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.
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.
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.
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.
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.