[Revised June 2000]
This message is published to help clear the air of misconceptions which prevails among the people in the Message of the Hour. Some of them, lacking the true revelation and understanding of the teachings of the Prophet-Messenger, William Branham, have brought much reproach on the Message and the Messenger by their misinterpretation of his statements. What is more, it concerns the Truth of God! One certainly needs divine revelation to know the Truth of God. There is a vast difference between revelation and interpretation. The former brings life, while the latter brings death. True revelation is not and cannot be isolated from the rest of God's Word. It must tie in consistently with the Whole Scriptures. There are three things that a believer must not do. He must not misinterpret the Word; he must not misplace the Scriptures; and he must not dislocate the Word. If one of these three rules is broken, the true and complete picture of what God intends to convey will become distorted; and a haze of confusions will develop.
THE PROPHET'S MESSAGE
There is no doubt that Bro. William M. Branham had preached all his messages correctly. But many of his followers would lift the prophet so high up that they would take every word that he uttered as literally God's spoken word, even taking all his sermons to be the Third Testament. [See Appendix 1.] To such followers the denominational Christians have given the name Branhamites because these followers have formed a cultic movement called Branhamism.
If you are one among such followers, you are no different from those who pledge allegiance to the Great Harlot (the Roman Catholic Church) and her head, the Pope! As such, I exhort you to flee from such fallacy! Come back to the Word! It's the Final Authority! It's The Absolute! “Back to the Word! Back to the Original! Back to the Doctrine of the Apostles!” screamed the prophet of God.
Are you really hearkening to that voice, my brother, my sister? We are living in a time which calls for a renewed attitude in searching the Scriptures to be sure of what we believe and what to expect.
The Bible is the only Anchor of our faith. It's a Sure Foundation, one that's unmovable. Our every belief stands or falls under the scrutiny of the Word of Life. God cannot break His Word, no, not even one jot or tittle, for the Word and God are One. And Jesus Christ is the Word of God made manifest.
THE PRESENT TRUTH
Are you “established in the present truth” (2 Pet.1:12)? Or, are you, like the religious Jews who defied the Lord (cf. John 8), boasting: “We have Bro. Branham as our prophet!”? If so, the Lord Jesus will certainly give you the same reply He gave the Jews: “If you are Branham's followers, you will do the works of Branham”. Timothy was a follower of Paul and he did the works of Paul as the epistles of Paul have borne out the facts. See 1 Corinthians 4:14-17.
Like Saint Paul, Bro. Branham never pointed men to himself but, as a true servant of God, he was always pointing men to Christ, the Word. Timothy and other followers of Paul recognized the authority that God had invested in Paul as a Messenger to their age. Thus, they conscientiously did the works that Paul commanded them to perform knowing that the Lord had revealed the Truth to him (Gal.1:12; Eph.3:3). So, what do the followers of Bro. Branham need to do if they truly believe him to be the 7th Angel (Messenger) to this age of Laodicea (Rev.3:14-22)? Surely, we must look to the only infallible source, the Sacred Scriptures, for the right answer.
The “Present Truth” is present today under the leadership of “Joshua” — the Holy Spirit of Christ in the Five-fold Ministry. According to Paul the gifts of the Five-fold Ministry are “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive: but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplied, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Eph.4:11-16).
The ministry of William Branham is likened unto that of Prophet Moses. Bro. Branham was sent with a Message from the Lord to deliver the chosen spiritual children of Abraham (true believers of the Word) out of denominational bondage. But if you will notice, a mixed multitude of people followed Moses out of Egypt (Ex.12:38). Likewise, it was also a mixed multitude that responded to Bro. Branham's call to get out of the denominational system.
The unbelievers and the make-believers who got out of Egypt did not make it to the Promised Land (Heb.3:7-19). Similarly, the unbelievers and make-believers in the Message group will not be able to make it to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The shucks and the unpollinated seeds cannot be heirs with the True Seeds. Only the True Seeds will be able to receive the Water (Word of God), Air (Spirit of God) and Sunlight (Son of God) to germinate and bring forth LIFE, the same LIFE that first went down into the earth (Jhn.12:24).
A True Seed will not only receive the Prophetic Ministry of Bro. Branham but he will also receive the Five-fold Ministry under “Joshua” (Jesus) that he might be established in the Present Truth. According to Paul the Five-fold Ministry is given “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph.4:12-13). Those who reject this latter Ministry can never be perfected in any way. Being deceived, they will never become mature and will be tossed back and forth like little children. They will never understand the Truth of God until they come back to the Apostolic Pattern of the Word.
LONERS VERSUS LOCAL CHURCH
I have personally witnessed, both locally and overseas, that many followers of the Endtime Message have rejected Ephesians 4:11-16. Although they profess that they believe in the teachings of the prophet and the Five-fold Ministry, their actions (fruits) prove otherwise. Many are even living a “loner's life”. They will meet for fellowship only as and when they feel like it, usually with “birds of the same feather” (certainly not Eagles!). Some even pride themselves on their personal knowledge of their positions in Christ – knowledge they have gained from reading books which usually overemphasized the point – that they would go contrary to their own positions in the Church! They couldn't recognize their position in a Local Church whatsoever. And to them Hebrews 10:25 is a “take it or leave it” event in their life.
One reason such people want to be Loners is that they feel free, not from sins but, from obligation to the order set in the Church according to the Scriptures. [See Appendix 2.]
“They despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities” (Jude 8). They do not want a Pastor over them. To them a Pastor is an Overlord and not an Overseer. The prophet taught that we needed one to whom we could submit ourselves, and he to us. Read 1 Peter 5:1-5; Hebrews 13:7,17; Jeremiah 3:15. It is God's ordained way. Christ Jesus is our Chief Shepherd. (Shepherd is an English word for poimen in Greek. Pastor is a Latin word.) “And He gave some…shepherds” (Eph.4:11) to the many Local Churches around the world. (A Local Church is a Local Assembly in a specific locality. [Read Acts 9:31; 15:41.] Some people in the Message group are erroneously teaching that the term “Local Church” encompasses every assembly within a nation or country.) A shepherd is one who tends his own sheep and not someone else's, unless he is a hireling shepherd. As there are clusters of stars within a STAR, so are there many Local Churches that form the ONE TRUE CHURCH OF CHRIST.
PASTOR – ELDERS
A Local Church is sovereign in itself and the Pastor is the Authority of that Church. He is to guide and feed the Flock with the Word of God. And the Word of God is the Voice of God. If a God-ordained Pastor is not available in a Local Assembly then Elder(s) should be ordained by the Ministry to oversee (pastor, shepherd) the Local Assembly (Acts 14:23; Tit.1:5). An Elder is not a Pastor though he might temporarily do the work of a pastor. A Pastor is one of the gifts of the God-ordained Five-fold Ministry listed in Ephesians 4:11, and he has to be acknowledged as such. An Elder (Grk: Presbuteros) is man-ordained to hold the office of a Bishop (Grk: Episkopos) and not that of a Pastor. The Ministry of the Church Elders is in fact carried over from the Old Testament type of Elders of the people of Israel. (There is a teaching going around that is deceiving the people into believing that the offices of the Pastor and Elder are the same. An ordained Pastor is usually an Elder (in spirituality as well as in age) but an Elder is not necessarily a Pastor. Note the qualifications laid down in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 for the office of a Bishop (Elder). No qualifications are mentioned for the office of a Pastor. God ordains the Pastor and God will see that he meets the qualifications He has laid down before the foundation of the world.)
The office of a Pastor had oftentimes been abused. Bible believers would feel nauseated and grieved by Pastors who ruled as “lords over God's heritage”. They would feel that they were in bondage and began to leave the Church to meet as separate groups in their own ways. In so doing, they felt that they could be free to seek and serve the Lord. But without the true leadership of a man of God, the progress and ministry of the Church would come to a halt and the Spirit of God quenched. Freedom is useless if it is not Word-based. (This reminds me of Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”) However, if the ministers and the congregation would submit themselves to one another, and respect one another, the works of God would go forward in big strides. Let us be humble and ask God to give us a sense of balance. When we think that we don't need the balance, it is then that we need it the most.
For those who desire a loner's life or who reject having a Pastor or Elder over them, I wonder how they reconcile their desires with the teachings of Peter, Paul and Bro. Branham. Peter said: “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Pet.5:5). Paul said: “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (Heb.13:17). And finally Bro. Branham said: “Every man ought to have a Church Home. Don't just float around from pillar to post, but have somewhere that you go to Church, and you call it your Church. You should have somewhere to pay your tithes and help support the cause” (Sermon: The Spirit Speaks Through The Prophet), “Your Pastor, when he stands in the platform, ministering the Word of God, he is God's angel to the Church, messenger to the Church...A Pastor is a Shepherd, and the Holy Ghost has made him overseer over a certain flock to feed them. What with? The Word of God” (Sermon: Revelation, Book of Symbols).
“He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear.” Have you an ear? And have you heard?
The above subject is by no means finished. Wherever “loner” preachers are allowed to preach, they usually leave a trail of confusion behind them. (I wonder where they got their authority to preach since they disbelieve what the Scriptures say about the order in the Church.) These loners are a bunch of confused people (Ichabod!) for they glory not in the Word but only in themselves. Jude called them “wandering stars” (Jude 13). The 7th Church Age Messenger said: “Oh I know that many'll rise up and go out saying, 'Oh I don't need to go to Church anymore. Praise God! The Holy Ghost is come, He's the Teacher.' When you get that idea, you are just wrong...For why did the Holy Ghost set Teachers in the Church if He is going to be the Teacher? There're Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Evangelists and Pastors. The Holy Ghost sets Teachers in the Church so He could teach through that Teacher, and if it isn't according to the Word, if God doesn't confirm it, then it isn't the right kind of Teacher. It must compare with the entire Bible and be just alive today as it was then. There's the real thing made manifest” (Sermon: Hebrews Chapter 5 & 6), “Nobody wants to go to Church. It's because the caterpillars are eating them” (Sermon: The Supernatural Gospel).
They are their own teachers and pastors, and they claim they are able to receive revelations from the Lord Jesus. And if you were to examine some of the revelations that they claimed they had “received from the Lord”, it would make you vomit. “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame” said Jude (v.13). It is not necessary for me to bring them up. Suffice to say, those truly born of the Holy Spirit will surely recognize them when such “revelations” comes their way because they are totally unscriptural. Some of those so-called “revelations” are discussed in this book.
FALLING AWAY FROM THE FAITH
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils...” (1 Tim.4:1). “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:...ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was” (2 Tim.3:2-5,7-9).
In the above passages, Paul is not talking about Christians falling away from their Protestant faith but the Original Faith that was once delivered to the saints and now restored to us. The Holy Spirit clearly says “in the latter times”, “in the last days”. And this is the latter times! This is the last days! And we are seeing a falling away from the RESTORED FAITH OF THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS among the people in the Message. Many are giving heed to seducing, enticing spirits. [This reminds me of a Nigerian man, who called himself a minister of the Gospel and a (tribal-)king of his people, who loves to tickle the itchy ears of many American and Canadian churches with his charismatic charm. He would tell tall "Gospel" tales to make his audiences feel good. He knows that his American and Canadian listeners are easily deceived because most of them love signs and wonders, and dreams and visions. I know this Nigerian to be a liar and a fornicator. Please heed the words of the Apostle Paul, “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you””(1 Thes.5:12).] I have personally witnessed those that are boastful and proud of what they are in themselves but not in Christ. Such people are also high-minded, fierce and lack of self-control. Traitors, without doubt, exist in the midst of any Bible believing group just as there was one among the twelve disciples of Christ. But what I have noticed most in the Churches is false accusations raging between saints, not only in a Local Assembly but also between and among Assemblies. I know of ministers who would take the pulpit and lash out at ministers of other Assemblies. Then there are those who would write and print circulars against their brethren and circulating them worldwide. Many of the accusations have no basis at all. Facts are either irrelevant or grossly distorted (gathered mainly from hearsays or rumours) and worst of all, pure fabrications to mar the name and ministry of other brethren. By accusing others falsely, they are not contending for the Faith. Yet they feel justified, claiming that they are merely calling names as Paul did in 2 Timothy 4. But the facts do not support their claim.
Beloved, leave them alone. Let us not be weary in well doing. Some of such followers of Bro. Branham are proud and, in the end, they not only hurt themselves but many others. Paul portrays them as “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” They are “men of corrupt minds, reprobates concerning the faith”, that is the reason why they “resist the truth”. Do not forget that “their folly shall be manifest unto all men” one of these days.
[Note: Five years after my book, “DISCREPANCIES”, was first published, a well-known American minister, whom I had associated with and had helped to broaden his ministry by sending out his regular publication, lashed out at me in his publication and certain of his sermons on magnetic tapes. He accused me of misconduct during convention time and that I was there to “feel out certain individuals” among his people to listen to my revelations. His accusation had no basis in fact. It was not only a distortion of reality but irrelevant to what he was trying to show his readers regarding my teachings. Through his false accusation he managed to mar my name and ministry. (If a believer had not sent me a photocopy of his publication, I would not have known of his accusation as he had withheld sending me a regular copy of that particular paper. Why? Was he afraid? Did he have something to hide?) When I took the stand to clarify where he was wrong, he refused to set right the wrong. Even his followers in other nations accused me of wrongdoing. I left the case as it was and did not pursue the matter leaving it to the Spirit to heal the hurts. It took many more years before some of those followers came to the realization of their blindness to the false accusation.]
Now, we shall look at some of the “falling away”.
PULLING AWAY FROM THE LOCAL ASSEMBLY
Yes, this is a very common happening among the 'Bride Group' Assemblies in the past decade. People have been pulling away and isolating themselves. In a study of it, I found these reasons: 1) Associate Minister cannot see eye to eye with the Pastor regarding the way the Pastor runs the Church because he feels he is more able than the Pastor; 2) Evangelist or Teacher trying to take the place of the Pastor without a Pastoral Calling thus creating confusion; 3) Someone feels that he has a calling and/or certain revelations and begins to make disciples to himself; 4) Those who feel coming under a Pastor is unscriptural (the loners in this case); 5) Those who hate correction by the Word; and 6) Those who feel they are more mature than the rest. (A person of mature years with a good knowledge of Scriptures may not necessarily be spiritually mature.)
If one is truly born again of the Spirit, he would be humble and be willing to learn. With the Spirit of Christ within him, he would be willing to be corrected by the Word. He won't fight back, he'll accept every Word of God. But if you will notice, there are more preachers among the followers of the Endtime Message than there are members in the Body. And it is this feeling that they know more about the Word of God than the average denominational Christian or minister which causes them to be heady, high-minded and proud. By resisting the Truth, they are really reprobates concerning the Faith.
Let us see what Bro. Branham had taught in some of his sermons.
“They are making a little tradition of their own. Then, whether or not God has constructed it, they'll go out and the first thing you'll know, they have got a little group following them away from the main body of the Church. That's right. Instead of staying and praying and resolving the thing, allowing the body to move on, they do those things whether it be constructive or not” (Sermon: The End Time Messenger).
“When you see someone who says they have received the Holy Ghost and begins to separate themselves seemingly not having the faith, and going about trying to be something that they're not, just remember: they haven't received the Lord Jesus” (Sermon: The Rejected King).
“When you see someone going contrary, don't curse them, just leave them alone. Somebody has to do it” (Sermon: The Spirit Speaks Through The Prophet).
“Many times a little Church can have a revival going on; someone will want to go out and lead a prayer meeting. And then, he's got a different idea from what the Bible really says but he believes it 'this-a-way' anyhow; and he'll start an influence and draw others away from it” (Sermon: The Influence of Another).
“You can correct people about something or tell them about their wrong-doing, they'll leave the Church” (Sermon: The Influence of Another).
“Have you noticed this last days how it's begin to pull away now? When that wheat begins to grow, then the shuck begins to get away from it” (Sermon: The Rapture).
Saints, can you see what time of the hour we are living in?
MIXING WITH DENOMINATIONALISM
Question: What business has a child of God to do with denominationalism?
Answer: None, unless you are delivering the Goods (The Word)! Yet, there are those who would go and identify with denominationalism on a Sunday morning fellowship in a denominational church rather than in a Local Bride Assembly. They say, “I know my position in Christ, I have no worry.” It is very well to say that you know your position in Christ; but do you know your position in the Bride-Body of Christ? Knowing the revelation and having the revelation of what you claim you know are two different things altogether. Why fornicate with a harlot? Why court death with her? “Now, stay away from those denominations, they're leading you to death” said Brother Branham (Sermon: Trying to Do God A Service).
“Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues!” wrote the Apostle John. (Read Rev.18:4.)
It is not true that Endtime Message believers cannot worship and fellowship together with other Christian people. Bro. Branham did and so do I. When there is no local Bride assembly, then go to an organized church near you and worship the Lord God. But stay away from their religious traditions and dogmas that you know you should not partake. That's what bring death – religiously fornicating with the Word. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).
Have you heard? Have you obeyed? Are you taking heed to the warning? It's later than you think!
RESPECT FOR GOD'S SERVANTS
“God demands respect for His servants. How do we know that they're His servants? He vindicates them by His Word and proves them to be His servants by making His Word work through them. Then as you respect those servants, you respect God. So when I respect you and you respect me and we respect each other, then we are respecting God” (Sermon: Respect).
“If you can't respect the man, respect the office that he holds in God. That's exactly right, see? Respect him if a minister comes. Your pastor,…always respect him. I've heard congregations talk about their pastor: how they talk about him, run him down, ridicule him. How's that pastor ever going to do anything for you? He can't do it…. You've got to love your pastors. You've got to know that he's a human being, but yet God has made him a pastor. The Holy Ghost has made him overseer. Then you got to respect him in that manner. And it don't matter what the pastor's done. If you respect him in your heart as God's servant, God will respect you for doing it” (Sermon: Respect).
The Scriptural basis for Bro. Branham's words is found in 1 Peter 5:5: “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” and Hebrews 13:7,17: “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation…Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
Flagrant disrespect for God's servants of other races is often shown by the well-off Caucasian ministers. Leading the way are the Americans and the Canadians. Many of these Caucasian ministers have a craving for recognition of their 'important' ministries by believers all over the world. They refuse to accept the fact that God also ordains men of other races as His servants and gives them gifts for certain special ministries. Like many smart-aleck politicians in the world who think they have all the answers to the world's problems, these self-centred and conceited ministers would often use money to entice and proselytize people to their beliefs. If a child of God has the integrity of character, he will know how to love God and His servants, and his brethren in the faith. Disrespect for God's servants is also a clear sign of the falling away from the faith in these last days.
America, you are fallen! Where is your decency? Where is your abiding sense of integrity and fairness? How do you view the servants of God of the other races and their ministries? Do you view them as equal and truly respect them or do you view them as "juniors" or "inferiors"? Do you have that racist spirit that "white is superior" and that God reserves the "greater" ministries only for the white? O how many assemblies in the Third World Nations have you proselyted and put them in bondage under your thumbs with your "money"? If you truly and sincerely love the people, then show it in the Love of Jesus Christ without any string attached. Show it with a genuine Godly love. (I have seen enough of hypocrisy in that "white is superior" spirit that it wants to make me vomit many times over.)
PUTTING AWAY UNREPENTANT MEMBERS
The Local Assembly, being sovereign in itself, is its own judge. It should judge and purge itself whenever leaven is found within it. In 1 Corinthians 5, while talking about moral standards, Paul calls the Church to purge out leaven lest the whole lump be leavened and warns them “not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one, no, not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person” (vv.11-13). A factious person should also be disciplined: “A man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself” (Tit.3:10-11).
Jesus explains the obligation of brotherhood in Matthew 18:15-18: “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
In his epistle to the Thessalonians concerning those that walked disorderly, Paul, together with Silvanus and Timothy, wrote: “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us...And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother” (2 Thess.3:6,14,15).
Therefore, on the Word given, a Local Assembly has the power to excommunicate anyone who contravenes the Word by persistently living an unbecoming Christian life, by being factious, by being unrepentant of his sins, and by walking disorderly as a shirker. It may appear harsh to put away such member(s) of the Church and/or to withdraw ourselves from those who walk disorderly but it is necessary, according to the Word, in order that the whole Church would not be corrupted. In the first place, such people obviously do not have the Faith of the Lord Jesus, and with them around, the Church would not be able to function properly as they tend to be more a hindrance than a help in the work of the Church. Paul said that we are to walk by the same rule and to mind the same thing (Phil.3:16; 1 Cor.1:10), for how could two walk together unless they agree (Amos 3:3).
Since coming into the Message in 1971 and being in the ministry for nearly three decades, I am sad to say that I have never seen a bunch of people more confused than the bunch in the Message. There has been many in the Message who feel that they are qualified to be a preacher or a teacher just because they know of some Endtime Truth. Why can't they just stay in their positions which God has called them and be humble members of the congregation? No, they just want to be somebody and be recognized as such. Truly, “if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself” (Gal.6:3). Shame! Oh, shame! Better take heed of the words of Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall”, and this warning: he who persistently handles the Fire of God without a commission from the Lord would get burned! Remember, he will be answerable to God for the mess he makes.
The mess in the Message people is spreading around the world. I know a minister (?) who made a prediction that the Rapture would take place in February of 1981 several months before the date. He rejected all admonitions to refrain from such date-setting and proceeded to publicize in the local newspapers (in Hong Kong) his belief and revelation of the return of Christ. I told him that we would live beyond that date. The date came and was gone and the faith of his little congregation was destroyed. There was no restitution on his part after the failure of his prediction. Since then he has been wandering around teaching certain false doctrines. Was he a believer? Remember: a believer stays with the Word and believes the Word.
I have on several occasions come across such devilish claim as “Reverend So-and-so is the Elisha (or Joshua), now that the 7th Prophet-Messenger, Bro. William Branham, is gone”. (If you know Bible numerals, you would know that “7” is the complete perfect number of things and that “8” is the number which signifies resurrection in Christ, a new life in Him. Therefore the 8th Messenger is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ Who will return. This is revealed in Revelation 10:1 — the Mighty Angel.) I know of a number of self-proclaimed messengers through correspondence and I have also had a few face to face confrontations with some of them. One of them from Kenya, Africa, wrote to me claiming that he was the 8th messenger. (One of his Elders wrote to me and tried to convince me that five years after this message was first printed in 1982,) His claim that he was the 8th messenger seems to be centered on the sign(s) of light appearing on his photographs. These are the things that many Endtime Message followers appear to be seeking for as evidence of a man's ministry or calling. There's one in South America who believes that he is the one now fulfilling the “Tent” vision of Bro. Branham. Another one in Arizona, U.S.A., has also made the same claim. Then there was one (now deceased) in South India who had proclaimed himself “Jesus of Nazareth” along with two Caucasians (one in the North American continent and the other in the European continent) as the witnesses of Revelation chapter 11. One of his disciples, who called himself "Bro. Thomas", left him (before he died) to start his own cultic religion, teaching that William Branham is the Lord Branham Christ and that he himself is the actual 7th Church Age messenger. In Uganda, Malawi and Zambia there are men who claim to be the God-anointed men for the hour with the final revelation(s) for the Bride. And, of course, in other parts of the world, such claim as “I am the only Apostle” or “I am God's man for the hour” is not uncommon. It may not be the ministers themselves who make these claims but their followers who try to promote their leaders and make them somebody they are not. Take this advice, brother, sister, don't do that. You could destroy him and his ministry. Just pray for him. Don't promote him or put him on a pedestal.
Whenever a mistake or error is committed in our life, we should always make it right and start afresh. Failure to do so will only compound the error and produce a vicious circle, thus heaping sins on our life. Sin committed against a brother should be made right with that brother and, if necessary, restitution made. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (Jam.5:16 cf. Ex.22:3-12). A True Child of God does not sin against God nor his brethren, nor his neighbours. His paths are ordered of the Lord (Prov.3:5-6; Psm.37:23). But there are people, who confess the Faith, going about making unfounded accusations against me and calling me names such as a rumour-monger, a liar, and one having a “Nicolaitan” spirit, and they are still professing their faith in the Word. They could not back up their accusations with any facts nor could they produce any witness. And one even managed to destroy a church of new converts I founded because he felt that I was a disease to my own converts and that he was the cure. Like a faithful Jesuit priest, he managed to destroyed their faith and scattered them. Was his really doing the Work of God? For the love of Truth, why are God's people (if they are indeed His people) so full of “self”? May God have mercy!
The litmus test of a true believer is the Word Test. Jesus said, “Do you believe it?” He never said, “Do you feel it?” Yet many are going by feeling, by experience, by excitement, by dreams, by impression, by everything else, except the Word. Bro. Branham said, “Where many of our brethren get excited, they get impressed that God says a certain thing, and they say, 'It's Thus Saith The Lord' when it isn't. That's the reason it doesn't happen. But when it's God really telling you, it's got to be that way” (Sermon: He That Is In You).
Exactly right! Oftentimes I have heard believers saying, “God told me”, “God spoke to me”, when it wasn't God. Feeling that it is God speaking is one thing but truly knowing that it is God is another because feeling may lead to presumptuous sin. Flee from it! Flee from presumptuous sin! Read Psalm 19:13 and 2 Peter 2:10. Just love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind (Matt.22:37). Live simply, and confess your faults one to another and love one another, for LOVE is of God.
DOCTRINES AND TEACHINGS
The Word of God will build up the Faith of the saints when It is correctly taught. But confusion reigns when strange terms are used to expound a certain doctrine or teaching. This happens in the “Two Souls” doctrine where the word “nature” is equated with “soul”. The prophet of God defined the SOUL as THE NATURE OF THE SPIRIT. And because St. Paul described the struggles of the two natures within him (Rom.7:13-25), it is then concluded that man has two souls. This is erroneous. The Bible does not support such a teaching. Also, if “soul” is equal to “nature”, then they would have to define “NATURE” as “THE SOUL OF THE SPIRIT”. Isn't that so? But is it correct? It is just like the Trinitarians trying to prove John 1:1 that the word “Word” (Grk: Logos) was Jesus, the Second Person of their Triune Godhead by equating “Jesus” with the “Word”. The fact is that Jesus was never in the beginning with God: the Word was. And it was this Word that was made (manifest in the) flesh (of Jesus). That was why John did not use “Jesus” for “Word” and write: “In the beginning was Jesus and Jesus was with God…”; it would make him a polytheist believing that Jesus was another God when it was just the Almighty God (Spirit) and His Word (Grk: Logos).
A fairly large number of people, including ministers, believe and even practice Polygamy. [See Appendix 3.] Polygamy is prohibited in the New Testament Age. I was questioned on two occasions whether I believed that God would never change His Mind about His Word. Yet another minister put it this way: “If it wasn't a sin then, it isn't a sin now”. What folly to try to prove a point by such deduction!
True, God have never changed His Mind about His Word! He never will! Before the foundation of the world, God had already decreed His Word and It stands sure! Take a look at the Book of Genesis 2:23-24 and carefully and clearly absorb the prophetic statement and command of Adam, a true son of God. He said: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” This is God's Original Decree: One Man, One Wife. And God has never changed it. But mankind, by the Serpent Seed, changed God's Word. Lamech, a great, great, great grandson of Cain, was the first to change God's Decree and took to himself two wives. After the Flood when the two lines of Cain and Seth had been thoroughly mixed, and when God began to deal with their salvation, He permitted polygamy just as He had permitted the eating of certain animals for food which was prohibited before. (Remember, God never change His mind about His original Word.) Now that salvation is provided by the Lord Jesus, the Image of God in man that was marred by sin is restored through Christ in us from glory to glory (2 Cor.3:18; Col.3:10). We have become sons and daughters of God. As such, the children of God are forbidden to practise polygamy, even as it was taught by Christ when He dealt with marriage and divorce problems in His days. He taught that if a man divorced his wife, not on the ground of fornication, and married another, he committed adultery (Matt.19:9). Therefore if a man has more than one wife, it's polygamy, and polygamy is adultery. Then, how could these ministers and Christians claim they believe the Word? If one says he believes and doesn't obey the Word, then he doesn't truly believe. He is just a Make-believer. (On the doctrine of Marriage and Divorce, the denominational Christians have more understanding than the many so-called Endtime Message believers. What a shame!)
Satan will not and does not spare God's Flock. He is always going about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He doesn't always appear as an angel of light, or a wolf in sheep's clothing, in order to deceive. Under the influence of enticing and seducing spirits, a Christian can be deceived by his own thought process (Gal.6:3). The mind is capable of complex reasoning. But without the right attitude in Christ, a Christian would be enmeshed in own reasoning and thus deceive himself. Perhaps it was by this process of reasoning that the belief of Bro. Branham's Resurrection to “ride this trail once more” was conceived. This belief is more prevalent in the U.S.A. than in other countries. Any teaching, doctrine, or belief that is not based on the Light of God's Word is devilish.
DEVIATION FROM TRUE UNDERSTANDING
The Word of God is Spirit and Life (Jhn.6:63). The Word of God creates (Jhn.1:1-3; Heb.11:3). When the Word of God strikes any True Seed it will bring forth its true nature in the Spirit and Life of Christ. A person who has the B.A. (Born Again) degree will say “Amen” to every Word of God. He will live and manifest the Life of the Word (Christ) believing every Word and following every instruction of the Word. The Bride (True Church) does not produce the Word; she receives the Word and manifests the Life of the Word (1 Cor.14:36). “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure...that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life;…” (Phil.2:13, 15,16a).
Therefore, to those who believe that every Bride member will do the same work of the Prophet-Messenger in creating squirrels, calling storm to cease, and other such-like creative works, let me warn you that you're deviating from the true understanding of the Word. The Bride, as a whole Body, are given Spiritual Gifts by the Spirit. These Gifts are divided among individuals as He will for the benefit of the Body as a whole. The Body has many members and each member has different gift and function. Some have gifts of the Ministry, such as Apostles, Pastors; some, gifts of miracles, healing; some, gifts of utterance, tongues, prophecy; some, gifts of administration, help, government; and some, other gifts. All in all it is God Who tempers the Body together. Therefore, seek for Truth and not for sensations, signs or wonders.
Bro. Branham said, “Don't you rely upon no speaking in tongues, no, nothing else, but let the Token itself be there, the Person of Jesus Christ, His Open Life, in you. Circumcised…not just this, that, but circumcise your whole being till you and Christ are One. Christ is in you, and His Life lives out through you” (Sermon: The Token).
Remember: the gifts of God can be impersonated but the Token, the Holy Ghost, displayed in the Elect – believing and living every Word of God – cannot be impersonated.
Several other deviations from the Truth of God's Word are discussed briefly as follows:
CUTTING THE HAIR of little girls is considered as contravening the Word of God by some believing parents. Paul, in 1 Corinthians chapter 11, talks about women and not little girls. “Women” in the Bible refers to those of marriageable age. Just as you cannot force your little girls to be water-baptized knowing that it is a believer's Baptism, so you cannot force them to keep long hair even when they are grown-up. It is their faith in God, not yours. Love them, respect them and teach them, raising them up in the reverence of God and His Word. And they will not depart from the Truth.
Now, on one hand, there are believers who forbid little girls to cut their hair, on the other, there are those who believe it is alright to trim (the end of) their hair as long as they are long enough to distinguish the women from the men. Others teach that the Apostle Paul only forbade the women not to shave their hair. They interpret the two words “shorn” and “shaven” in 1 Corinthians 11:5-6 thus: to shear the wool of a sheep and to shave one's beard, respectively. Such interpretation overlooks God's economy. God never use superfluous words. The Greek words are actually “keiro” and “xurao”. “Keiro” means “to trim, cut close”. “Xurao” means “to razor”. The difference is as clear as daylight. The Wuest's Expanded Translation renders the two words in the verses thus: “…every woman while praying or prophesying with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for this would be one and the same thing as if she had her head shaved. For, assuming that a woman is uncovered, let her also cut her hair close. But since it is dishonorable for a woman to be shaven or have her hair cropped close, let her…”
The words “long hair” in verses 14 and 15 clearly show that Saint Paul forbade the “razoring” and “trimming or cutting” of women's hair. The Greek word “komao” is a verb meaning “to grow”. Since the English word has no equivalent, the word was translated as “long hair”. Otherwise, the verses would be read thus: “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man's hair hairs, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman's hair hairs, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” The meaning is clear; just as the rain rains – a continuous process, so the hair hairs – a continuous process.
If a woman has long hair, it is her glory. It is her crown, showing that her husband is her head, the “government” on her shoulders. Cutting her hair short or having it shaved off shows a woman's desire to usurp the authority of her husband. (Isn't that the spirit of Women's Lib?) In type, the True Church of Christ is a woman. And she is also crowned with glory, the Word of God — Christ the Head of the Church. Amen! And you don't trim or cut the Word of God; you let It grow! Praise the Lord!
A PAINT-UP FACE to some believers is “a small thing” and not an issue of importance. “Don't be a legalist. Why make a mountain out of a molehill?” they would question. Well, that little heap of earth is needful for a mole! Don't kid yourselves as being mountain-sheep when you can't even be moles! How could you fulfill the “big things” when you can't even fulfill the “small things”? (Don't forget, the way up is down.) Have you forgotten that the True Test of a believer is to believe and be living every Word of God? I have once read a book which argued that the Israelite women in the Old Testament era wore make-up and jewellery and even more so on their wedding day. Such argument is like saying we can practise Old Testament polygamous marriage in this New Testament Church Age.
In writing about the adornment of women, Paul and Peter, in their epistles (1 Tim.2:9-12; 1 Pet.3:1-6) exhorted the women to adorn themselves inwardly with the Spirit of Christ as becoming Christian women rather than the outward adorning. In both texts, the emphasis is on the two words “modest” and “outward adorning”. Two adjectives clearly describe the former word “modest” — “decent” and “moderate”. If there is modesty inwardly there will be modesty outwardly — the outward manifestation of the inward life. The latter words “outward adorning” describe nothing less than vanity.
A woman may be moderate when she wears a sarong kebaya or other similar apparels with a high neckline and a low hemline but it is certainly not decent where tightness and figure-showing are conspicuous. Likewise there is no decency in a Christian woman who adorns herself with facial paints and with a display of gold and silver jewelry. Cosmetics are pagan inventions and are particularly associated with their pagan rituals. They had their origin in the seed of the Serpent race (Cain's descendants – Gen.6:2) as was polygamy. (The word “cosmetic” is taken from the Greek root word “kosmos” — biblically pertaining to this wicked world.)
Yes, Peter was talking about the “outward adorning”, a show of vanity. And how much jewelry or elaborate hair-do (“plaiting the hair” [See Appendix 4.]) do you have to put on before you can say, “This is vanity”?
Some believers dispense with the Word of God on their wedding day just to please the parents or perhaps the wife herself. They would rather break the Word of God (the Heart of God) than the heart of their parents or wife. Can you really spurn the Love of God by breaking one Word just to please someone? (Remember, your relatives and friends are witnesses to the testimony of your Faith on your nuptial day.) Jesus said, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me:…” (Matt.10:37). “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (Jhn.14:21).
1977 and THE MILLENNIUM: The Word of God has but one interpretation. Types and shadows can shed much light on the Truth. But many ministers are causing confusion by 'spiritualizing' them to the extent that the simple Truth is done away with. One such example is this: The Rapture has already taken place in 1977, the Laodicean Church Age has closed out, and the believers are now in The Millennium.
Beloved, do not be fooled. Neither Bro. Branham nor his statements need any defence. The year 1977 did not bring in the Rapture. The Rapture is a literal specific event in which the mortal bodies of the living saints will be changed. The Apostle Paul taught this very clearly in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Romans 8:16-24. One very simple question which those nonsense teachers are unable to answer is: “Has your body been changed and glorified?”
Some simply teach that they are in the 8th Church Age called the Bride Age or Eagle Age. There is no such age. We are still in the Laodicean Age, the last of the Seven Church Ages. But the Bride is called out of Laodicea. That's right, we are in the age of "Laodicea" but we are not a part of "Laodicea" — the confused organized religious world.
Apparently, all these are preached to defend the statements of Brother Branham concerning 1977.
I was once questioned bluntly by a minister: “You do not believe that 1977 closed out the Church Age and that we, the elect, are now in the 'seventh day' — The Millennium?” This minister then started to 'spiritualize' the statements of Bro. Branham. Like many heady ministers in the Message Movement, this minister did not even once refer to the Scriptures throughout his argument.
Saints of God, if the Church Age is over, why do these ministers, who teach such garbage, continue to preach the Gospel among the sinners and Message among the denominational Christians? And if the year 1977 started The Millennium, which is a literal thousand years (during which Christ and His Bride will reign and rule on the earth), then the Bride will have to remain on this earth until the year 2977, and then…what? Some may argue that The Millennium represents their rest in Christ. If that is the case, they should state simply (even though the two things are different). Why try to impress others with their so-called intellect? Remember, every idle word that they speak sounds loud and clear in Heaven, and they will have to give an account of it.
DANIEL'S 'SEVENTY WEEKS' (Dan.9:24-27) has caused some to run up trees and some to bury their heads. Some deviate from the truth by linking it to the Church whereas it was determined upon the people, Israel, and their holy city, Jerusalem. They believe that the six-fold purpose (v.24) was all fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ; and that the Seventy Weeks were completely fulfilled when Paul took the Gospel to the Gentiles. Others are confused about the number of years that are left for God to deal with the Jews — three and a half, or seven.
Let me raise some questions and analyze some statements here and you draw your own conclusion.
1. Of the six-fold purpose, only one aspect was fulfilled – “to make reconciliation for iniquity” – by Christ at Calvary. The rest is yet to be fulfilled and will be completed at the time when Christ Jesus shall set up His Kingdom Age after the end of the Great Tribulation. The Seventy Weeks determined upon the Jewish people will then be completed. Some believe that more than one aspect or even all of the six-fold purpose were actually fulfilled at Calvary. Check it out carefully.
2. The “Most Holy” is not the Lord Jesus. The term is never used for a person. The Person of the Lord Jesus is always referred to as the “Holy One” (Isa.40:25; Mk.1:24). “Most Holy” is usually used to describe a place and sometimes the things or offerings devoted to God. When it refers to a place, it is the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle or Temple.
3. Was the Messiah crucified after sixty-two weeks or after sixty-two and half weeks? Some Christians literally changed the words to read: “And after threescore and two and half weeks shall Messiah be cut off,…” (v.26).
4. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week:…” (v.27). Who is “he”? Who are the “many”? A well-known Christian author contends in his book on this subject that “he” is “Messiah the Prince” and not the other “prince”. He goes on to give an explanation about English grammar saying that “he” must (by grammatical rules) refer to the subject (“Messiah the Prince”) and not the object of that sentence. Therefore “he” could not have been the other “prince”. [Note: The Scriptures say “the people of the prince that shall come” and not “the prince of the people that shall come”.] If that is the way he understands it, then I must remind him that the Book of Daniel was not originally written in English but in Hebrew and Aramaic. The same author contends that the “many” is the chosen disciples of Jesus Christ. Now, if his teaching is true, then here are three questions:
a) When did the Messiah (the Anointed One) make the firm agreement (His covenant)? Was it at the beginning of His ministry when He was anointed before the week began, or was it in the middle of the week when He was about to be crucified? b) Who are the “many”? The Gospel Books reveal only the chosen few; in fact only eleven were presented when the New Covenant was given at the supper table. Remember, not many are chosen “for many are called but few are chosen” (Matt.22:14). c) When was Jesus “Messiah the Prince” in the prophecy? (See Dan.9:25.) Definitely not at His birth nor at any time during His ministry but it was at the time when He rode on a colt into the city of Jerusalem. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem in the last week of His life, He was hailed as “Messiah the Prince” of Israel. “And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” (Matt.21:9). Hence, the period “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah the Prince” is exactly a total of sixty-nine weeks, and not sixty-nine and half weeks. After that significant event (traditionally known as Christ's Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem), the Messiah was “cut off” – crucified within that week just as was written – “And after three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off…” (Dan.9:26a). This is even confirmed by the dates stated in traditional history accepted by the 7th Church Age Messenger himself — 445 B.C. to 33 A.D. (Artaxerxes Longimanus' Decree to Christ's Crucifixion). (Remember, it is generally believed that there are 360 days to a prophetic year and there is a 'gap' of about 2 to 4 years in the calendar from B.C. to A.D. In actual fact there is no such thing as a prophetic year of 360 days. It is only an assumption. To be Biblically correct, normal calendar year should be used and the 69 prophetic weeks should be reckoned from 454 B.C. with the Decree of Cyrus (Isa.44:28; 45:1 cf. Chron.36:22-23) to 30 A.D. with the Crucifixion of Christ.)
FEET WASHING and COMMUNION: I have noticed that almost every believer who observes these two ordinances does so by partaking Communion before Feet washing. They would quote John 13:4 or Bro. Branham's statement to support their practice. However, we don't follow that in our Local Assembly. We observe Feet washing before we partake the Lord's Supper. And we are being accused of deviating from the true pattern, but we believe we have adopted the right practice according to the Gospel records.
As to the other questions which I was asked concerning ordinances, I reproduce below the Questions and Answers which were printed in 1980.
Q.1 – What are the importance and significance of Water Baptism, Feet washing, and Communion?
Water Baptism, Feet washing, and Communion are three ordinances that God has instituted in His Church. Three is the number of completion in God. Though it does not give one salvation, Water Baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ is obligatory in a Christian's true confession of his acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. It is in Water Baptism that we receive the Name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38; 8:12,16; 10:48; 19:5) and are called Christians. As Christ Himself was identified with us in His Water Baptism by John the Baptist, so must we be identified with Him in His Death, Burial and Resurrection (Rom.6:3-5).
Our Lord said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (Jhn.14:15). This does not only apply to Water Baptism or to certain laws but also to every word that God has spoken. And it applies also to Feet washing and Communion.
As Water Baptism is our identification with Christ, so is Feet washing our identification with one another that we may serve and care for one another in humility. Read John 13:12-17.
The third ordinance is Communion. Three parties are involved here — Christ, you and the members of His Body. The unleavened bread is that Body of Christ broken for us — that mystical Body of Christ, the believers. Thus, the need to discern the Body and to tarry for one another. (See 1 Cor.11:20-22, 27-34; 10:16,17.) The Cup of blessing is the partaking of the Blood of Christ which He had shed for us that we might have life.
We partake of the Bread and Cup in remembrance of Christ and His Death till He comes. (See 1 Cor.11:24-26.)
Q.2 – Could it be proven from Scriptures that Feet washing and Communion must be carried out together on the same night?
No. The Three Ordinances are distinct and separate. But some Christians feel that, because Christ instituted Feet washing and Communion together on the same night He was betrayed, the two ordinances must always be carried out together. We cannot strain at the gnat and swallow the camel because of that. We could not find one place in the Scriptures which says that it is mandatory. In 1 Corinthians 11, Saint Paul has not taught that the two ordinances must be carried out together. If it is mandatory, Paul would have pointed it out and would not have omitted it in all his epistles.
One good reason why most Bible-believing churches carry out the two ordinances together is because both ordinances are very closely linked in their significance and importance — it is Christ and you and the members of the Body of Christ. And this brings us to the third question.
Q.3 – Is the Lord's Supper to be taken before Feet washing?
As I have mentioned before, the Three Ordinances are distinct and separate in themselves. So it does not really matter whether Feet washing or Communion comes first. They could be held on separate days or nights. But Communion or the Lord's Supper must be taken only at night. For obvious reason, it is called the Lord's Supper and not the Lord's Breakfast, or the Lord's Lunch, or the Lord's Dinner, as the denominational churches seem to think, the way they are having the Communion. If we have eyes to see we would realize that it was our Lord's last meal at supper time that the Communion was instituted just before His betrayal, trial and death. His death was not at the cross. He faced His death in the garden of Gethsemane. For there He took the bitter cup willingly. (Read Luke 22:41-44.)
The other two ordinances may be conducted in the day or at night.
However, we want to follow closely the examples that are recorded in the Bible. Only then could we be sure that we are on safe ground.
Now, the precious brethren who believe that Communion should be taken before Feet washing do so because of the record in John 13:2,4-5. Because the K.J.V. Bible reads “And supper being ended… he riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet…”, they concluded that the Lord's Supper (Communion) was instituted by Christ and partaken by the disciples before our Lord washed His disciples' feet. Well, it appears to be like that, but it was not so. The “supper” mentioned in verse 2 is not the ordinance of the Lord's Supper (Communion). It was just merely a supper and Christ's last meal at the table prepared by His disciples for the Passover that was to be killed at evening time towards the 15th day of Nisan (Ex.12:1-6), that was between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. of the 14th day. Christ, our Passover, died just after 3 p.m. (9th hour – Mk.15:34-39).
Look at some other versions of the Bible, e.g. Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, Amplified New Testament, or the Diaglott and we will see that verse 2 should be rendered as “And during supper...” showing that it was while eating supper that Christ got up, girded Himself and washed His disciples' feet. It was much later, after the feet washing, that Jesus instituted the Communion.
Now, for more facts let's compare the Gospels. According to some Christians the sequence of the events in John 13 is as follows:
1st The Lord's Supper (?) – verses 2-4.
2nd Feet washing – verses 5-17.
3rd Christ foretold His betrayal and indicated the disciple who would betray Him by the dipped sop – verses 26-27.
The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke do not have record of the feet washing. Matthew and Mark recorded Christ's announcement of His betrayal by the dipped sop and the institution of the Lord's Supper (Communion). The sequence of the events is as follows:
1st Christ's foretelling and announcement of His betrayal by the dipped sop – Matt.26:23,24; Mk.14:20,21.
2nd The Lord's Supper – Matt.26:26-28; Mk.14:22-24.
Looking closely at the two lists we should realize that the dipping of the sop to point out the betrayer took place only after the feet washing, as John recorded it, but before Christ instituted the Communion, as Matthew and Mark showed. Thus, the “supper” of John 13:2-4 could not have been the “Lord's Supper” for Christ could not have instituted it twice — before feet washing, and again after announcing the betrayer by the dipped sop. The sequence of events would then be as follows:
1st Christ's Last Meal at supper with His disciples.
2nd During supper He got up to wash the feet of the disciples.
3rd After Feet washing, back at the supper table, He foretold His betrayal and revealed the betrayer by the dipped sop.
4th Then He took the Bread and the Cup and instituted the Communion (the Lord's Supper).
Q.4 – Is it true that one cannot wash the feet of the opposite sex?
There is no Scriptural record of mixed Feet washing in the Church. But there are records of women washing the feet of men and not men washing the feet of women.
Let us take a look at some cases of women washing men's feet. In 1 Timothy 5, we have Paul's instructions concerning widows, both young and old. On whether a widow should be accepted as a ward by the Church, Paul said, “Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, well reported of for good works; if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have received the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. But the younger widows refuse for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry, having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith” (vv.9-12).
Here we could see that women, young and old widows, did wash the saints' feet in the early Church. The word “saints” includes men. We know the fact that it was customary for the Jewish women to wash the feet of their guests. Abigail, whom King David married, washed the feet of David's servants that were sent to fetch her. (Read 1 Sam.25:41.) In the Books of Luke 7:36-38 and John 12:3 are the records of Jesus' feet being washed with tears and anointed with ointment by women. If it was wrong for a man's feet to be washed by a woman, the Pharisaical priests would have rebuked Christ, or that Christ Himself would have refused to let those women wash His feet.
Traditional history tells us that it was a custom that visitors' feet were washed when they visited a house as sandals were the common footwear. It was usually the task of a servant to wash the visitors' feet. Otherwise it was an act of honouring the guest highly, or the expression of one's humility. That was precisely what our Lord Jesus was trying to teach His disciples by His action — to honour every member in the Body (1 Cor.12:12-27) and to humble oneself (Jhn.13:13-17).
You will realize that the Jewish customary washing of feet has been carried over into the Church as an ordinance just like the other two ordinances — Water Baptism, a Jewish rite and sign of religious purification and consecration; Communion, the Jewish Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread.
I must give a cautionary word of advice on woman washing man's feet. The pastor of each Local Assembly should exercise spiritual discernment on whether to allow this practice in his assembly as we are living in an age of confusion, immorality and spiritual darkness.
Finally, I must stress that the answers presented here are meant to be an eye-opener and not meant to be a dispute of truth and error to condemn any one. For as children of God we want to be led by the Spirit of the Lord.
PREHISTORIC AGE: Was there such an age when dinosaurs roamed the earth? Just because the prophet, Brother Branham, did not touch on this, a fairly large group of believers, including ministers, shun the subject. Some say those dinosaurs did not really exist. But fossils dug up by archaeologists prove that they did exist; and fossils don't lie. Others say they were of the Adamic Age and perished in the Flood. Now, where is wisdom? For if that be so, how do you reconcile Genesis 6:19-20? (There is none so blind as he who would not see. Right?) Christians who believe that the earth is only 6000 years old believe that the dinosaurs died very quickly right after the Flood because there was a scarcity of food to sustain them. (Think: Why would God have Noah saved a pair of every kind of dinosaurs but only to have them die right after the Flood because He could not make the earth to produce vegetation fast enough for those hungry colossal animals? It that true?) These same Christians, of course, do not believe that "prehistoric men" existed.
THE SEVEN THUNDERS OF REVELATION 10: How could it be possible that the Seven Thunders be Seven Anointed Men of God? Is this not Bro. Junie Jackson's teaching?
First of all, let me say this: nobody has the monopoly on the Word of God. Bro. Raymond (Junie) Jackson is not the first person to have received this revelation, nor is he the first to have taught this doctrine. There are others who believe the “thunders” would be “men” though they may not fully understand the significance.
Before the Lord opened my eyes to the mystery of the Seven Thunders, my understanding was that they were related to the Seven Spirits which are before the Throne of God. What they are supposed to be was not revealed to me then until some time in 1987 when the Presence of the Lord came to me while I was writing out the message “The Final Events” at my desk. For a while I sat there, staring at the Word. I had not been able to understand the mystery of it for a long time, and having been led to write the message (“The Final Events”), I bowed my head in frustration and prayed. Then He came and opened my eyes, and in one passing moment, it became clear to me what the Seven Thunders would be.
Yes, I do understand why many followers of Bro. William Branham cannot understand the Seven Thunders as Seven Anointed Men of God. They are so involved with the tapes and books of the prophet that they have lost their love for the Sacred Scriptures. The tapes and books of the prophet occupy first place in their lives. Many hardly read their Bible at all. Hence, the lack of spiritual revelation from God on His Sacred Word for them. Some would merely quote the prophet to say “the Seven Thunders are the Seven Seals when they were opened”. Others say "they are the seven virtues". Still others would say, “The prophet did not teach it that way”.
However, for those who sincerely find it difficult to grasp the significance, doubting it for some reasons, let me ask these questions: Why is it that you could accept the Seven Stars as the Seven Church Age Messengers to their respective Church Ages whereas the denominationals have doubts about them? Likewise, are you not having your doubts about the Seven Thunders being Seven Anointed Men of God whereas those who have the understanding believe so? I believe your one main reason is this — “because Brother Branham did not say the Thunders were men”.
Mysteries recorded in the Old Testaments were revealed by the New Testament Apostles and Prophets. These apostolic servants could only interpret what were written and sealed. They could not interpret what was not written. With all the confusion over the "Seven Thunders", especially over the question of whether they are revealed or not revealed, let us consider these words: 1) "Seven Thunders", 2) "uttered" and 3) "their voices".
That there are Seven Thunders is undeniable because the Apostle John counted seven and he then HEARD them uttered (that is, spoke) with their mouths, making speeches. It is what the Thunders spoke (their utterances) that John was told not to write but to seal up. (What did the Thunders say? Why must it be sealed up and not written?) Hence, the mystery is in their utterances. The utterances are unknown. They were not written and therefore could not be interpreted or even preached at all. The Seven Thunders are not the mystery because John saw seven of them and he specifically recorded that number in his book. It was also written that each had a voice. They opened their mouth and they uttered their voices. The Thunders could not be anything else but men.
IS THE FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH,
The word FOUNDATION (Grk: THEMELIOS, THEMELION) is used in connection with a rock as in Luke 6:48, or with some other things as in verse 49; Romans 15:20, and et cetera. In Luke 6:48 we notice that the foundation is laid upon the rock. Metaphorically, the “rock” is CHRIST (1 Cor.10:4) or the REVELATION OF CHRIST (Matt.16:18). Christ did not build the foundation. HE IS THE FOUNDATION, THE ROCK. Thus, the FOUNDATION and the ROCK are the SAME, but the Church is “built upon the foundation [i.e. objectively] of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the Chief Cornerstone” (Eph.2:20).
The Lord Jesus builds His Church through the Five-fold Ministry (Eph.4:11-16). They are the Builders. The Apostles and Prophets are the Foundation Layers and Plumbline Holders. All ministers are co-labourers together with God and the Saints are God's husbandry or God's building (1 Cor.3:9). All the Saints of God must accept the ministries of the Apostles and the Prophets in order to have a proper foundation where they can be and are built up. A Christian or a Local Assembly that is not established on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets will wobble in the Faith, and be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine and teaching that are being taught today. The hidden truth of the Word of God concerning the mystery of the Gospel in Christ “is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit”. Read Ephesians chapters 2 and 3, and also 1 Corinthians 3:5-13. But if those who call themselves Apostles do not preach and teach according to the Apostolic Truth then they are not Apostles. Try them with the Word (Rev.2:2 cf. Deut.4:2; Prov.30:6 and Rev.22:19).
“Beloved...it was needful for me to write unto you and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” – Jude 3.
The Faith which was once delivered to the Saints and “lost” through the ages, is now restored unto us, the Endtime Christians, by the Grace of our Lord Jesus through His Prophet-Messenger, Brother William Branham. What is that Faith? It's the Faith of the Apostolic Fathers which was delivered unto the Saints of God on the Day of Pentecost and throughout the First Century A.D., some 1900 years ago!
The one and only way that a person can be a child of God with the Faith is to be born of the Word (the Incorruptible Seed) of God (1 Pet.1:23; 1 Jhn.3:9). There is no other way. Any other way would just be the tradition of men, the corruptible seed word. But how do we know that we are contending for the Faith of The Apostles and The Early Church? Well, the only way to find out is to give ourselves The Word Test and see if we are building our faith according to the pattern shown to the Apostles by the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. If we conform to the pattern, then we truly have the Apostolic Faith, and together with the Local Believers we form an Apostolic Church.
So let us keep the “Faith of Our Fathers” which was first prescribed on that Pentecostal Day. The prescription has never been changed by God for He is the same God: “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” (Acts 2:38). And he who has received this prescription with readiness of heart should not go his way, and straightway forget what manner of man he was, instead he should “continue steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). See also James 1:22-25.
Therefore my brother, my sister, if you keep the Word of the Lord Jesus and follow the Apostolic Pattern, then God is obligated to His Word to baptize you with the Holy Ghost, washing you, sanctifying you, and justifying you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ to be His child.
My intention in writing this booklet is to help those who are confused by the mess prevailing in the Message groups and to wake up those who err in the Truth. I sincerely feel that the True Elect that make up the Bride will somehow come together through their identification with the Truth and of what they understand of the Word. I long for that to happen that I may be a part of it. Then will there be true fellowship as it was in the Early Church where unbelief could not prevail in the congregation of the believers. I pray for that day to come quickly.
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It is common to hear or receive letters from the followers of Bro. Branham
saying that they believe every word the prophet spoke regardless whether or
not they understood it in the Light of God's Word. By this confession it is
evident that they are accepting every single word spoken by the prophet even
if it is a misquoted scripture verse, figure, incomplete or vague statement.
This is sheer foolishness! Blind faith! Instead of believing in 'Thus
Saith The Lord', they are believing in 'Thus Saith William Marrion
Branham'. And that's idolatry. (See 1 Cor.6:9b.)
What's more, I have often heard so-called Endtime Message ministers and
leaders telling their congregations not to listen to any minister if he is
not preaching what the prophet, Bro. Branham, had said in his tapes and
books. They would also warn their followers not to read any book with
teachings not based on the statements of the prophet. They would say, “Bro.
Branham was vindicated. These ministers are not?” Foolish people! All
that they believe in is a bunch of “Quotes” from the prophet's messages.
They certainly do not believe in the Message which God had given to
the prophet. If they do, they would have recognized The Word by the
spirit of revelation. Many of these followers dare not venture into the
Truth of God because they had fear
instilled in them. And fear is contrary to
faith. There is none so blind as he who would not see. “Fools
die for want of wisdom” (Prov.10:21b).
Saints, have the Faith of God or you will have nothing but blind faith.
Notice that you will never find any place in the Scriptures that Church
Order was preached to an Assembly which already had order in the Church.
Where there was a lack of understanding of the spiritual things of God, the
Early Church ministers would go and set them in order. And never was there a
necessity for Church Order to be enforced in those Churches then. But
today, it's just the opposite. Many Local Believing Assemblies refuse
to be set in order the Bible way.
Instead they would rather take the Church Order which Bro. Branham
had laid down for his Local Assembly.
Quite a number of so-called believers are teaching that Bro. Branham taught
that we could practise polygamy. They 'prove' it by taking
several of Bro. Branham's
statements out of context from his message on Marriage and Divorce.
Then there is a minister who teaches that the prophet, while on a mountain
in Tucson, Arizona, received a 'certain revelation' from God to deal
with the wife of believing husband (to get her to stay in her position). The
'certain revelation' is said to be in that message of 'Marriage
and Divorce'. To support that 'certain revelation' supposedly
taught by the prophet, he would mention about certain experiences he had
supernaturally, and how that God spoke to him. Brother, sister, I don't care
who spoke or revealed what to you; if it's contrary to the Word, it never
came from God! That's the Truth! Remember the prophet never preached
anything other than what's already in the Scriptures. The mystery of the
Word was made known; not certain revelation(s) outside of the Word. Far too
many people are using their various experiences, visions, dreams, et
cetera to deceive others into believing that their 'revelation' is 'Thus
Saith The Lord'. Check with the Word, brethren, check the Word always. Every
True Revelation must interlock one with the other.
4. The words “plaiting of hair” in 1 Peter 3:3 have been taken by many Christians to mean even an ordinary plait of hair. It is not so. The word “plaiting” comes from the Greek word “emploke”, that is “intertwining the hair in ornament”, literally an “elaborate hairdo”. Where excessive number of plaits is an elaborate hairdo, a simple plait, or two, is not. When the hair is neatly combed and 'bunned' up, it is not an elaborate hairdo. But it is certainly an elaborate hairdo when the hair is neatly trimmed, combed and 'bunned' up to look fanciful.