hearts against the gospel message, he took the disciples with him, and rented a public meeting place and preached there for the next two years. Right there in that one place, was one of the greatest revivals there has ever been. The Bible says, “All they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” During that period of time, all of the seven churches of Asia found in the first three chapters of the book of Revelation, were established. No, Paul did not run up and down the west coast of Turkey, preaching the gospel; that great Holy Ghost revival there at Ephesus drew people from all over Asia, during that two years of time. Just as Peter had his great revival in Jerusalem, so that people were healed merely by the shadow of Peter passing over them, Paul had his revival among the Gentiles, and people were healed and demons cast out, by taking handkerchiefs and aprons that Paul had touched, and laying them on the sick and troubled people who were not able to come to the meetings. Paul had been brought up in the midst of a Gentile society, so he knew how to communicate with them. He could speak their language. He was well equipped to take the revelation that was burning in his heart, and preach it to those Gentiles. It was not just Gentiles that responded though, for the Bible says it was both Jews and Greeks from all over Asia. From that one revival, there were churches established at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea, in the middle to late 50’s, that God would use thirty some years later, to type the seven church ages in the book of Revelation. This was God’s way of saying to Paul, I am now among the Gentiles in the fullness of the light of my revelation. Brother you can be sure of this one thing, all seven of those churches were taught the same revelation. Some of them soon got off course; but nevertheless they all started out right, for they were founded off of Paul’s teaching, and he only had one gospel to preach. That is the reason he could say in his Galatian epistle, if any man, or angel, preach anything different to you, then what I have preached, let him be accursed. He knew he had the right revelation of the plan and purpose of God, and what it took to bring it about. In other words, God gave each one of those churches something that He was going to require of them later.
A STAR BEGINS TO SHINE
After Paul left Ephesus, he went back to Corinth, and from Corinth, he wrote to the Roman Assembly, telling them of his desire to come to them after he made a trip to Spain. But first, he felt like he must go back to Jerusalem again, and he wanted to be there for the day of Pentecost. Then as he went back through Ephesus, he called for the elders of the church to meet with him at a certain place; and that is when he told them, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” Even then, Paul was aware of that antichrist spirit, that was trying to get in among the children of God. The church at Ephesus took heed, and stayed on guard a lot longer than some of those others. We learn that from the letters the Lord had John write to those seven churches in the book of Revelation. We all know the story how Paul went to Jerusalem, fell into the hands of his enemies, is falsely accused and put in jail. He ends up appealing to Rome, and was put on board a ship, for the voyage, never to be a free man again. But from Rome, he wrote some beautiful epistles that became a part of the New Testament, in which he shared those beautiful revelations he had stored up in his heart. He never called himself a star; but when you read those epistles he wrote, you recognize that it was a star speaking. He was so sure that what he preached was the truth, he was ready to die for it at any time. That is why he could talk like he did to the Galatians, and also to the Corinthians, when he referred to himself as a wise master builder, saying, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. He said, Every man’s work shall be made manifest, and shall be tried by fire, and so forth. Brothers and Sisters: if we build upon the foundation Paul laid, we have nothing to worry about; but I am afraid there are only a very few building upon that foundation in this hour. Paul could not possibly recognize what a lot of those preachers of our day are calling the gospel of Christ, if he were allowed to return to this life.
THE LORD SPEAKS TO JOHN
We are going to leave Paul for now and go to the 1st Chapter of Revelation. This was written 30 years after the death of Paul, the star of that first age. That is a long time, but just think, Bro. William Branham has been dead 20 years. I pray that it is not another 10 years until Jesus comes for us, but whether it is or not, God is not done yet; there are still some things to be made known. Alright, beginning in verse 10, John says, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” In 96 A.D., there were other Gentile churches, Corinthian, Galatian, Thessalonian, Philippian, so what is the Lord doing here? We will see as we continue on. John was the last of the original apostles, still alive at this time; and instead of killing him, his enemies had just put him out there on a little island in exile; feeling that he would no longer be a threat to them, out there by himself. They only thought he was out there alone though, for he was having the time of his life. He was in the Spirit, so he did not care how many snakes and lizards were crawling around. Therefore as he worshiped the Lord, he heard this great voice speaking to him. It was Jesus, in His high priest authority, telling him to send letters to these seven churches. He was not the instrument that caused these seven churches to come into existence, but being the last of the original apostles, he has a job to do. Verse 12, “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the son of man, (That lets us know that there was a resemblance of the man John had walked with for three and a half years) clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: (SEVEN STARS) and out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; (Now Jesus explains these things to John.) The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” Alright what do these seven stars signify? Is it talking about stars that shine in the sky at night? No sir. The whole dispensation is daylight time. That is why Paul said, (Probably in Ephesians) Walk as children of light. Then in Thessalonians he said, We are not of the night, we are children of the day. Everything that was preached in daylight time. But what about this star business? Here is where we must realize, that star is figurative of something that is outstanding, and has nothing at all to do with night time. Well what about the candlesticks? To our natural thinking, candlesticks are something that you burn at night. But these have nothing to do with night time. The seven golden candlesticks called the Menorah, were burned in the temple at Jerusalem day and night, to signify that the presence of the Spirit of God was there. They speak of the seven spiritual attributes of the one God who is spirit, and he is light, both day and night. Each one of these churches was to be the means through which this one spirit which is God would reflect His light to reveal His plan and purpose for lost mankind both day and night. I believe this should be clear enough for all to see; so I want to dwell for a little while on just the star.
WHAT THE SEVEN STARS REFLECTED
The star to the first age was already dead when John wrote the book of revelation, in which we see letters being sent to the seven angels of the seven churches of Asia. But the Lord goes ahead and tells John that the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches; so what are we actually looking at here? Of course we know that behind every man of God there is that spirit being, called in Hebrews, ministering spirits. These are sent forth as guardian angels of the heirs of salvation, and they minister the anointing for whatever a man is called to do, but were the seven letters written to these angelic beings? No. Definitely not. God does not need to write letters to His angelic helpers. These seven letters to the seven churches had a twofold purpose and application. First they were to the spiritual leaders of the seven literal churches, but their long range application was to be to the star messengers of the seven church ages. Since the star messenger to the first age was already dead at that time, the responsibility to guide the first age on through whatever it was to accomplish in the purpose of God, fell upon the shoulders of the pastor of the church at Ephesus. He could never outshine Paul; but he could hold a line upon what Paul had taught them, as he stood in that position of leadership. Of course the other six churches got letters also, and those pastors were responsible to God for the leadership of their particular assemblies, which at that time had conditions in them that would project into the ages to come, but the church at Ephesus was the one that would project the spirit of the first church age. God did not tell John that these seven churches would type the seven different ages of time within that one dispensation of grace; but we can look back now and see it as plain as anything. When it came time for the spirit of those churches to be projected by God into an age, there was definitely a man in that age that would shine as the star in the midst of the ministry of that hour. That is why Polycarp was the first martyr of the church at Smyrna; it was to project that spirit of martyrdom which prevailed in the second church age. Now I realize I am going into a lot of things; but in a message like this, one thing just leads into something else, and we have to touch on it in order to project our thought. Paul was definitely the star messenger to that first age, but the responsibility to carry on what Paul had started, fell upon the shoulders of the pastor at Ephesus, until Ephesus had fulfilled its exampleship for the first age. The apostle John lived way beyond all the others of the twelve apostles, but was never looked upon as a star. He was lifted up in the Spirit and allowed to view the new Jerusalem, the spiritual city of God, and he was allowed to describe it from its foundation up, but that did not make him the star to the first age. He saw the names of the twelve apostles in the foundation of that city, and naturally his name was one of them, for he had helped lay the foundation upon which our salvation and our spiritual life is built, but he was not he star of that age. The city he saw, was the true church in its end time position, and I want you to know, That church is built upon the foundation of the apostles of Jesus Christ, the revelation they held and taught. Regardless of how the other stars to the other six ages may have shined in their hour, they never outshone those twelve apostles. The revelation of each star messenger had to go back to what those twelve apostles taught and laid down as foundation for our faith. That is why I said, Being a star does not in any way change the dispensation, for all seven of those stars have shined in this one day of salvation, and it is still daylight in that one day. Those apostles laid a foundation in that first age, that the devil has been trying to wreck for almost two thousand years. Gentiles in this hour are returning to the pagan ways of their ancestors, but thank God for the little blood washed church that will not return to those abominations. Even though the gospel was first to the Jews, the dispensation of grace is primarily the dispensation of the gentile church, for when God returns to the Jews, the grace age is over. Now I know there are a lot of people assembling around the message of Bro. William Branham that will not like what I am going to say, but Bro. William Branham, the star messenger to this Laodicean age, did not outshine those twelve apostles of Christ, nor is his name in the foundation of that new city. Those who attribute deity to him, take him right out of the scriptures, for there is no scripture that even remotely points to anything like that. If he was the Elijah of Malachi 4:6; like they say he was, and like I am completely convinced that he was, then his ministry was to turn the end time element of the bride of Christ (the true Church) back to the faith and revelation of our apostolic fathers. In other words, The star messenger in every age was to do just exactly that, point the people of God in this hour, back to the true Bible doctrines laid down by the twelve apostles. But just think, There are men in this hour that devote all their efforts to pointing people to the star messenger, rather than to the message he delivered to this age, a message which lifted up Jesus Christ and turned us back to apostolic teaching.
GOD’S PURPOSE PREVAILS
Brothers and Sisters: I know I do not have to tell you this; but our nation, and the world is in a bad shape. It behooves Christians to walk close to God, as wickedness abounds on every hand. Surely we must know that God expects His true children to read the signs of the times, and prepare themselves to meet Him shortly. Oh it is true, things will probably get a lot worse before the end, but they should not have to get any worse, for us to put our lives in order. It is plain that America is that lamb beast of Rev. 13, because she has literally rebuilt Europe, for her end time go around. We have been recognized for our two horned system, the world over, (political and ecclesiastical) and people have come here from all parts of the world because of it. The sad thing is, both our politics and our religion are filled with corruption, and every day it becomes a little worse. That is why I am so thankful to know for sure that God is still in control. Otherwise I would look at prevailing circumstances and say, There is no hope for us. Well I did not know when we started this message that we would be going into so much detail; but I just have to be thankful to God that His word is laid out so beautifully. Some say what we teach here is too deep to understand, but I just have to believe that people like that are too carnal minded to even care very much about spiritual things. Our minds have to be trained to think upon spiritual things, and too much of the time materialism takes the preeminence. There is nothing wrong with having material things; if we will control them, and not allow them to rob God of first place in our lives, to bring our little world to an abrupt end, you just have to know that it is only by the mercy and grace of God that we have anything or that we can be anything. Everything is moved by some spiritual force; either by the Spirit of God, or by that spirit of the devil which is the enemy of God, and is the spirit of destruction, therefore it pays to have the favor of God, lest we be without hope. Now as we look at the first chapters of Revelation, we have an opportunity to view the church some sixty years beyond Pentecost. We know it started out with only twelve apostles as the ministry; but by 96 A.D., when John was given this view of it, and instructed to write, it had apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, helps and governments, and all of that. God added to the ministry as the need arose, just like when it was necessary to select 7 men full of the Holy Ghost and faith, to be the first deacons in the church. As first, they were only table waiters, you might say; but as time passed, they were anointed of God to fulfill powerful ministries. Philip and Stephen were examples of that, there in the 7th and 8th chapter of Acts. There was nothing written back then, concerning a five fold ministry. Paul wrote about that in his epistles after it had already been manifested. That is why he could say, God hath set in the Church the various offices. Nevertheless the purpose of God was activated when that first 120 disciples received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. That is what put the grace age in effect, and started the church on its course through time. It is called by many terms, the body of Christ, the family of God, the sons of God, the new covenant people, all of which point to Christians of the age of grace. This gospel was first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles, and Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. He is the one who first received a revelation of how God had Gentiles included in His plan of grace. Nevertheless as time progressed God bestowed anointing upon various ones, for various ministries in this great body of redeemed people. They all believed the same revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but they were not all anointed to fulfill the same ministries. In every situation though, it was the responsibility of the apostles to hold a line on the word of God and correct error. That is why the tares never could make any headway getting into the church as long as any of those apostles of Christ were alive. You can see from various epistles, how they discerned that antichrist spirit, and constantly warned the saints of its presence. It was a slow process, but the devil finally managed to get his false teachers mingled among the true saints, and little by little, false doctrine was brought in, and the church was eventually plunged into the Dark Ages, and it surely looked to some of those true saints like the gospel light would be snuffed out completely, but God was never without an instrument that He could speak to. We just have to appreciate the wisdom of God, that could bring the Church through those dark centuries, and then out into the full light of truth again. Hallelujah! I am glad John saw such a beautiful picture of the church, over in the last chapters of the book of Revelation. He saw a foursquare city of pure gold with walls of jasper, and a foundation garnished with all manner of precious stones, and gates of pearls. Praise God! That is a description of the Church in its final stage, after redemption and perfection is completed.
WHAT GENTILES FELL HEIR TO
As we look at this city John saw we wonder, What does the wall signify? It speaks of salvation to the individual believer. In the natural, a wall is for protection to the inhabitants. It keeps the enemy out. Therefore your salvation experience, spiritually, does the same thing. It puts you on the inside of that protecting arm of God’s grace, and gives you a safe habitation. It is built upon twelve foundations, or twelve layers, all of which speaks of the revelation of those twelve apostles, and the twelve gates speak of the twelve tribes of Israel through which this great plan of salvation was foreshadowed in their law. Before the gospel could ever be preached to Gentiles who would make up the major part of the body of that city, it first had to be preached to those through whom it was foreshadowed, the Jews. They were the first ones to enter into this spiritual relationship with God through His plan of salvation, and all the writers of the scriptures were Jewish men, but Gentiles fell heir to what the major part of the Jews rejected. Now some will say, How can it be said that the Jews had first chance at the gospel, when only the two Southern tribes were in the homeland at the time the gospel went forth? You have to look at it from the standpoint of what the apostle Paul said later, about the gospel being first to the Jew, and then to the Gentiles, and also from Paul’s own practice as he traveled from place to place. In every city where he preached, he always went to the Jewish synagogue first, and reasoned with the Jews out of their law, concerning Christ, and those ten Northern tribes were scattered throughout the world. When Thomas went to India in 53 A.D., who do you think he went to preach to? Those dispersed Jews of the 10 Northern tribes of course. Let me say this though, We use the word Jew, when speaking of Israelites of both tribes, but actually in the beginning of its usage, it applied only to the two Southern tribes, which were called by Judah. Maybe someone needed that clarification at this point. Nevertheless, even though Paul had a great burden for his Israelite brethren in the natural, he was still primarily as the apostle to the Gentiles. When the time came for the gospel to go to the Gentiles, God had His apostle to the Gentiles ready to take it to them, and by 96 A.D., Gentiles had been in the church for over fifty years, and Paul had been dead for thirty years, so the picture had changed quite a bit from the time the Holy Ghost was first given. John was exiled to the little island of Patmos, to get him out of the way, but God was not finished with him. Being in the Spirit of worship, and hearing behind him this great voice sounding out like a trumpet, he turned to see where the voice was coming from, and to his great surprise, there stood Jesus whom he had walked with sixty some years earlier. He was dressed in his high priest apparel, standing in the midst of seven golden candlesticks, with seven stars in His right hand. God had typed through the law, what those sevens represented, but the Jews never really knew why they were required to eat unleavened bread for seven days after eating the Passover lamb in the evening of the 14th day, going into the 15th day when the moon was full. Eating that unleavened bread and celebrating the killing of the Passover lamb for seven days after the moon was full, pointed to Jesus the son of God, born of woman, under the law, that would be the slain Passover Lamb, that would free them from the law, once the law was full. Now those Jews that were responsible for the slaying of this Passover Lamb, received not the benefit of its provision, for they rejected God’s plan of salvation, and the Gentiles have been feasting on the unleavened bread of the gospel of Christ for seven church ages, looking back to Calvary where it all took place. Now as we have said, Paul was dead in 96 A.D., when John saw all of this; but if there had never been a Paul, there would not have been an Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, and all of those, for he was the instrument through which they all received the gospel light. Now Jesus told John what those candlesticks represented, and also the stars in His right hand, but of course John knew nothing about seven church ages, nor about the stars of those seven ages. He could only see those local churches, and the pastors of them. Nevertheless to Ephesus He said, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” What did He mean by removing the candlestick? Simply that if they did not return to the first love, their light would go out completely, and they would just be a dead formal church, going through the motions as before, but without the reality of the love of Christ burning in their souls. That is the condition of your denominational churches the world over; the light that once burned so brightly has gone out, and those who still carry on the programs of the church, do so because of a routine, and not because God is leading them by His Spirit. They have their priests, their bishops, cardinals and all such, but none of it resembles the ministry of that first age church that carried a pure revelation of the gospel of Christ. Where did all of that come from? Mostly from paganism, in their present forms.
PEOPLE WHO HAVE FOLLOWED TRUTH
Let us leave the apostolic age now, and come quickly to the Laodicean age, this present age, the seventh and last. Coming out of the Philadelphian age, to the age of Laodicea, there were nothing but denominational churches. Christianity did not start out like that, but time and conditions brought it to that, so that is what the spirit of God had to work with, around the turn of the century, as He once again began to poor out of His Spirit upon hungry souls that sought more of Him. Different dates have been used, but actually this outpouring of the Holy Spirit began to stand out specifically at Azusa Street in January 1900, so the age itself would more or less be gauged off of that. Azusa Street is where your Pentecostal movements of this age got their beginning. You can read various accounts of the movements leading up to that hour, and of the things that took place in the realms of religion between the Dark Ages, and the age of Laodicea, but no matter how pure they each started out, the devil always managed to sidetrack them, and cause them to end up as just another system of religion. When the Spirit of God starts something it is in its pure stage; but man always has a tendency to allow the devil to turn it into a carnal plaything. There were other movements that spoke in tongues, the Shakers, the Quakers, and the fire baptized Baptists, and even some of the Nazarenes, but none of them ever established that as an evidence of the Holy Ghost, like the Pentecostals of this Laodicean age has. They have dwelt so much on their evidence, they failed to move on with God, just like all those movements before them. Well does that mean nothing was accomplished in any of them? No. Every movement added something to the restoration of apostolic truth that had been lost in the Dark Ages. Luther, Calvin, Knox, Wesley, and all of them embraced some apostolic truth that God was restoring to the body of Christ. That was God’s process by which He worked to bring us to this hour, and to the truth we have. The supernatural experiences God has given through the years, has always drawn persecution from all the previously established movements. Therefore as God began to give that Pentecostal experience here in the age of Laodicea, and it was accompanied by speaking in tongues, divine healing, and various other gifts, then here came the persecution from all those other systems. I have read some of the testimonies from that early hour, and a lot of those people were treated terribly, but none of that persecution kept those hungry souls from walking on with God. Now the supernatural was given, not to establish an evidence, but that the people of God might be able to walk in the Spirit. The church is not just the product of the written letter; it is a spiritual organism that can move with a revelation by the inspiration of the spirit of God. Alright the Pentecostal move in the first years of the age of Laodicea, was primarily speaking in tongues and divine healing. They were all Trinitarians, because they carried the same revelation of the godhead, that the Catholics had. But from Luther’s hour, right on through, little by little God restored apostolic truth to His people. Then in 1908, he began to deal with various ones on the usage of the name Jesus in water baptism. To them, He gave an understanding of His oneness. They did not see the complete truth of His oneness; but they did see a profile of it, and out of that, came the movement known as oneness Pentecostals. But like all the rest, there came an hour when they felt that their revelation should be organized, and when that took place, they shut the door on the Spirit of God. Denominational walls keep those inside them, from ever being led any further by the Spirit of God. That is why He has to pull us out of those systems, in order to lead us any further in truth. When God reveals something to a person that their denominational system does not believe in, there is only one decision for that person to make. They either have to leave that system and walk with God, or else stay in it and dry up spiritually. Most of you older ones have been faced with that decision, for you were not raised up in this, like your children have been. Your children still have to have their own personal salvation experience with the Lord Jesus Christ, but they do not have those denominational systems to contend with. You cannot follow the teaching of men like Pat Robinson, Jim Baker, and Jimmy Swaggart, and be perfected as the bride of Christ all at the same time.
THE LAODICEAN CHURCH – AND AGE
Alright now, there was an angelic being watching over that literal church at Laodicea, just like there was all the others, and that same angelic being has waited through time, until the age of time that corresponded to that local church would come. In other words, There had to be an age somewhere within the dispensation of grace, when the spirit of that age would correspond to the spirit of one of those seven local churches in Asia, and the spirit of that church at Laodicea, which was the 7th church mentioned corresponded to the spirit of this age, which is the seventh age since Acts 2:4. The Lord spoke through John to that Laodicean church saying, “Because thou sayest, I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire,” and so forth. In other words, They had strayed from the simplicity Paul had ministered to them in. Laodicea was a commercial trade center, making the people of that area a little wealthier than people of other areas. Therefore their life style and standard of living had its affect in the local church there, and caused them to be more materialistic than spiritual. They trusted in materialism, more than in the Lord that saved them. Well the Church of that hour no longer exists, and neither does the city where it was located, but the spirit and image of it has lingered through time, and is now resting on this age. We are living in an age of materialism, when the general attitude of people is the same as it was in that Laodicean church. Therefore the spiritual angel that was back there, has hovered through time, through the ages, and waited to re-activate the purpose of God in the age that corresponds to that local church. The spirit of this age of time has been exactly like what God rebuked that local church for; but in this seventh age, God will perfect the bride saints, and take them to glory. No, the Lord is not coming to take His Church, just as a scattered representation from all these religious systems; He is coming for an element of people that have been pulled out of those systems, by the revelation of truth that He has given them, and that has allowed Him to lead them in a holy walk and way of life. This is human terminology of course, but we are living in a bride age. Like I have already said, we are not talking about an 8th age; we are just simply talking about a period of time within this 7th church age, when the Spirit of God will deal exclusively with the bride element, while the age goes on and closes out. This is the evening time of the day of salvation that started almost two thousand years ago, when according to Zechariah 14:7, there shall be light; and I believe we would have to say, That prophecy has been fulfilled. Those dark clouds that shut out the true spiritual light for so many centuries, has been driven back, and the church of this hour is privileged to walk in the same light of revelation that our apostolic forefathers walked in. The star messenger to this age walked under the influence of that same spiritual angelic being, that the pastor of the church at Laodicea was guided by. That angelic being was on hand in both instances to make certain that the purpose of God was accomplished, and as we have stated before, those angelic beings always work through human instruments, to accomplish the purpose of God. Christians down through the ages have carried this prophetic letter in their Bibles, without knowing how to read it, until the star messenger to this church age came on the scene, and delivered the revelation given to him. To those great theologians of your denominational systems, the book of revelation is still confusing. It is supposed to be; for it is God’s love letter to the little bride of Christ here at the end time, to enable her to recognize where she is, and to know what to expect. It goes hand in hand with the prophecy of Daniel, and fills out our revelation of the plan and purpose of God. God meant for the children of light here at the end time, to know some things other believers through the ages have not needed to know, for the crop He is going to reap cannot be inferior to the seed that was sown almost two thousand years ago. It is a law of God that everything should come forth of its own kind, with increase.
THE LAODICEAN STAR MESSENGER
Alright according to Malachi 4:6, the (Faith) children of this age were to be turned back to the faith of our apostolic fathers, before the wrath of God strikes; so we just want to be thankful to God for keeping His word. He sent that Elijah spirit that truly fulfilled the other half of the total prophecy of Malachi 4:5-6, on a little man by the name of William Marrion Branham, a man from this area right here. He did not come to establish anything new, as far as the covenant of grace is concerned. This covenant was to call out of the Gentiles, a people that would be called by the name of God, which literally is His redemption name, Jesus. Each individual was to have their own personal experience of salvation, and that is what Peter referred to, as the day star dawning in our hearts. Well all of these redeemed souls together, make up the total body of Christ that the apostle Paul spoke so much about, and it is the living element of this body, here in the end time, that is to be restored back to the fullness of the faith of our apostolic fathers. Why do we need to be restored? Because the devil managed to pervert the true revelation the early church carried, and got the whole thing off course. Therefore those coming into the kingdom of God through the centuries since, were not as revelated as those of the apostolic age, so God activated His plan to restore that true revelation, in order that we may be made into the image of His Son Jesus, who is referred to as the first born of many brethren. God’s children have always been the children of the day though, even in the darkest of the Dark Ages, for as we have been stressing, the day of salvation will not end until every Gentile whose name is in the book of life has been dealt with. As for the star messenger to this age, his calling was to take every revelation that had been restored throughout the Reformation, put them all together, and present them to the end time element of the true body of Christ. Those who had truth restored to them during those Reformation years, never allowed the truth they received to take them any further. They just fenced it in, and tried to hold on to it, and eventually the Spirit of God that gave them that truth just simply moved on, and gave some more truth to others that desired to walk with God. Sure the just shall live by faith; but there is a lot more to it than that. Nevertheless the Reformation gave birth to these various denominational systems, each one holding to some truth that belonged to the overall body of Christ, but how was it ever going to accomplish the end time purpose of God, all divided up like that? Well it could not. That is why God anointed Bro. William Branham, and used him as he did. All of that truth belonged together, and God used Bro. William Branham to put it together, and present it to an element of people that would take it, and walk with God in it. That special anointing is what made Bro. William Branham a star. No it did not turn these denominational systems back to the faith of the apostolic fathers, but the ministry God gave him, allowed him to preach in places where hungry souls in those systems could be called out of them, to walk with God in the fullness of truth. That spirit of Elijah was a God identifying spirit, that always pointed people to the true and living God. Therefore when Bro. William Branham preached those simple, down to earth sermons, you were pointed to one God, instead of a trinity. You were pointed to water baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, instead of the titles of the office of this one God. Sanctification, baptism of the Holy Ghost, and the gifts of the Spirit, as well as divine healing, were all given their proper place in the overall picture as the gospel was preached. Now because of the unique calling upon Bro. William Branham’s life, God put certain things on display, to get the attention of the people. That is why certain supernatural occurrences in his ministry were vindicated as they were. God just simply made sure that a bunch of people would sit up and take notice, as he anointed His prophet messenger to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ the way the early apostles preached it. Not only did he preach the same revelation they preached, but God also fed in some things that they did not preach. The apostles never did preach on serpent seed, but he did, and what he preached that they did not preach, never changed the plan of salvation one bit; it just merely shed more light upon why we needed redemption. He preached on the seven church ages; but that did not change the plan of salvation whatsoever. Through the preaching on the church ages, the end time children of God have been able to see from a historic standpoint, how Christianity came through the former ages of time, and how it was persecuted by that spirit of antichrist, and its doctrines perverted. Through the revelation of the church ages, the end time children of God are better equipped to discern false spirits. We are made more aware of the deceptive ways the devil works against the plan of God, and the people of God.
AN HONEST LOOK AT REALITY
I never will forget the anticipation and excitement that was generated as God anointed Bro. William Branham to bring fourth the revelation fo the first six seals. No, Bro. William Branham did not break those seals; Jesus Christ Himself is the one that broke them; but He used Bro. William Branham, to make the revelation known to us. Billy Graham, Jimmy Swaggart, and a lot more, have their version of what these seven seals pertain to, but their versions have never been vindicated. What they teach about them does not make a bit of sense. They have all four of those horse riders, riding in the end time, and what a picture they paint. Sure it sounds exciting, but it is not the truth. Each of those horse riders are representative of that spirit of Antichrist as it rode out against the word, and the people of God. The fourth one is called a pale horse, which literally you would have to say is a gray horse, for there is no such thing as a pale horse. A gray horse is a combination of white hair and black hair mixed, and that white and black is representative of that antichrist spirit of deception that is riding in this very hour of time, and will continue right on out to the end of the age. This ecumenical spirit that has pulled all these denominations together, is so full of love, it will put a baby and a rattlesnake in the same crib, and then cry because the baby dies of snakebite. Of course that is just a figure of speech, pointing to the deceptiveness of this false unity that is being propagated. We received a clipping from a South Carolina newspaper, where the Catholics are asking people from all denominations to join them in this wonderful fellowship of prayer, praying the rosary together. Brothers and Sisters: There are Protestants everywhere, that know so little about the Bible, they will fall for that, and be swallowed up by it. Those early Christians died for the faith and revelation they held in their hearts; so do you think after two thousand years, the Lord is going to return for a conglomeration of people believing every perverted thing the devil has offered them, just because they all have love one for another? If He does, there sure has been a lot of words wasted in the Bible. Brother! That is a counterfeit spirit. It has always cost something to walk in truth, and it still does, but according to the scriptures, only those who do, are ever going to be with the Lord. Hell is awaiting all those that allow the devil to deceive them, and live as though God no longer has any standard of righteousness and holiness. If you think God does not care how you look, how you dress, how you talk, and where you go, you are deceived. The devil has you on his merry-go-round, and he will not easily turn you loose. Do you think God sent a prophet to this age, to tell Protestants to get in bed with Catholics, and pretend that everything anyone does in the name of religion is all right? Don’t fool yourself; the call has always been, “Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues,” (Rev. 18:4) and that call is still the same. But on the other hand, do not think for one minute, that all who came out of those religious systems because of the preaching of Bro. William Branham were all children of God. A lot of them were tares, and once a tare, always a tare. The devil’s children are not converted into children of God; but there are a lot of them hanging on to children of God in this hour, and they have a lot of people fooled; because with the mind they know how to put up a front. Then there is another element of tares following this message that actually feel that they have the edge on everyone else. They can quote everything Bro. William Branham ever said, and tell you exactly where and when he said it, but no matter how much they are able to quote, they are still tares. They have no revelation of the word of God, and could not care less what the Bible says. As I have said, God does not even bother to correct them, because they are not His children. Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. Paul goes on to say, (Heb. 12:8) But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” A child of God may believe something wrong for a while: but sooner or later God will tap him on the shoulder and say, That is a no-no. But do you think God will do the same thing for a tare? Why should He? He would still be a tare. Nevertheless the message delivered to this age by God’s prophet messenger is His plumb line. How people respond to that message is going to be a determining factor, for those who truly received the message have been pointed back to the Bible. They were not pointed to the messenger, nor to quote his verbal words, but to follow the truth of God’s word, that he held up before them. He was not sent to make another covenant, for until the last Gentile soul is in, God is still dealing with mankind on the basis of the covenant that became effective almost two thousand years ago. Through the ministry of Bro. William Branham, God activated the prophecy of Zechariah 14:7, so that here in the evening time of this dispensational day of grace, we again have light. Hallelujah! What a beautiful light it is. We have light on things, that saints of other ages never had. Through Bro. William Branham, God revealed things to end time believers that the apostles of Christ never even touched upon, and it is up to the five fold ministry to continue on in the message Bro. William Branham delivered to the church, but not by just quoting him. They are to stand in a place with God, where He can speak to them and reveal things to them. In other words, The ministry that finishes up this grace age must be the same as the ministry that started it out, and the ministry that started it out was a continuation of the revelation and ministry of Jesus Christ. When Jesus left the earth, He knew that other men would fill in the gap, and by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, present revelations to the church that He never taught on. Jesus spoke of the resurrection: but it was the apostle Paul that was anointed to teach on it, and give the order of it. Then thirty years after the death of Paul, John, who was not a star, and had no thoughts of any such thing, was allowed to see the whole scope of the journey of the church through the ages, including the resurrection and the great white throne judgment. Here is my point. Do you believe Jesus would have been jealous because His disciples taught things He never taught? Do you believe Paul would have been jealous of Bro. William Branham for teaching things that he never taught? Of course your obvious answer is, No. Well neither would Bro. William Branham be jealous of anyone else, for teaching things beyond what he taught. These men were servants of God, simply passing on to the Church what the Spirit of God revealed to them in their hour, and their greatest delight was to see the Church move on with God. It is a terrible heart break to a servant of God, when he sees people take hold of a revelation and treat it as though it is the last thing God is ever going to be able to reveal to His Church. Listen to me, saints, we serve a living God in whom is all wisdom and knowledge, therefore, if time should stand another fifty years, He would reveal things to the church, that have not so much as crossed our minds. I do not believe this old world, in its present trend of moral decay and debauchery can hold together very much longer, but my point is, God does not reveal His total plan to a generation of people and then just sit back and allow them to play around with it for the next fifty years. The plan of salvation will not change from the way the early apostles preached it, but God is faithful to feed fresh manna to those who walk with Him in present truth. In other words, Only a tare would go around telling saints of God that there is no more revelation to be given, beyond that which was given to Bro. William Branham. God will have an end time ministry of men that He has dealt with, and through their own experiences, they will have an understanding of what Bro. William Branham’s message to this age really was, and what it was to do. Therefore they will be men that have been put right back into this blessed old book, (the Bible) that has stood the test through the ages, and they will have a unique way of ministering to the people of God to bring about that perfection and total unity, that the church must have before she leaves here. Furthermore there is still some more revelation to be given to the church before she leaves here, and it will not detract anything from the message brought by the star messenger, nor from the image of the star messenger, but that does not mean that God is out of business.
THE END TIME CHURCH – AND GOD’S PURPOSE
Let me take you to the 10th chapter of Revelation, the very chapter that mentions the 7th angel, and call your attention to the last verses in that chapter. John was lifted up in the Spirit and projected into the future, and allowed to see things as they transpired. Therefore when he saw the might angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud, and a rainbow on His head and His face as the sun, and His feet as pillars of fire, he was standing here at the end of the age, seeing Jesus in angelic form, off of the mercy seat, with that little scroll which had been sealed with seven seals, now fully open. Brothers and Sisters: When that scene becomes a fulfilled reality, the Lord is ready to come for His church, the age is ready to close out. The sun will set on this day of salvation, and the Lord will return unto the Jews. But notice, That angel standing there with one foot on the sea, and the other on the earth, (which shows universal dominion) cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth, and when He had cried, seven thunders uttered THEIR voices. Those seven thunders spoke something that John was about to write, and a voice from heaven told him to seal up those things and write them not. Then the mighty angel lifted up His hand to heaven, and sware by the mighty Creator Himself, that there should be time no longer. Then that same voice said to John, Go and take the little book (scroll) which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. When he asked for the little book, the angel said to him, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. Now all of that was figurative language, but John ate it and it was exactly like that, sweet in his mouth and bitter in his stomach. Then it was said to him, “Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” Now we all know John was an old man. How much longer he lived after that is not stated, but the fact that he was projected in the Spirit all the way to the end time, and given this experience; says to me that somewhere in front of us, when the Lord Jesus Christ is truly off the mercy seat, and the church is now made up, that same prophetic anointing is going to fall upon the church ministry, and the church is going to be dealt with through prophetic utterances. The fact that John, standing at the end of the age, heard those seven thunders utter things that are not even written, proves that to me. Those prophetic utterances will not be for the purpose of perfecting the bride; that is to be accomplished through that which is written. The Bible tells us how to live a holy life, and walk with God in a relationship of love and humbleness, but it does not tell us of everything that is coming down the road to tear the world to pieces, and things like that. Those prophecies will deal with things just ahead, that are not written in the scriptures, and they will enable the little bride of Christ to know how to conduct herself and maneuver herself through imminent conditions, to be ready to go with Jesus. God will not make these things known to the church world at large, but only to the little bride that is hungering for God, and desiring to get out of here. She will heed what those seven thunders utter; but the rest of the world will not. They could not care less, what this bunch they call fanatics, are saying. Well brothers and sisters: This old world is in a bad shape. Moral corruption and wickedness about on every hand, and will grow steadily worse and worse, all the way to the end; so let us praise God, that He has set us apart from all of that, and that even in the midst of such a mess, He can perfect us and make us into the spiritual image of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ. The age will close out, and perfection will be wrought among the true children of God, all because we have been restored back to the word of God, by His prophet messenger to the age, which was that seventh angel of Revelation 10:7, and the Elijah of Malachi 4:6, in the second part. Notice Revelation 10:7, which says, “But in the days of the voice (which means the message) of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God (which is the grace age church Eph. 3:1-6) should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets.” No saints, that does not mean the minute he started to preach his message, for that message had to make its way around the world and accomplish God’s purpose in His universal church. The mystery of God is definitely what Paul brought out in Ephesians 3, about how God had included Gentiles in His plan of grace, and it had not been revealed in times past, but was then revealed unto the apostles and prophets by the Spirit. When you start talking about the Church: you have to remember that the church is a universal body of people; therefore anything that is to the church, has to have time to make its rounds around the world, and have its affect. That is why these things have to be tied to the message Bro. William Branham delivered to this age, instead of his personal ministry, for there are great numbers of people around the world, following his message today, that had never even heard of him, when he was still alive. These tares who run the roads with quotes, distort the whole picture, simply because the message has not done for them, what God ordained it to do for his true children, put them in the Bible, and teach them to be submissive to His Spirit. These quoters can never receive a true revelation because they do not have the revealer in them. All they can ever do is just memorize the words of Bro. William Branham and put their own carnal interpretations to it. That is why they have to try to believe statements that are completely opposite to each other. God allowed Bro. William Branham to say quite a few things two different ways. One way would line up with the Bible, and the other would not, and because they are unable to use their Bibles, they just simply say, Bro. William Branham was a prophet, and he said it, so I believe it. That is their attitude about everything, so do not think it strange, if I do not bend over backward trying to fellowship with them. It is hard for me to fellowship anyone who has no respect for the Bible, no matter how much they claim to know about Bro. William Branham. I am accused of having a bad attitude because I find no grounds for fellowship with a lot of these people. But I am absolutely sure that what I have preached is the truth, and they do not like it, and constantly criticize me, and accuse me of being out of the message, while even the scripture says, How can two walk together, except they agree? So what kind of fellowship could we have? Through the years, my congregation has been made up of people who came here in search of truth, so do not think for one minute that I am going to turn my pulpit over to these characters who would literally enjoy just getting in here, and trying to tear this assembly all to pieces. These who come here, are here because they want to be here. I have not twisted any arms, begged anyone, nor put on any kind of program, in an effort to get a following. But I do consider it my responsibility, to see that they are fed properly when they do come, so I do not put everything up to preach, that claims to be a preacher. Another thing I have learned through the years, if you just run around with everyone, they just look at you as one of them, and do not pay one bit of attention to what you have to say. I love to preach to people who are hungry for truth. I would rather go where there were only a half dozen hungry souls, than to preach to three thousand, if there is no hunger there. Crowds do not interest me. What thrills me most is to see a hungry soul reaching out for truth. I was privileged to sit under and also to have personal fellowship with the star messenger to this age, and he pointed me back to the Bible, back to the apostolic truth, and that is why I cannot help but do the same thing for others. I realize that is what my calling is, no matter what other people say about it. Bro. William Branham made that Bible come alive in me; and he made the Jesus of that Bible stand head and shoulders above anything else I had ever heard.
HAVE NO SYMPATHY FOR TARES
I hope none of you feel that I am being too hard on certain people; for that is not my purpose in saying the things I have said. I would be more than glad, just to preach the word of God, and never mention anything about these make believers again; but they will not let you ignore them. They are always gouging me in some way, or sending me literature, trying to prove that what I teach is wrong, or grabbing hold of someone in the congregation and feeding them poison, so they force me to say things that I take no particular pleasure in saying. If you really tried to see how the early church ministry felt about these tares that always pervert the word of truth, you might think my words are very mild. Jude called them brute beasts, and clouds without water. Peter called them wells without water, and clouds that are carried with a tempest, to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever, and Paul called them dogs. So I feel that my speech concerning them has been on the light side. None of the apostles ever asked the saints to pray for a tare, but rather referred to them as evil workers, whose reward was already awaiting them. Each man had his own way of referring to them. Jude also referred to them as fruit trees twice dead, plucked up by the roots, and also as raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame, and so on. But the fact remains, they are not atheists, nor town drunks. Somehow their lives have been touched by something they have heard preached, and in one sense of the word they believe in Jesus. But the spirit that motivated them is what caused those apostles to speak out as they did. Yet when it came to a true believer that allowed some fleshly weakness to cause him to do wrong, those same men knew exactly how to deal with that also. Take the case in 1st Cor. 5:1-5, where Paul had to deal with fornication in the church. He simply instructed the church to turn the man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. You might look at such a case and call the man a tare, but those apostles had keen discernment, and they knew the difference between a tare, and a true believer that had a fleshly weakness. No. They did not tolerate sinful practices in the church, but they did distinguish between believers with weaknesses, and tares, who were motivated by an antichrist spirit. In John’s first little epistle, in 90 A.D., he wrote, (chapter 4) “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Then in his second epistle, concerning those who preach false doctrine, John said this, “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, (the doctrine of Christ, preached by the apostles) receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” Did you catch that saints? Does that sound like John had compassion for those tares in his day? He said, Don’t allow them in your house, and don’t be saying, God bless you, lest you be also a partaker of his evil deeds. It is high time a lot of people quit playing around, and get serious about what they believe. If you know what you believe is the truth, then stop allowing the devil to cram a lot of his junk down your throat, no matter who his instrument is. It is our God-given responsibility to stand up for the truth He has given us. That is how those apostle felt about it, and as long as they were alive, these tares did not make much headway. But those little epistles of John written in 90 A.D., were the last words of admonition and instruction that were ever included in the chronology of the scriptures. After that, the Church was for all practical purposes, subject to the leadership of another generation, and then the tares had a better opportunity to start making their influence count. The book of Revelation written in 96 A.D., is not an epistle; it is a prophecy, dealing with the past, present, and future. First it reveals what has been going on in the church and brings conditions up to date; then it spans time and shows what is going to take place in the end time. You will not find it dealing with the plan of salvation, but rather, dealing with what the Church has strayed from. That is why we always stress the fact that this book is not to be used to deal with sinners. If it had been for that purpose, the Lord would not have waited sixty some years to have it written. In other words, The book of Revelation does not alter in any way, the covenant of grace; it simply enlightens end time believers who will be alive to see the Lord wrap it all up, when the last predestined soul has heard the gospel call What is the gospel? Some may say. It is the good news that tells sinners Jesus Christ has paid their sin debt already, if they will only believe and accept that fact. That is why those early Christians did not need to go around quoting each other, nor quoting Jesus; there was a story to tell, and the Lord wanted each one of them to tell it in their own words. You know, saints, if you have a revelation of something, you do not need to quote someone else, you can just simply express that revelation in your own words. That is what Jesus was pointing to when he said, Father, I pray not for these alone; but also for all that shall believe on me through their word, We are believers, and partakers of these heavenly blessings, because of the word of those apostles and disciples who walked with Jesus, and told the story later, of what had been accomplished by Him on our behalf. Jesus knew what those disciples would do once they received the Holy Ghost, for once the Spirit of the Father got in them, their word would be just as loyal and true to God as His word had been. Therefore these people who go around threatening other people, because they do not say everything exactly like Bro. William Branham said it, are void of revelation, and the spirit of God is not in them. I have said it to you; and I will say it to any of them who want to face me; If they have the spirit of God in them; they could tell what has happened in this generation, in their own words; they would not need to quote anyone else. When those early disciples went forth preaching the gospel, they had no sermon books written that they could carry with them to quote from; they had to tell it in their own words, and that is exactly what God wants each of us to do, if we have any call upon our lives to preach or teach. We read the words of the various writers of the scriptures, to lay the foundation, but we need to depend upon the anointing of the Spirit of God for words to express the revelation that he has given us. Once those early disciples received the Holy Ghost, then the Holy Ghost took their minds back to what Jesus had spoken to them, and then back to the Old Testament prophecies that spoke of what they were experiencing, and the picture was put together in their minds and hearts, and they were ready to tell it in their own words, and what a beautiful story they told.
GOD IS STILL REVEALING THINGS
I believe I should remind you once again that even though the star messenger to that first age had been dead for 30 years, God still had a vessel He could use to give a great prophecy to the church. That should let us know that God is not without a voice in the earth today, just because the star messenger to this age is dead. The five fold ministry is in the Church today, continuing on with the revelation delivered to us by that star messenger, and it will remain so as long as the bride of Christ is still here. Jesus is still on the mercy seat, and the 7th seal is still on the little scroll unbroken, and that will remain to be the picture, until the time appointed of the father, for the grace age to come to an end. When that time comes, Revelation 8:1, the breaking of the 7th seal, will be activated, and Revelation 10:1-11 will be in effect. The message of Elijah will have completed its work among the bride, and the seven thunders will begin to sound THEIR VOICES, to acquaint the bride with the coming of the Lord Jesus, for the rapture. AT the same time, the two Jewish prophets will appear upon the scene in Israel, to begin their 3 ½ years of prophesying to the people of that nation, and the seventieth week of Daniel’s seventy prophetic weeks will be in the process of fulfillment. But between now and then, just realize that we are living in that eagle age which portrays the Spirit of God in his servants of this hour, enabling them to soar so much higher and see so much more than the servants of God in other ages, while that gray (pale) horse rider is busy deceiving all those who have no love for the truth. The star messenger to this age is dead, but God is not dead, therefore it will be ridiculous for anyone to believe that God quit speaking to the church when the star messenger was taken from the scene. That is why I have endeavored to stress the fact that God gave the church the book of Revelation, (a book of prophecy) thirty years after Paul, the first age star messenger was taken from the scene. Tares are running to and fro, proclaiming that God fulfilled everything to the Church that needed to be fulfilled, when Bro. William Branham was still alive, and they have a lot of people convinced that there is no more revelation to be given, and to them, that is no doubt the truth; but God still has a few things to say to the bride Church before she leaves here, and only the bride will have an ear to hear them. A few people here and there are still hearing the gospel call, but the primary emphasis in the preaching of this hour is on the perfection of the children of light. No true servant of God is adding to, nor taking from the words of the prophecy in the book of Revelation; but I am so thankful to God that he is revealing things to those who love truth, that the tares simply do not have eyes and ears to see and hear; therefore we can know what is coming upon the earth in these last days, and prepare ourselves for it. I believe the little bride will be left here long enough to see that seventieth week of Daniel start, and the two olive trees of Rev. 11:4, begin their ministry in Israel, and then she will hear that voice from heaven, saying, Come up hither; and up she will go. Those who have died in the faith will come forth from their graves, and all of us will be caught up together, to meet the Lord in the air, never to walk in this old mortal flesh ever again. Hallelujah! What a glorious expectation the children of light should have in their bosoms in this hour, as we see the end approaching. Let us walk with God, and be very sensitive to the leading of His Spirit; for there will be things take place here in the end time, that you will need to hear from God, to know how to handle them. May God bless you. Amen.