Mystery Woman of Revelation 12 – 1978, October


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

 

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

 

WONDER IN HEAVEN

 

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

 

A MAN CHILD – FROM THE GENTILE CHURCH?

 

For the sake of truth now let me say once agin (as I have many times before) the woman in Revelation, chapter 12, is not now, and never has been the church. It never has been the church, and it never will be the church; it is a panoramic picture of the nation of Israel. John was allowed to have a little glimpse of God’s complete dealings with the nation of Israel, from the very beginning of her history, all the way to her millennial glory. You all know the story, how God called Abraham from the land of the Chaldeans, made a covenant with him, and promised him a son by his wife, Sari, who was past the age of child- bearing. That promised son, Isaac, begat a son whom he named Jacob, and Jacob begat the 12 patriarchs who fathered the entire nation of Israel. God allowed circumstances to carry them into the land of Egypt where their families multiplied into the millions, and the hand of their oppressors was heavy upon them. Then God raised up Moses from their midst and anointed him to be their deliverer. From there the great scene of God’s dealing with her as a nation of people takes on a more personal relationship. God brings them back into their land and begins to deal with the nation as His wife. Therefore the woman, (Israel) the wife of Elohim, Jehovah, the eternal Spirit (God) is expectant with child. Nowhere in the scriptures will you find that there is to come forth from the Gentiles, one who will rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but we see this woman bearing such a child as we go down in the chapter. To me it is so clear, that there should be no question as to who the woman is, but it is obvious that not everyone sees it that clearly; therefore, there remains the great controversy: Is it the church? Is it this? Is it that, or something else? Let us examine verse one for just a little while. “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; (John was seeing this in a vision) a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” Now we all know that the moon which hangs out here in space and gives us light at night, is a reflection of the sun. It gives no light of its own. The moon in this reference is a type of the law age of Israel (the woman) went through, an age of types and shadows that pointed to something that was to come later. Now there are some who believe, rightly so, that this woman is the nation of Israel, but they err in the fact that they believe the sun that she is clothed with is the gospel of grace. It definitely is not the gospel that she is clothed with. That is a scriptural impossibility. Some of you will surely say, “Bro. Jackson, you are getting terribly independent and dogmatic about this.” Let me tell you, I have to. I learned a long time ago that you can never get anywhere with truth as long as you just play around with the scriptures. Those who do so, automatically fall into a category, and of necessity, must fellowship with those of like faith. It is just like a bunch of boys who hang together all the time. Before long, whatever one does, they all do. If you hang around with boys that smoke, drink, gamble, and such like, it will not be long until you will be just like them. By the same token, if I start compromising with preachers who just want to play around with this word of God, very soon; people will begin to say, “He is just another one of them.” Brothers and Sisters, it is too late for a thing like that; we must stand for truth, and seek to be a Holy Ghost revelated people as this age closes out. It isn’t that I do not love them; I do; but the principles of truth take the preeminence. The devil doesn’t like it, but I am not trying to please him, are you? Alright then, let us settle it; the sun that the woman is clothed with, pictures her (the nation of Israel) in her millennial glory. Did it ever occur to you as a Gentile, that the reason Israel failed to recognize Christ in His first advent was because they looked only for their Messiah and the kingdom age? Looking for a king who would be able to solve all their problems, they could not recognize nor accept the humble Nazarene who rode a donkey into Jerusalem, as anyone of any significance. TWO ADVENTS OF CHRIST Those of you who will hear this will not be able to see our visual illustration, but we are going to use these two chairs to represent the two advents of Christ which were foretold in the Old Testament. Then we are going to prove to you with every scripture reference, that this woman is Israel. Let me say this also, Israel is getting ready to experience some of the hardest birth pains that she has ever known throughout time. The political world is trying to inject a serum that will deaden the pain, and keep her quiet, but it will fail. The birth pains are coming very soon, and I love this word of God which declares it. I do not rejoice in their suffering; I rejoice in the accuracy, the preciseness, of the word of God. Now, John saw the woman clothed with the sun, a picture of the nation of Israel shining for 1000 years throughout the kingdom age, which all her prophets spoke of. God will be ruling on earth in human form. The Godman, Jesus, who took Peter, James and John upon a mountain with Him one day and gave them a preview of what the glory of God in the nation of Israel will be like in that day, will be ruling with a rod of iron and the nation of Israel will be shining throughout the whole time. But Bro. Jackson, I thought the Gentile bride was to have the number one spot with Him in the Millennium. Yes, that is right, but His glorified presence will be in the land of Israel as He takes the throne of David to rule and reign, and she, (Israel) will have the distinct honor of being the nation of people through which the Messiah came. All that she (as a nation) has ever looked forward to, will be realized in that day. You realize of course, that there were many Jews who believed the gospel of Jesus Christ, and became the first of all those who would make up the bride of Christ. Some of them were apostles, some were prophets, some pastors, evangelists, and teachers, and I am sure that some of them taught things that the other did not teach, but you can be sure of this one thing, Phillip was not down there in Samaria, criticizing Peter for the deep things he was teaching in Jerusalem. Shame on people who do such things just to get recognition. They have their reward already. The only recognition I desire, is to be recognized by the author of this book, the one who is able to make us understand the deep things of Jesus Christ, and solve every problem we may have. I never want to gamble with the souls of mankind, as some are doing in these days. Now the woman had a crown of twelve stars, and that speaks of her national identity. She is a nation of twelve tribes, and when God fulfills all that the prophets have prophesied about her, she will be over in the Millennium with all 12 tribes restored. As we said already, God allowed John to see a panoramic vision, covering the full scope of Israel’s history. The moon under her feet represents the fact that she has risen above the law age which she was subject to for more than 1900 years. To the Jews, the law reflected the glory of the kingdom age. They never did see the age of grace in any of the prophecies given out by her prophets. That is where the mix-up comes in; Gentiles read the prophets and try to make everything fit the age of grace and the church, but they make a terrible blunder when they call this woman of Rev. 12, the church, for this woman is with child. That means one of two things. Either this woman is married, or she is guilty of fornication. We have already proved by the scriptures that the church (the bride of Christ) is a virgin, and could not possibly be expectant with child. Therefore we can be dogmatic in saying that the woman is Israel, the wife of Jehovah. Remember now, John saw this picture in heaven, and what he saw was a complete picture, but down here on earth the process that must be worked out to form that complete picture in reality, takes many centuries, and involves many details. Each generation has contributed their part in filling in the details of what John saw. We can best describe the vision as a heavenly blueprint of what God is working out down here on earth. You who are familiar with blueprints, know that the blueprint shows the complete building or project, in every detail, and the place where the blueprint is first seen, is not the place where the building will take place. Furthermore, we will add this; what is seen on the blueprint will involve a process of time and effort to materialize it. So is it with what John saw as a complete picture. Israel still has a very great trial ahead of her, before she can be seen literally, as John saw her in the vision. He saw her with a crown upon her head, symbolizing the fact that she (Israel) is the queen of nations. An ordinary housewife does not wear a crown upon her head, but a queen does, and Zechariah 14 confirms for us that Israel will be the queen of nations in the Millennium. Verse 16, reads like this, “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” Certainly, Israel will be shining in the kingdom age, when her national identity has been completely restored so that she is represented by all of her twelve tribes. You realize of course, that this 12 chapter of Revelation does th not incorporate all of the millions of Jews that are upon the face of this earth; it pertains only to the spiritual element of the twelve tribes, those who are loyal to Jehovah.

 

 BIRTH PAINS – TRAVAIL – DRAGON

 

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

 

BIRTH BEFORE TRAVAIL

 

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

 

ABOUT CHRONOLOGY

 

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

 

WHEN DID ISRAEL’S TRAVAIL BEGIN?

 

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

 

LEAGUE OF NATIONS – UNITED NATIONS

 

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

 

RESULT OF A DELAYED TELEGRAM

 

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

 

THIS GENERATION SHALL SEE

 

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

 

GOD’S TRUE PROPHETS – WHAT THEY SAW

 

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

 

1900 YEARS BETWEEN VERSE 5 & 6

 

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

 

ABOUT THE 144,000

 

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

 

SHEKINAH GLORY COMES BACK

 

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

 

GREEN TREE – DRY TREE

 

I want to call your attention to a beautiful type that was set, on one of those mornings as He left the house of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, coming to Jerusalem. As He came over the Mount of Olives He noticed a beautiful fig tree standing there before Him. He was hungry and would have eaten, but when He came to the tree, it had nothing on it but leaves; therefore (now catch this, the fig tree was a symbol of Israel) He looked at the tree and said, “Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever, and presently the fig tree withered away.” That lets us know that after three years of preaching to them, there was still no fruit. Just a few days after that, He was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane, halfway between where that fig tree was, and the Eastern Gate. He said to them, “Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled.” I have to put these things in the message to show you why those two Southern tribes were asleep, completely, during the birth and ministry of the man child. Walking toward Calvary to die, He heard all those people who were screaming because of what was taking place, and turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” Catch the symbolic language now? He is not referring to Himself as a green fig tree; He is a green tree of life, and the dry, or barren tree, is the Antichrist which has no life. In other words, if they have come to this in three and one-half years when they had a green tree of life in their midst, what will they do when they have the dry, or barren tree for three and one-half years? They could have eaten from the tree of life, but they did not, and when the barren tree comes, he will bring about the climax of Rev. 13, Luke 21, and Matt. 24. Jerusalem shall be compassed, not necessarily as it was in 70 A.D., but it will be filled with soldiers during the last half of Daniels seventieth week when the Antichrist is sitting in the temple in Jerusalem. You talk about spiritual drought; they will have one when that man is in control. Jeremiah saw every man bent over in anguish, as a woman in travail. Let us read a few verses from Jeremiah, chapter 30, beginning with verse 4, “These are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. (That covers all twelve tribes). For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether

 

A MAN DOTH TRAVAIL WITH CHILD?

 

Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” He was looking at the nation of Israel having her final birth pains in that great tribulation hour of time.

 

HEAVENLY WARFARE

 

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

 

FALSE PEACE

 

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

 

JEWS – FOOLISH VIRGINS – WHITE ROBES

 

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

 

THREE AND ONE HALF OR SEVEN?

 

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

 

FLOOD OF WATER

 

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

 

EARTH OPENS HER MOUTH

 

Alright, so the serpent will cast out a flood of persecution and excessive hatred against the woman, but verse 6 lets us know that the woman will be helped by the earth. We will read it. “And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.” Did you notice that verse 15 calls the pursuing one, the serpent, while verse 16 refers to him as the dragon. This very thing was prefigured during World War II, when Hitler put out a decree, that all the Jews in Denmark must wear the Star of David. Hitler was determined to wipe the Jews from the face of the earth. He hated them with a passion, and this decree was just another way to mark them for assassination, but the earth helped them then, just as verse 16 says it will in that day. How were they helped? Well, the story was told that every Danish man wore the Star of David, as if to say, Hitler, if you take them, you will have to get us all. They had taken hundreds of these Jews into their homes where they hid them, and fed them, for the remainder of the war. I believe that is exactly what will take place when the devil tries to annihilate the Jews in the time of the great tribulation. There will be people on this earth who will have a sympathetic feeling toward the Jews, who will do exactly as those Danish people did. I believe that set a little type for us. Many people have said, I do not see how people could hide and survive for a period of 3 ½ years. That period of the war lasted just about the same length of time, and those people survived. There is no way we could go into details, telling you exactly how it will all work out, for time itself will work out the details as the situation demands. This we can say though, there will be enough of those people spared and kept alive, to repopulate the Jewish race in the Millennium. Of course when I mention that there will be babies born in the Millennium, that opens up another subject for my critics. There are ever so many preachers running around these days who refuse to accept that as a fact. Their excuse is that the prophet did not say anything about it. For me, the prophet did not have to say anything about it, for it was already written in the Bible. When you look at Isaiah, chapter 11, speaking of the Millennium, verse 6 says, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the SUCKLING CHILD shall play on the hole of the asp, and the WEANED CHILD shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den.” This should be enough to convince anyone who is open to truth, but you can still turn to Isaiah 65, and read more along these lines. Brothers and Sisters, I want you to know that the hour is coming, and very soon, when every one of these messages will set off an avalanche. These people will either wake up and begin to search the depths of God’s word, or they will perish in their rebellion. Please tell me what difference it makes, whether the prophet to this age spoke on a certain subject or not, if the Bible furnishes us with sufficient scripture to establish it? This old world is right on the brink of something that is going to leave no individual untouched by the impact of it; therefore it behooves us to seek all the truth that is available to us while we still have the freedom to do so. I just read an article the other day which stated that the reason President Carter took the initiative in getting Prime Minister Begin and President Sadat together in an effort to bring about a peace treaty between their people, was because he had learned through intelligence sources, or maybe I should say, he believed, from what he had learned through intelligence sources, that Mr. Begin had ordered a buildup of his military forces, looking for Mr. Sadat to start another war. I want you to know, if this thing breaks down, there will not be one thing that President Carter can do to stop it. God is going to fulfill his word whether Mr. Carter cooperates willingly or not. I will say though, because of the line up of Russian satellite nations, those that will side with Russia against Israel, recorded in Ezekiel 38, I am prone to believe that Egypt will find a neutral position before that battle is fought.

 

THE WOMAN HAS TWO SEEDS

 

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

 

GENTILES WILL HELP ISRAEL

 

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

1978-10-Mystery-Woman-of-Revelation-12

What Is God To Confirm? – 1978, August

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  1. MARK 16:14-20 WE ARE PUBLISHING THIS MESSAGE, WITH THE SINCERE HOPE THAT IT WILL HELP SOME OF YOU TO MAKE UP YOUR MIND WHERE YOU STAND. WILL YOU STAND FOR THE WORD OF TRUTH, OR MUST YOU HAVE THE SIGNS AND MIRACLES, EVEN AT THE EXPENSE OF SACRIFICING TRUTH IN ORDER TO BE WHERE THEY ARE? READ WHAT WE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE CHARISMATICS, THE FOOLISH VIRGINS, THE ACTIONS THAT FOLLOW GENUINE FAITH, AND WHAT WORLD RELIGION IS DESTINED TO DO. THEN, IF YOU FEEL THAT THE BIBLE TEACHES DIFFERENT FROM THIS, WE WOULD BE GLAD TO HEAR FROM YOU. WE FEEL THAT THOSE WHO DISAGREE OUGHT TO HAVE SUFFICIENT SCRIPTURE TO ESTABLISH THEIR DISAGREEMENT, AND NOT JUST AN OPINION. DO ALL ROADS REALLY LEAD TO ROME? IS GLOSSOLALIA, ONE OF THOSE ROAD BUILDERS, AND WHERE DOES MR. PENTECOST FIT INTO THE PICTURE? THEN, LASTLY, JUST WHAT IS GOD OBLIGATED TO CONFIRM? YOU WILL FIND THE ANSWERS IN THE FOLLOWING PAGES.

Contents

 

WHAT IS BELIEVING UNTO SALVATION?. 4

SALVATION OR DAMNATION.. 5

WHAT ARE YOU FOLLOWING.. 6

DO ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME?. 7

RECOGNITION AND RECONCILIATION.. 8

CHARISMATIC’S PURPOSE IN GOD’S PLAN.. 11

THE DOCTRINE WITHOUT THE REALITY.. 13

SEPARATING – PURIFYING.. 15

THE EVIDENCE. 17

REVIEWING SOME OF BABYLON.. 21

  1. PENTECOST. 22

FAITHFULNESS LEADS TO SEPARATION.. 24

WHO ARE THE FOOLISH?. 26

FATE OF FOOLISH VIRGINS. 27

CHERISH EVERY TRUE GIFT. 30

GIFTS BELONG TO THE BRIDE. 31

GET YOURSELF SETTLED.. 32

WORD REJECTED – SIGNS FOLLOWED.. 33

DO NOT LOOK BACK.. 35

 

 

In the 16th chapter of the gospel of Mark, we find some of the last words that Jesus spoke to His disciples during the short interval of time that He spent with them after He arose from the dead. I would like for us to read these words together, and then you will hear me ask the question, “WHAT IS GOD TO CONFIRM?” I believe we can determine where we are, scripturally, if we will examine the word of God in the light of present day conditions. Realizing that we are living in an hour when people are doing everything that one could imagine, in the name of some religion, and they all have a scripture verse that they use to make it look legitimate; we must, of necessity, ask ourselves the question, just what is God obligated, by His word, to confirm? I will leave that question for you to consider, and we will begin our message by reading verses 14-20. In the earlier verses we learn that when Jesus arose from the dead, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. She reported it to the other disciples, but they did not believe her. Then he appeared to two of them as they went on their way into the country, but the other disciples failed to believe their report also. That brings us to the 14th verse where Jesus appeared to the eleven apostles. Let us begin reading there. 14, “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he has risen. 15, And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17, And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; (or demons) they shall speak with new tongues; 18, They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 19, So then after the Lord has spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20, And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and CONFIRMING THE WORD with signs following.” THE COMMISSION First we want to notice that, after Jesus finished rebuking them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, He gave them a commission. “Go into ALL the world, and preach the GOSPEL to EVERY CREATURE. He that BELIEVETH and is BAPTIZED shall be saved.” Please notice that the gospel was to be preached to every creature. Jesus did not tell them to go out into the world and search for the predestinated seed of God. They had no way of knowing who was predestinated anyhow; only God knows that. What God wants from mankind, is a vision for all lost men to be saved. When we do not have a vision for lost mankind; we can not carry the genuine love of God for them. Therefore, our commission is to preach the gospel to every creature. We do not 2 have any responsibility in saving lost people; that rests in the hands of a sovereign God. It is He, who has foreknown every true seed, elected, and predestinated them before the foundation of the world. It is He, and He alone, that will make sure every last one of His predestinated seed will find their way home. How will he do it? By having the gospel (the good news) preached around the world. Now you may say, “What if there be one somewhere that never hears the gospel?” I will have to answer by saying, “Is God unjust?” Look again at the words of the commission, “Preach the gospel to every creature, He that BELIEVETH A-–D IS BAPTIZED shall be saved; BUT, he that BELIEVETH NOT shall be DAMNED.” Now, who is to be damned? Is it not he who fails to believe the gospel? The real problem in our day is not that they do not hear; it is what they hear, and how they respond. Jesus said, “He that BELIEVETH and is BAPTIZED shall be saved,” but there are multitudes of people in our day who will use John 3:16, or John 5:24, and rule out everything else that is written in the Bible. I want you to understand that John 3:16, by itself, merits no salvation. Neither does John 5:24. That is another of those delusions that Satan has heaped upon mankind. If he cannot keep a person from hearing the word of God, he will try to get them side-tracked with one of those verses that fail to present the whole story. There is no salvation in just believing on Jesus with the mind. James said that even the devils believe, and tremble, but are they saved? He went on to say, “Wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” In others words, we would have to say that faith, without corresponding action, merits no salvation. Well then, some of you may say, “Just what is the corresponding action that goes with believing?” Let us look at the answer Peter gave to those who asked him that question one day. Acts 2:37-38, “Now when they heard this, (the gospel) they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do (to be saved)? Then Peter answered and said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

 

WHAT IS BELIEVING UNTO SALVATION?

 

When we speak of believing on Jesus, it encompasses the whole word of God; not just a verse or two that has been used out of context. All of the word of God is entwined so that a person does not have a choice of believing only a part of it, and rejecting the rest, while claiming to have salvation. Genuine salvation rests upon believing the whole word of God; therefore when we believe the whole word of God, there is some corresponding action that makes it effective. It was when men began to take scripture out of context, that creeds, doctrines, and man-made ideas began to form into division among the worshipers. As a result of such, we are living in a world that is filled with religious divisions and traditions. Nevertheless, to come back to our thought, baptism is essential in God’s plan of salvation, and it must be scriptural baptism, instead of the devil’s substitute. Trinity minded people hold to Matthew 28:19, as the formula for baptism, not knowing that it requires a revelation of the scriptures in order to carry out the command fully. They read where Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the NAME (SINGULAR) of the FATHER, (WHICH IS A TITLE, AND NOT A NAME) and of the SON, (WHICH IS ALSO A TITLE) and of the HOLY GHOST: (ANOTHER TITLE) Teaching them to observe ALL THINGS whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world,” and it seems that, without revelation, they try to put one scripture against another one, instead of realizing that it takes them all to make up the complete word of God. I have heard people say, “I would rather do what Jesus said, instead of Peter; for Peter was not very stable in his ways.” What a shame for people who profess to be believers to talk like that. It proves that they are without understanding, for Peter’s instructions were exactly in line with the command that Jesus gave. Peter knew that God’s redemption name for those titles in Matthew 28:19 was Jesus, (J-E-S-U-S) “For there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved, Acts 4:12, And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the NAME of the LORD JESUS, giving thanks to God and the Father by him,” Col. 3:17. Please notice that it was not Peter who spoke these words, it was the apostle Paul: the very apostle who held the line on the word of God among the Gentile churches. The very apostle who would not leave those disciples of John the Baptist, which he found at Ephesus, until he had baptized them in the name of the Lord Jesus, Acts 19:5. 3

 

SALVATION OR DAMNATION

 

Brothers and sisters: I know that most of you who will read this, do not need to be convinced of the necessity to be baptized scripturally, but for the sake of the few who need to hear it, we must keep on saying it until God closes the door of grace to the Gentiles. As we said before: only God knows who the predestinated seed are; therefore it is still our duty to preach the gospel to all men. Then after we have done that, those who believe and follow through with proper baptism will be saved, and those who believe not will be damned, or condemned. That is God’s formula and we cannot alter it. Jesus went on to say, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my NAME shall they cast out devils; (or demons) they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; (that doesn’t mean they will be snake handlers) and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them: they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” I would have to say that he gave a real thorough description of what the believer’s life would be like, and while they were thinking on what he had said, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. Not the first person of a trinity, but on the right hand of God: Eternal, Omnipresent Spirit. The right hand speaks of authority and power. Matt. 28:18 Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” In the language of God, the right hand is where authority is delegated from, while the left is for visitors or friends, as in a king’s palace. So with Jesus having all power and authority, in heaven, and on earth, the disciples went forth, (verse 20) and preached everywhere, (In other words, they went forth preaching the unadulterated gospel, not Methodist, Baptist, Catholic nor Pentecostal doctrine, but the very truth that Jesus had taught them for 3 ½ years) the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Praise God, he did not confirm creeds, traditions, rituals, nor man-made dogmas; he confirmed the word with signs following. Now that is exactly as Jesus said it would be. He said, “You go into all the world and make disciples; teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you, and I will be with you, even unto the end of the world.” There is one thing sure; if Jesus is with you, and you are preaching the pure word, apart from denominational opinions, there will be some signs following your ministry. As we go into the book of Acts, we find that those early disciples truly went everywhere preaching the unadulterated, revelated word of Jesus Christ, and where ever the word was preached there was always signs and miracles present, and believers added unto the Lord. The book of Acts covers approximately 30 years of apostolic history; in which we find many accounts of the gospel being preached and people turning to the Lord. Not one of them ever tried to skip, or avoid water baptism. Every last one of them was baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, as Acts 2:38 tells us it should be. Now let me make something clear concerning water baptism. Just being baptized, without understanding what it is all about does not merit salvation. Some seem to think that just as long as they get wet everything will be alright. That is not God’s formula. An effective baptism must be proceeded by genuine repentance and a revelation of what God is offering. It is sad, but churches, or I should say church buildings are filled with people who have stepped forward, shook the preacher’s hand, and been immersed in water, but without any change in their way of life. It has become just a ritual with no more salvation in it than you find in any other pagan practice. Let me say to any young person who may read this, or to anyone else for that matter; if the experience you have had did not bring a noticeable change in your habits and general way of life, then by all means, seek God until you get the real, genuine, Holy Ghost, life changing salvation that we read about in the New Testament. Then, when you find it, cherish it, with all of your strength.

 

WHAT ARE YOU FOLLOWING

 

Now let us go to Hebrews, chapter 2, and read a few verses. 1, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, (in other words, meditate upon them and remind ourselves), lest at any time we should let them slip. (Forget about them, or treat them as unimportant.) For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, (or unmovable, because God does not change) and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; (meaning to 4 overlook, set aside, or prolong. For this salvation is a great thing.) Which at first began to be spoken by the Lord, (that is why I read Mark 16) and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (Mark recorded, what Jesus told them to do.) God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers (different kinds) miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? If we will look at the scriptures honestly, we will not have any difficulty determining what God puts His approval on. We will all discover that, any where there was a condition (in that first church age) that was contrary to the truth, or the principle of how truth was to be expressed, the Holy Ghost always reached out and began to correct the situation, whether it was an individual person, or a condition involving many. In other words, God immediately corrected that which was not right. Why? He was establishing truth, and the Bible tells us that the church of the Living God is the pillar and ground of the truth. In other words, those of you who are familiar with construction work, know that a pillar is a holding support for something that is being constructed. It does not necessarily shelter you, but it does hold up something that will shelter you. If you can catch my illustration, what I am saying is, that the church was ordained of God to be the very pillar and ground of truth. It is to remain unshakable regardless of what may be going on all around it. You realize of course, that I am applying the word, CHURCH, in this statement, only to that universal body of baptized believers who hold up the apostolic truth of the word of God, and not to the great multitude of sign seekers out here who call themselves the church. We are living in a day when the great multitudes who refer to themselves as the church are seeking out leaders, or maybe I should say, following after those who have the greatest miracles, or the most signs following their ministry, completely forgetting the fact that Pharaoh’s magicians could produce the same signs that Moses and Aaron had with them. The true church of the Living God is holding up truth, and the signs follow as God confirms his word, but the world church is holding up signs and wonders instead of truth, and the sign seekers are following after that. I have people coming to me, and, also, calling me on the telephone saying, “Bro. Jackson: What about Reverend So and So? He sure is having a lot of miracles in his services. Is he a servant of God?” Then you pick up newspapers and magazines and read those excitable testimonies, in the religious section, where people have been healed of just about every disease imaginable. Naturally it causes many people to look at the advertised results of these great gatherings and think, “God just has to be in that, or they would not have results like that.”

 

DO ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME?

 

Let me first make it perfectly clear that I will never be guilty of discrediting God for anything that He may have done, or that He may do in the future, but this ecumenical, charismatic spirit is leading multitudes away from the word of God, and into the devil’s trap, with their chicken suppers, rummage sales, and their ability to produce excitable testimonies. I am sure some of you think I spend too much time warning honest hearted people about this image of the beast system that is capturing the attention of so many, but please try to understand that we are approaching the day, when all who are not forewarned, will be deceived, misled, marked and damned. For instance, I recently read an article in one of the weekly publications that you find lying around in waiting rooms, and on airplanes and such like, that ought to cause every Holy Ghost filled child of God to realize that the time is short. It was about the life and charismatic ministry of a well known female celebrity in the field of religion. It seems that she has emerged from the charismatic movement to be recognized as a spiritual therapist who effects healing on her followers by dealing with their mind and emotional problems. She is referred to as the best known woman in American religion, and she readily confesses that, to her, Jesus was just a man, but a man who was ordained of God to carry the burden of all the negative thoughts and feelings of all human beings who ever lived. And I believe, she said, that through the Holy Spirit, God can be in me just as He was in Jesus. Such a statement reveals that she has no revelation of who Jesus Christ actually was, (GOD IN FLESH). One of her influential admirers stated that he believes she is effective precisely because “she doesn’t carry around a 2,000-year-old bag of doctrines.” Tell me where a person could get a doctrine worth carrying, if they did not get it out of this 2,000-year-old Bible? We read in 2nd John 9, that, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, hath not God. He that abideth in the DOCTRINE 5 OF CHRIST, he hath both the Father and the Son.” Then verse 10, tells us, “If there come any unto you, and bring not this DOCTRINE, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: (THAT IS TO SAY GOD BLESS YOU) For he that biddeth him (or her) God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” Now you may say, “But, Bro. Jackson: People are being healed, and people are getting answers to their problems through the ministry of Sister ——.” Yes, I know, and she is leading everyone of them right to old mother Rome. As a matter of fact, one of the statements that was made in this article was that she feels most at home these days in the Roman Catholic church. Much of her ministry is with Catholic people, and it is stated that she frequently substitutes the Virgin Mary for Jesus in her guided meditations. She says Protestants would be surprised at the large number of miracle cases she has had with people who could not relate to anyone but Mary. She even goes so far as to say, “Who knows, maybe God was in Buddha just like he was in Jesus.” People like this have no more regard for Bible truth than a hog does for a nice clean spot in the barn yard, and world religion is falling for her kind of leadership, hook, line and sinker. You can hear testimonies for these meetings, where thousands got filled with the Holy Ghost, and great numbers healed from every conceivable disease, yet there is no truth among them. That is why we must ask ourselves the question, WHAT IS GOD TO CONFIRM? Many of these people are actually being healed, but I seriously doubt that very many of them are receiving the Holy Ghost: for if they receive the Holy Ghost, they will never stop until they find the truth that their soul hungers for. It makes no difference how many times they have laid on the floor, nor how many times they have talked in other languages, the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Truth, and he will not allow his vessel to be satisfied with Satan’s program of deception. It is written, that he will guide that person who is truly filled with him, into all truth, John 16:13.

 

RECOGNITION AND RECONCILIATION

 

Please do not misunderstand what I am trying to get you to see, and please do not think that I would lift a finger to stop any of the things that are taking place in the realm of religion: for I am fully persuaded that everything that is taking place, is fulfilling something that is foretold in the word of God. These things are not just happening; God is fulfilling His word, and He is not the least bit confused or discouraged, and we who know the truth, ought not to be either. With revelated people, it is a matter of recognizing the day we are living in, reconciling ourselves to the fact that world conditions are not going to get any better until Jesus comes to rule on earth, and learning how to walk with God, right in the midst of all these deceptions. You will remember that Jesus did not pray for His disciples to be taken out of the world before the time, but rather, that they should be kept from the evil that is in the world. Then what did He pray? John 17:17, “Sanctify them (Set them apart from the world. How?) through thy TRUTH: thy WORD IS TRUTH.” While the charismatics are raving about a worldwide revival, the bride is seeking to become settled in the word; knowing that what appears to be a great revival, is nothing more than a gathering together, to form the image of the beast. Remember, there has to be something to draw them together. That is why, when people say, “If we be the bride of Christ, why do we not have a miraculous ministry in our midst?” I always say, “If we had signs and miracles that attracted a lot of attention, that bunch out there, would be here, following the signs, instead of the word.” Look what a hard time Bro. William Branham had trying to preach the word of God with so many sign seekers present. Look what many of those sign seekers said about him, when he began to bear down hard on the oneness of the Godhead, and scriptural baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They began to say, he was right in the heart, (because of his compassion and love, which was easily recognized), but wrong in the head. Why? It was because he preached the word, from a revelation of the scriptures, and it was contrary to their man-made creeds, and their way of life. They go for this charismatic gospel, because there is nothing about it that demands a change in the way they are living. If they are homosexuals, they just love Jesus and keep on being homosexuals. These perverts and filthy dreamers are assuming the roles of leadership in many of the old line churches, and anyone who lifts a voice against it finds the odds are against them, and they are soon silenced. Go to the church of your choice, they say. Just as long as you love Jesus, it doesn’t make any difference whether we all believe alike or 6 not. What Bible does such garbage come out of? It doesn’t come out of any version that I have ever read. What thrills me though, Brothers and Sisters, is to see that elect seed of God work his way right through all of that, and come to the truth of God’s word. God knows His elect. He knows where every predestined seed is right now, and He knows how to lead them right out of the Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, or whatever church system they have been imprisoned in, and guide them right into his truth. He may, very well, heal their sick body, while they are still in one of those systems. I have no pick with a thing like that. It is God’s sovereign right to do anything that will further His purpose among mankind, but I do have a scriptural right to judge these things by the word of God, when I find people trying to build the kingdom of God with healing testimonies, and speaking in tongues, and such like. What God confirmed in the first church age was His word, and that is all we have any right to expect Him to confirm in this last age. It was when that Antichrist spirit began to invade the church in the first century, that the word of God began to be crucified. In other words, a little cut here, and a little cut there, until they had destroyed the power of the word of God in their midst. Then, in came man-made doctrines and traditions to replace those Bible doctrines which had been set in the church by the Holy Ghost. History proves that the church lost her signs and wonders that had been present to vindicate truth, and from there she went right on into the Dark Ages, where there was very little light left, but God preserved a little light through that dark period, and gave those reformers something to start with, as He began to move the church back to truth. History will also show that, every time God moved, through those reformers, to reveal a Bible truth, there was always a measure of the Holy Ghost that moved right into that revelation to vindicate it, and put God’s approval on it. I have said, many times, and I do not hesitate to say it again, Brother Branham did not restore the great Bible doctrines that our faith is established by, back to the church. God did that through the reformers, such as Luther, Knox, Calvin, and those other men who, through great persecution and conflict, stood for a truth that God revealed in their hour. The need for Bro. William Branham’s ministry was caused by the fact that, the followers of those reformers built denominational fences around the truth that came through their leader, so that, by the time Bro. William Branham came on the scene, there was a need for all of these Bible truths to be collected together and presented to the bride of Christ. That was Bro. William Branham’s calling, and he fulfilled it well. The spirit of Elijah that was upon him, is a God identifying spirit that points the way for believers to approach God. That spirit will cut down traditions of men, and point to Bible truth. It took that ministry, to give the living element of the bride of Christ something to hold on to, when God began to withdraw His spirit from the Gentiles here at the end of the age. We are now living in the days that the apostle Paul wrote about in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 8, 13, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (Is this not what we see all around us?) Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, (You know how it is today, when we try to live by our God-given convictions, especially out here in these factories where many Christians work, there is always one of these characters around to make fun, and to ridicule. If you continue to hold up a standard of truth and right living, they will despise you, but do not be alarmed, they are fulfilling scripture that must be fulfilled before we get out of here.) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; (We are living in a pleasure mad society. Everything is geared for pleasure. Necessary things are secondary.) Having a form of godliness, (This is the charismatics, and world religion in general.) But denying the power thereof: (They deny themselves of the true power of God, because they deny the truth,) from such turn away.” In verse 8, he says, “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” They want to believe only what is convenient for them. They want the benefits, without living the life. They do not want to be lost; they do not want to go to hell, and if they get sick, they want to be healed, but when you try to talk to them about truth, they get mad and stomp out, many times, telling you to mind your own business. They will believe what they want to believe. Then, those who do not get mad are usually the ones who will say, “Bro. Jackson: I don’t think it is so important what we believe, just as long as we have love one for another.” When you tell them they do not have any scripture for that kind of belief, they will say, “It seems more important that 7 we are right, in our spirit, than to worry about doctrine.” Let me tell you, when you get right, with God, and line your life up with His word, you will have the right spirit, and it will cause you to have love for one another. Then if you begin to go to seed on one certain scripture, so that you become haughty and proud, God has a verse or two somewhere in the Bible, that will deal with you about that too. That is why I say, when the true love of God is cultivated in the lives of those who make up the family of God, you will see a people who believe the same, and share the same revelation. Remember, the apostle Paul admonished the Christians of that first age to be of the same mind, one toward another, Rom. 12:16, 2 Cor. 13:11. He also told them to speak the same thing, that there be no divisions among them. This is ecumenism, the way God meant for it to work.

 

CHARISMATIC’S PURPOSE IN GOD’S PLAN

 

In Louisville, Kentucky they have a Catholic charismatic church where they meet on Saturday nights, and the entire time is spent praying and singing in tongues. It is open to all charismatic people, from all denominations. Do not think that I am belittling the experience of singing, or praying in other tongues, but Brothers and Sisters, when an entire service is built around that, some one has stepped over the word of God somewhere. The Bible doesn’t teach any such thing. God does not allow anything to have the preeminence over His word. Singing in the spirit is a wonderful thing, and I believe in it, but when it comes to conducting a church service, there must be something that will discipline and direct our lives in such a way that they will line up with the word of God. If not, it will not be too long until we are side-tracked, or even derailed. At any rate, you will need some help to get back on the main line, once this has happened, and that help can only come from someone who is on the right track themselves. The charismatics can not help you there, you must find your help from someone who has the revelated word. Let me go on record, right now, by stating what this charismatic movement is for, and what it is really doing. First, it is the spirit of delusion that the Holy Ghost inspired the apostle Paul to write about, in 2nd Thessalonians, chapter 2. We have used this scripture before, but let me re-state the fact that it says, “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, or, the lie, (Why?) Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” What is the result? Verse 12, “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Now, when was the delusion supposed to come? Not in the Dark Ages, and not in the period of the reformation, but in the last days, just before the revealing of the son of perdition, the mystery of iniquity. Who is the delusion meant for? Not the drunk on the street, nor the criminals who defy the law, but the pleasure seeking, loose living, religious world, that has gone after the signs, and rejected the revelated word of God. Now you know what a delusion is. A delusion is a mirage, something that looks real. I have read testimonies, and you have too, of men who were going across the desert and run out of water. (Water is the first thing the body begins to cry out for.) After awhile the body begins to dehydrate, affecting the psychological reactions of the person. Before too long the body dehydrates to a point where it causes the mentality of the person to become hysterical in its reactions. Then the eyesight is affected, and because it is water the body is crying out for, they finally get to the place where they imagine they see lakes of water on up ahead of them. They use every ounce of strength left in their body to run, crawl, and finally, to drag themselves on toward that imaginary lake of water. Most of them die, lying face down, as though they were drinking from a lake of water. Only a few have lived to tell the story from these extreme cases. Now, I ask you the question, what is a delusion? It is a state of mind. Brothers and Sisters, this delusion that looks so real to the church world in general, must continue to hang there until it has fulfilled the purpose of God. You will recall the parable in Matthew 25:1-13, dealing with this last age, when mankind was to be awakened by a shout, and made aware of the soon coming of Jesus Christ, who is to be the bridegroom, and is to be wedded to his true church. In the parable there were 5 wise, and 5 foolish virgins, and they all slumbered and slept, but when the shout came to awaken them, the wise, who had oil in their vessels, arose, and trimmed their lamps, but the foolish, who had neglected to fill their vessels with oil, (oil signifying the Holy Ghost) began to say to the wise, “Give us some of your oil; our lamps have gone out.” The wise answered them, “We cannot do that lest there be not enough for us and you: (The Holy Ghost that you have is just enough for you; you cannot give 8 part of him to someone else.) But go ye rather to them that sell, (the charismatics) and buy for yourselves.” In other words, go out there where they specialize in that type of ministry, and find your own experience with the Holy Ghost. Brothers and Sisters, that is the other reason why the charismatics must continue awhile yet. So that every foolish virgin will have an opportunity to get oil in their vessel. Can you see it now? First, a delusion for them that have no love for the truth, and secondly a filling station for the foolish virgins who have waited too long, before they come to realize that there is a truth to stand for, and you must have the Holy Ghost in order to stand for it. Maybe we could say it a little differently. They wake up, out of their denominations where they have always believed in a rapture of the church, and are made to realize that it takes the Holy Ghost in your life in order to be in the rapture. That is when they begin to inquire about he Holy Ghost, and they are told to go to those places where they deal in a message of baptism of the Holy Ghost. That is their main ministry, and it is serving a purpose, fulfilling the parable that Jesus spoke. Every word in the Bible must be fulfilled; therefore it is necessary for there to be something around to fulfill it. Some of you will say, “Bro. Jackson: could they get the Holy Ghost here?” Yes, a hungry soul can be filled with the Holy Ghost any time, and any place that they fully submit themselves to God, but that is not our main ministry here. We are trying to stand for a message of truth, that will work to perfect those who are born of the spirit of God, and those people who are seeking to be filled with the spirit of God, want to hear preaching that deals mainly with that.

 

THE DOCTRINE WITHOUT THE REALITY

 

This Pentecostal message, that began to be preached around the turn of the twentieth century, has produced an interesting drama over the past 70 years. In the beginning, all the denominations treated the experience of Pentecost like something Satanic. Their doctors of divinity wrote books, condemning the experience of speaking in tongues, and being slain in the spirit. That is what kept the denominations as a whole, away from it. Only the spiritually hungry individuals from those systems, who dared to face the ridicule and reproach of their family and friends, sought the baptism of the Holy Ghost in those early days. The fundamentalist who rejected the experience caused the whole of denominationalism to move through the next 50 odd years, blinded. The Methodists who were sanctified, wound up being crankified. They built all their Bible schools on the doctrine, D-O-C-T-R-I-–E, of sanctification, and the question was, Is it instantaneous, or progressive? Later, as they thought, theoretically, they had the doctrine of it all straightened out, they found that they had lost the experience of sanctification, the reality of the experience. That is why you see Methodism today, just as formalistic and dead as all the rest. They have the doctrine of sanctification, but they do not have the reality of the experience. That is why, if God had not sent us a prophet messenger in this age, we would all still be wrapped up tight in one of those systems, headed for a calamity. I do not elaborate on the human side of the man, but I do like to give credit where credit is due. If God had not raised up someone with a spiritual vision, and an insight into the word of God, how would any of us ever have gotten free from our spiritual bondage? But thank God, he raised up a little man by the name of William Marrion Branham, and placed a gift in his life that, to me, outshined every other manifestation that has taken place down through the years of church history since the days when Jesus walked on earth among men. I see it as, God manifesting the same gift to the Gentiles in this age, as He did to the Jews, through the Lord Jesus Christ. I realize when I say a thing like this, there are those who will say, “Be careful what you say Bro. Jackson.” I do not deify the flesh of our dear departed brother, but I certainly do have respect for what I saw God do through that little man. I have never read, nor heard, where any other man except Jesus Christ himself, including the apostles, ever was used in the way Bro. William Branham was. I have seen them stand 18 or 20, in a line, and he would stand there revealing the very secret things of their lives. In other words, things that he, from the human standpoint would not have known. Then he would pause, lift his head, and look way back in those large auditoriums to call out a particular person that the Lord revealed to him, telling that person what state they were from, calling their name, and many times giving their address, street number and city, perfect every time, then proceed to tell them what they were praying for and pronounce it done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. That was exactly as it was the day Nathaniel came to Jesus, and Jesus told him 9 that he saw him when he was still under the fig tree, before Phillip called him. The fig tree, no doubt, was quite a distance from where they were; therefore, as soon as Jesus said that, Nathaniel answered and said unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. You see, Nathaniel knew the scriptures; therefore, he had no trouble recognizing the Messiah they had been expecting for so long. He knew this had to be God fulfilling His word. The reason some people believe Bro. William Branham was God, is because they saw him doing the same things that Jesus did. The difference lies in the fact that there is scripture to vindicate Jesus Christ as being God in the flesh, and there is not one verse anywhere in the Bible that gives anyone the right to apply that to any other man. However, there is scripture that tells us that God would send that spirit of Elijah to forerun the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that is exactly what the ministry of Bro. William Branham fulfilled. He brought a message to this age, and God vindicated it in a miraculous way, because His message was destined to draw a people out of these denominations, and set them apart as the true church of the Living God. I know what some men have done with it. They have brought disgrace upon the message, and reproach upon the name of the man who was God’s instrument, causing the denominational systems to proclaim, “It is all of the devil,” without realizing that their rejection of the message he brought is driving them back, back, back right into the arms of the Antichrist. They are so proud of their traditional interpretation of what they call the word of God, that they cannot afford to bend and admit that they are wrong, so they just stand there with their fist clinched, losing more ground with God every day. But praise God, He knows how to get His elect out of those systems. He begins to expose them to just enough to create a hunger in their individual souls, then He fills them with His spirit, which is the Spirit of truth, and by the leading of that Spirit, they come to realize that they cannot remain in those systems. The more their leaders condemn this message, the stronger the desire to hear more about it. Then as they begin to hear it, as it should be preached, truth strikes their heart, and the Holy Ghost being there to bear witness to it, they are lead to a people who stand for, and teach that truth. To sum up the situation in few words, the bride is being washed with the word, the foolish virgins are seeking oil, with very little regard for the revelated word, and religion as a whole, is running straight to Rome, right in to the arms of the Antichrist.

 

SEPARATING – PURIFYING

 

Realizing what the charismatic move is, (that delusion sent from God to those who have no love for truth), and realizing what God is using it for, (to supply the foolish virgins with oil), we know that the movement will, of necessity, have to circle the globe before the end comes. Do not ever allow yourself to think that the wise virgins come only from North America. No, the church of the Living God is a universal church, made up of people from every little section of the whole world. Therefore, if this message be what we believe it to be, a revelation, and restoration of the true apostolic gospel, then it will have to be preached around this world until every elected and predestined soul has had a chance to hear it. Twelve years ago when God took His prophet off of the scene, certain ones began to teach that Jesus Christ was off of the mercy seat, that there is no more salvation, and God will not do this, or that any more, because the prophet is gone. Let me be quick to tell you, more people have hear this message since Bro. William Branham’s death, than they ever did while he was alive. There is no use for you to disagree with my statement. If you care enough, you can check it for yourself. While he was alive, people the world over heard about him as a man who had a miraculous ministry, but they knew very little about the doctrine of Christ that he stood for. Very few of those people in foreign lands, who were touched by his ministry, ever knew what he stood for, and preached, doctrinally, but now, the world over, people know what he represented doctrinally, to this age. They now know what he taught, plus all of what various ones claim he taught. Yes, it is sad, but they have this message, as well as all the confusion that seems to go along with it. They have it in Africa, they have it in India, Norway, Canada, the Philippines and every other place that we are in contact with. If we could look at the scriptures right we would have no trouble realizing that it must be like that in order to fulfill prophecy, for those spirits that follow this message have a purifying and refining affect on the pure seed. Any farmer knows you do not blow the straw out of the back end of a combine with wind. The straw rack carries it back. That is what this big ecumenical movement is, as far as separating that which 10 obviously does not belong in the bride of Christ. In our natural parallel, the farmer must use a fan and screens to get all the husk, culls, and little beat up bits of straw out of the grain. That is what all of this foolishness that follows this message is. It is the fan in Christ’s hand, to fan away every carnal person who does not have a genuine revelation in his heart. That is why I have said over and over again, “If a person is truly filled with the Holy Ghost, they will not take off and follow after every carnal teaching that someone comes along with.” These things will not move you off of the word of God. It is written that Jesus will thoroughly purge His floor in his word. He does not pile straw on His word, He piles the pure grain on His word. Knowing that the scripture says, His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, we ought to take courage when we feel like we are being tossed and turned. Remember, He will roll us around a bit, on His word, but He will never blow us off of it. His fan is working to blow all impurities from the true seed grain. To make it as plain as possible, let me say it another way. In every assembly of believers, there are usually a few who, even though they come regular, and take part in the service every chance they get, they still do not have a revelation of the word of God in their spirit; therefore, they are very likely to go running off after some other teaching, when it is presented to them. Or they are likely to become offended if the anointed word strikes them a little hard. Do not fret about this, though, for it is the purpose of God to thoroughly purge His bride church before the end comes. What better way could He have chosen to do it, than to let the winds of false teaching blow through our midst every so often, either in the assembly or in the community. He doesn’t have to worry about the genuine seed who is filled with the Holy Ghost; they will not run after every wind that blows. They are patiently waiting for the Lord to reveal His word to them in the proper fashion. When you come to realize that God has a five fold, apostolic ministry set in the church, for the perfecting of the saints, it isn’t necessary to beat the bushes all the time trying to stir up something. At any rate though, God’s fan is working and the floor is being purged. That is why it is necessary for this charismatic thing to look exactly like the genuine Pentecostal experience. If it didn’t, it could not serve it’s purpose as a delusion.

 

 THE EVIDENCE

 

One man told of an experience he and his wife had when they accepted an invitation from a strange girl they met in a town out west, to go home with her, for she was excited about the gospel. They found themselves in a sorcerer’s house, and while they were sitting there they heard someone suddenly begin speaking in tongues and praising God. When they inquired, and were shown into the next room, they were astonished to find that it was a very beautiful parrot that had been trained to speak in tongues. That man asked a question after he finished telling this story, and this is what it was, “Does that mean that parrot was saved and filled with the Holy Ghost?” We all know better than that, but it had the evidence, didn’t it? If speaking in tongues is the evidence of the Holy Ghost, you would sure have to admit, that parrot had the evidence. Another interesting thing was what the archbishop from England was heard to say in a Kansas City charismatic meeting. “IF YOU THINK THIS IS GLORIOUS NOW, JUST WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR, WHEN WE ARE ALL UNDER ONE HEAD.” Now we all know what that was having reference to, whether it comes next year or not. Certainly it can not be long now, until the Antichrist moves upon the scene as a great peace maker and head of the church. In the meantime those assemblies which at one time stood for the Pentecostal message, such as the U.P.C., the APOSTOLIC FAITH CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST, the PENTECOSTAL HOLINESS, the CHURCH OF GOD OF PROPHECY, and others, only have a lot of noise, and very little truth. They yell louder, scream and holler louder, pray louder, and lay on the floor speaking in tongues. Then later you can find them in the wash room gargling a sore throat. I believe in worshiping God too, and I believe some noise goes with it, but I do not agree that we ought to major in the noise area. They explain it by pointing to the fact of all the noise in heaven. I agree that there is noise in heaven; there are some creatures there that never cease, day nor night, to cry HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, but their throat never gets sore; that is their job, and they never have to gargle a sore throat. They were not made to come down here and plow corn, or combine wheat. That is our job. Their job is to cry HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, day and night, before the throne of God and they do not get hoarse doing 11 it. Some people have the idea, the louder they get, the more power with God they have. That is not true at all. Sometimes they get so loud that God cannot break through the atmosphere to speak to them anymore. I believe there is a Holy Ghost noise that God is really in, and I am fully persuaded that there is a carnal noise that God will have nothing to do with, and some people cannot tell the difference between the two. Brothers and sisters, I have seen the Holy Ghost lift people up into a state of ecstasy where they would sing like a lark, but I believe people are so guilty, anymore, of just making noise, that it has come to a place where that is all they know how to do. In other words truth has been left behind, and they have compromised on just about every conviction they ever had, until noise is all they have left. That is all they have to fool people with. Saints, please do not misunderstand what I am saying. I do not mean to imply that truth will shut us up and make us quiet; not that at all, but it will cause us to know when to open our mouth, and also, when it would be best to keep it closed. Truth will keep us in the middle of the road, and it will be the right road too: with a proper balance of word and spirit. GLOSSOLALIA It is sometimes very amusing to look back to the beginning of what is now called the charismatic movement. As the great healing and deliverance crusades began to taper off, and many of the outstanding preachers of those movements compromised with the devil, there began to come into focus something to take its place, something that would eventually be known as the charismatic movement. In the beginning, we will say, in the early 50’s, when attention began to be focused on the experience of speaking in tongues, those fundamentalists from the various denominations insisted on referring to the experience as glossolalia, which is nothing more than a Greek word to dress up the experience of tongue chatter. They did not want to be identified with the old Pentecostal Holiness movement that they had been so quick to condemn in the past; therefore they referred to their new experience as glossolalia, and it was confined mostly to small house meetings and places of that sort. Before long you began hearing testimonies of how Dr. So and So., from the Baptist Theological Seminary had this wonderful experience with the Lord, and this bishop from such a place, and father So and So, a priest from the Catholic Church. Then they began to come out in the open with it, having these great men stand for hours, giving their testimonies of how the Lord had moved upon them in the experience of speaking in tongues, and how he had healed their bodies from sickness and disease, and many of them told how circumstances had working in their lives since their experience, to make them very wealthy. All of that generated more and more interest until it has reached the place where we see it today. Deliverance evangelists, such as Oral Roberts, W.V.Grant, and dozens of others, had to join the ranks of the glossolalia people in order to keep going. I never will forget a question that was asked of Bro. William Branham, back in the early stages of this movement. Someone said, “Bro. Branham, what about all this glossolalia movement?” (NOT AN EXACT QUOTE) He answered, “This is foolish virgins going to seek oil.” Now, if that be true, and I believe it was, then, let us watch and see what has transpired since then. As we said, it has moved out of the basements, and the home-type meeting places, and captured the No. 1 spot in religion, the world over. It is no longer referred to as glossolalia, (tongue chatter) but it has taken on a more sophisticated title, charisma, which speaks of special charm, special favor, or special appeal; therefore, the same movement is now referred to as the charismatics; and their special charm and appeal is attracting people by the thousands. Even people who sat under the teaching of truth for years, are now being drawn to that, because of the signs. That is the reason we are safe to call it a delusion. People who never really had a revelation of the word of God, even though they sat in the congregation where the word was being taught, are being drawn to that by the signs. Their minds are becoming deluded to the point where they expect God to confirm the signs with His word, and His only obligation is to CONFIRM HIS WORD WITH SIGNS, and we cannot force him to do that. He does it for His own glory. FULL GOSPEL BUSINESS MEN 12 The Full Gospel Business Mens Fellowship, which was in existence before glossolalia began to be promoted, used to push Brother Branham as one of their principal speakers. That was in the early years when they were looked upon as more of a deliverance movement, but the time came when they had to make a choice, whether to go with the word, (for they had their opportunity to line up with the truth), or align with the glossolalia. We all know what their choice was. Every time you hear anything about them, they are promoting some man’s or person’s dramatic testimony. This month it may be the testimony of a convicted murderer: all with a heart stirring testimony of how the grace of God has worked in their lives. I know what some of you are thinking, without you even bothering to say it. You are thinking, “Bro. Jackson, what is wrong with that?” Well, I will tell you what is wrong with it. In the first place, those testimonies are all they have. They do not have one bit of basic apostolic teaching that could help an honest hearted person become established in truth, and secondly, what is even worse is, they do just like Billy Graham and all the rest who have a ministry that stirs the emotions of people. They tell them to go back to their church and stay there, as a witness to what God has done in their lives. At a time when the person needs to be taught the first principles of the oracles of God, which would equip them with something worth standing for, they are sent back to an old, cold, denominational church, with nothing but an experience to hold on to, with the commission to be a witness in their church. What can the poor souls witness to? A witness is required to tell what they have seen and heard, and hearsay testimony is not acceptable in any court of man, so why should God settle for something that is not good enough for man? Therefore, all they have to tell, many times, is what they felt when the spirit of God was strong upon them. It is no wonder they are soon discouraged to the point where they fall right back into the same old rut they were in before. Now, you will say, “Bro. Jackson, maybe such people were not predestined to follow truth.” That may be true, but they have been counted and advertised among the thousands who supposedly got saved and filled with the Holy Ghost in such and such a meeting. There is your delusion. It makes these movements appear to be a great move of God toward a world-wide revival, but those who are familiar with the word of God know that such a thing at this late hour of this age, would be contrary to the scriptures. I am thankful to God for every dope addict, murderer, prostitute, or anyone else that truly receives the gospel in a salvation experience, and I enjoy hearing the testimonies of such people, but to think such testimonies would call the bride of Jesus Christ out of this world of filth and corruption is ridiculous. Don’t ever thing that they did not have drug addiction, prostitution, and such like, in that first age. These are not new vices; they are just revived with more intensity since the gospel light has begun to leave the Gentiles. Do you think those seven devils that Jesus cast out of Mary Magdalene, all pertained to insanity? I seriously doubt that. I believe she was a woman that could be looked upon as one of the lowest, trashy people that you could find anywhere, yet, when Jesus got through with her, she was looked upon as one of the sisters that ministered to him, even to his grave. But, tell me, where can you find any place where apostles put her up to give her testimony when they had a crowd of people gathered together? Take the time for instance, when that bunch of politicians had those apostles arrested and thrown into jail. When the angel came to loose their bonds and lead them to a place outside of the prison gates, he told them to go stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of his life. There was probably hundreds of Christians down there, who had a living testimony of what Jesus had done for them while He was here in corporal flesh, but this business of building the church as the pillar and ground of truth, was not going to be accomplished by having people listen to healing testimonies from those in the congregation. Lazarus was probably standing around there someplace. He could have given a wonderful testimony on how wonderful it feels to have been raised from the dead. If this charismatic bunch had Lazarus, they would have him up in every meeting they could get him to, and anyone would enjoy hearing such a testimony, bu the church is built upon a revelation of truth. It can be, and is, made up of people who have come from all walks of life, some having been saved in a miraculous way, but it is all a result of someone preaching the gospel of truth to them. You let someone stand up in one of those charismatic meetings and begin to testify how God has led them to truth, and see what kind of reception they get. That is not what they want to hear in those places. A testimony of healing, or deliverance from Satan’s bondage in some other area, is a thrilling thing, but it serves no purpose in vindicating the word of truth; it only serves to call attention to the grace and mercy of a sovereign God. Many people who have had miraculous 13 healings in their body, never did become Christians. Should they be trying to minister to people who are hungering after God? Yes, there are a few who are genuinely seeking God when they go to those meetings, while there are others who just go for the excitement of it all. Nevertheless, it has grown to such a magnitude that it has caught the attention of Pentecostals, and they have all jumped into the same barrel, oneness and trinity together, and they are dragging along on the tail-end of the movement, when they ought to be the very ones leading this message of truth we are in, being the recipients of the last major truth that God restored to His church, just before the prophet messenger came on the scene. As we said earlier, God began to pour out His spirit upon people, right around the turn of the twentieth century. Then, not too many years later, Pentecost split into two branches, as one group began to receive the revelation of the oneness of God, and water baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the group that should be leading this message of truth. They should have accepted Luther’s revelation of faith in God, Calvin’s revelation of eternal security, predestination by John Knox, sanctification by John Wesley, and added it to their baptism of the Holy Ghost, and their godhead revelation. This would have put them into a leadership spot in the real thing, instead of dragging along on the tail end of a delusion. Naturally it could not have been like that, for the book of Malachi, promising to send the prophet Elijah, to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, had already been written, and had to be fulfilled. But, just for the sake of pinpointing the oneness Pentecost movement: I said, they should have been the ones leading this message of truth.

 

REVIEWING SOME OF BABYLON

 

It gives one a strange feeling to review the history of the reformation. For instance, you couldn’t get a Methodist to believe in eternal security of the believer, for they would say, “The Baptist’s believe that, once saved, always saved, doctrine, and we know that is of the devil.” Then on the other hand, you had the Baptist’s who would not believe the message of sanctification, for theoretically, they were convinced that a person must sin a little each day, yet, some of those Baptists who did not believe in sanctification were just as sanctified as any Methodist could ever hope to be. Then when you look back at some of those old time Methodists, you realize they had just as much eternal security as anyone else, for they had a genuine experience with God which gave them the benefit of the provision, even though their eyes had not been opened to receive the revelation of it, and because it was not yet time to take all those doctrinal truths and put them back together again, Babylonianism was formed, a mass of confusion. The charismatics feel that they have found the secret formula for eliminating the confusion among denominations: that is, to get them all to forget their differences, love one another, and worship together, regardless of what they each believe. In reality, that has only added to the confusion. Now, most of them do not know what they believe. I could not help but notice, as I read one of those articles dealing with this great movement of brotherly love, recently, who some of the main speakers at their international conventions were. Names are unimportant at this time, but I will say, priests and nuns from the Catholic church topped the list of speakers. Then, in one of the pictures it showed Jimmy Carter’s sister, who claims to be a preacher, an evangelist for the charismatic’s, standing there with a big Catholic cross hanging on her chest. That has just about as much virtue in it, as carrying a fishing pole, when you are going to the market to buy beef. People have gone absolutely crazy with this thing of wearing something around their neck that will make them look like a Christian. Every bit of that is vain, and completely without the least bit of virtue, but that is world religion in our day. At Topeka, Kansas was David du Pessis, along with Catholic priests and nuns as their main speakers.

 

 MR. PENTECOST

 

I believe it was in 1964, when David du Plessis felt he was inspired of God to go to Rome and witness his Pentecostal experience to the Vatican Ecumenical council, which was established for the sole purpose of winning Protestantism back into the Roman ranks, and that he did. Before very long many of those priests were 14 found to be visiting glossolalia meetings. Then they began receiving the experience of speaking in tongues, just like the Protestants were doing, and the news of it was broadcast all over Europe. It was right along about that time, I made this statement, “If the Pope ever speaks in tongues, all of Pentecost will run and jump right into his lap.” Now I have not heard that the Pope has spoken in tongues, but I have read, and no doubt, many of you have too, how that, some time ago there were literally thousand of the world’s charismatics, standing in front of St. Peter’s Basilica waiting for the Pope to come out to address them. David du Plessis was among those on the front row when the Pope came out, and it was stated that the Pope pointed his finger toward David and said, “You are Mr. Pentecost.” He was a well known figure in trinity Pentecost, having held the presidency of the Pentecostal World Conference in Stockholm, Sweden, and there is now a book on the market, written about Mr. Du Plessis, explaining how he felt he was led to do what he has done. He has helped to turn Pentecostals around, and tie them, as an organization, to the Vatican, the false church. Now I ask you once again, “What is this charismatic movement doing to fulfill the word of God?” No. 1, they are bundling tares with their deception, fulfilling Matthew 13:40-42, and the strong delusion that holds them spellbound is fulfillment of 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, and because they furnish a place where the foolish virgins can go to receive oil, (the Holy Ghost), they are fulfilling Matthew 25:1-12. Now I want to take a few minutes to elaborate on verse 10 which reads like this, “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” The wise had said to the foolish, “We cannot give you our oil, but you can go to them that sell, (those who merchandise the baptism of the Holy Ghost), and buy for yourselves.” Then we come to the verse I just read, and many people are prone to believe the statement, “And the door was shut” means the rapture had already taken place when the foolish virgins returned, after getting oil in their vessels. Brothers and sisters, the wise going in with the bridegroom and the door being shut, cannot possible pertain to the rapture of the church. Remember, this parable has to apply to the wise and foolish virgins in every little area on this old globe; therefore if you can make the foolish virgin part of it work as an instantaneous thing, then I will have to agree that the wise element could be raptured instantaneously, but you cannot make the part pertaining to the foolish, an instant thing, for, since it is a world wide thing, it will necessarily involve a period of time, and furthermore, if it pertained to the rapture, and someone suddenly called out, “Here comes Jesus,” what would the wise virgins have time to do in the way of trimming their lamps, when the apostle Paul makes it very clear in 1 Cor. 15:51-52, that the resurrection of the dead and the translation of the living element of the bride will take place in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. If that still does not convince you, then think about this, it was a midnight cry that awakened the virgins, and when it is midnight here, it is already 7:00 in the morning over in the middle east. Now I ask you, How could there be anything take place instantly, at midnight, all over the world? Let us look at it realistically now; the midnight cry covers a period of time when the prophet to this age was calling to the bride of Christ to come out of these denominations and prepare themselves to meet the Lord Jesus who is soon to return for her. Those who are to make up the true bride (the wise virgins) have been coming out of those systems, and going into a revelation of truth. That covers a period of time also, and going into that revelation of truth involves a purifying and perfecting process that is not accomplished suddenly, but nevertheless, by the time those foolish virgins have heard or seen something out there in the ranks of Catholicism and the charismatics, that causes them to turn around and seek the word of God, the little bride will have already reached her state of perfection and be shut up in her revelation with Jesus the bridegroom, ready to take her flight. There will not be enough time left to take in the foolish virgins, and perfect them. That is why it is said to them, “The door is shut.” Then as they cry, “Lord, open the door and let us in,” he answers, “I never knew you, or, I know you not,” meaning, he has not had an opportunity to know them intimately. It doesn’t mean that he had no knowledge of them at all. Probably the thing that turns the foolish virgins around will be a law or decree, or a statement from the Papacy, concerning Israel, or the rapture of the church. Every genuine foolish virgin, charismatic person, believes in the restoration of Israel, and the rapture of the church, according to Bible prophecy, just the same as the wise virgins do. That is why I believe it will be some contrary word or deed on the part of the Papacy, that will cause the foolish virgins who are out shopping for oil, to flee from the system, and seek the word of God, for it is common knowledge that the Catholics do not hold that same belief. 15 Regardless of what it may be, something will cause those foolish virgins, who are out there enjoying those charismatic meetings while they are seeking the Holy Ghost, to come to their senses, flee those systems, and try to get into this revelation of truth, but it will be too late. The bride will already be lined up with the word, and God will be moving on the scene, vindicating His word through them. In other words, the last bride person who makes up the complete bride, has already moved into her revelation of the word of God, and the door to the revelated word is closed to bride candidates. You know how these tourist motels operate: when they rent their last room they put up a no vacancy sign, and then they do not even open the door, when someone else tries to get in. It will be the same way when this parable reaches that stage of its fulfillment. I have said many times, there will not be one extra plate at the table when the bride of Christ is ushered in to the marriage feast, neither will there be anyone there without a place at the table. God keeps a perfect record.

 

FAITHFULNESS LEADS TO SEPARATION

 

Now, I will ask you again, “What is God to confirm?” Thunders? Deity of Bro. William Branham? Bro. William Branham being the white horse rider? Every one of you know, as well as I do, that God is not going to confirm any such nonsense as that. He will confirm His word. He has left us to be dealt with by His word, to mold within us a character that can only be molded with truth, and that truth creates within us a determination to be loyal to truth. Spiritual fornication is out of the question, for there is no more desire to fool around with those trinity systems. Like Jesus said in Luke 9:62, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Therefore, when you see truth, the natural result is for it to separate you from something or someone, or both. Sometimes it will even separate us from our own families, and that is in line with the scriptures, regardless of what some of you may have heard. The very words of Jesus, in Matthew 10:34-38, make that crystal clear to us. “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I come not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” I believe there are some of you out there who are truly desiring a greater experience with the Lord, because you have heard truth, and you have determined to follow it. Maybe some of you have not yet received the Holy Ghost, but you know you have heard truth. Stick with that truth. God will do His part, and give you the Holy Ghost when you submit yourself to Him. Some of you may not know it, but when the Holy Ghost began to fall at Azusa Street, in Los Angeles, California, the man who was the main instrument in the hands of God, did not even have the Holy Ghost himself when he went to California to preach. Ole Brother Seymour, a Nazarene, had contacted the Nazarene church in Los Angeles, and went there for a meeting. But just before he left for California, he heard a message on the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on a group in Topeka, Kansas. (They had an initial outpouring Jan. 1, 1901, which was 5 years before Azusa Street.) He believed what he heard, and determined that he must have this experience he had just heard about himself. He thought to himself, “If I go to California I will have to preach this message, even though I have not had the experience myself.” After thinking it over, he was about ready to cancel the meeting, but as he kept on praying about the matter he felt led to go ahead with it, knowing he would present this message of the Holy Ghost to them, there. When he began the meetings, he started slowly to build up to what he wanted to present to them. Then, before too long, Ole Bro. Seymour, (who was a colored man), came out with the baptism of the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues. It split that Nazarene church wide open, but it started something that will be long remembered in religious circles far and near. Those who liked what they heard that night, went with Bro. Seymour, and rented a building, where Bro. Seymour stood night after night preaching about the baptism of the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues. Then one night, one of those who had come with him fell right out in the spirit. It wasn’t long until he began speaking in tongues. (I am telling you this, Brothers and Sisters, to show you how God honored that man’s revelation.) Night after night he kept on preaching it, and Nazarene after Nazarene received the experience. Then one night Bro. Seymour himself, 16 was slain in the spirit, and that was actually what forerun the great outpouring of the Holy Ghost at Azusa Street that lasted for three years. That man was loyal to something he believed, and God honored his faithfulness, in due course. That is why I say, “If you know what truth is, stand by it; it will not be in vain.” God is going to allow something to come along to test us from time to time, but if we will stand by truth, He will confirm that. Then, one of these days, that bunch out there is going to come knocking, and those who have stood for truth will already be shut in with the Lord, and he will not open the bride perfecting truth to them. That does not mean they will be lost. But they will have to give their lives to martyrdom, to wash their robes and make them white during the great tribulation. Remember, it was said to John, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the lamb.” You see, that group had white robes, which were robes of salvation, but take a look at what the bride is wearing, when John speaks of her in Revelation 19:7-8. He heard the voice of what sounded like a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”

 

WHO ARE THE FOOLISH?

 

When the bride is seen at the marriage supper, she is not only wearing something white, she is dressed in fine linen. This, of course, points to the fact that she is dressed in the purest and most costly material there is. His wife is going to be wedded to him in a pure revelation of the word of God. There is nothing else for the bride to dress herself with, but the word of God. A right revelation of the word, handled with a proper attitude, will produce righteousness in our lives. It seems that there are too many people with the idea that the Lord Jesus will dress them properly at the time of the translation; therefore they do not feel the urgency of the day we are living in. As a result, many who have referred to themselves as the bride of Christ in former days, are now, back out in the world, and many of them are living like the devil. Some of them have returned to the denominations for one reason or another. Do you think that kind of attitude will be accepted with the Lord? The scripture plainly tells us in Revelation 19:7, which we have already read, that his wife (the bride) hath made herself ready. When did she do that? Was it a few hours before the rapture? No, the bride (who was foreknown by him before the foundation of the world), is busy right now, washing herself with the waters of his word, and getting dressed in a revelation that sets her apart from the world. Some will even ask, can these be foolish virgins that are going out from our ranks and returning to the denominations? Let me just remind you once again, who the foolish virgins are. They are people who have been in denominations, believing the Bible as far as their understanding would allow them, believing in the second coming of the Lord, and looking for the rapture of the church. Then there comes a time when they realize that it really is necessary to have the baptism of the Holy Ghost to be in the rapture. This is when they are trying to trim their lamps and get them burning again. Now I believe, right here is where the parable states something that many are not able to understand. That is where (Matt. 25:8-9), the foolish say to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, our lamps have gone out,” and the wise answer them saying, “Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.” Brothers and sisters, remember, this is a parable; you will not find these exact words being spoken in reality. The situation is this, every Bible truth that those people have believed through the years carried a certain amount of the spirit of God in it. Remember, Jesus said in John 6:63, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” Therefore, when the basic truth’s that the various denominations believe and stand for, went forth in their hour of the reformation, they were spoken and believed, by the anointing of the spirit of God. Through the years they have lost the spirit. All they have left is cold doctrine, and legalism; therefore as certain individuals from those systems begin to hear Bible truths that stir their heart in these last days, one of the things that they are hearing is that the baptism of the Holy Ghost is absolutely necessary, and essential to a proper and acceptable relationship with God. That is when they begin to inquire, “How can I get 17 this experience for my own life?” The most common answer to that question is, go to such and such a place. They have a call for those who are seeking the Holy Ghost, in every service. Naturally, when they begin to go to those meetings and get caught up in the excitement of all that they are seeing and hearing they become spellbound by it all. They think, I have finally found what I have been searching for, and they get so wrapped up in what is going on in those meetings (healings and various other miracles), that they take no time to think of the fact that there must be a truth, a revelation to stand for along with this newly discovered experience. Time passes on until, when they finally do realize that, there is a revelation of truth to stand for, and come looking for it, the bride will have already moved into the final stages of her perfection. As I said earlier it will be too late to begin a perfection process on a new batch, for it will be very close to the time for the perfected bride to be called to the marriage feast.

 

FATE OF FOOLISH VIRGINS

 

In the 12th verse we find some more words that people misunderstand when they read the parable. It is where Jesus says to this group, “I know you not.” That causes the natural mind to think, “They are not even saved, the Lord doesn’t even know them.” The first thing to remember is, those foolish virgins went to get oil, knowing that they had to have it; therefore they would not have come back, trying to get in, if they had gotten no oil. But the fact that they do have oil, (the baptism of the Holy Ghost), proves that they are saved, even though they are not in the bride realm, and the fact that the Lord said, “I know you not,” simply means that he had not had that intimate relationship with them, that he has had with the bride. What does that leave for them? What will happen to them? Let me insert another question that people ask about these foolish virgins, and my answer will cover both questions. Some have wondered if their grandfather, or their grandmother, or some other person who never had opportunity to hear what we have heard, will be a foolish virgin? No, God has had bride people from every church age. People who believed, and lived, all the truth that was available to them in their day, but there has never been another age when there could have been foolish virgins to fit the parable in Matthew 25. You will notice, in Matt. 24 Jesus is speaking of a time when he will come suddenly, a time when two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left, a time when it will be as it was before the flood, when they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they did not even notice what was going on until the flood came and took them all away. He says it will be like that when he comes again. Using those last verses of the 24th chapter to speak along these lines, he comes down to the 1st verse of chapter 25, and says, “THEN shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” The word THEN, identifies the time of the fulfillment of this parable. God will deal with people from every other age according to the way they believed, and received the revelation of His word, given in their day. But, here at the end of the Gentile age, there must be a large group of people to fulfill this parable. Every last one of them will give their lives in martyrdom. We pointed out earlier that the group seen by John in his vision, the great multitude which no man could number, included this vast number of foolish virgins. A group that had white robes, (robes of salvation ), but had to clean them up by giving their lives in martyrdom when the beast (during the time of the great tribulation), will demand that they renounce faith in God and take His mark or be killed. Some of you may be thinking, “Bro. Jackson, how do you know that?” Simply by rightly dividing the word of truth. In Revelation 13:15, we learn that as many as will not worship the image of the beast should be killed. Then in verses 16-17, we read, “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” By looking at this we are able to know what those who are left here when the rapture takes place will be subjected to, and those foolish virgins will have had sufficient warning, not to receive the mark of the beast, nor identify in any way with that Antichrist system, for those who do so will be damned. For the proof of that, we will go into the 14th chapter of Revelation, and begin reading with the 9th verse. We have just published a message titled, The Everlasting Gospel, with these scriptures explained in it, 18 but some of you may not have read that message so let us read these verses. “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. That should be enough to convince anyone that those who receive the mark of the beast will be damned, and those who refuse the mark will be killed by the beast. The next question then is, “How do we know the foolish virgins will not take the mark? So we will turn over to chapter 20, which deals with a period just after the battle of Armageddon is over with, and is leading into the thousand years when Jesus Christ will reign on earth. Verse 1, “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.” Now, saints, remember, the devil is a spirit, and you cannot put a huge log chain on a spirit. This is symbolic language that shows us, the devil will be forbidden, by God, to manifest himself in any way during the thousand years of restoration, commonly called the Millennium. Verse 3, “And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years shall be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” We know that the devil will be making his last great stand in this age, trying to defeat and change the plan of God for mankind during the time of the great tribulation. But we have just read scripture that lets us know, the tribulation is over, and the world order is being set for the millennial reign of Christ. So we will get the answer to the rest of our question from verse 4, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the WITNESS OF JESUS, (only the foolish virgins will have a witness for Jesus after the bride is gone, so this pertains to them), and for the WORD OF GOD, (Jews in dispersion among the nations, who do not have a witness of Jesus, but they will not renounce their faith in Jehovah God; therefore they are beheaded also, because they hold to the word of God). Now some of you may say, “Could not this be those who have been martyred down through the ages? How do we know it only applies to those who go into the tribulation? Because there has never been another time in history when saints were martyred for the reasons given here in the remainder of verse 4. Let us read it. “Which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Do you see now why this could not pertain to any other period of time other than what we stated? There has never been a time when anyone was faced with taking the mark of the beast, nor of worshiping the image of the beast, until the time that we are standing on the threshold of right now. Saints, it is later than some of you think it is. The signs that we are told in the word of God to look for are all around us right now. Do not be looking for perilous times and abominations to come in some future day; they are here already. It alarms me to hear some of the questions that people are still asking, after hearing certain things taught for so many years. It is almost as though they have sat in the services without even hearing what was taught. It alarms me to see the careless way so many, supposed to be bride saints are conducting their lives, and to see material things taking so much place in the lives of so many. I know we put a lot of emphasis on knowing what is written in the word, but just knowing what the word teaches is not enough. The virtue is in letting what we know, mold and fashion our lives to be more like Jesus.

 

CHERISH EVERY TRUE GIFT

 

Most of the people in this message of truth who are above the age of 30, have come out of some denominational church somewhere. Many of you had the idea that you needed to lay down everything God had done for you anywhere else, in order to be true to this revelation. If that is what any of you think, you are misinformed. God does not require you to lay down anything, or I should say, he does not require you to lay down any genuine experience that you have had with him. This is a message that should take every genuine, God given, experience 19 of our lives, and line them up with the word of God. If you received the Holy Ghost with speaking in tongues, please do not deny the experience just because you have found out that tongues is not necessarily the evidence that you have received the Holy Ghost. Just line it up with the word; cherish the gift of the Holy Ghost as the most precious thing that you could have, and let the gift of tongues have its scriptural place in your life. Do not treat it as something to be ashamed of, just because you did not know scripturally, what place to give the experience at the time you received it. You may have been in a meeting where the men had long hair, the women had short hair, with their skirts 6 inches above their knees, and the place filled with cigarette smoke when you received the Holy Ghost. That has nothing to do with it. Even though all these things are worldly identities, if you received a genuine baptism of the Holy Ghost, that was God; just be thankful that He has cleaned up your surroundings and taught you how to line your experience up with His word. That is why I say what I do about the charismatic meetings. I am aware that many people are receiving experiences that are truly God given, especially in the realm of healing and other miraculous manifestations. I would not rob God by saying that this is all of the devil, but I will say, there is no leadership in those places that will help a person take what God does for them, and line it up with the word. In other words, these are acts of God’s mercy, and not His true leadings. As I said earlier, all of this is fulfilling the word of God, and must continue until every elected soul has found its way into the grace of God, and been shut in with him, for these foolish virgins must stay in those places until the bride has gone into her perfecting revelation. After that you are going to see some genuine Holy Ghost experiences among the bride; not for a show, as it is out there, and it will not be for the purpose of converting the world. It will just be God confirming who was right, and showing up the wrong. He will put his confirmation and approval upon those who have stayed with His word while every demon that has been turned loose on society tried to lead them away from the word of God into the ways of destruction. It makes me shudder to hear some of these people get on the radio and television talking about a great world shaking, Holy Spirit led revival, when it is so plain to see that the love of many is waxing cold, and apostasy is running rampant. How can you have revival with sodomites and homosexuals in so many places of leadership and influence? How can you have revival when iniquity is abounding, as the Bible says that it will in the last days? There are a few people that the world looks upon as a bunch of fanatics, who are going to have rival in its purest sense, while the rest of the religious world just talks about it, and puts on their regular show.

 

GIFTS BELONG TO THE BRIDE

 

Every gift of the Holy Ghost that these charismatics talk about, lies right in the body of bride saints. Every potential is there, but it is not there for a show to the world. We receive our benefits day by day, without very much attention being directed toward the wonderful things that God is doing for so many. But when the time is right, the whole world will hear about it, just like it was with Ole Bro. Seymour, but by then, the charismatics will be on the outside unable to get in. All those who have chosen the wide gate and the broad way will be past the point of no return on their road to destruction. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” He did not utter those words just to fill up space in the Bible, when Matthew sat down to record his words and deeds. There has to be a people somewhere that will fulfill that prophecy, and I do not feel that we have to look very far away to find them. Oh, Brother Jackson: You don’t have any right to judge. Maybe not, but I have a scriptural right to be a fruit inspector. Why did he say, by their fruits ye shall know them, if we have no right to inspect their fruit? How could anyone even think that God would accept these trinity preachers who sell the gospel (which is not the gospel at all, but they call it that), for a price, and charge poor unsuspecting souls for their prayers with a promise that they can have anything they ask for if they will not doubt. God is not going to hold this generation guiltless, that has continued to hold onto this pagan doctrine of 3 persons in the Godhead, when He has revealed His oneness to all who have an ear to hear. 20 Don’t tell me they haven’t heard. I know better. I have seen the reaction of many of them when someone would try to witness truth to them. They become angry, get red in the face, and you can almost see murder in their eyes. Can you believe a person who reacts like that is filled with the Holy Ghost? If you do, then maybe you had better check up on your own standing with God. I do not find the nature of God reacting so violently myself. What do you think Jesus meant in John 8:47, when he said to those Jews who were contending with him, “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” Read that 8th chapter of John, and see how those Jews responded to the very God man Himself, then go to one of those charismatic meetings where most of them are professing to have the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and tell them that God is one, that there is not three persons in the Godhead, and that they are believing pagan teaching. You will discover that they have the same spirit as those Jews who contended with Jesus. What did He tell them? Verse 44, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lust of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth, because there is not truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” Now, did I say that those people are murderers and liars? No, I said you will find them responding from the same spirit those Jews responded from, and that is what Jesus said to them. “BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM.” What do we mean by fruit? What is it? Look in the 5th chapter of Galatians, verse 22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONG-SUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS, and TEMPERANCE. Many seem to have these qualities until you cross their traditions; then you discover that what they have is only skin deep. But please do not think that I am saying every individual among them is like that. I am not; those foolish virgins are still out there. We have already proved that by the scriptures.

 

GET YOURSELF SETTLED

 

Brothers and sisters: I am sure that some of you feel that it is not necessary to say these things, but let me remind you that unless you are in a place to know what questions people are asking about what is going on in our day, you would not know. Many of us have relatives and friends that are mixed up in the things that we are speaking of. Naturally that causes concern, questions and pressures, and many are calling for help, not knowing how to handle these situations. We are just attempting to identify these spirits of deception, so that those who would appreciate finding out the truth, may have the opportunity to do so. It is high time for people to realize that God did not make a dozen different routes into the kingdom of God. If what we believe is right, then anything that is contrary to it, doctrinally, will have to prove out to be Antichrist teaching. Therefore, if they can take the scriptures and prove us wrong; then let them do it. We have nothing to hide. I will say this, also, if we are not as convinced that what we have is right, as they are: then we will wind up in a worse shape than some of them, for if you are not convinced that what you believe is right, to the point where you are willing to stake your life on it, I’ll tell you what is going to happen. God is going to shake that somewhere down the road in front of you, and when that bounces up and comes back down, you will have to make a decision as to what you are going to do about it. May God help you to be so settled in what you believe, that when you are thrown up into the air you will come right back down in the same place, standing for truth and believing the same thing. Brother, I want you to know that the devil is gong to do everything within his power, to deceive and misguide people until he is chained up for the millennium. I just have to say this, brothers and sisters, there are things going on in this religious world so that you can gain a reputation for yourself if that is what you want. All you have to do is compromise. If you want to be known, if you want to be seen, and if you want attention, and you are not satisfied, sure, out there somewhere, you can find what you are looking for. It is lying right out there for you, but I want you to know, truth has a price to it, and that price of truth is self denial, caring not what the world may think about you. Truth will make you realize that those degrees and titles are vain, and that there is no salvation in any of it. They who pride themselves on these things will tell you that the little man whom God sent as a messenger to this age was of the devil, and that everything he taught was out of the pit, but that is exactly what they said about Jesus, and that is what they said about every one of the reformers: that their doctrine was out of 21 hell, but it was truth every time, and God confirmed it.

 

WORD REJECTED – SIGNS FOLLOWED

 

The Full Gospel Business Mens Fellowship enjoyed having Bro. William Branham as their main speaker because of the miracles and signs that followed his ministry, as God confirmed the truth he preached, but it was obvious that they did not believe what he tried to teach them from the word of God. For after he passed off the scene, who did they get to replace him as their main attraction? A woman evangelist. It is not necessary for me to call her name. Most of you know who I am referring to, and the rest of you can find out easy enough if you care to. It has now been made known that in the early years of her ministry, even though she preached purity and holiness, and was believed to be a perfect model of such, she broke up the home of another preacher, married him, and helped him to justify leaving his wife and children to marry her. It is also reported that all through the years of her ministry, she constantly lied about her age, and that she was very jealous of anyone else who received any attention. This is not meant to be gossip, but rather to show you what this world of religion, in the charismatic realm, chooses to follow. You may say, “But, Bro. Jackson, they did not know those things.” That may be true, but they should have known that women preachers are out of their place, and they also should have known that the Holy Spirit did not come into the body of believers to witness of Himself; He came to bear witness of the Word of God. Jesus said in John 16:13-14, “When he, the Spirit of truth, (the Holy Ghost) is come, he will guide you into all truth: FOR HE SHALL NOT SPEAK OF HIMSELF; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” Anyone who has ever read that scripture should know better than to preach about the Holy Spirit all the time. They do not want Bible doctrine. They have proved that, over and over again and agin. We ought to thank God for revealing Himself to us, and bringing us out of all that confusion. I will say, though, if you love truth, then just settle it; if truth has its right of way in your life, it means that in your neighborhood, you are not ever going to be able to talk freely of it. The day you open your mouth and let everyone of your neighbors know what you believe, and what you stand for, you will be marked. They will mark you, and they will shun you. They do not want to hear about it. That is exactly what Jesus was talking about when He said, “Cast not your pearls before swine.” Do you think a hog cares anything about a string of pearls? A hog doesn’t know a pearl from a piece of gravel. If you throw gravel into the hog pen, it will root in that, or if you throw a handful of pearls in there, it will root in them. Jesus used some pretty good illustrations when talking about truth, didn’t He? When He said, “Cast not your pearls,” He meant the things you love, the things you enjoy, the things your soul feeds upon. Don’t think everyone in this world is going to jump up and down, shouting for joy, just because you are that way. They will not. Most of them will say, “You are a fanatic.” They will even go farther than that, but I will not repeat what some of them say. Saints, I am glad for what God has put in my soul. I am happy about it; you are too. We love His word, and it is bread to feed our hungry souls, but you will not find too many who feel the same way about it. Most of them would rather watch a ball game on television. That feeds their souls; you can tell by the excitement it generates, that it does. Everyone loves excitement in one way or another. That is human nature, but what is really beautiful, is to find a group of people who are truly excited about the word of God, a people that have discovered from that word that truth truly does set you free. When you have that revelation in your heart, you can lay your head down on the pillow at night, and go to sleep without worrying about what is going on in the world. You know that, if you never wake up in this life again, you will wake up in the presence of God, because you have obeyed His word.

 

DO NOT LOOK BACK

 

Brothers and sisters: I am going to bring this message to a close, but before I do let me remind you once again not to look back. God takes no pleasure in those who are forever looking back to where they have been. Please remember the children of Israel when you feel like looking back. They saw the power of God in Egypt. They 22 witnessed many miracles. That was to convince them that God was on the scene. But then He spoke to them, and told them that He was going to take them to a land that flowed with milk and honey. He did not tell them that they would have trouble at the Red Sea. Neither did He tell them that they would run out of water three days after they crossed the Red Sea, or that they would run out of bread. They ran out of a lot of things He did not foretell them about, and every time they run out of something they grumbled and murmured against Moses and Aaron saying, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread until we were full, or something to that effect. That is just the way a lot of people are today. “Oh, Would to God we had stayed in Pentecost, we had more there than we have here. I hope if you are one who has said that, you will remember what happened to those Israelites who took that attitude, grumbling and complaining all the time; they died in the wilderness and their graves cannot be found. God let them drop and the sand covered them. They had partook of the grace of God, and witnessed His mighty works, but they did not believe Him. When they were given a choice at Kadesh Barnea, they chose to turn back, rather than to believe God. Maybe I am speaking to someone who feels that way right now, but praise God! I have to stay with Joshua and Caleb; the Bible says that Jesus is going to present the church to himself, a glorious church without spot or wrinkle, and I am fully persuaded He is going to do it, but He will do it by the washing of water by His word. Oh, saints, if you believe the truth that is in that book, love it, and cherish it, for just up ahead conditions are going to arise that will cause you to thank God you stayed with His word. Those who have the signs and miracles now, will one day be led right into a trap by them, while those who have stayed with the word will be enjoying the genuine move of the Spirit of God just before He takes them up. Conditions are just ahead that will reveal what we really believe and what we stand for. In the meantime let us be faithful to the one who has paid the supreme price so that we may have this privilege. When the conditions are right, you will see that the gifts of the Spirit are not just for some big meeting out here. They will be for leadership and survival as well. Like I have said many times; a rooster doesn’t have to force himself to crow, it just comes natural for him. That is the way being led by the Spirit of God is for those who love truth. May the Lord bless you. Amen.

Paul’s Thorn In The Flesh – 1978, April

1978-04-Pauls-Thorn-In-The-Flesh

2 CORINTHIANS, CHAPTER 12

 

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

 

TEXT: 2 CORINTHIANS 12: 1-10

 

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

 

LET THE BIBLE SPEAK

 

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

ISAIAH’S PROPHECY OF CHRIST

 

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

 

JESUS DIED AS A MAN – NOT AS DEITY

 

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

 

DIVINE HEALING IS A SCRIPTURAL FACT

 

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

 

WHAT DID PAUL PREACH?

 

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

 

PAUL DEFENDS HIS IMAGE

 

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

 

 

MESSENGER OF SATAN

 

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

 

GOOD NEWS FOR THE JAILER

 

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

 

PRAYING FOR YOUR FAMILY

 

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

 

A THORN GOUGES THE FLESH

 

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

 

PHYSICAL – SPIRITUAL – MORAL?

 

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

 

WHY GO BACK INTO BONDAGE?

 

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

 

PREACH THE WORD

 

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

 

PAUL’S THORN – EYE TROUBLE

 

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

 

REVELATION COMES FROM GOD

 

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

 

PRAY – THEN TRUST GOD

 

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

 

BEING SURE

 

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

 

LEARNING THE TRUTH

 

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

 

A REMINDER

 

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

 

HARMONIZING THE SCRIPTURES

 

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

 

NEW BIBLE OR HOLY GHOST?

 

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

 

BONDS AND AFFLICTIONS

 

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

 

BEING MADE A GAZINGSTOCK

 

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

 

EVERYTHING HAS A PURPOSE

 

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

 

FULFILLING GOD’S PURPOSE

 

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

 

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

 

ONLY GOD CAN HEAL

 

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

 

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

 

GOD MOVES IN HIS TIME

 

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

 

SOME WERE HEALED

 

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

 

OBEDIENCE OR TRIBULATION

 

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

 

NEW COURAGE

 

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

PRAYER – SUPPLICATION – THANKSGIVING – ASK

 

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

Divine Love Is Truth Lived – 1978, March


ST. JOHN 14:15

 

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

 

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

 

THE APOSTLE OF LOVE

 

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

 

SEEING THE SPIRITUAL SIDE

 

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

 

TRUTH AS A CLUB

 

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

 

WHAT THE CHURCH IS BUILT UPON

 

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

 

I WILL COME TO YOU

 

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

 

A WAY OF LIFE

 

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

 

COMMANDMENTS – WORDS – SAYINGS

 

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

 

FOLLOWING TRUTH

 

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

 

OUR TEACHER

 

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

 

ABIDING IN LOVE

 

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

 

THE BIBLE – A JEWISH BOOK

 

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

 

TRUE JOY

 

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

 

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

 

VICTORY THROUGH SUBMITTING

 

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

 

CHURCH OF YOUR CHOICE – ANTICHRIST DOCTRINE

 

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

 

KNOWING OUR BENEFITS

 

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

 

LIVE YOUR OWN CONVICTIONS

 

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

 

DIVINE LOVE TESTED

 

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

 

REVELATION REMAINS THE SAME

 

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

 

SALVATION – GOD’S FREE GIFT

 

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

 

INTERPRETING GOD

 

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

 

BE YE THEREFORE PERFECT

 

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

 

TRUTH OR LIE

 

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

 

RECEIVING THE HOLY GHOST

 

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

 

LED BY THE SPIRIT

 

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

 

ENDURING TO THE END

 

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

 

LIVE WHAT YOU PREACH

 

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

 

 

ALL THINGS COMMON

 

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

 

JESUS DIED FOR ALL

 

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

 

 

SOWING AND REAPING

 

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

 

MEASURING SPIRITUALITY

 

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

 

AS HE IS SO ARE WE

 

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

 

SONS OF GOD – WHEN?

 

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

 

TWO SPIRITS – ONE RIGHT – ONE WRONG

 

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

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The Apostle’s Office, Part 3 – 1977, November

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SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

 

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

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

 

ACCOUNT OF GENTILES RECEIVING GOSPEL

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

 

PLAYING WITH THE GOSPEL

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

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

 

TYPE OF SEVEN CHURCH AGES

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

 

GOD IS LOOKING FOR OBEDIENCE

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

 

GENTILE NATURE IS PAGAN

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

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

 

EVERY MAN TO HIS CALLING

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

 

ORDER IN THE CHURCH

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

 

LOYALTY OF GOD’S TRUE MINISTRY

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

 

THE REFORMERS – HOW THEY CAME TO BE SUCH

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

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

 

NO ONE UNDERSTANDS

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

 

BOOK OF ACTS NOT COMPLETED

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

 

THE WORLD KNOWS

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

 

SCATTERING THE CHURCH – FULFILLED THE COMMISSION

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

 

SEPARATING – SPIRITS

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

 

LETTERS OF THANKS

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

 

CONSISTENCY PAYS DIVIDENDS

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

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

 

GOD TALKS TO MY SOUL

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

 

1977 – THEN WHAT?

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

 

SEVENTIETH WEEK

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

 

WHAT THE MINISTRY IS FOR

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

 

GOD REQUIRES UNITY

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

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

 

YOU WILL KNOW SOMETHING

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

 
IN THE GARDEN

 

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

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

 

THREE STATEMENTS – ONE RIGHT

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

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

 

THE TREE OF LIFE

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

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

 

MAN’S SEARCH

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

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

 

THE SPOKEN WORD

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

 

THE NEW BIRTH

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

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

 

REVELATION DEMANDS OBEDIENCE

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

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

 

THE FAN

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

We published a message in September 1972, titled, The Fan in Christ’s Hand, Vol. 4, No. 7. It explains the statement made by John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11-12, where he said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: (12) Whose FAN is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” In that message, we go into detail, showing how these dual statements made by Bro. William Branham, are actually the fan in Christ’s hand, purging his floor. The reference, naturally, points to the ancient threshing floor, where the reapers would pile the harvested wheat for the winnowing process. The same reapers who brought the harvested crop into the threshing area, were the ones who would go in there and keep pitching it up until all the straw and hush were blown away. That is what the dual statements, made by Bro. William Branham, have been doing with many people for over eleven years now. They are getting up in the air over them, and only God knows how many of them will actually fall back on the word of God when they come down.

 

THE PREHISTORIC AGE

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

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

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

 

CALLING GOD’S ELECT

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

 

ELIJAH WAS A MAN – NOT A GOD

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

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

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

 

THE EVIDENCE OF HOLY GHOST BAPTISM

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

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

 

WHAT ABOUT CHURCH ORDER

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

 

WHERE FALSE DOCTRINE STARTS

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

 

THE CHURCH IN TRIBULATION?

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

 

SEVENTY WEEKS OF DANIEL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Apostle’s Office, Part 2 – 1977, October


Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

 

WE SHOULD EXAMINE OURSELVES

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

 

EXAMINING THE SCRIPTURES

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

 

ABOMINABLE THINGS

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

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

 

GREAT AND DREADFUL

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

 

TWO FOLD WORK OF ELIJAH

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

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

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

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

 

JOHN’S BIRTH FORETOLD

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

 

FATHERS OF JOHN’S DAY

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

 

GOD IS A SPIRIT

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

 

THE VIRGIN BIRTH

Most of the old time Christians of our age, believed in the virgin birth, but very few of them had a genuine understanding of the process involved. That is why the great majority of them continued to believe in a trinity, (three persons in the godhead), but the early church fathers knew exactly what God had done there. By His spoken word, He had created a male blood cell, (or sperm), and by the same process, He created the female egg, and joined them together in the young virgin woman named Mary, who was engaged to Joseph. The woman’s body performed the normal function for the next nine months, at which time, there was a baby boy born unto her and her husband Joseph. He was the Son of God, for God had created the egg and the sperm by His spoken word. You may say, “Bro. Jackson; where do you read that in the Bible?” It is right in the first chapter of the New Testament, verses 18-20, (18) “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise; when as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, SHE WAS FOUND WITH CHILD OF THE HOLY GHOST. (Of WHO, THE HOLY GHOST? But I thought God the Father was the daddy of Jesus. That is the way some people talk, you know, but let us read the next two verses). (19) Then Joseph her husband (they were in a marriage agreement, but were not yet living as husband and wife), being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately. (20) But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou Son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: FOR THAT WHICH IS CONCEIVED IN HER IS OF THE HOLY GHOST.” Now saints, think on that verse. It says that the HOLY GHOST is the FATHER of Jesus. Where would that leave a trinity teaching? It is no wonder they will tell you that they can not explain it. There is no way to get three persons out of it. This is the body, though, that God, the great, sovereign, omnipresent, eternal spirit who created all things, chose to manifest himself through, and in, among mankind. John said, no man has seen God at any time, but God chose to manifest His invisible life, His invisible attributes, in a human form, so that man could touch Him, and talk with Him, and see Him. They could walk with Him, and eat with Him, and now the apostle John could say, “we have touched Him, and our eyes have beheld Him.” Does that mean that God has emptied the universe of Himself? No, that omnipresent spirit is always filling the universe. It simply means that God had channeled Himself into a vessel of clay for a specific purpose. Now we can see why John said, “the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, hath declared Him. That word, declared, means manifested or revealed the Father. He put the Father on display and demonstrated Him, so that in His Son, who is referred to as Jesus the Christ, God, Jehovah, is made manifest. He is put on display. Did you catch that thought? That is why Jesus said to them just before His betrayal and crucifixion, when Phillip said, Lord, show us the Father and it will sufficeth us, “HAVE I BEEN SO LONG TIME WITH YOU, AND YET HAST THOU NOT KNOWN ME, PHILLIP? HE THAT HATH SEEN ME HATH SEEN THE FATHER, AND HOW SAYEST THOU THEN, SHOW US THE FATHER?” Jesus had the Father on display, and they had not yet recognized it.

 

THE FATHER QUESTIONING JOHN

Let us continue on now, reading John 1:19, “And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem.” (Now there is your FATHERS of that day, the fathers that Elijah came to.) These church fathers came to ask John some questions. Who are you, was the first one. John said, “I am not the Christ.” What then? Are you Elias, (Or Elijah?) John said, “I am not,” You might say, isn’t that a contradiction? No. They were asking if he were the man Elijah? (That is what they were expecting). Are you that prophet? (They were really getting desperate. There was something going on, down there at the river, and they had been sent to find out what it was, but they were not making any headway), No, he was not that prophet, like Moses, that was to come either. Well, just who are you then? We have got to give an answer to those that sent us. Tell us something about yourself. In other words, they probably sounded something like this, there are people running all through the streets of Jerusalem, talking about being baptized by you, and how their lives have changed. They are saying that you are a man with a special message. Who are you, and what is that message? John answered, “I AM THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD, AS SAID THE PROPHET ESAIAS,” (or Isaiah, chapter 40:3). That was John’s credentials. The prophet Isaiah had prophesied that he would come, and for what purpose? To prepare a people for the Lord to come to.

The people of that day were hearing an unusual man, with an unusual message. It was a message of repentance, and the Bible says they went out to him from Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. This created quite an uproar among the hierarchy, and that is when they sent some of their local pastors to check on the situation. It has been the same way here in our day. In the headquarters of every major denomination today, there are those that were made aware of the fact that an unusual man came on the scene a few years ago that affected the people just like John did when he came two thousand years ago. These religious heads, know all about Billy Graham and Oral Roberts in our day, but no one has ever said that either one of these men had a special message for the people of this age. However, when the name of William Marrion Branham was mentioned, in their midst, they all started clearing their throats, and begin to say, “What are we going to do about this man’s teaching? This thing is affecting our people. They are no longer satisfied with the program of the church.” That is exactly what his message was supposed to do; cause some people to hunger for spiritual food that could not be obtained through their church programs. When they would get hungry enough to come out of that system that they were in, God would satisfy their hunger.

 

THE ELIJAH SPIRIT IDENTIFIED GOD

The ministry of John and that of Bro. William Branham, was basically the same. They were both ordained to turn the attention of the people of their particular age, to the fact that God was ready to move on the scene in a different way. That Elijah anointing, has always been, A GOD IDENTIFYING ANOINTING.

When the prophet Elijah was still on earth, in the days of old, he gathered the people to him one day, and said, “HOW LONG, HALT YE, BETWEEN TWO OPINIONS? IF THE LORD BE GOD, FOLLOW HIM: BUT IF BAAL, THEN FOLLOW HIM.” That is when he challenged the prophets of Baal to produce evidence that their God was worth following. They built an altar, and laid their sacrifices thereon, agreeing that the God that would answer by fire, to consume the sacrifices, would be the true God. You know the story, the prophets of Baal screamed and chanted all day long, cutting themselves with knives, according to their usual practice, so that blood gushed out of them, but there was no answer from their god. Elijah waited until it was time for the offering of the evening sacrifice, then, in order to really prove the reality of his God, he had the people to thoroughly soak his altar with barrels of water then he stepped up and called upon the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. God heard his prayer and answered by fire to consume his sacrifice, at which time, the people fell upon their faces confessing the true God. Elijah came there for one purpose that day, that being to identify the true and living God for the benefit of the people that earnestly wanted to know.

John fulfilled that same office. It was his purpose to identify God to the people. He did not have any stories to tell that would exalt himself, instead, he continually reminded the people that they should watch for the one that was to come after him. Let us pick up his ministry in the third chapter of Luke, verse 3, “And he came into all the country about Jordan preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins: as it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet saying, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” I can just see John, anywhere he found a good water hole, where people passed by, that is where he would stop to preach. He did not take up time pulling for a large offering, there was no pledge cards to sign, and neither did he tell them to go to the church of their choice. From that time on, they were to watch for the one who would baptize them with the Holy Ghost and fire. We will continue reading, verse 5, “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low,” (Now that does not have a geographical application, all of those valleys, mountains, and hills remained the same. This was prophetic terminology. Why would this prophet use such language as this? He got their attention with statements like that, and the application belongs to the people. Hills, is speaking of the people of the upper class, the sophisticated, and the term, valleys, is speaking of the down and out class of people, those who are looked upon as no good, misfits, for this man’s life was destined to affect all categories of people.) “And the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth.” (This has a spiritual application in the straightening out of the lives of people. In other words, the hardened criminals, the publicans, and sinners, would be lifted up to a level of life, where they would be equal with those from the upper class that had been humbled and brought low. The straightening out and smoothing is all to be applied to the lives of people.) (6) “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Yes, that is because they were to witness Jesus, manifesting Jehovah God in their midst.) (7) “Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” This multitude here could be typical of denominational church people in our day. These, no doubt, had heard, from others, that there was a man down there at the Jordan preaching. Some probably said, once you hear him preach a complete sermon, you can not help but be baptized. Naturally, the multitudes will always gather where there is something exciting taking place. Some will even participate in the activity as they are moved with the crowd. Some of them thought he was making a fool of himself, while others were genuinely getting their lives changed. That is the same condition that we have today. There are those who think they can believe this end time message, and still be a Baptist, or a Methodist, or what have you. That will not work. The very essence of the message is, “COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE.” You just can not accept the message and stay in your old denomination. The reality of the message presents you with a choice, will I believe this or will I hold to what I have?

 

JOHN REBUKES FATHERS

John looked at that crowd of people, and by the spirit, he saw right through each one of them. He said, “You generation of vipers, bring forth fruits worthy of repentance, and don’t bother to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father,” (or I’m a Baptist, I’m a Presbyterian, I’m a Lutheran, or I am from the Church of Christ, you sure can’t tell me anything.) John said, “God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” Let us just make the application right where we live today. The time has come for God to lay the gospel axe at the root of every life, therefore, if the life you live does not bear the fruits of truth, or reality, of true revelation, God is on the scene to cut your tree down. I am sure you realize by now that we are not talking about the trees that grow up out of the ground. We are talking about the tree of human life, and the type of fruit that your personal life is bearing. The fruit of a creed, or ritual is not good enough for God. He is looking for the fruit that comes forth from the inner man that sees truth. It will be a life that demonstrates truth, by the way that truth is lived. There are a lot of people who are able to say the right things, in the right places, so that they are not readily detected by man, but God is looking at the life also, and He sees it as it is. He is the one who will lay the axe at the root and cut the tree down. That is not our responsibility.

John had one group there that had truly repented, and desired to know what kind of a life they were supposed to live from then on. They asked him, “What shall we do then?” That is the exact question that was put to the apostles on the day of Pentecost, (Acts 2:37). The questions were the same, but the answers were different. The apostles answered the people who asked them that question by saying, (38) “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (39) For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” John’s answer was a little different, but those who obeyed were found to be in harmony with God, because of their obedience. John said, “If you have two coats, give one of them to someone that does not have one. If you have food, share it with someone less fortunate.” When the tax collectors repented and asked for instruction, he told them not to collect any more from the people than that which they were entitled to collect. He told the soldiers to “Do violence to no man, neither accuse anyone falsely: and be content with your wages.” John was prescribing a way of life for those who had truly repented and been baptized, that if followed, it would produce fruit that would be acceptable to God. He could not say, (like the apostles), believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, for Jesus had not yet appeared on the scene, but he did say, (when the people began to muse in their hearts, as to whether he were the Christ), “I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.” Here was a servant of God that was not going to take any credit that was not due him. He perceived what the people were thinking, and before they could go too far with their thoughts; he headed then off. He said, “what I have done is scriptural, but don’t get your eyes upon me, for the one that I am representing is so much greater than I, that I will not feel worthy to even remove his shoes for him when he comes.” I suppose every man that has ever been used by God has had a group of followers that could not see past him, to see the God that he was representing. That is why we have so many denominations in the ranks of professing Christianity. The true man of God will not allow a thing like that while he is living, but after his departure, it is out of his hands, that is when these various groups built their denominational fences.

One thing we can say for sure, when John had finished his ministry, he had laid the mountains and hills low, and raised the valleys, so that all were now on the same plane. We could not, by any stretch of the imagination, say that all of the fathers of John’s day were converted, but we will say that every one of them had their opportunity to know what was happening down by the river.

 

MOUNTAIN BEING BROUGHT LOW

Nicodemus was one of the rulers of the Jews, (a Pharisee), he came sneaking in one night to get an interview with Jesus. We can say that he was one of the fathers that was turned to the gospel that the children were receiving. He could not take the chance of coming to see Jesus during the day, for he had not yet determined to make an open stand for this new way of life. If he was expecting some special consideration because of his rank, he surely got the wind taken out of him, for after he had said, “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou does, except God be with him.” Jesus said to him, (John 3) (3) “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus responded, as any natural man without revelation would. He thought of this new birth that Jesus mentioned from the standpoint of the natural birth. Jesus said, further, in response to the statement that Nicodemus had made about entering the second time into his mother’s womb to be born again, (5) “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (7) Marvel not that I said unto you, ye must be born again.” Jesus went on to tell him the wind blows where it will, you can hear the sound of it, but you cannot tell where it came from and where it is going, so is every one that is born of the spirit. Nicodemus answered Jesus by saying, (9) “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him by saying, (10) “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things” This man, Nicodemus, was an educated man, a high ranking member of the fathers of Israel. He probably knew everything there was to know about the law. No doubt, he could quote every word of Isaiah 61, also Malachi 3:1, and 4:5-6, but he did not have revelation of what was taking place to fulfill these scriptures. His very own words proved that he did not know anymore about what was taking place than the publicans and harlots, and the average person on the streets of Jerusalem. Can you not see, this mountain being brought low. If he accepted His invitation to the new birth, it put him on the same level as all the other folks that accepted the preaching of John and Jesus. We have evidence that Nicodemus did humble himself and believe the gospel, for it was he, who helped Joseph of Arimathaea wrap Jesus for burring after his crucifixion.

 

JOHN’S DISCIPLES FOLLOW JESUS

While Jesus was talking to Nicodemus, He took the occasion to preach a little sermon to him that has provided a text for just about every preacher on the face of the earth. We have all heard John 3:16 every since we were old enough to listen to Bible stories. What I want you to see here now is this, a little while later, Jesus and His disciples were baptizing in a location close to where John chose to baptize. Let us read a little of that, we are still in John, chapter 3:22-30, (22) “After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea: and there he tarried with them and baptizes. (23) And John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there: (let those who believe in sprinkling as a form of baptism explain that statement. John was baptizing there because of much water). and they came and were baptized. (24) For John was not yet cast into prison. (25) Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. (26) And they came unto John and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou bearest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. (27) John answered and said, a man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. (28) Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I AM SENT BEFORE HIM. (29) He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: THIS MY JOY THEREFORE IS FULFILLED. (30) HE MUST INCREASE, BUT I MUST DECREASE.” This was what John had been waiting to hear. He said, “Now my joy is fulfilled.” That joy was in John’s soul. He was not jumping up and down, shouting, hallelujah! Glory to God! Even though a lot of people interpret joy in that way, John probably just had a big smile come across his face, as he watched his disciples begin to leave him and follow Jesus. The forerunner did not want the honor and attention that belonged to the one he came to announce.

From the time John’s disciples begin to follow Jesus, we start picking up other accounts as the lives of these various disciples began to be affected. Those disciples that followed Jesus were the children from the ranks of people that came to John’s baptism. Can you see that? Not one of those that followed Jesus were of the father category. They were all to be considered the children. They were fishermen, tax collectors, people from every common walk of life, but God had ordained that they should see His salvation. Remember, now Malachi prophesied that this man, (John), would turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, but that only meant their attention, their spiritual gaze, would be turned upon, or unto, what God was doing through that man who came in the spirit and power of Elijah. From that group of children came select men such as Peter, James, John, Matthew and on and on, who were destined to become the fathers of the faith that we are to be turned back to in these last days. After they were baptized, they followed Jesus day in and day out, observing all that was done and said by Jesus. They knew everything that had taken place among them since the day they had come to John’s baptism, even though, (at the time), they did not understand it all. This can be proved by looking at Acts 1:20-26, and Luke 24:44-49. First, we will pick up on what the apostle Peter was saying about Judas betraying Jesus according to that which David the king had prophesied. We will pick it up in verse 20, of Acts chapter 1, (20) “For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick, let another take, (21) WHEREFORE OF THESE MEN WHICH HAVE COMPANIED WITH US ALL THE TIME THAT THE LORD JESUS WENT IN AND OUT AMONG US, (22) BEGINNING FROM THE BAPTISM OF JOHN, UNTO THAT SAME DAY THAT HE WAS TAKEN UP FROM US, MUST ONE BE ORDAINED TO BE A WITNESS WITH US OF HIS RESURRECTION. (23) And they appointed two, Joseph, called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. (24) And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou has chosen, (25) That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place, (26) And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthais; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” From this portion of scripture we see that the eleven remaining apostles were looking for a man to take the place of Judas. He had to be a man that could give a true witness. They chose one of the men that had been with them ever since they were baptized by John. These men had been present to witness the miracles that were wrought by Jesus. They had also been present at the private teaching sessions Jesus held for his close disciples. They had seen with their eyes, and they had heard with their ears, then, just before Jesus ascended into heaven, He opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.

 
JESUS OPENS THEIR UNDERSTANDING

 

Before reading those verses in Luke, let me say this, when Jesus was crucified, every last one of those disciples had their doubts. They had such hopes, and now it seemed that they were all in vain. I am thinking of the two disciples which were on the road to Emmaus, when Jesus walked beside them, after His resurrection. Jesus asked them, why are you so sad? They said, Even a stranger in Jerusalem ought to know what has taken place there in the past few days. We had such high hopes that this Jesus of Nazareth would be the one that would redeem Israel, since He was such a mighty prophet in word and deed before God. But now the chief priests and rulers have delivered Him to be condemned to death, and have crucified Him, and besides that, this is the third day since He was crucified, and some of the women are saying that they saw an angel which told them that He was alive. It is true He is not in the tomb, said they, in such a defeated tone. (It happened just as it was written in the prophets, “I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered abroad.” They had scattered every which way, but Jesus took this occasion to teach those two disciples a Bible lesson.) He said, Luke 24, (25) “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: (26) Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory? (27) And beginning at Moses all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” By the time the evening had ended, Jesus had confirmed to those disciples that He was the one that had been crucified, and that He was alive. Now when those two became convinced, themselves, they made haste to find the eleven apostles to tell them; at which time Jesus appeared in their midst showing his scars to convince them of who He was. Then he upbraided the eleven for their hardness of heart and unbelief in failing to believe the report of the two. Afterwards, He taught them from the scriptures and OPENED THEIR UNDERSTANDING THAT THEY MIGHT UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURES, and gave them a commission. We can read that in Luke 24:44-49, (44) “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. (45) Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, (This was the great unveiling for those apostles that had laid up the things that they had heard in their hearts. Now they understood for the first time.) (46) And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: (Here is the commission), (47) And that REPENTANCE AND REMISSION OF SINS, (water baptism), SHOULD BE PREACHED IN HIS NAME AMONG ALL NATIONS, beginning at Jerusalem. (48) And YE are witnesses of these things. (49) AND BEHOLD, I SEND THE PROMISE OF MY FATHER UPON YOU: BUT TARRY YE IN THE CITY OF JERUSALEM, UNTIL YE BE ENDUED WITH POWER FROM ON HIGH.” After speaking those words to them, He began to rise from the ground, and was carried into the heavens.

No doubt the disciples were thinking as they stood there with tears streaming down their faces, oh, No! Not again! For at this time two men appeared in white apparel, and said, Acts 1, (11) “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” After that they returned to Jerusalem, and went into the upper room and were assembled with the apostles. It was at this time that they chose Matthais to take the place of apostleship with the eleven.

 

DISCIPLES RECEIVE PROMISE OF THE FATHER

Jesus left from the Mount of Olives, and according to Zechariah, He will return to the Mount of Olives. Those disciples had a commission ringing in their ears as they assembled back in the upper room where they had eaten the last supper with Jesus. He had instructed them to wait unto they received power from on high. He didn’t tell them to wait 10 days, and the Bible doesn’t say they waited 10 days, but we know the feats of Pentecost came on the 50th day after the offering of the first fruits of the harvest. Jesus was on earth 40 days before He ascended. Therefore, when the day of Pentecost came, 10 days later, there were only about 120 disciples waiting in the upper room of all the multitudes that had been affected by the ministry of John, and that had followed Jesus, hearing the good news. Think of that! Only 120 out of all those people, a crowd can really get thinned down when the excitement dies down. You would think that out of all the multitude of those that had been fed and healed by Jesus, there surely would have been more than 120 who would do as He instructed them to do, but the day of Pentecost came and found only those few waiting for the promise of the Father. The Holy Ghost descended, filled the house, and sounded like a rushing mighty wind to those who were waiting. Licks of fire sat upon each of them as they were filled with the Holy Ghost. Then they began to reel and rock like drunk people as they began to speak in other dialects, or other languages. This thing that was taking place among them got to building up with such force that they could no longer sit up there in that room. You know the Holy Ghost can get in a person and get them so built up that they can not sit still. While this was taking place in the upper room, the streets of Jerusalem were filled with orthodox, devout, Jews, who were getting ready to celebrate the feast of Pentecost, (a natural thing). They were gathering together, with all their food and paraphernalia, for the festivity. People were going to the temple with their large loaves of bread to offer it as a sacrifice. The streets were really humming with activity as the people tried to get everything done and ready themselves for the big feast. Little did the Jewish nation, the church of that day, realize what was taking place in the upper room. They were getting ready to celebrate in the natural, something that spiritually was taking place among the 120 that were gathered in the upper room. There were 120 getting the benefits of what that feast had been pointing to all this time. The scene changed when all of a sudden, from that upper room, came this 120 Galileans down the stairs speaking in other languages, something other than their natural Galilean dialect. They didn’t know what was happening to them. It never had happened before. There they were, walking up and down the streets speaking in other tongues, some speaking one language, while the others were speaking in different languages, so that all of those present from different parts of the world were able to hear some of them speaking in the language of their home dialect. Now let me say this, you do not have to stagger, and act like a drunk person every time the Holy Ghost moves upon you. You can have the Holy Ghost and be full of the new wine, and you still do not have to stagger up and down Main Street every time you go out.

 

BIRTH OF THE CHURCH

As I have said before, a manifestation of the Holy Ghost always has a purpose. I believe those people were literally staggering like drunk people, but that was to attract attention, and that it did, for some began to say, “Behold, are not all of these Galileans? Yet we hear them speaking in our own tongue, wherein we were born, the wonderful works of God. They were all amazed, and said one to another, what meaneth this?” That is when the home town bunch of critics chimed in and began to say, mockingly. These men are full of new wine. The apostle Peter heard that, and he, having the keys that would unlock this dispensation of grace, drew his sword again, but this time it was not to cut off a natural ear. It was a gospel sword, and he used it to beat a bunch of ears into a pulp. He stood up and said, Acts 2, (15) “Now hear this, these are not drunk as you suppose,” He was slapping them up one side and down the other with that gospel sword. It wasn’t the devout Jews he was after, it was that bunch of home critics that had rejected John and Jesus. I can just see them, when he got through with them hang their heads down and leave the area. By the time they were out of hearing distance, Peter’s sermon was over, but 3,000 Orthodox Jews, which had been standing there, were pricked in their hearts by the things they had heard. They were devout, orthodox, and believed in heeding the strictest way of the law, but they had received a revelation from that sermon, and cried out, “Men and brethren, What shall we do?” I know I have gone over this, time and time again, but I want you to see that these men who are asked that question, are the children from the group of people whose lives were affected by that Elijah spirit just a few short months before that. Can you accept that? Now it has come time for these men to speak, they are to give account of something. The question is asked, “what must we do?” John is no longer around; neither is Jesus. Therefore, the obligation falls upon these men to answer the question. Now, just as these men were the children of someone, in one sense of the word, they became the fathers to others, in another sense of the word. For, the very things that Peter began to speak, became the teachings of my father, and I do not mean my genetic father either. As Peter stood up to speak that day, he had no revelation that what he was saying to these men, which were Jews, would pass right on over to the Gentiles, in time, and that, for generations of time after that, God would use those same words to call Gentile people into His glorious plan of salvation.

 

ANOTHER MOUNTAIN BROUGHT LOW

As the weeks and months passed by, God got hold of another Jew. This one had sat on the Sanhedrin Council, the high court among the Jews. He was a Judiastic church father, who was one of the conscientious persecutors of the first Christians, before Jesus confronted him on the road to Damascus. We were talking about him earlier, his name was Saul. After God dealt with him there on the road to Damascus, and raised him up he schooled him for three years, out in the Arabian desert. From that time on, his revelation of scriptures was the same as the other apostles. He became the apostle to the Gentiles, an apostle who was the messenger to the first church age. He stands out as the one who held the line on the word of God in that first church age. Everywhere he went, he preached water baptism just like Peter, he preached the Godhead the same way, the same baptism of the Holy Ghost, and the same holy way of life. If Peter taught sanctification, so did Paul, justification by faith, eternal security, and on and on. All you need do is read the epistles that Paul wrote to the different churches and individuals. He even spoke these words in his second epistle to Timothy, chapter 2, verse 8, “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead, according to MY GOSPEL.” We see, from that statement, as well as the one he made to the Galatians in chapter 1, verse 8, where he said, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, LET HIM BE ACCURSED.” That he was absolutely certain that what he preached was the unadulterated word of God. That did not mean that he, and the other apostles, went around quoting the statements that Jesus made during His ministry. It simply means that they received a true revelation of what Jesus taught, and later they taught that same revelation, but in their own words. It is only because people do not have a revelation themselves, that they feel they must quote the exact words of someone else. God is not pleased with copycats, vocal repetitionists, that will only say something exactly like someone else has said it. Jesus never even prayed like that, when He prayed for His disciples, in the 17th chapter of John. He prayed that the Father would keep, through His own name, those whom He had given Him, that they might be one, as He and the Father are one. Then in verse 20 he said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but FOR THEM ALSO WHICH SHALL BELIEVE ON ME THROUGH . . . THEIR . . . WORD.” That prayer was to reach to the end of the age. Jesus has prayed for every believer in every church age. That ought to furnish encouragement to those who would feel low in spirit from time to time. Jesus told Peter that Satan would desire to have him, to sift him as wheat, but said Jesus, “I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.” It is comforting to know that Jesus has already prayed for us.

 

LIVE MINISTRY IN ACTION

It was the words of the apostles that established the churches. It was not the words of Jesus that the early church had quoted to them that established their doctrine. It was the revelation of Jesus Christ, taught in the words of the apostles. Listen to what Peter’s answers would have sounded like, on the day of Pentecost, if he had been confined to quoting Jesus, saying it just like Jesus said it, as some preachers are doing today concerning Bro. William Branham’s message to this age. Here is what it would have sounded like, “MEN AND BRETHREN, WHAT SHALL WE DO? WELL, JESUS SAID, YOU WOULD NEED TO BE BAPTIZED IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST. JESUS SAID THAT YOU SHOULD OBSERVE ALL THINGS THAT HE HAD COMMANDED US TO OBSERVE.” Can you begin to see what I am getting at? Brothers and Sisters: you know it was not supposed to be like that. That is why, each man, regardless of whether he was an apostle, or an evangelist, or a New Testament prophet, took what Jesus had said and broke it down in his own words, using his own vocabulary, to convey the revelation to the people. That kept the gospel alive. I can see Jesus Christ living in those disciples, in those Christians, in that early church. When those people stood up to give a testimony, it was something that had just happened. They could give a fresh testimony every day.

We read in the fifth chapter of Acts, how the people brought the sick folks into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, hoping that at least the shadow of the apostle Peter passing by, might overshadow some of them. There came also, multitudes out of the cities round about, bringing the sick folks and them that were vexed with unclean spirits, and they were all healed. We are talking about a live ministry, in the midst of a people with a living faith.

Jesus had said to His disciples, John 15, (3) “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. (4) Abide in me, and I in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; not more can ye, except ye abide in me. (5) I am the vine, ye are the branches; He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.” It is easy to see why some of these preachers can not do anything except quote someone else. They have not been abiding in the vine. The one who said, “WITHOUT ME YE CAN DO NOTHING,” was none other than the WORD OF GOD. (The word which was made flesh, John 1:14). It is time for those that have a genuine call of God upon their lives to get back to the Bible. That is why God sent the Elijah spirit to this age. He was to put us back in the old, time tested, black book, (THE BIBLE). We are living in a time when many people are making the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ so complicated and hard to reach, that a person would have to be among the upper class in order to be in the bride. By that I mean, according to the teaching of some who profess to be followers of Bro. William Branham, a person would have to move to Israel, or one of a half dozen other places that various ones have come up with. Brothers and Sisters: it is pitiful to think that there are people so deceived that they would actually believe a thing like that, but they number more than a few, and some of them are in this area. Can you not see why it will take the office of an apostle to straighten this message up, and bring it in line with the word of God? There is more confusion among the ranks of those who were supposed to have been restored back to the faith of the fathers, than there is out in the denominational churches. You can go to the Baptist churches, and they are all teaching, basically, the same things, the Methodists, the Lutherans, the Church of Christ, and so on, but where can you find more than a very few assemblies in the following of Bro. William Branham, that are in agreement on what he taught? It would have been the same way in the first church age, if not for the apostles holding a line on true revelation. Even those apostles had to be taught by Jesus for a period of 3½ years in order to get it straight. Some people just twist everything around and say almost anything.

Let me call your attention to a time when Jesus was talking to His disciples and said something like this, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, there are some standing here that shall not taste of death until they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” And after 6 days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain, and there He was transfigured before them. His whole countenance was changed, and they saw Moses and Elijah, (in the spirit). Now a lot of people actually think those apostles saw Moses, and Elijah, in body form. Brothers and Sisters: please read your Bibles. Jesus charged them, saying, “TELL THE VISION TO NO MAN until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.” It was a vision they saw, where Moses and Elijah were talking with Jesus, Matthew 16:28 – 17:3, 9. A vision is quite different than seeing someone in literal body form. I grant you, a vision makes the thing seem so real, that, to you, it seems like present tense. It is supposed to be that way. Only God can do it. Nevertheless, Jesus was using this occasion to confirm scripture to them. When He had finished saying, “Do not tell the vision, until I am risen from the dead,” the disciples came right back with a question, why say the scribes that Elias must first come? Jesus answered those three like this, “Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already.” Now what did He mean? We know that John did not restore all things, as the previous statement of Jesus, said that Elias would do when he came, yet He turns right around and says that He has come already, and was not recognized. The disciples knew that He was talking about John the Baptist, but did he restore all things? No, he just restored all things relative to the plan of God in connection with the first advent of Christ. He did not have to fulfill anything else. He had fulfilled Malachi 3:1, and 4:6 in the part that pertained to his day. He turned the heart of the fathers to the children, and according to Luke 1:17, the disobedient, to the wisdom of the just, making ready a people prepared for the coming of the Lord. The disobedient, speaks of the sinner man of that day, being turned to the wisdom of the just, or justified. John’s ministry accomplished that. The sinner was made to realize that, once the will of God had been performed in his life, God looked upon that soul as a justified person. All condemnation was taken away. There stood a people, prepared for the coming of the Lord. They were children then, spiritually speaking, but they became our spiritual fathers. We look back to what they believed, and taught, to get our own sights lined up properly.

I am so glad that when I get the chance to look the apostle Peter in the face, beyond this life, that I can say, “Thank you Peter for standing in the streets of Jerusalem, in the face of all that angry mob of critics, and scorching them with truth I am also looking forward to seeing Jude, and expressing my thanks and gratitude to him for what he wrote about earnestly contending for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” It thrills my soul to think about the teaching that those early church fathers left for us to look back to. The devil didn’t like it, and he has tried every trick that he has ever thought of, in order to hide that truth from hungry souls, and even tried to destroy it completely, during the dark ages, but here we stand at the end of the age, with the spirit of God restoring all of the truth of that first age back to us, Praise His name.

 

IS GOD ONE OR THREE

Satan thought if he could destroy that truth, he could establish a teaching of his own, through carnal men, and he would have the situation under control. God knew what the devil would do, how he would try to wreck the church by substituting and perverting the truth, but he had a great plan for the redemption of fallen mankind, and that plan has worked all during the years of Satan’s attacks. One of the first major attacks that the devil made against truth, was concerning the Godhead. There is no place in the Bible that speaks of a holy trinity, but that teaching has swept around the world, and most all of the large denominational churches are founded on that lie. That is why we feel such an urgency to speak about the true revelation of the Godhead. The Gentiles never had a chance to know Jesus Christ after the flesh, as did the Jew. Therefore, knowing Him, as we do, (by the spirit), it is necessary for us to be led by the right spirit. Those early Christians, in that first age, did not have any problem with the Godhead. They had a revelation of who Jesus Christ was, (the incarnate God), the only person of the Godhead. God is a spirit, John 4:24.

I know we have already touched on this, but for the sake of the message, as it goes into print, I want to say something more. This will be for the sake of those who may read this message, believing that there are three distinct persons in the Godhead. It is biologically, and genetically impossible for a person to have two daddies, and that is what your trinity teaching says of Jesus, who was born to Mary and Joseph. Let me explain it like this, when the angel, Gabriel, came to Mary, he said, “Thou hast found favor with God. Thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David, When Mary asked, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? The angel answered, the Holy ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the SON OF GOD.” Now listen to what I am going to say. If the Holy Ghost is a person of the Godhead, and God the Father is another person of the Godhead, and the little baby that is to be conceived is to be called the Son of God, who will be the father? The conception will have to take place, either by a man or a spirit act. Now the angel said, the Holy Ghost would overshadow her to bring about the conception. Do you see where that will get you if you believe that there are three separate persons in the Godhead? You would have the Holy Ghost, a person, and God the Father, a person, both being the daddy of the baby Jesus.

God the Father, who is spirit, and God the Holy Ghost, which is spirit, are both one and the selfsame spirit. When we speak of God, object of worship, and Father, because all of life was derived from Him, we are speaking of that same spirit which is the Holy Ghost, only He is fulfilling the office work of redemption in the earth as the Holy Ghost. The one spirit is everything that there is of God. He fills the whole universe. He filled the man Jesus, so that those who looked at Him were seeing God manifested in flesh. The flesh of Jesus was not God. That was a human body that God created by His spoken word, to display Himself through. In the Ten Commandments we read, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them.” God is one. He doesn’t dwell in a form, as an eternal abode. Therefore, why make an image, or anything in any likeness? You do not even know what God looks like. In the daytime, (as God led the children of Israel out of Egypt), He appeared unto them in a pillar of a cloud, or smoke, and at night He appeared to them in a pillar of fire, that is ELOHIM, (God). It was that same spirit that overshadowed Mary, and created in her, that little cell of life. From the body of Mary, God was taking the very elements which form matter to make up that little body. It was a divine act of God, to create a perfect body, in which there would be no death, nor sin. The blood that flowed through the veins of that body was holy blood, for it had not been transmitted by the genetic route. It was the blood of God, by a creative act. Blood is the carrier of life, for it is written in the scriptures, that the life, of all flesh is in the blood. That simply means that the life of all flesh, lives in conjunction with the blood. When the spirit of life leaves the blood it will die.

In this creative act, God created a perfect vessel, a perfect blood, and the life that was placed in that little vessel of clay, was the very life of God. No, it did not empty God’s spirit from the universe, He is omnipresent, (everywhere). It simply meant that the little boy, which was called Jesus), had the very life of God in Him, yet the fleshly part of that child grew up just like any other little boy. Even though every attribute of God was in that vessel of clay, He still, (from the flesh side), looked like man, talked like man, ate like man, and in Him was represented every man born upon the face of this earth, past, present, and future. He was the Son of God, but He is not to be thought of as the eternal Son of God, for the physical side of Him had a beginning and therefore, cannot be eternal. Do not listen to such talk as would say that, before Jesus was born, that He was somewhere, sitting on the right hand of the Father. That is another carnal Gentile way of trying to interpret certain scriptures. I will not take anymore time on this, but I wanted to put this much in the message to show what those early Pentecostal fathers taught about the Godhead. It is what they taught in that first age that we are to be turned back to in this last age.

I was born right here in the southern part of Indiana, and raised up, no more than 19-20 miles from here, out in the sticks. Yet I did not know a thing about Bro. William Branham and the call of God upon his life, until Bro. Glenn came down home one day, and told me about Bro. William Branham returning from Africa, and what miracles had taken place over there. I listened very attentively, as he related those things to me, and told me of the angel of the Lord appearing to Bro. William Branham while he was baptizing some people down here in the Ohio River, and said to him, by a supernatural voice, that “as John the Baptist forerun my first coming, Thou wilt take a message, that will forerun my second coming.” He did not say that Bro. William Branham, the person, would forerun his second coming. It is the message that Bro. William Branham carried to the world, that will forerun the coming of the Lord. When I had finished hearing the things that were related to me, that is when I said, “if these things be true, then this is that Elijah that is to come.”

John came and delivered his message, (REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND), and we all know that the kingdom of heaven era did not start the next day after John made this declaration. There was a few months involved in its introduction, for the kingdom of heaven did not become effective, or in force, until after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. After He ascended into heaven, and the Holy Ghost came to the believers then was the kingdom of heaven in force.

 

TRUTH OR CREED

All that John came to do, and all that Jesus came to do, was for the purpose of getting a people ready and making a gift from God available to them, a gift that would live inside of them, God living in His people, on and on until that last predestinated soul comes in from the fields of sin to receive the gift of life. God, who knows when His program is getting close to a time for another age to begin, sent Bro. William Branham with that Elijah anointing upon him to warn the Christian world that this kingdom of heaven is coming to a close, nearing the windup, the end of the age of grace to the Gentiles. He was not sent just to take a healing message, or gift of healing, though that is what many Pentecostals believed. There was some teaching involved, and that is what caused the denominations to drop him. They enjoyed the healing, but they could not stand the teaching. Nevertheless, if he was that prophetic messenger of Revelation 10:7, and if he was that spirit of Elijah that was to turn the hearts of the children back to that of their fathers, there had to be some teaching involved. I want you to know, that not all of the children are going to be turned back to that of their fathers. Many of them would not even listen to him, and of those that did, there is only a few that actually were willing to leave their denominational surroundings to follow truth. The children of Malachi 4:6, pertaining to our day, is what is seen in universal Christendom. They all go to church. They all say they believe in God, and they all say, “ I believe in Jesus, oh, I love Jesus,” but it is not Jesus they love. It is their creeds. Jesus said, in the gospel of John, “If ye love me, you will keep my commandments,” and his commandments are not the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament, even though they were all encompassed in His teaching. When Jesus referred to His commandments, He was talking about His teaching, and we know that not all of the children are going to be turned back to what the apostles taught, when was the commandments of Jesus.

While I was in Canada recently, there was a certain man came to hear me preach, a person that had made the remark that if he had to give up either one or the other, he would give up the Bible and keep the Spoken Word books of Bro. William Branham’s messages. I had been told that he would be there, and that he had made that statement. Brothers and Sisters: hear me, I will look any person in the face and say this as humbly as I know how, Don’t you ever tell me that you sat at the feet of Bro. William Branham, and that he turned you back to the faith of Peter, James, John, Matthew, Mark, Jude, and Paul, and then have the nerve to say, if you had to give up either one, you would give up the Bible and keep the Spoken Word books. I will plainly tell you, you have not been turned back to the faith of the fathers. You have been sidetracked. You have been caught in a trap somewhere. In other words, you have been derailed, and it will not take me more than five seconds to tell you that either.

 

RESTORATION

As that man sat there that night, I said, “When that little man, (Bro. Branham), came on the scene, he fulfilled exactly what Malachi said he would do, he also fulfilled what Revelation 10:7, said was to be done, but that man did not restore FAITH, it was Martin Luther that restored that to the church, or that God worked through in doing it. It was Luther that taught the revelation that a man should believe in God, when the whole world, at that time, believed in the Pope, and the Catholic Church. One lone man in such a dark hour as that, when the whole world society believed in the Pope, had the courage to step out of the ranks of Catholicism, at the threat of his life, and declared, “I believe in God, that He will save my soul, regardless of what the Pope says”. Brother, there had been hundreds before him that had lost their heads for saying such things, but he had thought the situation over, and prayed through on it. While climbing up the stairs doing penance, (something that cannot be found in the scripture, that of torturing the body as a service of God), he decided that, live or die, sink or swim, he was going to make his stand for what he believed to be the truth.

This thing of doing penance is not practiced so much in America, in the way of torturing the body, but go to South America, or the Philippines, where Catholics are still holding on to the old pagan practices, you will find them coming out of the jungles carrying their crosses and chanting their little prayers. They are supposed to be Catholics, but they will run pins through their skin, walk on nails or hot coals of fire, torturing their bodies in every conceivable way, doing penance, which is nothing more than a pagan practice.

Nevertheless, to get on with the thought, it was not William Marrion Branham that restored the revelation that the just shall live by faith. The faith that was restored through Luther was that impartation of God’s grace that caused a man who realized that he was a sinner, and that he needed to be reconciled unto God, to stand out alone, and believe that God is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him, and that he can be justified, saved, pardoned, forgiven, by faith, and faith alone.

As I said before, Bro. William Branham did not restore the teaching of ETERNAL SECURITY of the believer, Calvin did that. It was already in the earth before Bro. William Branham came on the scene. There was life in that teaching as long as men were walking in the light of that hour. It is only when the spirit of God moves on to something more, and men refuse to move with Him, that the life goes out of what they teach. Do you know, there are a lot of people around today that actually think no one else was anything worthwhile until Bro. William Branham came. The truth is quite different than that. He did not restore the teaching of PREDESTINATION, John Knox did that. He taught the revelation, by the spirit of God, that God knew everything from the beginning, even every person that would ever, at any time, believe the gospel and be saved.

As that man sat there in the service that night, I went ahead with this message, saying, SANCTIFICATION was restored by John Wesley. He was the one who said, “Yes, I believe also, that a man is justified by faith, but I see in the Bible, that after we have been justified, we should live a holy, sanctified life.” I am sure that most of you know already, that those old time Methodist were more like Pentecostals, than the Pentecostals are today. They would shout praises to God, be laid out by the power of God, and have themselves a time in those worship services, but it was not just for a show. Their lives showed that their experience with God was genuine.

Now we come to the BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST. The Elijah spirit did not restore that, the Pentecostal message did that. He did not restore DIVINE HEALING, the Pentecostal message did that. Neither did he restore the revelation of ONE GOD and WATER BAPTISM IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST. A branch of Pentecost did that.

 

MANY TRUTHS BUT ONE MESSAGE

When I got to that part in the message it was very easy to say, “just what did that man, who we say was the messenger to this age, do to turn the heart of the children back to that of their fathers?” Here it is. He is the only man this side of the dark ages that ever took all of these Bible truths, that God restored through the reformation, and put them all in one beautiful gospel story. Praise God! That is what makes it all so wonderful. I get so happy just thinking about it all. There I was, shut up in the Methodist church, but Jesus set me free. He put a hunger in my soul. Brother, I love his word. I was in search of something that would satisfy, and he caused me to find it. As I have studied his word, He has made me to know that we are definitely living in the last days. Jesus is going to come again, and I believe that He will come in my generation. I may be an old man, with humped shoulders and snaggled teeth, and more forgetful than I am now, but I believe He will come in my generation. I was also made to believe that if He was coming in my generation, He would send that spirit of Elijah somehow or other. That was several years ago. I did not know where to look for it or how it would come. I certainly did not know it was so close at hand. Isn’t that strange? There I was, down there in the woods, knowing that God was going to do something, and not knowing where to go look for it. All the time it was right at my door. That is the beauty of it all.

When Bro. Glenn told me about Bro. William Branham, and I said, “then this is that Elijah that is to come,” I made it my business to be in his service on Wednesday night. As I sat there with questions on my mind, wondering what I was about to hear, and what I was about to see, it was not some great doctor of divinity, nor Rabbi, nor Bishop, but a little man with one little book that came out on the platform. He opened that book and began to read. He took a text in Genesis about the call of Abraham, and by the time he was finished, he had preached justification, sanctification, baptism of the Holy Ghost, the first advent of Christ, the second advent of Christ, and finished up in Revelation. Another thing that I noticed was that he did not use Philadelphia lawyer terminology. When he finished his message that night, I was convinced that he was the man. I was completely sold on it. Let me say this, I have not seen nor heard anything that I would trade it for since. You couldn’t sell me anything else. I have sat under the ministry of other men, some in big top tents with 5 poles, trucks all around, and chairs everywhere. I have seen them take offerings in wash tubs and wheel barrows, and seen many wonderful things, but that little man made me see through the message he brought, that God is one. He taught me how to get baptized properly, but he didn’t try to tell me how to get saved, all over again. No, this man did not try to unchristianize you with his teaching, but whatever stage you were in when you began to hear him, if you would open up your heart and let that message get deep down inside you, it would change your life and take you farther than you had ever been with God. That was God’s purpose. It made you thank God for faith, because it made faith so real. It made you realize that to live a clean, holy life was of utmost importance. That is when you begin to see that the world is selling out, and going into apostasy. It makes the doctrine of predestination much more real as you see the whole world turning away from the word of God. We can say this, according to the word of God, that which is predestined by the foreknowledge of God, and elected, will not compromise with the devil or his program. They will hold loyal to the word of God. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is for all genuine believers, and it will lead you right into the understanding of every new testament doctrine.

Modern evangelism will tell you that it is not doctrine we need, but love. That is from the spirit of antichrist. You can love a man because of his soul, but, brothers and sisters: light can not fellowship with darkness, you all know that. The Bible does not teach us to fellowship with everything, just to prove that you can love a person. You can love a person and still not agree with him. You can love him and still not walk with him. Will you agree? Of course, when I talk like this, there are those that say, “that crazy Jackson is really a fanatic.” If I am a fanatic, then Jesus was one too, so was Paul, and John was the worst one of them all, for he got so one-sided, and beside himself, that he wrote, in one of his epistles, that if any man come unto you, and bring not this doctrine, or gospel, don’t you even bid him God speed, or allow him in your house. He went on to say that if you do, you become a partaker of his evil deeds, II John, verses 10, 11. In other words, he said, you tell them to get away from your door, no matter how cold it is outside. Remember now, the man who wrote this is known as the apostle of love. How much love is that? These modern churches will spit at the word of God, and kick it out the back door, because it does not agree with their programs, but this little man with the Elijah anointing, came on the scene to turn a people loose from these denominational pastures, with their man made creeds, and get them out into the great plains of God’s grace, where all of the Bible is there to be grazed over, and eat from.

When Bro. William Branham was still alive, most of the preachers, and most of the people were keeping pretty quiet, but when God saw that his message had been delivered, that he had said enough to cause every mortal soul to flee from those systems, and saw fit to take his prophet from the scene, then every kind of a spirit imaginable began to manifest through the people that has been affected in some way by his ministry.

I still remember hearing him talk to a young preacher, that had come all the way from Arkansas. The young man was so depressed and discouraged that, through some fiends, they practically forced an interview with Bro. William Branham. When he had gotten the interview, Bro. William Branham looked at him, and in the spirit he saw a dark cloud, or spirit, over him. I never did get the full details of what was said, but Bro. William Branham evidently mentioned something like adultery. Immediately the young preacher said, “Bro. Branham, I have never touched another woman in all my life.” Bro. William Branham said, I don’t mean that kind, it is committing adultery with a system, (he was a preacher in the United Pentecostal Church). Bro. William Branham said, get away from it. It will kill you. That night, which was the last night that Bro. William Branham was going to be there, he had all of the ministers to come and stand with him, as he was praying for the people. As that young minister came through the line, and got right up to Bro. William Branham, so that he was the next one to be prayed for, Bro. William Branham looked at him and said, “Son, get away from it.” The reason for the young man’s depression was, that he had already heard enough in other meetings to cause him to wonder if he should not get out of the system that he belonged to, but because of the influence of his in-laws he had remained with them. This message of truth will bring in-law trouble for sure, but I will assure you of one thing, there is no human flesh that can do for you, what Jesus Christ has done already. Outside the building that night, he was already writing a letter of resignation, getting ready to put it in the mail to headquarters, resigning the organization. I heard those words myself, which let me know that Bro. William Branham was called and ordained to guide human lives out of these denominational systems. I will hasten to say this though, he was not ordained to tell people to take his teaching and make out of it what some have dared to do.

 

ANTICHRIST SPIRIT

Just a short time before God took his prophet from the scene, that spirit of antichrist began to rise up among some of the people, causing them to say, “What is Bro. William Branham? Do you think he could be the Lord? Could he not be the Messiah?” That was one of the first manifestations of that spirit, concerning him. As that prophet began to feel the affects of such a spirit in his meetings out in the field, he openly rebuked the thing, and made it a universal rebuke. At the tabernacle, in a message to counterattack that deity spirit, he said that he would rather go down as a quitter than as antichrist, therefore, he had determined to leave the field of evangelism because of it. You may say, where do people get such ideas, anyhow? They get them from certain messages that he preached, such as, God, veiled in human flesh, and from the gift that he had working in his ministry, whereby, he could look out over a congregation and tell people who were all the way in the back of the building, who they were, where they lived, and what their sickness was. That was not mental telepathy either, that was God. God, is the Holy Ghost, which was to take the things of Christ and show them unto the believers when he came. That does not make the human vessel that he works through GOD. It is far from that. When we see such things, it ought to prove the scriptures, even more. Jesus said, “These works that I do, shall ye do also.” He was talking to the believers, and He was not telling them that this would make them God. It was His way of telling them that the spirit they were going to receive, a little later, was the same one that dwelt within Him. A person who is filled with the spirit of God, has the same potential within him, that Jesus had. That does not mean that every believer will do the same works as every other believer, when it comes to manifestations of the spirit. For the spirit is given to every man as He, (God), wills. To some one gift, to others another, but to all who are genuine believers, is the spirit given, and we read in I Corinthians, chapter 12, that it is given to every man to profit withal. It is Christ in you, the hope of glory, as we read in Colossians 1:27. God ordained that the spirit of Christ be embodied in His people, (the church), and that Jesus Christ would live and be demonstrated through His church in every generation all the way to the end of the age of grace to the Gentiles.

 

GOD’S WORD WILL STAND THE TEST

Now I said before, that God did not restore divine healing through Bro. William Branham, for we had men such as Wigglesworth, Charles Price, F. F. Bosworth, and others, through the years, that were great men of faith. They preached faith, and divine healing among the denominational people, as well as the Pentecostals in their time. They prayed for the sick and had a great move of God in their services, yet those denominational systems said, that is of the devil. God let it go on like that until it was time to sound an alarm to wake up His people around the world. Then He spoke to a little man, and put a gift in his life and ministry that the great men of those systems could not hide from the people. He was not a theologian himself, but he could look those doctors of divinity right in the face and challenge them with the word of God to prove that he was not of the devil. They would sit there with their pencils and paper, taking notes, and that little man would tell the secret things of their hearts. He would name the various ones who were sick, and diseased, tell them where they were from, what was wrong with them, and send them back to their doctors to be checked. The doctors and lab technicians, would confirm, through their x-rays and tests that the people were healed. What could the critics say then? God vindicated this message of healing that had been restored to Pentecost, and laughed at. No, if they refused it, there would be nothing left for them, but to be cut off.

There were two men, (I believe it was in Texas), that plotted against Bro. William Branham in a certain service. They agreed between themselves that they would test this man and his gift. On a prayer card they listed a number of things, and one of the men stood in the prayer line. When he came to Bro. William Branham, he looked at him and said, Sir: there is nothing wrong with you. Yes, there is, he replied, did you look at the prayer card? Bro. William Branham repeated, there is nothing wrong with you. The man said, yes, there is, I have got such and such wrong with me. About that time, the Lord showed Bro. William Branham that it was a trick, and he, looking at the man, said, Sir: there is nothing wrong with you. This is a trick that you have plotted with a friend, and pointing to the balcony, he said, there is the other man right there. The man began to scream, and Bro. William Branham said, because you have made fun of the gift of God, everything that you have put on that prayer card will come upon you. That kind of thing never happened in the ministry of the other men that we mentioned, but this was God’s prophet, this man’s life was destined to stop the mouth of the critics. God was vindicating his word, ONE GOD, not three, WATER BAPTISM IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, instead of three titles, SANCTIFICATION, BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST, DIVINE HEALING, ETERNAL SECURITY, PREDESTINATION, JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH, and right on down the line. Everything that God had restored to the believer, through the reformation, He vindicated it through the ministry of Bro. William Branham.

 

THE HOLY GHOST IS THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH

We realize, as we say these things, that not every believer in the world has had the privilege to hear and see the things that some of us have, but we are thoroughly convinced that if you have the genuine Holy Ghost in your life, as you get hold of this man’s teachings, and see what he stood for, you will be turned in your thinking, to the framework of the faith of the early church fathers. Bro. William Branham is no longer with us in bodily form, but what he taught and stood for, is finding its way around the world in the form of books and tapes and personal testimonies. People of God are returning to the word, back to what the apostles taught.

 

FALSE TEACHERS

We have the same situation in our day that the apostle Paul had in his day. That is why I subtitled this portion of our message, THE OVERTHROW OF THE FAITH. Since Bro. William Branham’s death, men have come on the scene to pervert the true teaching, and overthrow the faith of some. You say, how can the faith of some be overthrown? Please turn with me into the second epistle of Paul to Timothy. In 66 D.D., Paul was in prison, in Rome. He is o longer in a position to go personally, and deal with a situation that was taking place, so he writes to Timothy and gives instructions to him concerning the matter. We will start reading in chapter 2, (14) “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, (That is what a lot of people are doing today. They like to play with words, but they have no understanding of the words that they are playing with.) But to the subverting of the hearers. (15) Study to show thyself approved unto God, (not man), a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” In other words, when you are asked a question, answer it according to the word of God, and knowing that it is the word of God, you do not have to be ashamed of anything. You may not convince the person that is asking the question, but if you know beyond any shadow of doubt that you have answered according to the word of God, that is all you need to worry about. Verse 16, “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” That is what we have going on in this movement today, just a lot of babbling. And notice how he connects it all together. “But shun profane and vain babblings.” In other words, meaningless arguments and debates, fruitless discussions that never have any benefit for anyone, shun them. There were those that consistently catered to such tactics, and Paul said, (17) “And their word will eat as doth a canker,” (or like gangrene, it just gnaws and gnaws at your spirit. He then mentions a couple of names. I believe the day is coming when that will be necessary to our age, but let a think like that be done in God’s time.) of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus: (18) Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already: and OVERTHROW THE FAITH OF SOME.” Now, do you see what happened there? Those two men got a revelation, somehow, that the resurrection had passed already, and began to teach it. Paul was in jail, and could not go personally, to keep everyone in line, and that gave the devil a good opportunity to run at large. Paul did not hesitate to call those two men by name, for they had been teaching their new revelation, and some had believed it, not everyone, just some. That just goes to show how that spirit of antichrist works. It is always an attack against truth, but it comes in a subtle way, a way of causing certain ones to feel like they have found a special place with God, an inner circle. We have it right in our community even today. There are certain ones, like Hymenaeus and Philetus, that are saying the rapture of the Gentile bride has taken place already. Those who believe such a teaching will have their faith overthrown. Such people have erred from the truth. I want to say, I have sat by many of these men in years past, and had a great respect and appreciation for what I considered to be a genuine experience of the Holy Ghost in their lives. I felt like these men had the same appreciation for the restored word of God that I did, but when God took his prophet from the scene, and it was left up to those who remained to preach the gospel, many of them were not able to preach anything but the prophet. It is not enough to preach Malachi 4, and Revelation 10:7, there is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to be preached yet. Some of them will say, “the message is William Marrion Branham,” but I say the message is the gospel that the early apostles preached.

 

WHOSE DISCIPLE ARE YOU?

Why should these characters that believe like that go all over the world, even to lost souls in Africa, or people that have been converted by missionaries from the denominational churches, and tell them that God sent a prophet to turn us back to the faith of the fathers, and then preach about the prophet, without ever telling people what the faith of the fathers is. That kind of a ministry is vain. A person might know who William Marrion Branham was, what he was, and know all about him, and still not know anything at all about the faith of the fathers. I am so glad that I can go on record saying, I THANK GOD THAT I KNOW WHAT THE FAITH OF MY FATHERS WAS, (SPIRITUAL FATHERS), for I believe that I have the same Holy Ghost that Peter, James, John, Jude, Paul, and all of those men had. I love the writings of those men. Therefore, when I read what the prophet to this age said, it makes me appreciate what those men had to say. It makes me appreciate the fact that I got baptized the same way Peter did. I thank God that one day that prophet looked at me and said, “this is good for you Methodist, and the Baptists, and the Presbyterians, Lutherans, Pentecostals, and all who name the name of Jesus Christ, but you will not continue to be that for long after you get it. I am talking about the genuine baptism of the Holy Ghost. HALLELUJAH!

 

TRUTH DOES NOT HAVE TO BE CHANGED

I know that some of these characters get angry when I talk like this, and they will say, “that Jackson is crazy, stay away from his church, he is not even in the message.” I will say to any of you, you will never get me to teach different. You cast your lot with whom you will, and we will let God do the vindicating.

I have sat by men who jerked all over when they were supposed to be under the power of the Holy Ghost, (and there is nothing wrong with being jerked by the Holy Ghost, I wish he would jerk a few more to the point where they could see truth), but now I see them being led by the spirit of the antichrist. It is a pitiful thing, but if God will allow it to happen that way, who are we that we should try to stop them. It is our business to hold up truth before those who are looking for truth. Jesus is coming back very soon now, and He is coming for a people whose lives are founded on truth. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the father, but by me.” It is time to be looking up for our redemption draweth nigh.

Brothers and Sisters: we will bring this part of the message to a close, trusting, that in it, we have said something that will be of help to each of you along your Christian journey. What we say is not meant to be critical, but awakening. It is necessary to expose certain things, and certain ones, at times, for the benefit of those who want to do the right thing, but just have not been able to decide which way to go.

I feel that God has a call upon my life to stand for his word in these last days, and that is what takes first place in my life. We have been publishing the Contender since March of 1969. Our one aim is to get the word of God into the hands of those who will appreciate it. I do not know of one thing that we have ever printed that I would want to call back and change. I believe that what we have printed will help the true children of God.

In part 3 of this message, I desire to go into the many things that have caused confusion among those who have been affected by the ministry of Bro. William Branham. Please pray for us, that the message will be of benefit to God’s people. May God bless each of you. AMEN.

1977-10-The-Apostles-Office-Part-2

The Apostle’s Office, Part 1 – 1977, September


Introduction

WE ARE PUBLISHING THIS ARTICLE, PRIMARILY, FOR THE PURPOSE OF ESTABLISHING THE OFFICE OF AN APOSTLE, WHAT IT IS, WHAT IT IS FOR, WHAT IT HAS BEEN IN THE PAST, AND WHAT IT IS IN OUR DAY. HOWEVER, WE WILL SPEAK OF MANY THINGS IN THIS DISCOURSE THAT SHOULD BE OF INTEREST TO ALL OF YOU WHO READ THE ARTICLE, SUCH AS, RECOGNIZING THE SPIRIT OF GOD, TESTING YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE, WORKS OF THE HOLY GHOST, GOD’S PERFECT ORDER, GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY, THE HOLY GHOST SPEAKING, AND MANY OTHER THINGS, INCLUDING MY TESTIMONY, AS TO HOW GOD HAS LED ME, AND WHY I HAVE CONDUCTED MY MINISTRY AS I HAVE. WE ARE TRUSTING GOD TO MAKE THIS ARTICLE MEANINGFUL TO EACH OF YOU. THEREFORE, I ASK THAT YOU READ THIS FIRST PART PRAYERFULLY, AND WATCH FOR THE CONTINUATION IN OUR NEXT ISSUE.

TEXT: ACTS 11:1-18

 

I have never approached this subject nor tried to go into it in the way that I desire to do so now, if the Lord Jesus will help me.

WHAT IT IS FOR

In the ranks of Christianity we have heard for years that there is to be APOSTLES, PROPHETS, EVANGELISTS, PASTORS, AND TEACHERS, but it seems that no two groups of people are able to agree upon the fact of who is to do what among this ministry. Some have gone to the extremes of selecting certain men from among their ranks and installing them in these particular offices. But that is not the answer to man’s spiritual dilemma, for if God has not called a man to a certain office of authority, that man will only add more confusion to that which is present already. When God calls a man to a certain ministry, that man will be enabled and equipped to fulfill that calling. He will not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, which is nothing but man’s carnal ideas. It is because of this confusion, and the nearness of the return of the Lord, that I feel led to deal with this subject, THE APOSTLE’S OFFICE, what it is for, where it ranks among the others, and how it functions among believers.

We have said over and over again that God sent a prophet messenger to this age, and I will say right now that if He had not, every last one of us would be on a road to spiritual wreck. We would be wrecked as individuals as well as assemblies. I am sure that there are many of you who do not catch the significance of what the news media reports from the ranks of religion in our day. Therefore, you may not be aware of the hypocrisy and evilness of it as it is in our present time. The decay of morals has reached a state of rottenness, to the degree that religion, as a whole, is nothing more than a cloak for people to robe themselves in. No more than forty or fifty years ago, religion was looked upon as being something holy, something that would acquaint you with God and show you how to live in respects to God. Brothers and Sisters: that is no longer true. Religious leaders are becoming more and more engrossed in politics and social affairs, and the souls of lost men are not even thought of when these groups come together. Apostasy is taking over the ranks of religion. I have said it before, from this pulpit, and now I will say it again, the time is near at hand that many people will literally hate and abhor religion with all of its corruption. They will feel that they can live better lives apart from such a system. This will be people that morally, socially, ethically, and principally, their standards will be much higher than what they see in the so called churches of the world. They will refuse to sit in, participate, or support such systems as these that feel they must become involved in world affairs. Brother, you can be assured of one thing, the apostle Paul never became involved in social matters, neither did he become involved in economical problems or international affairs. He was only interested in only one thing, that wherever God gave him an open door, he would, by the help of God, fully preach the gospel and point all men everywhere to repent and turn their hearts to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter was the same way, but we are becoming just another subject of study in your colleges and universities, along with Buddhism, Shintuism, and such like, so that there is no life in it.

A short time ago, while traveling, we had occasion to be in the Pittsburgh, PA, airport for about an hour while changing planes. As we walked through the airport we were approached by a young lady who had a bunch of these little red carnations in her hand. She just walked right up and pinned them on my wife’s dress without even asking if it would be alright. She just said as she pinned them on, “May I give you a gift this morning?” Then she said, “Would you like to donate to a charitable cause?” Naturally, I thought it would be for something like the veterans of foreign wars or something of that nature, so I reached in my pocket and gave her a dollar. At that time she reached in her little knapsack and pulled out a magazine, which she handed to me. I could see from the pictures on the cover that it was a magazine which deals with the idea of reincarnation and that sort of thing, but I thought to myself, I have paid a dollar for this thing, so I may as well see what they have to say about it. Brothers and Sisters: you would be surprised at the names of doctors, lawyers, university deans, and big names from all walks of life that were listed in there as having accepted this new concept of reincarnation, and what it has done for them. I thought as I read that, there was a time when you would not have found any such thing as this in your airports, but now we are invaded, here in America, with every kind of a spirit under the sun. It lets us know that the whole world is decaying and the gospel is absolutely being closed out. The vultures are moving in on every side.

Now in respect to the subject of the Apostle’s office, let me say this. I do not know what you may believe, or what you may have been taught about this five fold ministry, that is to perfect the bride of Christ in this last age. But I want to approach the subject from the standpoint of what an apostle was in the first church age. Then, if we can see what the apostle, (as well as the others), was in the beginning of the new testament age, we will have no trouble reconciling the ministry of that office in the closing of this age, for we know that we are to be restored back to the faith of our fathers. That, naturally, means the faith of our spiritual fathers, which were the founders of the new testament church, which began on the day of Pentecost when three thousand souls received the gospel.

As we read the scripture that I have chosen to use for a text for this message, please remember, this is an account of the apostle Peter vindicating his ministry to the Gentiles. He had been called on the carpet, (so to speak), by his Jewish brethren in the Christian faith. In other words, the other apostles and brethren, who were not aware of the fact that even though the gospel came to the Jews first, it was for all who would receive it, called upon the apostle Peter to give an account for the fact that he had, (in the eyes of the Jews), defiled himself by going among Gentile dogs. (This was the way Jews looked upon the uncircumcised Gentiles). You will notice in verse 4, that Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and told it to them in the order of its occurrence. He told of the vision that he received, and how that, through that vision he was able to understand that God is no respecter of person’s (as far as salvation is concerned), and that he should not call any man common or unclean.

Now let us read our text, Acts 11:1-18. (1) “And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of god. (2) And when Peter was to come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, (3) Saying, Thou sentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them. (4) But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying, (5) I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, a certain vessel descending as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me: (6) Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw a four footed beast of the earth and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. (7) And I heard a voice saying unto me, arise, Peter; slay and eat, (8) But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth. (9) But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. (10) And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven. (11) And behold, immediately there, were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me. (12) And the spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover, these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house. (13) And he showed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send me to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter: (14) Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. (15) And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them as on us at the beginning. (16) Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. (17) Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? (18) When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”

 

RECOGNIZING THE SPIRIT OF GOD

 

You will notice from the scripture that we have just read, that Peter did not have to wrestle with anyone, or make any threats as to what might happen to a person, or persons, among them, if they did not believe him. He just simply testified to them how the Holy Ghost had led him to go and do a thing that had never entered his mind before that time. He told them his vision, and testified of the results. Not only himself, but he had six brethren which had accompanied him on the trip, and witnessed the things that had taken place. You will notice, also, that the men who were questioning Peter, even though they themselves had no such leadings, they had enough of the spirit of God in them to recognize that this was a sovereign act of God, and from that moment on their minds were settled. They did not continue harassing Peter Because he had done something contrary to their former understanding. These men displayed a true Christian attitude, in that, they glorified God for what he had done. It has been quite the contrary in our day. We have lived to see that spirit of antichrist work from every direction, and through many people that we had looked upon previously as true brothers and sisters of the faith. To give you a little example of what I am talking about, we will call your attention to how the denominations looked upon Bro. William Branham and the things that he taught. Yes, there were certain groups among them that enjoyed the healing ministry, and the gift of revealing certain things about individuals in the meetings, but there was not one denomination among them, that would accept his teachings and try to line themselves up with the word of God. Today, that man’s name is considered a bad word in denominational ranks. He is just about as well thought of as some stray dog that might have ran through their midst. Those who knew him personally, from among those groups, are quick to say, oh yes, he was a fine man, but just a little mixed up in the head. Some have been heard to say, he was right in the heart, but wrong in the head, all because he stood for the word of God rather than denominational traditions and creeds. That is the very same situation that John the baptist and Jesus faced in their day. The things that they taught did not fit in with that Judiastic way of thinking. Therefore, they could not see God in anything that was different from their preconceived ideas. Tares will always react like that, for they do not have a revelatory spirit within them. They can only accept what they are able to accomplish through their five senses. This is legalism, without compassion or mercy.

Now I want to bring it right down to where we are today. There are a lot of people, right today, who followed Bro. William Branham, and supposedly believed him to be God’s prophet messenger to this age, who are conducting themselves exactly like the Judiastic leaders of the days of Christ’s ministry on earth. It is the same old spirit, just different people. These people thought it was ridiculous that the denominations did not receive Bro. William Branham’s teaching on the god-head, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, serpent seed, and the various things concerning the different reformers, and now that Bro. William Branham is no longer with them they are being led by the same spirit that they had formerly condemned. In most ways the denominations are better off. At least they are not waiting around for a dead man to be resurrected from the grave to lead them to perfection. God is alive, and His ministry is alive. He does not resurrect men from the dead to carry on His plan of redemption. I am aware that some of you who will read this paper are going to say that I am a heretic, and that I am speaking against Bro. William Branham, but I will just say to you, that I am not speaking against that little man, who I loved and appreciated, as much, and maybe more, than most of you. It is that spirit that is so prone to deify the flesh of a man that God uses, that I am speaking against. I do not know where I might be right now, if it had not been for the life and ministry of Bro. William Branham, but he is dead now and there is still a life to be lived, and a race to be run. I am referring to the race that the apostle Paul mentioned in I Corinthians 9:24 and Phillipians 3:14, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, not this race that so many are engaged in, trying to see who has the best collection of quotes from Bro. William Branham’s sermons.

 

TRUTH OR LIES

 

If it seems like I am being a little too plain, I ask you to bear with me. It is too late in the hour to beat around the bush trying to spare someone’s feelings. Jesus did not do it that way. He looked at a group of people that had that spirit on them, and said, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” Now don’t you say that I called you a devil, or a murderer, I did not, but if that spirit in you does not have a love for the truth, well, you know what the scripture says. God will send them strong delusion, that they may believe the devil’s lie and be damned. There are many people among the ranks of religion that are forever murdering truth. All who do so will have to answer to God, not Raymond Jackson. John the baptist called a group of them vipers on one occasion. You certainly could not call that sparing their feelings. Neither was the apostle Paul very gentile with those people when he preached from Mars Hill in Athens, Greece. It simply amounts to the fact that there is a truth to stand for, and any spirit that opposes it, must be revealed and dealt with.

When God is on the scene with truth it is for the benefit of those individuals who are hungering after God to the extent of reaching far beyond what their former teachings held. That does not mean that there is no truth in the various places that we could name, it just means that it takes the whole truth and nothing but the truth to feed the bride of Christ. We all know full well, that the church of the living God started out on the unadulterated truth. They did not have a bunch of misfits sitting in their assemblies saying, “I just don’t see it that way,” “or I believe it should be like this.” God had His apostles on the scene to teach the people, as they believed and desired to know what this new way of life. You did not have people getting saved one day, and then find them out trying to preach the next day, as we have seen it in our day. It seems that there is a preacher spirit on just about two of every three professing Christians that you meet up with anymore. Brothers and Sisters: It was never meant to be that way. The men that God calls to preach will sit under a ministry somewhere till they have something to preach about. We are too close to the end for such folly among the true body of Christ. There is no time to fool around being polite. The Bible teaches us that it will take a five fold ministry to perfect the bride of Christ, therefore, why settle for anything less at this late hour.

 

APOSTLE’S DOCTRINE

 

In the 2nd chapter of Acts, we read that three thousand souls were added to the ranks of the believers in one day. Then what does it say? “And they continued stedfastly in the APOSTLES’ DOCTRINE, and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Now! Did you notice anything in that verse? Look at it again. “THEY CONTINUED STEDFASTLY IN THE APOSTLES’ DOCTRINE.” We gather from scriptures such as this that these new converts had some doctrine taught to them, and by who? By the apostles. It is always the apostle that holds the line on the word of God. The early church had all five offices in it, but it was the apostles who had the major role in establishing the believers. Take for instance, the time when Paul and Barnabas came to Jerusalem to discuss the doctrine that had been spread at Antioch, among new converts, saying, that they should be circumcised and keep the law. The apostle James stood up, after having heard all the discussion and testimony, and said, listen to me, (Acts 15) (14)“Simon has declared how God at first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. (15) And to this agree the prophets; as it is written, (16) After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will set it up: (17) That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. (18) Known unto God are all of his works from the beginning of the world. (19) Wherefore MY JUDGMENT is that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: (20) But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.” ETC. What I want you to see here, is that, these apostles had to deal with a situation that they did not have an exact scripture to go to for the answer. Therefore, James, being the chief spokesman at Jerusalem, first looked at the word of God that was available to them, (prophecy concerning Gentile believers), and made his judgment based upon that. When he made this determination, the others did not question his decision. They immediately took steps to set everything in its proper order.

You will notice further on down in this same chapter that the church at Jerusalem sent chosen men from among their number, with Paul and Barnabas, when they went back to Antioch, primarily, as witnesses to the fact that the apostles had made a decision in the matter. The men who accompanied Paul and Barnabas were new testament prophets, who, after bearing witness in the matters at hand, also exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.

As you follow the events recorded in the book of Acts, you will notice that each time God began to change His approach concerning a certain realm of people, the office of that apostle was right there. The early church did not start out as a hit and miss project in the books of Acts, and it will not wind up as such in the end, for God still has His voice in the land today.

 

TESTING YOUR EXPERIENCE

 

Some of you may not agree as to what an apostle is, but I will say this, your judgment in the matter is not what God will accept anyhow. He never bothered to ask the Judiastic world what they thought their Messiah should look like. He never asked them what they thought their Elijah was to look like, neither did he ask the denominational church world what they thought their Malachi 4 should be like. Most of them do not accept it, I can not see it, they say. Well, it just goes to prove the scripture where Jesus said, “No man can come to me except the Father draw him.” They are quick to say, “I know I have been saved and have the Holy Ghost, even if I do not see anything just like you do.” Time will prove who has the Holy Ghost. It matters not, what some may say, time will prove who has the real thing. I don’t care if you are able to kick your heels through the ceiling, that does not prove that you have the Holy Ghost. The real proof of it is what you do with the word of God when it is presented to you. You could never convince a true child of God that you are filled with the Holy Ghost, while you continue to resist water baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, according to Acts 2:38, and while you continue to believe that God is three persons. Does not the scripture tell us, (in the words of Jesus) that when the Holy Ghost comes, He will lead you into all truth? You can answer your own question if your are honest. Just ask yourself, if I have the Holy Ghost, why is He not leading me into all truth? Why do so many of the scriptures still seem so confusing? Ask yourself these questions, then, think on what I am about to say.

On the day of Pentecost, when the new testament church was born, every soul in that upper room had been affected by the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, but where were all of the others whose lives had also been affected. Let us ask ourselves this question, why were they not all assembled in the upper room? What had happened? There were thousands of people throughout the land of Israel, who had sat on the ground and eaten of the five loaves and two fishes. Where were they on the morning when the Holy Ghost fell? They were not in the upper room. How about the great throng of people who followed Jesus and witnessed the healing of multitudes who came to Him along the way? Are you beginning to see what I am getting at? It is not whether you spoke in tongues, rolled in the floor, shouted, danced, got healed or prophesied, that determines whether you received the Holy Ghost or not. The real test is whether you will do what the word tells you to do. The WORD, John 1:14, told those people to tarry in the city of Jerusalem until they received the promise of the Father, Luke 24:49. There were about one hundred and twenty of them who were gathered together with this promise on their mind, but the great multitude was someplace else. We have all enjoyed the manifestations of the spirit in the wonderful meetings that we have been privileged to attend over the years, and I have nothing to say against anyone who might have had an experience similar to one or more of these mentioned. The only thing that I will say is, when you leave the meeting to go about your daily routine, please let your life measure up with your spiritual experiences. Do not make a toy out of the spirit of God. He is not to be used as a puppet, where you pull the strings and make God do what you want Him to do. God is looking at the heart of each one of us. He is checking for a certain quality, a quality that has a sticking ability. When He finds such a person, He will talk to that soul out of His book. Oh, yes, there will be days of discouragement, we all have them. But the soul that truly knows God, will get up out of such a dilemma, and will stand for the word of God, which will bring everything under control.

 

WORKS OF HOLY GHOST

 

Think for just a moment about that 120 souls who waited for the promise of the Father, as they had been instructed to do. They did not know what kind of a feeling they would have when it came, neither did they know what it would look like. They just knew that Jesus had told them to wait at Jerusalem until it came, and they were obeying His word. When the spirit fell on them that day, it made such an impact on each of them, that they never stopped witnessing about it until they were either martyred, or put in the grave from some other cause. The spirit that they received had a life changing effect on them, and it affected others also.

Notice what happened when Peter preached his first sermon after receiving the Holy Ghost, three thousand orthodox Jews were literally pricked in their hearts, causing them to cry out to Peter and the other eleven apostles, “men and brethren, what must we do?” Praise God! I am so glad that there were no bishops nor overseers to show them the articles of faith. Brothers and Sisters: the Bible wasn’t even printed yet, but Peter, out of the abundance of his heart, and a right revelation that God had instilled in there, said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” After Peter finished speaking these words, three thousand souls were taken out and baptized the biblical way. This was all done at the word of an apostle. The point that I want to get across to you, is, that God used the office of apostles to begin the church on the day of Pentecost, and that he will use that same office here in the end of the age, as the bride moves toward her perfection.

You can tell by listening to the way many people talk, that they think an apostle is the man that can make water run uphill, or create some great miracle, or this and that. I will say this, that all went along with it, but, that was not the main object of the apostolic office. That was not the primary calling of an apostle. It started out as an office of authority to hold a line on the word of God. It was an office, ordained by God, to establish doctrine for the true believers to live by.

You know, as well as I do, that when Peter and John were instrumental in their first miracle, (that being the healing of the lame man which was laid daily at the gate beautiful of the temple, to ask alms of those who went in and out), that there was a great stir among the people. So much so, that the religious leaders, who were angered by all of this commotion and talk about this man Jesus, came upon them and took them before the high priest, and others who questioned them as to what authority they had to do these things. Peter seized the opportunity to preach the name of Jesus Christ unto them, but the sermon was not appreciated. The apostles were threatened and let go, with the command that they should not use this name anymore. During the time of their preaching though, there were another five thousand souls who believed the gospel and were added to the church. By this time, all attention was focused on this group of believers who were causing such a stir around Jerusalem. Miracles were being wrought by the apostles, the sick were healed, and spirits were cast out of those who were possessed. It was reported that the believers in this new way of life had all things common. But then the high priest and the Sadducees were filled with indignation because of these things, and when they could no longer contain themselves, they arrested the apostles once again and cast them into the common prison. This time, God sent an angel to open the prison gates, and when they were on the outside, the angel said to them, go, stand and speak, in the temple, to the people, all the words of this life. It was important that the church of that day be started out on right teachings. The right doctrine was most essential. The five fold ministry was busy among those early Christians, getting them established in the right doctrine. They had apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers: all active in that first age, and you can be sure of this one thing, they all taught the same revelation of Jesus Christ to the believers of that day. The trinity of the godhead sure didn’t get its start through the ministry of through the ministry of those men. Neither did that apostate substitute for water baptism. The gospel started out pure, through the teachings of these men, and that is what the bride of Christ must be brought back to, before she will be acceptable to God. All denominational creeds and traditions will have to be purged out of us by a right revelation of the word of God. Then we must live according to that revelation.

 

PHILLIP’S MINISTRY IN SAMARIA

 

When we talk about miracles, we sure can not overlook Phillip and his ministry down in Samaria. He was not an apostle. He was just a deacon, or a table waiter as some might prefer, but when the great persecution of Christians struck Jerusalem, causing them to be scattered to the regions round about, (after the death of Stephen), we find Phillip going down into Samaria, preaching the gospel as he went. We find the record of his ministry in the 8th chapter of Acts, where it tells that unclean spirits were cast out of many who were possessed with them. Many of those who had palsy, or that were lame, were healed. The Bible says that the people, with one accord, gave heed unto those things which Phillip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. Even Simon, the sorcerer, believed and was baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, along with the rest of that great multitude that believed the things which Phillip preached, concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. But the thing that I want you to see from this Bible account of Phillip’s ministry is, that, even though he had all of those miracles as a result of his preaching, the Holy Ghost did not fall on any of these new converts until the apostles went down and laid hands on them and prayed for them.

Do you think it strange that the Holy Ghost fell on none of them until the apostles prayed for them? The reason it seems strange to us, is that we have been prone to interpret the Bible by what we have seen taking place in the last 50 or 60 years, as we look backwards. But, my brother, when we take the Bible and put it on the other side of the dark ages, where the gospel light had just bloomed forth, and the plan of God had just been introduced, we can see that God absolutely had a divine plan for doing things. Therefore, Peter and John went down to Samaria and all they did was lay hands on the people and pray for them to receive the Holy Ghost. God did something there with a manifestation that caught the attention of all people. I do not know what the manifestation was, but something happened, for when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles hands, the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying, give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. Of course the gift of God can not be purchased with money, and Peter reminded him of this fact. It is free to all who repent and are baptized according to Acts 2:38, in the name of Jesus Christ. That is a promise to as many as the Lord our God shall call, Acts 2:39.

 

GOD’S PERFECT ORDER

 

Now let us look at the order in which the gospel was presented to the various people. You will recall, I am sure, the words of Jesus which are recorded in Acts 1:8, where he said, “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in JERUSALEM, and in JUDAEA, and in SAMARIA, and unto the UTTERMOST PART OF THE EARTH.” Do you see the order here? First, the gospel was to be preached at Jerusalem. This took place on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:1-47. Then we read in the 8th chapter of Acts, verses 1,4, that after the death of Stephen, there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem: and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of JUDAEA and SAMARIA, all except the apostles who remained at Jerusalem. In verse 4 we read, “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.” They covered the regions of Judaea and Samaria, preaching the word. Now we come to the 10th chapter of Acts, and we find that it is time to begin to fulfill the last part of chapter 1:8, where the uttermost part of the earth is mentioned. This is what included the Gentiles. They were not included in the regions of Jerusalem, Judaea, and Samaria, but now, let us watch the order of these next events.

When we come to the 10th chapter we find an account of a certain man named Cornelius, who was a centurion in the Roman army, (A Gentile), but the scripture says that he was a devout man, meaning of course, that he had heard something, somewhere, concerning the true and living God, and he had believed sincerely enough that it caused him to pray and give alms to the people. But according to Peter’s account of the matter, when he was approached by his Jewish brethren at Jerusalem, later, the man Cornelius, needed to hear words, whereby, he and all of his house could be saved. You can read that in the 11th chapter. It just goes to show that there are a lot of well meaning people in the world who pray and do many good things, but they are like Cornelius was, they are not saved. They need to hear the words of eternal life, and be instructed in how to make their calling sure. According to chapter 10:6, the angel that Cornelius saw in his vision instructed him to send for Simon Peter, who was in the house of Simon the tanner by the sea side. When he comes, said the angel, “he will tell thee what thou oughtest to do.”

We know of a surety that there were prophets at Jerusalem, such as Agabus, Judas, Silas and others. These men could, no doubt, have preached to this group of Gentiles, just as well as Peter did, but it was not those prophets that God chose for the job. There is something about that office of the apostle that God has ordained to use. We must see it if we are going to move on with God. It is not that we are trying to glorify flesh. There is no flesh that can glory in the presence of the Lord. We are just trying to help you to see that God has a certain order by which he does things, and those who resist God’s order will miss God altogether, and wind up back out in the world.

We are aware of the fact that there are many professing Christians in our day who detest the idea of having anyone over them. They will say, “Bless God, I am not going to have anyone telling me what to do. I get my instructions directly from God. The spirit leads me. I don’t need anyone.” Such an attitude, in itself, reveals that their heart is not right, and because their heart is not right, they could never submit to any kind of authority. As for myself, I do not want some denominational bishop over me either, but, brother, I will accept a biblical office over me. AMEN! As long as that man is leading my soul down the pathway of eternal life, in the revelation of Jesus Christ, and my soul has access to the word of God, here is one old boy that has no objections to following such a man. If your heart is right, and you are hungering after truth, then you will know who to follow, and also, who not to follow.

When they drafted me into the army, I did not go in there and try to tell them how to run everything. Whatever they were doing (or having me to do), that I did not like, was not for me to change. I had to fall in line and conform to the established rules, so is it in this great army of God. We can not all be leaders. Some of us are required to follow, but God will let us know who to follow.

 

GENTILES RECEIVE GOSPEL

 

When it came time for God to open the door of grace to the Gentiles, He took advantage of the hungry, weakened condition of Peter’s physical makeup to speak to him, for up until this time the apostle Peter had strictly observed the law of eating, concerning clean, and unclean things. Now, Peter was a man of prayer, so while he was waiting for the meal to be prepared, he just slipped away, up to the housetop to pray. (For those of you who have been to the Middle East, or know anything about their customs, this would not seem strange to you; for you will know that their houses are built with flat roofs, and they have a stairway leading up to roof so that it serves as sort of a balcony, or a place to get away from the main activity of the household.) On this particular occasion, as Peter began to pray, he became very hungry and would have eaten, but the food was not ready, so while he waited he fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and a sheet like vessel, tied together by the hour corners, let down to the earth before him. In this vessel were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. As Peter beheld this sight, he heard a voice, saying, “Rise, Peter; kill, and eat,” but Peter said, “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” Then the voice spoke to him again, and said, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” God gave him a threefold witness, for he repeated the incident twice, but Peter was still not completely settled as to what the vision meant, and while he thought it over, the three men that Cornelius had sent appeared at the gate making inquiry about him. The spirit spoke to Peter, and told him to arise and go with the three men, doubting nothing. Peter listens to the story of the three men as they relate the vision that Cornelius had been instructed through. About three days later, and some sixty miles up the coast, Peter and the man who accompanied him arrived at the Gentile man’s house. Immediately, Cornelius began relating the vision to Peter, and when he had finished, Peter began his sermon by saying, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all), That Word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” You see what Peter did, he did the only thing that he could do, he just began preaching Jesus to them. That is what he had been doing in every other place where the door was open, and that is exactly what God wanted him to do. For there is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved, except the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. God did not have to tell Peter what to say to these people once he was there, he just did what came natural with him. He gave a testimony of the things that he had seen and heard, but he did not stop there. Even though he did not have any idea that those people who were hearing him would start acting peculiar, he had no trouble recognizing that they were receiving the same experience that he and the others with him had received, for they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. I want you to read the last few verses of this 10th chapter and take note of the fact that they did not have anyone shaking their heads, patting them on the cheeks, or trying to teach them how to speak in other language, as some of these modern evangelists encourage people to do. I am truly sick of this whole apostate religious thing that we are seeing spread around everywhere. Brothers and Sisters: it is the cheapness of it all that is so bad, I am constantly amazed to see some poor soul that was sincere and hungry enough for God, to survive all of that nonsense, and make is way to truth. You can be sure of this, it is not because someone beat on them or caused them to repeat certain phrases. It is because God sees the heart of every person that comes through that route, and He causes them to get the right thing.

 

WAIT FOR GOD’S LEADING

I want you to listen close to what I am going to say. We are living in a day when man cheapens the program of God by making a show out of it. Modern religion likes to put everything on display, and count heads, to boast about numbers, how many got saved, how many received the Holy Ghost, how many was in Sunday school last Sunday, or how many has pledged to pray for such and such a time. These numbers may sound good to them, but I want you to know that they do not mean anything to God. For God already has the whole thing numbered from before the foundation of the world. His record book is already made out. Why should man try so hard to make the earthly record books show so much more than the heavenly record that God has made? Why can we not allow God to motivate and lead us along in His plan? Why do we feel like we must help God? I hear people get so frustrated and nervous, saying, Oh! But we have just got to help God or such a one someplace may not get saved. No, we don’t have to feel like that. All we need to do is yield ourselves to God and let Him direct us, and lead us. There will certainly be times that God will use your testimony to get someone’s attention, but it will be at a time when He has set the stage for it to be effective.

Jesus said, no man can come to me, except the Father draw him, meaning, that no one can come to an understanding of the word unless the spirit deals with him first. Let me read you a few verses from Romans, chapter 10:13-17, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (14) How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (15) And shall they preach, EXCEPT THEY BE SENT? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So THEN FAITH COMETH BY HEARING, and hearing by the word of God.” It will do no good for you to preach or testify to or twist the arm of a person that God has not already moved upon by His convicting spirit. In other words, you must be led by God to do what you do or it will all be in vain. What if Peter had suddenly felt that he ought to do something for God, and gone to the house of Cornelius before God had dealt with him in the trance, and Cornelius in the vision? Do you think that the results would have been the same? I assure you, it would not have been. When God is working on both ends of the line, the gospel will feed your soul. That is the way it was that day, when Peter was preaching and testifying to that group of Italian Gentiles, their souls were being fed. They were sitting there, wide eyed, eating up every word that Peter was saying. But do you think it would have been like that if Peter had gone there to teach them how to light a candle, or pray a rosary, or prepare a chicken for the next chicken fry? You know as well as I do, that a person will not be helped, spiritually, by such things as that, but are you able to see yet, that to go, without being sent to preach the gospel is the same thing? God is not just word, that is legalism, or ritual. Neither is He just spirit. Those who love the spirit but neglect the word, will always wind up in fanaticism. It takes an even balance of each to mold a true child of God.

As Peter stood there in the house of Cornelius that day, he had no motive of his own. He was not overzealous about doing something for God. He was there because he had been instructed to go with these men, without doubting. I am sure that he did not know what to expect any more than they did, but can you not imagine the sigh of relief that must have moved over him as the whole group began to speak in tongues and magnify God? That was the first sign that he had, that let him know, that God was going to deal with the Gentiles the same way that he had dealt with the Jews on the day of Pentecost. That is when Peter got excited and turned to the six brethren that were with him and said, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.”

Peter was not there to run competition with anymore else. He did not beg money to get him a large tent, with three thousand chairs, and two trucks to haul it all around on, as we see it here in this 20th century. Peter was a true man of God. It made no difference to him if God sent him to a man’s house to preach or if he was sent to the temple to preach to the large crowds. His message was the same in either place. He just lifted up the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and did nothing to bring a reproach upon the word of God. As we follow the gospel from Acts 2 on through the rest of the book, we see that apostolic office holding a line on the word of God. That does not mean that these new Christians could not testify and edify each other in the Lord. It simply means that as God reached out with the gospel, He made sure that there was an apostle on the scene to see that the people got it straight in the beginning.

This was a time when the former rain was falling. It was seed sowing time. If you are familiar with farm life, you can more easily understand this terminology of former rain and latter rain. In the spring, when the former rains are coming, you will see the farmers going out to the fields with corn planters, wheat drills, and other such equipment as is used in planting the crops. But when the latter rains began to fall, it is time to go out to the fields with a different kind of equipment. When you need now is harvest machinery. Now we all know that you do not harvest the crop with the same kind of equipment that you planted it with. Brothers and Sisters: apply this spiritually! But please, do not go out and say that Bro. Jackson said that no one could receive the Holy Ghost now. I did not say that. Neither have I said that it is too late for anyone to get saved. As long as Jesus is still on the mercy seat, a person who truly repents, can still be saved, but that is not the primary objective in this late hour of time.

 

SEPARATION AND TARE BUNDLING

 

When it comes to looking at the church as a whole, we are living in the time of separation, which is the time of harvest. We can see the tares, where they are going and what they are doing. It doesn’t take preaching to make tares. They are already in existence. No one had to preach to make tares in the 2nd church age. The devil just brought a condition and sowed it there. The condition produced the tares.

You will notice in the parable of Matthew 13:24-30, that when the servants asked the householder if they should go and pluck up the tares, he said, no, let them all grow together, lest while you are plucking up the tares, you uproot the wheat also. That is why we have had tares to put up with in the church for over 1800 years now. Yet we are living in a day when the tares are being bundled together for the burning, and the good crop is being gathered into the barn. You must apply this spiritually now, or you will miss the picture altogether.

Out in the denominations we see a certain move to bind all of them together. They are visiting from one denomination to the other. The great theme is love for each other. Doctrine has no place among them. No one, of their number, will preach anything that might be offensive to someone who might be visiting from some other denomination. They are ever so sincere, but they are being tied together for burning. That is why none of them could accept the 7th church age messenger, (a prophet to this age), he would not compromise with them to please their bishops and overseers. Therefore, when he stepped on the scene and delivered his message, it went around this world, causing the spirit of God to speak death to all of these systems. Then when the spirit of God left them, the devil took over. They can still feel a spirit among them, but they are unable to recognize that it is the spirit from another source.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not speaking of individuals that may still be trapped in those systems for one reason or the other. I am speaking of the system itself. The spirit of God has left them. Therefore, we will have to say that the only way you will find God among those denominational systems in this harvest time, is to find Him dealing with an individual here and there. He will speak to that individual among those groups, who He finds to be sincere and hungry for truth, but He will not leave them there to be choked to death with programs once He has moved in their lives.

 

THE APOSTLE INSTRUCTING DISCIPLES

 

Every instance, in the Bible, where we see the spirit of God going from one order, or group, to another, we see that office of the apostle right there holding a line on the word. We have moved from Pentecost to Samaria, and then on to Caesarea, with the apostle Peter in the apostolic spotlight, but not as we approach the 19th chapter, we see another man begin to function in that office. We are speaking of the apostle Paul, who a short time before, (about 20 years), had been exerting all of his efforts to persecute the Christians. Now we see him, after God has knocked him down to the ground, got his attention, filled him with the Holy Ghost, and taught him for three years out in the Arabian desert. It took some time for Paul to gain the complete confidence of his brethren, seeing as how he had been so zealous in trying to stamp out the Christians, and even at the time of his conversion, he was on his way to Damascus, to arrest anyone that he might find there calling themselves a Christian. But, by the time we pick up his ministry, here in the 19th chapter of Acts, he has had time to prove himself, and gain the confidence and support of the other apostles. You will recall from the scriptural account of God’s dealing with Paul, that he never walked with the Lord Jesus, to gain His understanding of the gospel first hand, as the other apostles had, but as we pick up his ministry here in Ephesus, you will immediately recognize that his revelation is exactly the same as Peter’s. He comes to Ephesus, finds 12 men who have been converted under the ministry of Apollos, before Aquila and Priscilla had gotten hold of him, to instruct him, more perfectly, in the ways of God. Notice, the first question that he put to them was, (2) “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” (Acts 19:2) They said unto him, “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” Then, notice Paul’s next question. “Unto what then were you baptized?” (That Apostle knew that if they had been baptized properly, they certainly would have heard about the Holy Ghost, for that is part of the message of the gospel.) (3) “Unto John’s baptism,” they answered. Then Paul said, (4) “John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” (The apostle did not try to take away from these disciples, what they had already. He just showed them what they needed to add to their experience in order to make it complete.) (5) “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (6) And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” These scriptural accounts of God’s dealing with various people’s, should be enough to convince anyone that when a person comes through the right door, they receive the same experience as all of the others who have found that door of revelation. Out in the charismatic movement, they will baptize you just any way that you desire to be baptized, saying that the formula of baptism makes no difference. Some even go so far as to say, that baptism is not necessary anyhow. I would like to have heard them tell the apostle Paul that. You talk about a religious fanatic. When he got through answering such a statement, you would know what it is like to believe something with every fiber of your complete makeup. It is true, those people who use the name of Jesus so loosely, do call us fanatics, but that is not what the Bible calls us. Throughout the pages of the scripture, we are called believers, and such as these who will not obey the truth are called serpent seed. You say, Bro. Jackson: I have never seen any place in the scripture where a person was called a serpent seed; well, that is because your understanding has not yet been opened up as to what really took place in the garden of Eden in the beginning. As long as you think Adam and Eve ate an apple from a tree there in the garden, to bring about the fall of mankind, you could never accept the fact that there have been two seed lines among mankind ever since. That is another subject, which we have dealt with fully in previous messages. You may ask for a copy of the Contender dealing with this subject, if you wish, but now, let us return to our thought. These charismatic leaders will compromise on any issue for the sake of unity among what they call brethren. They want that spotlight on them. They want the name of being able to worship God with any group, any where, no matter what they believe, but that is a scriptural impossibility. In John 4:24 we read, GOD IS A SPIRIT: and they that worship Him must worship Him in SPIRIT and in TRUTH. In other words, if you are not in the truth, you can not worship God. I hear people say, “I don’t think it matters too much how we are baptized, just as long as our intention is right.” I want you to know that the apostle Paul would not accept that. Those 12 men there in Ephesus were doing all that they knew to do, but the apostle said, there is more to it than that. That was just to get your attention. Anything that you are holding on to, that does not measure up to a true revelation of the scriptures is just plain human reasoning. God will not accept it. That is what the apostolic office is for, to hold the reins and prevent a runaway. There are those in every congregation that will take any little thing that is dropped, and run with it, it doesn’t seem to matter to them whether it is truth or not, just as long as it is exciting. That is how false doctrine gets into a church, many times. You have heard people come in all excited and tell a dream or an experience that they had just after they finished praying. Naturally, if the person does not know how to examine the experience, with the word, they will be prone to believe it was from God. There will always be others that will pick it up and spread it, as a THUS SAITH THE LORD, when, many times, the thing is completely contrary to the word of God. Now do not misunderstand me. There are times when God will use situations like that to weed out those who do not have a love for the truth. But every assembly, that is established by God, will have access to that apostolic office, just like they did in the first church age. God does not leave His people without anyone that they can turn to for an answer to their questions. It was situations that came up in the various assemblies in that first church age that has enabled us to have the Bible as it is today. Even though some of the Epistles which were written by the apostle Paul, were just words of encouragement and instructions in general, there are others that were written in answer to questions about certain things that were going on in the church. That is one of the primary functions of that office. There must, of necessity, be some place where the local churches can look to for help in the settlement of disputes, that arise from time to time.

 

YOU WILL FOLLOW SOMEONE

 

If God has apostles in the church today, (and we know that He does because the Bible says so), then He has ordained that they be recognized by the believers of this age. That will not make the man with the office any better than anyone else. It is a spirit of jealousy that gets hold of a lot of people, especially preachers, and causes them to resent a man that God is speaking to. Brothers and Sisters: I will have to say, you had better get hold of yourself, this is God’s ordained way to perfect the bride of Christ. You are going to wind up sooner or later, following some man, somewhere. It is up to you who would value your soul, to make sure that you are following a man, or men, that will lead you down the pathway of eternal life, and true holiness. The men who fulfill these Bible offices are not doing so because they chose to. They are doing so because God has worked circumstances to get them into the place where they are. Look at the extreme measures that God took in dealing with Saul of Tarsus, before he ever got his life in line so that he could fulfill his calling. You may say, when did God call him to be an apostle? I will let the Bible answer that for you.

 

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY DEMONSTRATED

 

As we read the account of Saul’s conversion in the 9th chapter of Acts, we are made very much aware of God’s sovereignty, for as Saul journeyed to Damascus in his attempt to stamp our Christianity, the Lord appeared to him in a great light. When Saul had fallen to the ground because of it, he heard a voice saying unto him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do?” You can see here that none of this is a surprise to God. He is working out a plan that He formed in his mind before He created Adam. Saul’s conversion was no accident. It was a carefully worked out plan of God. Saul stood up and opened his eyes, and realized that he was blind. The men that were with him led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus, where he fasted and prayed for three days before he heard from the Lord again. In the meantime, the Lord was speaking to a certain disciple named Ananias, (in a vision), concerning Saul. The Lord said to Ananias, “Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hands on him, that he might receive his sight.”

We see throughout the Bible that God has always used dreams and visions in order to alert His servants, and to instruct them, many times, as to what was just ahead. We see here in this account of the conversion of Saul, that God gave both Ananias and Saul a vision, instructing them what to do next. Naturally, Ananias had heard about this man Saul, how he had been so fervently engaged in his own private campaign to arrest and put to death these Christians, that were causing so much fuss throughout the land. Knowing this about Saul caused Ananias to respond to the Lord as he did. It was almost as if Ananias was thinking, “Lord: are you sure about that?” Notice, verse 13, “Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.” Ananias expressed himself to the Lord, according to what he had heard about the man and his life in the past. I am afraid that we, as Christians, are too prone to do that at times. It seems that we forget too easily what we might have been ourselves, if not for the grace of a sovereign God. For God can take the vilest sinner and clean him up, and put his sins as far as the East is from the West, from him, never to be remembered against him anymore. God, from that moment on, sees nothing but the blood of Jesus when He looks at that man, but we mortals still have a tendency to think of him in the light of what we have known him to be in the past. That is extreme conservatism. On the other hand, you will find people who go just as much to the extreme with their liberalism. They would take a man from the depths of sin and debauchery, and set him up as a great spiritual leader all because he might have spoken in tongues, or danced, or prophesied. Let me tell you, there is more to it than that. Every person’s experience in the Lord must be able to stand the test when the fires of persecution and reproach are heaped against them. It is true that there is nothing impossible with God, but I still maintain that God does not go to the camp of the hard criminals, or the camps of the filthy morals, to get his men for offices of spiritual leadership. You may say, “But Brother Jackson: Paul was a murderer.” I will have to answer you by saying, he was not a criminal. He did not do what he did out of lust, nor greed. Neither did he have any other selfish motive. He truly thought that he was doing God a service by ridding the area of what he considered to be heretics. He was very dedicated to what he considered to be a real service to the Lord.

Let us finish these few verses, here in this 9th chapter, then I want you to go with me into the 26th chapter for a few verses. In anser to Ananias, the Lord said, (15) “Go, thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: (16) For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. (17) And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, BROTHER SAUL, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way of thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. (18) And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith: and arose, AND WAS BAPTIZED.” I believe that should be enough to establish the point that I desire to make here. Now, notice, the order of events. First, we see that Saul had a great zeal toward God. He was trying to do God a service, without knowing what God wanted him to do. Secondly, we see that, God, (in order to get his attention), knocked him to the ground, you can always look up better when you are lying flat on your back. Now, don’t you bother to say, the Bible does not say that Saul was knocked down. “Neither does it say that he was lying flat on his back.” I said that to get your attention. Nevertheless, while he was there on the ground, God was able to talk to him. That is why many people wind up in the hospital, or on a sick bed somewhere. God has to allow something in their life that will get their attention. Thirdly, let us notice the words of Saul, after the Lord had gotten his attention. “Lord, WHAT WILT THOU HAVE ME TO DO?” Get this now, the Lord did not tell him all that He had in store for him. He simply pointed him in the right direction. God had his human instrument in Damascus, that He could call upon to minister to Saul, once He got Saul’s attention. Therefore, the Lord just said, you go into the city, and it will be told you what you must do. The fourth thing that I would have you to see is that Saul did what the Lord told him to do. He went into the city where he fasted and prayed till he heard from God again. If he had been like some of the people that I have met in my ministry, he would have said, “I don’t see why I should have to go into the city, when I can’t even see where I am going, I think I will just sit here on this rock, until I find out for sure what the Lord has for me do to.” Do you think he would have heard from God if he had taken that attitude? God might have caused an earthquake to jar him off of that rock, but he would not have sent Ananias out there to lay hands on him. Yet, think about this, and see if you do not see it as the exact same attitude of a great number of people that you may know; you may even be one of them. They will say, “I know the Bible says to repent, and be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, but my dear old grandmother was a good Christian, and she was never baptized like that, so what was good enough for her, is good enough for me.” Let me tell you this, there are people in hell right now who have used those exact words. God requires obedience. He will not settle for a substitute.

Now the next thing that I would have you to see is that, Ananias, the human instrument, did what God told him to do. When you come into a situation where everyone is doing what God has instructed them to do, it is a thing of beauty. It will thrill your heart.

 

GENUINE OBEDIENCE WILL ATTRACT PERSECUTION

 

Immediately after his experience of receiving the Holy Ghost and being baptized, Saul had himself a good meal, and was strengthened. After fellowshipping with the saints which were at Damascus for a few days, he went into the synagogues and began to preach that Christ was truly the Son of God. The people that heard him were amazed, and said one to another, is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem: They liked what they were hearing, but they were very suspicious of him, because of his past. It goes on to say that he increased in strength and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus. After that, they began trying to kill him. That is just like a lot of religious hypocrites today. As long as a man will stay with the system of his traditions, he can commit murder, so to speak, and get by with it. But let that man get a genuine Holy Ghost experience with God, and it won’t be long before his troubles start.

As long as Saul was killing Christians, he did not have a problem, but just as soon as he began to prove that he himself was one, he became a potential victim. Even the disciples at Jerusalem were afraid of him when he tried to fellowship with them later. What a predicament! On the one hand, he had his former associates trying to kill him, and on the other hand, the ones that he had tried to join were afraid of him; until Barnabas, a trusted one among them, took him to them and testified of his experience with the Lord. The true brethren accepted him, but the Grecians went about trying to kill him. This caused the brethren to take him to Caesarea, and send him to Tarsus. With Saul out of the area, things kindly calmed down around the churches in Judaea, Galilee, and Samaria.

 

THE HOLY GHOST SPEAKS

 

We pick up the ministry of Saul, next, in the 13th chapter where the saints at Antioch were fasting and praying, and waiting upon the Lord, and the Holy Ghost spake to them that they should separate Barnabas and Saul for the work that they have been called to. This was the beginning of Saul’s first missionary journey. From this chapter throughout the rest of the Bible, he is called Paul, (one sent). It was from these missionary journeys of Paul, that we are able to have the Bible as we have it today. Paul did not have the new testament to carry around with him, he wrote most of it, or had it done. What he had for a Bible was the scrolls of the law, and the prophets, but everywhere he went he was found HOLDING A LINE ON THAT WORD. He would bend a little for a weaker brother in the faith, in order not to be a stumbling block for such a one, but he would never compromise on the revelation of the word of God. He was so sure that his revelation of the word was right, that he told the Galatians that, “If he, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” He was so sure that he meant what he had said, that he even repeated it, so that there would be no doubt. You can read this book over and over, again and again, but you will not find those apostles preaching anything different than what the apostle Paul preached, and anywhere he was heard, you can be sure it was always the same revelation. He did not preach one thing to one group, and something different to the next. He gave them all the same thing. It was not from the apostles preaching that false doctrine got into the churches. It was because of certain ones, who for the sake of gaining attention, they would add a little something here and there, that the devil was able to sow his antichrist doctrine.

 

WARNING TO THE CHURCH

 

Let us read a few verses from the 20th chapter of Acts. These are words spoken by Paul to the elders of the church at Ephesus, where he had ministered so faithfully. (It was from the revival fires that burned there at Ephesus, that many of the other churches were started.) Paul has called these elders together, and now he tells them that from the first day that he came into Asia, he has served the Lord with humility of mind, and with many tears and trials, and that he has kept back nothing that could be profitable to them. He goes on to tell them of what his ministry has been, and that he is going to Jerusalem, not knowing the thing that shall befall him there; knowing only that he is bound in the spirit to go. The Holy Ghost had witnessed to him in every city that bonds and afflications awaited him there. In verse 24 he says, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (25) And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. (26) Wherefore, I testify unto you this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men; (27) For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (Now, listen to his advice and warning.) (28) Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. (Let the Trinitarians read that verse and get more than one God out of it. THE CHURCH OF GOD, THAT HE, “GOD” HATH PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD). (29) For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. (30) Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking preverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (31) Therefore, watch, and remember, that for the space of three years I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears.”

Even though he had warned them for three years, of what to expect, he takes this last occasion to warn them once again. His very words prove that he had been holding the line on the word of God as long as he was with them. That is why he said, AFTER MY DEPARTURE, SHALL GRIEVOUS WOLVES ENTER IN AMONG YOU, NOT SPARING THE FLOCK. He said, they will even raise up from among you, to make a name for themselves. That is why I said earlier that it does not take preaching to make tares, they are right there all the time. They are already there, they just wait for their opportunity to manifest themselves. In this case it would not have done them any good to have raised up while the apostle was on the scene.

Now, I said earlier that we would go to the 26th chapter. That was just for the sake of showing you, from the scripture, the uncompromising stand that the apostle Paul took toward the word of God, right to the very end of his freedom, or should I say, at the expense of his freedom. This is the account of his testimony before King Agrippa, after his arrest at Jerusalem, He started right at the first, telling of his life as a Pharisee, and how he persecuted the Christians. Then, he comes right on down to his conversion experience on the road to Damascus, and tells the whole story. Truly, as he said to the elders of Ephesus, none of these things phased him, for he had something inside him that couldn’t do anything else but stand for the word of God. When God said to Ananias, I will show him how great things he must suffer for my sake, it was with the knowledge of Saul’s makeup, knowing, that once he saw the truth, he would cherish it to his death.

 

GOD’S LEADING IN MY LIFE

 

Brothers and Sisters: I have tried to go into the scripture in such a way, in establishing to you, what an apostle is, and what his office is for, that you should have no trouble in recognizing that same office here at the end of the age. I am sure that I would not feel as I do, if God had not dealt with my life as he has for many years now. From time to time as the occasion seemed to call for such, I have told the various dreams that have served to move my life and ministry in the stream that it has gone in. There is one thing that I can say for sure, God has put something in my heart that will not let me go with the trend of religion. Ever since the day that I came to realize that God has his Elijah of Malachi 4:5-6, B part on the scene, my life has taken a different trend.

It is because of the way that God has led me through these years since Bro. William Branham’s death, that I am thoroughly convinced that there is something for me to do. We have seen most of the preachers who sat under the ministry of God’s prophet messenger, take the message that was to turn us back to the word of God, and instead of allowing it to do that, they take it and use quotes from many of the various sermons, to build their own sermons. God has not allowed me to do that, and neither have I desired to minister to God’s people in such a way. The apostles who sat under the ministry of Jesus did not go around after Jesus had left the scene, trying to quote only what Jesus said. They took that revelation of the word of God that they had received as a result of following Jesus for three and one half years, and preached that revelation to the multitudes in their own words. That is exactly what I am convinced that the five fold ministry will do, when they are manifested to the church. They will not be running around saying, Bro. William Branham said, Bro. William Branham said, but rather, they will take that old black book that Bro. William Branham used, and stand before the church and say, THUS SAITH THE WORD OF GOD.

 

WHAT ELIJAH WAS TO DO

 

I have said it before, and now I am going to say it again. I would not try to take anything away from Bro. William Branham, for I believe him to have been the 7th church age messenger, the Elijah of Malachi 4:5-6. But that being true, it is time for a few people to wake up to the fact of what Elijah was to do. He was to turn the hearts of the children back to that of their fathers. We understand that to be back to the scriptural understanding, and faith, of the fathers of the new testament church, in other words, the apostles who sat under the ministry of Jesus, and conveyed that revelation to the people, on the day of Pentecost, where the church had its birth. That is why I never would put church order in my church. I could not see it in the early church. If we believe that the ministry of Bro. William Branham was to put us back in the word of God, like we say that we do, then I say, let us start living like people who have been turned back to the truth, and put away all of this foolishness that has plagued this movement for the past twelve years, and begin to recognize that God has a live ministry on the scene. He is not going to resurrect Bro. William Branham from the dead, to perfect the bride. That would be contrary to the word of God, that his ministry was to turn us back to. The Bible says, in Ephesians 4:11-14, that God has set in the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, till we all come to, or in, the unity of the faith. That is what we ought to be looking for.

Brothers and Sisters: I have never tried to make myself to be anything, and certainly, I have never tried to take Bro. William Branham’s place. There could never be another like him, to the Gentiles. There is no scripture for it. But I do believe that I have a calling upon my life, to stand for the word of God, even at the expense of losing many cherished friends over the years. Therefore, for the benefit of many of you who do not know of God’s dealings in my life, we will publish a portion of my testimony in this message, with the hope that it will awaken a number of people to the time that we are living in, and maybe, cause some discouraged preachers to realize that there really is something worth standing for in this hour.

 

MY TESTIMONY

 

This Will Help You To Better Understand Why We Preach and Publish What We Do

The first dream that I will tell is the one concerning Bro. William Branham, and the rock of revelation. Many of you have heard it already, but for the sake of the message, I am going to tell it, just as Paul gave testimony of his vision, and the events that took place on the road to Damascus.

 

THE ROCK OF REVELATION – DREAM

 

In February of 1961, after the church ages was preached in December of 1960, I saw myself in this dream walking over rolling, countryside, I knew that I was going to a certain point, where, when I arrived, I would find the place very congested, with many people that had gathered there from every direction. That was all in my mind as I was walking. Then after a period of time I began to notice that from every angle, I could see people approaching, coming from the north, south, east, and west. I could see myself still walking, constantly moving closer to a certain place where I knew that we would all gather. Finally, I saw myself as I came up over this last little knoll, in a rolling countryside, and looking down through a long valley in front of me, I saw a little figure standing by a rock, protruding out of the ground. As I saw the little figure standing there, I immediately knew who the man was. By this time the whole landscape was covered with a great throng of people, converging into a great circle, around that little man, there in the valley. As we all began to get closer, the circle became very congested. People were rubbing elbows with each other, but kept on crowding, moving in closer until we were within just a few feet of the man. Then I heard myself, in the dream, yell out, real loud, saying, LISTEN TO WHAT HE SAYS, FOR HE WILL NOT ALWAYS BE HERE! (Now he never told this, that night, when he referred to the dream, in the message, “Sirs, is This the Time”.) I kept on walking until the whole circle was really pressed in tight around him. Then, I spoke the second time, and said, LISTEN TO WHAT HE SAYS, FOR HE WILL NOT ALWAYS BE WITH US. (Now you will notice that the two statements were different. The first, was, HE WILL NOT ALWAYS BE HERE, and the second was, HE WILL NOT ALWAYS BE WITH US.

Now remember, Brothers and Sisters: I had that dream in February 1961, but I carried it in my bosom until October 1962. In the dream, as we all stood there, I noticed, laying on top of that big rock a large pinch bar, like they use in rock quarries. I knew that the little man standing there was the only one who knew how to use it. I noticed in the top layer of that rock, was a little hair line crevice, which let me know that there was a crack in the structure of that layer of the rock. And I noticed, in that top layer, large, engraved, words which read, THE ROCK OF REVEALED TRUTH, beautiful letters! Then, as everyone had stopped, and was standing there, he took that bar and drew back, and jabbed it into that little crevice, and lifted that whole shelf of rock. With that, he began to work it, till he slid the whole top layer of that rock all the way off, exposing fresh rock, that had never been exposed to sunlight nor weather. After he did that, he laid that pinch bar on the shelf of that rock, then he turned to look at the people, and said, “STAND BY THIS”. Then he began to slowly move out of the circle, as the people crowded in to look. Something inside of me, said “WATCH HIM.’ Therefore, I just sort of turned side ways, so that out of the corner of my eye, I just watched his little profile, while noticing that he had began walking westward. I could see him going over little summits, and then down in the valleys, up and down, until I began to notice that each time he came up, his silhouette was getting smaller, and smaller. Then I noticed that the sun was going down in the west, casting its evening shadows back across the earth. As I stood there watching his little silhouette go over the horizon, there was a feeling came into me; I will never see him again. Then, as I turned back to look at the rock for just a moment, I could see that everyone was busy, looking at that fresh rock, but then they began lifting their heads from looking at the rock, and realizing that Bro. William Branham was no longer there, they began to say, WHERE DID BRO. BRANHAM GO, WHERE IS BRO. BRANHAM? WHERE IS BRO. BRANHAM? Becoming frantic as they asked the question. Suddenly, there was mass confusion, as they all began running in the many directions, and screaming, yelling, and crying. All you could hear, was OH, BRO. BRANHAM! WHERE IS BRO. BRANHAM? OH, BRO. BRANHAM! On, and on they went, running in every direction, calling his name in this frantic way. Even as I came out of the dream, I could still hear them yelling, Bro. William Branham! It was just like an echo, as I heard it over and over still. With all of that, it left only a few of us standing by the rock, and standing there together, looking toward the west, we had a great feeling of sadness, as we realized that he was gone, never to return anymore. Yet I could see us still standing by the rock.

 

DREAM RELATED TO BRO. BRANHAM

 

I never told that dream until October 1962. Bro. William Branham came to our church on prayer meeting night, when we were still over here in Clarksville at the old building. After he had finished preaching and the service was dismissed, people began to gather around him to talk and ask questions. I wanted to tell him this dream, but I did not know how to do it without being rude. Just then, someone pulled up in front of the church with someone sick in the car, and asked for Bro. William Branham to come out and pray for the person. He turned to me, and said, Bro. Jackson, let us go out there and pray. When we were finished praying and the car had pulled away, I was standing there with Bro. William Branham and Billy Paul. I said, Bro. William Branham, I have a dream that I would like to tell you. He responded by saying, let us go sit in the car. With Billy Paul as a witness. I sat right there in his station wagon and related that dream to him. When I finished, he said, Bro. Jackson: no one else knows this yet, but that is about to happen. We are planning to move west. That would mean he would no longer be here in this area. After that he said, Bro. Jackson: when this all comes to pass, STICK WITH THE WORD, (as he laid his Bible over on the dash), for they will go after everything, teaching everything.

Then in December, 1962, he made reference to that dream in his message of “Sirs, is This the Time,” just a few nights before they left, to move to Tucson, Arizona, in the beginning of 1963. Then in March of 1963, he came back and preached the seals, you know how long he lived after that. Now we no longer have him with us. Do you see why the dream had the two different statements in it? HE WILL NOT ALWAYS BE HERE, pertained to his moving away from this area, but HE WILL NOT ALWAYS BE WITH US, pertained to his death. We can see that most of the element of people that followed his ministry has gone and done just exactly as he said they would do. They have taught everything. Then they will say, now, Bro. Jackson, I think we ought to try and understand each other, and love one another, and let each man teach the message as he sees it. Brother, that might be the way you would interpret the message, but God will never accept it like that. God did not send that man to produce a church, and a ministry like that. He sent him to bring us a message, so that we could see and hear by the Holy Ghost a message of restored truth to God’s word.

I will never forget, as he came back here and preached those seals, referring to this dream, and how it was being fulfilled even then, how conscious I was of the part of the dream that said, He will not always be with us. Now I am thoroughly convinced that the rock in that dream was the TRUE REVELATED WORD OF GOD, even though many of the people have gone after the man, rather than the word of God that the man brought to us. Nevertheless, I am grateful to God that He gave me the privilege and opportunity to sit under that man’s ministry. Furthermore, I want you who would read this message to know that I loyally stand behind this man’s character. God’s purpose in his life, his testimony, and the true Christian example that he set before us. I stand firmly upon the revelation that he brought, to place us back in the word of God, so that we might have our feet planted on that sure foundation, which is Jesus Christ, the true and living word. All of these things have worked together, to make me even more determined and firm, in standing for the word of God. My critics will come and go, but the word of God will stand the test through it all.

 

PRELUDE TO HORSE DREAM

 

The next dream that I will tell, is one that many of you know about also, but I want it in this message, for I give it in defense of why I feel that God has enabled us to teach some things that we have taught. It is the horse dream that I had in December 1964. On this particular night, I was awakened by a telephone call. It was Sister Wright calling, she said, Bro. Junie, (that is what they always called me), little Edith has just passed away, and she had requested that you preach her funeral. Brothers and Sisters: as I went back to bed, I said to my wife, Honey, this fulfills a dream that I had exactly seven years ago to the month.

In December 1957, when my wife and I took our little children and went to Cuba, while we were on that trip, I saw myself in a dream one night, looking and seeing Bro. William Branham standing, with Sister Wright on one side of him, and Sister Hattie Wright on the other side, and Bro. William Branham was praying for little Edith. He was lifting her up to God in prayer, and in the dream, I was watching this scene. As I continued to watch, I could see that Bro. William Branham was praying with such a great burden upon his soul as he lifted her up to God. He was asking God to be gracious to this crippled girl and heal her. Sister Wright, and Sister Hattie, were the two women of the house that had taken care of little Edith, and ministered to her needs through the years. Here they stood, one on each side of Bro. William Branham, with me watching, but then the scene changed. The next thing that I saw was a scene of me walking into a funeral parlor. I saw a casket sitting in one corner, and there was no one, except me, in there. I saw myself walk over to the casket; the lid was closed, but there was a little card laying on the lid of the casket, which read, funeral services will be conducted at such and such a place, on such and such a date by Rev. Raymond Jackson. Having had that dream in December 1957, seven years before it came to pass, naturally, Bro. William Branham still lived in this area at that time. I came back home from Cuba, and all through the following years, I thought, that just can not be, for Bro. William Branham’s life has been very closely associated with the George Wright family all through the years. If anything should happen to that crippled girl, he would fly around the world to come to her. But, do you know, Brothers and Sisters, the Lord did not take Sister Edith while Bro. William Branham still lived in this area. He waited until he had moved to Arizona, and was in a meeting so that he was unable to come here for the funeral. Then Sister Edith got very bad off, and she died. That very day, as I went to the Swarens Funeral Home, up here at Ramsey, and walked in that place, it was just exactly like I had seen it in the dream; while in Cuba, seven years to the month, before it happened; not one detail different.

 

THE HORSE DREAM

 

When I went back to bed that night, after receiving the call, I briefly discussed the dream with my wife, and then I fell asleep. That is when I had the HORSE DREAM. I saw myself, and my wife in the car, traveling down the highway. I was going somewhere to a meeting, that I had never been before. Just then I saw a speck in the sky. My wife was driving, and I was sitting on the right side, relaxing. I kept watching that speck as it seemed to be moving toward me. As it got closer I saw that it was a man on a horse. Can you imagine what you would feel like, if you saw a man riding a horse in the sky? You would probably feel like I did. You would wonder if you were really seeing what it looked like you were seeing. I thought, I must be crazy, so I turned my head. Then, after a little while, I thought, I will take another look. When I did, I saw that the horse was coming very fast, right toward us. I knew that it was coming right to a place where it would intersect us. I thought, I surely must be seeing things, then I said to my wife, “Honey, pull off the road and stop.” I want to watch this. There is a man on a horse in the sky. I wouldn’t even look again until she got the car off of the road and stopped. That was my human reaction to such a thing. Then when she had pulled the car off and brought it to a stop, I turned to look again, and the horse was already on the ground just a few feet in front of the car, a little further off of the road. I immediately recognized the rider. He was dressed like a government range rider. I have seen them in the west. The rider was none other than Bro. William Branham. This magnificent white horse was standing at attention, much like a Calvary horse would. The rider just turned a half turn in the saddle and pointed his finger toward me, and said, “YOU, GET READY, THERE IS A JOB FOR YOU TO DO,” and again he raised his hand and pointed to me, and said, “PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE WORK WHEREIN YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED TO FULFILL,” the third time he raised his hand and pointed to me, he said, “IF YOU WILL BELIEVE THESE WORDS, A POWERFUL HORSE WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU TO CARRY YOU IN THE CALLING WHEREUNTO YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED.” With that he touched the reins and that horse turned and took to the sky. I sat there in the car and watched as he rode that horse right into the sun. After he was completely out of sight, I looked back and right in the same spot, stood another horse exactly like the first one, but it was smaller. BROTHER! IT WAS SMALLER! Therefore, I know that there is no way that Raymond Jackson can be bigger. When my critics say, he is just trying to outrun the prophet, you are wrong! My horse was smaller, BUT BROTHER, I AM GOING TO RIDE THAT HORSE! He was a little smaller, but I could tell that he was of the same breed as the one that Bro. William Branham was on, and I knew that it had come from the same place, and had been trained the same as the other one. I noticed that he was already saddled, and bridled, so I said to my wife, “Honey, I am going to try him out.” At that, I went over to where the horse was standing at attention. I stepped up into the saddle, and immediately noticed that the stirrups were already adjusted for me! I just touched the reins and that little animal made a turn and headed for the sky. As I sat there in the saddle, I looked upon the head of that little animal, which was running with such ease, and said to myself, “This animal runs with such ease, there seems to be no labor to his body.” As I said these words, I realized that we were lifting higher, and seemed to be getting faster, and the though came to me, “There is no end to where this horse will take me if I but let him go, but he will do whatsoever I ask him.” With that thought still fresh in my mind, I said to myself, “But I am only trying him out, I must go back.” I barely touched the reins to give the direction to the little animal, and he turned in the sky and brought me right back to the same spot where we started from. As I dismounted and got back in the car, the door slammed and I awoke from the dream. The dream was quite an unusual one. You just do not see men riding horses in the sky. For a long time, I treated it as nothing. Time marched on until July of 1965, when I received a call from a place in North Carolina, asking me to come for a meeting, a place I had never been before. When I received that call, I immediately thought of the horse dream, and wondered if this could have anything to do with that? Could this be the beginning of the fulfillment of that dream? After praying about it, I later called the party, and said, the Lord willing, I will be there.

 

DREAM TOLD TO BRO. BRANHAM

 

In the light of these developments, I felt that I wanted to talk to Bro. William Branham about the dream, mainly because it was such an unusual one, and because it involved him. I phoned to ask permission for an interview with him, and arrangements were made for me to have the interview on Sunday morning, August 1, 1965. On that certain Sunday morning, with my wife present, I told Bro. William Branham the dream. When I had finished telling it to him, he looked at me and said these words, “Bro. Jackson, something is about to happen, and when it does, you will have a work to do. I do not know when it is, he said, but this I do know, THE HORSE IS THE POWER OF THE WORD.” Then he picked up his Bible, and pointed to it, saying to me, “STICK WITH THE WORD.” I said, “Bro. Branham, I will do my utmost to do that.” Then he repeated himself, saying again, “Bro. Jackson, something is about to happen, I do not know what it is, but when it does, you will have a work to do, Bro. Jackson, STICK WITH THE WORD! I KNOW WHAT THAT HORSE IS HE SAID, IT IS THE POWER OF THE WORD.” After hearing him say that, I left the room, that morning, feeling confident in my heart, that when all of this began to take place, THE HORSE WOULD BE THE POWER OF THE WORD. I knew that the word, power, did not mean explosive, or forceful, it meant authority. In this case, it meant, the authority to handle the word of God. There was still a big question in my mind, as I left there that day. He had told me what the horse was, but he did not tell me what my job would be. You know, Brothers and Sisters; I prayed and sought the Lord about that in the days that followed, for I knew that if I had a job to do, that encompassed the authority of the word, it would have to be a job that would line up with the scripture. It would have to fit within the age of grace that we are living in. Therefore, I began to search the scriptures, thinking to myself, to have any authority over the word, it would have to be something to do with the five fold ministry. I firmly believed, and have been preaching in my own ministry, that the true church of the living God, (the bride of the Lord Jesus Christ), would have to have, somewhere in her midst, that five fold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, before she could ever be restored back to the image of the church that we read about in the book of Acts.

Now, I would like to say, to all of you who will read this article, I knew that there could never be a five fold ministry on the scene, until after something had happened to get the church in shape for such a ministry. Something would have to happen, that would restore back to the true church, the true word, that the early church was founded on. That would present an opportunity, and a platform, by which such a ministry could pick it up and have something to stand for, right on out to the very end. Over the weeks and months that followed, as I continued to seek the Lord about this, I received many invitations to come to various places for meetings. I accepted many of them as the Lord led me to do so, for my decision, in the face of much criticism, was to press on in the ministry that I had been called to.

 

BEGINNING OF FULFILLMENT

 

The next morning, after telling Bro. William Branham the dream, I left home, traveling East, for that meeting. I recalled, as I drove along, that in the dream, when I was trying out the horse, he too, had gone East! As I traveled East, I knew that God was beginning to set that dream in fulfillment.

It seemed that from that time on out through the rest of the year, the followers of Bro. William Branham began to be plagued with every kind of a wild statement that the devil was capable of putting in the minds of people. They began to say that Jesus was off of the mercy set, that there was nothing else to be done, that there was no need to preach anymore, and many of them accused me of running in circles because of my continuing to accept preaching engagements. Some of them were heard to say that I was running, out of the will of God, just trying to make a name for myself. This forced me to have to make a decision, would I listen to people, or would I listen to God. The choice was an easy one, for I had determined, a long time before that, to follow God wherever He might lead me. It was the results of that decision that were hard for me, for it brought about many broken fellowships, and the loss of many close friends, but as the apostle Paul said, so long ago, so say I, “None of these things move me, for to be faithful to God is first and foremost in my life.” I would like to say also, that I do not have any feelings of animosity toward the people. There is no malice in my heart because of anything that might have been said or done against me. I leave all of that strictly in the hands of God. Furthermore, I would say that I am thankful to God for the way that He has led me, for I can look back now, and see that my ministry has produced fruit for God’s kingdom. I am able to see certain people standing for the truth and endeavoring to line up with the word of God.

As time passed, and my opposition became greater, because of the stand that I had taken, I became very discouraged. These things bore heavy upon my mind, so that, by the fall of 1966, I had made up my mind to do something that would, once and for all, prove my stand for God, and give the people a chance to judge for themselves, why I stood as I did. I preached a message in Faith Assembly, which I titled, “MY DEFENSE”. We made copies of the message and sent them to every strategic point that we knew of, where the message of Bro. William Branham was represented. I sent these tapes out, because it was my testimony as to why I had done and preached the things that I had, up until that hour. I received very few remarks from the message. Not even enough to know what the feelings of the people, as a whole, were. Therefore, I left it strictly in the hands of God, to work it out as He saw fit.

Vowing myself to God, I determined, once again, that whatever the cost, I would pursue my present course of standing for the word of God, rather than man’s ideas about the word, and the message, even if it cost me my friends, and everything in life. I AM NOT AFTER A NAME, FOR FAME, I AM ONLY INTERESTED IN ONE THING, FINDING THE WILL OF GOD FOR MY LIFE AND MINISTRY, AND PERFORMING THAT WITH ALL OF MY HEART.

I knew in my heart, and was still confident, as I remembered the words of that prophet, (though he never told me what the work was to be), that there was a work for me to do. At the same time, I knew that it would have to have a scriptural foundation. Two weeks had gone by since I had sent out the message, “MY DEFENSE”, then one night I had another dream.

 

APOSTLE DREAM

In this dream I saw myself going to the mailbox to get the mail. Returning to the house I noticed in the mail a large envelope, something similar to one in which official documents are mailed. Coming into the house I was very excited wondering what was in the envelope. Tearing the front open I pulled the contents out and I could see that it was minister’s licenses and the thought came to me, why am I getting minister’s license? I have only held minister’s license once in my entire life and that was with the Methodist Church, yet here I am being presented minister’s license. WHO ARE THY FROM? (It was all so real in the dream.) As I looked at the minister’s license I could see they were drawn up different than that which would be drawn up by some denomination, and furthermore I realized this, many people once they read this, will never believe what I am saying, simply because they have never been led in this manner, therefore there would be no basis for them to recognize it. Nevertheless, as I feel these dreams are true I tell them as my testimony in how God has led and directed me. I never ask God to do these things. As I looked upon these minister’s license I noticed there was a blocked in area and immediately my eyes fell upon a word printed in the very top of the license, (which was like a certificate). As I looked upon the word I could see that it had been printed by Bro. William Branham’s own hand, actually he had burned it in there with an engraving object, much like men engrave saddles with. At the top of the certificate or minister’s license was the word APOSTLE written in large bold letters. Underneath that in the area of writing where you read on any normal minister’s license, it read, Raymond M. Jackson being called of God is hereby ordained to preach the gospel according to, and in there in all that writing was written out, with an ink pen, in his own personal handwriting, with those different scriptures to back up my purpose in preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the bottom of the license certificate where normally the president of the association or organization or the bishop or elder of a particular denomination would sign his name, the signature read, WILLIAM MARRION BRANHAM. Furthermore, I noticed up in the right hand corner where the date is placed to show when the license came in force, the date was AUGUST 1, 1965. That, brothers and sisters, was actually the day I related the dream to him about the horse! In his office that day he had told me what the horse signified, but not the work I was yet to do. Now here a little over a year later it all comes back in another dream, and there is the date and his signature, then this dream would show, scripturally, the work I was to do.

Awakening from the dream my heart was made to rejoice over this one thing, now I knew scripturally where I stood, what my calling was to fulfill, and I knew if I would remain loyal to God, and not listen to man, it is true, I would receive much ridicule, much opposition, and many, no doubt, would seek to destroy my influence, as they would attempt to mar the image of my person; yet I knew if I would remain faithful to God, He would see to it that this ministry to which He had called me would serve His purpose. I believe it to be a biblical ministry, and furthermore, I believe it is truly spiritually, in line with the written Word of God. I realized if it is scripture, then as a minister of God I had a right to study the message which was brought to the age. I have that right from God to explain to people why there is so much confusion and contradiction among the people at large, over what this Prophet, Church Age Messenger taught to this age. At the same time I have no right to make myself above and beyond anything of any other minister, yet I know somewhere God is going to have someone who will have enough of God in his life, enough boldness, enough determination to stand for the true entire Word of God. No, he will not stand in defense of men’s flesh, but he will stand in defense of the resurrected Christ and the true revealed Word of God!

You may ask, how will we recognize an apostle in our day? I will just say, be true to God and he will reveal his end time ministry to you. As for signs and wonders, this all lays in the plan of God. It is his business to do whatever He wants to. Remember this, an APOSTLE’S ministry cannot be determined by signs. First of all you had a number of apostles in the scripture who never mentioned one word about a miracle or sign they performed. You would never be able to take the Bible, especially the book of Acts and prove, because of many signs and miracles that a man was an apostle. On the contrary, signs and miracles were even in the lives of the deacons, Acts, chapter 7 and 8. Therefore, signs are not the basis to say a man is an apostle. An apostle holds a line on the revelation of the Word, protecting it against error, therefore when you hear some man say he is an apostle simply because he has great faith or because of signs which Mark 16:17 says follow the believer, if you will examine his ministry closely you will probably find that is all he majors in. Certainly there is nothing wrong with great faith in God, although that isn’t the qualifications for the office of an apostle. Until that man has a revelation on the Word of God and the authority by God to absolutely apply it to the situation at large (through that revelation), then he will have to fill some other office; it isn’t that of an apostle. I repeat no one fills the office of an apostle unless he absolutely has an authority from God to hand that Word, and you recall the dream concerning the horse which I told Bro. William Branham and he interpreted the horse as being the POWER OF THE WORD. THE POWER OF THE WORD IS THE AUTHORITY TO USE IT.

Brothers and Sisters: I have not told these dreams to exalt my flesh, for I know how vain a thing like that would be. I have told them, so that, all who read this article, may have an equal opportunity, to judge for themselves, whether they believe that God has led my life, and my ministry, over these past years, or not. As I said before, the apostle Paul presented his testimony in defense of his actions, therefore, I believe it is proper for me to do likewise. I cannot help what my critics may say, I must do what God has laid on my heart to do, and preach and teach, what He has showed me in these years since Bro. William Branham passed away.

I feel that I must tell this next dream right here, for it will help you to understand why I preached these particular messages, when I did.

In March, after Bro. William Branham had passed away in December, I saw myself in a dream where Bro. William Branham came walking up to me, out in a field where I was walking. As he approached me, he said, “Bro. Jackson: I want you to go speak for me. I said, no, and he said, “Why?” At that, I said, “They will not believe me.” No, in this dream, he never did say that they would believe me, he just said, again, “Bro. Jackson: I want you to go speak for me.” And again, I said, “No, I will not.” He came right back with, “Why?” I said, “They will not listen to me.” Then he spoke again, this time, his voice was very firm. He said, “BROTHER JACKSON: I WANT YOU TO GO SPEAK FOR ME.” When he spoke in such a firm voice, then I saw myself take a pen and a little pad out of my pocket. Upon this pad, I wrote seven things, As I looked back upon the dream, I knew that it was seven titles, to seven certain types of messages. I wrote them on there, and handed it to him, and said, “If I can speak on that, then, I will go, but, if not, then I will not speak.” He took the paper, looked at it, then read it, and said, “PERFECT.” At that, a smile came across his face, and he turned, and walked away. I started to follow, and that is when I awoke.

As I thought on that dream, I said, “If there is anything to that dream, then it will have to be something out of this book, (the Bible). Brothers and Sisters: the first thing that I had on that list, was, The Prehistoric World, and that was because of the statement that he made about all of the seed laying there from another creation. With that, I said, “If there was a prehistoric world, then we have got to be able to find the traces of it, right here in this book. Therefore, when you read the article in one of the first Contenders, titled, “THE TESTING AND FALL OF SATAN”, that is what it is all about.

The next thing on the paper was, THE SEED OF THE SERPENT. Bro. William Branham, had taught that, but I had said, “I will never preach on that until I know what the tree of life is, or was, for, if the tree of knowledge was pleasure, then the tree of life would have to be kindred in some respect. Later, when I was in North Carolina, one night, after I had been asked to speak on this subject, and I had said, “I probably will,’ but I was thinking about what I had said to the Lord, about not preaching it until I knew what the tree of life was, (realizing, that none of the statements that were going around, on the subject, made any sense, nor offered any explanation), the Lord gave me a dream. In that dream, he showed me where the secret of it all layed. It was in the curse that God had placed on the woman. That curse being, “And I will multiply thy conceptions.” The word, conceptions, means, I will greatly multiply your periods. Now that is as plain as I can say it, brothers and sisters, and still keep it in proper language. I pray that you will understand. You will have to agree, that no woman would ever had a child, if she did not have a period. I do not believe that there is anyone who will challenge that, for that is what the period is all about. Right? I was asked to preach on this subject in Norway this time, and, you know, when you are among foreign people, you are a little reserved about speaking on certain subjects such as this one, because of their different social customs. Naturally, you do not know what their mental attitude is, about subjects of this nature, so I had been very reserved. Nevertheless, so many of the brethren came to me, asking me to deal with this subject of the serpent seed, that I felt like it was the will of God for me to do so. I went at it the best that I knew how, and when I was finished, every person that I talked with, said, that there was not one thing that they could not agree with or accept fully. There had been so much confusion, and so many questions about this subject, that it was necessary for it to be settled.

When God said, “I will greatly multiply thy conceptions,” He meant, that, the period that she originally would have had only once, for the purpose of fulfilling, we will say, a divine act between her and her husband, for the purpose of bringing another offspring of God into the world, would now be greatly multiplied, and that, with pain and suffering, because she had disobeyed God, and used the act for pleasure. I had better get back to my subject, that of the dream.

In that dream, as I saw the finger of God dealing in my mind, I saw myself out of my body, watching the finger of God write this, and, you know, as I watched the finger of God do this, I said to myself, in the dream, when He is finished, I will know something. That was exactly the way it turned out. The very minute that finger was finished, I was lying there in my bed wide awake, and that scripture of the curse on the woman was on my mind. I will have to say this, everywhere that I have taught this, it has been understood and accepted, or maybe I should say it like this, there has not been one person that has challenged it.

Now I am sure, that at least some of you are wondering what the other five subjects were, that I had written on that pad. I will tell you the subjects, but not necessarily in the order that they were written there. The message on the first resurrection was one, the one on the Millennium, was another, then there was the controversial message on the seventy weeks of Daniel. This one still has many of my critics up in the air, but they will not challenge it with the scriptures, all they have is statements from the messages of Bro. William Branham, that they have taken out of context. The woman of Revelation, chapter 12, is another one, and the 144,000, that are sealed by the two prophets during the first half of Daniel’s week, is number seven. We have printed these messages, and they will be sent free to all who request them. Write to the address on the back of your Contender.

In this first part of this message, which will be continued into the next issue, we have tried to establish for you, just what an apostle is, what his office is for, and how you will be able to recognize that office in your age. We have used nothing but scriptural examples in doing so. I have stated my case in giving you my testimony, and making you familiar with the way that God has led me, over the years. Now I leave it up to you, Will you examine these things by the WORD, or will you continue to waver, and stir up strife among the brethren? THIS QUESTION IS FOR MY CRITICS, and in no way meant to offend you wonderful people who have expressed your confidence in me already.

In our next issue we will go into the subject of, WHAT THE FAITH OF THE FATHERS WAS, AND WHERE WE ARE IN THE RESTORATION BACK TO THAT FAITH. AMEN

1977-09-The-Apostles-Office-Part-1

Forgotton Valley – 1977, July

1977-07-Forgotten-Valley-1

IT IS OUR SINCERE HOPE THAT THIS MESSAGE WILL SERVE TO AWAKEN THE BRIDE OF CHRIST TO THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE HOUR IN WHICH WE ARE LIVING.


THERE IS MUCH CONTROVERSY AS TO WHERE ISRAEL FITS INTO THE WORLD PICTURE. IT IS OUR AIM IN THIS MESSAGE TO DRAW YOUR ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT ISRAEL IS THE . . . KEY . . . TO FUTURE WORLD CONDITIONS. WHATEVER HAPPENS TO ISRAEL, POLITICALLY, WILL CAUSE REPERCUSSIONS AROUND THE WORLD.


IN THIS MESSAGE YOU WILL FIND OUT WHERE THE VALLEY FULL OF DRY BONES, (SPOKEN OF IN EZEKIEL, CHAPTER 37,) IS LOCATED. YOU WILL ALSO DISCOVER WHAT GIVES THEM LIFE AND CAUSES THEM TO STAND UP. YOU WILL ALSO SEE THAT THE TEN LOST TRIBES ARE NOT LOST AFTER ALL.


YOU WILL FIND OUT WHO GOG IS, AND WHAT THE HOOKS IN HIS JAWS REPRESENT. ALSO, WHAT WILL CAUSE GOG TO THINK AN EVIL THOUGHT?


LEARN FROM THIS MESSAGE WHY ISRAEL CAN NOT BE GIVING UP LAND, BUT INSTEAD MUST TAKE MORE TO FULFILL THE SCRIPTURES.


YOU WILL DISCOVER AS YOU READ THIS MESSAGE WHY IT IS UNSCRIPTURAL TO PRAY FOR WORLD PEACE IN THIS LATE HOUR.


EZEKIEL CHAPTER 37


Our message is built around Ezekiel, chapter 37, however, before going into it, I would like to read you the first 8 verses of I Thessalonians, chapter 5, to serve as a launching pad for what we are going to say.


Speaking of the coming of the Lord Jesus, for the purpose of catching away the saints, the Apostle Paul was inspired to write, (1) “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. (2) For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. (3) For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (4) But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (5) Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness. (6) Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (7) For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. (8) But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.”


Believing as we do, that we are living in the last days of this age of Grace to the Gentiles, it behooves us to do everything that we can to be in the stream of God’s will as we see the light of this age fading out. We know from our study of the Bible, as well as history books, that, before the gospel was given to the Gentiles, they were idolatrous pagans who were looked upon as dogs by the Jews. The Gentiles at the time of the ministry of Christ were still in idolatry worshiping every kind of man made god that the human mind was capable of imagining, even to the point of making human sacrifices and immoral acts of every sort in some kind of ritual, to some god. They had a sun god, moon god, earth god, a god of fertility; whatever they could think of they had a god for it.


You may be thinking right about now, Bro. Jackson: why did you announce a text from Ezekiel 37, which we all know deals with the children of Israel, and then start talking about Gentile pagan practices? What has that got to do with a message on Israel? I will answer that question like this. Jesus said, “No man knows the exact day nor hour of His coming, only the Father knows that,” but He did give us some signs that we could watch so that we would know when the time was getting close. One of the signs that we are watching has to do with the behavior of Gentile people in our present age.


It is true, the 37th chapter of Ezekiel is speaking of the re-gathering of the house of Israel, but that chapter was written hundreds of years ago. When is this re-gathering supposed to take place? Ezekiel might have though that it would take place right away, but 2600 years have come and gone since God spoke to him on this matter. We see that the Jews were partially restored to the land to be there for the first advent of Christ, and then they were scattered again, but the whole house of Israel was never re-gathered from the time that King Nebuchadnezzar carried the two southern tribes into Babylon and destroyed their first temple that was built by King Solomon, until this present time. In other words, the house of Israel has been scattered for approximately 2700 years, and the land has been controlled by Gentiles through all of these years until 1948, when they became an independent nation once again. Through most of those years, men who believed that every word of God must be fulfilled, have read these scriptures such as we find in our text as well as many other places in the prophecies concerning Israel being gathered from all nations, and one king set over them forever, and have wondered, when will this be? Brothers and Sisters: there is very little left of all that had to be fulfilled before God would move on the scene to climax this great re-gathering of Israel.


WHERE ARE WE?


We are living in an hour that we are able to observe the things going on around us, and know that the time of the Gentiles is running out, for we see perversion and ungodliness on every hand. Governments are corrupt, and it seems that there is not a wise man left among politicians and world leaders that will give God any place to lead them. Religious organizations of the world have compromised for the sake of gaining paying members, until there is no life left in them. We read in the papers (almost daily), of some new cult that has come on the scene. People are turning to all forms of witchcraft and idol worship. The setting seems to match what we have read about Sodom and Gomorrah before God rained fire and brimstone down upon them, in that, there is fornication and adultery on every hand with every kind of a perverted act that degenerate mankind is capable of dreaming up.


I call your attention to these things in order to cause you to see that the gospel light is getting very dim among the Gentiles. As the light gets dimmer, the works of darkness manifest more and more. The ungodliness on every hand proves that the spirit of God is leaving the Gentiles. I will say this also, when the spirit of God leaves the Gentiles, it will go to the Jews for the seventieth week of Daniel to be fulfilled. By that time the house of Israel will be fully represented in the homeland, for it will be time for the two prophets, (with the spirit of Moses and Elijah), to seal the 144,000 servants of God, 12,000 men from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Therefore, I ask you, time wise, and age wise, where are we now?

 

 

DRY BONES


Let us now open our Bibles to the 37th chapter of Ezekiel, and beginning with the 1st verse we will see if we can find out something about all these bones. We have heard much about these dry bones, haven’t we? The different songs that have been sung about them, all declare that they will walk again. Let me say just a few words to acquaint you with this chapter before we read. Ezekiel was a young man. He was part of a royal family of the house of Israel. He had been carried away to Babylon along with many of the other young men of the Jewish people. He was of the two southern tribes that was carried away to Babylon. More than 130 years before this, the 10 northern tribes which were referred to as Israel, were carried away captives to Assyria. Therefore, when Judah, (which is what the two southern tribes were called) was captured by Nebuchadnezzar and taken to Babylon, the whole house of Israel was then in bondage.


JUDAH OR ISRAEL


Many people who hear reference made concerning the Jews as a particular time and then another time a reference to Israel seem to think that we are talking about two different groups of people when actually we are not. It is true that the kingdom of Israel became divided in the 9th century B.C. whereby, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, known as the two southern tribes, and called by the name of Judah which was the predominant tribe, were ruled by Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, from Jerusalem, while the ten northern tribes, which were known as Israel, were ruled by Jeroboam, who was the son of one of Solomon’s servants. Nevertheless, most of the time when we speak of Israel or the Jews, we are speaking of them as a collective body of people, giving no thought to the divisions of former days. Furthermore, Jerusalem has always been the place of true worship for the Israelites. Even though Jeroboam erected two golden calves, (one in Bethel, and the other in Dan), and said to the people of the ten northern tribes that they should worship God is these two places because it was too far for them to go to Jerusalem, God never did meet them there, for He had chosen Mount Morriah, (which was at Jerusalem), as a place where He would place His name. You will notice though, that from the time that Israel was divided, and onward, the prophets who came on the scene would either speak to Israel or Judah, and not to both. From that time on, God dealt with them as a divided people. The ten northern tribes went immediately into idolatry causing God to raise up prophets such as Amos and Hosea and others to prophesy against their idolatrous ways. It was because of this that God allowed Assyria to come and take them captive. The two southern tribes were not captured completely until the 6th century B.C. It was because of the whole house of Israel being then in captivity that caused God to approach Ezekiel, as we find in our text. The captivity had been accomplished in phases, so that by the time of Ezekiel’s prophecy they were truly scattered, as they are pictured here in this 37th chapter.


EZEKIEL’S VISION


Now let us read, Verse 1, “The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones.” It was not portrayed as a cemetery, just a valley full of dry bones. (2) “And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.” In this verse where Ezekiel says that God caused him to pass by round about, that means that he was instructed to walk through the length of the valley, and then walk from side to side where he could view its entire setting. If we look at this valley right, we will understand that there was no river running down through it, as we have the Ohio River flowing here. These bones were very dry. This lets me know that this valley could be typical of any one of a number of valleys such as you might find in the Mojave and Death Valley, etc., for on every major continent there is a valley that runs for thousands of miles. Also, in practically every area of the globe, you will find places where the foot of man has never touched. In thinking like this we can more easily visualize such a place where a pile of bones could lay without being noticed. Of course you realize by now, that this is not a literal valley that we are reading about here, but it had to be pictured like this in order to carry a message that was to be recorded in the scriptures to be understood in our day. This valley is pictured as being very dry, and there was not vegetative life here, for that would have required moisture, and if there had been moisture there, the bones would not have lasted that long. The humidity would have caused them to decay. We could say also, that if there had been moisture, there would have been animal life which would have carried the bones away and eventually destroyed them. This valley, typically, is so forlorn, and in such a forgotten state, that it could only represent something that the state of Israel was to pass through. There in that valley was every bone, dry and bleached white in the hot sun, in a place where man in his daily walk of life would never even be concerned enough to explore the area, or to even care about its existence. Though man did not care about these bones, God did, and He knew exactly where they were, and had every part accounted for. This setting symbolically represents such a forsaken place that there wasn’t even found a man to bury the dead, a place that was completely forgotten about.


THE QUESTION


Verse 3, “And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live?” Oh, we have many people today that really hold on to that SON OF MAN title. I would like to emphasize the fact that Son of Man carries a greater meaning than a lot of carnal minded people who use this term realize. Did you know that Ezekiel was a contemporary prophet along with Daniel? Why did God not call Daniel, Son of Man, if that title belongs to every prophet, as some say that it does? Through this man Ezekiel was the millennium of Christ, (who is the Son of Man), represented, for it was all shown through the prophesy of Ezekiel. It was not every prophet in the old testament that was addressed as Son of Man, but they were all prophets.


Daniel and Ezekiel were both contemporary prophets, living in the same generation, both coming from the royal seed of the house of Israel, both were carried away into Babylonian captivity, and they both played a very noticeable role in end-time prophesies.


INSTRUCTION


Now, after Ezekiel had finished walking to and fro and back and forth through this valley, he was asked a question by God. “Son of man, can these bones live?” He had been caught up in the spirit, and taken to a remote place and set down in this valley. There was nothing there but these very dry bones. There was no one but the Lord for him to talk to. He was not able to get counsel from anyone, and from the standpoint of the natural, he knew that it was impossible for these bones to live. It was very obvious, (looking at these bones scattered all over the valley,) that there was no life among them, and certainly, there was no way to identify them, but Ezekiel realized that he also was made from a similar substance, and he knew that God was not just playing games, so he answered like any mortal human would. He answered, “O Lord God, thou knowest.” This is the exact way that John answered the elder, (recorded in Revelation 7:13-14), when he asked him, “What are these which are arrayed in white robes, and whence came they?” You will notice that the response is the same, THOU KNOWEST. In other words, you are going to have to tell me. Then look what God said next, (4) “Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.” Do they have a mind of their own? No, the marrow in the bones is already dried up. Literally speaking, there is no life left in them. But, Ezekiel was listening to the Lord, who said, (5) “Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” Isn’t it strange that God went through the complete order in which these various elements would be placed in the body? These were the words that the man Ezekiel was to speak to the bones that he was walking through the midst of. It was what God told him to say. Now we will see just exactly how it all happens, for up until this point Ezekiel has only been getting his instructions.


FAITH IN ACTION


Now notice how verse 7 begins, “So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.” Please try to catch the picture as God has it so perfectly displayed here. This lets us see that God has a perfect order in which He does things, and everything must be kept in that order or it will not function properly. We are seeing from this re-gathering of these bones that God always does first things first. When Ezekiel began to prophesy, bones began to rattle as they slid together from the places where they had been scattered to. It was time itself, and the shifting of the terrain that had caused these bones to drift apart, for as we said before, this was represented as a deserted and forgotten place. There was no man or beast to destroy or scatter the bones. We will see here how God has a perfect order in doing things. First the bones came together, then the next thing that took place was the forming of the sinews, or tendons. After that, the flesh was formed, and then the skin to cover it. You will notice the last words of verse 7, (bone to his bone), in other words, there was no extra bones, and certainly no shortage, for this is going to represent something that God is going to do at a later time. (8) “And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.”


THE SPIRIT GIVES LIFE


To Ezekiel, (as he considered these things), all of this looked impossible, but he did what God had instructed him to do. As he stood there in amazement watching these bones from into individual bodies, complete, with tendons, flesh and skin to cover them, he suddenly realized that there was no breath in them. Even though breath was the first thing mentioned in God’s instruction to Ezekiel, and he had watched these bones move about and come together, he was suddenly aware of the fact that in spite of all that moving about, he was looking at a valley full of dead bodies, for they were not breathing. Then God spoke again. (9) “Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” Now, after what he had seen already, Ezekiel knew that all he had to do was speak the word and God would do the rest. (10) “So I prophesied as he commanded me and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, and exceeding great army.” Where did they stand up? In the forgotten valley. You might say, just where is this valley, and who are these people that are resurrected? The next verse will tell you who they are, and we will let the message open up to you as we go along, as to the whereabouts of such a valley. Remember though, that this is all symbolic of something that is going to take place later. Not in Ezekiel’s day. Let’s read the next verse. (11) “Then said he unto me, Son of man, these bones are the WHOLE house of Israel; behold they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lot; we are cut off for our parts. (12) Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves (NOT CEMETERIES), and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. (13) And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves. (14) And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.”


It is very strange, how carnal minded, some people who profess to be children of God really are. A few days ago, one group of preachers, who have a call in type of program on one of the radio stations, was heard to say that is would be impossible for the Israelites to be restored to their land in our age, for they said, most of them do not have the slightest idea as to what tribe they are from. Who do they think is keeping score anyhow? Who do they think was marking time when the sixty-nine weeks of Daniels prophesy was to be fulfilled, where the Messiah would be cut off, but not for Himself, Daniel 9:26? The same God who caused that prophesy to be fulfilled right to the exact year, is the one that has said through Ezekiel, that he would restore the whole house of Israel to their land. It is not our business to question God, as to how He will do it, regardless of how impossible it may look to the natural mind. Remember, God works circumstances to get people into the place where they are supposed to be. In verse 14, God said, “I will put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I SHALL PLACE YOU IN YOUR OWN LAND; THEN . . . SHALL YE KNOW THAT I THE LORD HAVE SPOKEN IT, AND PERFORMED IT, SAITH THE LORD.”


PROPHECY BEING FULFILLED


Brothers and Sisters, we are living in the days to see the Lord doing just exactly what He said that He would do. Jewish people are returning to the land of Israel from all over the world, and now they have a man as their leader who is not willing to make any trades that will require them to give up any of that land. We have already discussed the division of the house of Israel in the days of Rehoboam and Jeroboam, and the fact that both tribes eventually wound up in captivity, but now we will go into more detail. Ezekiel was a prophet at the time that he was carried to Babylon by the Gentile army of Nebuchadnezzar. Being of the two southern tribes, which was called by the name of Judah, he knows that Jerusalem is now laying in ruins at this time, which is approximately 587 B.C. He knows that the beautiful sanctuary of God has been destroyed, and all of the gold and wealth had been carried away to Babylon. He is familiar with the total history of Israel, the total nation. He knows that somewhere around 725 B.C., the ten northern tribes had been carried away to Assyria, and sold on the slave blocks of heathen nations.


Let me say this, here, the black man today is angry because of the way that he has been treated, but did you know that they have a very short history behind them? The world in general does not know today, that when these ten tribes were taken to Assyria, they were not given homesteads. No, those were the days when rising empires cared little for their enemy. They took their enemies captive and made them slaves. It is no wonder that for many centuries the world population grew very slow. Human life was very cheap. Think of the agony of those people, where the husband would be sold to one person, the wife to another, and the children to another, never to be seen again. It is hard for us to imagine such suffering, for we have not experienced anything like this in our lifetime.


At the time of Ezekiel’s vision, the ten northern tribes had been out of the land for more than a hundred years. Now you know that a lot of brush can grow up in a land for more than a hundred years. I can see this young man being very concerned about his people, for God has prophesied through Hosea, that the valley of Jezreel, (which was the pride of the ten northern tribes), would become a waste place.


SPIRIT OF APOSTASY


God, (who is longsuffering), had pleaded with these ten northern tribes to flee from their idolatrous ways and return to him.


Hosea was a man who was a prophet of God in the days of Israel’s worst apostasy. He saw Israel so corrupted that a Holy God could have no part in her ways. We are witnessing the same condition today, as a spirit of apostasy has crept into the Gentile church world. It is not just one or two denominations, but the whole Gentile church world that has been captured. In former days, most of the denominations churches had deep convictions concerning godliness, (and especially in the area of morality) that they have had to give up in order to hold their structure together. It seems that we are living in a day when people will do almost anything in the name of religion, and it seems like God is letting them get by with it, but remember, it is only because God is longsuffering. THERE WILL BE AN END TO IT, WHEN THEIR CUP OF ABOMINATION IS FULL.


REBELLION BRINGS JUDGMENT


God had given Israel a chance to repent, while He waited through the years of the prophesy of Isaiah, Amos, and others. Instead of repenting, they got worse until their cup was full. By this time, God had prepared a people that would fulfill His word and cut the ten northern tribes off from their land.


Let us look for just a moment, at the way that God chose to give Israel her final warning. You remember how God spoke to Abraham and called him out from his familiar surroundings in the land of Haran, making a promise to Abraham that of him he would make a great nation. Also that he would make his name great, Genesis 12:1-3, saying “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” This was the humble beginning of this great nation that we are speaking of in this message. Jehovah, in the old testament, that great, sovereign, eternal spirit that created all things, and fills all of His creation with His presence, looked upon Israel as His wife. His purpose in doing this was that He might be able to foreshadow, through the natural, certain things which would pertain to this age of grace and salvation of all who would believe. Therefore, when Israel, (the wife of God, the Eternal Spirit), began to worship idols which was of another spirit, God called them fornicators and adulterers. Why such terminology? It was because they were having intimate relations with another spirit. This was at the beginning of Hosea’s prophesy that God chose to speak to them by the means that we are going to discuss now.


HOSEA’S PROPHECY


Open your Bibles to Hosea, chapter 1:2-11. (2) “The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea, and the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the LAND HATH COMMITTED GREAT WHOREDOM, departing from the Lord.” This is strange sounding talk, coming from a holy God, is it not? Remember though, they would not take heed to the words of the prophets as they warned them to turn from their adulterous ways, therefore, God is going to paint a picture before them, something that they can see. The word land in verse 2, implies that they are all guilty, and not just a few, here and there. (3) “So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.” God is going to speak to them through the names of this woman and her children. The name Gomer, (Hosea’s wife), means, to end, in the sense of completion or failure. (4) “And the Lord said unto him, call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.” The name given to this firstborn son is significant of what God is going to do among these 10 tribes. The name Jezreel pertains to a valley of these northern tribes. This valley is also referred to as Megiddo, or Megiddon, and also referred to as the plain of Esdraelon. It being such a strategic valley, whoever controlled it, controlled Israel. It is positioned in such a way so that one route leads from it to the sea, while the route to the north divides and leads into Lebanon or Syria. Then, right in the valley is the ancient fortress, called the fortress of Megiddon.


History will bear record to the fact, that as the various empires came against Israel, the battles were fought in the valley of Jezreel. This will be the location where the last land battle of this world will be fought. You all know what I am talking about. It is the battle of Armageddon. This is the war that will end all wars. You will read about it in the 14th and 16th chapters of the book of Revelation. God is going to see that all of this world conflict winds up right back in the place that we know as the land of Israel, the place known as the cradle of civilization. Prophesy is going to be fulfilled in the very land where the prophets had their beginning.


ISRAEL’S BREADBASKET


This valley of Jezreel has been known as the breadbasket of the land of Israel because of its strategic location. It is to be thought of as the wheat belt of the United States is to this country. When a nation is cut loose from their breadbasket, their resistance soon comes to an end. Therefore, when God said through Hosea, I will cause the kingdom of Israel to cease, look where he pointed to, (Jezreel). Verse 5, “And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.” Breaking the bow is like saying, “I will destroy your military potential.” Now the ten tribes remained in the land for quite some time after the birth of this child, but the name was to call their attention to something that God would do against them at a later time. It would be in this valley that God would gather them, in all of their military strength, to defend their pride and joy, (their breadbasket). Any nation will fight to defend her agricultural land, but God has said, “I will break her bow.” In other words, she won’t be able to shoot anymore. This is where judgment fell on her. Why? Because she wouldn’t listen to her prophets that had been sent to warn her of the judgment that was ahead.


NO MORE MERCY


Let us continue reading, to see what else God was saying, through the names of these children. (6) “And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah; for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.” First, said God, “I will destroy your ability to defend yourselves,” and then He said they would be taken away from the land. The name of this daughter meant, no more pity, or mercy. God is longsuffering and merciful, but there comes an end to His mercy and grace, if the people continue to ignore and rebel against Him.


In the next verses, we find a great span of time covered, for it reaches all the way into our present and near future. God begins in verse 7, showing something of how He will deal with Judah, (the Royal tribe). They are destined to be captured and scattered also, but not at the same time that the northern tribes are taken. The southern tribes, (Judah and Benjamin), called by the name of Judah, kept the true form of worship, and God’s appointed place of worship much longer than the ten northern tribes. It was the tribe of Judah that their Messiah was to come from. Let us now watch God deal with that tribe. Verse (7), “But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.” God will have mercy upon the tribe of Judah, but not the tribe called by the name Israel. He is going to let them, (Judah), be taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar, and carried to Babylon, for they had, by no means, been perfect in the sight of God. Then, after they were in captivity, God said to them through Jeremiah, chapter 29, “I have caused you to be carried into Babylon. Go ahead and build yourselves houses, and dwell in the, and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them. Take ye wives and beget sons and daughters, and cause them to do likewise, so that you will increase and not diminish.” God also told them to pray for the peace of the city that they had been taken to. He further warned them not to listen to false prophets or to trust in the dreams that they might have. For, said He, after 70 years are accomplished, I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place, (meaning the land of Israel). God had determined that they should be out of the land 70 years, all because they had refused to let the land rest seventy Sabbaths. Then, after that, God would have mercy upon them, but they would not be able to help themselves with the bow, or the sword, nor any other kind of weapon. It would be an act of God that would set them free. You recall how God put it in the heart of Cyrus, a Persian king, to release Judah. That is when that particular element of people went back to the homeland, and began building the temple that was standing in the days of the ministry of Jesus. It was in the plan of God for it to be as it was.


YOU ARE NOT MY PEOPLE


Look at verse 8, “Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son. (9) Then said God, call his name Loammi; for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.” The birth of this child was to show something that God was going to do in 70 A.D., for the name Laommi, meant ( not my people). This is what the apostle Paul picked up over in the letter to the Romans 9:22-26, speaking to them about how God bestowed His goodness upon the vessels of His mercy. First though, before reading in Romans, let’s finish reading here, verse 10, “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, ye are the sons of the living God.” That is exactly what has happened. Though they were scattered to the four corners of the earth, the Jews have continued to multiply until, today they are that hard to count or number. Furthermore, let us consider the last part of the 10th verse, where it says, “In the place where it was said unto them, ye are not my people (meaning the two southern tribes), there it shall be said unto them, (the Gentiles), ye are the sons of the living God.” Now the word place, means in the time, or in the period of time, wherein this prophesy is fulfilled, where God would look upon Judah, (the two southern tribes), and say you are not my people. Remember, when Christ came, (in what we refer to as His first advent), it was the two southern tribes that was in the land. That is the period of time when Jesus came to His own, (the Jewish nation), and was offered to them on the basis of His Kingship, but they did not recognize, nor receive Him. What they did say, was, away with Him, crucify Him, He is a devil. Give us Barabbas, they cried. Well, God gave them Barabbas, and a short time after that, somewhere around 70 A.D. he gave them Titus, with his Roman army. When that army finished their destruction, these Jews probably remembered the words of Hosea, but it was too late. The axe had already been laid at the roots of these trees. It was at such a time as this that they could probably hear the words of Hosea ringing in their ears, Ye are not my people. Hosea had spoken these words more than 800 years prior to the time of their fulfillment, but when they rejected their Messiah, and had Him crucified, it caused God to fulfill His word. He had them scattered around this world from that time on. The northern tribes were already scattered, and now that these two southern tribes were thrown to the four winds, (sold as slaves), it meant that the whole house of Israel, (all twelve tribes), were an universal dispersion. It was in this period of time that the remainder of verse 10 has had its fulfillment, (for that was spoken concerning the Gentiles), YE ARE THE SONS OF THE LIVING GOD.


SONSHIP EXPLAINED


Now we will look at Romans 9:22-26 to catch the understanding that the apostle Paul had of the prophecy of Hosea. We read, “What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction. (23) And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of his mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, (24) Even us, whom he had called, NOT OF THE JEWS ONLY, BUT ALSO OF THE GENTILES? (25) As he saith also in Osee, (or Hosea), I will call them my people which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. (26) And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.” Paul, (who received his revelation from Jesus Christ, according to his own testimony, in Colossians chapter 1), understood that while the Jews were out of the land that was rightfully their inheritance, God would look over to the Gentiles, (who, up until this time were without hope in God, Ephesians 2:12), and say to them, “Ye are the sons of the living God.” You will notice, (as you study the scriptures), that God never did speak of the Jews as His sons. They were always referred to as servants of God. The sons of God title was not restored to mankind on this side of the flood until after Jesus paid the supreme price of reconciliation at Calvary. Then it could be said, (I John 3:2), “Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” Why? How did we get to be sons of God? We will look at St. John 1:10-13, (speaking to Jesus), (10) “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew him not. (11) He came unto his own, (the Jews), and his own received him not. (They had Him crucified). (12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on his NAME: (13) Which were BORN, not of blood, (not a physical birth), nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (We were born of God, who is spirit.) Galatians 4:6, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his son into your hearts crying, Abba Father.” Therefore, Romans 8:14, “As many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” This is all to help you see that the sonship title belongs to the people who believe God’s word, receive His spirit, and walk with Him.


Just one more scripture to establish this 10th verse of Hosea, chapter 1, We will look at Acts chapter 13:45-46, where the gospel was actually turned to the Gentiles. Verse 46, “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” You can read the verses before this to get the setting for such a statement.


RE-GATHERING OF THE JEWS


Please notice now, (as we return to Hosea for the last verse of chapter 1, which is verse 11), that the dispensation of grace to the Gentiles, actually falls between verses 10 and 11. Let’s read verse 11, “Then, (WHEN? After the Gentiles have had the gospel for hundreds of years), shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.” During the time that the tribe of Judah would lie in dispersion, God would say to them, “ye are not my people.” It would be during this time that God would cause it to be said to the Gentiles, “Ye are the sons of the living God.” But, this age of grace to the Gentiles will have to come to a close, just as every other age has. That is why we are printing this message. We are living in the days of the fulfillment of Hosea 1:11. God has brought about conditions ever since the days of World War II that has caused the Jews to return home to their land. Hitler’s great hatred for the Jewish people caused him to slaughter millions of them, leaving the remainder of that race of people full of fear, and ready to flee, back to the land of their fathers. In May 1948, when they became an independent nation once again, the stage was set to begin the fulfillment of that which Hosea spoke, concerning Judah and Israel being gathered together under one head. This will take many years though, for the Lord Jesus Christ is the one head that is spoken of, and that can only be in the Millennium. In the meantime, God is causing them to come up out of the land of their dispersion. You might say, “Bro. Jackson: where are the ten northern tribes? We thought they were lost.” I’ll say this, God knows where they are, and they will hear their call to go home when the time and conditions are right. Basically, the ten northern tribes are within the confines of northern Europe, and central Asia. Now when I say it will take many years, I do not mean that it will take hundreds of years, for God is able to make a fast work out of bringing the Jews out of Russia and the various other places that they must come from to fulfill this prophecy. The point that I want to make is this, it will require a vast number of people from each of the twelve tribes of Israel to be back in their homeland, to start the week of Daniel, and to fulfill Hosea 1:11. Therefore, as we see conditions which will be the fulfilling of verse 11, we know that verse 10 to the Gentiles is just about completed.


JEWS IN RUSSIA


We take the Jerusalem Post, which is a paper printed in Jerusalem. In the past 6 or 7 years, we have read much about how the Jews in Russia are pleading to get out, and come home. There was part of a letter printed in that paper about 4 years ago that had been written to Jerusalem, stating that many of the Georgian Jews in Russia have been heard to say, “we know that we are the remnant from the 10 northern tribes of Israel.” Brothers and Sisters, it is known that there are more than three million Jews in Russia, and when we say Georgian Jews, we are referring to those that live in a part of Russia that is known as, the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, one of the many republics that make up the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic.


Georgia had its beginning as an independent kingdom about 2,300 years ago. During most of the last 1,500 years, Georgia has been ruled by the Armenians, but about 170 years ago most of it was taken by Russia. For a short time after 1917, Georgia was an independent republic. Then in 1921 it became part of the U.S.S.R. For many years the Georgians were almost all farmers and raisers of livestock. (That sounds like Jews, does it not?) In the southern part of Georgia, they raised mulberry trees for silk and also grew grapes. Life there now is quite different though, for in the last 50 or 60 years they have become very industrialized, especially in the areas of coal, oil, and lumber.


Next to the United States, which has more than five million Jews, Russia has the next largest population of them with their more than three million. The big difference between them is this, the Jews in the United Stares are wealthy and very satisfied to stay here, where the ones in Russia are not allowed to accumulate much of their own, and certainly, when they turn them loose they make sure that they do not leave with much more than the clothes that they are wearing. That is why we are hearing reports of the Jews in Russia screaming for the chance to go home to the land of Israel.


THE DEFENDING TRIBE


God had to get that element of Jews out of Europe first though, for they were actually the heart of Judah. That’s where the governmental blood line lay. He, (Judah) is the tribe that would stand up and defend his cause. He fought the war for their independence which was climaxed in May 1948. He fought down through the Sinai in 1956. He fought the miracle war in 1967, and the Yom Kippur war in 1973. Now he is re-equipped and polishing his sword, ready to fight another one. They are flying their own flag, (the star of David), and are no longer under Gentile dominion. Everything is pointing right to Ezekiel 37.


I realize that there are many people in the world today who would not agree with or be thrilled about a message such as this, but the people of God who are familiar with the scriptures will be glad to know that we are living in the last days, just before the coming of the Lord. How do we know this? We know if by the things that we are seeing in the newspapers, and on the television almost daily. You might say, what has that got to do with anything? That is why we are using these scriptures of the various prophets. They tell us what is to come, and the signs that Jesus gave us to watch for, (so that we would know when the time was at hand) are the things that we are reading about in the news everyday.


JUDGMENT THEN BLESSING


We left our text in Ezekiel 37, after reading 14 verses that deal with the dry bones, and went to Hosea to try and lay a foundation for the thought that we are dealing with. Hosea’s prophecy, being 200 years before that of Ezekiel and Daniel, it gives us a chance to see exactly what the conditions were that led up to Ezekiel’s day. Through Hosea, Jeremiah, and Amos, etc., God showed what He was going to do to Israel in the way of judgment for her rebellion and idolatry. Then, through Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah, and others, God showed what He would do in restoring her back to her land and national identity.


Let us go now, back to the Book of Ezekiel, and look for a few minutes at the 36th chapter. We find in the first 15 verses that God has Ezekiel prophesying to the land and the mountains, (not the people), as in verse 8, “But ye O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. (9) For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you and ye shall be tilled and sown:” I know that the world is full of, (so called), preachers, who will say that this scripture has been fulfilled already, but let me remind you once again that it was only the two southern tribes that was allowed to go back to be in the land for the first advent of Christ. These next few verses will reveal something, let us read. (10) “And I will multiply men upon you, all the House of Israel, even all of it, (did you get that? ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL), and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded:” This ancient valley of Jezreel was nothing more than a waste place during the years of dispersion, even up into the 1900. When the Jews began going back there, even as late as 50 or 60 years ago, the valley of Jezreel was just swamp land, but today there is not one swamp left. This word must be fulfilled. The Jews that came from Australia, knew how the Australians drained their swamps by planting a certain type of tree that has a large tap root, which would go right down and pierce through that hard crust, letting the water drain out, and that is exactly what they did there in that valley of Jezreel. They have cleared that land, and today they are growing wheat, barley, oats, and even cotton, in the valley that had been a waste place. God is still running His great program of redemption. He don’t need any man to instruct him. Verse 11, “And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, (STILL TALKING TO THE LAND), and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the lord. (12) Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel; and they SHALL POSSESS THEE, (did you catch that statement? My people Israel shall possess thee. The Jews did not possess the land in the days of Christ. The Romans were in possession of it, but God is speaking through his prophet Ezekiel of something that He is going to do at a time when Israel is in possession of their land again.) And thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of men.”


When God gets finished speaking to the land, He begins speaking to Ezekiel about how the house of Israel had sinned against Him when they were still in the land, of how they became defiled as an unclean woman, and the fact the He scattered them among the heathen nations to chasten them. Then in verse 21, God reveals His reason for showing mercy to the Jews in the end. (21) “But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. (22) Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. (23) And I will sanctify my great name which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.” You will notice as you study these verses that God will uproot every manmade doctrine and tradition, (If He needs to), in order to keep His word. God makes it very plain that the people do not deserve to be restored, or blessed, for they have continued profaning the name of the Lord even in all of the places where they have been scattered to. He also states that the heathen, (unregenerate mankind), will know that He is the Lord, (when?), after He has restored the nation of Israel. It is no wonder that people cannot believe it is possible for such a thing to take place. They do not believe the Bible to be the emphatic word of God. But God has said that He will bring them back into their own land, and He will keep His word. The Jews are not scattered to the four winds because of their own choice. It is, as we said earlier, because their ancestors were sold as slaves to empires in every known part of the world in that day. Remember, these Jews that are going to the homeland, have been born out of the land. They are not going back to something that they, (as individuals), had left. It is simply that God has put it in their hearts to go there, some through desire, and others because of adverse circumstances in the land of their birth. All of this is in fulfillment of what God spoke to the Israelites while bringing them through the wilderness. Let us read in Deuteronomy chapter 4, beginning with the 25th verse, to see what God told them about being scattered among the nations, and how He would hear them when they repented, and cried unto Him.


SEEK AND YOU WILL FIND


Deuteronomy chapter 4, verse (25) “When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of anything, and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, to provoke him to anger: (26) I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. (27) AND THE LORD SHALL SCATTER YOU AMONG THE NATIONS, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen wither the Lord shall lead you. (28) And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. (29) BUT IF FROM THENCE THOU SHALT SEEK THE LORD THY GOD, THOU SHALT FIND HIM, IF THOU SEEK HIM WITH ALL THY HEART AND WITH ALL THY SOUL.” You can be sure of this one thing, Ezekiel knew this scripture, and he was, no doubt, seeking God with all of his heart when the vision began coming to him, where God showed him all of these things that were going to come to pass. God said to Ezekiel, “Son of man, stand upon thy feet and I will speak unto thee.” (Ezekiel 2:1) “And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers, have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.” (Ezekiel 2:3) From there, God showed Ezekiel a panoramic vision of his dealings with the children of Israel all the way into the millennium. Of course he was not told exactly when these various things would take place, but in the back of his mind he was remembering something else that he had read in Deuteronomy 4:30-31, “WHEN THOU ART IN TRIBULATION, and all these things are come upon thee, (EVEN IN THE LAST DAYS), if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice, (31) (For the lord thy god is a merciful god;) he will not forsake thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them” Even though he had to prophesy the bad things to come upon the house of Israel because of their rebellion, Ezekiel was also allowed to prophesy concerning the good things to come upon them. Notice verse 24 and following verses of chapter 36, “For I will take you from among the heathen, and GATHER YOU OUT OF ALL COUNTRIES, and will bring you into your own land.” Not just the 2 southern tribes in this setting. This is going to affect the whole nation, (all twelve tribes), for look what God is going to do, after He has gathered them from out of all countries. Verse 25, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.” When will God do this for Israel? Not until the week of Daniel has begun. It will take place as a result of the ministry of the two prophets, recorded in Revelation chapter 11, and chapter 7. See our article of the Chronology of Revelation, Vol. 9, No. 2 and 3, for a more complete understanding of their ministry. Right now we want to concentrate on this valley full of dry bones. Are you beginning to see where the valley is? No, it is not the valley of Jezreel. That is where they are being brought back to.


ISRAEL NATIONALLY DEAD


The Israelites have been scattered all over this world, for century upon century, until, as far as the world was concerned, they were as though they were dead. Who has cared enough in centuries past, to say, we ought to do something for the Jewish race of people, they need to be back in their land? You and I know that they were as same as forgotten, as far as a national identity was concerned. Hosea said that the house of Israel would abide many days without a king, without a prince, without an ephod, without a sacrifice. “Then afterwards, shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.” Ezekiel was just a mortal man. Therefore, after seeing what he has in the vision, with all of the future promises, he must have had a great question in his mind. Lord, when will these things be? How long will it take to accomplish these things?


God just picked Ezekiel up and carried him out to that very large valley. Then, in symbolic language, God began telling him, it is going to be so long that the world will have forgotten, and not even be concerned, that your people were ever a nation. That was God’s way of telling him that this promise of the future is going to be so far off that it will, (one day), cause your own people to say, our hope is lost, we are cut off for our parts. Go back to the 26th verse and we will continue reading these promises for Israel’s future.


NEW HEART – NEW SPIRIT


(26) “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. (27) And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (28) And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” Does that sound like a maybe situation, or would you agree that this is positive language? Where are those scholars who do not believe in election and predestination? Let them account for these words here. “I WILL TAKE YOU FROM AMONG THE HEATHEN, I WILL GIVE YOU A NEW HEART, I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT WITHIN YOU, I WILL BE YOUR GOD.” It doesn’t sound too much like He is going to take any kind of vote on this, does it? You might say, why would God wait so long? He is waiting for the fullness of the Gentiles. He does not leave His program to be worked out by wavering human beings. He worked out all of the details when He counseled with Himself, (meditated), before the foundation of the world. Maybe it will help some of you to better understand this message, if we turn at this time to Ephesians, chapter 1, and begin reading with verse 3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as HE HATH CHOSEN US IN HIM BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, (does that sound like God needs anyone to instruct Him?) That we should be holy and WITHOUT BLAME before him in love. (5) Having PREDESTINATED US unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, ACCORDING TO THE GOOD PLEASURE OF HIS WILL. (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein HE HATH MADE US ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED.” You thought God accepted you because you quit drinking, cursing, smoking, chewing tobacco, and all of that. I know you people know better than that, but this world is full of people who think the salvation of a soul is dependent on these things. That is why we are constantly reminding you, that every idea that does not dovetail with the scriptures should be cast aside. Verse 7, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, ACCORDING TO THE RICHES OF HIS GRACE: (8) Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; (now notice this), (9) Having made known unto us the mystery of HIS WILL according to HIS GOOD PLEASURE WHICH HE HATH PURPOSED IN HIMSELF: (10) That in the dispensation of the FULLNESS OF TIMES . . . HE . . . might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (11) In whom also we have obtained in inheritance, being PREDESTINATED according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of HIS OWN WILL: (12) That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (13) In whom he also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, YE WERE SEALED WITH THAT HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE.” I believe that will be enough to establish the thought we are on. Now, what were those points? Let us review them briefly. He chose us before the foundation of the world. He predestinated us unto adoption. It was for the good pleasure of His own will. It was strictly a work of grace. It was after the counsel of His own will, and He sealed us with that spirit of promise. That is exactly what He was determined to do for the Jews who believe as a result of the ministry of the two prophets of Revelation 11. That is what verse 37 of Ezekiel 36 is pointing to, the day when God will fill those Jews with the Holy Ghost. “I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT WITHIN YOU.”


THE TWO STICKS


God did not tell Ezekiel that this promise was for a time that would be more than 2,600 years in the future, but rather, after showing him his valley full of dry bones, and causing him to prophesy to them, He then instructed Ezekiel to take two sticks; Upon one stick he was to write for JUDAH, and upon the other stick, he was to write for JOSEPH, which would be EPHRIAM. Now this is not to be thought of as just any two old sticks that Ezekiel might find out in the woods somewhere. These two sticks were to represent the broken scepter of the house of Israel. The scepter, (which was the staff of ruling kings), became a divided scepter, as the kingdom became divided in the days of Rehoboam and Jeroboam. Now that we are talking about the two sticks, we will finish reading this 37th chapter of Ezekiel. We read the first 14 verses already, so we will take up with verse 15, “ The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, (16) Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: (17) And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. (18) And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not show us what thou meanest by these? (This was God’s way of getting their attention. He knew they would ask Ezekiel why he had done such a thing.) (19) Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. (20) And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. (21) And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: (22) And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: (This should be enough to disprove any theory that a person might have, about this particular scripture being fulfilled already, when a simple study of history will reveal the fact that the whole house of Israel has never been under one king since the kingdom was divided, almost 3000 years ago. The one king will be the Lord Jesus Christ, ruling throughout the millennium), And they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. (23) Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.”


SIGNS OF THE TIME


Let me say something here before going on with the reading. I know that there are some who would say, Bro. Jackson: why does the bride need to know all these things about Israel? I would like to remind you once again, that the nation of Israel serves as a time clock for the Gentile bride to make herself ready by. We are using these prophetic scriptures in an effort to try and awaken the Gentile church to the hour that she is living in. Brothers and Sisters: do you not think it significant that God saw fit to place the events of Ezekiel 38 and 39 right after the chapter that deals with her, (Israel), coming alive nationally and being restored back to her homeland? The signs of the time point to the fact that we are living right on the threshold of a great shaking. We all know that the Jews who are under communist rule in the various countries around this world should gladly go to the land of Israel, if they were given the opportunity, but how about the five million, more or less, who live in the United States, where money is plentiful, and they have all the luxuries that this nation is so noted for? What will cause them to go to the homeland where they would have to suffer much hardship and disappointment? It will not be an easy decision for most of them. No doubt, it will take some great calamity, such as Russia hitting us with a few of their rockets, which they probably have our name on already. When portions of this country are destroyed, and our economy is ruptured beyond repair, then you will probably see a great number of the Jews in this country suddenly pack up their belongings and head for the homeland. Maybe you think this sounds preposterous, when there is so much talk in the political circles about peace and prosperity. If you had been living in Germany before World War II, you probably would have thought it just as preposterous, for someone to have said that those German Jews should be among the first to migrate to the land that God had promised to Abraham and his seed.


UNIVERSAL PEACE PACT


By now it has become common knowledge that their great hatred for the Jewish people caused Adolph Hitler and Adolph Eichmann to butcher more than six million of them during those years of World War II. After that, the remaining Jews in Europe were glad to go home. They would not have left without some kind of a shaking. Neither will the Jews in the United States and Canada leave their way of life to go to Israel, unless God allows something to shake them loose. Now the Bible tells us what the land of Israel has to watch for in these last days. Therefore, it would be wise for those who are allies to Israel, to recognize that a power like Russia will not strike Israel without striking her allies. When a condition like this arises, it will send the world leaders to the peace bargaining tables. They will suddenly realize that a thing like that cannot be allowed to happen again. They will be ready for a universal peace pact, and they will be ready for a very smart, very sharp man to sit at the head of it all. The Bible also tells us where that man will come from. You can read it in the 9th chapter of Daniel. We offer, for your help in studying this subject, Vol. 4. No. 8, of the Contender, which will be sent free to all who request it. Daniel 9:26-27 tells us that a prince of the people that destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary, will make a peace covenant with many for one week, and in the middle of the week, (the week being a week of years, 7 years), he will break the covenant, and we know that the people who destroyed the city and the sanctuary around 70 A.D., were Romans led by Titus. Therefore, we are watching for that Roman prince to be revealed to the world, as the apostle Paul said that he would be before our time of gathering together unto Him, (Christ). II Thessalonians 2:1-4. He will be revealed to the world as a great peace maker or keeper, but only the bride will know that he is, in truth, the antichrist that is to come.

 

 

GOG OF MAGOG – RUSSIA


Let us look at a few verses in Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39 and we will begin to tie all of this together. 38:1-4, “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, (2) Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, (3) And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: (4) And I will turn thee back, and put hooks in thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords.”


Ezekiel had to describe this army and their equipment in terms that were known in his day. He didn’t know anything about motorized tanks, and motorized troop carriers, and such like. Therefore, he was instructed to write in this way, but we know that modern warfare has no place for horsemen, or swords, or shields. This would be as out of place as a Model A Ford on one of these super highways. You might say, didn’t God know what it would be like in the day when this prophecy would be fulfilled? Yes, God knew, but He allowed the prophets to write in their own language, as we find the apostle John doing in the book of Revelation. John wrote, in the 13th chapter of Revelation, how the two horned beast that would come up out of the land would do great wonders, in so much that he would make fire come down from heaven in the sight of men. That has been fulfilled every time this country brought one of her rockets through the sky with fire blazing from it.


HOOKS IN THEIR JAWS


God said, Ezekiel: you tell them that I will put hooks in their jaws and bring them forth. What do you suppose He meant by that? Just try to imagine how helpless a person would be if someone had hooks in their jaws to lead them by. You certainly would not be pulling back against the hooks. You would try to keep up to relieve the pull of the flesh, as the hooks dug in. This, of course, is merely symbolic. This is God’s way of saying, “Russia, you will do what I want you to do.” How do we know it is going to be Russia? It will not be just Russia, but rather Russia and her allies. In verses 5 and 6, we find some of the allies called by name, who will make up this great army from the north parts. In verse 14 and following, we read, “Therefore, Son of man, Prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord God; in that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou know it?” Or he could have said, you will know it, and that anti semitic spirit will have reached its peak by then. In other words, a great hatred for the Jews, as in the days of Hitler. (15) “And thou shalt come from the NORTH PARTS, THOU, AND MANY WITH THEE, (check your globe and you will see who is to the north of Israel), all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: (16) And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land, IT SHALL BE IN THE LATTER DAYS, AND I WILL BRING thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.” That sure sounds like a mighty large army to come against a little nation like Israel, so many men that they are like a cloud that covers the land. Now we will go back to verses 9-12, to see why they will do such a thing, but first I want to call your attention to a verse over in Revelation 17:17, “FOR GOD HATH PUT IT IN THEIR HEARTS TO FULFILL HIS WILL.” That is how the hooks in the jaw work. How can anyone doubt or disbelieve the word of God in this age, when so much of what the prophets spoke of is being fulfilled before our very eyes. There is a lot of jealousy and hatred for the Jewish race being built up all because they have taken back a little strip of the land that God gave to them, and they refuse to give it up.

 

 

ISRAEL MUST KEEP LAND


In the paper recently, we read an article where Prime Minister Menahem Begin says his new Israeli government will not, “under any circumstances” give up all of the West Bank of the Jordan, or allow a Palestinian state to be formed there, as some have proposed.. To do so would put “every city and home in Israel” in Arab artillery sights.


At the same time Mr. Begin was making this statement, we find that the Middle East News Agency was revealing a statement made recently by Syrain President Hafez Assad, where he told reporters that the Arabs will not give up an inch of the Arab land that has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 war. Assad said, time and world opinion are on the Arab’s side, and added, that the Arabs would wage a hundred wars against Israel if necessary. They may have time and world opinion on their side, but Israel has God on her side, and that is what will make the difference. I would rather have God on my side than all the armies of the world. Oh, He works his plan so perfectly! In verses 9-12, we see how He works this out. (9) “Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the lands, thou, AND ALL THY BANDS, AND MANY PEOPLE WITH THEE. (There are the allies that will join Russia.) (10) Thus saith the Lord God: It shall also come to pass, that at the same time SHALL THINGS COME INTO THY MIND, (God said, more than 2500 years ago, that in these last days, Gog would have some thoughts come into his mind, to do what?) And thou shalt think an evil thought. (11) And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates. (Brothers and Sisters: what good would walls around a city be, in such a day as this? Those walls were only beneficial in the days of hand to hand combat). (12) To take a spoil and to take a prey, to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the PEOPLE THAT ARE GATHERED OUT OF THE NATIONS, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.”


GOG WILL THINK EVIL


We find in verse 10, that the things which come into the mind of Gog will lead him to think an evil thought. In other words, he will begin to meditate upon the people that have come from every nation around this globe, to reside in this land that, (in the opinion of the world) has been unjustly taken away from the Arabs. He, (Gog the prince or ruler of Russia) will begin to think of how they have come from foreign lands bringing the knowledge that they have gained in those lands and applied it to the progress of the land of Israel. Many of them will have brought wealth, (especially those who return from places such as the United States and Canada) purely for the purpose of contributing something to the restoration of the land of their forefathers. He will notice how sure they are of themselves, living there in unwalled villages, with the eyes of the whole world upon them, watching their every move. Yet they will seem to be at rest and undisturbed by the conditions building up around them. At such a time as this hatred for the Jews will be at such a peak that it will seem good to Russia and her allies to go down and wipe the Jews from off the land completely.


GOD CREATED EVIL


As we look back to verse 4, we find that God is in control of this situation, therefore, we must conclude that the evil thought must have come from the Lord. WHAT! Bro. Jackson, do you mean to say that God would cause an evil thought? Yes, all we need do is look at the scriptures. Keep in mind though that the word evil, as used in these verses, does not carry the idea of sin against God, for when we look at Isaiah 45:7, we find these words. I FORM THE LIGHT, AND CREATE DARKNESS: I MAKE PEACE, AND CREATE EVIL: I THE LORD DO ALL THESE THINGS. The word evil, as we find it used in these verses and some other which we will call to your attention, carries the thought of misery, woe, and affliction. On the other hand, Satan is the creator of sin, for SIN IS UNBELIEF toward God, and that unbelief is full of attributes. It is the manifestation of these attributes that we call SINS, and it is for the remission of SINS that we are baptized after having believed the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, which cancels out the penalty of condemnation to our spirit, which was there because of SIN, (UNBELIEF) until you believed.


SATAN CREATED SIN


Now the Bible teaches us that Satan created SIN, (UNBELIEF) and God created EVIL, (misery, woe, and affliction) and we believe it because God’s word says it, and we are believers. For a couple more examples of the use of this word evil let us look first at I Samuel 18:10. “And it came to pass on the morrow that the evil spirit from the Lord God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house.” We can also read Amos 3:6, “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be EVIL in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?”


If people could only have confidence in this old black book, which we call the Bible, they could know the plan of God for the ages, for it is all told, and nothing held back, except the time it will take place. Even then we have signs to watch for, such as the things that we are considering in this message.


ISRAEL CLEANSES THE LAND


I would like to call your attention to two or three things in the 39th chapter of Ezekiel and then we will summarize the message briefly. First, we notice in verse 2, (God speaking to Gog) “And I will turn thee back and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel.” Here we see once again that God himself has caused this invasion, then He intervenes in such a way that only one-sixth of the total army is left alive to tell the story. God says to Gog, also, (3) “I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. (4) Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee.” First they are disarmed, then five-sixths of them are killed. When it is all over the Israelites begin a great cleanup campaign. Look at verse 9, “And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and THEY SHALL BURN THEM WITH FIRE SEVEN YEARS: (10) So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests, for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord God.” The particular thing that I would have you take note of, is that Israel will be seven years burning the weapons that are left there by this great army. Then we read in verses 11-12 that it is going to take them seven months to bury the dead that fall there in that great battle. I call it a great battle, only because of the great multitude of people that come against the little nation of Israel. But actually, before they can do what they come to do, God will intervene by some supernatural means to destroy the armies of Israel’s enemies. Whatever the means that God will use, we notice that it will cause the eyes of many nations to be opened, and they shall recognize the fact that Israel has God on their side. God has Ezekiel to speak to the fowls of the air, and invite them to come to the great feast that He has prepared for them and the beast of the fields. That is why you find in verse 15 that it speaks of burying the bones of them that are found. After a few months, that is all that is left to bury. They bury them in a valley that God says will be called the valley of Hamongog. It will be someplace there in Israel. During this time they shall sever out men for continual employment burying the dead bodies.


WORLD SEEKING PEACE


The whole world is crying for peace, and there shall no peace be found for it, until the Prince of Peace, (Jesus Christ) is seated on the throne of King David, to rule and reign for a thousand years of peace. Between now and then we can look for much blood shed, for the scriptures must be fulfilled.


Prime Minister Menahem Begin, of the State of Israel, is coming to Washington, D.C., around the middle of July for a meeting with President Carter. Naturally, the world is waiting with hopeful expectations for the results of such a meeting, and rightly so, for the world in general does not accept the scriptures as the unchangeable, unalterable, word of God. If it were not for the prophecies of Ezekiel, Daniel, Amos, Joel, etc., as well as the book of Revelation, I, myself, might be looking for world peace through negotiation, but in the light of what we know from the word of God, I am looking for great destruction in various regions throughout the world in the very near future. Not as a skeptic, but as a believer of the word of God.


I, therefore, am endeavoring to warn the people of God that the time is short. You do not have very many months left to play around. It is time for each of us, by an honest evaluation, to determine exactly where we stand with God. After making such a determination, let us place our faith and trust in God, putting on the whole armour of God, (as we find it listed in Ephesians chapter 6) without wavering.


FAITH WILL GET RESULTS


Just to refresh your memory, let me read to you something that the apostle James was inspired to write. His remarks were pertaining to wisdom, but the same principle applies to our complete makeup, for we are children of faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God, Hebrews 11:6. But here is what I want to read to you. I will start with verse 2 of the 1st chapter of James. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers, (or various) temptations; (3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (4) But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” The word perfect, as used here, does not imply perfection in this mortal makeup, but rather, perfect desire, perfect motive, perfect ambition, the things that make up the inner man, who is to be like God. Some might say, how do we reach such a place? That is what James is dealing with. If you are not quite sure, then listen to the next verses. (5) “If any of you lack WISDOM, let him ASK, (not beg) of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it SHALL BE given him. (6) But let him ask in faith, NOTHING WAVERING, for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (7) For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. (8) A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”


Brothers and Sisters: One thing that I would have you to understand is that many of us are going to be severely tested in the days ahead, so much so, that only a genuine faith and trust in God will be sufficient to carry your through.


We have already stated that pressure is mounting in the middle east, and the lid will soon blow off of it to such a degree that it will affect the whole world. Now, I want to read an article that came out in the Jerusalem Post, dated July 5, 1977. The Prime Minister of Israel is in the spotlight in these days, and it will be to our enlightment to hear what he says.


BEGIN’S PLEA TO U.S.


BEGIN CALLS ON U.S. NOT TO ABANDON FREE WORLD – Prime Minister Menahem Begin of Friday, appealed to the United States to maintain it’s lead of the remaining free nations, “in resisting tyranny and preserving human dignity” now, as it has already done three times in the last sixty years. Begin was addressing a festive dinner held jointly by the commercial and industrial club, and the Israel America Society at Zoa House here.


It was America, said he, that had saved mankind in World War I, and then again in World War II.


The third U.S. intervention to save the world, the Prime Minister said, had been the effort up to now to prevent Communist subjugation “by proxy” of the shrinking number of free nations, particularly in the Middle East.


Begin toasted the President of the United States on the occasion of America’s Independence Day. Recalling that a year ago the Entebbe rescue was called “the best present Israel could give the free world on the Fourth of July.” Begin said, “Today, the very existence of Israel, its country UNCONQUERABLE, its army INVINCIBLE, its people UNBREAKABLE, is the best present we can offer.”


I just wanted you to have some idea as to what Israel is expecting from this country. The United States is about all that Israel has to look to, as far as military power is concerned.


U.S. MILITARY IN ISRAEL


It is reported that a Washington source has revealed possible plans for a U.S. military installation within Israel’s boundaries. The idea would be to guarantee this country’s commitment to them. It would act as an insurance policy for the Israelis.


One possibility of such a move, it is stated, would be an American Naval Base at Haifa. There is nothing definite, (as far as the public is permitted to know) on this as yet. I only mention these things to get your minds pointed in the right direction. It remains to be seen just what extremes mortal mankind will go to in trying to prevent, or at least hold off the inevitable. But at this time, I would like to conclude this message by making a projection of what I believe is ahead for the world. We have gone into much detail in establishing from the scriptures the events that are to come. The only thing that I am going to do now is just briefly run through them.


First, to begin right where we are, the Gentiles are turning back to paganism and witchcraft, which proves that the gospel light is getting dim, and at the present pace, cannot burn much longer among Gentiles.


Secondly, the Jews are returning to their ancestral homeland with urgency, as if by great inspiration. This is causing much concern and alarm, among the other Middle East countries. It is like a great powder keg with a short fuse that could explode at any time.


RUSSIA MAKES HER MOVE


Russia is working her way into these surrounding areas by trade agreements and arms supplying. All of which is gaining her allies that she will need to fulfill Ezekiel 38 & 39. Before too long, Gog, (the ruler of Russia) will begin to have the evil thoughts, (Ezekiel 38:10-11) that will cause them to go down against Israel. But, since Israel has the United States as her ally, it will be necessary for them to strike this country at such a time, to try to prevent our intervention. There will not be much left of our economy after such an attack; destruction will be widespread. This will cause great hoards of American Jews to pack up and go to Israel; (for all twelve tribes must be represented there when the week of Daniel goes into effect) especially after witnessing how God fights for Israel in this attack. They will suddenly realize that Israel is the safest place that they could be, and their businesses will be wiped out to the extent that there will be nothing left here to hold them. This is when God kills five-sixths of that great army, leaving only one sixth to return home.


WORLD PEACE PACT


World leaders will be so shaken by so much sudden destruction that it will cause them to rush to the peace negotiating tables, and this time they will not spend months arguing about who will sit where. They will get right to the business at hand. Their great theme will be, we cannot allow a thing like this to happen again. We must have a world peace agreement immediately. They will work out the details to the point where they will realize that they need a genius, who is world renown, to sit at the head of such an agreement. That is where the Roman Pope will be accepted, and make a covenant with many for one week. The peace covenant will not specify that it is for 7 years, but God is the one who keeps time, and He will cause it to move according to Daniel 9:26-27, so that after three and one-half years the Pope, (who is the antichrist) will have become so provoked by the ministry of the two prophets of Revelation 11, that he will make a decree, causing the Jewish sacrifice and evening oblation to cease. Naturally, this will cause the orthodox Jews to rebel, and then is when the great persecution of the Jews will begin again. By this time the ministry of the two prophets will be finished, the first half of the week of Daniel will be gone, the Bride will have been caught up to meet the Lord in the air, leaving the foolish virgins to be killed by the armies of the antichrist beast system that will rule for the last half of the week of Daniel, along with the great multitude of Jews who will be killed, rather than renounce God. This brings time to the end of the week of Daniel, where the Lord Jesus Christ comes from heaven with His Bride on white horses, (the power of the word) to fight against that beast system. By this time the western communist forces will be fighting against the communist forces from the East. This will be the battle of Armageddon, which will be finished up by the coming of the Lord Jesus with His saints to end it all. That will be the last battle among mankind. After a period of cleansing the temple, and rededicating the altar, Jesus with His bride, will separate the sheep people among the nations from the goats, and usher the sheep people into the millennium.


I know this is a brief summary, but we have covered most of the events mentioned, either in this message or the Chronology of Revelation, which you may request if you desire to do so.

If We Sin Willfully – 1977, May

1977-05-If-We-Sin-Willfully

IS YOUR LIFE COMING SHORT OF WHAT YOU DESIRE IT TO BE? HAVE YOU BEEN TOLD BY SOMEONE THAT THERE IS NO HOPE FOR YOU BECAUSE YOU KNEW BETTER THAN TO DO WHAT YOU DID, IN SINNING, AFTER PROFESSING TO BE A CHRISTIAN? I AM SURE YOU HAVE HEARD SOME SAY, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A BORN AGAIN BELIEVER BACKSLIDING. ALSO, SOME HAVE LOOKED AT A PERSON WHO HAD SOME WEAKNESS, IN THE WAY OF A HABIT, AND JUDGED THAT THE PERSON COULD NOT POSSIBLY HAVE THE HOLY GHOST IN THEM, FOR THEY WILL SAY, GOD WILL NOT DWELL IN AN UNCLEAN VESSEL.


SUCH STATEMENTS AS THESE HAVE CAUSED MUCH CONFUSION IN THE RANKS OF CHRISTIANITY, BUT LET US SEE IF WE CANNOT SETTLE THESE ARGUMENTS BY LETTING THE WORD OF GOD SPEAK TO US.


PLEASE KEEP AN OPEN MIND AS YOU READ THIS MESSAGE. IF YOUR MIND IS MADE UP ALREADY, THERE IS NOTHING IN THIS MESSAGE THAT WILL HELP YOU. IT IS BEING PUBLISHED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THOSE WHO WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH, AND THOSE WHO FIND THE TRUTH WILL BE MADE FREE. (John 8:32)


HEBREWS 10:26


A question that came to me recently has caused me to search the scriptures concerning the verse that read, IF WE SIN WILFULLY….. You will find in the letter to the Hebrews the scripture for our thought today. The part that we are going to deal with is found in chapter 10, verse 26, but we will read verses 26-29 to get a picture in our minds of what the writer is dealing with here. First, let me say this, even though it is commonly accepted that this Epistle was probably written by the apostle Paul, there is no concrete evidence to dogmatically attribute the authorship to him. One thing we are sure of though, much of the language found in this Epistle sounds very much like Paul, especially chapter 13:23, where there is a personal reference made concerning Timothy.


The occasion for writing the Epistle to the Hebrews seems to be a need to exhort those who had professed faith in Jesus as the Messiah to hold fast, stop wavering, and go on to maturity. It seems that many of them might have been on the borderline of turning back to Judaism, for we see in the earlier verses of chapter 10 that he has been reminding the people of the superiority of the one sacrifice of the new covenant, (which was the Lord Jesus Christ himself) in contrast to the continual sacrifices of the old covenant. He has exhorted the people not to forsake the assembling of themselves together. He had admonished them to consider one another to provoke unto love and good works. Then, he comes to verse 26, let us read. “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, (27) But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. (28) He that despised Moses law died without mercy under two or three witnesses; (29) Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, with which he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the spirit of grace.” Keep this scripture in mind, and let’s turn to the 6th chapter and start reading with the 4th verse. “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost. (5) And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to fall away. (6) If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance, seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”


When we put these two scripture passages together, it presents a fearful picture in our minds unless we go on to find the occasion for such words, and find out what they are actually having reference to. Now we preach that God is a loving and merciful God, and we look at these scriptures in the light of what is written in all of the other scriptures that deal with sin, and our conclusion is that there has got to be an answer in the word of God that will satisfy a hungry soul who desires to know the truth. In 1 John 1:9 we read, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Please notice, if WE CONFESS OUR SINS, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It sure looks like there is a possibility that the people of God could commit sins, doesn’t it? With that scripture in mind, let’s look at another one in I John 3:9, “Whosoever is born of God DOTH NOT COMMIT SIN; for his seed remaineth in him, and he CANNOT SIN, because he is born of God.” Both of these verses were written by the same man, (the apostle John). They seem to present a contradiction, for they are dealing with two different things. With these two verses to think upon, let us go back to Hebrews 10:26, (For if we sin willfully after having received the knowledge of the truth;) we will have to find out what the word SIN is pointing to. That word SIN in 10:26 has to be the same thing as, (For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, etc.,) chapter 6:4. These two verses will have to go together, they were both written by the same man. He was writing to warn and exhort these Hebrews. Therefore, there could be no contradiction. We will hang this upon the word, SIN, and endeavor to find out what he was talking about. (IF WE SIN WILFULLY,) Is he talking about smoking, drinking, gambling, or what? It was none of these things; they are only the attributes of the sin that was being spoken of here. Yet, how many times, through this age of grace, has the word sin been associated with smoking, and all of the many other things that unregenerate mankind is a slave to. Evangelists use these scriptures to scare people into repenting, but did you know that you cannot scare a sinner into repenting with the attitude and motive that God will accept? Jesus plainly said that no man could come to him except he be drawn by the Father. In other words, no man can come to the WORD, except he be drawn by the SPIRIT. Jesus was the WORD made flesh, according to John 1:14. You might say, then what did Jesus mean when He said to go out and compel them to come in. He sure didn’t mean that we should force or drag them in. It was not like that in the book of Acts, and that was the pattern. You will find, as you read the book of Acts, that wherever the Gospel was preached, as many as were ordained to eternal life, believed. Men were heard crying out, (WHAT MUST WE DO?) The answer would come back, repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of SINS, (Acts 2:38, 16:31, 33, etc.) Keep this word SINS in your mind as you study this message, for it is in the framework of SINS, that we find all of the bad habits that mankind is addicted to, and we are dealing with the word SIN in its singular form in this message.


THE NARROW WAY


We are living in a day when religion is very popular but true christianity is fast fading out of the picture. That is the reason Jesus could say, “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” This is the way of true christianity. The popular religious way is the way that leads to destruction. This is the wide gate, and broad way, that Jesus said many would enter into, (Matthew 7:13-14). I hear so much from the church world in our day, where they will say, we had so many saved last night, and so many filled with the Holy Ghost. This may look good on paper to those who enjoy such things, but in the eyes of God, it looks like children playing. I am so thankful that God keeps his own record book, and that book only records what God is allowed to accomplish in the whole thing. Man’s fleshly efforts are not included in this true record book.


As I said before, our thought for this message is hinged around the words, (FOR IS WE SIN WILFULLY,) after having received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. The word SIN in the first part of this verse has been used as a club by many preachers. Where some poor souls who had some hard trial laid upon them, and has become discouraged to the point where they might pick up a cigarette, or do something to try to fill the vacuum brought on by such an experience, these preachers will hold up this verse of scripture and pronounce condemnation upon the person. Many people who have had a genuine experience of grace in a salvational way are still weak in various areas of their complete makeup. Satan knows where these weak areas are, and that is where he works. He knows exactly where, and when, to hit a person like this, to bring on a feeling of discouragement, where the individual will many times, just say, “What is the use in trying to go on, it just seems like I cannot make any headway.” It is in such times as these that a person may do something that is unbecoming to a christian. Not because they desire to do the thing that they are doing, but because for the moment, their resistance is broken down. It is a spiritual warfare, and the forces of evil are very strong, but remember, he that is within a true believer is greater that he that is the world, (1 John 4:4). Satan has power to lay trials and discouragement upon the children of God, but there is a limit as to how far he is allowed to go with it. Keep these remarks in mind, and turn with me in your Bibles to I Corinthians, chapter 3, verse 11. Now this letter was written by the apostle Paul, who, as we stated before, undoubtedly wrote the Hebrew letter. What we are interested in finding out is what the same man who wrote Hebrews 10:26, will say concerning other things that would be referred to as sinning. There was a lot of things going on in the Corinthian church that fall into the category of sin, but it is not sin in the same sense that the word is used in our text. Let us read now, chapter 3, verse 11, “For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” He has got to be the center of all our desires and motives, our greatest ambition should be to please Him in all that we do and say. He is to be the foundation upon which you build your testimony and character or your very way of life. He was a sinless example for us, which makes him a perfect foundation to build upon. It is true that we, in our mortal flesh are imperfect. Nevertheless, the Bible does say, “be ye, therefore, perfect, even as your Father, who is in heaven, is perfect.” Does that mean that we are to be perfect in the same sense that Jesus was? Absolutely not! Jesus did not have the blood from Adam’s fallen nature running in his veins. His was the pure, created, blood of God, without the attributes of sin. He was tempted in every way that you and I are, and he could have done as Adam did, but he chose to do only what pleased the Father, (John 8:29).


Many believe that Jesus could not have given in to temptation, but if that be true, then how could the apostle Peter come along later and say that he was our example (1 Peter 2:21-22). You must understand that in every test that Jesus was put to, He overcame the adversary as a man, not as God. By this, He left us an example of how to overcome the tempter by the word of God. See Matthew 4:11, where, in every temptation, Jesus met the devil with what was written in the word of God. It is our motive and desire that must be brought in line with the will of God for our lives. Once we have had an experience of God’s grace bestowed upon us, and we begin to build our lives upon the foundation of this example that Jesus set before us, then we are cultivating a perfect desire, a perfect motive, a desire to be in His likeness. It is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin, (1 John 1:7). “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin.”


OUR WORKS WILL BE TESTED


When the apostle Paul spoke of Jesus Christ as being the foundation that men should build upon, we realize, of course, that this was an illustration that he was using to establish motive. There are many who have preached hard, and worked hard, year after year, but will God be able to use their labor for His permanent building? The apostle Paul said that every man’s work shall be made manifest; it will be revealed by fire, and the fire shall test every man’s work to determine what sort it is. If it is of wood, hay, and stubble, it will be burned up, but if it is gold, silver, or precious stones it will stand the test and he will receive a reward. What do you suppose God will be looking for, as our works are put to the test? If we are inspired and led by God to do whatever we do, it will be accepted by Him, but if that which we do is for some selfish reason, or just plain zealousness on our part, it will be looked upon by God as wood, hay, and stubble, regardless of how it may look in the eyes of man. Do we not read in Matthew 7;21-23, where Jesus said there will be some who will say to Him in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesies in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?” These all seem like things that were right for these people to be doing, but look what Jesus said that He will say to them. Verse 23, “I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Why would he react in such a way to these people who had been doing all of these good works? The reason is simple. He had not instructed them to do what they had been doing. It was through their own reasoning that they had done these seemingly good works. There are professing christians, that believe God was unjust when He refused to accept Cain’s basket of fruit and vegetables, but these people will always miss God, for they do not have the ability to receive revelation on what pleases the Father. When we have a genuine experience and relationship with God, we do not have to go around trying to do good work. There is something in such a person that automatically reacts to situations in the same way that Jesus did when He walked upon earth among mankind. It is the spirit of God living through you that produces genuine good works. Did not James write, “show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works?” This is not contrary to what Paul believed. He believed that faith in God should be backed up by works just like James taught it, but Paul went one step farther and stated that every man’s work will be tried, to determine the category that it falls into. Just because Paul taught that we are saved by grace through faith, many believe that once they are saved, they should just fold their hands and do nothing. That sure wasn’t the way that the apostle Paul lived his faith. He worked hard, and traveled much, but his desire and motive was not to build something for himself, he was building for God.


Billy Graham is known by most of you. It is reported, that when he started out, his prayer was, Lord, I want to be the biggest evangelist around. That was his motive, and that is what he has become, but I do not believe that he has the greatest revelation of God. Nevertheless, the day shall declare it. It will be revealed by fire. When? In the day of his judgment among believers. The things that you have done here in this present world, are not the things that you will be doing in the millennium, but the faithfulness with which you do them will definitely determine the place that you have with Christ, in God, in the millennium.


Please do not think that Paul is speaking of the fire of God’s wrath here in I Corinthians 3:13, this is the fire of His Word in judging our works. When Paul spoke of Jesus being revealed from heaven, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know now God, he was referring to the time when He, (Jesus) will come to destroy wicked men who have corrupted the earth. Here in I Corinthians 3, he is speaking of the judgment seat of Christ, where believers will be tried to determine what their life had accomplished as a christian. It isn’t that God doesn’t know already. He does! This will be to show you and I what we have actually brought to Him. Now notice, Paul did not say that if our works would not stand the test there remaineth no more sacrifice. No! Look again, at the scripture, (I Corinthians 3:15). He says here, “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet as by fire.” On the other hand, look at verse 14, “If any man’s work abide which he hath built upon it, he shall receive a reward.” It will not be the reward of eternal life, we have that already. “Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (I John 3:2) We are already the sons of God, and we will be like Him in the spiritual and immortal image that He projects and shows Himself to be. (If any man’s work abide), that means, if God accepts it, he will receive a reward, (a greater position in the millennium). Now, let us go back to view the other side for a moment. If a man’s work be burned, he shall suffer loss. Loss of what? A great reward in the millennium. He will not suffer the loss of eternal life.


WHAT SAITH THE WORD


We are going to study the teaching of this man, Paul, for he is the one that was faced with dealing with these various situations, and needs, as they arose in the churches. We are interested in finding out what a man might do that would be the cause of him not receiving any reward at all. He had to do something wrong. Let us go to chapter 5, and see if we can gain a better understanding of this man’s teaching. He writes the letter in response to an inquiry concerning such things as marriage and the use of meats offered to idols, but he was greatly troubled by reports that he had been receiving from Corinth of divisions among the brethren, of increasing contentions, and a case of incest in the assembly that had not been judged by the church. Chapter 5 opens like this, (1) “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.” (That would be his stepmother.) He went on to say, (2) “And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.” In other words, someone must have really got up in the air over it. Not out of concern for the individuals who were doing such things, but rather, for fear that the church would get a bad name. This, many times, is the attitude that would cover up sins in the church rather than to have the image of the church marred. Verse 3, “For I verily, as absent in body but present in the spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath done this deed.” The apostle was saying, I have not been there to witness this thing with my own eyes, but I believe the report that I have received, and I, therefore, have judged the man already. Some might say, now wait a minute, did not Jesus say that we should not judge, lest we be judged? Yes, Jesus said that, and Paul knew that He said it. Some will say, I would rather take what Jesus said, others, I am going to take what the apostle Paul said. That is the way these Corinthians were, some said, I am of Paul, others, I am of Apollos, and others, I am of Cephas. Paul answered them by saying, is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? In whose name were you baptized? He called them carnal minded babes, that needed to grow up in stature. He told them that they were so much like babes, that he couldn’t even speak to them in a spiritual way. On the other hand, we never reach such a high plane in our spiritual life, that we do not still have room to bring our life, (as far as spiritual thinking) a littler closer in line with the will of God.


JUDGE NOT


When Jesus said, judge not, that ye be not judged, we must try to understand what He was talking about. Judgment here, in the statement that Jesus made, was referring to eternal destiny. We do not reach a place in this life where we can pass judgment upon an individual, to say, he is going to glory, or he is damned. That is for God to do, and He alone. There is a certain amount of observation that we are permitted to make. For instance, when you see a person that has shown by their manner of life, through their conduct and character, that they are stable from day to day, walking before God in an attitude of obedience, without being a stumbling stone or hindrance to others, it is right to say, that person appears to be a true saint of God. When a person, such as this, dies, we can console ourselves by saying, they have gone to sleep, to be with the Lord, but, even still, it is not you and I that determines their destiny. Therefore, when we look into the scriptures and see various statements, it becomes necessary to find out what the occasion was for making them. The apostle Paul was a man that believed a christian should be on an even keel. Not up one day and down the next, as so many are. His preaching did not leave room for a person to be just any way they might choose, because of adverse circumstances, from day to day. He wrote to the Ephesians, (10) “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Chapter 6:10-11)


We will return to the statement by Paul, (I have judged already). As a man of God, he had judged that there was improper conduct being allowed in the Corinthian church. He is not judging the man’s eternal destiny. He gives instructions to the elders, I Corinthians 5:4, “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, (the word power here means authority), to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” Can you see the situation that is being dealt with here? This man is a professed christian, who has continued to sin in the assembly of the saints, while having an affair with his stepmother. Paul’s judgment was, if he refuses to straighten up, then turn him over to the devil. Break fellowship with him, and let him run his course, even to the point of being physically destroyed. Now, the last part of that verse sounds strange to the natural mind, but these things are spiritually discerned. He said, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. We are calling your attention to these particular instances in chapter 3, and chapter 5 of I Corinthians before going back to Hebrews 10:26. In chapter 3, we have an ILLUSTRATION of a man that had nothing to offer the Lord but wood, hay, and stubble, yet his soul was saved. Then, in chapter 5, we have an actual DEMONSTRATION. You and I know good and well that this man’s deeds are not like gold, and silver, and precious stones. They can be nothing more than wood, hay, and stubble in the eyes of God. You may say, that is wrong to put someone out of church, don’t you think God would forgive the person? Absolutely! God will forgive anyone who truly repents, and will put his sins as far as the east is from the west, from him, never to remember them anymore. But, after that, he expects you to go out and live a straight life.


THE PRODIGAL SON


To illustrate how willingly God will forgive a repentant sinner, Jesus told a story about a certain man that had two sons. Most of the story pertains to the youngest of the two. We commonly call him the prodigal son. This young fellow came to his father one day, and asked for the portion of the inheritance that would someday be his. The father divided up what he had between the two sons, and shortly thereafter the youngest took his part and journeyed to a far country, where he wasted all that he had on riotous living. Please keep in mind the fact that he did not have to leave home. It was his own decision. He had plenty of clothes, a good bed to sleep in, and everything else that he needed, but he was just one of those fellows that wanted to sow his wild oats. Furthermore, he didn’t think daddy always knew what was best for him. When he asked for his part of the inheritance, and got it, look where he went, (to the world) and wasted it all. He probably went to every wild place that there was around anywhere. He was really having himself a good time. As long as the money lasted, he probably never had any thoughts of his dad and brother back home. There came a day though, when the money was all gone. He probably had nothing left but the clothes he was wearing, and to make bad matters worse, there arose a great famine in the land. Times got so hard for him, that he, being a jew, had to bear the reproach of working for a Gentile hog farmer, in order to exist. It seems that God let this fellow go just about as close to the end of his rope as he could go, without being totally lost. Brothers and Sisters: it’s bad when a man becomes so addicted to ways of destruction that he winds up with nothing but the clothes on his back, and in a hog pen on top of that. Many times it is necessary for God to let a person go all the way to the bottom, in order to break their stubborn will down to a point where they can be talked to. This fellow was to the point where, in his desperation, he was ready to eat the husks from the hog feed, then he came to himself and realized that his father’s servants were living better than he. It was only at this point of his desperate situation that true repentance finally hit him. He realized that he had sinned against God, and that he was not even worthy to be called a son of his earthly father, but look at the compassion of that old dad when he finally arrived back home. He had, no doubt, been rehearsing the speech that he would make to his father as he walked along the road that day. He was going to confess his wrong deeds, and ask to be given a place as one of his father’s hired servants, but look how his father demonstrated the kind of love and compassion that God has toward his repentant children. He didn’t even wait for the boy to make his speech. As soon as he saw him coming up the road, he ran to meet him, and the scripture says that he fell on his neck, and kissed him. He was welcomed home with open arms, by his father, who is a type of our longsuffering, and forgiving God. He was received back into the family, given a bed to sleep in, clothes that he might dress properly, and a fatted calf to feast upon, but he did not tell him that he would be reinstated as an heir to his kingdom. You can see from this illustration that it pays to stay at home. Look what the father said to the pouting, elder son, who had stayed at home to tend to the farm, and was now filled with jealousy and indignation. After listening to the older son complain because he had never had a party given for him, the father said, Son, thou are ever with me, (ALL THAT I HAVE IS THINE!) There is your reward for faithfulness displayed. The father kept the younger son, (who had nothing to offer, but wood, hay, and stubble) in the family, but the reward went to the son who had remained faithful and kept his father’s commandments. This story, (which is recorded in the 15th chapter of Luke), is an illustration, by Jesus of the type of situation that the apostle Paul was dealing with in I Corinthians 5:1-13. This lets me know that if a person, (who is a believer), can not find the grace of God to be sufficient to deliver him from such a weakness, God is willing for the person to be turned over to the devil, and actually killed if necessary, in order to deliver the church from such a reproachful situation.


The same man that wrote this letter and instructed the church to turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, (that his soul might be saved) had to write them again, to instruct them to receive the man back into the fellowship once he had repented. You will find this in II Corinthians 2:1-11. It seems that after this fornicator was put out of the assembly, and no one would fellowship with him anymore, something caused him to repent. It might have been sickness that got hold of him. The scriptures do not tell us what caused him to repent, but something did. You might say, “Wasn’t that a terrible sin for a believer to commit?” Yes, it was, but it is not the sin that our text is dealing with. This goes in the category with SINS OF THE FLESH. These sins of the flesh are things that we do, say, and allow, because of our weakness, but there is only one UNPARDONABLE SIN. That is UNBELIEF. Jesus called it blaspheming the Holy Ghost. He said, “All manner of sin, and blasphemy, shall be forgiven men; except blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.” Whoever blasphemes the Holy Ghost will never be forgiven. (Matthew 12:31-32) Do you see it there? (IF WE SIN WILFULLY) there is no middle ground. Either we believe the word of God, or we do not. A believer may slip up and do wrong, but he is not so foolish as to believe that he can continue in the wrong, without somewhere along the way, the chastening hand of God reaching him. This man that had been put out of the church in Corinth, no doubt, found life more miserable than he ever imagined it could be. That is what broken fellowship with God does to a believer. They do not find peace of mind until that fellowship is restored. Then, in order to be right with God, many times it requires some back tracking and straightening up. If a brother or sister has been wronged, then there is some personal apologies necessary. In every case, there must be genuine repentance. In the case of this man, after he had repented, where could he go? He sure couldn’t go running to a different denomination. Only a make-believer will do that. The church world is full of people who move from one church to another, always looking for a church that will allow them to live, and dress just any old way their carnal nature desires to, but the true child of God is not like that. When they get off course and then come to themselves, (as the prodigal son) they, (like he) realize that there is only one place to get back on the right course again. That is the place where they got off. According to Paul’s second letter, after this man repented he had difficulty in getting the fellowship to receive him back. They, no doubt, took the same attitude that the oldest son who stayed at home with Father had taken. They were reluctant to trust him again. This caused the apostle Paul to write, in II Corinthians 2:6-9, (6) “Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. (7) So that contrariwise, ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. (8)Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. (9) For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.” Does this help you to better understand Hebrews 10:26? We are using these examples from the word of God, to try and help you to rightly divide the word of truth. We find in II Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Therefore, we understand that one scripture cannot cancel out another scripture. They must harmonize. Look at I John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” We are all born in sin. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We have an inherited nature to sin, which was passed down to us from the first Adam. The works of the flesh proceed forth from that sinful nature, and the root of that sinful nature is unbelief. But, thanks be unto God, He has allowed us to be partakers of the benefits of the work at Calvary. The apostle Paul wrote in the Roman letter, chapter 5, verse 19, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” That righteousness is imputed to us when we believe. It is the gift of God, according to Ephesians 2:8-9. One thing is sure, if you really become a believer, your nature will change. You will begin to desire the things that you know would please your heavenly Father. The life of a true child of God is not spent looking back desiring the things of the world.


The apostle John wrote, in I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When we repent, and are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, (that is, the things we have done in the flesh) then He will forgive us and fill us with the Holy Ghost. But now, look at verse 10, this is that modern church going self righteousness attitude. “If we say that we have not sinned, (you know how it is with some people that you have talked to, they will say, I have never done anything wrong, why do I need to be saved? You can be a church membership with an attitude like that, but you can not get true salvation for the word of God, says) we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”


OUR ADVOCATE


When we come to the 2nd chapter of I John, we find John taking on another thought. Notice how he writes. He becomes very intimate. After stating what we had been in the past, (a sinner by natural birth) he brings it up to the present tense. Verse 1, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not, (Yes, this is in harmony with the gospel message of the Bible. Look at II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” He has a new desire, and a new outlook. The deeds of the flesh have been mortified. He has put off the old man, and put on the new. All of the scriptures pertaining to such, show us, that if a person be truly in Christ, then he definitely is a new creature. He is on a new foundation, starting all over again.) Now to continue reading verse 1, and if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. This word SIN does not mean inherited nature, or anything pertaining to unbelief. How could you be a child of God, and have unbelief ruling and guiding your Life? This definitely is referring to some mortal weakness, in the child of God. John is leaving no stone unturned. He is making sure that we understand that a person who is born of the spirit cannot have UNBELIEF, (which is the SIN of Hebrews 10:26) and should not practice sins of the flesh, (which is referred to in I John 1:9) but, if through our weakness we do something wrong, we have an advocate with the Father, (which is Jesus Christ, who took the penalty of our sin upon himself). In other words, we have an attorney who stands up for us, to plead our case before God the Father. That doesn’t mean that we are not guilty. He simply says, “Father, this is a child of God, who has done this thing in a time of weakness, my shed blood has atoned for him already.” Please do not misunderstand, this is not a license to sin, as some make-believers take it to be. This is the long-suffering grace of a merciful God. If you are one who premeditates to commit sin, then you had better reexamine your experience with God. John nailed it all down with these early verses, then he clinched the nail with what he had to say in chapter 3, verse 9, which we quoted in the beginning of this message, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” Now this verse would have to be pertaining to UNBELIEF, or John would have cancelled out what he had spoken already. We see here that the child of God does not practice SIN wilfully. It is with this thought in mind that he spoke the words recorded in the previous verse. “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil winneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” John was not all mixed up, and confused as some natural minded people become when they read these scriptures. He had a perfect revelation of these things, and he wrote them down in such a way that the child of God, (who is led by the spirit) can know them. This is in line with what Paul wrote to the Corinthians, 2:14, “But the natural man (or mind) receiveth of these things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” You can see from this verse here, that the true understanding of the word of God, must be by spiritual revelation. It cannot be learned in the Seminaries. Wouldn’t you hate to sit under the teaching of someone like John, if you had no revelatory capacity within? It would be mind splitting to have a teacher that would stand up on Monday and say, “Now you are children of God, and it is not your nature to sin, but remember, if you do sin, you have an attorney who will plead your case before the Judge.” Then on Tuesday, you come to class, after having an argument with your wife the night before (maybe you even smoked a cigarette in your time of discouragement) and the first thing you hear from the teacher is, “Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin.” Can you see what would go through your mind if you did not know the difference between SIN, as used in I John 3:9, and SIN, as it is used in I John 2:1. That is the reason you have so many modern church people always talking about how the Bible contradicts itself. Without the Holy Ghost to guide them into all truth, (St. John 16:13) they will never be able to understand the Bible. A genuine believer knows that the Bible does not doctrinally contradict itself. The word of truth must be rightly divided. The Bible is really a book for christians, it was never meant to be understood by the man of the world. You don’t hear true believers arguing about predestination and eternal security, etc. They are Bible facts.


ETERNAL SECURITY


The man that Paul wrote about in I Corinthians 5:1-5 was a beneficiary of eternal security. How else could you reconcile such language as “turn him over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus?” Eternal security has been taught by various denominational groups from the standpoint of shaking hands with the preacher, and having their names written on the church record, but it will not work there. Too many of those who come to the altar and shed a few tears, then sign the membership card that is handed to them, are found to fall in the category of the seed sown, either in stony places, or among thorns. According to the parable that Jesus gave about the sower, (Matthew 13:18-23) there is only one group out of the four mentioned that have eternal security. That is the ones who hear the word and understand it, then bring forth fruit, some an hundred fold, some sixty, and some thirty. This is the ones who cannot wilfully disbelieve the word of God. You will find a lot of people out here in this world of religion that will say, “I don’t believe in the baptism of the Holy Ghost, or I don’t believe in divine healing.” Some will even say, “there hasn’t been anything like that since the apostles died.” You who would say such things had better be careful. You are dealing with the sin of unbelief, and God will not tolerate that. He can deal with his children who get out of line in one way or another through some fleshly weakness, but those who speak against truth are in real trouble. Sooner or later that rebellious attitude of willful unbelief will take them past the point of no return with God. A person with an attitude that is always finding fault with the word of God, and by that attitude, always shortening the arm of God, will eventually turn completely away from God. That person will be in much worse shape than the man of I Corinthians 5.


TRUTH MAKES THE DIFFERENCE


We are looking at these various scriptures in order to get a full scope of God’s dealing with mankind. There are those who will frown upon this message simply because it does not line up with their self righteous way of seeing things. They are trying to gain favor with God by their clean life, and their strict moral code. This world has been sowed with two different kinds of seed according to the parable of Jesus which is found in Matthew 13:24-30. If we could look at this parable for a few minutes, it will help us to better understand some of the things that we see and hear among professing christians. I am sure that most of us know people who live just as clean and upright as any christian, but many times those same people will blaspheme the very truth that you and I live by. Why is this? You will see it as we examine this parable. (24) “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto man which sowed good seed in thy field. (25) But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. (26) But when the blade was sprung up and BROUGHT FORTH FRUIT, then appeared the tares also. (27) So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath these tares? (28) He said unto them, an enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? (29) But he said Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up the wheat also with them. (30) 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.” In this parable there are two or three things that I would like to call your attention to. First, notice that the field was sown twice. The first time good seed were sown. The second time, tares, or we could say bad seed were sown. Another thing that I would like for you to see is found in verse 26, the tares were not recognized as tares until they brought forth fruit. In other words, while the stalk and blade were growing up together they looked just alike. Then we find some overzealous servants that would have gone right then to pull up the tares, but the householder said no, let them grow together until harvest time, in order not to disturb the good crop. Now the parable in itself does not clear up all of the questions that a person might have, but the explanation of the parable, which is found to begin in verse 37, makes the application fit religion in our day. When the disciples asked Jesus to explain the parable, he said, “He that sowed the good seed is the SON OF MAN; the field is the world; the GOOD SEED are the CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM; but the tares are the CHILDREN OF THE WICKED ONE; the ENEMY that sowed them is the DEVIL; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.” The test that really separates the believers from the make believers is the meat from the word of God Regardless of what some may want to believe, Jesus said that there are children of the wicked one out here in this world, who are growing up right along side of the children of God. Also, we notice from his teaching that they can only be identified by their fruit. Now we realize that these are some tares that are easily recognized immediately, but Jesus was using for illustration a particular kind of poisonous grass that is almost undistinguishable from wheat while the two are growing into blades. We find the same thing in the realm of religion. You have on one hand the true child of God who believes the word, yet many times in his mortal weakness, he does things that are not right. On the other hand you have the make believer, who believes that by his good works he is made acceptable to God. A person like this will live a clean life, much like the Scribes and Pharisees. You could not lay a finger on their lives, but watch the fruit that comes forth when they are faced with baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ, or baptism of the Holy Ghost, or the fact that the Godhead is in Jesus, (Colossians 2:9). That is when the fruit of their lips will blaspheme God, while the true child of God, even though he may not understand everything the first time he hears it, he still says within his heart, that is the word of God. Jesus said, by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:20) Nevertheless, according to the parable, they are to be left alone until the end of the age, when the angels of God will bundle them up to be burned. In the meanwhile, you will have some saying, Amen, when the word of God is preached, while the others will be heard saying, “I don’t believe that, or that isn’t for our day, or I believe my way is just as good as your way, after all, you know we are all striving for the same thing.” That may sound fine to carnal minded people, but it doesn’t line up with the word of God.


TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS, HOW DO WE GET IT?


A man who puts his trust in his own righteousness will miss the mark every time. Did not Isaiah write, 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Then Jesus, while teaching His disciples, over 700 years after Isaiah spoke this was moved to tell them that except their righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, they would in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Now you and I know, the Scribes and Pharisees kept the law to the strictest letter. Should not that have been good enough to satisfy God? That is what Cain thought when he brought his beautiful offering to God that day, but did God receive it? You know he didn’t, God looks at the attitude and motive of every person who does anything that is meant to be a service to Him. Look what Micah wrote, (chapter 6:6-8) (6) “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? (7) Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? (8) He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and WHAT DOTH THE LORD REQUIRE OF THEE, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” We don’t have anything that we can offer to God for our transgressions. We came into this world naked and without anything to call our own. All that we have, came from God. Did not he speak, in the beginning when there was nothing but darkness and void, and bring into being everything that we see around us. God has need of nothing in a tangible way. His heart longs for a people that will have true fellowship with Him.


Let us pick up some of the apostle Paul’s remarks to the Romans concerning righteousness. We will begin reading in chapter 3, verse 10. “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no not one.” This is an accurate description of man in his natural makeup. In Ephesians 2:12, we find the apostle saying, “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” We read this verse to fix in your minds the hopeless state that the Gentiles were in before Calvary. The Jews had the covenants of promise, but could not consistently walk with God to receive the benefits. Even at their best, they could only push their sin debt forward until the perfect sacrifice was made.


Now, back to Romans 3; drop down to verse 20, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (21) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (22) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference. (23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteous for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Now we will read four verses in chapter 4, (3) “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (6) Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works. (7) Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. (8) BLESSED IS THE MAN TO WHOM THE LORD WILL IMPUTE SIN.” Did you catch that last verse? David, a man after God’s own heart, spoke those words in Psalms 32:1-2, then the apostle Paul picked them up in his Epistle to the Romans. Let me remind you once again, the word SIN, as used in this verse is not the same thing as SIN in our text. In order to show the difference between the sin of unbelief and the sins of the flesh, the Greek language used two different words. If you have a concordance that shows the Greek and Hebrew words that the Bible was translated from, you may look it up for yourself. The word SIN as we find it used in our text is taken from a Greek word, HAMARTANO, which the word used for SIN as found in Romans 4:8, I John 1:7, 8, 9, etc. is HAMARTIA. We do not claim to be Greek scholars, but the Greek language used the different words to express the category of the sin mentioned. When you take that and lay it alongside the statements that the apostle made to the Corinthians, it will help you to see that this word must be rightly divided. Those different servants of God who wrote these scriptures were men just like you and me, very human. They had their individual style of writing, but you can stake your standing with God on what they wrote in dealing with these various situations. You will not find one contradicting another. When you find them dealing with the same situations, you will find them speaking the same thing. It may not be the exact words, but it will carry the same truth.


EXAMPLES OF OVERCOMING


Let us see what James had to say concerning this walk with the Lord. We read in chapter 5, beginning with verse 10, “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.” We are using these scriptures to show that all of mankind, living in mortal flesh, are subjected to the same things in life. Being an apostle or prophet did not exempt them. The word affliction in the verse we just read doesn’t even pertain to physical sickness. It belongs to persecutions, ridiculement, trials, and tests. In other words, everything that the devil decides to throw at you. James is saying, when things get rough for you, stop and consider, for example, the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord. They suffered these same things that you are suffering. Trials, tribulations, persecutions, and various tests go with this christian way of life, but verse 11, “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord: that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” That means compassionate, and considerate. We are going to see that the ones who endure, are the true children of God. You can identify them with the ones who received seed into the good ground in the Parable of Matthew 13. The ones that go back to the world because of persecutions, and tests, identify with the ones who received seed into stony ground, where there was no depth of soil, and not enough water to keep them going. Water in this case, would symbolize the Spirit of God in the believer. There will always be a group that will identify with the ones who received seed into ground where the thorns choked out the life before any fruit ever reached perfection. These are the ones who get so interested in the things of the world that they have no time for God. But we are interested in the group that identifies with the ones who received seed into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. These are the ones who received the true baptism of the HOLY GHOST, with which, we are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30) Now to continue our thought in James 5:12, “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by earth, neither by any other oath, but let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay, lest ye fall into condemnation.” To swear, in this instance, does not mean to take God’s name in vain. Did you ever hear someone make a statement like this, just as sure as you live on God’s green earth, I am going to do such and such? If you have done this, you have sworn. It means that you have made a positive statement that you are going to do a certain thing, when you don’t know if you will be able to do it or not. In the 4th chapter, James says, since we do not know what tomorrow will bring, we ought to say if the Lord be willing, I will do such and such. Verse 13, “Is any among you afflicted?” (meaning, if any of you are going through serious trials, or discouragement. It doesn’t mean a headache, or toothache, or etc. Jesus bore our afflictions, but he never had T.B. Nor heart trouble, false teeth, no glasses, yet He bore our afflictions because He was ridiculed and persecuted). “Is any among you afflicted, let him pray?” That is the best thing to do when you are in a trial, pray. “Is any merry? Let him sing Psalms.” When the trials are past, and we have seen the hand of God move on our behalf, it puts a song in our heart. We ought always to remember what the apostle wrote to the Corinthians. “There hath no temptation (or test) taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer (or allow) you to be tempted above that ye are able: but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” This is a provision in the word of God for believers. It means that regardless of how bad things may look at times, we ought not to despair, for God has made a way for us, that we be not utterly defeated. Now we come to verses 14 and 15, this is a different category completely. “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” Please pay close attention to these two verses. Not only will the prayer of faith save the sick, but if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven. John said, “whosoever is born of God does not commit sin.” And James says if this believer has committed sins they will be forgiven. This is just another illustration of what we are dealing with in this message, SIN and SINS. These men were both inspired by God to write these things, and God is not double tongued. When He makes a promise, we can rely upon it. We have sufficient instructions and provisions in the Bible to keep us straight in ths life, if we would only learn to rely upon them. The integrity of the word of God ought to be a cherished thing with believers, knowing that when all else fails, the word of the Lord still remains steadfast.


In the 16th chapter of St. John, beginning with the 7th verse, we find Jesus saying, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you, but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (8) And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” As I have said before, I will now say again, when Jesus hung on the cross of Calvary, it wasn’t for the many cigarettes that you have smoked, or for all the times that you have gotten drunk and such like. It was because we had been born with a nature to sin and disbelieve God. He hung there to undo the one great sin that stood between God and mankind. As it is written, the penalty for the sin of unbelief is death. That death sentence was passed upon all mankind and we were helpless to do anything about it, but then Jesus came and willingly accepted the penalty for the sin of all people everywhere. The price is paid, and the pardon is granted, but the key that unlocks the door to our death cell is faith in the word of God: God’s word teaches us that if we can believe that the price is paid for us, then we are free from condemnation. That sounds very simple and easy doesn’t it? Well, let me say this to you. If you really do believe this part of the word of God, then you will believe it all, and obey it. The devil has deceived a great multitude of people into believing that all they have to do is believe on Jesus and everything is all right. From there, they continue using their drugs, living together as man and wife outside of lawful matrimony, and continue most of the habits that they were addicted to.


The word of God clearly teaches that those who genuinely believe the gospel will repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and they will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. That brings us back to the scripture we are reading in St. John, the 16th chapter. When He, (the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth) comes He will reprove the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Now we will look at the first of the three mentioned. Verse 9, “Of sin, because they believe not on me.” When kind of SIN is he talking about? It is the SIN of UNBELIEF. Why do people not accept Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour? It is because somehow, they just do not believe that He can be to them what He has promised to be. (UNBELIEF), that is what robs people of the benefits of the work at Calvary. Why are so many church people so rebellious when it comes to walking in truth? It is because they do not see Jesus as being that truth. Verse 10, “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more.” People are trusting in their own righteousness, instead of the righteousness that God has revealed through the character and person of Jesus Christ. You will hear people say, “I wouldn’t do that for anything in the world.” Don’t ever say, dogmatically, that you will not do a certain thing, until you are thoroughly convinced that there is nothing in the word of God that will change your mind. Just as sure as you do, you will meet God one day for saying it.


BORDERLINE BELIEVERS


The Epistle to the Hebrews (from which we took our text for this message) was not written to any particular assembly of christians. It was written to the Hebrew christians which were scattered abroad. Jews, who had believed the Gospel concerning Jesus Christ, who was their long awaited Messiah. The apostle must have been hearing reports of Hebrew christians that were on the verge of taking back up their Judiastic practices. In chapter 3, verse 7 we will begin to read. “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith,) Today if ye will hear his voice, (8) Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: (9) When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. (10) Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. (11) So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest). (12) Take heed, my brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” The word provocation is referring to proving or testing. We read in Numbers, chapters 13 and 14, how, after God had brought the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage by His high hand, showing them miracles in Egypt and along the way, (even the miracle of the Red Sea opening up for them to cross), they still were found to be full of unbelief, constantly complaining, and finding fault with God and Moses. After crossing the Red Sea they went three days journey into the wilderness of Shur; and were unable to find water, then they came to Marah, (this is the place where the water was bitter and they could not drink it) and because of that they began murmuring against Moses, but Moses was a man of faith. He knew where to go for help. Moses cried unto the Lord; and the Lord showed him a tree, which, when he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. Then later when they were without water, God showed them a rock and told Moses to smite the rock, which when he obeyed, water poured forth and they all drank. The test of that murmuring generation came at Kadesh-Barnea, after having done all of these miracles on their behalf, (even to the place of giving them manna and quail supernaturally), God was not in their opinion, big enough to give them victory over the giants in Canaan land. Do you realize that when they stood there at Kadesh-Barnea, with only the Jordan River and the giants standing between them and their promised inheritance, it was unbelief that kept them from receiving the end of the promise. That promised land to them was the same as the Holy Ghost is to us as believers today. You will notice as you read this account that the believers who trusted in God to deliver them were the minority group, even as it is today. There stood ten that said we can’t do it, and only two that believed they could. God’s power is always displayed through the minority. Look at Gideon, with his army of 32,000 men. God said, if I give you the victory over your enemies while you have this great army, you will all begin to think that it was by your own strength. Therefore, God would not let them go into battle until the army had been reduced in number down to 300 men. God then said, now I will give the Midianites into your hands, and you will know that, it was not by the power of a great army. Jesus said, only a few would find the strait and narrow way that leads to life.


FAITH VERSES UNBELIEF


Ten spies who actually had to confess that everything was exactly the way it was said to be, (a land flowing with milk and honey), came back and spread enough unbelief to convince that great multitude of people that it was not possible to overcome the giants. Their unbelief and fear had no affect on the two men of faith, (Joshua and Caleb), for Caleb stood up and said to the people, “Let us go up at once and possess it, for we are well able to overcome it.” You see, faith looks at the promise of God, rather than the circumstances. Caleb and Joshua knew there were giants in the land, and that they would have to fight to take it, but God had said I am with you. That made the difference. Yes, it is true, there is a lot of wrong in the world, and as a Christian you are going to have your ups and downs, but if you are sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise you won’t turn back to the world because you are not on a mountain top every day.


EGYPT – A TYPE OF SIN


When it was said in Hebrews 3:10, “They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.” He was not talking about their fleshly weaknesses. He is talking about their spiritual attitude toward God. Those poor people had lived in the mud pits of Egypt. They had seen their loved ones killed by those Egyptian soldiers. They should have been thankful to God for bringing them out of such a place, yet when it come time for them to live by faith in God, they chose rather to be back in Egyptian bondage as slaves once again. Egyptian bondage to the Israelites, was set forth as a type of the bondage of sin that we were under while in our former state of unbelief. The Bible says, “Whomsoever ye serve, his servants ye are.” When we were in unbelief, we were in bondage to the devil, for we were serving him. The children of Israel (when they followed Moses out of Egypt) set a type of justification and sanctification as the waters of the Red Sea closed back up and separated them from Egypt. But it takes justification, sanctification, and baptism of the Holy Ghost to get a person past the point of turning back. As I said before, the baptism of the Holy Ghost is your seal. When the seal is applied, there is no turning back. God will let the devil kill you if necessary, as we saw demonstrated in I Corinthians 5, but there is no turning back.


PROMISE OF THE FATHER


The Holy Ghost Baptism, being typed by Canaan land, should let us see that we must believe God all the way. They had been delivered from bondage, and set apart, but they turned back in their hearts before attaining the promise. So is it with many in our day; they will believe and actually separate themselves from the ways of the world, but they come short of receiving the promise of the Father, (Acts 1:4), because of fear of what others may think or do, until unbelief takes hold of them again and leads them away from God back to the world. That is why we must seek after God with our whole heart. There is no place for the child of God to become selfish or careless. The devil will take full advantage of every place that we let down in steadfastness. The children of Israel, (while they were down in Egypt), kept crying out to God for deliverance. Then, after four hundred years of bondage, their time of deliverance finally arrived. They obeyed the word of the Lord in applying the blood on the door posts, and over the door, and at the appointed time started their journey to the Promised Land. In process of time, they came to the Red Sea, (with the Egyptians in hot pursuit), and found that they had nothing to cross over with. Then God said to Moses, lift up your rod. When Moses followed the Lord’s instruction, they witnessed an amazing thing; that body of water started to split in front of them, and by morning there was a dry path all the way across; the waters standing up as a wall on each side of them as they crossed over.


Later, in their song of thanksgiving and praise to God, the people were singing these words, “And with the blast of thy nostrils, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed, (in other words frozen), in the heart of the sea.” After witnessing the miracle of the divided waters, they were permitted to look back from the other side, at the pursuing army of Egyptians, as God closed the waters and drowned them in the midst of the sea. That is when they began to shout and dance. They had witnessed the hand of God, performing this great miracle on their behalf, yet when they came to Kadesh-Barnea, and were actually standing at the threshold of receiving the full reward, they began to disbelieve God. Are you able to see from these examples what unbelief will do for a person? It will cause them to go right back and do the same things as the man of the world.


SEEING IS NOT BELIEVING


The apostle Paul had some things to say about his forefathers who fell in the wilderness because of unbelief. We read it from I Corinthians, the 10th chapter, (1) “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; (2) And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; (3) And did all eat the same spiritual meat; (4) And did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of the spiritual Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ. (5) But with many of them God was not well pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness. (6) Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. (7) Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written. The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. (8) Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. (9) Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. (10) Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. (11) Now all these things happened unto them for ensembles: (or types) AND THEY ARE WRITTEN FOR OUR ADMONITION, upon whom the ends of the world are come, (12) WHEREFORE, LET HIM THAT THINKETH HE STANDETH TAKE HEED LEST HE FALL.”


We should always remember that we do not stand by our strength and power, we are standing upon our faith in God, and it is by His grace, therefore we have no room to become puffed up. We must press the battle, and receive the promise of the Father. For when Jesus said, “and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world,” that promise lays within the realm of the Holy Ghost. That is when God is with you, when He is inside you. That is when He will be your Comforter, and your teacher and guide; when He is doing it from within you.


WHO ARE GOD’S INSPECTORS


God said, “So I sware in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest.” Why? Because of unbelief. His rest, (as referred to here), was Canaan land, your rest is the Holy Ghost. These examples that we have used, should help you to see, that many times, people will experience sensations that will cause them to act just like a person who has the Holy Ghost, but when the effects of the sensations wear off, they usually will return to the hog pen. This is right in line with the scripture. Jesus said, the rain falls upon the just and the unjust, also, the rain and sunshine fall upon the tares just the same as it does the wheat. We see also, back in Hebrews 6:7-8, “For the earth which dranketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs, meet for them by whom it is dressed receiveth blessing from God: (8) But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is high unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.” You see, it is the fruit that tells the story in the end. A person who will reject part of the word of God is not bearing the right kind of fruit. The world is full of natural minded (FRUIT INSPECTORS). They will pass judgment on some person with a weakness in his fleshly make up, and pass right over the self-righteous person who puts up a good front, even though he rejects much of the word of God. One thing is sure, when Jesus said, “by their fruits, ye shall know them,” He was not giving the inspector jobs to just anyone who might come along. The job of inspecting the fruit of the spirit requires much Holy Ghost teaching. One has to know what to look for. For example, a person is not always a murderer just because they kill someone, neither is a person a drunkard just because they might be found drunk. There will be circumstances that must be allowed for. I fully expect this kind of teaching to cross over the pious ideas of a lot of church going people, but whatever the word of God makes room for, we must leave room for it. After all, a man is judged by God, according to what is in his spirit. Our first duty is to examine ourselves to see if we be in the faith. Anyone who is right in his own spirit will not be looking for some way that he can sin without being caught. His greatest desire will be to try and please his Father, (God), and he will leave the job of fruit inspecting to God’s ministry, as in Acts 5, where it might have looked to the average person that Annanias and Sapphira were being genuine christians when they came in that day and gave that large sum of money, but there was an inspection made and they were struck down by God. It is a dangerous thing to try deception with the Holy Ghost. Peter looked him in the eye and said, Annanias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost? When Peter finished speaking, Annanias dropped dead. (IF WE SIN WILLFULLY, THERE REMAINETH NO MORE SACRIFICE FOR SINS). Did you notice what was left out of the scripture passage just quoted? The part that was left out is the deciding factor of it. Notice, (AFTER THAT WE HAVE RECEIVED THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH).


BACKSLIDING


We are living in a day and hour when many people backslide, but I say unto you, a Bible backslider is not lost. You may say, how can this be? What makes the difference? There, again, we must find out what the scripture has to say on the subject. Israel set the type. God dealt with them in the natural realm, to set a type of how he would later deal with a people in the realm of the spirit. Israel backslid over and over again, but did God cut her off completely? You know He didn’t. Let us look now at a few scriptures that will shed light upon ths subject. Did not God say concerning Israel, that he was married to a backsliding heifer, or that he was married to her, and she was like a backsliding heifer. In Jeremiah 3:14, we read, “Turn O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you.” 3:20, “Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith he Lord.” (22) “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” To return is to repent. True repentance is to be genuinely sorry for what you have done, and turn from it. In Hosea 14:1, we read, “O Israel, turn unto the Lord, thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. (2) Take with you words, and turn to the Lord; say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously; so will we render the calves of our lips.” Verse 4, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him.”


In concluding this message, I would like for us to finish reading chapter 3 of Hebrews. Verse 12, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an EVIL HEART OF UNBELIEF, in departing from the living God. (13) But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (14) For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; (15) While it is said, today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. (16) For some, when they had heard, did provoke; howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. (17)