THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN WAS ONE OF THE FIRST MESSAGES THE LORD DEALT WITH ME ON. WAY BACK IN 1953, WHEN WE FIRST BEGAN TO GO TO THE BRANHAM TABERNACLE TO HEAR BRO. BRANHAM, THE LORD BEGAN TO DEAL WITH ME ABOUT THE SEVEN PARABLES OF MATTHEW, CHAPTER 13, SO THAT IS WHAT WE WILL BE LOOKING AT AGAIN TODAY. OPEN YOUR BIBLES TO IT AND WE WILL BEGIN. BACK THEN, I HAD NEVER HEARD ANYONE PREACH ON THESE SEVEN PARABLES, BUT I COULD SEE BY THE BOOK OF REVELATION, THAT THE SEVEN CHURCHES MENTIONED THERE SET A PERFECT TYPE OF THE SEVEN AGES OF GRACE GOD WOULD ALLOW THE GENTILE CHURCH BEFORE RETURNING TO DEAL WITH THE JEWS. IT WAS ALL TYPED BY THOSE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA. THEREFORE WE WANT TO TRY TO SHOW YOU THE SIGNIFICANCE OF EACH PARABLE AND ITS APPLICATION, SO LET US PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT IS WRITTEN AND ALLOW THE SPIRIT OF GOD TO OPEN OUR UNDERSTANDING.
As I began to read these seven parables in Matthew, I could see also, this was Jesus’ way of foretelling that this age of grace would transpire through these seven distinct periods of time. I have heard denominational preachers preach these different things they thought they meant, and I will not contradict the things they have said, but Matthew is the only follower of Jesus in that hour, that recorded all seven of them in the order Jesus spoke them. There must have been a particular reason why Jesus put them in order like that. When we begin to see the message each parable contains, what it involves, and how it affects people, we cannot help but feel that Jesus was telling us that the age of Grace would be exemplified in these seven parables. The title of our message is “The Kingdom of Heaven,” because that covers the entire scope of time it takes for the fulfillment of all of this. We also have the term used in the Bible, “The Kingdom of God,” but keep in mind, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven are not the same thing, even though the two go together. To get this about the kingdom of God, let us go to Luke 17. This is a term that Jesus used, beginning in the 20th verse, and on through the 22nd verse. This is where we have the kingdom of God explained, as to what it is, “And when HE was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.” Notice how He said, that it is not something that you see visibly. “Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. And He said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.” We realize, as we go back to Matthew 13, Jesus spoke many things in parables. It also tells us why, First, if we can see the fact that the kingdom of God is that spiritual realm that takes place inside the soul of a human being, we can relate it to the new birth. You can associate it with different things in that light. There is not a half dozen different ways you can be saved though: There is only one. The end result is always the same. That is why, in a physical birth, it takes a true husband and a true wife in God’s program, to be brought together for the purpose of propagating life in the world. Conception does not come about by some scientific act. God ordained, that by a certain law, certain things would have to be pursued accordingly. The same goes for the new birth, as we look at the two together for a comparison. They both require a conception. In the new birth, or born again experience, it all starts with our recognizing and accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, being baptized in water, in His name, for the remission of our sins. Throughout this entire subject, we will find terminology that confuses natural minded people, but is easily understood by those with whom the Spirit of God is dealing. This thing has unfolded down through the ages of time, yet Jesus spoke these things in such a simple way we think, Why do people not understand? Only God, can open their understanding. As we start our study of these parables, we are going to read this first parable written here in Matthew 13, starting with verse 1, “The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.” (Let me say something right here), Through the years of time, I have had a lot of young men overseas write and say, Bro. Jackson, we need a PA system. WE have no amplifier. Well, for four years I never had one either. Some people get the idea, you have to have an amplifier half as big as a barn, so you can blast everything out of a building, before God can call you to preach. If we would get the setting straight, here in the Bible, there was no such thing as a megaphone, PA system, or anything else like that in the days of Jesus. He knew exactly where to position Himself to be heard: He was by the seaside. There was a certain landscape to this seaside, that when a man would speak, sometimes he would sit in a boat and speak from the boat, when you had a high hill coming down, that served as a backdrop, he could speak in a normal tone of voice and everybody could hear him. He knew how to use the terrain to magnify the sound of His voice so everybody could hear it. That was a practical thing that was understood back in ancient times. That is why the amphitheaters were never stuck way out in the desert. They were built along a seashore or where there was a coastline or backdrop They did that to magnify the sound of human voices: Therefore we find that Jesus is sitting by the seaside. “And great multitudes were gathered together unto Him, so that He went into a ship, (He had a reason why He went where He could sit in a ship.) and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And He spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth; and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, an choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” This first parable sounds so insignificant, but if this is a parable that brings out the beginning of the kingdom of heaven once it would start, He has likened it to a sower that went forth to sow seed. When we get over to the other parables that followed it, we will begin to see this sower was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He is the one that started the beginning of the first era of Christendom. It had not begun the first day He preached, but during the time that He did preach, the three and one half years, He laid the groundwork, He sowed the seed, everything He preached was truth that was without any tradition or anything in that manner. As He gives us these different descriptions of the kind of people involved, let us liken it to the gospel as it first began to be propagated in the first era of time. Jesus, just before He went away, after His resurrection, said to the disciples, God ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, the same shall be saved. He that believeth not shall be damned. These signs shall follow them that believe. Now this first parable did type how we look at the beginning of the first age, or the era of the beginning of Christendom after the day of Pentecost. The disciples were never told to go and seek out these that were saved. You go preach the gospel to every creature. We can say it is still that same message or method today. Every person, somehow, some way, God wants them to hear something, but there are all kinds out here preaching. In this parable, He likens those by the wayside to whom? He illustrated them to be like people that hear, but they have no understanding, therefore the enemy, which is the devil, comes along and plants thoughts that just crowd the gospel message right out. There is no conception of the truth. Seed sowed by the wayside cannot be expected to produce a good crop of grain; and truth preached to people who allow the devil to grab their mind and void the word of God, will not produce a Christian.
- 1 DESCRIPTION OF SERPENT SEED TYPE
- 2 THE SEED THAT FELL AMONG THORNS
- 3 SOME SEED FALL INTO GOOD GROUND
- 4 TELLING A DREAM
- 5 MY ILLUSTRATIONS
- 6 SOUND ADVICE
- 7 DOCTRINES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
- 8 EXPLAINING THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN AND KINGDOM OF GOD
- 9 SECOND PARABLE OF MATTHEW 13
- 10 THE WORK OF TARES
- 11 HOW THINGS CAN GO ASTRAY
- 12 THE THIRD PARABLE – A GRAIN OF MUSTARD SEED
- 13 THE FOURTH PARABLE
DESCRIPTION OF SERPENT SEED TYPE
There are a lot of people in the world, that every once in a while they will come through the doors of a church house somewhere. Maybe it is the first time they have been there in years: Of the things that are said, they pick up a few words now and then, but it really does not interest them very much. They have no yearning to find out what it is all about, That is why He likens these by the wayside as those that hear it in the natural, but they have no understanding as to what it is all about, or what it is to lead to, and eventually produce in their lives. That allows the devil an opportunity to come along and plant other thoughts that will crowd out what they have just heard. That is the multitude that hear it every day, whether it is in the car, whether it is on TV, or whether it is on the radio. They have no interest. This proves beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we have multitudes of people in the world today, born into this world in the 20th century, and standing at the threshold of the millennial age just ahead, that have a nature, (Please do not get offended at this.) just like the devil was out to produce with his tactics in the garden of Eden, when he got Eve to partake of the wrong fruit. Satan had an objective back then, and that objective has never changed. He knew, if he could get Eve to do this thing right at the onset of the propagation of mankind on this planet, he would eventually bring the planet to an hour of time that among the human race that had been propagated, there would be millions of them who would not even have a nature to want to know God, nor any ability to know Him. Why do I say that? Because it shows beyond the shadow of a doubt, that they are offspring of the serpent seed line of humanity. That does not make them snakes, because the serpent was not a snake when he seduced Eve: It just gives them a mind that is earthly, maybe knowing a lot about earthly things, but unable to receive any revelation of a Creator and His plan for the ages. They are only smart in materialistic realms. Please do not get offended at what I am saying, just listen to how I am saying it and to what I intend to bring out in this. That is why He (God) wanted the gospel preached to everyone. Sooner or later everyone has to make up their mind, as to whether they heard anything that will benefit them. There is one thing sure, God gave you an opportunity to make a choice. You have ears to hear what is being said, but you also have to have ears that understand and a hunger in your heart for the things of God, or what you hear will not stay with you. I know, when I used to go to church years ago, I sat many times listening to what the preacher was saying, but when I got up and walked out of the building, I could not remember one thing, because I did not have a hunger at that time. I went just to be sociable. To me, it looked right and I wanted to give the right impression, like, at least I am not out here robbing banks and acting like a devil. Well anyhow, for every one that has a true hunger for the things of God, there are many others that fit this wayside part of the parable. God knows what He is doing: That is why the gospel went far and wide in the first age: The great commission said, God ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. In other words, do not attempt to select only those you think ought to hear the gospel and be saved. You do the preaching and testifying and let God do the saving. Let God be the One that does the calling. Let God do the convicting. You preach it, and let it fall where it will. The second part of the parable pertained to stony ground. The seed that fell there spring up immediately, but because there was such little soil and so many stones to draw heat, the tender plant soon scorched. This types an element of people that are a little further up the category than just by the wayside. They not only hear it, but for some reason, they begin to say, Hey, that sounds right, I never heard anything in my life like that. They begin to think on that and it creates joy and excitement, but when time comes that they are ridiculed and persecuted because of the gospel they believed, they begin to draw back. There are some people that cannot stand to be criticized. They want everybody in the world to think they are such a wonderful person, so they cannot stand to be ridiculed. That is why they will go for all kinds of degrees of learning. They live for plaques on the wall and the praises of other people. They look for the prestige their name carries, but keep in mind, None of those things put you in the kingdom of God. They are not the means of getting there. All of that may look good and be very appealing out here in the world, but the end result is a huge void, because that does not bring you the peace of knowing you have eternal life. Yes saints, the stony ground represents all of those who at first the gospel sounds good to, but after awhile, when the persecution starts and the road gets rough they are ready to forget it all. This compares to the seed sown on stony ground: When the sun comes up and the heat is on, and the moisture begins to dry up, what sprang up from this seed soon burns out and gives up. The people who this types are those who at first, when they hear the gospel, it sounds wonderful to them and they think, I want to be part of this, but because they failed to look down the road and realize what is in store, they soon find that they do not have what it takes to go all the way. Many times it is your own relatives that will jump on you and cause you to think, I just simply cannot stand this. Your parents may say, Now son, we raised you better than that: you know what all of that leads to. A lot of people have had that thrown in their faces just because of the impression some others have left with people. Some overzealous people get out here thinking they are doing God a great service and all they are really doing is bringing reproach upon those who have it in their hearts to follow God in truth and holiness. That is why some may hear, Now son, or daughter, we do not want you to get wrapped up with those church going people who think they are better than anybody else. I have had those very words said about me: That Jackson thinks he is really something, when all I was trying to do was obey my Lord. No Saints: I have never imagined myself to be some great one, thinking I was better than others around me. All I am is by the grace of God: I have always realized that. I have said this though, You don’t tie my shoes and you don’t butter my bread, so you can say whatever you want to about me: it won’t hurt me one bit. You have got to be that way if you are going to live for the Lord in the light of truth. Sometimes it means you will have to part from relatives. Not everybody, but it becomes the lot of some. You have got to be willing to part from mom and dad, brothers and sisters, the whole community and neighborhood, if that is necessary. That is why persecution is one of the first things that will be thrown at you: Satan knows how to get to you, so if you begin to draw back from what you have experienced, it will not be long until you are right back where you were before. After my wife and I started going to the Branham Tabernacle part of the time, we are coming back home from a meeting in Evansville, Indiana one time, and somewhere along the way she said to me, We are going to have to get out of that Methodist Church. She was born and raised in the Methodist Church. I was in the Methodist Church also. When she said that, I said, Yes, and God will give us the time to do it right. When the time did come, we went to the Methodist prayer meeting and ask permission to speak: They listened and I told them why we were leaving. There was an elderly Baptist woman that had been coming to the Methodist church because there was no Baptist church nearby for her to go to. We had even taken her to different meetings with us, but she was the first one that said, Oh, they will be back. No. We did not go back. I am persuaded, that when you start out to follow the Lord and you really mean it with all sincerity, there is nothing in this world that is going to keep you from following the Lord, because He is the main attraction. He is what feeds your hunger. That poor soul has been buried many years now, and her words still ring in my ears, but we never did go back. I am thankful that God let us the way He did. The most important thing is, there has got to be a time in your thinking, that you weigh the thing out and decide whether you are ready to begin paying the cost of following the Lord. That means you have to put the Lord ahead of your family and all your friends, no matter what they think about you. When I make a statement like this, I want you to understand that there is a right way to go about it: We will bring all that in later, but for now, let us look at this next category here in this parable: Some fell among the thorns.
THE SEED THAT FELL AMONG THORNS
In the 7th verse of Matthew, chapter 13, as Jesus spoke the parable of the seed being sown He said, “And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, anc choked them.” Let us pay attention to the condition of those who fall into that category of comparison. He likened that to the people that get around a meeting where the Spirit of God is moving and they really get all enthused and on fire for the Lord. They get so happy and excited and confess, I have never felt like this in all my life. Oh I am so happy: I really love the Lord. They become so enthused it is sometimes hard to keep up with all they are ready to do. In fact, many times they make more noise than the ones that have really been coming for a long time. They represent the grain that comes up and tries to grow to maturity among a patch of thorns. Having been a farmer, I understand that comparison completely. You that are, or have been farmers, you know where you see the thorns growing the most vigorously: It is usually where you see the best dirt. You plant corn or wheat, just watch that rich spot. You will have weeds, crab grass and a little of everything else growing in the spot. It looks like it has really been fertilized. That condition out there in your field, typifies people that hear the gospel and become so enthused and completely taken up in doing things for the Lord, (according to their way of looking at things). They are different than those by the wayside, and they are different than those on the stony ground. These are the ones that allow the cares of the world to overcome them, just like the thorns overcome the plants that come up from the seed the farmer sows. Some may say, Where is the actual comparison? Just watch, the cares and pleasures of life, entertainment of all sorts, music sports and whatever, just little by little take up so much of such a person’s time, they finally come to the place where they no longer have time for the things of the Lord. By the time they realize what is happening, it is too late: The devil has already captured their thoughts and imprisoned them again. There are some people in this world, that even though God gets hold of them, they just simply cannot cut loose from everything they should. With great joy, they will receive the word of God and live in the excitement of it for a little while, but after so long their friends that keep coming around and saying, Hey, are you going to the ball game with us tonight? Really begin to catch your interest, Well I guess I could go; a ball game won’t hurt me. I will never forget the first time I saw a basketball game played on the back of donkeys. That was comical. There were players on the floor more than on the back of the donkeys. Many times the ball should have been going that way, when it was going this way. It was a big laugh. It was fun just to watch the different ones. It was not the ball going through the basket: it was how those donkeys wanted to play their part. (I just bring this in to illustrate something.) Some things are not going to hurt you because you are not going there to give it your first love: you are just going for the little humor or entertainment involved. That is different than what we have everywhere today. America has become like old Rome, with their entertainment and excitement. WE now have basketball, baseball, football, tennis, hockey, on and on until there seems to be no end. We have become a society that spends billions upon billions of dollars to build our arenas, just like Rome did in ancient times. WE go in multitudes, to partake of the excitement and entertainment. Some people cannot stay away from the entertainment crowd. When the crowd asks, Are you going to the ball game tonight? You may say, No, but by the time they get through saying, Oh come on: it is not going to hurt you, you are ready to go. They have a big influence on you. After awhile it is a basketball game, then the football game, then the super bowl, then to this or that, until your every moment is taken up with all of it. After a while, that old hunger for the athletic entertainment part of life that we enjoyed so much, has completely choked out going to church and enjoying the good things of the Lord. After a while, the cares of life gradually creep in and choke the truth out, until you wonder, Did I really have anything in the first place? WE stop living for the Lord when our life becomes taken up with the things of the world. There have been many come through Faith Assembly in years gone by, so many, that if they were all still here, you would not have a place to sit even one fourth of them this morning. I just have to say, We have done our best to preach the gospel, never trying to deliberately hurt anyone or make it impossible for you to understand what we are talking bout. We preach what the Lord gives us to preach and trust Him for the results.
SOME SEED FALL INTO GOOD GROUND
When we come to the fourth part of that parable recorded in the 13th chapter of Matthew, we find Jesus saying, “But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” Naturally, only the Lord Himself knows everything there is to know about each of us, but I like to think of us as we sit here today, as those represented by the fourth part of the parable, that we have been predestined before the foundation of the world, to be brought into this great salvation, and that we have our mind’s made up to follow Jesus all the way. If there are any Baptists in here I want to say to you, We believe in a true Baptist doctrine. WE believe in a true sanctification that the Methodist profess to believe in. WE believe in a true baptism of the Holy Ghost that the Bible speaks of. It is all in the book. It is how people have been made to understand these things that cause all the problems. This seed that fell upon good ground compares to the type of people, that once the truth falls upon their ears, they have an ear to hear it right. They have a spiritual mind to understand. Then they have a heart that really begins to feed upon it, because a revelation has to go beyond just the intellect. It has to get down into your very being: It becomes a part of you. It is only after it gets there, that it really begins to affect your decisions from day to day. All the time, you are going to be hearing an accusing voice say, If you keep up this, what is mom going to say? If you keep this up, what is dad going to say? If yo keep this up, what is your uncle going to say? What is the neighbors going to think, and what will they say? You have got to reach a place that you can say, My mind is made up: I am living my life for God from now on, no matter what anyone says. I am going to follow the Lord first; and deal with everything else afterwards. As time passes you learn to be kind, wise, simple, sensible and compassionate; and that enables you to deal with opposition in a way that is not just outright insulting. It is not our purpose to deliberately insult people, so it requires a little wisdom to give an honest answer to those who are concerned about you without making them feel that you think you are better than them. Now having said all of that, I want to say this especially to young people, Life is full of problems and decisions that are very important to your spiritual growth and happiness. So many times, a son or daughter of a Christian family will marry someone outside the church family; and some of those marriages turn out to be good marriages, but many times that is not the story we hear. It happens all the time: A Christian young man or young lady will fall in love with someone who is not a Christian and get married without very much if any concern about the cost of such a union. I have to say to young people, You owe it to yourselves to wait for a Christian companion. It is one thing to find someone you feel you love, but you have to ask yourself the question, Will I be able to walk with my Lord if I marry him, or her, which ever the case may be? What means the most to me, getting married to this person I feel that I love, or being able to walk with the Lord? You have to ask yourself the question, If I marry that person, what is it going to cost me? It could cost you your peace and happiness, and gain you a life of heartache and sorrow, so I want to use some illustrations to go along with this thought. I was raised in the Methodist Church. I met this little country girl who also was raised in the Methodist Church. Up until we heard about Bro. William Branham we did not know the kingdom of God was anything different than what we had been raised to believe. However once God got hold of my soul and began to deal with me concerning His word, He began to put a hunger in my heart. I began to see things in the Bible that I had never seen while listening to a Methodist preacher. In fact, it began to create questions in my mind. Well one time when the student pastor was gone, he ask me to take over. There were four churches on the charge, so every Sunday I would go to one church in the morning and preach for about thirty five or forty minutes, then leave and go to another place and preach. My point is, I began to realize I was seeing things in the scriptures that I knew the Methodist Church would not allow me to preach. Nevertheless I was like this, If it is in the Bible, I am going to preach it. I did exactly that one Sunday morning at the Methodist Church in Elizabeth. That following week, here came the Sunday school superintendent who was an older man than I, and was our neighbor. When he drove up, I did not understand why he would be coming. He said, Raymond: I have a few things I have to say to you: We believe that you are a wonderful Christian young man. No doubt God has a calling for you, but you have been touching on some things that we in the Methodist Church do not believe. We feel like we ought not touch on these things, because they bring division and confusion. Well, being young, it hurt me terribly. I thought, Who do I think I am? I must be some smart aleck. That is how I felt about myself right then. At that particular time, the four churches had already got together and decided, that in the next district meeting they would present to the superintendent the proposal to put me on as pastor. So when that Sunday afternoon came, they motioned for me to go outside while they presented the matter to the superintendent. They presented to him the situation they were faced with, because they understood that the student pastor was going to leave. They asked, Would it be alright if we have Raymond Jackson as our pastor? The superintendent said, I am sorry, but the district of Indiana has made a resolution that nobody will be put in as pastor of a church, who has not had at least four years of bible school, and training in how to be a pastor, so on and so forth. When they told me they said, Bro. Jackson, we are sorry, but the Superintendent said the new resolution just passed, would not allow it. That was the beginning of my test: I left there that evening and went home, and went to the barn because I had some cows to milk. There in the barn, I got down on my knees in the old cow stable to pray. It does not matter where you are when you pray, it is what you are saying to your heavenly Father that is important, and your attitude toward God as you approach Him. I looked up and said, Lord, I am sorry if I have ever said anything in the pulpit that is wrong, things that give the wrong impression to the people, but if it is in your book, I know of no reason why I should not preach it: Lord, if this is the case, that I have to have so much education to do such and such, I am sorry, because I do not see the fishermen of old having things directed to them like that. So I said, Lord, I will never preach again as long as I live: I will live for you, I will support your work, but I will not follow these ideas like this. That night, was the first spiritual dream I ever had in my life. I went to bed sad and brokenhearted: I thought, What am I going to do? I really felt bad. I thought, I have just been a smart aleck, trying to preach things in the Methodist pulpit that I should have known they would not like. I went to bed worried and frustrated, thinking upon all of that.
TELLING A DREAM
About two o’clock in the morning, I saw myself in a beautiful dream, walking down a highway with a troubled heart. Off in the distance I could see a large city. As I got closer to the city, I could see a big tent. (Bro. Glenn, my wife’s cousin, had given me some “Voice of Healing magazines,” before that time. This was back in the early 1950’s. I had read in those magazines, stories and testimonies of this kind of meetings and of these men. They had let me know that God was doing something in the earth today, and I wanted to be part of something I felt God was really in.) I could see myself walking and getting closer to that tent. As I got close, I could see it was set up in a large ball park. Most of you know how, back in the deliverance era, that was usually where they would set up those big tents, either on the grounds of a school or a ball park. I thought I would go over and take a look around. I walked across the ball park and walked up to this tent, and the flaps were all up. I walked inside. It was a huge thing. I looked over to one side and saw a little place that looked like it had been closed off by a desk, and I heard a typewriter. I am slowly walking around, looking things over, and as I got closer to where that person was typing, the man raised up and said, Sir. I looked at him and He asked, May I do something for you? I said, No, I am just looking around. After that, I just kept walking closer to where he was. He got up from his chair and walked toward me. As He got up close he said, Sir, you have a need. I said, I do? He said, May I pray for you? I said yes. He lifted his hand and touched my forehead. The whole scene changed, the tent was gone and I was looking straight up into the clear beautiful sky. Right then, there came the Lord Jesus. I twas not like a flash of lightning, but very quickly He came and descended right down to me with His hands outstretched. He took my head in His hands and pulled my head up to His chest. The look in those eyes, and the look in His face, and what I felt radiating from His being, caused me to begin to cry and shake. I thought to myself, Oh if I could just die like this! I cried and cried and cried. I woke up crying, shaking like a leaf. I had my pillow in my hand and was ready to go over the foot of the bed. I was trembling. I thought, What was that for? I have to say, There comes a time in some peoples’ lives, that God deals with them in strange ways. He will cause you to understand, but others may never understand it. I laid back down in bed and laid there for quite some time just thinking. What was all of that for? I kept thinking about that for a long time. It was in the month of August, 1959, that we were privileged to meet Bro. William Branham. I remember, about the fourth or fifth time we had been to the Tabernacle, I told Bro. William Branham that I had a strange dream, and that it was the only one like it that I ever had in my life. We walked to the back of the church where we could be alone and when I told him the dream he said, Bro. Junie, remember this, The Lord is getting ready to lead you off into deep water, so follow the Lord. That was the beginning of my desire to follow the Lord. It was along about that same time that God began to deal with me in these parables. It was then, I began to realize, you will not always be understood by people, and you will do things that will cause them to think you are crazy, that you have gone off the deep end, but it is just God’s way of testing you. He gives us an opportunity to find out if we can stand the pressure when the heat is turned on. If you cans stand the pressure when the heat is turned on. If you can stand the pressure when the head is turned on, then somewhere up the road God can use that type of person, because the kind that are subject to give in to everything that is said and begin to give way to their emotions because they do not want to hurt anyone, many times will wind up following the people rather than the Lord. If you do that, you will never be found following the Lord. Now when we come to these parables, and especially to this one that represents the good ground, there are many illustrations to be used, because of things that happen to people as they begin to seek to follow the Lord.
I am going to use some illustrations right here, before I get out of this parable, because right here many ties is where your walk with God can be affected by the things that come against you. After the Lord began to lead me and my wife, we had a talk and said, We will never preach to our parents. She said, I will never preach to dad and mom, and I said I would never preach to my mom and dad. We will keep our mouths shut except to answer their questions. WE were always able to eat a meal in either of their homes, but when it came to religion, we left it out of our conversation. However, after the Lord did begin to lead us and we began to see the ministry of Bro. William Branham, what it was for, many times we would ask our parents, Would you like to go with us? We would like for you to hear this man, if you feel like going. We took them to Louisville when he was at a certain church over there. WE also took them to Evansville, when he was preaching in a school building down there. WE never did preach to them or ask, What did you think of it? WE left all that up to them. I said to my wife, The only way I know to deal with them, is just to do and say what God gives us the opportunity to, and say no more. Let me just say this, If you are trying to get dad and mom to see something, do not preach to them: If you are doing that, stop it and allow the Spirit of God do the convicting. Let God do the drawing. If you try to persuade them, you are leaving the convicting power of God out of the picture. You will put pressure on when God does not want the pressure. Many times, we see things in life that look so exciting, but if it is of a spiritual nature, it is better that you leave it alone and pray about it, and then just present to your parents or whoever the opportunity to go with you if they want to. If they do not want to go, then do not pressure them. As we both took this approach, sometimes Bro. William Branham would come down to where we lived, which was near my father-in-law’s farm. When he came down rabbit hunting, I wondered how my father-in-law would take to it. I knew how some preachers are at times: They are always preaching, wherever they are: They never can talk about horses, cows, or anything else other than preaching. When Bro. William Branham came around, he was not like that: He never preached one time to my father-in-law. My father-in-law raised registered Herefords, so Bro. William Branham always asked, How are the cattle doing? What are you planting over there, and things like that. After a while, my father-in-law became very comfortable with him and even looked forward to his visits. I will never forget, when he became ill with a sickness that would eventually lead to his departure from this life: My wife and I had been to Corydon one day; and when we came home, my father-in-law was sitting in the back room: It was summer time, but the screen door was all that was open. When we came in, my father-in-law grabbed me by the arm and said, Junior, I am not going to be here much longer. When I put my arm around his shoulder he said, Junior, I am soon going to where your daddy and Bro. William Branham are. (Bro. Branham had already been dead about a year.) That was the first time he had ever said anything like that. That is the only preacher he mentioned I was privileged to shave his face and give him shots during that time. WE never had to have a nurse come in, to give him a shot: I had said I would do it, so I gave him his shot every day. I have to say, I know, when this present age comes to an end, and we have all finished our course, I will see my father-in-law. It was not very long after that, when my mother-in-law was baptized, right here in this baptistry. She and my mother both attended church services right here with this congregation as long as they lived. It was not because we preached to them, but because we lived a life in their presence that caused them to want to be a part of what was going on in that hour of time. The Spirit of God is able to do the convicting and drawing, if we will just conduct ourselves in a proper way and allow Him to work. I say also to you young people, It is very important in life, when the time comes to choose companionship, that you choose someone you feel you are ready to share yourself with for the rest of your life. That is what marriage is all about: It is not something we agree to for six months or six years: It is for life, so look ahead. Ask yourself, What is it going to cost me if I marry this person? Sometimes you can marry into a family of a different background than your family, and your relatives can begin to set up against it. You might hear, I prayed sincerely, that you would not marry that person, and you did it anyway: Just remember this, if you have trouble, you are going to hear from me. Some people life like that. The world is full of that type of situations. That is why I say to a young man or a young girl, When you step forth to take hold of a young man or young woman as your companion in life, make sure you purpose in your heart before God, This is my companion for life. If you are a Christian you mean that, so look to your heavenly Father and say, Lord, help me make my decisions, and help me learn to speak when I should speak and keep my mouth shut when I should keep it shut. If you will approach marriage like that, with an honest heart, you have started out on a good foundation, but you must build upon that. It really gets down to the nitty gritty at times, because you remember that the Bible says, Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the earth, and if you do not have a proper understanding of that scripture, you can get so attached to daddy and mother that you allow them to influence you in every decision. Mom and Dad can really be dictating your every move. Then when you marry, they tell you this and that, and if your mate says something you say, Well, am I not supposed to honor my dad and mother? Listen to me! There is a right way to honor dad and mom, and there is a wrong way. The Bible has the answer for all your problems, if you will take the time to find it. WE have such a habit of running to this one and that one, telling out sad story to everyone but to He who has the perfect answer. The minute you get married your situation should change. When you step before the preacher, you ought to ask yourself right then, Who am I going to be loyal to, dad and mom, or this person I am going to be married to? Ask yourself that and settle it. Almost every day, we hear babies crying, I want my daddy, I want my mommy; and most of the time it is because that young fellow or girl, did not have sense enough to know who to be loyal to. When you live under the roof of your dad and mother, obey them. If you are sitting at their table eating things they have supported you with, honor them, but do not forget what Adam said when he awakened from sleep and there stood his help mate. What did he say? (Gen 2:23-24) “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” That should not be so hard to understand.
There comes a time when you should stop this thin of asking, Dad, what should I do? Mom, what should I do? Where do I go from here? It is sometimes very sickening, the way things turn out; There is nothing any more heart rendering, than for two young people who meet each other, and pretty soon they think, Oh we are so in love nothing else matters, but after awhile here comes dad and mom, from both sides, with their opinions. I have to say, Young people, learn from the Bible where you should cut some things off when you become married. After my wife and I were married, I said, Honey, I love you with all my heart, and I don’t want to do anything to make you feel sad, but I am not always going to be talking about mom and dad. There is a right place where we respect our dad and mom: You do not need to make them angry, and you do not have to make them cry, but when you begin to cut things off just say, This is the end of our ties as they have been in the past: I am married now, and we are on our own. We will make our decisions about the things that pertain to our marriage and our home. God is going to help us do this the right way. You may say, I will always respect you dad, because you brought me into this life and sustained me up to this point, but now I have a help mate. By the help of the Lord, we are going to build a home for Him. From now on God will tell us what to do and how to do it. As time changes, many times that means you will make some changes in your social life and such. The point is, you begin to let it be known from the very beginning, Dad, I am not under your roof anymore: I respect you, but you cannot rule our lives. That is why a lot of young people have nothing but turmoil: they allow mom and dad to have too much to say in their affairs. Young men, I will say this to you, When you take that young girl to be your companion and you bring a child into the world, two children, three children, or regardless of how many, do not allow yourself to always be running back to mom and dad. What should I do. You ought to have thought about this a long time ago. There is a right way for everything: There may be times when you will need to go to dad for financial help, or advice of some kind, but if he tries to use this to influence you spiritually, or in other aspects of living, there is where you have to have sense enough to know where to draw the line. Don’t wait until you are fifty years old to wake up to reality. Sometimes a person may not wake up to the facts of life until dad is dead: Then you will say, I should have done this and that a long time ago and now it is too late. Do what needs to be done while your parents are still alive. Do it while you are young. Otherwise, when Adam said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, did he mean you should curse them? No. Did he mean you should run them off? No. It means you should know where to cut loose from their planning your life for you. Your ties are no longer there. Your obligations are no longer there. Does this mean that if they got hungry you wouldn’t feed them? No, it means nothing like that. How many understand what I am saying? I hope you do. After my father had passed away, I realized that after many happy years of marriage, death can bring a shock to a woman. My own mother sat right here in this congregation for many years until she passed on. I will say this, because she is gone now. You know how mothers are, my little son this, my little son that. They always like to hold on to their little son. She said something one time that was communicated among the people; and it really hurt me when I heard about it. I said, Mother, did you say that? Well I thought I was helping you. I said, Mother, I don’t need your help in anything like that. You will have to sit at home for a while. (She lived down here in an apartment.) I said, Nobody will be coming to get you until I tell them to, because I want you to realize, I pastor the church. I don’t need my mother trying to help me do it. You may think, Did you really do that, Bro. Jackson? I sure did. I have to say, There is a right place to point the finger. Many times, sitting there in her apartment, (We would go there to eat.) I would have to say, Mother, that is not right: don’t say that. Yes Saints, it is one thing to cut yourself loose from dad and mom, and it is another thing altogether when you dishonor them. You can do what is right and still honor the Lord and your parents, but you must not let them influence your life in every decision. When they influence your life in every little thing you endeavor to do, you will find yourself troubled, many times your wife won’t understand you, and as your children get older, they won’t understand you either. Why? Because you are somewhere laying on your face in humiliation because you don’t know what to do. You can’t follow the Lord and go down life’s pathway with your face on the ground all the time. I hope all of you understand what I mean. If you are going to follow the Lord, follow Him in the truth He has revealed to you. If you do not, you will find yourself a lot of trouble. When a young man and a young woman bond themselves together and start a home together, they take a good look at each other and say, Honey, I love you. From now on it is going to be what you and I say, what we agree to say, what we agree to do, we are going to build a home for the Lord and be an example that God would be pleased with. When you do that, of course you will be tried once in awhile, but after awhile the devil will know he cannot prevent you from serving the Lord, so he eases his pressure about that. You just need to keep your guard up, so he cannot take you by surprise on something you are not expecting. I realize we have been a long time on this one parable, but it requires more attention. The seed that fell on good ground, what kind of people are they? They are not all alike, but they receive the truth alike and the results depend upon the potential of each individual. The affect it has upon them will produce thirty fold in some, some others sixty and some a hundred fold. Does that mean God loves one more than the other? No. It means He never gives you more than you need, and He never gives you less than you need. He gives you according to your abilities. That is why it is illustrated like that. In that first age, the gospel was preached to all, and out of that, all the epistles that we have written in the New Testament today, sooner or later came from that as the need arose for certain things to be explained and dealt with. In there, is every doctrine we need to know about, to live a life pleasing to God. We have churches all over America today whose members proclaim, we don’t believe in doctrine. What? You call yourselves Christians and you do not believe in doctrine? What kind of church are you? Well we are thus and so. That is nothing more than a lodge. That is just about all they are, a lodge. It is more a place where its members get together and eat and put on a little program. They spend more time talking about entertainment than anything else.
DOCTRINES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
Notice Saints, in the epistles of our Bible, is every doctrine that the New Testament Church was founded upon. It was all believed and embraced and it cultivated in them a rich fellowship that would cause them to be anchored by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance is in there. Justification is in there. Sanctification is in there. Glorification through the baptism of the Holy Ghost is in there. Then Predestination is in there. The Methodists fight that. They say it is out of the pit of hell. Once saved, always saved, is in there, but an awful lot of professing Christians do not believe it. They will say, Now wait a minute Bro. Jackson, that is Baptist teaching. So! At least they have that much. On what authority do you deny that teaching? The Bible proved that we can backslide, but you will never backslide to the point that you are not in the family of God: It is just like getting sick. A lot of what is called backsliding today, is not that at all: They were never saved in the first place. You just thought they were saved because they conducted themselves around you, the way you considered to be the ways of a true Christian. They are of those that received the word with great joy, but after awhile the cares of life choke the word of God right out of them. They Enver were truly born again of the Spirit of God. Predestination applies to them also, because God knew from before the foundation of the earth what they would do. Let us understand this brothers and sisters: The teaching of predestination is not a doctrine out of hell: it is out of the holy scriptures. You were foreordained in Christ before the world ever started. The end result was, that you should be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, because He is your model and He is your example. It is all because God foreknew everything. Not Jesus the Son, but the Creator, the Father of Jesus the Christ. Jesus was only in the mind of God the Creator, until God created that cell of Life in the womb of Mary, that in due time brought forth a baby, a Son, that is the Son of God. Jesus the Son is not God, but the sovereign God and Creator of all things took up His abode in that Son, when the Son reached the age of 30 years and was baptized by John the Baptist, or John the baptizer. Well Bro. Jackson: are you saying that God foreordained one to be saved and another to be lost? No. You have read the whole thing wrong: Predestination does not even mean anything like that. Well what does it mean, Bro. Jackson? It means this, God is an Omniscient One: He knows everything. He knew millions of years ago, what it would be like a million years from now. Millions of years ago, He knew that there would be a time in this year we are living in, that I would be standing here talking like this. Because of His foreknowledge, God knows everything: He knows everyone who will ever believe the gospel and be born again of His Spirit. He also knows all that will never truly believe unto that point, so in His mind their destiny is foreordained, or predetermined, but not because God chose some to be saved and others to be damned: It is because He knew before He ever created anything, what our choice would be. The dictionary defines predestination like this, “That which is inevitably destined.” That means it cannot be changed from what He saw that the end result would be. That is why you were foreordained, not because He just ordained you to be saved or lost, which ever the case may be. The gospel is preached to everyone, and He knew what your final choice would be, concerning the gospel, so you are predestined to end up where He saw you. That should not be hard to understand: He knew what you would do and what you would not do, not just about your salvation, but also the other things of your life. He knew some would start out and then drop off. He knew some would start, stagger, fall down, get back up, then a little later on they would come again and continue on to the great reward. There is such a thing as backsliding, but that does not put you out of the kingdom of God. It puts you out of fellowship with God, but not out of His family. When you were born into this world, physically, it was a one time experience: It can never be repeated. You were never born here two or three times. That is pure nonsense. The natural does type the spiritual. Each birth is a one time experience. How many times you hear, pray for the little baby, he is very sick, sick unto death. That is sometimes how church going Christians look at, sick unto death. How many are following me? Something comes along, a serious trial, but we will say this, for whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son fo God. But if you be without chastisement, what are you? You are a bastard. You are just a churchgoer. You don’t know anything about the new birth. Also, predestination is a fact, regardless of what you may hear some preacher say. When you can see predestination as it really is, that before you were even born, God foreknew your choice, so that is why He knew exactly when to send something to bring you to His plan of salvation. That is why it says in Romans 8, For whom He foreknew, He also did predestinate, that he should be conformed to the image of His own Son. That is why there is nothing that happens to you in life that happens by chance. Don’t ever think that the God of heaven that created the planet, the angels and everything else, and then put you here, just sits up there with His hands folded and wondering, I wonder what he is going to do tomorrow. Before you were born, He knew exactly every day you would live and what you would do each day. That is why the hairs of our head are numbered. He is a sovereign, omnipotent and omniscient God. He knew exactly how to look into the future. That is why He could see the choices you would make. You can take three young people that grow up in the same neighborhood; and God can deal with them relatively in the same manner, but for some reason, out of the three, maybe one of them is dealt with in a very severe way. That one persons will find himself, or herself following the Lord. The others, nothing ever happens seriously, but they are not following the Lord either. As for the various doctrines we speak of, every doctrine in the New Testament was in the original gospel. It is just that when time came through the ages, it is all illustrated in these parables. We find that time, when the devil and carnal minded people begin to dilute this one, throw this one out and so forth, and it got to the place where the true gospel was not even known. Therefore once saved, once born again, once you are in the kingdom of God and the kingdom of God is in you, you are a child of God forever. But, Bro. Jackson, what if they were smoking cigarettes? What about that? Should that even be a question in our minds? Are we supposed to smoke cigarettes? No. I will say this, If God has ever touched your heart and made you see that it is wrong, and you lay them aside and know that you laid them aside because He wanted that part of you cleaned up, you can go on down life’s pathway for many years, walking with the Lord, always enjoying the blessing of God. You are just so thankful for what God has done for you in life. Then one day, the devil comes along and hits you with some kind of terrible trial, knocks you flat of your back, you just lay there sick. The old devil jumps up on your bed, haunts you, taunts you, see, if God had really saved you, you wouldn’t be laying here sick. Saints: if that devil is ever allowed to weaken your confidence to the point that you were to take a cigarette and smoke it, mind what I tell you, if you are laying there and you are a child of God, you might smoke it, but here is where chastisement comes in. It is recorded in 1st John 5:16, “There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” That means this, When you have refused to listen to God, to that kind voice that says, Don’t do this, don’t do that, God has a right to take you out of this world, to keep you from bringing reproach upon the very thing that you have believed so many years. That is why it was written like that. I hear modern preachers today, that have gone off to Bible Schools and learned a bunch of traditional nonsense, like saved today and lost tomorrow, saved the next day and lost again, and on like that; and it makes me very thankful to know the truth. That is not in the Bible like that. Men have made it that way. Oh we had a wonderful revival last week, we had fifty seven saved. How many times had they been saved before? Ask that question and see what answer you get. I hope I have said some things that have some serious meaning to you: These doctrines I made mention of, were totally laid aside by the Catholic Church in the dark middle ages, and what took their place? Hail Mary, the crucifix and all the other traditions they still hang on to today. People became so obligated to fulfill all those traditions, that all these doctrines were completely pushed right out of the picture. That is why these parables bring out the seven ages like they do.
EXPLAINING THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN AND KINGDOM OF GOD
I started earlier, to explain the difference between “The Kingdom of Heaven,”(which is what we titled this message) and the Kingdom of God, so let me finish that at this time. I will explain this title, and the phrase as we find it in the scripture, what it means. If the kingdom of God is not the kingdom of heaven, and we know that the kingdom of God is something that God has put in your heart and life, and that it is what really affects your inner being, then what is the kingdom of heaven? It is referring to a period of time, a time in which the kingdom of God is preached and proclaimed. The two go together, but they are not exactly the same thing. The kingdom of heaven is a span of time in which the kingdom of God is established in a believing element of people on the earth. In other words, it is like saying, The time has come to plant corn. What do I mean by that? You do not plant corn the 21st day of December in this part of the world, because it is not the season for that. You have to realize, there is a season that God has ordained for certain things to be accomplished: It is referred to as the kingdom of heaven, and we are living in the closing days and times of that period right now. This was first mentioned in Matthew 3:1 “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” What he meant was, a period of time is opening up to you. The Jewish people had lived under the law for fourteen hundred and some years. That was a kingdom age in that sense, and it was all related to the Law, but God had prophesied through Jeremiah, that He was going to change things, and that the time would come when He would give the children of Israel a new covenant. But that new covenant would be related to a new period of time, a dispensation called the kingdom of heaven.
SECOND PARABLE OF MATTHEW 13
We will now look at the second parable of those Jesus spoke and are recorded in the 13th chapter of Matthew. What is a parable? A parable is when someone is using a natural story to illustrate, to make a point. Sometimes the intellectual people do not see it because they look at things in a different, or much larger scale. Jesus used these natural parables, and many times it was only the simple minded people in the average world that would catch the true meaning. We can easily see that these seven parables are all different one from the other. They are all pointing to different periods of time within this kingdom of heaven era. There were seven outstanding parables that describes this whole thing so unique and so precise. You would have to study a lot of history to really see how those things became applicable in the period of time that affected people of that age. As we come to the 24th verse of this 13th chapter of Matthew, please notice that we are still focused on seed being sown. This parable speaks of an altogether different result than what we found in the first one. “Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field. But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.” Notice the word sowed: how many realize that it is an English word, and it is past tense, sowed? The first one said, Behold, a sower went forth. The sower in that sense was pointing to Christ because He is the one that absolutely brought the dispensation out of the Law Age into this new age, the dispensation of the kingdom of heaven. He laid the groundwork. He laid the foundation upon which the faith and the beginning of this growth of God’s kingdom in the hearts of people, should be accomplished within this period of time. As we think upon the kingdom of heaven and go to this second illustration, it is His way of saying, There will come a time in this kingdom of heaven era when this will be applicable, and it will be just like this. You can take it to the book of Revelation and see exactly, how it fits right into the second Church Age, what it constituted and what caused it. Therefore let us look at this parable with a more definite understanding. The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man which sowed, past tense, which is looking back to what was done in the first age, to begin to understand what is going on here in the second age, and why it is different. He sowed good seed. That is why we said earlier, When the gospel truth was preached, the intentions of God in it, was that it will produce true believing children of God. It would not produce a Baptist, a Methodist, a Presbyterian, a Pentecostal or a Roman Catholic. That is nonsense. The seed sown, would absolutely produce the kind of return that was expected. That is why I said it was in the first age that every doctrine, every revelation, from the godhead on down, was written in these epistles. It is very obvious though, that as time passed these truths began to be lost, because something happened to case them to be lost. Here is what it was, “But while men slept, (What does the term slept mean? It means that those in the original, those that had continued sowing the good seed and spreading it, so that it had produced the beginning of a good crop, death began to fall upon them, not only the early ministry, but also the laity. They began to take their place in the ground and another generation came along to fill the gap, to continue on the same thing. However we see in the parable something has happened. There is a likeness that has been lost.) his enemy (the original sower’s enemy) came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade (the stalk) was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, midst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” What happened, fits exactly the second age of the Gentile Church as we start into the age coming on this way. We realize this, The original truth, every doctrine, everything that was to produce a unity, a spiritual likeness of Christ within a body of people, no matter whether if was Jew or Gentile, was taught in simplicity and always the same. Regardless of where you might have went in that early age, you were not fellowshiping with Baptists, Methodists, Catholics and such, whether it was at Jerusalem, Ephesis, or where ever. When you come into a Gentile, Christian assembly, you were going to fellowship with people who believe the same thing you do. They might not be as far along in enlightment as you are, but nevertheless, you would not have felt like a stranger, because they have all be grounded on the same truth. Not so, as you go into the second Age, which is what the second parable brings out, how the enemy, once the early watchmen, the ministry, are dead, many of them martyred, many of the lay saints had been martyred likewise, conditions and responsibility lay in the hands of a new generation, to pick up the torch and press on toward the kingdom, toward the fulfilling of everything. As the servants of that hour began to look and judge what was going on, by seeing what has been in the past, they began to pray, Lord, I don’t understand why it isn’t like it was fifty years ago. That is the way we would say they had to look at it. They began to ask the Lord, Shall we go after them and run them out? The Lord said, Just leave them alone. Any farmer knows, once you sow wheat in a field, you prepare the seed bed, sow the seed, you expect it to sprout, grow, and come up. Any farmer realizes, in the earth we live in, and that represents the world at large, there are all kinds of seed already in the ground when he plants his seed. Likewise you have very kind of human being out here, and when the gospel is preached they can respond just like the good seed. So is it also in the soil. You have every kind of foreign seed laying there. You do not see them, but they are there. You prepare the seed bed and sow the wheat. In a few days you see the green stuff just begin to grow. For a good long while you might say, it looks like it is a good crop in the making. After a while, you will see a sprig of this, and a little sprig of that. Something else is coming up. It is foreign to what you sowed. It is a fact, if that stuff begins to become predominant, you can say, I am going out and pull it up, but if you go ahead, see what happens. The minute you pull this up, you loosen the roots of the wheat that has already been grounded: Once you disturb that seed bed around those roots, you destroy its ability in its infancy to get started. That is why the Lord said, Leave them alone. Let us bring that into the kingdom of God, into the dispensation, and let us bring it into the Church. This involves some touchy matters. According to the gospels, one of the first things the devil began to attack was the revelation of the godhead. I realize, many times people that are total strangers, if they would come in here and hear me say something about Methodists, Baptists, and such, they would think, Well he is talking about my church, I am not talking about your church at all. The point is this, Where in the name of common sense, do you find in the scriptures, that you have a right to say you are a Methodist and another a Baptist? If you cannot believe the teachings in the Bible, what is wrong? That is why we study these parables: They make all of that so simple. I ask you, What had taken place in the second age? Here came men down the road, teaching things just a little different than what the original gospel message proclaimed. It did not all happen in a day’s time, but little by little.
THE WORK OF TARES
The early Church here in Asia, was a Gentile Church. Those were Jews that brought the original gospel to them. They brought it just as the Jews had received it in Jerusalem. Those Gentile churches embraced those Jews’ revelation, and they appreciated what the Jews had come and contributed to their spiritual well being. However by the time the second age comes on, there is always that other tare fellow out there wanting to be a preaching, and wanting to be recognized, so here he comes down the road, I am a Jew also. They always know what to say, to get a foot-hold. Do not forget, every time there has been a generation of human beings on this earth, and there has been a gospel preached to human beings to receive the kingdom of God, there has always been somewhere, someone born into that relationship that had a selfish and indifferent attitude. In their minds they are thinking, I want to be somebody. In the natural world they may have been a failure at everything they attempted, so Christendom gives them another opportunity where they think they can get themselves some attention. Therefore coming out of the first age into the second, as the old patriarchs of the faith began to die off or were martyred, though it left the truth in the hearts of the people, there are other men coming along, and many of them will say, God called me to preach the gospel, and I have been to Jerusalem. I have seen this and I have seen that, and this is the way it is. For every one that can say that and have it straight, there is half a dozen that are nothing but tares. They use these things to psychologically convince people that they have something important to tell them, and that they need to listen carefully to it. It has been that way in this very hour of time also. Through the years, by the grace of God, Faith Assembly has stood for something in this area, and it has been exactly like that: first one and then another, pushing their special revelation, because it was in this area that God raised up a man who we know was a messenger to this age of Laodicea. The Laodicean ministry does not like it, but I have to say, by the revelation that God put in my heart, I know that this man that was raised in this area, was a prophet, and that he was a messenger to this age, whether they like it or not. The president can be against it. Congress can be against it, but he did not come down the road preaching Methodism, Catholicism, or anything like that: He came preaching the truth. That is the part that made him different than others. It was the same way, coming into the second age. Some were coming down the road teaching, that there was no such thing as God the Creator being invested in the flesh of Jesus. They had another little slant. To see that, just go to the little epistles of John. You will find how John, in 90 A.D., attacked those erroneous things that were taught, and instructed how they should believe. That just goes to show though, the godhead itself was the first thing the enemy attacked. Those who served Satan in that endeavor, got multitudes of people to believe their false teaching. That was the beginning of the great controversy. From that time right straight on through a hundred and some years, until we come to 325 A.D., there was controversy raging as Christendom grew. In Alexandria Egypt, Jerusalem, Antioch, Constantinople, Rome, those five great Christian centers of the early Roman world, all began to become competitive. The great controversy began to be discussed and debated. It brought confusion and heartache. It caused people to break fellowship. People separated, calling each other devils, all because they did not understand how to divide truth from error. Please, Faith Assembly, do not ever allow yourselves to get to the place you cannot divide truth from error. There are people in this world, that feel they have a burning message. They travel the highway of life and have a unique way of trying their best to have an influence on others, because their message is burning. Oh I have just got to share it. He might be nice looking and have an appealing voice that sounds every so sweet. He may seem to have such a sweet spirit, but you, as Christians with a true revelation, had better have enough discernment to recognize what is taking place. Do not ever allow yourselves to think a tare is someone with six shooters strapped on his hip. He can be a sweet looking fellow and you can swoon in front of him, but if that is all you judge him by, by the time he has inoculated you with that venom of his revelation, you will probably not even realize you have been targeted. When I saw this taking place right here in the day and hour we live in, it gave me even greater understanding of what happened going into the second Church Age. For thirty some years, from the time we started here as a little nucleus of people, a people that had a determination in our heart to follow the truth that was revealed through a little man that stood in a pulpit right here in this area, we have seen all kinds come and go. When Bro. William Branham was still alive and preaching, there were many preachers from Chicago, from Georgia, here and there and everywhere, that came to hear him, but they did not sit under his ministry. They only came at the highlight times, and did not sit there day after day and year after year, learning from his ministry: I did. I had determined to hear what he had to say; and I was determined to hear it right. That is where the greater percentage missed it. Many of those men that followed the excitement, after the man passed from the scene, saw their opportunity to get recognition for themselves, thinking, This is my chance: I am going to preach. Many of them, maybe most of them have never tried to bring unity among the following: They only want the people to hear them, Look! I have a revelation. As I look back, if God had not began to put people together in the different places where He allowed us to go and preach, I would have quit preaching a long time ago, because I am not out here to start a clique, or another mass of confusion. I can say, that by the grace of God, He has let us see something that is so simple, yet so pure and clean. It has caused a lot of people to set up against us, because they want everything to be so complicated that only they have the answers. They have set up against me and said, Oh, Jackson thinks he is somebody. No saints, I have never thought that about myself as a person. I do know that I am a person that desires truth above all else; and I will stand for it wherever I go. I never asked to be anything special: it has been the grace of God that put an understanding in my heart for the truth, and God makes the way for us to uphold it. There are men in various places that know me, and they have taken the Contenders, they have our tapes and whatever, but as I look at those men I would have to say, You have never brought unity to anything; You have gone here, there and everywhere with your teaching; and you have a little element here that follow you, but you have brought unity to nothing at large. It has been just the opposite with Faith Assembly: WE are known all over the world. God help us to be a light to the far regions and ends of the earth. Let others thin whatever they want to about us, but we have done our best to bring truth to as many as possible, and tried to exemplify it in deed. I will use a little illustration to show you what I mean.
HOW THINGS CAN GO ASTRAY
Several years ago God led us to got to the Philippines. There, I met a man that I will use in this example I am going to give you. He told me his testimony. At that time he only had around a dozen people working with him. God had told him to leave one island and go to Manila. He told us also, about what a man from Canada had come there and done, how he had preached against the Contender that we publish. This caused some of his followers to leave him and follow this other man. Yet he felt led to go to Manila and start a work. I said, Then don’t start a work next door to that man that took your people: god somewhere else in Manila and start your work and God will give you a new congregation. He did that. He became our contact in the Philippines for several years. I am taking my time with this, hoping you will all catch my point. Through the years as we published the Contender, never one time did we say something in a Contender and six months later, change it to something different. WE have never put anything in any Contender just to exalt Raymond Jackson. Our purpose is to help you see Jesus Christ in divine revelation. The different times we went to the Philippines, God blessed the work. God used the man as an instrument throughout the islands of the Philippines. But after we left there in 1996, another man from the states went there and got hold of this brother that had stood with us. Sooner or later this message will get there to him, so I want to say this carefully, You and everyone over there had your opportunity, as you stood for what we taught, but when this man came over there, the first attack was on me: Jackson is wrong about the seven seals and the seven thunders. I say the seven thunders are seven men; and I have not yet been shown anything that has changed my mind. That man says they are angels. I have to say this, Behind every man is an angel, but you do not see the angel: you see the man. Just because there were seven angels guiding Bro. William Branham, does not mean we need another man with seven angels guiding him. That is nonsense. All of the disagreement lay in that. That began to bring a division between us and the man that had followed and upheld the truth we stand for, simply because the other man says, Well Jackson is like Peter, God sends him to the Jews, but I am to the Gentiles. There is nothing in the scriptures for that in our day. That man has published things and brought reproach upon me and caused me to be ridiculed by some of the Branham following. I have withstood it through the years. I would like to say also, The man that has done this thing I am speaking of, has never brought unity to anything anywhere. It brought division in the Philippines. When Bro. Strommen went over there, I received a call from a young minister over there, that has been successful. Bro. Strommen has been a blessing to the people. This young man stayed with Bro. Viullagonza after Ben Howard from Georgia had went and taught what he did, That I am like Peter, and that I am wrong in my teaching, and that he himself is the apostle for them to listen to. That brought division among those people there in the Philippines, but this young Chinese brother began to try to analyze and see things the right way. He wanted to stick with what we have stood fro. I want to say to the sisters, If you are a married woman, forget trying to be the head of anything. I say that with respect, but I say it because the Bible makes it very clear. Do not try to be the head of anything. This teaching fell into the hands of Bro. Viullagonza and he takes it. When other people that have stood with what we have taught and printed for years, began to withdraw, the other element began to have dreams and visions and revelations, that what Bro. Viullagonza has now accepted is truth, and Ben Howard is the man that brought it over there. The major body of people knew better than that, but here were the wives of some of those, supposed-to-be important brethren, that began to have dreams, and they see how Viullagonza has the message, and that the Lord is vindicating by such and such. Saints: when my flesh has more influence on you that what I am preaching, you are headed down a road toward trouble. That stands true everywhere. Please, if God ever puts a revelation in your heart and you know it is truth, then stick with it regardless of what you hear that is different. It is the devil’s business to bring something else along to insert in there. That is what happened in that second age. They changed a little of the godhead, a little bit here and a little bit there, and it was not long until the whole thing was perverted. When Bro. Strommen went there, he was able by the grace of God, to deal with the seven seals. I do not know what all he preached, but I do know he set some things straight for those people. This Chinese brother said to me, Bro. Jackson, when the anointing first began to come here, everywhere we went throughout the Philippine Islands, that anointing went with us. He said, for a long time it was there, (In 1996 it was there, because we saw it.) but after this teaching of Ben Howard came there, that anointing left us, and for a long time I felt like I was dead, but my wife had this dream, she has this revelation. I have to say, Sisters, if you married a sinner, what did you marry him for? How many understand what I meant by that? But if God gave you a revelation, and you know it is a revelation, then do not let some other Tom, Dick, or Harry come along and change it. Do not stand for one man one day, and throw him in the ditch the next day just because you see something that looks a little better. The kingdom of God is not built on such a reputation. It will never last. So whatever Bro. Strommen has preached, it began to set some people free, but when this poor Chinese brother called, he was crying, Bro. Jackson, I don’t want to bring division between my wife and me, I don’t want to create a marital problem. That is a sad situation. Just because his wife thinks her revelation out does her husband’s. I say sisters: it is wonderful to have a godly sister as your wife, but when we let our mind and attitude begin to stray, and we cannot recognize the test that is falling our way, and we try to defend something, not even knowing why it exists like that, may times we find ourselves stepping off into deep water. The test is coming, and that is why we should begin to listen to everything very carefully. That is exactly what happened in that second age: A preacher here, a revelation there, attaching the truth delivered by saints who knew the truth. The objective was, to get the new generation, those who never sat under the apostles’ teaching, to deviate from that original teaching just a little bit. Their mind’s were only half developed, (spiritually speaking) so this new category of glory seekers had easy access to them. There are men out there, that think they have the only revelation that is important, and they usually wind up with a few people that will listen to them. They do not bring unity to anything, so that ought to tell all concerned parties something. Instead, it seems like the further they go, the worse they get. They get to thinking, Well I am the only one that has a revelation and they never even entertain the thought that they could be wrong. I will never forget, a few years back we were privileged by the grace of God, to got o Oklahoma, to a little church that begged me to come there. The first time we went there to have a meeting, the whole church went out and was baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The first couple of times we were there, that church fell right in line with what we were teaching. Then all of a sudden he heard about Perry Green. Then he went to one of Perry Green’s meetings. He came back loaded with books and all of everything Perry could load him down with. I have nothing against the books, but you have to know how to read them. Do not be offended by my remark, because it is the truth. By the time he read all of those books, he had a revelation that was completely out of this world. For a while they taught this, then they taught that, and before long they were going every which way. Some of those people moved from there to this area. After a few months of time, one of the young men that left out there, came into this area: Someone saw him and asked, Where are you going to church? Well, right now we are not going anywhere, we can’t seem to find a church that believes like we do. When I hear that, I have to say, Stay away from that fellow. When you see someone going down the road of life looking for a people that believes like he does, just put a mark on him, because you can rest assured, his revelation is not from God. He is not fit to minister to the body of Christ. He is set to sow tares and he will create tares. They will do it so simple that the simple minds will believe it and eat it up hook, line, and sinker. I am using this as an illustration of how those tares got in among the Church body. It is what preachers do, that brings it about. The come down the road of life with their own ideas. The man I mentioned, the one that ran behind me in the Philippines, his name is Ben Howard. He is from Georgia. This is the first time I have mentioned his name from the pulpit. I have always said this, If you get hold of error and uphold it, and preach it for so long while God is giving you opportunity to see the truth and change, and you do not change, then one error will lead to another error. Then that error will lead to another error; and it will not be long until you are so far out in left field, nobody can touch you. After that episode of being in the Philippines that created all this problem, He will still put up a front in certain places, Oh yes, Bro. Jackson is my precious brother. I just don’t go for all the flowered up talk. The sad part of it is, a few years back he lost his dear wife. As far as I know, she never stood in his way of anything, so I have to say, It is sad when a woman has to take a beating to follow a man that is her husband, a man that is just out glory seeking, and to try to do something for personal recognition. After she died, Well there was no reason he could not have another wife, but in taking another wife, there has to be a biblical pattern. A few months back, in his own congregation, there sat a man and woman that had been husband and wife at one time, but they had problems and were divorced. This man then married a young woman. Over the period of months they began to have marital problems. They decided to go to Ben Howard for counseling. There is nothing wrong with that, but Ben Howard got bit by something, so he ended up causing that young woman to leave her husband and marry him. That is outside the continuity of the scriptures. Ben Howard, do not ever tell me you are an apostle sent from God. A true apostle does not do such things. He will stay within the confines of the scripture. There is no middle ground for you in that. I will have to say, the reason you have been bit like this is because you taught error. You did harm to the body of Christ, and in return you brought harm to your own self. Oh yes, I am aware there is an element of people out there that will follow anything, regardless of how it crosses the scriptures. I have a right to talk like this. It is vexing to see people rundown the highway of life thinking they have a revelation, when all they have is ideas that are contrary to sound doctrine from the scriptures. They have something concocted by the devil, and they think they are the only one that knows what truth is, and the sad thing is, such people do not recognize truth when they hear it. What we have stood for here in Faith Assembly and throughout the world, has brought more unity than a lot of people want to give credit for, but God knows, because He is the author of it. I have just been giving you some examples of how the true revelation became perverted, going into the second age. It was the beginning of the devil’s work, trying to destroy the Church. He used every kind of conniving means to sow tares with a false revelation of the scriptures. The sad part is, that next generation, at least some of them, did not know truth from error: That is why they were easily deceived. An awful lot of supposed-to-be Christians are just looking for somebody to come along and swoon them. I hope all of you came here for a different purpose; because if you did not, you will be tried before you leave this world. You will be tried so hard, you will feel like your house is being torn down. Why? Because what God wants in your heart is a revelation that is unshakable, so you are determined to follow truth. There is nothing the devil can throw in your pathway that will take this out of your heart and life. Through the years, as we began to teach the revelation that Jesus was the son of God and that God was in Him, and that He Himself was not God, even though the God that created all things was in His very person, you cannot imagine the criticism we received from these educated oneness people, especially from overseas. I do get many letters from small congregations overseas though, saying, Bro. Jackson: You have greatly helped us. That is all I am interested in. As long as I can help people, that is all I want to do. You do not have to come here and pat me on the back: Just a kind letter once in awhile, thanking the Lord for the grace that He has given us, and for giving us the backbone to stand for the truth and to present it in the right way. I believe you can see that is what that second age of Christendom went through, first one, and then another with a little different interpretation of the scriptures. It was not only the godhead. There were debates, arguments and divisions over a lot of other issues. By the time the third century arrived, Christendom was really divided. This is what caused Constantine to see the real need to do what was typified in the third parable. He saw the need to call a conference, a convention of the Niacea Council. There, is where they discussed the godhead question. By the time we come to the closing of that, the element of people that should have been responsible, (to hold to the true revelation) were less than responsible. They have less ability. They changed it from the extreme of what they were saying about Jesus, and turned it into a trinity. Whether you are a Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, or not, the very fact that you uphold a trinity puts you outside the kingdom of God in this hour. A lot of people get offended, Bro. Jackson, you are talking about my daddy. I am not talking about your daddy or any other individual, and I am not talking about your church: I am just stating a fact. Jesus is not coming back for six churches: He is only coming for one. He is coming for a people that has been brought out of all the various systems, a people that has been washed by the word. They have been purged by the word. They have been cleansed by the word. The true revelation of the word of God has ironed out every wrinkle and healed every blemish, so that we can all stand together in one faith, regardless of whether we are black or white, red, brown, or what. We can shout and sing of the Lord’s grace and know where we are. It is one revelation that unites us. That is why any true apostle is going to preach unity; and the ministry that gathers around are all going to see the same thing. Isaiah 52:8 says so. That is the last prophecy to this age. The watchmen in that day shall see eye to eye. They will lift up their voices together in unison because they will see the truth. Some preachers will not have to preach this because it is not given to them to preach, but God gives to every man an ability to take certain things that are truth, and deal with them in a unique way. I hope we get to the point where we can bring it out in this second parable, and really see the tares. Well you are talking about my brother. It could be that I am, but I did not make him what he is. Your brother just might be one of those critters, and you may not like hearing it, but why should we be deceived, when God has made it all so clear? Do you really know why you resent hearing this? It is not the truth you are looking for: you are looking for something to fit the flesh. His kingdom is not made up of flesh: it is made up of individuals who have truly been born again of the Spirit of God. Did not Jesus say, I come not to bring unity, but to set a man against his neighbor, and a man’s enemy shall be they of his own household? Sometimes the daughter can be raised a Roman Catholic. Every time they sit around the table, it is hail Mary, thank you for this biscuit, thank you for this gravy. The daughter meets a nice young boy. He is in the message of truth, she becomes attracted to him and he takes her to a service. At first it startles her. It disturbs her. She has never been around anything like this. She did not even know anything like this existed. All she has ever heard is hail Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. That reminds me of a story about my cousin. Starlight Indiana is a big Catholic community. One of my dad’s first cousins worked for a Catholic farmer from there, while he was a young man, before he was married. Memorial Day came around, and back in those days they did not have big lawn mowers. This Catholic farmer said to my cousin, I want you to take the mowing scythe, we are going to the cemetery today and start cleaning up, getting it ready for Memorial Day. When they got there, there were a lot of the Catholics and their hired hands there to clean up the cemetery. My cousin was told to go down to a certain area. He had always wondered why that area was so unkempt. When he asked why, he was told, This is the purgatory part. They sent him to clean up the part of those that were going to hell. There are people that believe like that. That is complete ignorance of course, but think of the thousands of people through time that have lived like that. It goes to show you, a little bit here and a little bit there, and it isn’t long until the whole thing is full of weeds, if you know what I mean. Let it all grow together, Jesus said, and it has. One tare leads to another tare, and another to another. After awhile, Catholicism became a big bunch of weeds and here is a little stalk of wheat trying to stick its head up through that mess. What a shame, I hope you understand now, what the second parable condition produced. It was the beginning of the problems we are living in today, but we are living now, when it is all being thrashed out. Your life and my life is being affected by it because this is the harvest time. What was sown then, has grown and produced all these counterfeit Christians, but God will not accept them.
THE THIRD PARABLE – A GRAIN OF MUSTARD SEED
Going into this third parable, let us try to catch the point that is being made. WE are in the 31st verse. “Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, (notice the word) and sowed(past tense) in his field: (It is still looking back to what was done in the first age.) Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, (really it is a vine that grows with branches and things that kind of grow together, it becomes a bunch, you see a lot of things like this isn the rain forests of the world. It is hard to tell whether it is a tree or a vine that just grows and grows within itself.) so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” I have heard preachers in the denominational world say, See, that represents sinners coming to the mustard seed tree for salvation. That is not so at all. I would have to ask you, What was the mustard tree made up of. Think of it. It is the kingdom of heaven. The mustard seed is supposed to be made up of born again Christians. It started with 120 on the day of Pentecost, a small group of people. What can they do? That 120, two thousand years ago, became the nucleus God used, that causes you and I to sit here together today. Is that not right? The point of it is, In this third parable we learn, that by the third age the kingdom of God that is being brought together in this kingdom of heaven, has begun to take on a universal appearance. That is why, after passing through the first and second ages, things began to come at the church in a different manner. Up until that time Christendom was ridiculed and persecuted by the Roman Empire. They have slaughtered Christians by the untold thousands; and suddenly things change. God allowed the Church to keep on growing in the second age, even though there were tares being sowed here and there in it. Then we come to the beginning of the third age which corresponds to the parable, and Satan is changing his tactics. Up until that time the Roman government had been against Christendom, and Christians were martyred by the thousands just for entertainment. All of that changed when Constantine, at the head of the Roman army, going eastward to put down an insurrection in an empire area, began, on his way there to make sacrifice to the gods, asking for guidance in the battle that he would soon encounter. (This is in history.) By early daylight, he had a vision or a dream. He was a pagan, Roman emperor, but in this vision he saw the sign of the cross which the early Christians used to identify them from other societies. Then a voice from heaven said, By this thou shalt conquer, and thou shalt overcome. History declares that Constantine tells all his generals, Gather the troops together. When the men are gathered, he speaks to them and tells them of this vision, and that the God of the Christians is telling him, If you will receive the sign of the cross, you will be victorious. Sure enough, that was the beginning of the painting of the sign of the cross on the Roman shields. It became the symbol of the Roman Catholic Church as well. He won the war; and all of that left him with such an impact, even though he had no revelation whatsoever, he had been influenced psychologically to accept Christianity. He goes back to Rome and had the decree made, that from now on we will stop killing Christians: we are going to accept this as another religion of the Roman state. By that time, many of his ranking generals have got the sign of the cross. That reminds me a lot of business men today. They will join this religion, they will join the Charismatic, they put all kinds of signs and gimmicks around to let people know, I believe in religion, I believe in Jesus Christ, but they do it for a materialistic gain and nothing more. As Constantine won the war, he believed that the God of the Christians has now been with him, so he causes the Roman government to make a decree that from now on the Christians will no longer be persecuted, they will be accepted along in the ranks of other religions. This was the beginning of the birds coming and lodging in the branches of the kingdom of God tree. These birds do not become part of the branches. They become dead weight to its shelter, if you catch my point. The sad truth is, they also become influential as to how this tree from now on, is going to grow and as to what kind of fruit it is going to bring forth. In his travels, and in his investigation of the Christian groups, Constantine has seen that the different groups are now in a dispute and division over the godhead, which started in that second age. By this time it has really grown to become a great problem. He took it upon himself to call a council. (A Roman emperor, calling a council for Christian bishops) It tells in history, how many bishops left the mountain regions, the desert regions and made their way to this convention at Nicaea. As they discussed the godhead question, only the Lord knows how many men stood up in defense of certain things they felt was right, but it is known also that many bishops left offended because they felt in their hearts, they had the true revelation, but they were not heard. The analysis of the whole thing, is ended with them accepting a trinity, using the titles Father, Son and Holy Spirit in baptism, instead of The Lord Jesus Christ. That was the beginning of immersion in the titles Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It became the doctrinal dogma of the Catholic Church. It was picked up by the Lutheran, the Presbyterians and what have you. You once saved always saved Baptists picked it up and you are a Trinitarian club just like the rest. No wonder, that Catholicism is called The Mother Church: She was the mother of that Trinitarian concept of the Godhead. You have no other revelation. In fact, you are afraid of revelation. You cannot see anything past your traditions. When we get into these other parables, we will see how the Reformation served its purpose in dealing with things like this. As we deal with this parable, trying to bring it to a close, that was the beginning of the sowing, laying the groundwork. As Constantine made that decree, Christianity took a sigh of relief, no longer having to worry about being led to the arenas and butchered to entertain blood thirsty heathen. The Roman state has opened their arms and accepted them. From then on, there began to be a wholesale sellout to the state, a general compromise. The element of people that were of this third Church Age, really began to embrace the various things the devil was doing to take away truth and insert tradition. I do not have time to indulge into the history of all that followed, but the point is, pagans that had offered sacrifice to other gods, drank blood and every other abominable thing you can think of, they too became Christians because they made the sign of the cross. This was the beginning of the dead weight that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God began to be weighted down with. It is all because buzzards, vultures, birds of every description lit in the branches, in the shelter, in the sanctuary of Christendom. It got to the place where you could not tell saints from sinners, hypocrites from church member. When Christianity ha to exist like that, something is in a very bad state. These parables are very short, but when you begin to enlarge the scope and see what all they embrace in history, you can begin to see how Christianity suffered a great blow. It shows people in the corresponding generations, that did not have the insight to know how to fight off the devil. You can see why Jesus said, “Let is grow together.” How could they have done anything else?
THE FOURTH PARABLE
In looking at these parables, we now come to number four, and we go to the 33rd verse. When Jesus spoke these parables, somewhere between 31 A.D. and 33 A.D., the Catholic Church was still way off in the future, yet He could see its day. “Another parable spake He unto them: The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, (We are no longer talking about seed, He is comparing it to something else now, the kingdom of heaven, that period of time, is like unto leaven. This is a household item, is it not? We find it in the place where we find salt, soda, flour, the makings of bread.) which a woman took, (Why did He say a woman? The sower in the first three is pointing to a male individual, but now He changes the whole picture: It is like unto a woman that took leaven and did something. What did she do?) and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” We realize it usually falls the woman’s lot in the household to be the preparer of bread. That is common and understandable, but what did He really have in mind? This was Jesus’ way of saying, The time will come, when there will be a system called a church, and it is none other than Roman Catholicism. She has harped around the world, claiming that she is the mother church; and poor Catholics have believed it and refused to open their ears to listen to anything else. Actually she really is the mother of all this perversion of truth, dogma and tradition. There has never been a greater lie to come out of hell, that has been preached around this world, than that the Roman Catholic Church is the original Church. The Roman Catholic Church has taken everything of truth out of the scriptures and inserted tradition in its place. (She was the woman of the parable.) The woman, symbolizes the Roman Catholic Church. In her position, she has taken certain things that are essential in making bread, and in making the bread she hid it in three measures of meal. In doing so, this points to the fact that it was the Roman Catholic Church that took out of the scriptures, saved by grace through faith, and added in its place, that there is no salvation outside of the Roman Catholic Church. I have their own writings that stipulate that. It was the apostle Paul that wrote, We are saved by grace through faith. There is nowhere in the Bible that says we are saved by the church. We have either got to be saved by the grace of God, or we are not even in the Church. It Is faith, not works, that puts us in the body of believers. The three measures of meal are the three measures of grace, justified, sanctified, glorified, and it is all by the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It is all one gospel that does it. Yet Catholicism took it and traditionalized it, and puts all of it in their confirmation. Only the Lord knows, all the many masses she has instituted, until we can right call it messes. She has a high mass, a low mass, and a no mass, but the end result of all of them is to bring you into the Catholic Church. It becomes traditionalized. That is exactly what the Catholic church is pointing to here. WE are saying this, that regardless of how small it appears in the parable, it is very large when it became a reality. We can say, from 500 A.D., until 1500 A.D., Satan had a millennium, the time when the Roman Catholic Church ruled the old world and brought the darkest era of time to the old world, that the old world had ever seen. That is the picture you have when you read that fourth parable. She brought forth a priesthood that was supposed to live a life of celibacy, but we have all heard stories about that. The pope supposedly follows the succession of St. Peter, and we all know better than that; even if Peter had ever been in Rome, the pope is still missing the mark, because St. Peter was a married man. Jesus healed Peter’s wife’s mother: Is that not what the Bible says? The Catholic Church can open its mouth about something and the deceived people of the world swoon. Let the pope go to Mexico, and they come from the mountains crawling and crying, just to see that supposed-to-be, holy man of God. It goes to show, how the devil has got people warped, twisted, distorted and deceived. To think of the lies that have been propagated by that system is enough to make you ill. No wonder so many of them live in poverty. On a hill in Mexico, is a Catholic church. From the main street below to the elevation where the church is, is a hundred and some steps. We have been in Mexico when they have some type of Catholic celebration. They come from all over Mexico by buses and cars: They sacrifice everything to get there. I have watched those poor people buy bouquets of flowers for the occasion. From the motel where we were staying, we could watch those steps of that church: Here came those poor people crawling on their hands and knees. They get to a certain level, then stop and pray the rosary. They are climbing, I forget just how many steps it was to the top, because there, they have a great halo of the virgin Mary, where she was supposed to have met this native and told him to go b baptized by this Catholic missionary. That was the beginning of the miracle of Guadalupe. What a tradition. IT is sad, how societies have been warped, and how they have been stooped in poverty. The Catholic Church, five hundred years ago, did not care how many people were born in poverty. It sure is different now; because the bishop of Rome, the pope, wants the whole world to open their pocketbooks and help lift them out of their poverty. Millions have been swooned under that spirit, to live in poverty. In all those major cities throughout Latin America, you see a cathedral here, and a cathedral there. What a shame for societies to be stooped in ignorance and missing the grace of God. You just have to look back to this woman. (The Catholic Church) She spread her influence all over the American continent. What brought poverty to that element? It was certainly not the Reformation started by Luther: It was absolutely the rotten system of Catholicism. Now they want to tax the American people, who are living on the benefit of what the Protestant Reformation brought to the new world. Through the Reformation, God restored the revelation of His word that Catholicism had destroyed; and then He sent the Pilgrims here to embrace it and to uphold it in truth and reality. Out of that ignorance of the Dark Ages, a nation began to grow. Did not Jesus say, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these other material things will be added unto you? Wherever Catholicism has ruled, it has failed to produce anything worthwhile to the society. No man was found praying, hail Mary, help me design this, hail Mary, help me design that. Out of the western world of Protestant influence and the nations that embraced it at one time, has come the inventions of materialism. That is why Jesus said, Seek ye first the kingdom of God. Seek Him first, and He will add all these other things to you. The nation that has embraced the kingdom of God and nations that taught it, are the nations that began coming out of that darkness, superstition, and ritualism of traditions. People began to be able to breathe freely. Those priests walked the sidewalks, supposed to be celibate, yet there are no bigger whoremonger anywhere than some of them. That is the truth. If you doubt me, let me get some history and lay before you. When we were involved in the Mexican war and our troops went to Mexico city, they were showing Catholic churches, and out of one church came some nuns leading little children. When the American authorities asked, What is the meaning of this? They were told, that at certain Mexican outlaw came in and raped those nuns. That is a lie. In 1957, when we went to Cuba, I went with my interpreter to a barber shop: He wanted to get a hair cut. We were sitting there, and I couldn’t speak Spanish, but two or three Cuban men came in and sat down and started talking to the interpreter. They asked him what belief we were of. He told them we were not from any denomination. One man said, If you were Catholic, I wouldn’t even come to hear you. That man, through the interpreter, told how years ago, near Santa Clara Cuba, on the southern coastline, some authorities went into a big Catholic cathedral; and when they made their way to the basement area, they found a secret passageway. When they went in there, they found little skeletons of tiny babies that had been discarded, with quick lime poured on them. Those Cuban officials knew that. All of this world, wherever that Catholic spirit has gone, there are traces of this kind of thing. They are the footprints of this woman Jesus mentioned here. History shows it to be true. Conditions also testify of it. Yet politicians just look at you with a stare, because they are a powerful system, with much influence. Sure they are. The devil is behind every bit of it. There is no salvation in it. That is why there had to be a Reformation: There had to be a way of escape from that power over people. That woman instituted rituals in place of justification, sanctification, and baptism of the Holy Ghost. That is how leaven got mixed into the three measures of meal. From the very beginning, when a little baby is born into a Catholic family, they will sprinkle water on its forehead, and that is how they baptize it in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. When he is old enough they will give him a wager. Mom will usually leave him at home until he is about twelve years old, because they don’t want to hear any crying in the Catholic church. I have to say, Bring the babies, let them grow up in here, don’t let them grow up out there. When you let them grow up in here, this becomes a part of their life. They still have to have their own personal experience with the Lord, bu tat least they have been taught and influenced properly. By the time those Catholic children reach an age that they are ready to confirm them, the little fellows usually have so much of the devil in them, it is hard to get them into the church to have them confirmed. That confirmation process is another ritual. They learn the catechism. Repeat this and repeat that. After they have gone through all the rituals and ceremonies, now they are full fledged Roman Catholics. When you see thousands, even millions of people stooped in such ignorance, you wonder how the Spirit of God could ever get through to any of them, but ever now and then there is one that begins to realize there is something more than what they have been getting: They begin to hunger. When they begin to come out and hear something, it gets hold of their heart and a smile comes across their face. They begin to say, Thank God, I have found truth, I see light for the first time. That is what it is all about. I hope you understand what the parables are illustrating. Each one portrays a condition that was to be found at some point in the dispensation of grace.