I want to title this message “The Body of Christ.” There are a lot of things being propagated today about the body of Christ, which is the Church, the Bride, this and that, so I want us to take a scriptural look at what the body of Christ really is. It makes you wonder sometimes, what people think the body of Christ is and what they think it should be like. Well I ask you, How do we identify it? What does it look like? Is there something particular about it that stands out? The world is full of religion, thousands of people professing to know Jesus, but when you hear the things they talk about, and see the things they do, and the things they perpetrate, it would make you wonder, Do they think Jesus is the author of such confusion? It seems as though everybody has his own picture of what Christianity is. That is why I am going to do my best to try to convey to you what I feel God has laid upon my heart. I was talking to my wife the other morning and said, Years ago, we did not know we would be passing through all the things we have seen and had to deal with, especially the ridiculing from different people claiming to know the Lord. However I said, If it takes this to prepare you and me, to make us want to do the things that please God, it has been worth it all. I am going to read to you a familiar text to start this message. When the apostle Paul wrote this to the Ephesian Church, he already had a vision, or we could say, a picture of what the body looked like when it was observed in the apostolic age. This is a day of all kinds of churches and beliefs; and every one of them have a little truth, but very little revelation. There are many preachers preaching different supposed-to-be revelations. I do not try to just simply run anyone down, but we cannot help but notice what they preach that is contrary to the revelation God so gracious to entrusted to us. I will ask you to open your Bible to Ephesians 4, at this time. The apostle Paul wrote this epistle to the Ephesian congregation; and in two years time he was dead. We will start reading in Verse 4, “There is one body, and one Spirit, (We live in this age of many churches, many denominations, many organizations, all preaching different versions of what is supposed to be truth from the Bible. Well Saints, it is as the apostle Paul said, There is one body, not many bodies. What was he talking about? He was actually talking about the blood bought, true body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the true Church. Just as he said, We are all of one Spirit, and that is not the spirit of man: it is the Spirit of God, because it takes the Spirit of God to bring us under conviction, and that conviction is to draw us to a saving knowledge of the grace of God, which in turn places us into the plan whereby our lives can become a part of this body he is talking about.) even as ye are called in one hope of your calling. (The end of that is eternal life.) One Lord, (which means Master, that is the Lord Jesus) one faith, (not ten, not a dozen, one true revelated faith) one baptism, (This is talking about the baptism of the Holy Ghost.) One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” God gives you and me just exactly what we individuals need, in order that we partake of this Holy Spirit promise. He does not give you more than you need, and He does not give you a short measure of what you need: He gives you exactly what you need, because He already knows your potential, or your ability. “Wherefore He saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, (What did Paul mean by that? He first went down into hell and released all those righteous spirits that had been held there in the place called hell; and they were there from all the time from the death of Abel right up to the very hour that Jesus died and descended into hell to release them. He took them out of there and they are no longer captives held in the paradise part of hell. Only the wicked are left in hell now.) and gave gifts unto men.” The Holy Spirit was sent back on the day of Pentecost, first to those assembled in the upper room, to distribute some of the things of God among the living saints which were the beginning of what would be the body of Christ on earth. “Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?” I realize Adventists, Christian Science, Jehovah Witness and others do not go this far with their teaching, but regardless of whether they do or do not, there is a place that you go when your life in this body departs in death, and if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, then there is only one place you can go and that is down into the bowels of hell. They will argue that, in the grave the dead know nothing. Well that is true, but do not forget that the soul never dies. The soul lives on somewhere. Death is only the separating of the spirit and life and soul from the body it has dwelt in. If you do know the Lord and you have prepared and made yourself ready for eternity, then when the time comes that you leave this body in death, it is true, the body goes into the ground and it does not know anything, but that is not the end of the story. In the first place, knowledge is not brought about by the atoms of the body we dwell in: Knowledge only pertains to the spirit and the soul of the life that is in that body. “He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things. And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting (the uniting, the spiritual enlightenment and growth) of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying (the building up) of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, (Unity means full agreement, we no longer observe our independent ideas, like, Well you know, I find it hard to believe like that. Saints: when God begins to impart to you and me, His Spirit, there is one thing that God will require of you and me, and that is for us to submit our will and our thinking to Him. It does not matter what we may think we know, or what we think we understand, if in the eyes of God it is not what God would have us to understand or to know, sooner or later He will deal with us to the point where we are willing to throw this old pet idea out, and pick up this which the Holy Spirit is ready to teach us; and it will be something He puts in our memory that is beneficial to our life.) and of the knowledge of the Son of God.” I believe I will stop reading right there for now. These scriptures, especially Ephesians, give us what the apostle Paul had learned by listening to the Spirit of God, after discarding his previous ideas and teachings on what God wanted from mortal men. He came to know exactly what Christian living was like, and could write these epistles and leave them for us to know what God requires of us, because God does not change His mind every so many years, like many supposed-to-be spiritual leaders do. What He required two thousand years ago, He still requires of all who would live a Spirit filled life in Christ Jesus today.
When I go to the Colossian letter and the Philippians, and the different other epistles that we will read later, as we make an effort to describe this body that Christ is putting together, it causes me to thank God for looking at my heart instead of my words before I came to know the truth He has led me into. Sitting here this morning are many that have come from different walks of life, religious wise. God dealt with us right from the raw life of sin we were walking in. Even then, we might not have professed to have been much of any particular belief, because we just sort of leaned toward what we had been exposed to in growing up. As I look back through the years of my life, when God first saved me, I was in the Methodist Church, because that is where I was brought up as a child. I did not know any different. There was nothing in me that seemed to hunger for anything different than what they taught. I remember, after the accident I had, that God brought me through, things began to take place in my life that began to reshape my thinking. When I did begin to read the Bible after that, I read verses of scriptures that began to have a meaning to me, that before then, I knew they were there, I read them, but they did not seem to be important enough to try to find out what any particular verse meant. I can say this morning, Many times when God deals with you, you may not know at first what God is preparing you for. You may just be contented, being an average believer like so many others, but along the way, if there is something that is important and God knows before the end what He purposes to deal with you in, He is sure going to begin to set before you, opportunities that you might not understand at first. You will find yourself many times, faced with obligations and situations, and you may wonder, What in the world is this all about? At such times, just be steady and sensitive to His inner voice, knowing that the God that created you and is dealing with you, knows exactly what He wants to do with your life. He will never show you the entire picture before you even begin to allow Him to lead you. After God did begin to deal with my life and put a hunger in my heart for His word, certain scriptures began to have a different meaning to me than I had ever thought could possibly have such a meaning. I began to read things and say to myself, Now the Methodist Church, I know they do not uphold this, such as predestination and eternal security of the true believer, but I see it in the Bible. I knew the Baptist identified themselves somewhat along this line, but did not know how far they went with it. Nevertheless, something inside me began to say, You go ahead and read these scriptures, study them and pray, because these things are going to be in your life later, something that you will be thankful to God for. That is what I did; and I will never forget those days. We had a young man as pastor in the Methodist charge there at Elizabeth: There were four churches on that charge; and he would go from one to the other on a certain predetermined basis. Well it got to the place that he and his wife wanted to go home on vacation, so he would ask me, Bro. Jackson, would you care to take the charge while I am gone? This was my beginning as a preacher. As I look back at the beginning of my Christian life, I just felt like a kid learning to walk. Nevertheless there were a lot of things in the Bible, that I began to study and seriously look into. At times I even asked myself, What are you trying to do, just be different? Needless to say, I was looking beyond what I had been taught.
HEARING BRO. BRANHAM FOR THE FIRST TIME
I will never forget what I am about to tell you, but shortly after the time when I had begun to study beyond the Methodist doctrine, I was privileged to meet Bro. William Branham and hear him preach. That night, I saw that little man come to the platform, knowing only what I had been told by Bro. Glenn, how he was not an educated man, but a man anointed of God. Even though I was sitting in the back of the building, I could not help but understand the words he was using. Something inside my heart was saying all along, The teaching of this man makes Jesus stand head and shoulders taller than any doctor of divinity I have ever seen and heard. At that time, I had seen my share of them. Before then, there was a man on the radio, Dr. Dehaun. Some of you older ones may remember him. He was in Louisville for a weekend meeting one time; and I was determined to go hear him. I wanted to see the man I had been listening to on the radio. Well, after hearing him, and hearing this little man William Marrion Branham, something seemed to stand out in my mind. There is something about this man that is going to make this Bible have a meaning I have never heard before. I began to study. The pastor of the Methodist church asked me, Bro. Jackson: Will you take the services for two week ends? My wife and I want to go home and visit our family: they were from Louisiana. I just thought, This is going to give me an opportunity to preach something. The biggest church was in Elizabeth: it was the main one. That particular Sunday morning I chose the text, “Predestination,” to preach on in that Methodist Church. I would just as well have walked into a bank with a shotgun and said, Give me everything you have. While I was preaching, I was not scared. I felt good because I thought, This is what the apostles wrote, so what do I care what the Methodists think about me preaching on it? Well, everything was quiet until the middle of the following week. Then I looked and saw the Sunday school superintendent come driving up my driveway. I thought, What in the world is he coming here for? He got out of his car, greeted me, and then got right to the point as to why he was there. He said, Bro. Jackson, we want to let you know, we appreciate you: we like your style of preaching, but you know Bro. Jackson, there are some things we Methodists do not believe we ought to indulge in. I knew then, he was going to open up a box of worms. I asked what he meant. He said, Well, when you talked on predestination, the Methodist Church does not teach this. It made me feel bad inside, like, I am just a young fellow and here he is, an older man. I thought, What am I trying to do, be a show off? Nevertheless, he just warned me and said, Bro. Jackson, be careful from now on. I just said, Alright, I thank you. He then went on his way. After that, I began to go as often as I could to hear Bro. William Branham. Every time I did, it seemed like he opened another page of something I had never thought about. It began to put a hunger and a desire for searching the Bible even more than I had been. In my heart I began to realize, God has saved me, but I don’t want to be a Methodist all my life: I want to be a child of God that He can use: I want to be a true servant of His. Whatever He lays upon my heart, I want to be able to teach it. Time passed and I began to realize more and more how restrained I was; and I finally said to myself, If I try to stay in this organized system wherein my learning is going to be handicapped, I am going to be limited in following God’s leading. There will be certain things that I will be allowed to grow in, and other things I will not be allowed to even touch. Not long after that, I began to hear Bro. William Branham talk about some things that really hit home with me, how that we are living in the day that many believers which are going to make up the true Church are going to have to get out of the systems that have them bound. When he began to come down on those things, I said to myself, That is something I like to hear. It began to give me some encouragement that really made me feel good. At that time though, I did not want to hurry up my wife with a decision, so I just waited to talk to her later. This was in the fall of 1953, in the month of September.
WHEN I RECEIVED THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST
In the fall season of 1953, we went to hear A. A. Allen preach, having heard that he was going to be in Evansville, Indiana for some meetings. I had read about him in the Voice of Healing Magazines. Back then, in the early days of his ministry, things had not gotten quite as far along as they did in his later years before he died. (I believe I told a few weeks ago, how God gave me the Holy Ghost one night when we attended a meeting in a high school auditorium; and how I lay there on that high school auditorium floor enjoying the feeling I had. I just thought, If dying is like this, then Lord, let me go on now. I felt so good, I did not want that feeling to leave me, but I did not speak in tongues at that time. All that time I was praying, Lord, if the day comes that you will let me speak in tongues, I promise you, I will never teach it as an evidence of having the Holy Spirit: I will teach it as a gift.) The night we went to that meeting in September 1953, I do not even remember what the evangelist preached on, but when they gave the altar call, (This goes right along with my testimony on how God led me.) I got in that line. When I got up within about three or four of the first one in line, (There were two lines of preachers.) before I had reached the point of walking between the two preachers a strange feeling came over me and I knew the Spirit of God had already begun to come on me. I was getting so drunk I could hardly stand up, and finally just fell to the floor. Then I heard one of the preachers say, Carry him on out. They carried me out and laid me down in straw, face down. No sooner had they laid me down, I thought, Lord, here I am. About that time something deep inside my soul began to develop and I laid there about fifteen minutes speaking in another language. The reason I am saying this, is to try to clear up your thinking on some things you may have heard taught somewhere. All the time I was speaking in this other language, I felt drunk, but I did not feel that electric current surging through me like I did that night I received the Holy Spirit. Therefore I am saying to you, There are many experiences and many manifestations, and God has His own way of dealing with every individual that submits to Him. I will not take either one and say anyone has to do this, or feel like this, in order to know they have the Holy Spirit in them. God has His way of doing things for those whom He calls to His plan of salvation, but I am just sharing with you, how He dealt with me. That was the beginning of me realizing I was going to have to make up my mind about where I stand. I believe it was the second weekend of our being down there, when on our way home my wife said to me, Honey, you know, we are going to have to get out of the Methodist Church. That is just what I was waiting for her to say. When she said that, I knew this was God’s leading but I said, Honey, don’t say anything to anybody yet, because there is a point in time that I want to deal with it. Naturally I did not realize at that time, what my wife and I would be faced with because of our decision. (I am telling these things for a reason.) Whatever God has called you for in the line of the ministry, He is going to school you for the job. He is going to bring you through some trials and tests, knocks and bangs, where you are going to prove yourself to Him and to yourself, that His grace is sufficient. He is going to give you the ability to stand and uphold something you know is right. All the time we were sitting there at the Tabernacle, listening to Bro. William Branham, we just felt like, Well we are out of the Methodist Church now: we are where people love you: where people like you. That caused us to feel at ease. Little did I realize what was ahead. On one Saturday night, shortly after I had received that experience of speaking in tongues, the Lord gave me a dream. I saw myself sitting in the Branham Tabernacle; and at the end of the service when Bro. William Branham had stopped preaching, I heard myself give a message in tongues. Somewhere up in the front, I heard a sister stand up and give the interpretation. Little did I realize what that would lead to. The next morning we went to the service and that very thing actually happened. The very fact that I had spoken a message in tongues, woke up some of those old dead Methodists that had been going there for years, and did not believe in it. That is where some of the pressure began to come from. They would throw their remarks out there, like, We don’t want that holy roller religion, this and that. Well the more they would talk like that, the more I was determined not to let it shut me down. I just felt like, You don’t tie my shoes and you don’t butter my bread, so you are not going to tell me what I can do and what I cannot do. I took their remarks, but from that time on, I knew I would do what God wanted me to do. One morning later on, Bro. Neville preached; and when he had ended his sermon, that particular sister stood up and gave a message in tongues and continued on by interpreting it. While she was giving the interpretation, three outstanding, long haired women got up and walked out, and said these words as they walked out, We don’t believe in this! I happen to know all three of those women. That let me know right then, that there were two kinds of people in that sense that followed Bro. William Branham. There was one kind, that saw and heard and were amazed at the signs they saw manifested in his life and ministry, but they did not want any of this other stuff (as they called it). Then there were others that did want all God had to offer. Nevertheless as I continue on talking like this let me say to you, None of that made me realize what was in the future for me. I never even thought about it. As we came on through the years to 1955, that is when God dealt with me to start the church. I said to myself, Lord, you have spoken to me, It is time to start the church, but Lord, I am not going to start this church to be competitive against the Tabernacle. That was against my feelings and Bro. William Branham knew it. As I look back, all of that was God beginning to deal with me in life to show me something. Young people, let me say this, I hope you never have to come to the point that you have to face some of the things my wife and I did, but Satan is still doing his utmost trying to deceive and certainly to abuse all who believe the truth of God’s word. You may think, that just because you now live in a world that is upside down, this is the reason your trials are heavy and hard to bear. No. That is not right: Satan has always been busy at what he does. I will give you an example of his tactics.
ANOTHER PERSONAL TESTIMONY
I am going to tell this, only to show what God allows in our lives at times, especially when He is preparing us for a particular purpose in life. We met a young man in the Branham Tabernacle in 1953: His name was Ben Bryant. His name has gone everywhere since then. Before he ever came to know the Lord, he was a drunk. He told me, that many times he would come home drunk and break dishes and just literally tear up the house. His wife would never say a thing about it, but somewhere, somehow he got under conviction and decided he was going to give his heart to the Lord. That made his wife angry and she kicked him out of their home. He had no bed to sleep in and nowhere to go. My wife and I felt so sorry for him, knowing that. Here we were, just young people ourselves when we started attending services at the Tabernacle, but Seeing him in that predicament, caused us many times to opened our home to him. He slept in our beds, he ate at our table, my wife washed his clothes and ironed his shirts. We did everything we knew to do, trying to be as we believed Christian people should be, trying to help and encourage him. I cannot even tell you how many times we hauled him to different places he needed to go. We just thought it was the right thing to do. Finally, in the later part of 1955 when we started the church, he started with us, but then decided to go to California, so to California he went. After some time he came back into this area, but then really went on a trip, so to speak. To him Bro. William Branham was this, Bro. William Branham was that, everything Bro. William Branham said was the absolute, no matter what the circumstances were. I will never forget the time when church order was put into effect at the tabernacle, and I did not accept it as a scriptural thing every assembly had to follow up with: that man began to do everything he could possibly do to run us down. After being good to him in our early years of knowing him, giving him a bed to sleep in, and food at our table, and even washing his clothes, he expected us to just tag along after him like a dog does his master, believing like he believed, or we were considered nothing. These are some of the things you begin to have thrown at you; and God allows it to be like that. Why, you might say? God uses this type of thing to mold us many times. He has never promised us that life would always be smooth sailing. No, just the opposite. Let us read a verse from (1 Peter 4:12) “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.” You can read more there, but that is all I will read at this time. Little did I realize, what God was doing in my life. All I wanted to do was be a faithful Christian, just sit down somewhere and live my life the way a Christian should and leave everybody else alone. I will say this, If God has called you to be a servant, He is not going to tell you five years in advance, what you are going to be. He is going to lead you, and you are going to be tried and tested, and you are going to be hit with something from every side. You are going to prove one way or the other that you can take it, because if you cannot, then you are a poor example of what God wants you to be for the benefit of others. Well we started the church. It was always the same families, the same little children and all. I used to call it the faithful dozen, the same twelve. Nevertheless through those years, I met many people from many different states at the Tabernacle. I met families I learned to love, from Missouri, from out in Arkansas and so forth. They also loved Bro. William Branham. We traveled to be in Bro. William Branhams meetings in many places. We were in meetings when he was in Hot Springs Arkansas. Certain families that God dealt with, we were privileged to meet back then and we liked them. Then, because we lived close to the Tabernacle, when they would come into this area to go to the Tabernacle for Bro. William Branham’s meetings, our little home became like a motel. Here they were. They would come in, two car loads at a time to stay all night on Saturday night, eat supper with us, eat breakfast with us, then go to the Tabernacle. One night, we had twenty seven people sleeping in our home, in beds and on the floor. At that time we had chickens, and also butchered our own beef cattle, so we had enough in the deep freezer that we were able to prepare a meal for those who came our way. My point is, As time came on and church order was made, we became as nothing in the eyes of many, because I would not put church order in our assembly. We were the kind, that to them, did not believe the message, because (according to them) we did not go all the way. I tell you brothers and sisters, That made our heart’s feel bad many times, seeing how those people could come to our home, ane we were good to all of them, giving them food and a place to sleep, trying to make life as comfortable as possible for them, only to find that they were ready to crucify us because we did not follow what they looked upon as for everyone. Your image does not mean one thing to them, if your convictions are different then theirs. All of this works together in the process of God making you something He can trust. In 1965,after I had the horse dream and was able to tell it to Bro. William Branham, we had occasions of being called to other places to preach. I received a telephone call from a man in North Carolina, asking me to come and preach. (We have a family here now, Bro. & Sis. Punch and children, that were going to that church back then. They are sitting back there in our congregation right now. They know what I am talking about, when I tell what their former pastor was like.) I had never met a man like him before, the pastor of that church. He was a Greek, and was not long in telling you about it. He was one of those kind, if he thought you ought to be dancing, he came in and yelled and screamed until he got what he wanted. When he got finished with that, you felt like he had skinned you alive. I learned during the months I was privileged to go down there and minister, that his idea of a Holy Ghost meeting, was that everyone was on the floor, dancing, yelling and screaming. When you see things like that, you cannot help but wonder, How much of this is really inspired of God? Nevertheless something told me, Don’t touch it: just leave it alone and the truth will come out after a while. It went on like that until 1968. The pastor of that congregation, became influenced by an evangelist from the Voice of Healing, a man that had been delivered from alcohol. However all through the years, he had always had a weakness of wanting to drink a little wine. He got hold of the pastor of this church, trying to influence him along those lines, like, You know a little wine won’t hurt anybody. Well to cut the story short I will just say, When he had succeeded in getting that pastor persuaded along those lines, that pastor later on, went along with we brothers who went to Israel; and when we got back, something had set in among that congregation. Not long after that, I realized I had to make my departure from among them. When I did, that church began to head in another direction. For better than two years then, he had that congregation, and God had given him a good congregation, so he had went in debt and built a large building, and finally a big house for himself. Then all of a sudden, God just began to lift His hand from among them and everything went downhill. The man in a state of drunkenness one time, shot his wife; and somehow got her to come to his defense by testifying that it was an accident. All of that was the beginning of a gradual decay. The man wound up losing everything. Why am I saying this? There are some people that would look at you, if you are not leaping and shouting and dancing all the time, and say, You don’t have anything. I will say to anyone who hears this, Don’t ever stand in front of me and tell me that. If you do, I will plainly tell you what you are, just a smart aleck. I have seen too much of that, not to know anything about what is right and what is wrong. God does not call that kind of man to be an example of the truth. How many heard what I said? Regardless of who you are, you have no scriptural authority to speak such things. I like to see joy in the lives of believers; and I like to see it expressed, but there is a God ordained way to do that. True joy does not have to mimic something someone else is doing. I like to see it expressed by people who know what they are doing and know why they are doing it. When you start running down the aisle, looking at somebody else and pointing the finger, and saying, Why are you not doing this? I say to you, Don’t do that. That is God’s business. There can be fifty in here, dancing and running the aisles, and others just sitting somewhere crying. People have different ways of expressing joy and freedom of the Spirit of God. All of that is God’s business. If we are part of God’s family, then keep your two cents out of what others are doing or not doing. You don’t need company to do what you are supposed to do. You just go do it and then sit down. I am saying these things because you are going to see the day when God will absolutely set some people down and they may never run again, simply because their mind is missing something in the first place. In all the times that we were privileged to go to different places, I never realized, or it never came to my mind to ask, What is God doing with me? He was just giving me an opportunity to peach, I thought. Well when 1969 came and things began to blow up in that church down there, Homer Brown came here and felt led to start printing the Contender for us, because at that time, in my heart I knew there were a few things I felt like I knew, that I wanted to share with my brothers and sisters away from here. I had thought, I would like to have this in print and get it out there to whoever God might take it to. Beyond that, I had no particular plans. We started our first publication in 1969; and at that time I did not feel that it would last any more than maybe two years. Well two years came, then three years, four years, five years, it was still going. Then finally he felt led to leave and go south at the beginning of 1977. That made me feel like I was pushed into a corner. Bro. Turner, God bless his heart, had worked for a printing firm over in Louisville, so I asked him, Bro. Turner, would you care to take the messages and start editing them. He said, Bro. Jackson, I will do the best I can. That was in 1977. From 1977 until now the Contender has gone around this world into many different nations. If you could read some of the letters I get from some of the people over seas, you would read, Bro. Jackson, this Contender has come into our area at a time when nothing but confusion was going on among the Branham message people. The Contender has taught us something, because it has given us a stability, so that we can now see what the message of the hour really is. I have said, Lord, I thank you for the opportunity to help your chosen people. What a privilege!
HOW QUOTES MAKE ME FEEL
Brothers and sisters, we have gone to Missouri, we have gone to Arkansas, Oklahoma and other places; and yet some of the same people that begged me to come and preach, soon began to lean back toward the quotes of what Bro. William Branham preached. Little by little, they would begin to go after quotes and I would hear, But the prophet said, but the prophet said, but the prophet said, until it just made me wonder, What good am I doing? Why am I doing it? Why am I saying this? I despise the way they want to come at you with quotes, quotes, quotes, having no revelation whatsoever of what they are quoting. I have said many times, Lord, I would rather just sit down right now, just knowing what I believe, than to be faced with those quotes on every hand. I would say, Lord, I don’t have to preach. I just want to live for you. I did not even realize years ago, what it would take to get me where God wanted me. He did not give me any clue ahead of time: He just enabled me to deal with whatever Satan hurled at me. I want to say, because I did not even realize when I started this message, that I would get started like this, but my point is, If God has called you to be something, He is going to mold you, He is going to bring you through the heat and ridicule of your adversaries; and He is going to let your image be hit, kicked, talked about, and ridiculed, until there will be times you will feel like you want to go and hide somewhere. Deep down inside though, He puts something there that keeps you stable in every storm of life. The more stable you become, the more firm you become in what you believe and why you believe it. When I look back, I can visualize the certain articles or subjects that God began to deal with me in. “The Testing and Fall of Satan,” was one of them; and that did not come out of the Branham movement. You everyone know it did not. Without me asking, down through the years certain things just began to come to my mind. I remember one question that came to Bro. William Branham, which was, What or who is the Woman of Revelation 12? His answer was, That is the Bride, crowned with the gospel of the twelve apostles. Then a little later on he would say, That is Israel, fleeing for her life. I thought, It certainly cannot be both, because first of all the Bride does not have to flee: the Bride is raptured, but Israel does have to flee. That thought stayed with me and kept me pondering the difference as time passed.
A DREAM, CONCERNING REVELATION CHAPTER 12
I had the woman of Revelation 12, on my mind a lot during those days back then, so one night I saw myself in a dream, sitting in the Tabernacle. I know there are people that would say, This is spiritualism, but I will be quick to tell you, It is not spiritualism. Bro. William Branham is dead; and I know I am not communicating with him as some might think. Nevertheless that was the only thing I ever heard him talk about, concerning those two scriptures. As I saw myself in that dream, sitting there in the Tabernacle, we were all just waiting. I thought, What are we going to hear? It seemed like my wife and I were sitting about three rows back. I heard some fluttering outside and looked through the window to the left. There was a little tree out there; and in that fluttering sound, I saw twelve robins landing in that tree. I counted them, exactly twelve. Then I heard a fluttering to the right and I looked out the window to the right. There, I saw another little tree. I suddenly saw twelve robins come and land in that tree. Then Bro. William Branham came out of the prayer room and came to the platform as was his custom. He said, I feel led this morning, to preach to you on the 12th chapter of Daniel and the 12th chapter of Revelation. That gave me the answer I needed. I read those scriptures with a fresh understanding, so we printed a message in the Contender, dealing with the “Mystery Woman of Revelation 12.” When God calls a man to be something for the sake of His church, He is going to let that man go for a long time before he ever realizes what is going on. Then, little by little, after awhile, you will begin to see certain things take shape. After awhile you can begin to see you are heading down a road and it is a road you have never traveled before. I began to say, Lord, I can’t go back now. In every one of those early Contenders we printed, we printed a message that God had dealt with me on. I bow my head and my heart and say, Lord, it was not I that did it, it was You, because you put it in my heart. Why am I talking like this? Because this body will have to have a head. In the Colossian letter, the apostle Paul is speaking to the Colossian Church, about how Christ is the image of the invisible God. Naturally that is not pointing to a fleshly man, because the invisible God does not have a fleshly form of a man. He is invisible, because He is Spirit. Therefore the scripture that speaks of Christ Jesus being the image of the invisible God, first of all pertains to the Spirit being, and then points us to what the great Creator is like. What Jesus did on earth, displayed what the Father (SPIRIT) that dwelt in Him was doing. Jesus said, in the 8th chapter of John, verses 26-28, “I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him. (27) They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. (Which was that sovereign Spirit that dwelt in Him). (28) Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” Yes brothers and sisters, He (Jesus, the Christ) is the very image of His Father, speaking of the inner man, the spirit man of the outer man they were looking at. He is the outer expression, the visible expression of the Father (God) that had incarnated Him. All that was in Christ, when you begin to read that, you can begin to see why Jesus would say, He that hath seen me, has seen the Father. The key there, is that you are not looking at the facial features of Jesus when you see the Father, because, when you see by the Spirit who Jesus really is, you can see the Father the same way, through eyes of faith and belief, based upon the testimony of Jesus the Christ, in whom the Father dwelt. You do not look at His facial features, nor how He combed His hair, you see Him through the way He fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets. It is what He said, and what He did, and the affect He had on people who came into contact with Him, that causes you to see by the Spirit who He is, and in the same way, you see the Father, because, by His own testimony, He only did and said what the Father dwelling in Him gave Him. That is why He said, The words that I speak to you, they are not mine, but His that sent me. Paul speaks in the Colossian letter, that the Church that Christ is the head of, is His body. Col 1:18 “And He is the head of the body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. (19) For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell.” All the attributes of the sovereign Creator were in Jesus after the incarnation, there at the River of Jordan where John the Baptist baptized Him. How true that is, but then Paul turns right around in another scripture and says, As Christ received the fulness of the Father, we then have received the fulness of God. (Eph 3:17) “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; (19) And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” For what purpose? To do what? Is it so you can run all over creation and indulge in every game, trying to be something? No. Somewhere along the line the Lord is going to sit us down and begin to teach us what He wants each of us to be like. Our preconceived opinions will be useless. We will either learn to be led and taught by the Holy Spirit, or we will find ourselves separated from those who are.
WHAT IS GOD REALLY AFTER, CONCERNING HIS TRUE CHURCH?
As I stand here today and say these things to you, please try to understand that I love my brothers and sisters in the Lord, but the time is coming, when we will no longer sit together having a multiple of ideas about the things that are revealed by the Spirit of God. Some people will say, Well I just don’t think that is quite right. Brothers and sisters, out here in the natural world, when you go to school to get an education in the basics, you do not start out knowing everything and sit there in class disagreeing with the teachers. By the time you come through eight grades of school, regardless of whether you went to school in Indiana, Colorado, California, or where, you all come out believing basically the same, do you not? That is the basics of natural learning. Well then, what is wrong when it comes to spiritual things, that we cannot come to the same conclusion about them. The Bible is God’s text book. It is not a book composed of many stories, having different meanings and different pictures of things, leaving us to believe just anything we want to believe, like, he sees that, I see this, he sees this, and she sees that. No that is not how God teaches His true children: He teaches them, or us, to all believe the same, because the true Church that is redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, is to be a body in total unity concerning the word of God. When you observe organized religion, there are certain things in the Bible they specialize in, and all the rest (to them) is just there taking up space. In other words, it is unimportant to them. The reason I am talking this way, is because for thirty nine years, ever since the death of Bro. William Branham, only God Himself knows the number of men that have taken his message, as is written in his sermon books, and have memorized it and gone around this world specializing in certain types of revelations, always capitalizing on the fact of whether their audiences believe the prophet or not. They may say, Do you believe the word of God, but what they mean, is, Do you believe what the prophet said? All such as that, is how they spread what they refer to as, “The Message.” They specialize in that kind of thing, but most of them would not recognize a true revelation given by the Spirit of God if they stumbled into it. Regardless of what words they use, somewhere along the line, they will leave you with the idea that there are certain things they specialize in. I received an e-mail the other day, that let me know this fellow had read one of our last Contenders. He came on very sharply. I read his message, but I will not respond to it. I had made mention about the seven thunders going to be seven men. Well he comes on very bold, The seven thunders have already been sounded: the prophet said so. Then he tried to tell me a certain page, and such and such, where the prophet had said, one day we will find where it is written. Well they have had thirty nine years to find where it is written, and I have not heard any thunders yet, have you? I want to say this as kindly as possible, The seven thunders of Revelation 10, have not been sounded yet, regardless of what anyone may say. They will not be sounded to those who know nothing but quotes, quotes, quotes from Brother Branham’s messages. They are going to be sounded by a group of men that God has separated from the rat race of worldly systems, and certainly from the systems of religion, and separated them from those who are so proud of what they think they know. God will school them, and put in them an understanding of how to teach the truth of His revealed word. I will say this, Whenever those seven thunders do begin to reveal that which is not written in the Bible, it is not going to come to every Tom, Dick and Harry that claim to be a bride saint. Let me say this, and please try to remember how I say it. You may sit in here now and say, I don’t believe everything Jackson says. That is alright, because I am not called of God to force anyone to believe what I preach. I want to tell you what I am looking at though. I am looking at the day when there will be a body of people sitting here, that are going to know why they are sitting here. They are going to be thankful they are sitting here. They are going to be grateful that God led them here. They are going to be thankful to God that He has taught them something they did not get from systems of religion they have come out of. Furthermore they are all going to say, I believe the same thing. They are not going to be argumentative. There is going to be a willingness in their heart to say, I see it now, and I thank God for the truth. Now if the body is to have a head, Paul said in Colossians, and Christ being the head, let me ask you, If you have never seen Jesus in a vision, if you have never seen Him in a dream, do you really know what He looks like physically? No. You can have your own idea, but that is no proof that you saw Him. You just imagine He looks like such and such. We know that He is the head of this mystical body of believers; and we also know people have not seen Jesus in the natural headship. They have got to see Him through a ministry; and here is where I want to stop this part for now.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Back in the days when Bro. William Branham was alive, some deified him, some worshiped him. Others said he was the prophet; and they wanted to go wherever he went. They thought he had it all. Up until that time, there was a message, and he was the only one that was going to be anointed of God to bring it to the people, but for people to take that and put a period to it and treat it like there is nothing else, I have to say, They have let the devil blind them. I want to say this morning, The real headship of Jesus is going to be manifested through a living body of men. They are not going to be men that are different one from the other. Since the death of Bro. William Branham, I could name man after man that has gone all over the world teaching the things they specialize in, the things they capitalize on. You could tell by the way they were presenting it that they believed they have seen this and they have the one and only message of the hour. We have printed the Contender for thirty some years. I have never tried to print anything to want to make people believe we are the only ones. On the other hand, I can see now, that God knew all along what He was using us for. First, I was a living testimony and witness of the life and ministry of Bro. William Branham. How many others came floating through here, far better off than I am as far as monetary-wise, but as I look back, I say, Thank you Lord. You took me when I did not have anything and schooled me, you have taught me, you have let me experience some understanding of scriptures that I never thought would stand out like they do now. I want to say this morning, When somebody says, Well the Contender is the absolute, do you know what I say to that? Somebody is starting to play dangeriously, because Jackson is not the absolute. I have never smoked, I have never drank alcohol in any form whatsoever, I have never run around on my wife, and I have always paid my bills, I have never told a lie on anybody: I don’t need to. I have tried my best to present the truth as God revealed it to me. I know I am getting older, but I have to tell you, I never said one thing twenty years ago, that I need to go back and change twenty years later. How many know what I am saying? The apostle Paul never changed anything; and neither do I plan to. These terminologies that people get caught up in today, are just a hair’s breadth short of disaster. If that man is living something that is Christ like, then why in the name of common sense are we trying to destroy it. I was talking to a man last night, that had heard me talk about the poor lady in Bloomington, how that she has said that I was going to die, and so on. You know, I don’t know why people get carried away with such behavior. Bro. Smith sitting back there, was telling me a few weeks ago, about two sisters that were sitting behind them. They were reading some prophecies that had been given by that same woman. One of them said, It goes something like this, Yea, I say to you, That Jackson will see the light and he will come this way. Saints: Please, if God puts you out among His body of believers as a mouth piece, you do not go around announcing that Jackson is going to die, then turn right around and prophesy that the man is going to have a revelation to your liking. How many understood what I said? You just don’t get by forever, doing things like that. Christianity is coming down to the nitty gritty, and there are still people playing with something they ought not to be playing with. I will say to you, There will, in God’s time, be men, humble men, not rich men, not highly educated men, but men that live honest and upright, and they will have a picture in their soul of what that word of God says. They will know how to defend it, and they are ready to let their lives be abused if need be, talked about, ridiculed and dragged from here to there in order to be made into instruments God can trust and use as part of that headship among the true body of Christ. Keep in mind, If you are the mystical body of Christ, there is of necessity a mystical head. Did you everyone hear what I said? It is not Dr. Dehaun nor anyone else of that category: It is just brethren that God has chosen for this hour of time. He has educated them a special way, but while they are learning, they are kicked around and talked about, and at times their name will be abused. Those that hate you will drag you through every mud hole they can, and do everything they can trying to destroy you. All the time that is going on, God is picking you up and spraying you with clean water because you are going to stand in the face of all opposition and you are going to uphold a truth to people that can see it and understand it and know how to believe it. Last night I talked with a man that called me on the telephone. He said, Bro. Jackson, I have been in the car with a certain individual, and traveled several miles with that person. You became the object of conversation, that one day you were going to die, leaving the impression that people will not have anything to look at then. Brothers and sisters, I am sorry, I do not want to bring reproach upon anyone, but neither do I want to stand before my Savior one day and hear Him say, Sorry, you did not do it right. I want to be able to stand before my Savior with all the people I have had an opportunity to preach to and pray for; and hear His voice say, Well done, thou good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Some of us are going to wind up being in the Bride of Christ; and some others are not, so let us be sure we know what we are looking at and why we are looking at it. You are going to be tried, and you are going to be criticized, but all things work together for good, to them that love God, who are called according to His purpose. I would never ask anyone to take a Contender and say it is the same as the Bible. On the other hand, when you read it, you read the verses we use as a text, and then tell me what you have read. I appreciate the word of God, but I have never wanted the Contender to take the place of the Bible in anyone’s life. If the Contender can help somebody know what this means and what it does not mean, when denominationalism has danced all around it, then I have to say, Lord, I am thankful this morning for the way you have led me in life; and for the brothers and sisters you have let me have an opportunity to meet. I am eighty years old, but I have never run around on my little wife. She is still just as sweet to me today as the day I first met her. I pray, God help us to live a simple life, that our lives will not bring reproach upon the life of Christ. I am not a doctor of divinity and have no desire to be, I just want to be a brother among the brothers. Please do not tell me though, that I have no right to know who is doing the right thing and who is doing the wrong thing, because I will touch it. Sooner or later, the man of God is required to touch that which is wrong, not for his sake but for the sake of others that may be influenced by them. God requires that. I do not know right now, how far I will go with this message we have titled, “ The Body of Christ.” I realize I started out this morning, a long way back in life, but as I look back now, I have had to come a long way and I have learned a lot of things in life, lessons that can help others. I say to the young people, please don’t think that some of the things I say is to try to rob you of any experience or what you feel you have already learned. Many times, I have heard people say, Well God is going to use the young people. What is He going to do? Do you mean it is going to take young people to put the Church together? Then you had better read the Bible again; and read it very carefully. I do not remember whether I said this last Sunday or not, but back at the turn of the century an American missionary went to India. There used to be a magazine published years ago, I believe it was called, “Herald of Faith.” They published an article in it, about this missionary that went to India, and the congregation was mainly made up of children and young people. The Holy Spirit began to fall upon them. Every time they came together, a lot of them were lying on the floor, out in the Spirit, seeing angels and other visions. This went on for weeks. As I read that, I thought, This is wonderful, to think a young child could have a vision. In the Spirit they see angels, they see the spirit world and have wonderful experiences, but you know, when it was all over and they grew to adulthood, there was never a follow up that I know of, to say whether they were influential in winning many people to Christ or not. Keep in mind saints, that every disciple that followed Jesus, learned a few things because of what Jesus said. When God began to deal with Paul, it went against the grain for him to be knocked off his horse or camel, (whichever it was) on the road to Damascus to arrest Christians, and to have the Lord speak to him like He did. Nevertheless when you read his testimony later, he first had to go to Arabia where he spent three years, probably somewhere in a cave, praying searching the word of God. I do not believe he was just somewhere twiddling his thumbs. There, alone with God is where he got his revelation, and got settled on what God had really called him to do. So young people, try to listen carefully to what I am saying and why I am saying it, because I do not want to see anyone lose out with God because of not understanding what the word of God makes so plain to us. Believe me saints, through the years of my life, I have seen many people come confessing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but I have to ask, Where are most of them today? What happened to them? We ought to be thankful to God for everything He has given us opportunity to learn. We are a very blessed people.
FULFILLING GOD’S PURPOSE
For tonight’s message, I want to turn to the 3rd chapter of Philippians. I realize I made remarks this morning, about something that was said about the Contender being the absolute, and I said, Jackson is not the absolute. Brothers and sisters, never in all these years, have I ever preached and said, Make the Contender your absolute. I have never thought anything like that, and I have never said anything like that. May God have mercy on you, if any of you ever say that. God made the Contender publication possible, but it was never intended to replace the Bible in anyone’s life. That Contender, in my mind, was God’s means of allowing me to try to show you how to get back into the Bible, because it is God’s word; and multitudes have strayed from it, taking hold of some man’s teaching to replace it. None of the subjects we have printed through the years are minus scriptures. We have used scriptures for the foundation of every one of them. Brothers and sisters, let me say this tonight, I pray that God will help me through this message, simply because so many people ask so many questions about the Body of Christ, What is it? What is it to look like? Who is it made up of? Is it all young people? Are there no old people in it? How is it supposed to function? How do we envision it? I want to say tonight, and may God help me say it right, We each one need to learn how to live the life of Christ, that people can see in us the life of Christ duplicated. It is not that we learn everything in one day’s time, but as we are willing to allow the Spirit of God to lead and motivate us, He will teach us as we go along the way of life, how we can yield ourselves to Him through the knowledge and revelation of truth. Then the life we do live, we will endeavor to live it for Christ, that Christ can be seen in us. This is the day in the modern religious world, there are all kinds of preachers, and many are just glory seekers. I am not standing here today, to run them down: their deeds will eventually do that. I have to say though, There are multitudes of people following this type of ministry, and the truth of the matter is this, While you are in this life, you are going to follow something, or someone. You will either follow Daniel Boone, Wyatt Earp, Jesse James, or you will follow somebody with a spiritual image that your life has been touched by. It ought to be Jesus Christ. In Philippians 3, I am going to read from the 15th verse down. The apostle Paul is writing this. He said, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, (That means, up to that point of time, they have done everything they know to bring their life in line with the scriptures.) be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, (whatever we have already gained, learned, how to apply it, how to live it, how to cause it to shine and reflect forth from us) let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. (I like this 17th verse, the apostle Paul speaking) Brethren, be followers together of me.” Notice what he said. He was a mortal man just like you and me, but right here he said, Be ye followers of me. What did he mean by that? Is he really saying we have to comb our hair like he did? Is he saying we have to walk in the same measure of step that he did? That is not what he is talking about at all. Remember, Paul came to those people preaching Jesus Christ. It is in his earnest desire to see Christ duplicated in their lives. Now I ask you, Was it wrong for him to say, Be ye followers of me? Well bless God, I am not going to follow anybody, some will say. I must say to everyone of you, Brothers and Sisters, let us not be guilty of making that kind of statement. You will everyone wind up following somebody, or you will wind up following nothing; and eventually wind up following something in the world. We human beings are strange characters. When I was a little boy growing up, I always liked to read a lot of stories about Daniel Boone, and those kind of pioneers. It was interesting to read the little historical novels you could buy for a dime back then. I liked reading them because I saw in those men, how they braved a lot of hardships, but they did it for other people’s sake. None of those men braved these hardships just for themselves alone. You usually find out he was doing it that other people might be able to benefit by being able to move to other places and build, and such like. As for the family of God, it is going to behoove us to try to envision what kind of life we are looking for, if it be that we are looking to see a Christian life for an example. That is why I said this morning, The body of Christ is definitely going to be Christ re-created inside us through the life we live, and it will be in character, spirituality, conduct, how we behave ourselves one with another, how we treat ourselves and each other, how we prefer others above ourselves. That certainly does not mean you prefer the bank robber above anybody else. Within the family of God, you should each begin to learn how to measure things, how to treat people, being a help one to the other. I believe, that as God is allowed to wash out of us all the old religious ideas we have carried around, and create in us the real image and likeness of Christ, it is not how tall He was, and certainly not how his facial features were, but rather the character He exemplified. God wants that to be exemplified in the Church, the body of Christ. Most all of us have been brought down through time, through the denominational realm, until such time as we received the truth of God’s word. I know I was; and I know the part it played in my spiritual life, because I do not have to be inquisitive about what is going on out there today. When you know that people in those denominations do not have a revelation of truth concerning God’s word, you know they are very apt to fall for the things Satan injects into what they are hearing from people they trust. I have always said, People who do not have a true revelation, are easy prey for those who would lead them astray. When I look back to those years we were in the Methodist Church I have to say, I thank God for the route He brought me, getting me to truth. The route He brought me has not always been easy. It has brought a lot of hardships, a lot of things I did not think was necessary, but as you pass through such things, and then go on, after awhile you begin to realize you have learned something in it all. You learn how merciful God is, how much He really loves to care for you; and that He is a present help in times of trouble and trials.
THE APOSTLE PAUL INSTRUCTS BELIEVERS
The apostle Paul is saying here to the believers of his hour, “Brethren, be followers together of me, (You are going to follow something, so let it be by the leading of the Spirit of God, and shun those who do not measure up by the yardstick of true revelation that God has so graciously given to us.) and mark them which walk so as (those who desire to walk the same way, and those who do not, because), ye have us for an ensample,” (or for an example). Not only is he saying follow me, but pay attention to those that are seeking to walk the same way, and mark them, because all of us together, sooner or later, are going to make up the mystical body of Jesus Christ. The world will see just people, but God’s purpose is that eventually they will see Jesus re-created in you and me by the life we live, the revelation we have, the way we live and walk, how we treat each other, how we are really bound together in unity, by love one for another, and by how we begin to appreciate each other. “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ.” He knew that sooner or later, if they did not really learn to walk with God, things of the world would get hold of them. As I look out over the congregation of Faith Assembly, and allow myself to look back through the years of time, I realize that which has been the case with many who have come through these doors for a certain length of time and I have to ask, Where are they tonight? Did somebody from without, or someone within shoot at them? No. Then what happened to them? It just goes to show you, it is one thing to lay on the floor under the power of God and speak in tongues, but please, Do not get up and say, Now I know everything. You are only in a stage of beginning, when the anointing of the Spirit of God falls upon you like that. I grant you, many times the devil will take those young minds and shoot them full of all kinds of thoughts and ideas, like, Oh this is God: He wants me to do so and so. Little do they realize they are being tested. I am taking these verses of scriptures and looking back through the years, because I want to build this thought slowly and very carefully. As I look back, I can see how God has allowed me to learn through trials and tests, by the many people that have come and gone. All the time you just keep wondering, How much longer is it going to be like this? I have to say, As long as you are in this present world, you want to do your best to be as much like Christ as possible, but if you live to be a hundred years old, you are still going to be subject to learn something. You may not learn it as fast, but somewhere along the pathway of life, there is going to be something come your way and God is going to use it to give you a little insight you did not already have. Because that is going to increase you with a little bit of knowledge of how to face the situations, especially if you encounter the same things again, or it may be that God will use you to help someone else. As I look back to the early years, the years when we were down on State Street, and especially in the year 1959, God gave us a moving of the Spirit like we had not before seen. I only refer to this to show you the schooling I was able to get out of it. This moving of the Spirit lasted for three weeks in that little building, which had been a garage, a garage for a large moving company truck. The man that owned it ran a moving business and he kept his truck stored in that building. We rented it to start a little mission in. In March and April 1959, God gave us the moving of the Spirit and more people were added to our midst during that time. That caused us to realize, that sooner or later we would have to get out of there, because of limited space. Those people that had personally experienced the move of God, to them it was wonderful, and it was wonderful to see how they reacted, and how it affected them in the days to come, but over the months that followed, as I look back, it would almost make you cry, as you ask yourself, What happened to them? Where did they go to? At first, to hear them testify, Oh, Praise God, they knew everything, but one by one, little by little, they seemed to just slip through the net. Eventually, some of them went back into the world. The older ones stayed, and they stayed just like they had been set in concrete. Slowly the gifts of the Spirit began to be added to the group. That is when we moved over behind the Roberts and Strack Veneer place, in that little church building where we stayed from August 1959, through 1963. In 1962, we had another moving of the Spirit. The reason I am saying these things, is because there was a mixture of people at the Branham Tabernacle, some of them wanted the gifts of the Spirit and others did not want them. I have heard all the negative talk about speaking in tongues from those who did not want any of it around. Nevertheless the people in Faith Assembly were hungry; and in the year 1962, slowly but surely, God began to move in our midst and the gifts began to be manifested, one today, maybe another one two weeks later; and as this went on, it was not long until Bro. Neville began to get hungry and started praying to that end. God honored his prayers and he began to prophesy. As that gift of prophesy began to be manifested, people began to come up for prayer mainly because of the gift. As they did, he would start prophesying to them. Over a period of a few months, those same individuals that would get a prophecy on Sunday night, would be coming back Wednesday night and getting another prophecy. This went on until they were carrying little books of their prophecies. They had prophecy after prophecy all written down in order. Somehow you began to feel like, This is not the way God wants things done. At that time, Bro. Neville had a store building next door to the house where he lived, so he opened that building up for prayer meetings on Saturday night. Different ones would be invited to come and speak in those meetings. On one particular Saturday, I was supposed to speak; and I got there a little bit early. When I did, Bro. William Branham’s car was parked in front of the building. I happened to know, that at that time, Bro. William Branham had gone to his cave for a time of prayer and fasting. We all knew that. I was just going to sit in my car, but after awhile, Bro. William Branham and Bro. Neville came out the door. (I am saying these things, young people, because I have learned some practical things from what I have come in contact with, so I can now see down the road a way. God knew that one day I would need it). As Bro. Neville and Bro. William Branham came out, Bro. William Branham saw me sitting there in the car and said. Oh, Bro. Jackson, come here. I got out and walked over to where they were standing. I did not know what I was going to hear, but Bro. William Branham said, Bro. Junie, I had to leave the cave because God spoke to me and told me that He had given Bro. Neville a true gift of prophecy, but as time passed some of the people were beginning to pull out of him, words that were to be a warning, and God told him to come and talk to Bro. Neville and tell him, From now on, not to let anybody pull out of him words as though they are a prophecy for their edification. As he explained this to me, he looked at Bro. Neville and said, Isn’t that right? Bro. Neville said yes. He then thanked Bro. William Branham for coming and telling him. The reason I am saying these things tonight, is to give you some idea of my observation and learning experience in those early years of my association with Bro. William Branham. As I was leaving there that night after the service was over, I just thought, What is this going to be the beginning of? Up until that time, I can think of countless numbers of people that could hardly wait for a prayer line to form. Just as soon as they would get in front of Bro. Neville, Bro. Neville would open his mouth and utter a prophecy. Immediately these things became recorded, and were given to the people they were for. This went on and on, and most people today do not even realize why church order was made at the Tabernacle. I know it was only for the tabernacle, to correct that kind of situation. Well at the end of 1963, just before the new year of 1964 started, Bro. William Branham made church order. I have to say, What God had set and cultivated in months gone by, it just goes to show, when people do not know, or are not willing to learn, that these gifts are not something like you go and buy like candy at a candy store, they will not have proper respect for them. The more you think about it, What good is it for a man to prophesy to you at every meeting, and after awhile you have twelve or fifteen prophecies in a little book? Ask yourself the question, What good is this going to be to me? You may think, Oh that is wonderful. Yes, but what will you do with it? The more I thought about it, it scared me, thinking of how certain individuals were treating such a precious gift. I got to the place where I thought, I don’t need that in my life in order to walk with God. It is wonderful to get a message from God, but I do not want to cheapen it, because after so long it loses its meaning. Brothers and sisters, that is exactly what Pentecost has done with the many movements of the Spirit of God that He has so graciously bestowed upon some of them. God’s Spirit has moved upon many innocent people, but most of them never did learn where the stopping point is. They just enjoy the experience, without ever allowing God to lead them any further than where they are. Somebody is always saying of those who have a proper respect for a move of God, Oh they just want to quench the Spirit. That is the last thing on earth I would want to do, but when you think you can use the gifts of the Spirit just for enjoyment and throw them like candy bars, it will go on until after awhile you will lose the taste for that. Then those people will start to find fault. Is that not like kids playing? You give them a chocolate bar, and after awhile they want peanut butter with it. They want a change. I am only using these things as illustrations, trying to convey to you the importance of proper respect and proper reverence for God’s graciousness.
CHURCH ORDER, THEN WHAT?
When church order was made at the end of 1963, which was just for the tabernacle, they played it New Year’s night, at the beginning of 1964. I will never forget it. My wife and I went to that meeting when they played the tape. At the end of that tape, Bro. William Branham said this, ( as he had the meeting with all the deacons and church board) When you have done this, then we will see what the Lord would have us to do. Those were his last words on the subject, except to certain individuals. When that was played, there was one particular man I knew, a minister in Missouri, that had heard that Bro. William Branham was going to make a tape at a business meeting. He called back to one particular deacon and found out by asking him, Did Bro. William Branham make the tape, and did he have the business meeting? Yes. Then he asked, Could I have a copy of it? That deacon took it upon himself to send a copy of that tape to the particular man in Missouri. From that day on, that message so-called, of church order went from Canada to Mexico and around the world. I was in Missouri in 1963, in the church of the pastor that had asked for a copy of it, and he told me all about it. Back in 1962 when I was there they had a banjo, an accordion, a piano, a guitar, just about everything, but when church order was put in, the banjo was hung up, the tambourines were put on the shelf. The only thing played after that, was the piano. I just thought, What a shame! One time they have something, the next time they have nothing. This was along about June of that year. At that time, Bro. William Branham was in Texas in a meeting. The church order tape had spread, word was coming out how it was quenching the Spirit, from Canada to Mexico, everywhere these churches were putting it in. Pastors would say, If it is good enough for the Tabernacle, it is good enough for here. Having to be in the church of this man, who had originally asked for the copy, he was in Texas when the word came, that Bro. William Branham was told how that churches everywhere were being affected by church order. Bro. William Branham was supposed to have told Billy Paul, You go out and tell all those men to send that tape back here. How do you know that, Bro. Jackson? The very man that asked for the first copy of it was the one who told me. He said, I was there, Bro. Jackson. When Billy Paul came to him, and said, Dad said he wants that tape sent back, the pastor of that congregation said these words to me, that he had responded, Well look, if I don’t play it anymore, will it be alright if I just keep it? Billy Paul consented to let him keep it, but that he was not to play it anymore. We came on through the year of 1964 and into 1965, and it had spread everywhere. That is why, that first Sunday after that New Year’s night of 1964, over here in Clarksville, I went to the platform that morning with a heavy heart, because many thoughts were racing through my mind. I thought, If I say anything that would sound negative about Bro. William Branham, what are all these people going to think about me? That particular morning, I made this statement, I am not going to stand on the platform, I am going to get down among the people, I am going to tell you, I heard what Bro. William Branham said about the gifts and everything, but as for me and this congregation, they will still be honored in our open assembly. When we go to the Tabernacle, we will honor it as he has suggested, but from now on, in Faith Assembly, we will still uphold the open manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit in our services. Immediately afterward, we were branded as a bunch of black birds. That is when all this kind of remarks started. It was not easy those first few months, bearing up under that kind of pressure, but the more I read the word of God looking for it, I could not find church order in it. I could see the thing of discipline, that any pastor would have a right to make an order of some kind to try to correct something, but to try to make a universal law out of it, it was just not in the scriptures. I will never forget that summer, because everywhere I went, people were pointing their finger at that Jackson, there he is, he is that blackbird, stay away from Faith Assembly: they do not believe the prophet. That was a lie, but how could I stop their remarks? I just took a stand for the true revelation of the word of God, regardless of whether I was the only one who would do it. God has honored that decision; and enabled me to take a right stand on the truth of His scriptures from then until this present time. He never fails to honor His word.
WHAT I KNOW TO BE THE TRUTH
I knew Bro. William Branham was going to be down in Birmingham Alabama, in a meeting, and I asked Bro. Glenn Funk if he would go with me and my wife to that meeting. We went to Birmingham, because I wanted to talk with Bro. William Branham. We got there, but we did not get a chance to speak to Bro. William Branham the first night. However the second evening, we got there in time to talk to Billy Paul. I said to him, I have driven all the way down here, hoping to get a chance to talk to Bro. William Branham before he goes to the platform. Billy Paul said, I will bring dad in about such a certain time: you meet me in the parking lot and I will take you to his car. We did that. We went out and waited. After awhile Billy Paul came up to us and we followed him. He took me to the station wagon where Bro. William Branham was sitting. He invited me to sit down inside. As I did, I said, Bro. William Branham, I remember what you said in church order when it was played. I want you to know what I have said, that when we, Faith Assembly, are at the Tabernacle, we will honor what you have said, but in my congregation, I have to abide by what I see in the scriptures. Bro. William Branham never even let me finish before he said, Bro. Junie, you know why I had to make it. I said, I feel that I do. He said, I had to do something to correct a situation we had there, but Bro. Junie, you go on and do what you feel in your heart that God would have you do, and don’t pay any attention to what these people are saying. I came out of that station wagon, feeling that a great load had been lifted off of me, but by the time I got back home, (There were others from the Tabernacle down there.) Those who were also down there, came back to Jeffersonville and said these words, Bro. Jackson went down to talk to the prophet, and he really told Bro. Jackson a head full. It has not been easy to walk this way. The more I looked at it, realizing, I am just a little fellow, but he is a man known all over the world, the more it hurt. I had to say though, Until I see it in the scriptures, I cannot do it. As I look back tonight, to the closing months of 1965, when he was killed in the month of December, just a few weeks prior to that, he had called back to Indiana to the George Wright family and told them something. I do not even know if Billy Paul knows this yet, even today, but Bro. William Branham confided much to the Wright family. He said to them, I am coming back during the Christmas season to do two things. Number one, to preach “The Trail of the Serpent,” and number two, to take out church order. They told me that themselves. Well to cut the story short though, he did not live to get back here, so that never happened. Nowhere, has his words been used by anybody to take church order away. Faith Assembly has been the only congregation of people that has dared to step out and resist the spirit of that thing. I stand here before you tonight and I have to say, Thank God for His grace. As I look back now, I did not understand it all back then. It was just days of walking uphill with a heavy load upon my heart, wondering how much longer Lord, am I going to have to go on like this? Again I have to say, Thank God for His grace. Faith Assembly was singled out by Him, to make a stand for something no other man at that time would do. Now I can look back to that time and say, This man went with church order, this man went with it, that man went with it; and I stood with a conviction in my heart, That has no place in a New Testament Church congregation. Every one of those preachers went with a private revelation of his own; and they were the instruments of much confusion among those who followed what they thought was Brother Branham’s message. The more you heard, the more you began to wonder, Where in the world will this stop? When you knew them and had been fellowshipping with them, you felt like they were wonderful brothers, because you could see how hungry they were for the word of God, but watching them later on, I could see what had happened. They every one turned to Brother branham’s sermon books to preach out of. As you watched them, it was not long until they would go to this certain book of Brother Branham’s sermons and get another revelation to hit the road with. Pretty soon afterwards, I felt myself cut completely off from the fellowship of everyone of them and from everything that was going on. It began to make me wonder what the horse dream was all about, if I was cut off from all the rest. The reason I am saying this tonight, especially to all you young people, I am thankful to God that I was privileged to see many of you, back in 1994, 1995, 1996, in the move of the Spirit of God that we had here among this congregation. I hope I can instill in your spiritual minds, a thought of trust, because I too, years ago, before God dealt with me, thought that unless you laid on the floor every meeting, you did not have anything. That is the way I felt. I wanted to lay on the floor every meeting. It seemed like God dumped a ton of weight on me one day and asked, How long will you live like this? What good is your life when you are lying there on the floor? Then when you look back at the men in the Bible, how long did they lay on the floor? How long did Paul lay in the road? I have my doubts that he laid in that old cave on the floor, when he was separated from everything, seeking God for a true revelation of His word. After awhile God wants us to learn something. You are only in the beginning of the potential that God has now invested in you. It behooves us to be still and know that He is God. He is going to school all of us to some degree, one way or the other, for whatever He wants to use us for. He will not school all of us in the same way, because He has a plan for each life He touches with truth, and it will all be different. In 1964, when church order was made in the Tabernacle, that is where I had to definitely make up my mind, I am going to stand for something, because, until I see it in the scriptures, that this it is something I need to follow, I will stand for what I see in the scriptures. I knew the word of God has got to come forth, so from that point on I said, The gifts will be in Faith Assembly, and we are going to ask God to manifest these gifts among us. I look back and thank God for the people, the individual people that He brought here one by one. He began to anoint and stimulate these gifts. Young people, Let me say this to you especially, You do not ever run a service on gifts. When they first begin to be manifested, we naturally think, This is wonderful. Listen carefully to what I am saying, because there is something else I want to bring to you, that when we get further into this thing of what the body of Christ is, we are going to move into an era when God will bring us closer together. It will be a time when we can see each other and begin to empty our minds of self, and allow God to plant in us a unified thought, a thought that makes us want to think and act alike, and the gifts you have seen manifested up until now, you will see other things added to all of that. Little by little these things will become manifested. As I look back I have to say, Thank God, it has not been easy, but it has all worked together for good. Many times it is hard to get people to understand what you are talking about. But I have been privileged in the past number of months, from here and there, young people especially, as much as I want to say something nice, young people begin to say, oh let’s not quench the Spirit. Little do they realize what they are saying, because that is exactly what caused Bro. William Branham to correct Bro. Neville. I just thought, Suppose God had not spoken to Bro. William Branham out there in that cave. Suppose he had not come and met Bro. Neville that evening. Suppose I had never been told these things. Yes, we could have been just like a bunch of runaway kids. But we each and every one have got to become solid, firm, established, that we know who we are, what we are, and what we have, and we must want God to be able to use it to glorify Himself. In this late hour of time, there are many people who do not realize we are at a threshold of something God is going to do for the Bride of Christ. If this Bride is going to be a true cultivation and manifestation of that mystical body of Christ, we are going to have to empty ourselves of self, of our preconceived ideas of what we want, and what we want to see, and submit to what God wants us to see, and what God wants you and me to do. Believe me saints, I believe every verse in the scriptures are going to be manifested to the true body of Christ. There are going to be individuals weeded out, not because I am going to do it: that is not my responsibility. God is going to do it by bringing circumstances and attitudes that people would say, Well Jackson don’t know everything. Yak, yak, yak and away they go. I am not saying these things to be mean; and I do not want to sound harsh. I am saying these things hoping that I can put a thought of conscience and caution in the minds of some. That is because, in the end, just as Paul said in the 12th chapter of 1st Corinthians, but the manifestation of the spirit has been given to every man to profit withal. The fact that you have not seen everyone who comes here doing something, does not mean you should think the potential is not laying there for each one. The potential is there, but until our minds become cultivated and cleared of all the instability and uncertainty, God knows what He is doing, so He is not going to put more on you than He knows you can stand up under. Little do you realize, that a little over two years ago when I began to deal with this problem, people took offense at me. Then when I began to hear what was taking place, the thought came to me, If I don’t do something, the day will come when this thing will grow and there will be innocent people led out of here. Everywhere Tim McKay goes, there goes the side show to be with him. That is exactly what it would have been in here, if I had not done something. Even tonight, some doubt that what has been done was right, because it seemed as though it was too harshly done. When I said what I did months ago, at that time seven dreams had already been given to me from different areas, backing up what I knew. Not one person ever came and said, Tell me Bro. Jackson, what was that dream? I want to be obedient to the Lord. I was left with the feeling, I don’t care what you say, I don’t trust you, I don’t believe you. That is what hurts. But the more I thought about it, just a short time ago right out of my own congregation another young man said, I have had a couple dreams. I said, would you write them down. He wrote these dreams down. When I read them, I thought, Here is the youngest one of all, yet the very fact that God could show him this kind of dream was encouraging to me. Who are we anyhow? Then after I had the operation on my shoulder, I sat for days looking out the window because I did not want to overwork that arm. As I sat there all that time, those last three weeks, it was like the Lord was saying to me, You are going to deal with this one more time. I said, Yes Lord, I will do it. It is now my responsibility to make some corrections in what has been taking place; and I believe true children of God will take heed and walk with God, instead of following something that is for a show. May God bless each of you who love truth.