THEY HEAR NOT
A message by Richard l. s. Gan
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“No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest: neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.” — Luke 8:16-18
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In the course of preaching and teaching the Endtime Message Word of the Lord both locally and overseas, I observed that the Message believers have many different reactions to the Word when It was preached. Apparently this was due to schism and sectarianism caused by some ambitious and covetous men after the death of the Prophet-Messenger. There are even some who have gone into cultism (revering William Branham as God) and also ecumenism brought about by that ecumenical spirit which exists among the denominationals. Hence, when the Word was ministered to such a mixed congregation, controversy and doubt would inevitably appear. Some of them already had their ears preset to hear only certain things which they wanted to hear. Such believers often fall prey to those preachers who are out to tickle itchy ears with their strange teachings. These preachers would even flash m-o-n-e-y before the eyes of ministers, especially those in the poorer nations, so as to proselyte the churches for their own glory. They would then boast about the success of their mission work or outreach. Such preachers are often supported by missionary programmes organized by some “headquarters” in U.S.A., Canada, and Europe. Are they any different from the organized religious system of “Mama” Rome?
Organized religion is evil because it enslaves the will of the believers and prevents them from doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord. Creeds and dogmas do not enslave; it is the seducing spirit which deceives and enslaves the believers in the church. And, being deceived, the believers are blinded to the existence of the spirit. I have known of so-called ministers, of this Endtime Message, who are polygamists or fornicators, and who are being supported by outreach programmes of some “organized” churches. There was one case in Nigeria where the whole church was aware of their Pastor's habitual fornication and his unrepentant nature, yet they continued to uphold him as their Pastor. The Elders of the church even tried to cover up his sin by turning against those who stood up to speak against it. It seemed that they condoned fornication and any sin which their leader might commit.
Why did they do it? There were several reasons; money, being the main one. The love for money was the root of all their evil. Since each Elder of the church had a share of the money which came from the “headquarters”, they would rather deny the sin and hide the evil from those men at the “headquarters”. Even if the men at the “headquarters” knew about it, they tended to ignore it, because after having spent a certain sum of money on the church, they did not wish to see their “outreach programs” come to a halt.
Dishonesty and evil abound! Two big questions remain to be answered: 1) Are those believers truly born-again Christians? 2) If one is caught up in such a church or assembly, what stand should one take?
Evil men not only breed evil deeds but also beget evil followers. “For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal.6:7).
Now, even before the prophet of God, William Branham, was called home to be with the Lord, all kinds of “revelations” were being propagated among believers of the Endtime Message. Some believed him to be the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Today, some believe that he is Elohim, while others believe he is the Son of Man. Then, there are such “revelations” as the “Two Souls”, “Polygamy”, “Literal and Physical Serpent Seeds Still Exist Today”, “Four-fold Ministry”, “No Pastor, Only Elders”, “Seven Thunders are Seven Virtues”, “The Rapture had taken place in 1977 and the Millennium (8th Day) had since started”, “Message of William Branham is The Absolute”, “William Marrion Branham is the New Name of Jesus Christ”, “William Branham had introduced R. P. Lawrie of India as the End Time Incarnation of the Word of God”, “William Branham was the Lord Branham Christ”, and many other demonic teachings.
When I accepted this Endtime Message of the Lord in 1971, many of the above “revelations” were already being taught and propagated by many so-called “ordained” preachers. In order that their teachings may by accepted, these preachers would brag about their close associations with the prophet; how often they were with him, what they had heard from him, and what were said about them by the prophet himself. By giving such a testimony these preachers are trying to impress the believers that they are the only truly ordained servants of God who have an intimate and in-depth knowledge of the teachings of the prophet. As such, their teachings must certainly be correct. However, most of their teachings are certainly not the Gospels according to the Word of God but only according to their own understanding of the statements of the prophet.
Therefore, when a Christian, who did not know the prophet personally, is called by God to preach the Word of Truth of this Endtime Message, he has a very slim chance of being accepted by many, except by those whose hearts God has prepared to receive the Word. [Some years ago, my calling as a minister of God was questioned by a Ghanaian minister. He wanted to know under whose ministry, which local fellowship, and for how long, I had sat and learnt before I became a minister. The reason was that my teachings did not meet his taste after he had filtered them through another (American) minister's teachings, instead of filtering them through the Word of God.] So, unless a man had sat and learnt under the ministry of a “great” man of God, he would not readily be accepted, especially if he is not a Caucasian. (There is a widespread prejudice against Oriental preachers. The Caucasian preachers are looked upon as being more superior to the Oriental preachers because the latter are considered inferior to the Caucasians. Some haughty Caucasian ministers are actually projecting themselves so. Hence, it is believed that God would only do great work and give Bible revelations through the white people.)
It is not always the rule that a man, who is called to be a minister, must first sit and learn under the ministry of another man of God. We find exceptions in men like Moses and Paul in the Scriptures, and men like Luther and Wesley in the Early Church history. God would teach His servants even as He called them. On the other hand, not everyone who sits under the ministry of a man of God can truly and necessarily be a real servant of God. Judas Iscariot, who sat under the ministry of Jesus Christ, and Demas, who sat under Paul's are enough proofs. What more do we expect of modern men today? Obviously, there are many who had sat under William Branham's ministry, and had heard his countless messages. Yet hearing, many of them heard not. Besides some of them have even brought forth devilish teachings which they call “revelations”.
It is important that we take serious heed to the words of our Lord Jesus as quoted in the text. Perhaps, the Amplified Version of the Bible would be clearer to many of us:
“No one after he has lighted a lamp covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a [dining table-] couch; but he puts it on a [lamp] stand, that those who come in may see the light. For there is nothing hid that shall not be disclosed, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come out into the open. Be careful therefore how you listen, for to him who has [spiritual knowledge] will more be given, and from him who does not have [spiritual knowledge] even what he thinks and guesses and supposes that he has will be taken away.”
In this Endtime Message movement, how many believers do you reckon have no spiritual knowledge but who just think and guess and suppose that they have? Obviously there are many of them as Jesus had said: “Many are called but few are chosen” (Matt.22:14).
Why do these individuals lack spiritual knowledge? We shall let the Word speak for Itself.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” — 2 Tim.3:16-17
“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; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron...” — 1 Tim.4:1,2
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” — 2 Tim.4:3-4
Who can wantonly dismiss these words? These warnings of Paul are fulfilled in these last days of the Grace of God. As soon as they have accepted the faith, many believers are seen departing from it as they reject the all profitable scripture of God. When they do not accept the Word of God as the sole authority of God, they will begin to heap erroneous teachings upon themselves. By and by, they will not endure sound doctrine of the Word as it is ministered to them. Then, they will gradually perish spiritually for the lack of the know- ledge of the Word (cf. Hos.4:6). But, not realizing that they are being deceived by seducing spirits, they will still think and guess and suppose that they have something although they have nothing but fables and religious ideas.
A greater deception has penetrated the Endtime Message believers today. We can often hear this statement being quoted in many camps of the Endtime Message: “The elect cannot be deceived”. If the elect cannot be deceived why are there so many devilish revelations being propagated, upheld and believed? Strange, is it not? Surely, there must be many who are not in the Truth and are, therefore, deceived.
The Word of God does not lie. It is true that God's elect cannot be deceived. Therefore, it is an undeniable fact that not every camp of the Endtime Message is in the Truth of the Message. Many are deceived. There are some who substitute the word “deceived” with “confused” and say, “The elect can be confused but not deceived”.
Now, to what extent can a believer be confused without being deceived? A confused believer is a bewildered person who tends to be easily deluded because his mind is deranged and distorted. Do you not see the danger of being in a state of confusion? Is there really any difference between a confused believer and one who is deceived?
Has not the Lord God given to all true believers the Spirit of Christ, which is the Spirit of Truth, of glory, of grace, of judgement, of understanding, and of wisdom, etc., to guide and lead them into all Truth? Hence, a believer can only be confused when he drifts away from THE ABSOLUTE Authority of God's Word into the authority of some men's words, including William Branham's.
It is evident that many Endtime Message preachers and believers have turned away from The Absolute Authority of the Sacred Scriptures to The Spoken Word books and tapes of the prophet. [Some even confess that “THE HOLY BIBLE is kind of dull, but THE SPOKEN WORD books make interesting reading”.] And although there are some who realise this to be wrong and have spoken out against such cults, but yet they themselves are guilty of the same act as they regard the tapes and publications of certain ministers, Apostle So-and-So and Apostle Such-and-Such as their Absolute Authority. Very often, a Branhamite would say, “Brother Branham said this...”, a Colemanite would answer, “But Brother Coleman said that...”, a Vayleite would retort, “But Brother Vayle said this and that...” and a Jacksonite would chip in, “But Brother Jackson said that and this...” Do you not think they are all foolish people? [Of course, a Ganite would be just as foolish.] Are these Endtime Message believers any different from denominational Christians? Not realizing their foolishness many are actually committing spiritual fornication.
Whenever they are made to come face to face with the Sacred Scriptures, the Branhamites' favourite words are these: “But Brother Branham had the Truth; he had the Absolute.” It saddens and sickens my heart, for truly they do not have the Truth, the Absolute. To them, only William Branham had It. Without doubt, they are like those foolish vagabond Jewish exorcists who tried to exercise faith by way of The Absolute that some servant of God possessed (Acts 19:13-16).
Friends, I do not know about you. But I have The Truth. I have The Absolute. Because I have It, It sets me free; and I am free indeed from the bondage of sins and fear which are cast forth by false men of God to enslave God's children. If we are truly born again and are true believers, then we have Christ. Christ is The Word of God, and The Word of God is The Truth, and The Truth is The Absolute. Without It, there is no Life! Hence, William Branham is not The Absolute. Christ Jesus is! And He is in His Own Word! You have to have Him – The Absolute – or you shall likewise perish with the sinners.
Now, brethren, if you are thinking men of God, you should filter all ministers' teachings through The Thinking Man's Filter — The Holy Scriptures of God. You should not filter the teaching of one minister through another minister's. In other words, you should not judge a minister's teaching by another minister's to determine whether it is true or false. The judgement should only be based on the Word of God. A minister's teaching stands or falls by the Word of God and not by the words of another minister. You are deceived if you regard as “Scriptures” the tapes and publications of a minister, whom you may fancy, though you may not openly confess it. However, your action speaks for itself.
A good number of Branhamites have come to me with many questions in their confused mind. They wanted answers to their questions. However, when they were referred to the Sacred Scriptures as The Absolute, they would always retort: “But Brother Branham said...” or “They (meaning those with whom they fellowship — the Branhamites) say that Brother Branham said...” If they truly believe that every word spoken by William Branham and everything taught by the Branhamites were the truth, why do they come to me for the answers which could only be found in the Sacred Absolute of the Scriptures? Though they might claim that they want to know the Truth, they actually wanted answers which reflect their own interpretations. But when faced with the Scriptures, they would resort to quoting William Branham, saying that he alone had the Absolute. [Warning: You who make Brother Branham or his every statement the Absolute and reject the Inspired Sacred Scriptures as the Authority, if you do not come out of that deception, your spirit would be totally seared by that antichrist spirit. If you are not wearing the proper Wedding Garment, you will be thrown out of the Wedding Feast to face the coming Great and Terrible Day of the Lord! Read Matthew 22:11-14.]
There's nothing wrong in quoting whatever the prophet had said. But the Branhamites are using statements of the prophet to formulate doctrines that are completely outside of the Inspired Sacred Scriptures! They attribute many things to William Branham — things which he did not teach or say. That's the reason why many false teachings are being propagated.
Nevertheless there are some who are really seeking the Truth, but the fear (of error, of deception, of not being an elect, or whatever) has gripped their hearts that they find it hard to see the present revelation of what God is doing among His chosen people. These believers are in danger of having their minds seared with a hot iron that they would believe a lie — that it is wrong to search the Scriptures since the prophet had brought them everything. Yes, God would even send them such a strong delusion that they would believe such a lie, and He would even take away from them what little truth they possess.
Fear is contrary to Faith, my friends. Fear for fear sake is a deception of Satan, but the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. A reverence for God and His Word is the beginning of wisdom toward receiving His Truth and Revelation.
Brethren, it is imperative that we heed the Voice of the Spirit of God. There are many other voices which are constantly trying to seduce and deceive those who seek to worship the One True God. It is against the Truth to try and build a Tower of Babel among the Endtime Message believers. I believe in separation from unbelief and fanaticism. The further we stay away from them, the better it is for us to hear and understand the Voice of God in these last days.
However, today, there is a spirit of ecumenism among the Endtime Message movement. It is not that this spirit was not there in the early years after the death of the prophet, but what we are seeing today is the very same Satanic move that has penetrated Catholicism and Protestantism and worked among them for more than half a century. The ecumenical spirit has succeeded in uniting the Protestants and the power of spiritual darkness. And the same is now happening in the Endtime Message movement. Like the Mother of Harlots and her Daughters, groups of different “quote” sects within the Message movement are gathering together to try and settle their doctrinal “quote” differences. They are trying to see eye to eye with one another on the statements of William Branham just as the Roman and Protestant Ecumenists did over their creeds and dogmas. They are not trying to see eye to eye with one another on the revelation of the Word of God but rather the various statements of a man, a Messenger of God, whom they revere as infallible. They have “increased” him to a place where Christ, the Word of God, is “decreased”.
Do not be fooled, my brother or sister. If you are a True Worshipper of God you would not, and should not, enter into any such unholy fellowship. Many who are confused with this issue are using the teaching of William Branham on Divine Love to support their compromising spirits. They are trying to manifest their so-called Divine Love — “We would rather have the right spirit than the right doctrines.” They have failed to understand that Divine Love can only come by the Divine Revelation of the Word of God — “The Word was God” and “God is Love”, say the Scriptures. If there is no True Word of God, then there is no True Love of God! Only vanity! They are but a bunch of foolish people who are wise in their own conceits.
I have been accused often of being a false prophet on the grounds that I do not believe every spoken word of William Branham to be inspired, and that I would have nothing to do with their ecumenical spirit. Our Lord Jesus was also accused to be a False Prophet on similar grounds. He was accused by the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes of His days for not believing in Abraham, Moses and the prophets. But they were interpreting Abraham, Moses and the prophets according to their traditions and not according to the revelations that were inspired and revealed by the Spirit of God. Their revelations were actually contrary to what were taught by those holy men of God themselves. Jesus even called them vipers, hypocrites, children of the wicked ones and other unpleasant names. He would have nothing to do with them. Would you say that our Lord had no Divine Love?
Separation from unbelief does not mean identification with some ministers' teachings. Your identification should be with THE WORD OF TRUTH, and not with the words of some men. The members of the Bride of Christ are identified by their understanding and their true revelation of the Word of God, and not of Brother So-and-So or Reverend Such-and-Such.
Certainly the Early Church did not judge the teachings of all the other Apostles by Paul's teachings. James' writing, Jude's writing, Peter's writings, and John's writings were certainly not judged by Paul's epistles. But many Branhamites think otherwise.
[Note: It is said that Martin Luther was not able to reconcile James' teaching on Justification by Works (see James 2:14-26) with that of Paul's Justification by Faith (in the Book of Romans). A closer examination of James' teaching on Justification reveals that he was dealing with a Faith that works, that is, a Living Faith. Therefore, we can conclude that James was given a little deeper revelation on the same subject which Paul was given to teach and write. Otherwise, the Early Church should have done away with James' epistle as it was contradictory to Paul's teaching and would bring about a controversy among the believers. The Truth is a contradiction and a controversy only to those whose ears are not spiritually attuned to the Spirit of God.]
Though Paul was the First Church Age Messenger, he was not given all the revelations of God. He was also not shown what John the Beloved saw while he was on the Isle of Patmos. Hence, no minister, whether he is an Apostle or even a Church Age Messenger, has the monopoly on all the revelation of the Word. Brother Branham spoke the truth when he said, “God don't tell His prophet everything; just what He wants him to know” (Sermon: “God has provided A Lamb”). Therefore what one prophet did not need to know, God would give to another. Yet, many foolish followers of the Endtime Message stubbornly believe that the Seventh Church Age Messenger had all the truths and that all the mysteries of the Bible were revealed to him. But Brother Branham had categorically stated the facts.
True believers know that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom.8:28). Are we all not many different members in the One Body of Christ? Do not all members have different functions but work together in perfect union? (Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.) Yet, this does not mean the unity of the churches should come about by an ecumenical effort of some ministers. God Himself knows how to lead His Body of True Worshippers to perfection.
With due respect to those Caucasian brothers who are true servants of God, many Caucasian ministers have been proselytizing the people of the poorer nations with their money. They go about 'buying' certain men whom they think are honest believers but who actually covet their money. After having 'bought' them, the ministers would 'sell' their “revelations” to these men to give out to their people. No wonder there is this MESS AGE.
Any minister who projects himself as one who has the monopoly on the Word of God is certainly being motivated by the spirit of dictatorship to put God's children under spiritual slavery. I know of several ministers who possess such a spirit.
The main characteristic of the revelation of the Word of God is its consistency with all the sixty-six books in the Bible. Thus, when a minister teaches something which is consistent with the whole Bible, the Urim and Thummin of God will light up to verify it. On the other hand, a false doctrine will not stand the test of consistency with the Word although many texts may be quoted, albeit out of context, to try to support it from being rejected by the Word Itself.
I know of some ministers who would not hesitate to gun down “new” teachings without first checking them with the Word. “New”, or for that matter “old”, teachings may not necessarily be false just because they had not been preached before by an old-timer, especially William Branham.
Take, for example, the “Parousia” doctrine (which is a teaching concerning the “the Arrival and the consequent Presence” of Christ). Is it a false doctrine? In his newsletter, a minister (a smart aleck, one who is too smart for his own good) ascribed this doctrine to the devil, simply because the Jehovah's Witnesses have preached it since the 1910s. How could he make such a foolish assumption that the doctrine was of the devil simply because a false cult has preached it wrongly based on their misconception? Perhaps the “new” version, which he has heard, was also not taught correctly. But that does not make the doctrine itself unscriptural. Let me ask this question: Is the Serpent Seed doctrine, which was taught by William Branham, of the devil simply because a sect has taught, based on their belief, that the Serpent (in the Garden of Eden) was a Negro, and that the Negro race came from the seed of the Serpent? They have taught that for many years before William Branham was on the scene.
The revelation of a true doctrine is always substantiated by its consistency with the whole Bible no matter which way we approach it. The four Gospel writers adopted different approaches in their writings about our Lord Jesus Christ, but the revelation of The Man in the four Gospels was consistent with one another. However, if we do not approach a doctrine in the right context of the whole Scriptures of God, inconsistencies and errors will inevitably result. For example, many Christians believe in the doctrine of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture and would often quote 1 Corinthians 15:51-56 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 in support of the doctrine. But these two passages of Scriptures are also used by the Mid-Tribulationists and the Post-Tribulationists to prove their respective theories of the “Rapture”. The texts are about the transformation of the saints and their meeting with Christ in the air. Nevertheless, there will be a rapture of the true Church of Christ before the Tribulation period. This is evident from the types and shadows reflected in various events in the Old and New Testaments. Types and shadows, as well as parables in the Bible, play an important part in our understanding of Biblical Truths and doctrines. Without them, we would not be able to understand many doctrines, let alone substantiate them.
There is no such thing as “NEW REVELATION” of the Bible. All the revelations concerning God and His Word can be found in the Sacred Scriptures. Many, of course, are hidden in mysteries. Therefore any unrevealed truth presently revealed are not really new. It has always been there in the Scriptures to be revealed at an appropriate time. Most followers of William Branham attribute the revelation of the Serpent Seed doctrine to him. The reason this doctrine appears to be new is that it has never been accepted by the main stream of Christendom throughout the Seven Church Ages except a small minority. In England, during the reign of Queen Victoria in the 19th Century, the doctrine was very much alive among a very small group of Bible believers. But the doctrine was washed away as false by the main stream of Christianity that few Christians got to hear of it until this 20th Century.
William Branham did not bring any new revelation. God gave him the Revelation of the Seven Seals in 1963 for the Church. Besides that he collected together all the major doctrines which were rejected by the churches throughout the past ages when theologically educated men, under the evil influence of Satan, began to formulate creeds and dogmas in place of the Scriptures. Yet, in all that, except for what was needed for the Bride to get to the 'place of preparation' (for her spiritual union with the Word-Groom) Brother Branham was not given all the revelations of the Scriptures for the Church nor were all mysteries revealed to him as many followers so dogmatically proclaimed. To substantiate their claim, Revelation 10:7 is commonly quoted. Yet this verse specifically states the “mystery of God” and not the “mysteries of God”. If one cannot understand this “mystery of God” how can he understand the “mystery of the Kingdom of God” and the “mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven” spoken of by Christ Jesus in the Gospels.
In the course of my ministry, I have been asked many questions and often criticized. My teachings are being filtered through or judged by the teachings of certain ministers. I would like to deal with some of the most common questions which have been asked and the uncalled for remarks made about me and my ministry. I am not trying to defend myself but to state my stand so that those who have made (or heard) unkind remarks about me may understand.
* Daniel's 70th Week: “Don't you believe what the prophet taught? He said that there'd be only 3½ years of Great Tribulation, instead you believe that there'll be 7 years. I believe you follow Junie Jackson's teaching on this.”
Please get this straight. I do not believe that there will be a 7-year Great Tribulation. I believe that there is going to be a 3½-year Great Tribulation known as Jacob's trouble, and that this period of 3½ years is the second half of the 70th Week (of 7 years which will begin after the Rapture of the true Church). This is exactly the way that Brother Branham had taught in his message “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel”. The second 3½ years of the 70th Week will begin at the sounding of the 4th Trumpet (of Revelation) when the Antichrist would literally sit in the temple at Jerusalem and claim to be God. The Antichrist will kill the Two Witnesses after they have prophesied for the first 3½ years, and then go after the 144,000 Jewish servants of God and the woman (Israel) of Revelation 12. The 144,000 will be sealed under the ministry of the Two Witnesses during the first 3½ years of the 70th Week.
Many ministers in this Endtime Message movement had made many irresponsible remarks about the sermons of William Branham. They said that his earlier teachings should be rejected, and only those which he taught after the Seven Seals were opened and revealed in 1963 should be accepted. In other words, they believed that the prophet began to receive anointing from God only after he had preached on “The Revelation of The Seven Seals”, and that none of what he had taught before that was inspired of God. Hogwash! The prophet said that he would never take anything back that he had taught under inspiration! That included everything he had taught throughout the whole of his ministry. And anything that is taught according to the Word is inspired of God.
And just because I believe in something which Brother Junie Jackson has taught, I am accused of following his teaching. Why do they not say that Brother Jackson follow Brother Gan's teaching? (The obvious reason is that Raymond Jackson is a White American.) It is also very obvious that these people are very strongly against Raymond Jackson. In their judgment, they believe that our teachings are contradictory to the prophet's teaching. As a matter of fact, our teachings are based on the same Bible from which the prophet had taught, whereas they, like parrots, merely quote him word for word without any understanding. No wonder there are such erroneous teachings as “Two Souls” and “Christian Polygamy” being propagated.
I accepted the Message in 1971 and got to know Raymond Jackson in 1976. Prior to 1971, I was in the Assemblies of God church. Prophetic study has been my favourite Bible subject. And I have studied the various views on Daniel's Seventy Weeks. My view then was that the first 69 Weeks were historical and the 70th Week would be just after the Rapture of the Church in the future. My view was confirmed when I read Brother Branham's book, “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel”, after receiving the Endtime Message. With the two dates, 445 B.C. and 33 A.D., which he had given, nothing could be clearer that only 483 prophetic years (69 weeks) were fulfilled, leaving another 7 years (1 week) yet to be fulfilled. That was exactly what the angel told Daniel, “after threescore and two weeks shall the Messiah be cut off...” (Dan.9:26), not after threescore and two and one-half weeks! It could not be clearer. Yet, many foolish followers of William Branham could claim with pride that they have the “revelation” that the “3½ years” mentioned by Brother William Branham was “Thus Saith The Lord” by ignoring his teaching on “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel”. Others believe in both the “7 years” and the “3½ years” statements. They would proudly proclaim “If we don't understand, we just believe it anyhow!” Goats they are, for goats eat whatever they see as palatable — anyhow! Sheep are not so, they only eat sheep food. They just know what to eat. Amen!
Now, as I have held this view before I got to know Brother Jackson, how could I be following him? May God keep such foolish people from presumptuous sins. Many of these same people have accused me of teaching lies. (In certain parts of Africa, some liars even dare to lie that I have claimed myself to be the 8th Messenger. I request that they read Proverbs 17:4 and Revelation 21:8, and read my message “There Is No Elisha!”) I believe that such people are being caught up in a spirit of lies, by lying spirits themselves, that they cannot distinguish between truth and lie. Perhaps they are under a strong delusion to believe and propagate lies. (Remember: The Word of God is Truth!) Because they are of the majority who quote the prophet, they feel secure. What blindness! O mercy! Why would they not check the Word and believe the Truth (cf. Prov.30:6)? Or are they having the sleeping sickness that they have to tag on to some blind leaders?
* “Brother Branham said that Jesus was born in April. What do you say?”
It is not important what I say or, for that matter, what Brother Branham said. The most important is what the Scriptures say. All Christians believe that Jesus Christ died in the month of April (corresponding to Abib or Nisan of the Hebrew calendar). Traditionally, 25th December is believed to be His birthday. And the majority in the Endtime Message just want to believe what the prophet had said about April — anyhow.
If the birth and death of Jesus took place in the month of April, then He must either be 33 or 34 years old, and not in between, when He died in the year 33 A.D. It is generally believed that the Lord ministered for exactly 3½ years after He was baptized by John the Baptist at about the age of 30 years (Lk.3:22,23, cf. Num.4:3). On that basis, He must be 33½ years old and not 33 or 34 at the time of His death. Now, how would those sticklers, who believe that 69 weeks of Daniel chapter 9 had been fulfilled (and that Jesus ministered for the first half week of the 70th Week, with only half a week to be fulfilled after the Rapture) reconcile the foregoing? Did He actually preach for exactly 3½ years? Check the Gospels!
Some of you may say: “Well, it doesn't really matter, I just believe the prophet. That's all.” Concealing yourself under such veneer of confusion of just the mere statements of Brother Branham does not make you a Bible believer. You are no different from the people who believe in Church traditions if you just believe what the prophet had taught without a revelation and an understanding of the Word of God!
Once a confused believing sister, who has long been in the Branhamite groups, asked me to explain a quote found in the “Conduct, Order, Doctrine of The Church”, Volume II, page 1088. William Branham was answering a question posed to him by a brother who had a marriage problem with his wife. He concluded saying “...remember, if you got the wrong person, you'll get the right one in the Millennium. You just keep going; all wrongs will be made right there.” The sister asked, “If I have the wrong husband here, will I get the right one over there, in the Millennium? Will there still be marriage for the Bride members? But how?”
Friends, if you do not take the statements of William Branham to The Absolute Word of God and search the Scriptures, then you are sure to “believe them anyhow”, and still end up confused.
* “I have read your book on “The Original Sin”. I disagree with you that the three sons of Noah were of a mixed seed. The prophet said that the women packed the seed of the Serpent. I believe that there is a literal physical race of the Serpent people on the earth today.”
These people simply do not understand what the prophet had said. There were four women in the ark. Do they mean to say that all the four women committed fornication with Cainite men and conceived their seeds before they entered the ark? If that is true, Scriptures would have mentioned such facts somehow in the genealogical records of the three sons of Noah – Japheth, Ham and Shem – concerning the names of their firstborn sons.
Because of a lack of “Back To The Bible” study and a neglect in checking the prophet's teachings with the Bible for a full understanding, many shall perish for lack of true Biblical revelation. God did not lie nor contradict Himself when He said that the whole earth was populated by the three sons of Noah (Gen.9:18-19). They are making God a liar by saying that there is a race of people who did not descend from any of the three sons. (There is a sect which believes that the Negroes are not the descendants of any of the three sons of Noah but are the direct descendants of the Serpent.) Some ministers are teaching that either Noah's wife committed fornication with Cainic men and became pregnant prior to her entering the ark or that Noah had a second wife who did it and was then secretly hiding in the ark. This appears to be their revelation. Such men have no regard for the Word of God. They blatantly contradict the obvious truth.
Many Endtime Message followers are actually brainwashed by so-called Endtime Message preachers and by fear into believing that unless they believe the words exactly as spoken by the prophet on his tapes, or The Spoken Word books, they are not an elect and therefore will never make it into the Rapture. (Note: I have found some of these preachers to be fickle minded. One moment they say that it takes Divine Love to enter the Rapture, and in the next moment they say it takes every spoken word of the prophet to enter in.) Many times I was taunted for defending the Precious Truth of the Lord. On one occasion, I was sarcastically told off that I did not really believe the prophet's teachings. This preacher remarked, “You dare to check the teachings of the prophet?! Who are you to do that?! You are supposed to believe even if you don't understand!” Oh! What foolishness! What foolish advice! Where is wisdom?!
This was my reply to him: “The prophet himself had taught the believers to check out what he preached, and if his teachings were not according to the Scriptures, then the believers were told not to believe them. And, in the days of Saint Paul, the believers of Berea checked Paul's teachings with the then available Sacred Scriptures of the Old Testament to see if those things Paul taught were true. Those Berean were wise. Even Paul had to acknowledge that they were more noble than those in Thessalonica. (Read Acts 17:10-11.) Did Paul rebuke them, saying: 'How dare you check my words and teachings! Don't you know that I am a Messenger of God?! Just believe, don't check!'? No, he did not. And I want to be like the Berean. I want to be called noble. Don't you?”
Paul's 'runners', Timothy, Titus and Silas would certainly not question any believer for checking up on Paul's teachings like that minister did to me and perhaps to many others.
Remember: God is in His WORD, He is not in the tapes or books of William Branham, He is not in the churches, He is not in the “Black Book”. HE IS IN HIS WORD — in the TRUTH that He REVEALS! If the tapes and books reveal the TRUTH, if the churches have the TRUTH, if the “Black Book” is rightly divided in the TRUTH, then God is in that TRUTH! God is LIGHT and in Him is NO DARKNESS! Blessed be the Name of Yahweh!
Question, question, question: yes, people are always asking questions. And if the answers are not Scriptural, more questions will arise and then after awhile confusion will set in. I know because I have been asked several times by confused believers (who are wandering about from church to church) on “how do you explain this, when Such-and-such said this; how do you explain that, when So-and-so said that”. I don't have to explain what Such-and-such or So-and-so said. There's enough confusion already. But just to show you the foolishness of it, let me relate a particular confusing point in a question about the “two trees” of Genesis. Some time in the early 1980s, I was given a copy of an article written by a minister of a Pentecostal church. In his article this minister wrote against the teaching of the Serpent Seed which was attributed to William Branham. He went to a church in Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A., apparently for proper first hand teaching. Questions were asked but the answers given, in reply to his questions, were obviously without revelations. He was told that the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” was the Serpent. He was also told that Eve ate of the fruit of that tree, that is, Eve had sexual knowledge with the Serpent. Question: Did Adam partake of that same tree? Answer: Yes. Question: Therefore Adam was a homosexual; he had sexual knowledge with the Serpent? Answer: No, he had it with Eve. Eve was the tree. Therefore Adam's sin was having sex with Eve.
If that is not confusion, I do not know what is. One moment the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” was the Serpent and then the next it was Eve. Such “revelations” clearly could not be from our Lord Jesus. They are nothing but trash being poured out by so-called preachers who are obviously not anointed of God.
Saints, if a believer has entered into the reality of God and His Word, he will question no more. The words and teachings of the Scriptures will pose no more problem.
* “In your book 'The Original Sin', you wrote that Noah was a Pure Sethite (that is to say that the Pure Blood Line ended with him) and that Mrs. Noah was the one who carried the Serpent seed over the Flood. But a certain minister, Brother —-, said that the Pure Blood Line ended with Enoch, and that 'there is no foundation for such an assumption' that Mrs. Noah was a mixed seed? Also, why were the brothers and sisters of Noah not permitted to enter the ark as they were also pure Sethites?”
First of all, I did not write (or verbally teach) that Mrs. Noah carried the Serpent seed over the Flood. I stated that Mrs. Noah was either a mixed seed (hybrid) or a Cainite.
Now, to say that the pure genetic line of Adam (through Seth) ended with Enoch is an assumption which is completely without Scriptural foundation. It could also be assumed that it ended with any one of the other eight firstborn from Seth to Lamech. Jude 14-16 are used to support the assumption that Enoch was the last of the pure blood line of the Sethic race. However, the verses only tell us that Enoch was raised up by God to prophesy to his generation of evil people.
There is also no Scriptural support that any of the ten pre-Flood Patriarchs was a mixed seed. The genealogical record ends with Noah. Evidently, he was the last of the pure breed of Sethic race. He was righteous in the eyes of the Lord. God does not permit a genealogy to be recorded indiscriminately. Unless a change in the family tree had taken place, the genealogical record would bear the names of all the firstborn only. The next in line would appear only when there had been a change.
Take a look at all the genealogical records in the Holy Writ. You will notice an orderly system of arrangement. For example, notice how that the record of the descendants of Shem ends with Terah and his three sons, Abram, Nahor, and Haran (Gen.11:10-26). However, Abram was not the eldest of the three; Haran was. (Check Acts 7:2-4 and Gen.11:32; 12:4). Now, why is not the name of the eldest recorded first? And why are the names of his brothers recorded together with his, while the earlier records of firstborn do not include the names of their brothers? The answer is apparent. God was exercising His choice! As such the firstborn was not necessarily included in the Messianic Line. The name of the chosen one would appear before the firstborn. We know of God's choice of Jacob over Esau. And what about Jacob's twelve sons by his four wives? Judah was the fourth born, but his name appears in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Gen.29:35; Matt.1:2).
Hence, as the genealogical record of the Adamic (or Sethic) race ends with Noah, every one in the bloodline, including Noah, must be pure. Notice that none of the other brothers of any of the firstborn sons is named together with them. Only the brothers of the firstborn of Noah are named with him. But Japheth was the firstborn; not Shem (cf. Gen.9:24; 10:21). Because the three sons came from Noah, a pure Sethite, and his wife who was not a Sethite, God exercised His choice by picking the youngest to begin the Messianic Line.
Have you noticed that Noah's first son was born when Noah was 500 years old? Doubtless, Noah must have waited very patiently for a long time to get married. Why? Apparently, it was not easy for him to find a good wife in his generation. (Though a mystery Noah's wife is actually revealed in the Scripture if one has the spirit of revelation to understand the hows and whys of the sequence of the genealogical records of Seth and Cain.) The Bible tells us that the people of his generation was so corrupted and wicked insomuch that God had to destroy it. This era of great evil had begun from the generation of Enos. That generation of Enos saw the Cainic race first profaning the name of Jehovah in their worship (Gen.4:26). As the Sethites and the Cainites slowly began to mix and intermarry, the mixed offspring were generally more wicked and evil. This was one of Satan's many cunning schemes to destroy Adam's race. As time continued, God raised up Enoch to prophesy against the corruption and wickedness of the evil people in his generation and to warn them of the impending judgment of God upon them (Jude 14-16). Gradually, the evil of men became so great that God had to call a halt to it in the generation of Noah (Gen.6:5,11). Noah's own brothers and sisters also succumbed to the evil and wicked influence of Cain's people that they indulged themselves in idolatry, debauchery and other evil deeds. Though genetically they were pure Sethites, they were no longer righteous in the sight of God. They were fallen sons and daughters of God.
However, though Noah married a mixed seed or a Cainite, he did not corrupt his own life. He walked with God, just as Enoch did, and kept away from all the rampant wickedness and evil. In the midst of moral darkness Noah's life was exceptionally radiant with righteousness. No other Sethite lived as he did in his generation (Gen.6:8,9; 7:1). Noah was the only man who found grace in the eyes of the Lord God.
Now, take notice of Genesis 6:9. The verse states that Noah was not only a just man but that he was also perfect in his generation. The word “perfect” is “tamim” in Hebrew, which means “without blemish” in terms of breed or pedigree. Hence, we see that Noah was a “pure breed” Sethite and the only righteous (“just”) person in his generation. His persistent faith had also saved his household from destruction. The rest of his “pure breed” brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and other relatives had all gone the ways of the Serpent kind. They had left the faith of their forefather Adam. Being fallen sons and daughters of God, they were not permitted to enter the ark.
No literal Serpent people exists today because all of them died in the Flood. As the seed comes from the man, Noah's wife could only pass her Serpentine nature to her three sons. And, as Noah and his wife had no other offspring, all the people born after the Flood came from their three sons.
The Serpentine traits in Ham was the strongest. It was so dominant that he committed incest with his mother. Like Eve, Ham's loin (his seed, Canaan) was cursed. His grandson, Nimrod, followed an almost similar course. Nimrod married his own mother, Semiramis. [Note: It was fornication in the Garden of Eden; it was fornication after the Flood; and it was fornication just before mankind was scattered all over the earth. (3 is the number of completion.)]
Now, I know that some would disagree with my view that Genesis 9:20-24 describes an act of incest. In support of my belief, reference is made to certain laws in chapters 18 and 20 of the Book of Leviticus. Now, this same certain minister, who believes that Ham was merely ridiculing Noah's drunkenness and nakedness, also tried to refute my statement by saying that the language would change with time. He contended that the phraseology used in the time of Genesis and the phraseology used in the time of Leviticus were not the same.
Well, if that is his theory, does he not know that all five books of the Pentateuch were authored by the same person, Moses? The books must have been written some time after he had led the children of Israel out of Egypt. And that was during the last 40 years of his life. Hence, as far as the language of words was concerned, the phraseology used must be the same throughout the five books when Moses penned them. Moses could not have written Leviticus and said, “Now, men of Israel, the phraseology used in this book is different from those used in the first book, Genesis, because the time we are living in is different.” Of course, not.
If Genesis 9:20-24 is not a record of the act of incest, then why was Canaan, a progeny of Ham's loin, cursed? Canaan was obviously the product of the incestuous act between Ham and his mother. Besides the word “nakedness”, we must note and consider two other keywords in the passage. They are “uncovered” and “saw”.
* “I believe that the 'men' who called upon the Name of the Lord in Genesis 4:26 were the descendants of Seth who began in earnest worship of God after Enos was born.”
The assumption that the last part of Genesis 4:26 refers to Divine Worship is indeed ridiculous. Before Seth, both Cain and Abel were already worshipping God. They were taught by Adam and Eve to do so. When Seth was born, he too learned to worship Jehovah after the tradition of his parents. He would in turn teach his children who would also learn about the form of Divine Worship from their grandparents, Adam and Eve. As such, it is indeed ridiculous to say that the Sethites only began to worship Jehovah after Enos was born. As it was only a short span of time between the two generations of Adam and Seth, how could they have forgotten how to worship God? True worship could not have begun only after Enos was born. It began when Adam was created and the true sons and daughters of the Living God have continued to worship God in spirit and in truth ever since.
As a matter of fact, men gradually became corrupted and depraved that they began to profane the Name of Jehovah. It was a Serpent seed (Lamech) who introduced polygamy. Similarly, it was the Serpent (Cainic) race who profaned the Sacred Name of Jehovah by calling their gods by the Sacred Name. Have you noticed how they had tried to destroy God's Divine Truth and Will for mankind? Among other evil things they rejected the Divine Will of Monogamy (One Wife only) and introduced Polygamy (Many Wives). They also rejected the Truth of Monotheism (One God only) and introduced Polytheism (Many Gods).
We can trace the origin of idolatry in Enos' days in some Ancient Hebrew writings. The writings show that the Holy Name of Jehovah was invoked in their worship of idols, stars and many other objects. When the Sethites began to mix with the Serpent people, they became vulnerable to the evil influence that they began to practise idolatry. From idolatry they began to indulge in debauchery, and from debauchery they went on to wickedness until they became so universally depraved that the Lord was determined to destroy the human race.
Beloved, if you lack wisdom in the understanding of the Word, pray the Father that He may give you the Spirit of Wisdom and Knowledge. Many have not asked for it because they think that their human wisdom is good enough. Some would even hit out against the Truth to save their face when they discovered that their revelation of the Word was contrary to the Truth itself.
There have been many other “abuses” hurled at me by people whose minds are just too shallow to understand what I said. I do not have to clarify, to answer, or to prove everything because I am not responsible for their misapprehension. In one instance I was accused of saying that Malachi 4:2-3 is now being fulfilled in the 5-fold ministry or that it is the 5-fold ministry. This was said to be quoted from my booklet “Elders=Pastors?” (which has been enlarged and entitled “Overseership”). But, I have not written anything like that in my book. As a matter of fact, I quoted Malachi 4:2 as a comparison of the types and shadows. I did not quote Malachi 4:2-3.
Another minister accused me of saying that when William Branham died, the “Evening Light” went out. He also accused me of saying that William Branham's message was an unclear light by quoting the following sentences supposedly from the same booklet: “When Brother Branham came he turned the saints around a corner to receive the Evening Light Message. That was a period of unclear light, neither day nor night, a dismal day indeed! (Zech.14:6-7)”.
Is that what I said? Have I written something like that? If he would read the relevant part of my book again, he would realise that he has not only wrongly accused me, but he has also created a wrong impression about my teaching to those whom he preached to.
What I have written was that, at the time when Brother Branham came, that was A PERIOD of unclear light which was neither day nor night, and that Brother Branham came in that evening time with the “Evening Time” message. Continuing in that same paragraph, I said that “the Evening Light lit the way out of spiritual death in denominationalism towards the Promised Word of God.” If William Branham's message was an unclear light how could it give light to those who wanted to get out of denominationalism? If that “Evening Light” was an unclear light, then you and I would still be in the Babylonian system. And if the “Evening Light” went out upon the death of the prophet, how did the believers, who never personally knew the prophet in the first place, get to receive the Truth of the Message? [Servants of God, do be very careful how you hear, or read, another fellow-servant's teaching(s)! Surely your attitude and spirit will speak for yourself.]
Comparison and analogy are like types and shadows in Scriptures. They help us to understand the Word better.
The two ministers, like many others, refer to Zechariah 14:6-7 as being literally fulfilled by William Branham's ministry in this age. One of them teaches that the two verses are being literally fulfilled by the present period of closing Gentile dispensation of the Gospel Age because it is the “evening time”, and that the “message” of William Branham was a “full light”. Is that not taking the verses completely out of context? And if such a teaching is true, then the Gospel (Sun), which dawned in the days of the Apostles should have its zenith in the Fourth Church Age and not in the Seventh. But is that so?
The whole of the 14th chapter of Zechariah deals with the Good News of the “Sun of Righteousness” (cf. Mal.4:1-3) that would return to Jerusalem and its people “in that day” (vv.4,6,8,9,20,21) when the Lord's Christ shall come for them. “That day” is known as the “day of the Lord” which follows the dark period of the Great Tribulation. It will be just as Isaiah had prophesied: “Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising” (60:1-3; cf. Matt.24:29-31). Zechariah chapter 14, whether as a whole or in part, does not refer to the condition of the Laodicean Church Age. But because William Branham quoted it, the believers simply grabbed it without an understanding of what he was saying and took it as being fulfilled in our days. Zechariah 14:6-7 are as often misunderstood as Amos 3:7. Being a typologist, William Branham was taking Israel's condition to type spiritual Israel (the Church).
One important fact that I wish to point out is that the words “evening time” do not refer to the time when the sun is just beginning to set. They refer to the time when the sun has already set and when the first evening star can be seen in the sky, noticeably in the west. (Check the definitions of the following words in the dictionary: evening, evening light/star, sunset and sunrise.)
It is evident that the words “evening time” in Zechariah 14:7b are opposed to the idea that the sun has not set. If the sun has not set, there would still be light as the sun continues to shine. And when the sun is already providing light, does it make sense for Zechariah to prophesy “that at evening time it shall be light” ?
Therefore, to type it spiritually, during the period of the Seventh Church Age, the “evening light” could only come from an “evening star” and not from the “setting sun”. Remember that William Branham was the Seventh Star-Messenger and his message was the “evening light” that reflected the Light of Christ, the “Daystar”. [Note: Because darkness existed in every Church Age, a Star was sent to each age to light up the Pathway of Truth. However, only the Seventh Church Age has been referred to as “evening time”. The “evening time” is a time for the marriage of the Heavenly Bridegroom and the Earthly Bride as the Daystar comes dawning upon the heart of the Bride.]
However, as I have mentioned earlier, Zechariah 14 deals with the Day of the Lord when Christ shall come at the closing of the 3½ years of Jacob's trouble and reign over the whole earth. This will be the “evening time” when darkness shall be overcome by the Light of the Sun of Righteousness (the Glorious Corporeal Appearing of Jesus Christ) to usher in the Age of Regeneration.
The condition of Zechariah 14:6-7 and the condition of the Laodicean Church Age are analogous. Malachi 4:2 can likewise be compared with the Joshuaic ministry of Ephesians 4. Read 2 Peter 1:19 and compare it with Malachi 4:2.
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” — 2 Peter 1:19
“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” — Malachi 4:2
Do you notice the similarity of those two verses and the truth expressed in them? I pray that you do, for both are beautiful types that befit the true endtime Bible believers. The Scriptures are the language of the Spirit through which He expresses Himself. They were entrusted to the children of Abraham in whose language are various expressions which hide and yet reveal The Truth in all its beauty and simplicity. [Note: These terminologies, which are coined from the Scriptures, are relative to the 5-fold ministry of Ephesians 4:11-16 — “Ascension Gifts” (Eph.4:7-11), “Sun Rise ministry” (Mal.4:2), “Daystar ministry” (2 Pet.1:19), “Joshuaic ministry” (Josh.1), “Voice of the Archangel” (1 Thess.4:16), and “Perfection of the Bride ministry” (Eph.4:11-16; Heb.6:1); whereas these are relative to the ministry of the Seventh Church Age Messenger (Rev.3:14) — “Ministry of Elijah the Prophet” (Mal.4:5-6b), “Mosaic (Calling Out) ministry” (Matt.25:6), “Shout Message” (1 Thess.4:16), “Evening Light” or “Evening Time Message” (Zech.14:6-7), “Voice of the Seventh Angel” (Rev.10:7), and “Restoration of The Bride Tree” (Joel 2:25-26).]
One of the works of the Holy Spirit is to teach us all things and to bring to our remembrance all things which Jesus has taught us (cf. Jhn.14:26). However, in order to have that ability to learn, one must seek the Mind of the Father and be willing to lean completely upon Him. One must learn to lean upon God, and in leaning, learn to hear (Prov.3:5-7). In so doing, one would obtain wisdom and the ability to understand God's Word (Prov.9:9-10).
There are many different means by which a child of God could learn of the things of God, but there are many people who are unwilling to listen and learn from others. Some ministers just will not listen and learn from other ministers. When it comes to the sharing of the Word, they give no space for the others to breathe, so to speak. Being confident is one thing, but being over confident is another. It's pride! Being dogmatic is one thing, but being arrogant is another. It stinks! They will sulk and become enemies when their teachings are proven wrong. [Many ministers are so heady and high-minded that they can not humble themselves to apologize to the party whom they have offended.]
The Word of God is like a well-balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins, water and roughage. As the natural body needs these natural food products for health and growth, so does the spiritual Body of Christ also need all the spiritual nutrients which are found in the Word. If there is any lack of any of God's spiritual food products in the Body of Christ, the Spirit of the Lord will cause the Body to be aware of the need. A sick body, whether it is a natural or a spiritual body, is a result of an unbalanced diet. Unfortunately, many ministers are over-feeding their churches with certain “diet” of the Word at the expense of other diets. Some are over indulging their churches in “church orders”, some in “spiritual gifts” some in “receiving more revelation”, some in “thunders” and so on. What they should be doing is to recognise and “hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” regarding the lack in their churches. If we neglect one doctrine or emphasize another more than what God has intended in The Book, we will soon veer off the straight and narrow pathway into errors, and on the broad way to destruction. (I have often wondered whether these ministers are deaf or they are dead that they could not hear.)
Occasionally I have heard some Endtime Message preachers screaming against the sin of harming one's body. They would cry out, “Tobacco is bad for you! It'll sicken your lungs and cause cancer! Liquors are bad for you! It'll sicken your liver and cause cirrhosis! Don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit!”
Well, they have done well on that. But how about warning the women in the church against high-heeled shoes? Stand up and rebuke: “High heeled shoes are bad for you, too! They'll sicken the muscles stretching from your legs all the way up to your nape and cause your body to be distorted! Not only are you hurting yourself, but the devil is making use of the unnatural twist of your body to entice men! Don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?!”
And what about the women who trim and cut their hair? Let us honestly ask ourselves this question: “What is our motive?” Preachers, are you trying to compromise with your assembly that you may please them? Brothers, are you ashamed of your wives who may look like old ladies? (This is more so in the Asian traditional thinking.) Sisters, are you ashamed of your long hair because of pressures from relatives, friends and colleagues? Or do you fear that your hair might one day sweep the floor? (Not, unless you nourish them daily.) Whatever your motive, remember, the hair is given unto a woman for a covering. It is her crowning glory. No wonder Paul was firm in his words when he concluded “But if any man seems inclined to quarrel or to argue about this, we have only this custom and recognize no other regulation, nor do the churches of God” (1 Cor.11:16, paraphrase mine).
In his epistle on the subject of women's hair (see 1 Corinthians chapter 11), Paul is also dealing with the issue of headship of man over the woman. The woman is shown here as a type of the Church under Christ. The crowning glory of the Church is the Revelation of THE WORD of God. It is given unto her for a VEIL — a COVERING, a PROTECTION, and a DEFENCE. And that Glory upon her is her Christ, her Head — Jesus, her Lord and Saviour, Master and God! See? So, let us not try and trim off the revelation of the Word; organized religions may do that, but not the True Church of the Living God. Let us understand that the type reflects the truth.
Now, some of you ministers may disagree with me and condone the use of high-heeled shoes by the sisters. Again, sincerely ask yourself this question: “What is my motive?” You may think there is nothing wrong with wearing them and that the sisters are not complaining of discomfort. [Go and ask any down-to-earth chiropractor, and he will tell you that wearing shoes with more than two-inch heels or with spike heels will cause back trouble, sooner or later.] But let me say this to you and to all Christian women, that vanity has a straight face and that the devil has lied to you just as he has lied to many who took their first puff of cigarette or first sip of liquor. Sure, smoking a cigarette or drinking a glass of liquor does not seem to hurt. But when you have fallen into the trap of the devil, you would completely ignore the sufferings because of vanity. Truly “vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity” (Eccl.1:2).
Customs and traditions vary from one nation to another, and from one tribe to another, especially in Asia. It is important that Bible believers, especially ministers, understand the culture of the people before attempting to teach the pros and cons of it. I have been told by several foolish believers and ministers that the Bible forbids the keeping of traditions. They quoted such verses of Scriptures in support of their belief — Matthew 15:2-6 and Mark 7:3-13. But these Scriptures have nothing to do with the traditions and the customs of any people but rather those which were formulated by religious people (in this case, the 'pious' Jews — the Scribes) to be observed by the “children of Abraham”. These traditional laws were held to be the finishing touches to the Divine revelation of God. They were upheld above the Sacred writings of Moses and the prophets. (Are not the Branhamites doing the same?) The fact is that they were nothing more than “creeds and dogmas” even though many of these traditions were formulated along the line of the Old Testament laws. Hence, when the people observed these traditions above the Word of God they actually rendered the Word of God useless. Our Lord would never have condemned the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees if they had not put their traditions above the Word. However, many followers of the Endtime Message, having no understanding of Scriptures, blast out that it is wrong for an Asian to celebrate the Lunar New Year or one's birthday, to keep certain customs/traditions, or even to eat certain food. (I wonder if these believers have any quarrel with the traditional festivals of the Jews such as Hamishah Asar, Hanukah, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hodesh, Purim, etc.? Perhaps they don't because they believe such are festivals for a Biblical people.) These believers are unable to differentiate racial traditions from pagan practices. They cannot tell what Asian traditions and customs Christians can or cannot practise because they consider such Asian festivals as inappropriate for Asian Christians. They do not seem to realize that much of what they are practising today are actually traditions and customs of different nations. Just to quote two examples: i) The shaking of hands in greetings — this was never a custom of the East. The Eastern tradition was “kowtowing” the head or bowing the body from the waist. Do you know what the Eskimos do in greetings? ii) Wearing of white gowns by brides — this appears to be derived from the Scriptures which show that white symbolizes purity. All over the world, we see women who are not even Christians wear white gowns in their weddings. But according to the traditions of the East, even from the beginning of Bible time, the people originally wore bright and colourful garments in their weddings. So, are the Oriental Bible believers supposed to do away with their own traditions and customs and hold on to that of the West? Some American preachers even spoke against the use of the African drums when they saw the African believers using them in their worship. They considered the African drums as pagan instruments just because such drums were used in pagan tribal worship! Are the African believers to use only western-type drums? Foolishness. If we have the understanding we can see why the Apostle Paul did not object to the customs and traditions of any people (Acts 28:17). He even taught us to give due respect to one another's convictions (Rom.14:5,6,14). But those without the understanding pride themselves in always disputing and condemning others who do. They just can't hold their peace.
Beloved, what is the time? Do you know the hour we are living in? Do you recognise the stage of event that the Bride of Christ is in now?
Although this is the Age of Laodicea, the Bride is not in the Laodicean condition. This may be hard for some ministers to understand. The Bride has already got out of that condition and is now in another realm. Brother Branham called it the Token or Bride Age. An age is a period of time. And the Bride is in that period of her marriage with the Word-Groom while the general church world continues with their Laodicean activities. Although they belong to the same generation of time, they are two different categories of people who are living in two different realms.
Truly, this is the Age of People's Right. There is a fair number of so-called believers of this Endtime Message who refuse to identify themselves with a local body of believers. It is often their pride and desire to be independent that keep them from submitting themselves to those who are in authority. Also, there are those who believe that once they are born again they belong to Christ and are members of His Heavenly Church, and therefore there is no need for them to be identified as members of a local assembly. Some even believe that such identification with a local assembly means coming under the control of a nicolaitan spirit because the Pastor is the authority or head of the assembly. They claim to have “no Creed but the Bible”, but are walking contrary to the Word when they say “no Pastor but Christ”. They want to be independent and not be accountable for what they do. In this way, they can do whatever they want to do. Some even accuse the Pastors of being dictators by saying that they have no right to be concerned with the unethical behaviour of the members of their assemblies. They are only deceiving themselves because of their lack of understanding of the functions of the Body of Christ. Wise Solomon says: “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him” (Prov.26:12).
Paul's first epistle to the saints of Corinth contains certain rules on how a local assembly of saints should function (12:12-28; cf. 1:2 and Heb.12:23). Every member of a body has a function. Each member is dependent upon the other members of the body that the whole body may grow and mature. And since God is not the Author of confusion (14:33), each member of a local assembly should always be at his post of duty in that body. He should not go about from church to church when there is a gathering in his assembly. For example, if he does that, it would be like a hand which is cut off from the body and joined to another body which already has two hands. There would thus be a body without a hand and another body having three hands. Now, what if every member decides to go about from church to church? Confusion will arise, will it not?
God has His ways of getting His saints to assemble. He does not confuse them. Certainly, the saints of like precious faith from the various churches may meet together for special gatherings whenever they like. To be unequally yoked with different “faiths” is contrary to the commandment of God (2 Cor.6:14-18). Yet, there are those who would even join themselves with “old leaven” of the flesh (1 Cor.5:6-13).
The Seventh Church Age Messenger exhorted us to seek the best Teacher of the Word of God and stay with him and support the ministry. However, many do not do that. They would merely stick to anyone whom they fancy according to their feelings, even if it is glaringly obvious that his teachings are contradictory to the Truth. I know of many who follow certain preachers just because they were with William Branham throughout most part of his ministry. Some even believe that the one whom they are following is the “Elisha” with that Elijah's spirit of the prophet. And, some of these preachers have no regard whatsoever for The Absolute Word of God, except for the prophet and his taped messages and books! Unwittingly, the followers are being misled by the working of their own flesh.
When a believer shuns the authority of Christ and His Church, he becomes a stray lamb (if he is a lamb). He may meet a lion in the wilderness and fall into Satan's clutches. Many Endtime Message believers call themselves 'eagles', but they are like 'chickens' who were hatched in an incubator and who have never even heard the cluck of a mother hen. Perhaps, they may be raised in an eagle's nest. But without eagle's wings, they are unable to fly to the realm of the eagles.
Beloved, let us not let our participation in the local assembly be detached from the bond between us and Jesus Christ. If we do, then our tie with the church will sooner or later lack the fervent commitment and spiritual character it should have, and our relationship with the Lord will also lack depth, power and reality. So, let us all subject ourselves to authority — the authority which is of God, His Word and His Church.
You may ask, “Why the Church, too?”
Well, if the Spirit of God is in His Word, and the Word is in the Church, which is the Bride, then the Voice of God is in her (Rev.22:17). She walks with the Word. The Spirit and the Bride are one.
The world continues to move on in spiritual darkness. The devil and his evil horde go about seeking whom they may devour or deceive and confuse. So, as believers, let us not shun that fact. The Bride of Christ must also move on in this world of spiritual darkness. We must also go on unto perfection (Heb.6:1). We have to grow unto the full stature in Christ Jesus by the means that He has provided us. Remember that God has never left His people without a leadership. Through His Spirit, He gives the Church the gifts of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors and Teachers. These are ordained to lead and build up the Church (Eph.4). Any church which is ordained of God will definitely have access to His Apostolic Ministry which is given to certain men of God to set the church on the proper foundation of The Word of God. To be able to recognize and receive an Apostle is to receive an Apostle's reward. Read Matthew 10:41 and 1 Corinthians 9:2. (This is also true of the other ministries.) Without the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets (Eph.2:19-22) any assembly of people will easily be tossed to and fro by various crafty and sneaky men whose motives are to proselytize them for their gains.
There are also some who say they believe in the Joshuaic ministry of Ephesians 4. But their lives prove their confession to be negative because they do not recognize the true leadership and fail to move over into the Promised Word of Milk and Honey. All they do is to wander about in the wilderness of their own self-righteousness all the time eating and re-eating the same dishes of manna (tapes/books of sermons) of William Branham because they cannot see beyond those tapes and books. They are proud to call themselves “Tapeworms” and “Bookworms”. These “wandering stars” very often possess such spirits as gossiping, backbiting, faultfinding, nit-picking, hairsplitting, misrepresentation of truths, etc., about others with whom they do not agree. They are full of pride. However, one thing is certain, that self-confidence and self-reliance are extremely dangerous. That is why such people are deceived, some even are recipients of evil spirits. In their individualism – their desire to be loners with no responsibility to an assembly – they do not apprehend the Body of Christ. In fact such people never really discern what the Body of Christ is nor how it operates. Of course they always give their excuses: “I cannot be a part of this assembly because its teachings are wrong. That assembly is under nicolaitanism. And Brother So-and-so is…blah, …blah,…blah”. And they are always right in their own conceit. If only they would read Joshua 5:12 and try to understand spiritual truth and its application, they would not be caught up in such a spiritual state. Remember: God will not reveal Himself unto you unless you come to that place where His Presence is and obey His commands. Read and compare Joshua 5:13-15 with Exodus 3:1-5.
Obviously, just as there are true leaders of God's people there are also false leaders. Then, there are those self-proclaimed leaders who make themselves master over God's heritage. Anyone who claims to be a servant of God must be tested (Rev.2:2). There must be vindications to his calling. However, many believers just do not know what to look for. Many are taught to ask themselves these questions: “Brother Branham was vindicated of God, what vindications has this preacher? Has he the same vindications as Brother Branham?” Now, that is foolishness. The vindications that William Branham had were vindications to his calling as a Church Age Messenger fulfilling the Scriptures of Malachi 4:5-6, Revelation 3:14 and Luke 17:30 (cf. vv.22-30). If another minister has the same vindications as William Branham then both would have fulfilled the same calling of the same Scriptures. Then we would have two Messengers to the same Age.
What vindicates a minister as a man of God ordained for the ministry is not his gifts of tongues, prophecies, healing, miracles, etc., but the manifestations of his life and ministry according to the Scriptures. Signs and miracles do not vindicate a man's calling. The devils can impersonate these very things. False anointed ones have them, too, but they don't take you to the Word. John the Baptist did not perform signs and wonders, but he did certainly point the elect to the Word of God — Jesus Christ! (A large number of followers of William Branham are living by signs and wonders. They get elated when they hear about signs and wonders. When they don't they would look downcast. They cannot live by the Word of God without signs and wonders. Signs are shown according to the will of God, and also according to the faith of the ministers and those who hear the Word. Do not forget that there were many who were prayed for by William Branham but were not healed. It was not William Branham but God who healed the sick and the afflicted.) However, there are certain definite tests and vindications which enable us to discern a man's ministry. For example, a brother proclaims that God called him and ordained him a Pastor, but he has no sheep. Is he a Pastor? Would you recognise as your Pastor someone who would leave you and your brethren to the care of some elders while he enjoys himself somewhere else but would promptly come back to collect all the tithes and offerings? Could you not discern the spirit of such a man? From the life that he is living, could you not tell what kind of a man he is? If he does not live and manifest the calling, then he is not called of God. He is an impostor. And would you be so foolish as to support such a man? Now, if any one calls himself an Apostle, make sure you test his revelation of the Word and check the foundation of the churches he is supposed to have built (cf. Eph.2:19-22) or have an influence. If a church is unstable in its faith and testimony there must be something wrong with its foundation. The instability must be due to one of these three causes: an unlaid foundation, a cracked foundation, or a destroyed foundation. An unlaid foundation, because he does not know what he is supposed to do; a cracked foundation, because he is not able to hold straight the Plumbline of the Word; and a destroyed foundation, because his teachings are the very cause of destruction. (I have known men who called themselves Apostles, but are not.)
A true leader must first be a servant of all (Mk.10:43,44). He must be willing to serve. The characteristic traits of a true leader are: energy, intelligence, and character. In his book “The Reaper”, A. W. Tozer wrote, “A true and safe leader is likely to be one who has no desire to lead, but is forced into a position of leadership by the inward pressure of the Holy Spirit and the press of the external situation.” That is a fitting description of how the many men of God in the Bible were forced into the position of leadership, for example, Moses, Joseph, David, Peter, Paul and John. Therefore we should be wary of those who are ambitious and eager to lead. Such people usually end up causing troubles in the church by sowing discords among the saints of God because of their lack of humility and wisdom.
My beloved friend and believer of the Word, I pray that you are able to discern true leadership from false one; and, humble and sincere man from ambitious and hypocritical one. We do not need an outward revival in this hour. What we need now is an inward turning to The Absolute Word — The Absolute Christ — for a complete and constant infilling of the Holy Spirit. Yes, truly the Spirit says, “He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
May the Lord Jesus grant you His abundant Grace to help you grow spiritually in Him and in the Knowledge of His Word. May He keep you from the hands of wrong men and give you the Spirit of wisdom as you learn to lean on Him. I pray, in the wonderful Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.