The Ministry of The Spoken Word of Life
Richard l. s. Gan
All over the world, millions of Christians are waiting for the Rapture. They are waiting for their bodies to be changed (into glorified ones) and then suddenly disappear from this earth. It has been widely believed that the Rapture of all Christians will, and can, take place at any time on any day. Many preachers have painted a breathtaking scenario of what they believe will be the outcome of the “sudden” rapture – the disappearance – of millions of Christians. They teach that chaos will rule the day when Christians suddenly disappear from homes, schools, office-buildings, cars, buses, trains, ships, planes and other private and public places or vehicles. The “sudden” catching away will cause their clothing, shoes, money bags, pens and other personal belongings to fall off from their bodies as they fly heavenward to meet Jesus Christ in the air. The non-Christians around will become frantic as they see Christians disappear before their eyes. They will witness chaos all around them. Vehicles without drivers will collide with other vehicles on the roads; likewise, ships without pilots on the seas. Pilot-less airplanes will crash into each other in mid air or crash to the earth. Also, there will be riots as looters grab goods from shops and properties owned by Christian families who have disappeared. And all over the world thousands, perhaps millions, of people will die or be injured as a result of these vehicular crashes, riots and lootings.
But is there a Scriptural basis for this scenario? The awesome scenario presented by these preachers is derived out of context from the following verses of Scriptures:
1 Cor.15:51: Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1 Cor.15:52: In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1 Thes.4:16: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1 Thes.4:17: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Do we really see the same picture as painted by these preachers in these verses of the Bible? The painted scenario is obviously just the figment of imagination of some foolish theologians and Christian writers.
Friends, the truth of the matter is that the coming great event of the Rapture will not take place suddenly. There are many scriptures which support this view, even the passage of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:9 (cf. 2 Thess.2:1-5). Some parables also verify the fact. The parable of the Ten Virgins (in Matthew 25) shows the picture of a bridegroom (representing the Christ) coming to marry his bride. This spiritual marriage will take place on earth. When it takes place, the wise virgins, who are all ready, enter in to the wedding while the foolish ones go about in search of oil. These “ten virgins” are the Christians who have “come out” of the traditional churches and the interpretations of men to “meet Him”. By the time the foolish virgins have the oil they need to guide them through the streets of religious darkness to the wedding, the door is closed and they are left out to face the darkness of the Great Tribulation. This parable does not present a picture of a chaotic world at the time of the Rapture. Chaos will prevail during the period of the Great Tribulation 3 years later after the Rapture. And not every one who claims to be a Christian will be caught up in the Rapture. Those so-called Christians who are not watchful and prayerful in their daily walk with Christ, may not be able to make it.
“And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”
– Genesis 5:23-24
“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”
– Hebrews 11:5
Many Bible believers have looked upon Enoch as a type of all the living elect who will be raptured to meet Christ Jesus in the air. It is interesting to know why Moses specifically stated that Enoch lived for 365 years before his translation from this earth. There are 365 days in the present solar year. Obviously, the Holy Spirit is showing us that, in order to be translated, the elect ought to walk with God daily as Enoch did “for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God”.
Among all the saints in his days, what marked Enoch as a triumphant saint of the Lord for the “rapture”? Did not Adam walk with God? Did not Mahalaleel walk with God? Or, did not any of the other descendants of Adam walk with God? It is not difficult to conclude that many of the pre-Flood saints did walk with God. Noah, who lived before and after the Flood, was a man who “walked with God” (cf. Gen.6:9). However, there must be something crucial about how “Enoch walked with God” which the other saints lacked when “they walked with God”. Definitely! It is clearly stated in the Bible that Enoch had a testimony — he pleased God! His walk with God was characterized by a FAITH that was lacking in the lives of the other saints of God. Enoch had that unique FAITH after he begot Methuselah (Gen.5:21-22). And with a testimony that He pleased God, IT separated him from the rest of his kinsfolk. And he was marked for the translation. Amen.
Now, how does one please God? “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb.11:6). And what is this faith which pleases God? What is the faith that makes a true worshipper of God eligible for the rapture?
Is any of the religious faiths of the Christians in the various denominational churches truly the FAITH of God? Is any of these faiths the faith which pleases God? Perhaps there is ONE among the several thousands of religious Christian faiths? Is the Baptist faith sufficiently pleasing to God? Or, is it the faith of the tongue-speaking Charismatics? What about the faith of those gifted ones in Pentecostalism? Maybe the evangelical Presbyterians have the true faith? Or, could it be the faith of the Branhamites who strongly believe in the verbatim statements of God's Prophet-Messenger, William M. Branham? But why did Jesus ask the following question in Luke 18:8b: “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
When the Lord returns will He find faith? With so many different teachings about “faith” in today's churches how does one recognize the true faith of God — the FAITH that will translate any believer who can receive it? Yes, will Jesus Christ find the FAITH among all the “faiths” in Christendom, among the people who call themselves “Christians” or “Bible Believers”?
THE SPOKEN WORD — THE ORIGINAL SEED
For the answers to these questions, we need to look to eternity past — to the beginning of the LOGOS OF GOD. The Apostle John wrote in John 1:1-4:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
The LOGOS OF GOD was the SPOKEN WORD which emanated from the Almighty Invisible Spirit (YHWH) as the BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD. The Logos was the ORIGINAL SEED, the MONOGENE OF GOD which came forth out of YAHWEH. It was through the Spoken Word that God created the Heavens and the Earth (Heb.11:3; Gen.1:1,26,27). In Him was LIFE, the LIGHT for mankind (Jhn.1:4,9). And about 2000 years ago the ORIGINAL WORD came and tabernacled in a vessel, a body of flesh specially prepared by God (Heb.10:5). That vessel was the body of the person called Jesus. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (Jhn.1:14). The Spoken Word was the ANOINTING of God. It was LIFE. Thus, by His Own Word was God made manifest in the flesh of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
Now, the Spoken Word which originated from God in the beginning was to reveal God's majesty — His Holiness, His Life, His Love, His Grace, His Power and all the characteristics of God. The Spoken Word was the DIRECT MINISTRY of the Great Invisible Spirit as He became visible to begin the work of creation. This Logos was the intermediary between the INVISIBLE (the Eternal Spirit of God) and the VISIBLE (the creation of God). Hence, the Spoken Word (Logos) was a direct revelation of God Himself. The Logos declared Him. AND THIS SPOKEN WORD WAS THE ONLY REVELATION OF THE TRUE FAITH TO HIS ELECT. It is not a religious faith; it is a SPIRITUAL FAITH; it is a LIFE FAITH.
The Spoken Word of God was the creative power of God, Who Himself was the CREATOR. LIFE came forth at Its very command right from the very beginning. Without this Spoken Word, there would be no life. Our Lord Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt.4:4; Lk.4:4) and “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (Jhn.6:63). Truly, from the time of Adam until the Law was given, the true worshippers of God lived by the FAITH of the spoken words which proceeded from the mouth of the Living God. The word-of-mouth message of God in those generations was life. It was a living message. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom.10:17). In other words, faith (the revelation of Truth, Grk: logos) comes by hearing God's anointed Word. The revelation of God's Truth is imparted through the anointed spoken word (or utterances, Grk: rhema). Like an evergreen tree, THE LIFE OF THE WORD of the Living God came forth in stages. It was first spoken forth as a seed. Then in a continuous stage of growth tassels were brought forth, followed by the stalk, the branches, the leaves and the flowers until its final stage when the fruits, bearing many seeds of the same life, appeared.
It is indisputable, therefore, that the anointed spoken word of God which Enoch heard and received had a quickening effect upon him. In receiving the revelation of the message, Enoch walked with God daily in the promise of that Spoken Word, the Original Seed of God. Enoch's attitude and mentality were centered on the “present truth” with a steadfast conviction. He was “established in the present truth”, so to speak (cf. 2 Pet.1:12). Undoubtedly he knew the creative power of the Spoken Word of God. And he was “marked off” from the rest of the saints. Enoch was translated by the Lord who would not allow him to see death. Amen! Life comes by the Spoken Word.
Now, the “catching away” of Enoch was not a sudden event. Certainly, God did not 'snatch' Enoch from the earth while he was walking on the road or working in the field. God also did not cause Enoch to disappear in full view of any of his family members or friends. However, when it was time for him to leave the earth, Enoch must have advised his family and close relatives not to go looking for him when they should suddenly find him 'missing'. Yes, Enoch had a testimony. Through him, God gave mankind a legacy of His Gospel in stones – the Pyramid (of Giza) – as a testament to Enoch's message of God's judgment on the people of the earth (Jude 14-16).
The revelation of LIFE in the Spoken Word of God is all important to a child of God. Five hundred and fifty years after Enoch was translated, the Flood was decreed for “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen.6:5). Undoubtedly the seeds of the Serpent (the Cainites) and the seeds of Seth were so well mixed that all Sethites, except Noah, must have had their faith watered down to nothing more than religious tradition. God's people – the Sethites – no longer had the true faith for they did not walk with God according to His Word. Either their faith was mixed with that of the Cainites' or it was mixed with their own evil thoughts. Also, the Sethites could not have been a united people. Schism would have easily arisen as smart theological men set up different religious organizations to teach their interpretations of God and His Word. And so out of the thousands and thousands of Sethites, who were the descendants of Adam through Seth, only “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Gen.6:8). “Noah walked with God” with the true faith and he was able to hear and receive the Spoken Word in his days (Gen.6:9b cf. 6:22).
Similarly, are not God's people – the Christians – just the same today? Is not the true “faith which was once delivered unto the saints” watered down and so mixed with man's imaginations, especially in this Laodicean Age, that more than 33,000 factions now exist? They are the results of so-called “great” preachers and theologians (most of whom do not have a direct calling from the Lord) interpreting and teaching the Bible according to “every imagination of the thoughts of their heart” or according to their different denominational foundations. And so out of the millions upon millions of Christians today, how many will find grace in the eyes of the Lord? How many have the true faith and do truly walk with God? How many are hearing and receiving the Spoken Word of God for our days?
THE WRITTEN WORD
Not long after the Lord Jesus Christ began His ministry, He went to the City of Jerusalem. There He entered the temple where His zeal for God's house caused Him to force all commercial activities to a halt. And the Jews challenged His authority for doing so.
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
But he spake of the temple of his body.
When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.”
– John 2:19-22
Notice the last verse: “When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; AND THEY BELIEVED THE SCRIPTURE, AND THE WORD WHICH JESUS HAD SAID.” We can see from this verse that the disciples really did not understand much of the words of Christ when they were following Him in His ministry. None of us could really understand the deep things of God until we are first filled with the indwelling Spirit of God and of the Christ. Truly, we must first be born again. Then we must have a teachable spirit to learn the TRUTH of God for the PRESENT hour and be established in It.
To have the “present truth” is not just to possess the knowledge of what God did in the ages past (even the generation of God's Messenger, William Marrion Branham) and what He will be doing in the future, BUT TO HAVE THE REVELATION OF THE TRUTH AS REVEALED BY THE SPOKEN WORD MINISTRY OF GOD FOR THIS PRESENT TIME — “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts,…” (Heb.3:7-8a).
What a warning! Many Christian people are carelessly casting away the “voice” of God in the present hour of “today”. Even many of those who follow the Message of the Prophet, William M. Branham, are hardening their heart to the “voice” of the Lord as He speaks through the Ministry today. Like Israel in the days of Moses, they have only intellectual knowledge. They do not apply faith to what they have heard. It takes more than just hearing the Word. It's not what you hear; it's how you hear it. They claim to have heard and understood, but in actual fact they do not (cf. Matt.13:13-14). They do not really have the revelation.
Therefore, “take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Heb.3:12-4:2).
Where the Word of God is received with true faith, the life of a true worshipper will be consistent with the Word, just like Enoch who “walked with God” and “that he pleased God” to fulfill the Will of the Father in Heaven. And the Will of God is His WORD (cf. Matt.7:21).
THE PRESENT TRUTH
When Christendom speaks of “the present truth” it speaks only of the “truth” it traditionally possesses — not that which is abounding and fulfilling to its intended end.
Now, Yahweh is the “I AM THAT I AM” (Ex.3:14). That is, He is always the PRESENT ONE — not One Who was in the past nor One Who will be in the future. He is in the present — right now. “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth” (2 Pet.1:10-12 cf. 3:1-2; Jude 1:17). With these words of the Apostle Peter, the Spirit tells us that with the “entrance” of LIFE we get an abounding supply (of the things of God) that is constantly (continually) heaped upon us (pilgrims) as we move into the Kingdom of God. In other words, the Lord is continually ministering to us “everyday” with His Truth for our (present) particular day and age. [Note: Some theologians interpret those words to mean that we will be abundantly blessed only when we enter into the future Kingdom of Christ. Others suggest that they refer to the truth in the days of Peter. If that is so, what about the truth that John the Beloved had received from the Lord Jesus some years later?]
In this world, there are many religious people but very few spiritual ones. Religious people seek to worship God only through traditional ways. Most Christians claim that they believe the Gospel and all that are written in the Bible. They sing, shout and dance about in their worship. (Of course, some denominations frown on shouting and dancing in the Spirit.) However, unless they do so in the Spirit and the Truth of the Living God for the Present Hour, they are all done in vain. Like all other faithful religious people they may not realize that they are actually compelled by religious emotion to live in that state of religious darkness but mistakenly believing that they really possess God's truth. Was this not so with the majority of the Jews living in the days of our Lord Jesus Christ? Were they not religious in all their traditional ways of worship? Did they not claim their God-sent prophets and the promises of God declared by those prophets? Did they not also claim that they had the oracles of God? O how they worshipped Yahweh — they sang, they shouted and they danced before Him! Yet, they rejected and killed the very One Lord whom they claimed that they knew and worshipped!
Why? The simple reason being that they were not spiritual enough to recognize what God was doing in the hour that they were living in.
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
– 1 Corinthians 2:12-16
The Jews had the Written Word for some four hundred years before their Messiah came upon the scene. As religious as they were, they held the Sacred Scriptures as close to their bosom as they knew how. They had the truth but it was not the “present truth” for their days. They had been living only upon the “manna” of the days of Moses and the other prophets of old. Like today's denominational church leaders, their religious leaders taught them nothing more than a handful of “well known” quotations from the sacred books of their (Old Testament) prophets and some religious dogmas. However, with only the words of religious men spoken without an anointing from God and without a revelation of the sacred written words they certainly were living in “darkness”. Little wonder they failed to see the “light” of God in the ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ in their midst in that “present hour” (cf. Jhn.1:5-11).
THE WORK OF GOD
One day the disciples of Jesus asked their Lord a very important question. They received a serious yet simple answer which many Christians have failed to understand.
“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
– John 6:28-29
Christ's answer clearly tells us that it is not what God's people should or can do for God but that it is God Himself Who is doing the work. “We are His workmanship” (Eph.2:10 cf. Isa.64:8). And all that His people need to do is to believe on His servant whom He has sent. “THIS IS THE WORK OF GOD, THAT YE BELIEVE ON HIM WHOM HE HATH SENT.” That's the truth. It is not what work we can do for God but that God is doing a work for us and in us, and we just need to believe on the one whom He has sent. This is what many Christians have failed to understand. They are taught traditionally that Jesus was referring only to Himself. However, it is far from the truth for the Lord Jesus did not say, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on ME (or the Son) whom He hath sent” (cf. Jhn.6:14; 3:16-17).
In doing His work, God sent many prophets to Israel at different times. Israel was supposed to believe on those men whom God had sent. That was all that was required of them. God was doing His work in the midst of His chosen people. When God sent John the Baptist, He was sending him to prepare the way for the Messiah whom God would send after him. This was God's work, God was fulfilling His own plan. The Jews were supposed to believe on John the Baptist whom God had sent because God was doing a work. Each man sent by God carried the Spoken Word for his days to God's people until the promised Messiah came (Heb.1:1-2). In the early Church the saints believed on the Apostles whom God sent. Throughout the Seven Church Ages God had also sent His messengers and servants to the Church at different times. The saints were supposed to believe on them and the words they preached. Hence, the admonition: “Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts,…” (Heb.3:7-8a).
God had also sent His last Church Age Messenger with an important Message for His people in this Laodicean age. Like John the Baptist, he had come and gone, but did the Church hear and believe on him? Does the Church also believe on those servants of God whom God has sent with the Spoken Word ministry for this present hour? Remember, God is a Living God and He deals with a living people; He is not the God of the dead. God still speaks today through a Living Ministry.
THE VOICE OF GOD
“Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.”
– Jeremiah 30:2
The Sacred Scriptures, the Written Word, is our Absolute foundation. Since the day the Written Word was given, the worshippers of God have been holding on to It. From the time of the Old Testament to the time of the New Testament, many Jews and Christians have held on to those Sacred Scriptures. The Apostle Paul said that “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, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim.3:16-17). But without a spiritual revelation no man can understand It, much less speak of Its Truth. We see an example recorded in Acts 8:26-40 concerning an Ethiopian eunuch who was trying to understand what he was reading in the Book of Isaiah. Also, the revelation of the Word of Truth does not originate from the Church (the assembly of believers), It comes to the Church (cf. 1 Cor.14:33-38).
Hence, we see that the Written Word of God can only give LIFE through an ordained Spoken Word Ministry of God. Under the anointing of God, the ordained servants of God shall speak and reveal God's hidden Truth which imparts Life to those who have ears to hear. We should now understand why God had to send His anointed servant, Philip, by a 'special transport' to the desert to meet the eunuch and SPEAK THE WORD of Life to him (concerning what he was reading in the written word of the Prophet Isaiah). Read Acts 8:26-40 and Romans 10:14. Had the Written Word the power of LIFE God would not have to send Philip.
Consider the rebuke which the Apostle Paul gave to the believers in the city of Corinth for the confusions that existed among them. The confusions were basically caused by false teachings circulating among them. Comparing the Church to the women, whom Paul commanded to be in silence and learn, he asked: “What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?” (1 Cor.14:36). Simply, Paul was asking, “What? Did the 'Logos', the revelation of the Word, go out (issue) from you (the Church), or did it come (arrive) merely to (meet) you (the Church)?” In answering his own question, Paul firmly established the fact that the revealing of the Word of Truth could only come to the Church when he said, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Cor.14:37-38).
Yes, the revelation of the Written Word of God could only come to the assembly of true worshippers by way of God's anointing upon and through His ordained servants. And the saints shall live the Life of the Word which they receive. God has given the Church the Five-fold Ministry of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers (cf. Eph.4:11). This is the order of operation and no one can change it. The ministries of Apostles and Evangelists were not found in God's dealing with His people Israel under the Old Testament. They were totally new ministries ordained and given under the New Testament in the Blood of Jesus Christ for the Church. A new order had to be established because a new covenant was made. In the Old Testament time the Prophets were God's spokesmen. They revealed and interpreted God's Word. However, in the New Testament, the Apostles were the ones who revealed and interpreted God's Word. Jesus Christ was the promised Prophet under the Old Testament (Deut.18:15-18; Acts 3:22), but He was the Apostle under the New Testament (Heb.3:1). Hence, we see that the revelation and the interpretation of God's Word came through the Apostles to the Church of God. Of the New Testament books, four of them deal with the 'Gospel of Christ', one with the 'Church in action' and the rest deal with the 'Teachings of God'. The last 22 books of the New Testament were written by the Apostles. And these books contain the revelations which the Apostles received from God and which they expounded to the Church.
In his second epistle to the Corinthian believers Paul stated very clearly (in 2 Corinthians 3:1-8) that the ministration of LIFE cannot come by the Written Word but by the SPIRIT of Christ “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (vv.6).
What is revelation? Revelation is the disclosure of something that is hidden or concealed. Biblical revelation is the revealing of the Almighty God Himself through His Own Word. God is in His Own Word (cf. Jhn.1:1). And God interprets His Own Word. The Word of God is not of “any private interpretation” (2 Pet.1:20). The interpretation is revealed through His Apostles to the saints. That's why Church traditions, creeds and dogmas are dung in the sight of God for they nullify the Word of God and bring DEATH to the worshippers (cf. Mark 7). The traditions of men are merely the words of religious intellectual men who could only interpret the Word of God according to the tenets of faith of the respective organizations that they affiliate with. Such theological men are no different from the Pharisees and the Sadducees of Jesus' day; they are similarly cursed like the Pharisees and the Sadducees (Matt.23:15).
It is important for us to realize that the Revelation of God is being progressively revealed to God's people even though we have the Bible — the Written Word. Before the Word was written, it must first be spoken. In the beginning the WORD (LOGOS) was brought forth as a SEED — MONOGENE (Jhn.1:1). It is the Christ (Christos — Anointing) that reveals God. In God's economy, the Word is expressed in 66 books such that they hold all the revelations of God (His purposes and plans). The books were written through a period of time and the hidden revelations could only be revealed to a certain people at an appointed time and place by the Spoken Word ministry. Some theologians and Christians might strongly disagree with this view. They would claim that they hold to the Bible (containing the 66 canonical books) as the authority and revelation of God to mankind and that they believe nothing is to be added to or subtracted from It. Such people would usually brush off and consider to be false any “revelation” which they have never heard of. They would consider it to be something “added to” or “subtracted from” the Bible. Their judgment is based upon what they have been taught in their organizations. This is precisely so. But have they forgotten how that during the Dark Ages, the Word of God, which the people had lost, was brought to light by God's anointed servants, the Reformers. Over a period of time many more doctrinal truths were brought to light by other Holy Ghost anointed servants whom God sent from time to time. Yet, in this present period, religious organizations once again are keeping a tight rein on the people as to what they should believe. The churches today are “rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” but they do not know that they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev.3:17). Materially, they are very rich but, spiritually, they are very poor (cf. Rev.3:18). They do not have the pure golden Faith of God (cf. Heb.11:17; 1 Pet.1:7). They do not have the token of the revelation of the Oneness with the Word (cf. Jhn.14:20: 15:4; Rev.19:8). They are spiritually blind because religious traditions have descended upon them like the night (cf. 1 Jhn.1:5-7).
Let us look at how Jesus Christ, as a Prophet, taught the people in His days. Notice carefully the revelation in the Spoken Word and its contradictions to the teachings of the religious systems of His days.
“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,...
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
– Matthew 5:1-2, 21-22, 27-28, 31-45
“But I say unto you…” These words were spoken several times by the Lord Jesus in connection with the Law of God. Literally, Jesus was saying to the Jews, “You know the Law, given through Moses, concerning this…, but I say unto you…!” The people were hearing the Spoken Word of God. Now, was Jesus adding to the Law? Was not the laws of Moses the commandments and the Word of God? Was not the laws to be kept exactly as given (according to Deut.4:2; 12:32; Josh.1:7; Prov.30:6)? Why then did Jesus “but” the Law with something “new”?
THE “LETTER” AND THE “SPIRIT”
If today's religious Christians were to live in Jesus' days, they too would just be like the religious Pharisees and Sadducees; they would hate what Jesus said. They would hate Him for “adding to” what they claimed was the “canonical” laws of God — the Written Word, the Holy Bible. They can say what they like, but the religious Christians do not usually have any revelation beyond what they are taught. They have a zeal for God but they lack the true knowledge of God and His Word and, therefore, many shall perish with their ignorance of the Word (cf. Hos.4:6; Rom.10:2-4). Because of their self-righteousness (the product of church traditions), they would only hold to the Written Word – for their salvation (or so they think) – but without the revelation of the Spoken Word of Life they are just like the religious Jews who held to the Law (cf. Rom.9:32). No wonder Paul stated very strongly that “the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (2 Cor.3:6). That's right; “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (Jhn.5:39-40 NIV).. Though there is Life in the Written Word, yet It will not give life to those who would not come to the revelation of the Spoken Word of Christ (Rom.10:4-5). And the Spoken Word is the Original Seed – the Logos – “In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (Jhn.1:4).
Certainly, a Bible believer will naturally be wary of any “new” teaching that he hears. However, he will carefully examine what he has heard in the light of the Written Word before accepting or rejecting it. He will search the Word like the wise “Bereans” did (Acts 17:11).
When Jesus put “but” to the Written Word He was neither adding to It nor taking away from It. In fact, His teaching accentuated and magnified the Original Word — the Seed(-Word) that was spoken before Creation. He was showing that the laws were not just the mere words of God but that there was life in them — life beyond the letter of the Written Word. Yes, the Law was just a schoolmaster (Gal.3:21-26 cf. Psm.119:18) and until the revelation of faith comes upon the worshipper, he remains subjected to the letter of the Word, which is Death, and not the spirit of It, which is Life.
Jesus did not destroy the Law; He established and fulfilled the Law. In Matthew 5:17-20, He said:
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
As regards righteousness, it is the righteousness of God that only God Himself can reveal and give to those who are justified by the Blood of the Lamb. Yet the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith as the Apostle Paul said in Romans 1:17: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
But what is Spiritual (Bible) faith and how does a person obtain it?
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb.11:1). “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom.10:17). Bible faith is a persuasion, belief or conviction in God's Word. It is the personal realization of the Truth of divine revelation. It can only come by the revelation of the Holy Spirit through the hearing of the Word — not the reading of the Bible, as many Christians are taught to believe. Therefore an anointed preacher has to be sent to preach the Word (Rom.10:14-15). It is through the speaking of the Word that the Spirit of God will bring the anointed Word to the hearers. Only then will the Word be made alive to quicken those who have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying as God gives the revelation of the Word. And because the revelation is true, so is the (spiritual) faith alive. Therefore, a believer who has true spiritual faith should and must have a constant desire to hear the Word that the righteousness of God may be revealed to him from one revelation of the Word to another, as from Alpha to Omega, on an upward path in the glory of Christ. He must grow like a seed that has been planted and is watered day after day. He must continue to live “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt.4:4 cf. Acts 14:22) through God's anointed Spoken Word ministry. That's right, he must continue in the faith (cf. Lk.17:5; 2 Thess.1:3; Jam.1:3).
Simply, the revelation of the Truth in anointed messages take a believer higher towards the attainment of “rapturing faith”. And only true anointed servants of God with the revelation of God's Word for the present hour can point you to the right direction. It is no wonder that a Gentile centurion could believe in the power of the spoken word of the Anointed One of Israel when he said, “Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed” (Matt.8:8). Therefore, O saints of God, how much do you need to pray “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Eph.1:17); that you may also know the plan and the purpose of the Lord in your life especially in this present hour!
However, many do not understand what the Spirit of God is saying to the Church because, in hearing, they hear not. It is like listening to parables which appeal more to the ears rather than the spiritual understanding (cf. Matt.13:12-15,35; Jhn.2:19-22). The sanctimonious mind tends to feed on the form of religious speeches rather than the substance of the Truth they contain. A religious mind, which is held captive by the traditions of man, cannot feed on spiritual things because the spiritual things of God are “spiritually discerned” (1 Cor.2:14). For example, let us take the words, which the Lord Jesus Christ spoke to the Apostles, in Matthew 28:19:
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
This single verse is invariably quoted by the majority of preachers in support of the baptismal formula they use in the water baptism of their converts. They invoke “the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” as opposed to “the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ” which the Apostle Peter uttered on the Day of Pentecost (in Acts 2:38). The other Apostles of Jesus Christ also performed Water Baptism in the same way as Peter (cf. Acts 8:12,16; 10:48; 19:5). When confronted with this issue, the common defense of these preachers, who use Matthew 28:19, is: “Between the two, we would obey the 'simple' words of the Lord Jesus Christ rather than the words of the Apostle Peter”. To such religious people the words of Peter are not the words of God. Yet they would agree that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim.3:16). However, have they really studied to show themselves approved of God, and as workmen “that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim.2:15)? Have they asked themselves such questions as: Why did Jesus speak in such a way? Why was not the same 'simple' words of Jesus recorded a second time in one of the other Gospels to reiterate the acceptable usage of the words “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” in water baptism?
Moreover, some preachers, who do not believe that water baptism by immersion is the true biblical practice, have even tried to denigrate the truth. In one of his books, a well-known Presbyterian pastor and principal of a Bible college in Singapore quoted the 'famous saying', “More faith, less water. Less faith, more water” of Dr. John Sung (a renowned Chinese preacher) to support his church's tradition of water baptism by sprinkling. If there is any truth in that saying, then a new convert who believes he has complete faith in Jesus Christ can justifiably claim “Total faith, no water” and avoid water baptism altogether.
Who are those theologians, past and present, of whom many only care for their belly just like the Pharisees and the Sadducees in the days of Jesus Christ? Of course, theologians do make mistakes but many of them show a ruthless lack of conscience in order to establish their organizations, their self-righteousness rather than the Faith of the Gospel of Christ. Woe betide such preachers!
If only the intellectual theologians know the secret and the wisdom of God. Surely they have read it but they obviously do not understand what Paul said to the Corinthians:
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
– 1 Corinthians 1:18-21
“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:”
– 1 Corinthians 1:25-26
“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.”
– 1 Corinthians 3:19
And if the intellectual theologians do understand, then they would have understood the words of Jesus Christ recorded in the Book of Matthew:
“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.”
– Matthew 13:35
“Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.”
– Matthew 13:13
Yes, when Jesus spoke the Word of Life, He was both hiding and revealing the Truth at the same time. But the religious leaders could not receive the Truth because of their traditions. Jesus said to them:
“Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.”
– John 8:43
Truly, religious clergymen are blind leaders, that is why they “cannot hear” the word (i.e. the revelation) of Jesus Christ. All they care about is the establishment of their organizations and the enlargement of their borders. In their own deceptions they are deceiving the common people, blinding them to the Truth, and making them two-fold the children of hell than themselves. Read Matthew 23. In trying to establish the Word of God, they are actually establishing their own righteousness according to the teachings of their religious orders. They choose to ignore the simplicity of the words which state that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Cor.13:1 cf. Matt.18:16; 1 Tim.5:19; Heb.10:28) just so that they can continue in their religious 'business'. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal.3:26-27). They completely ignore the Truth of putting on the NAME of the Saviour and, instead, choose to put on the TRIUNE TITLES of a so-called Holy Trinity. Certainly, they worship they know not what (cf. Jhn.4:22).
Who were those Early Church Apostles of God? Was Peter, the big fisherman, wrong in what he said? Did he contradict the words of his Master, the Lord Jesus Christ? If he did, why did not the other Apostles stop him and correct him? Did not Peter have the “keys of the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matt.16:15-19). Or, did the Holy Spirit actually give to him the revelation of the words of Jesus Christ concerning the ONE NAME of God in the manifestations of the THREE OFFICES of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and that the other Apostles also received of the same? Undoubtedly, they did! (Read John 14:26.) For the revelation was that the Man – Jesus – was made both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). The spiritual Jews would understand that the term “Lord” referred to Yahweh, the Sovereign One, the Father of all creations, and that the term “Christ” referred to His Anointing (Grk: Christos) which was imparted by His Spirit. Hence, the Name (and the manifestations) “of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Consider the words of the Apostle Paul:
“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:16-20
Unlike the various religious preachers and teachers of their days, these spiritual anointed men of God had the Ministry of Reconciliation. They had the revelation of the Word (cf. Rom.10: 12-17). And both of such groups of men are also present today — one group has the traditions of men, the other has the Spoken Word (not the Written Word) Ministry of Reconciliation. The anointed men of God did not have a set of books or some creeds that they would quote so incessantly and religiously like those bound to the religious orders of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Truly, a man has no business to be in the pulpit unless he is called, for “a good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt.12:35-36). An anointed man of God will “speak the word” – a message from God – to God's people. He will not deliver a string of quotes from some religious books or even the Scriptures; for such are only written laws of a religious order. The revelation of Truth comes by hearing the Spoken Word. And the Word has to be expounded by able anointed ministers of the Lord (cf. Neh.8:5-8; Acts 2:14-36).
THE FAITH OF THE SAINTS
The Faith of the people of God rests solely upon “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt.4:4 cf. Deut.8:3). But would the people always be alert, attentive and watchful? Not so, Israel just could not keep their eyes and ears open daily to God's Word. “Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying, Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not” (Jer.5:20-21 cf. Matt. 13:15; Rom.11:8). As it was with Israel, so it was with the Church. Read what the Apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Galatia:
“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.”
– Galatians 3:1-12
Paul stresses very strongly that we Christians receive the Spirit of Life by the hearing of faith, the revelation of God's Word. It is God who ministers the Spirit and miracles to us through the Spoken Word and not because we have kept the Written Word or the Law. Though there is Life in the Law yet no man could ever fulfill or do all that which are written in the Law. The Law points to Death (cf. 1 Cor.15:56). Even the “law” or “creed” passed by the Apostles and the Elders soon after the Gentiles received the Word (in Acts 15) could only result in “death”. It did not appear to be so at that time. There was a good reason, and the reason was obvious — that the Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit by grace just as the Jews did, and therefore the law of Moses on circumcision should not apply to them. This was right. But the Apostles and the Elders felt led of the Holy Spirit to instruct the Gentile converts to “abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood” (Acts 15:20). Since then this “Church Law” (especially that which deals with idols, strangled animals and blood) has been blindly observed by the traditional and organized churches. However Paul, then only a Prophet and Teacher, respected the decision of the Church council for it seemed good at that time but later, when Paul was sent to the Gentiles as an Apostle of the Lord, he rejected that “Church Law” or “Church Creed”. He said: “Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake” (1 Cor.10:25-27).
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
– Galatians 3:13-14
Hence, Christ came to redeem us from the curse of the Law that we might receive the Spirit by faith through the hearing of the Word ministered by “able ministers of the new testament;…for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (2 Cor.3:6). “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom.10:17). That's right, the hearing of the Spoken Word of God. We are led by the Spirit of the Word not by the letter of the Word. We have been redeemed from the curse of the Law, therefore we are not obligated to keep the Law, not even the Church Law. As Believers, we are not governed by a set of laws, we are led by the Spirit and we are obligated to keep the Holy Word of our Lord. This is our only observance. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom.8:14). The Law would have served its purpose once the Believer comes into the revelation of the Spirit of Life and the Life of the Spirit. Jesus Christ has fulfilled the Law completely. Therefore, the life that the Believer now lives he lives by the Spirit of Christ that is within him (Gal.2:19-20).
We know that Adam and Eve fellowshipped with the Creator in a very personal way in the very beginning. God spoke and they lived “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”. Even after sin had corrupted mankind, God's grace still provided a way for them to continue in that fellowship. God continued to speak and to reveal Himself to man. There was no written word.
Then Abraham appeared in the plan of God. He was chosen and called. God gave him a Promise (cf. Gen.12). The Covenant was not made with ink. Abraham believed God knowing that it was impossible for God to lie as He had made a promise and had taken an oath (cf. Heb.6:13-18). “And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise” (Heb.6:15). But the Promise spoke of One greater than Isaac. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Gal.3:16). So, Abraham and his seeds continued in the faith for that Promised Seed to materialize.
However, transgression came and the Law was added. Did the Written Law do away with the Promise made to Abraham some 430 years ago by Spoken Word?
Not at all! The Law could not disannul the Promise. Then why the Law? It was to keep the people in the way until the Promised Seed came.
“And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”
– Galatians 3:17-19
With the Law came the Prophets and the Prophetic Word. The Old Testament Saints received the Word of God mainly through God's Prophets. The Prophets were God's spokesmen. They prophesied only when moved by the Spirit of God (cf. 2 Pet.1:21). Malachi was the last Prophet whom God sent to Israel. Over a period of time, the spoken words of the Prophets were written down, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in an explicit concise form. However, they were not written down word for word as uttered by the Prophets. If every word uttered by all the servants of God in the Bible were written down on papers it would require tens of thousands of pages, perhaps more. The Holy Spirit inspired only certain words to be used as He moved those holy men to put their pen to paper. The Written Word became known as Scriptures (cf. 2 Tim.3:16).
Until the Seed (promised to Abraham) came, the children of Israel had a volume of 39 books — the Law and the Prophets. The Law was added because of their transgression. The Prophets were given because of their fear. They did not wish to hear God speak to them directly (Heb.12:19). They would hear from the Prophets (cf. Exod.20:19). So, the Word of God came to the Prophets, even the secrets of God (cf. Amos 3:7). The prophetic words were mainly uttered to admonish the people to believe in the Promise that God had given to Abraham and to cause them to remember to walk in the counsels of the Lord (cf. Isa.25:1; Jer.7:23-28; Matt.26:56). Yet, with the Written Word, Israel practically went to seed with It. For some 400 years after Malachi, Israel had no prophet-messenger until John the Baptist came upon the scene. By then, Israel had nothing but a form of religious worship which was far from the Truth of God. They had only a tradition — the traditions of religious men. They had Judaism. They had lost the true worship because they did not have the true revelation of the Word which was given to their saintly forefathers.
The appearance of John the Baptist on the scene did not deter the religious leaders of his days from continuing in their religious practices. It also did not cause them to check out their Scriptures concerning the claims of this wild man from the wilderness. “What went ye out for to see?” (cf. Matt.11:8; Lk.7:24). Who was John the Baptist? Could the religious men sincerely answer these questions in the Light of God's Word? Their answers would probably be thus: “Well, he sounds like a prophet, but he doesn't behave or act like one.” “Nah! He is but a false prophet. If he is a prophet of God, he would have come exactly the way we expect a prophet of God to come.” “How could he be a prophet? He is practically against everything we believe — all our knowledge of God and His teachings.” They have rebelled against the Lord and rejected the Life of the Word (cf. Isa.1:2).
Then came Jesus upon the scene. The questions about His identity were far more important than those about the identity of John the Baptist. But, without the revelation of who John was it would be even more difficult for those religious men to understand who Jesus was? “What think ye of Christ?” (cf. Matt.22:42) and “What would you do with Jesus called the Christ?” (cf. Matt.27:22).
For the religious men to understand who John the Baptist was they would have to hear the Word, even if it meant coming from the mouth of one whom they thought was a false prophet. John the Baptist was even mentioned by Malachi in the last two verses (of the Old Testament) as one of the two messengers to come in the spirit of Elijah with a message to turn the heart of God's people away from dead formal religion to the Gospel of Truth (Mal.4:5-6 cf. Lk.1:13-17). “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias” (Jhn.1:23). Could they receive the revelation? Could they believe? Did they “hear the Word”? Or were they so bound, so imprisoned, by their religious traditions and institutions that they could not hear?
Are not the majority of Christians today just the same? Religious traditions have even caused many Christians to be constantly busy in 'serving the Lord' or 'doing God's work' that they have no time to hear the Voice of the Lord. To serve the Lord or do God's work is good, but to hear His Word is even better. Receive the Truth first; God's Work will surely follow.
Consider the spirituality of the two sisters, Martha and Mary, whom Jesus visited in their home one day (Lk.10:38-42). Mary “sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her”.
Busy Christians must realize that they might be greatly disappointed in the day when they shall come face to face with the Lord Jesus Christ. They might find their Gospel works unacceptable to Him. They might have been doing God a service outside of His will or without His will. Their Christian works might be built on the wrong foundation because of wrong motive. The only acceptable way to God is to do His will. His Will is His Word. And Christians need to know the Will – the Word – of God for today.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
– Matthew 7:21-23
When Jesus came, He too spoke the Word of Life. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt.4:4). That's right. The Word of God is alive and a quickening power. In fact Jesus Christ Himself was the Full Word of God made manifest in the flesh by words and deeds (cf. Jhn.1:14). Even the Psalmist wrote: “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psm.40:7-8). And the Ark of the Covenant (in the Most Holy Place), being a type of Jesus Christ, also carried within it the two tablets of the Law, the golden pot of Manna and Aaron's Rod that budded (Heb.9:3-5). But the religious Jews just could not see the light of It, for they had held to the traditional words of men for too long and had become their prisoners.
However, there was a small number of people who had the ears to hear the Word which proceeded from the Almighty God and to receive the Truth. These were the disciples of John and the disciples of Jesus. Because they could hear the Word, they could therefore believe and receive the one whom God had sent (cf. Jhn.6:29).
The ones who believed that John the Baptist was sent of God, they received him. Because they received John, they received a prophet's reward (cf. Matt.10:41). What is a prophet's reward? It is the prophetic spirit and mind to understand the plans and the purposes of God, even the work of God in their days. Hence, the believers received God's will in their lives. Yes, only those who received John could receive the revelation of the words of John when he cried out: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight” (Lk.3:4). “He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose” (Jhn.1:27). “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me” (Jhn.1:29-30). “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (Jhn.1:32-34).
When the disciples of John received the revelation of the Promised One of Israel, they turned to follow the One Who is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. But the religious Jews could not believe on Jesus because, in the first place, they could not believe His prophet, John the Baptist. To receive the prophet was to receive the One Who sent him for John was sent to forerun His coming. Truly, “he that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt.11:15). “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Lk.16:16). And so, Jesus went about His Ministry to fulfill “the law and the prophets”. With that a new order was set up — an order of grace and the apostles. “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus” (Heb.3:1).
The disciples of Christ heard and received the Word spoken by Christ over a period of time. It was a time of learning. “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (Jhn.6:63). And after the death, the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and they became the Spiritual Fathers of the Church as they began to lay the foundations of the Church. They were the Fathers of the Faith. Because of the Spirit and the Life that they had received, their spiritual eyes were opened to the Word. With the anointing upon them, the revelation of the Written Word (of the Old Testament) came to them and they were able to speak the Word of Life. They were even able to speak of “things to come” (cf. Jhn.16:13). As the Word came to the Prophets under the Law, so the Word came to the Apostles under Grace.
Now, the Branhamites might disagree with this view because of their (mis)understanding of the statement of Amos 3:7: “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets”. They might also use the same statement of Bro. William Branham and say, “The Word of the Lord comes only to the Prophets”. They might quote Bro. William Branham but they certainly have no true revelation of those statements. If the Word comes only to the Prophets, then why did the revelation of the Word come to the Apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost? Read Acts 2. He was not a Prophet. He was an Apostle. How did he know that the event which took place on that Day of Pentecost was a fulfillment of the prophecy of the Prophet Joel? Then again, have you noticed that the epistles, which were written some time later, were all written by the Apostles? Not one epistle was written by a Prophet because the Prophetic Office in the 5-Fold (Ascension Gifts) Ministry was (and still is) secondary to the Apostolic Office in the New Testament (Grace) Age. [Note: Bro. William Branham was not a Prophet in the 5-Fold Ministry. He was a Star (a Messenger) in the right hand of the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Rev.1:16; 2:1). He was a Messenger but he was addressed as a “Prophet” because the word “Prophet” was commonly associated with an outstanding and gifted servant of the Almighty God like those Old Testament Prophets of the caliber of Isaiah, Elijah, Ezekiel and others. Hence, he spoke like them.]
With the Holy Spirit then given, the converts to the Lord Jesus Christ began to live by the Word of God uttered mainly through the Apostles. The Church was supposed to receive the Ascension Gift Ministry of the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers for her edification, service and perfection of the saints. The true worshippers were supposed to live by the Spoken Word under the leadership of Christ until they reached the unity of the faith in the knowledge of the Son of God as mature persons in the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (cf. Jhn.17:22-23; Eph.4:13; Col.1:27; Tit.3:7). She was supposed to come to the place of perfection, to be in oneness with the Word, to where she would bring forth the Promised Seed — the return of Jesus Christ for the Church. However, before she could get to that perfect union with her Lord and Saviour, Satan got in and defiled her just as he did to Eve before Adam could take her to himself. And the Epistles were given.
As surely as the Law did not disannul the Promise made to Abraham, the Epistles will also not invalidate the Promise made to the Elected Lady of Jesus Christ. The Seed promised to Abraham by the Spoken Word came unto Abraham's natural seeds at the closing up of the Law Age. Similarly, the Glorified Seed promised to the Church by the Spoken Word will come unto Abraham's spiritual seeds at the closing out of the Grace (Church) Age.
THE APOSTOLIC EPISTLES
Why were the Epistles given in addition to the leadership of the Spirit of Christ? Like the Law, it was given because of transgression. (Read Paul's instructions on dealing with fornicators and false teachings in the Church – 1 Cor.5.) The Epistles were like a carrier to keep the people in THE WAY until the coming of the Promised Seed, until the return of the Spoken Word, the Original Seed, to the people whom the Promise was made that Life might be manifested in them (Eph.4: 8-16).
Yes, Israel transgressed and she was given the Law. Likewise, the Church had also transgressed. When she lowered her guards, Satan immediately crept in among the worshippers and brought with him the spirit of Nicolaitanes. The teaching of the Nicolaitanes soon influenced the people and, by and by, their evil deeds were accepted. With false teachings, tares soon appeared. The Church not only had “another Gospel” but she transgressed against the Truth and the Spirit (cf. Gal.1:6-7).
Certainly, God knew that the Church would err just as He knew that Israel would transgress. And so the Church was made to go through the “Church Age” for an appointed time of testing. The Law was given to Israel to keep her until the Promised Seed by the Spoken Word came to justify her. Likewise the Apostolic Epistles were given to the Church as a “survival” tool (cf. 2 Tim.2:15). They were aimed at keeping the believers through the Grace (Church) Age until the Promised Word (Christ, the Original Seed of God) shall come by the revelation of the Spoken Word to reveal the fullness of Christ in her just as Christ did on the Day of Pentecost. The Book of Revelation was the last gift of God's revelations to the Church.
So, about 20 years later after that memorable Day of Pentecost when the Spirit of Life was given to the true worshippers, the Epistles were given to the Church. And over a period of time the acts and the teachings of the Apostles were written down by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and disseminated for the purpose of keeping the saints of God in “the Way” (cf. Acts 24:14; 1 Cor.4:17; 2 Pet.1:12).
The Apostles were moved by the Holy Spirit to write the Epistles to the various churches and certain Christians to help them in their walk with Christ. They wrote also to correct certain erroneous teachings and wrong doctrines. They certainly did not realize that they were writing the “Bible”. They knew that the Old Testament Scriptures in their possession were sacred writings and were “in-breathed” of God but they certainly did not think that their letters were also “in-breathed” by the Spirit when they put pen to paper though they considered them very important to be read by all Christians (1 Thess.5:27, Col.4:16). So important were the letters that all the instructions were carried out by the churches such that they had their “elders”, “deacons” and “church governments”. As Israel held to the “instructions” of the Law, so the Church held to the “instructions” of the Epistles.
However, the Spoken Word is still the Original Seed (Heb.1:1-2). The Spoken Word Ministry was essential to the Church (Eph.4:8-16). As it was in the First Covenant (under the Old Testament) so it would be in the Second (under the New Testament) — that the Promised Word must return to those whom the Promise was made. As revealed to the Apostles, the “Fathers” of the Church, the 5-Fold Ministry was necessary to bring the saints to the place of perfection for Rapturing Faith (Eph.4:8-16). And all these had to come by the Spoken Word of the Spirit through the order of the Apostles, the Prophets, the Evangelists, then the Pastors and the Teachers. But this could only come at the end of the Grace Age just as the Promise given to Abraham, the “Father” of Israel, came in the fullness of time towards the end of the Law Age.
THE SEALED BOOK — THE BOOK OF REDEMPTION
Since the Church entered into the “Church Age”, the Apostolic Epistles had kept the true born-again saints through various dark and difficult periods when apostasy and many kinds of evil works were rampant. From the falling away from the Truth in the early days (2 Thess.2) to the departing from the true Faith in these latter times (1 Tim.4), the time has come for the manifestation of the Promise to the saints of the Lord. John the Baptist was sent, with the spirit of Elijah, with a message to introduce the presence of the Word at the end of the Law Age to God's elect. Similarly, William M. Branham was also sent, with the spirit of Elijah, with a message to introduce the presence of the Word at the closing of the Church Age to the Bride of Christ. (As the first forerunner heralded the First Advent of Christ, so did the second forerunner herald the Second Advent of Christ.) And with the message came the Spoken Word ministry to bring about a restoration of the Bride of Christ to the Original Word for her perfection. The Original Word is the Spoken Word. The true Church has to return to the Original Word which is the Original Seed.
Both prophet-messengers of Malachi 4:5-6 were sent, with the anointing of the 'spirit' of Elijah upon them, to turn the heart of God's people away from dead formal religions to the Truth of God. The preaching of John the Baptist was to “turn the heart of the [religious] fathers [of Judaism] to [the Faith of] the children [who were the common people converted to the Gospel]” (Mal.4:5-6a cf. Lk.1:13-17). But William Branham's message was a message of restoration. He cried out to “turn the heart of the children [of God] to [the Faith of] their [Apostolic Gospel] fathers” (Mal.4:5-6b cf. Lk.17:22-30; Rev.10:7). The cry of the message went forth in 1956. That was the fulfillment of the “midnight cry” in the parable of “The Ten Virgins” (Matt.25:1-13). About seven years later, in 1963, the revelation of the Seven Seals (of the Book of Revelation) was unfolded (opened and revealed) to the Bride. The saints have come a long way since the Apostolic Epistles were given to the Church to carry and to keep the saints in “the Way”. It has been nearly 2000 years.
With the Seven Seals revealed in 1963, the sealed book in God's hand (Rev.5) is now an open “little book” in the hand of the Mighty Angel (who is Christ personified). Revelation 10 shows Christ coming to earth to claim what belongs to Him. The “little book” is the “title deed” to the redemption of the earth and all who belong to Christ. It contains the details of redemption and the names of the redeemed. It is basically the “Book of Life” of the Lamb of God, and Christ Himself is the “Book of Life” as much as He is the “Bread of Life” from Heaven (Jhn.6). He is the Epistle read by all men — “Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me” (Psm.40:7 cf. Heb.10:5-7; Lk.24:27). Christ Jesus is the Word of Life. He is the HOLY BOOK. And if you are not born again of His Word and the Spirit of His life, you are not a part of Him, you are not a part of the Word, you are not a part of the Book of Life. Therefore, your name will not be found in the “title deed” — the Book of Redemption.
Allegorically, the Word (Book) of Life is Christ Himself fulfilling the requirement (as laid down by Yahweh, the Owner of the Earth) to purchase back what the first Adam had lost. Christ has fully paid the debt of redemption and hence He has the right to open and to reveal the fullness of the contents of the Book and thereby claim what rightfully belong to Him. Amen.
[Note: With regard to Revelation 10, some Endtime Message preachers are teaching that the “little book” is the “gospel and epistles” of the Apostle Paul and that it is specially given only for the Gentile Bride to eat. This is poor exegesis. The teaching of two gospel baskets (one of Peter and one of Paul) denies the common gospel of Christ for every race in the family of God — “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;… For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Eph.2:14, 18-22). These preachers are also teaching that the placing of the Mighty Angel's “right foot upon the sea, and His left foot on the earth” represent Christ's First and Second Comings (or that the Word came to the Church in A.D. 33 and returned in 1963) respectively. This is another case of poor exegesis. Was not the Apostle John caught up in the spirit in Revelation 4 to be shown “things which must be hereafter”, that is after A.D. 96? How then could the “right foot upon the sea” represent some sort of Christ's coming in, or before, A.D. 33? One must understand Bible orientalism and typology in order to understand the symbolism of “right”, “left”, “foot”, “sea” and “land”.]
Therefore, the vision in Revelation 10 shows Christ, with the “little book” opened in His hand, revealing Himself to those who belong to Him. He comes by the Spoken Word. The “parousia” of Christ has begun (1 Thess.4:16). “With a shout” (through His Prophet-Messenger) He has called His Bride out of Mystery Babylon. The “shout” was the “midnight cry” (of Matthew 25:6). It was a time of spiritual darkness. It was also the evening time, a good time for the wedding and feasting. Christ shall then take His Bride to Himself in spiritual wedlock . The door to the Wedding Feast will remain open until the last wise virgin (who will make up the Bride) with the right oil (of revelation) shall come in to take her rightful place at the feasting table.
Yes, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit the Bride has been restored to the Word and with the Seven Seals already revealed — by Spoken Word — she is now sitting under the anointing of a “perfecting ministry” — the 5-Fold Ministry (Eph.4:11-16) headed by the Apostles. These “Ascension Gifts” are given to certain anointed men who are also able ministers of God to reconcile God's people to the Word and to perfect them by the Word. These ministers of God “preach the Word” (2 Tim.4:2). That is, they “preach the logos”, the revelation of the Word because they have the Spoken Word Ministry, a Living Ministry, by a Living God. They do not merely quote the Scriptures or the words and statements of any prophet or servant of God. They have the true revelation of the Word, so they speak. “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life” (Acts 5:20 cf. Jer.23:28-29).
THE ENDTIME APOSTOLIC MINISTRY
The Endtime Apostolic Ministry differs from the Early Apostolic Ministry in that it does not have the same kind of impact that the Early one had when the First Century Apostles first preached the Gospel to the world. The first group of Apostles spoke the Word and established the Church on 12 foundational stones. All the revelations of Christ were spoken and revealed then. They were later written and laid down in the epistles. But with the departing of the Apostles, cunning and deceitful men came into the midst of the Church and began to tear away the foundational stones of the Apostles. Over time the Apostolic foundations were so displaced and broken up that the Church became nothing more than an institution of man-made religious traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is the “mother of all evils” transgressing against God's Word, and the organized denominational churches are her “daughters”. Yes, the Roman Catholic Church is the “Mother of Harlots” and the organized denominational churches are her harlot daughters (Rev.17:5). For this reason, the Bride must separate herself from this leavening lump and get back into the Original Word — not just the “survival” tool of the Written Word but the Spoken Word that will perfect her and bring her to complete maturity in Christ for the translation.
Since the Church of Christ began with, and was established by, the Apostolic Ministry, so she will end with, and established by, the same Ministry. The Endtime Apostles will hold the reins on the Word and set the Church in line with the revelation of the Word. They will put back in place the 12 Apostolic Foundational Stones which were displaced and broken up by organized religions. Unlike the First Century Apostles, the latter ones do not thrust themselves into the world to sow the Gospel Seed and to establish churches since the Grace Age is closing out. For nearly 2000 years the world has, one way or another, heard the Gospel, but the Church has been falling further away from the true FAITH, even in these “latter times” (1 Tim.4:1-3). This is the Age of Laodicea (Rev.3:14-22) when the spirit of the world indulges even the churches to have their “rights”, to do what they feel is right, just because they are “rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing”. But they know not how “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” they are! And Christ cannot take such a church as this to be His wife. The Spirit of the Lord will not ignore this distressing condition and just continue to sow the Gospel Seed. There is a time to sow, and there is a time to gather in the harvest. And this is the hour for the harvest, the gathering of the grains! Read Matthew 13:24-30. That's right; as Jesus stole away from the bustle of preaching to the public and privately revealed the mysteries and truths of God to his disciples, so He is doing the same with His true elect in this last hour. Why? Because God treasures His WORD above His NAME (Psm.138:2 cf. 12:6; 119:11,158,162). Therefore, God has to put the true Church back in order with the Word and cause her to mellow down in the “Son” (the Word of God) before Christ could grant her the position to sit with Him in His Throne.
THE CREED VERSUS THE REVELATION
Many Christians cannot receive any revelation either because they do not believe in it or that they only hold to the Bible like a creed. They do not believe that God still speaks and that there are still mysteries hidden in the Word to be unfolded. Obviously they are not born of the Word of Life. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa.8:20). If they are born again they would have that Seed Word in their heart which will respond from “faith to faith” as in the “present truth” when Christ speaks “today” (Heb.3:7; 2 Pet.1:12; Rom.1:17; 1 Jhn.3:9; 1 Pet.1:23). The Seed Word is the “Logos”, the Revelation of Christ Who is the Original Seed of God, and it is received by hearing the Word through the Spoken Word ministry. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (Jhn.1:1,4).
Of course, the true servants of God will only speak the Word under the anointing of the Spirit and reveal the hidden truths. Remember that the Spoken Word must be substantiated by the Written Word for the Written Word was given as a “carrier” of the revelation of the Spoken Word. The Word was not written before it had first been spoken. The revelation of what was first spoken had been sealed in the Written Word until the end of the Grace Age. And we are now at the end of the Grace Age.
Speaking the Word (the Scripture) is not subject to any private interpretation. It is not a matter for a preacher (if he is a servant of God) to say, “This is my opinion, my own counsel, my own assessment, my own deduction.” Satan did that when he came to tempt Jesus Christ after Jesus had fasted 40 days and 40 nights:
“And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him."
– Matthew 4:3-11
Challenging Jesus' Messianic claim, Satan, who had tempted Jesus during His 40-day fast (cf. Mk.1:13), tried one final attempt to fall Jesus after His protracted fast. However, Jesus quoted the Scripture to show him that man needed more than just his daily nourishment; that man must continually feed on “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” — the Spoken Word. Satan at once caught on to what Jesus had said, the need for the Word (that is, man must believe the Scripture). So, he returned to Christ with the Written Word. Notice how he quoted out of context from the Book of Psalms just to suit his purpose. But he could not deceive a spiritual man who knew the revelation of the Scriptures. Consequently he became so upset and desperate that he tempted Jesus by offering his possessions of authority, power and dominion in exchange for worship. Is not this the spirit of many “high and mighty” preachers, today?
After about two and a half years of ministering with His disciples, “when Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets” (Matt.16:13-14). Notice that these were the perceptions of the Jews. But Jesus' main concern was the disciples' perception of Him since they had been following Him closely for a considerable period of time. So, “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt.16:15-18).
What was it that caused Peter to confess Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God? It was definitely not because he was a Jew or that he had some religious or intellectual knowledge. No, that had nothing to do with it. Peter had nothing to do with it. It was a revelation given to him from the Almighty God above. Peter had heard the Spoken Word in the ministry of Jesus and he was able to receive the revelation when it was given in its time. And it is “upon this rock” – “upon this revelation” – that Christ builds His Church. It is not “upon Peter” nor “upon Jesus Christ” that Christ builds His Church.
Notice that this revelation of Peter is not something that you could find a specific Scripture in the Old Testament to prove it. But its validity is supported by the Written Word that a Messiah would be sent to Israel and that He would do certain things. The Scriptures also state that God will open the heart of His people to understand such a wonderful gift which will be given to them — but it takes a revelation from God to have one's eyes opened to the truth! The faith of a true believer is not a blind faith. Faith in Christ is not a religious confession. You cannot believe until you have a revelation from God. Without a revelation you cannot make a true confession; you can and will only make a lie.
THE LAST TRUMP
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
– 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
That which the Apostle Paul had prophetically spoken of by revelation was symbolically shown to the Apostle John in a vision on the Isle of Patmos. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and Revelation 10 are parallels. They show the mystery of the Second Advent of Christ. To understand Christ's Second Coming, you have to understand His First Coming. You have to consider the “parousia” (a Greek word often translated as “presence, coming” but often misinterpreted). You have to consider not just the PERSON, but also the WORD which brings the PERSON; the WORD which paves the way for the PERSON's Glorious Entrance. The “parousia” begins with the word being sent forth (to a particular people in a particular place) and ends with the entrance of the person who had sent the word (to that particular people in that particular place).
There are three phases in the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to claim the earth and all that belong to Him. Christ will come firstly “with the SHOUT”, secondly “with the VOICE of the Archangel” and lastly “with the TRUMP of God” before the saints are translated (or raptured).. To the nominal Christians, the above Scripture simply means that there will be some sort of an angelic shout and trumpet sound (blown, perhaps, by the Archangel Gabriel) which would be heard by Christians before they are caught up in the Rapture. But just as surely as the religious Jews had failed to see how the Lord's Christ came the first time, so will today's religious Christians fail to see how our Lord will come to take His Bride away.
The Mighty Angel personifies Christ. Notice, He descends to the earth “with a SHOUT” — that is, “with a 'midnight cry' message” to call out the Bride (cf. Matt.25:1-13). He uses a forerunner (who was the Prophet-Messenger William Branham). It's a Spoken Word Ministry. The Ministry of the SHOUT gets the Bride out of “Mystery Babylon” – out of “Laodicea” – into Christ the Word. This is the beginning of the 'Capstone Ministry' of Christ to cap His Bride.
After the Bride has been introduced to meet the Anointed Word, the forerunner (like Eleazar and John the Baptist) would have completed his works and gone to rest (cf. Gen.24; Jhn.3:29). The Bride and the Word(-Groom) then enter into the tent (Nuptial Chamber [Grk: “Chuppah”] of the Word) where “with the VOICE of the Archangel” Christ speaks to her. Notice that there are only two persons “in the tent” – the Word-Groom (Christ) and His Bride only – together alone. The forerunner (messenger) is not “in the tent”. This is the invisible union of the Heavenly Bridegroom and the Earthly Bride. And there is a totally different atmosphere “in the tent”. Christ speaks to the Bride through the Ascension Gift (5-Fold) Ministry of the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. It's a Spoken Word Ministry. The Ministry of the VOICE of the ARCHANGEL gets the Bride to the state of perfection, that is, complete maturity in the revelation of the Word. She becomes the Wife and makes herself ready for the Homegoing to the House of the Bridegroom's Father for the Grand Marriage Supper of the Lamb. [Note: We know that DEATH lies 'inside' the camp of “Mystery, Babylon the Great”. The elect is told to come out of her. However, DEATH lies also on the 'outside'. There is no true safety. Death awaits those who linger too long on the 'outside' and those who do not follow through the instruction to meet the Bridegroom “in the tent”. (Just how long can the elect's oil last before he finds himself seeking for more oil that will show him the way into the Marriage? It means death for many believers when they are lost in the dark.) Unless and until the elect quickly gets “in the tent” there is no safety and no life, but only death 'outside' the “tent”.]
Now, when the door to the Marriage is closed, Christ's Wife is totally sealed in (like a caterpillar sealed inside a cocoon). She is made ready. Then “with the TRUMP of God”, Christ will give her the last Word for the “rapturing faith” which will bring about “a change” of her wedding garments — from a white robe of salvation to that of a fine linen of righteousness, clean and white because of the TOKEN she now possesses (cf. Rev.3:18). This will be the culmination of the 'Capstone Ministry' of Christ. The Seven Thunders (7 anointed men of God) will utter forth the very words that the Apostle John heard in his vision on the Isle of Patmos but was not allowed to record down. It's a Spoken Word Ministry. The Ministry of the TRUMP will revitalize every part (every member) of the Wife (physically and spiritually) before she will arise for her change — “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor.15:52-53). It will be a great revival for the Wife of Christ but the world will not know about it. And after her very short period of revival, a great blast will come one fine morning with the rising of the sun. From the Presence of the Lord her celestial (Word) body will come to cap her. Then, like a butterfly which bursts forth from its cocoon, after undergoing a transformation inside its cocoon, the Bride(-Wife) will 'metamorphoo' and burst out of “the tent” (which lays behind the inner veil) where she has been sealed in all this time, spiritually speaking. She will no longer wear the white robe of salvation but she will be clothed with a clean and white fine linen of righteousness! She will put on immortality and flap off to meet her Lord and King in the air! Hallelujah!
THE SEVEN THUNDERS
When the Apostle John saw the Seven Thunders in his vision, he also heard their voices but he was forbidden to write down what he had heard. The reason, as we know, is to keep it a secret from Satan who has always been an impersonator and a trouble-maker of God's plan and purpose. As such, this MYSTERY has yet to be revealed. It will be revealed to the elect of Christ in due course. It will be revealed at about the time when the Lord Jesus shall appear to catch away His Bride. When the Seven Thunders shall utter their voices, it will be the final 'reveille' to the Bride. It will be the LAST TRUMP of God to her, capping her for the Rapture. [Note: According to some Pyramidologists, the capstone (headstone) was carved out of a seven-layered block of stone.] “And the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess.4:16b-17, cf. 1 Cor.15:52). Amen!
The seven anointed ones are also seen and mentioned by Prophet Zechariah in his book. In Zechariah 4, we see a two-fold prophecy concerning the House of God, the golden lampstand of seven lamps and the two olive trees. And there were two men who played prominent roles in Israel's return to their homeland to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and their temple. They were Joshua, the high priest and Zerubbabel, the civil administrator (or prince). Both Joshua and Zerubbabel were types of our Lord Jesus Christ in His ministerial works of High Priest and Prince. As the natural types the spiritual, we can see Christ carrying out these roles in the last days as the Spiritual Israel (the Spiritual Church) returns to the Promised Word and is being built up as the Holy City New Jerusalem. But notice carefully the following verses:
Zech.3:8: Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.
Zech.3:9: For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
Zech.4:9: The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.
Zech.4:10: For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.
Sitting face to face with Joshua were several men — “thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at”. “These men were marvelous men” (Lamsa Translation), “men that are a sign” (Bethel Edition), “men of good omen” (RSV), “men symbolic of things to come” (NIV) and “men who are a sign or omen [types of what is to come]” (Amplified).
William F. Beck translated the whole verse as follows — “Please listen, Joshua, O high priest, you and your friends who sit before you. You men stand for something wonderful I will do because I will bring My Servant, the Branch” (An American Translation). And placed before Joshua and the men who sat before him was a stone with seven eyes and having an inscription on it. (Now all these have compound meaning. There is a play on the phrase “engrave the graving thereof”. Truly, God hides His Truth whilst revealing It.)
Now, what do all these mean prophetically concerning the Church? Simply to show that there is a REVELATION (the stone “engraved with an engraving” – “engrave [Heb: pathach] the engraving”) placed before our JOSHUA (Jesus Christ the High Priest) and that certain men before him shall be the eyes of that REVELATION. God shall open up or loosen (from the same Hebrew word: pathach) the inscription on that stone in the hand of Christ Jesus, not as 'Joshua the High Priest', but as 'Zerubbabel the Administrator' or 'Zerubbabel the Prince'. In the day of small things (that is, this period of the final generation, not the period of the 2000 years of the Church Age), our ZERUBBABEL shall hold the “plummet” (of that “stone”) and together with “those seven” marvelous men (the “seven eyes”, cf. Zech.4:10), who shall rejoice to see it in His hand, engrave (Heb: pathach, open wide) the engraving and administer that revelation around the world just before God takes the Gospel back to Israel. Amen.
Let's consider some examples showing the power of the Spoken Word of God in bringing about the LIFE of the PROMISE OF GOD.
ABRAHAM AND SARAH
Based upon God's promise that he was to be a great nation with a great name, Abram believed God and moved out of his homeland and kindred with his wife and household (cf. Gen.12). Abram was God's workmanship (cf. Eph.2:10). God was doing a work in him and through him. He was 75 years old and his wife, Sarai, was 65. In those days, the life span of a person was between 180 and 120 years, and later declining to below 120 years in the generation of the children of Israel. Abram and Sarai were then in their middle age. Though Sarai was barren she was still youthful and beautiful. Therefore, during their sojourn in Egypt, Abram asked Sarai to lie to the Pharaoh of Egypt for the sake of their own safety.
Ten years had passed since Abram and Sarai left their homeland in Ur of the Chaldees (cf. Gen.16). Sarai was still unable to conceive. She was now 75 years old but she had not yet reached menopause. In her impatience she persuaded Abram to take her Egyptian maid, Hagar, as a concubine to bear the child which God had promised them. (May God help us not to be impatient and seek to fulfill His plan in our own presumptuous ways. Patience is a great virtue. We need to understand that time is in God's hand and He will carry out His own Plan and Purpose for us. However, oftentimes Christians have tried to do the work for God instead. And it brought nothing but disasters.)
Fourteen years later, at the age of 99 years, Abram still held on to the promised Word of God. He knew that sooner or later the Seed Word must be manifested according to God's time. Then one day the Almighty God spoke to Abram. The time had come. The Seed Word of promise planted in Abram's bosom for the last 24 years had grown well and was ready to produce the Seed Life — the “seed” God had promised him. So, with the forthcoming “life”, the Almighty God changed the names of Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah respectively (cf. Gen 17). Yahweh then established a covenant with Abraham and gave him the Spoken Word of promise that in the following year, at the appointed time, his wife would bear him a son to be named Isaac. A token of the covenant was obtained and sealed by the blood of circumcision that very same day.
Eight days later, the Promise of life, Yahweh Himself, returned to Abraham. He had to return because the LIFE (Grk: Zoë) was in the Blood Covenant which He had established with Abraham. The LORD and His archangels, Michael and Gabriel, visited Abraham as messengers in human form. Notice that “Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women” (Gen.18:11 cf. v.12). Sarah was already in her menopausal years. She was 89 years old. Yes, both Abraham and Sarah were old, wrinkled and passionless. But the Lord, Who spoke to Abraham some days earlier, now 'thundered' and 'uttered' before Abraham and Sarah (who was in the tent behind Abraham) that “at the appointed time I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son” (Gen.18:14).
Could Abraham and Sarah have pleasure (that Sarah might conceive a child)? To be able to partake of it they had to be young and strong once again. Their bodies had to be changed — yes, changed back to the condition of their youth and strength. Everything about their bodies had to be renewed, regenerated, revived and resurrected in order to bring about the promised son. And was there anything too hard for the Lord (to provide “rapturing faith” for his son and daughter, Abraham and Sarah)?
The Lord had uttered. And it was so. The bodies of Abraham and Sarah soon began to change. They became young once again. It did not take years or months for the Spoken Word of God to take effect. This was evident by the fact that Abimelech, king of Gerar, was attracted to Sarah and had the desire to take her for himself (cf. Gen.20) just as the Pharaoh of Egypt had some 20 years earlier (cf. Gen.12:14). Yes, although Sarah was 89 years old but she was not 'an old woman'. She looked young and beautiful like 'a young woman' in the prime of her life. And in less then 3 months she conceived a child and gave birth to Isaac the following year, according to the Word of the Lord and the appointed time of life, when Abraham was 100 years old.
THE VIRGIN MARY
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
– Isaiah 7:14
God's promise of the coming Messiah to Israel was given to Isaiah. He prophesied it and later penned it in a scroll. But the life of the promised Word must be spoken at the appointed time (the fullness of time) to a virgin, just as it was spoken to Abraham and Sarah. There must have been many virgins in Israel hoping and looking forward to be the 'mother' of the holy child. And unless the ordained virgin was approached and given the Spoken Word of life by a messenger, she would not conceive and bear the son. Amen. That's right; not one virgin, not even Mary who was chosen, could suddenly find herself with the promised child without first receiving the Spoken Word from the Lord. Hence, the messenger, Gabriel, was sent to speak the Word to the Virgin Mary who gladly received the Word of Life. And she received the Word by faith. She was not blind to the Spoken Word for she certainly was not a woman who walked in religious darkness (of tradition). God was doing a work in her (cf. Jhn.6:29). She saw the revelation and said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Lk.1:38). What an ecstasy! What a rapture! What a revelation!
SPEAK THE WORD
The Capstone has come to cap the Bride. It descended with the messenger of God, William M. Branham, to the Laodicean Age. The messenger was given a message to call out the Bride from the darkness of religious traditions and point her back to the Faith of the Apostolic Fathers. With that message, the little Bride then followed the Word(-Groom) and entered with Him “into the tent” just like Rebekah did after she was introduced to Isaac by Eleazar, the servant of Isaac's father Abraham. The Earthly Bride and the Heavenly Groom are now presently united in spiritual wedlock. This is the Marriage of the Lamb of God. And when the Bride has become the Wife and has made herself ready, then the third and final phase of the Capstone ministry will thoroughly seal her “in the tent” to completely cap her for her 'Rapture' to the Home of the Heavenly Father for the Grand Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev.19:6-9). The Seven Thunders will come and reveal the secret of God to the Bride in that little private room of the tent. The utterance of the Seven Thunders will culminate in the Bride receiving the “rapturing faith” in the Word and Life of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the ministry of William Branham, there were 'Three Pulls'. The 'First Pull' unmasked disease through the sign in his hand. The 'Second Pull' was the gift of discernment of the secret thoughts of the heart. This was the same gift which Jesus Christ manifested during His earthly ministry. The 'Third Pull' was the manifestation of the Spoken Word — 'Speak the Word'.
The return of the Spoken Word ministry to the Church to prepare the Bride of Christ began with the 7th Church Age messenger. It was a 'Speak the Word of Life' ministry to the Bride. As spiritual life was imparted to the Spiritual Bride by the speaking of the Word of Life (preaching the Word of Life), God granted a physical manifestation of the same as a vindication of the Spoken Word ministry.
William Branham had five experiences of the manifestation of the Spoken Word. Each time the Voice of the Lord verbally commanded him to “speak the word”, it came to pass exactly as it was spoken. First, he was told to “speak the word” to a little dead fish which came back to life. Second, three squirrels were spoken into existence. Third, two sons of Sister Hattie Wright were given eternal salvation by the Spoken Word upon her request. Fourth, the storm disappeared and the sun shone according to the Spoken Word. Fifth, the disappearance of a tumor in the left ovary of his wife upon the command of the Spoken Word.
In relating these five experiences (in his message “Look Away To Jesus”), Bro. Branham said, “Just as sure as the First and Second Pulls were identified, so the Third Pull has been identified.” He said, “…when the squeeze comes down then you will see what you have seen temporarily be manifested in the fullness of its power.”
Since the passing away of Bro. Branham in 1965, we have yet to “see it in its fullness”. However, the squeeze from organized churches and the world has certainly been getting tighter. It will not be long when the fullness of the 'Third Pull' shall come with a swift Spoken Word ministry of the Seven Thunders. But between 1965 and this present time, I believe that there are some true ordained ministers, who have been called to the “Spoken Word” ministry and have personally experienced the manifestation of the Spoken Word.
The “Spoken Word” ministry is the speaking forth of the Word of God under the ordination and anointing of God. It is a distinctive and unique endtime ministry. Such a ministry cannot be carried out by the mere desire of man. Just because a man “feels led of God” to be a preacher does not make him a minister in the “Spoken Word” ministry. Those preachers who know practically every detail of the life of William Branham, a star-messenger of God, and who are acquainted with every of his sermons are not necessarily ordained of God. All such preachers are worth a dime a dozen. The “Truth” preachers are ordained and called of God. The Apostles, followed by the (New Testament) Prophets, are especially ordained to handle the Word and to confirm the Truth. However, these two ministries are very much misunderstood by the majority of the Endtime Message followers who believe that all the ministers (of the 5-Fold Ministry) are supposed to teach exactly what the star-messenger had taught (according to the recorded tapes), not adding to or subtracting from the words and statements in his messages.
Many Christians feel that they have every right to invoke the promises of God. They think that they need to merely “speak the word” and command sicknesses and sins to go away or claim for wealth and material blessings for themselves as and when they like. Yes, Christians have every right to claim the promises of God but the promises of God cannot be claimed by command but by faith. One only needs to ask by faith in the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father will supply our need. In his ministry, Bro. Branham had prayed for many people but not all of them were healed. William Branham was not the healer. God was and is the Healer. In praying for the people, Bro. Branham did not “speak the word” like he did in his experiences with the Spoken Word because the manifestation of the Spoken Word was totally different. A Christian does not receive the power to “speak the word” by a personal desire or prayer. The power to “speak the word” of life comes only by a direct verbal command from the Voice of the Living God.
As an ordained minister of God, called to the “Spoken Word” ministry, I have had an experience of the manifestation of the Spoken Word.
I was in Bombay for a convention in December 1989. My young son, Zoel, was with me. One night, prior to the days of the convention, a minister and his wife took us to a small local Indian restaurant to have supper. On the following day, I had diarrhoea and had to go to the toilet several times. I knew it was caused by the food I had taken at the restaurant. However, I recovered from the condition after two days. My 13-year old son appeared fine until the following morning when he had to jump out of the bed to rush to the bathroom to throw up in the sink. He did not make it there in time and his vomit was splashed all over the wall, the sink and the floor of the bathroom. I was also shocked to see a few underwear which he had washed and hung to dry during the night. His bedsheet was dirty with faecal stains. He told me that during the night he had a few episodes of vomiting and bouts of diarrhoea which were uncontrollable. We prayed together and I committed his health to the Lord. For the whole of that day he spent most of his time going in and out of the bathroom just throwing up, sitting on the toilet bowl, washing and cleaning himself. I got him some medications but his stomach would just throw them up. He could not even hold any amount of food in his stomach.
Zoel's condition remained bad for the next two days. His bedsheet was soiled and smelly. The bathroom had splashes of vomit on the wall, the sink and the floor. During the convention, I saw him sitting at the back of the hall for a while and then he would rush off to the toilet down the corridor before returning to his seat.
At about 10 o'clock in the evening of the third day of Zoel's illness, the minister and some other believers came up to me, after the meeting had ended, and said, “Zoel's condition is not good. We should take him to see a specialist.” But the specialist I had always trusted was the Lord Jesus Christ. That had always been in my heart. I replied, “We have committed him to the Lord, even during the last few meetings, and this is the third day. I will give God until tonight and wait until tomorrow, and if Zoel's condition remains the same, then we will take him to a specialist.” Then I took my son to the restaurant at the YMCA where the convention was held. He still could not eat except to drink some soup. I was upset by his illness. Even as I sat there eating, he would go to the toilet a couple of times. He could not even hold down the soup he had taken.
After our supper we headed for our room which was at the Methodist lodging house just across the road. It was nearly 11.30 pm then and I was feeling dead tired. So, I did a quick wash up. I got into bed and lay my head on a pillow but my son just sat on his bed, hugging a pillow, feeling a lot of discomfort in his belly. I encouraged him to lie down and try to get some sleep. He said, “I can't, Dad. When I put my head down, I'll get very nausea and I will surely throw up.”
Dead tired as I was, I got up from my bed and sat on his. Cradling him in my arms, I prayed for him and patted him to sleep. About 20 minutes or so later, he was asleep. It was then about 5 minutes to midnight when I stepped back over to my bed and hit my head on the pillow. I was out like a light.
At midnight, the presence of the Lord came and stood at the center of the room (which was at the foot of my bed). I was awakened with this command, “Speak the word!”
Those three words, oh my! Sleepy-eyed, I glanced at the Presence at the foot of my bed, sat up, swung my feet onto the floor, leaned across my son's bed, stretched my right hand and placed it on his belly. I spoke, “Vomit, stop... diarrhoea, stop... in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ!” Then I went back to my bed. I was so excited and anxious to see the manifestation that I said to myself, “I will get up at 6 o'clock in the morning and check on my son.” Then I was out again like a light.
Surprisingly, I woke up at exactly 6 o'clock in the morning. I looked at my son. He was sleeping soundly. I moved over to his bed and gently slipped my hand under his bottom to feel if the bedsheet was wet and soiled. This was one thing I would not have done if I did not have the faith. It was dry. I walked into the bathroom and was happy to see that the wall, the sink and the floor were dry and clean. Also, I did not see any of his underwear hanging to dry. As I was still tired, I went back to bed to get more sleep and I said to myself, “I'll get up at eight.” (I usually try to get more rest and sleep when I have to minister long hours during several days of meetings.)
When I got up at exactly 8 o'clock, my son was not in his bed. I checked the bedsheet, it was still clean and dry, so was the bathroom. I opened the door and asked a service staff, who happened to pass by, whether he had seen my son. This was his reply, “Oh, your son; he was very sick last few days, but now he is very well. He has already taken his breakfast, a very big one, and he is up on the roof top looking at the eagles flying.” I whispered a prayer of thanksgiving to the good Lord.
In the ministry of William Branham, he often related the “Spoken Word” to the following: the Third Pull (which is related to the Opening of the Seals and the Coming of the Word), the Tent Vision, the Sword of the King, the Seventh Seal and the Seven Thunders. All these have to do with the catching away of the Bride. He felt certain that the Seven Thunders would give the Bride the rapturing faith.
Saints of God, we need to get “high” on the Word like John the Beloved. The King's Sword is our strength and keeper as we line up our faith with the Apostolic doctrines. But the Third Pull draws us to the little room behind the inner veil. There “in the tent” of His great Love and the revelation of Himself, King Jesus Christ is waiting to change us. We will be mellowed down “in the tent” of His Love and Strength. And as we yield ourselves to Him, our characters will be shaped by the Master's holy hands. It is “in the tent” that the Bride will have her revival and the change of her body in secret. The secret will be revealed when the “silence” of the Seventh Seal ushers in the Seven Thunders who will utter their voices and “speak the word” to give the Bride the 'rapturing faith'. Yes, the dead in Christ shall rise first and the Living Bride shall be changed.
“The LORD thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice.”
– 2 Samuel 22:14
Beloved, the true elect of God will soon have a revival — a short, quick and perfect revival. For all of us who are established in the present truth under the Present Ministry, we shall surely come to a complete maturity and be ready to hear the final revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. As promised in the Written Word, at the last trump of the Lord “we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed” (1 Cor.15:51), the Seven Thunders shall surely come and utter their voices to the Virgin Bride(-Wife) of Christ to give her the 'rapturing faith' and we shall all be changed. Yes, at the appointed time, our physical body will have to undergo a change in order to meet the Life (our celestial 'Word' body, cf. 2 Cor.5:1-2) and to receive the promised Son of God, Jesus the Christ, as He comes to meet us in the air.
The Seed Word that God has planted will soon bring forth many seeds. Watered daily by the Spoken Word Ministry (“Today if ye will hear his voice”), the Seed has grown through the various stages and is about ready to blast forth its fruits to bring about the manifestation of the sons of God. Abraham and Sarah received the Spoken Word, so will the Bride. Abraham and Sarah had their names changed. Likewise, each member of the Bride will also have a new name. The physical bodies of Abraham and Sarah were renewed, regenerated, revived and resurrected in order to bring forth life and the promised son, so will the whole assembly of true worshippers of the Lord. And like the Virgin Mary who received the revelation of the Spoken Word for the promised Son of God, so will the elect.
One of these days Divine Love will come. “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you” (Jhn.14:20). These words of our Lord Jesus will come to its fullness in us, the Bride, while we wait “for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom.8:23). The Capstone, the Headstone, is coming to cap the Bride-Wife. Yes, the Bride will have a “revival” for a short period of about 40 days (cf. Acts 1:3) when the Seven Thunders shall appear on the scene to “speak the word” — the final revelation of the Lord for the saints. It is the great “silence” of the Seventh Seal. It is the hour that a “total healing” of the Body of Jesus Christ will take place. Afflicted and impaired bodies of individual living saints will be wholly restored by the revelation of the Spoken Word of God. Arms shall grow out for those who have no arms. Eyes shall be restored to those who once had no eyes. The natural physical bodies of the saints will be completely restored before their glorious transformation. Hallelujah! What a great “revival” that will be! And it is hidden from the world. Amen.
Then one glorious morning, just as the sun comes out (at about 6 o'clock), the Word Body or Celestial Body (called “Theophany” by Bro. Branham) of the Bride shall come down at the command of the Heavenly Word of God above and wrap her up. The Glorious Word in her — which is her “covering, defence and protection” — will emerge from her being and “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor.15:52-55). Hallelujah! The body of flesh and blood will give way to a glorious spiritual body!
Beloved, the final capping of the Bride for her Rapture to the Grand Marriage Supper of the Lamb is just around the corner. So, be watchful and prayerful. And those of you who are slothful, wake up before it's too late! The hour is later than we dare to think. Amen. The culmination of the promise of God by the Spoken Word is coming to LIFE!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
WHAT THE MESSENGER SAID
THE SEVENTH SEAL AND THE SEVEN THUNDERS
SIRS, WHAT IS THE TIME?
“And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices”. Watch! Rev.10:4: “And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write:...” There was something said. It just wasn't a noise. Something was said. He was about to write. “...and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me,...” Look where the voices were in the thunders — not in heaven; on earth. The thunders never uttered from the heavens; they uttered from the earth. “...I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.”
...these seven thunders, voices, is the only thing that's stuck to the book that's not revealed. It's not even written in the book.
“And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.” Now that's what we don't know. That's yet to be revealed. It's not in the Holy Script — what them thunders say.
Then there's coming forth seven mysterious thunders that's not even written at all! That's right! And I believe that through those seven thunders will be revealed in the last days in order to get the bride together for rapturing faith; because what we got right now, we wouldn't be able to do it. There is something that has got to step forward for we can't have enough faith for divine healing hardly. We have got to have enough faith to be changed in a moment to be swept up out of this earth,...
There's got to be something to change this church, you know that.
God, help our unbelief. Take it away from us, Lord. We want to receive rapturing grace. We want to be able, when that mysterious thunders thunder out yonder...we want to be ready to receive it, Lord. Grant it.
The Bride hasn't had a revival yet. There has been no revival, no manifestation of God to stir the Bride yet, see? We're looking for it. It will take those seven unknown thunders back there to wake her up again. He will send it. He promised it.
(Wait 'til them seven thunders utter their voices to that group who really can take the Word of God and hand it there!)
Now, what this great secret is, that lays beneath this Seal, I do not know. I don't know it. I couldn't make it out. I couldn't tell it, just what it said. But I know that it was them seven thunders uttering themselves right close together, just banging seven different times, and it unfolded into something else that I seen.
Then when I seen that, I looked for the interpretation that flew across there, and I couldn't make it out. That's exactly right. See? The hour isn't quite yet for it, but it's moving into that cycle, see. It's coming up close. So the thing for you to do is remember that I speak to you in the Name of the Lord. Be prepared, for you don't know what time something can happen.
I'm only telling you what I have seen and what has been told to me, and you do whatever you want to. I don't know...what's is going to take place. I do not know. I just know that those seven thunders hold that mystery, that Heavens was quieted. (Everybody understand?)
...one of the mysteries of that Seal, the reason it wasn't revealed, it was seven thunders that uttered their voices, and there it is perfectly because nothing knows anything about it; it was even written.
Now, do you notice on the opening of this Seventh Seal, it's also in a threefold mystery. This one I have...spoken, that it is the mystery of the seven thunders. The seven thunders in Heaven will unfold this mystery. It'll be right at the coming of Christ because Christ said no one knew when He would return.
...nobody knows when He's coming. But there'll be seven voices of these thunders that will reveal the great revelation at that time.
So, I believe... if we don't know it, and it won't be known 'til that time, but it will be revealed in that day, in that hour that it's supposed to be revealed in. So, the thing for us to do is to be reverent before God and serve Him, and do all that we know how to do, and live good Christian lives.
Here now, we find that the Sixth seal has been opened to us; we see it, and we know that this Seventh Seal cannot be broken to the public until that hour arrives.
Now, there was some reason that God let this seven voices be thundered, because it must come...
...sitting in my room, and I heard this...not heard it, rather, but seen it unfold to this seven thunders. Now, that's as far as we can go, right there.
MAN THAT CAN TURN ON THE LIGHT:
There's nothing can give you Life but the spoken Word of God. It's the only way that Life can come is through His spoken Word.
O O O O O O
Pastor Felimon “Nonoy” Togonon,
God's Tabernacle Fellowship,
[Res.] Lot 21, Blk-4, Phase III, Sunshine Homes,
G.M.A., Cavite 4117, Philippines
• It was in 1977 that I read a booklet in which the American minister placed much emphasis on the Seven Thunders in connection with the Rapture. He did not say what the Seven Thunders were but emphasized the importance that “you will not be in the Rapture without knowing what are those Thunders; because the Seven Thunders give Rapturing Faith to the Bride of Christ”.
The mystery of those Thunders caused me to search out the Truth. I prayed more earnestly about it. After much prayers and waiting, the answer came in a dream.
In the dream, I found myself standing outside a certain brother's house and talking to him as he stood behind a window. Then, I saw my uncle (who was the father of Bro. Franco Togonon), standing beside an electric post at a little distance from my left side, calling for me. At the same time, I turned to the right and I saw the Lord Jesus Christ standing at the backside of the house also calling for me. Instead of going to my uncle, I went to the Lord Jesus. As I drew near to Him I noticed that His face was full of compassion and the glory of God. I saw a white mantle hanging from His left arm down to His foot. When I reached Him, He put His right hand on my shoulder and we both walked together to a vacant lot nearby. There Jesus gave me the white mantle. What a tremendous joy that I have had at that time — jumping about with the mantle in my hands. I would not even let the mantle touch the ground! Then, it was at that happiest moment of time when Jesus disappeared from my sight.
The dream changed. I found myself in my uncle's house and I was wearing a white garment down to my feet. My aunt was talking with her daughter and I heard her asking her daughter this question: “What will happen before the Rapture will take place?” As her daughter answered, I saw something unfolded before me (see sketch). And I heard a voice say, “At His coming, Jesus will not come down to earth, but He will be in the clouds of heaven. From there He'll anoint messengers full of the power of the Holy Ghost and send them to His Church, only One Church.”
I did not know the interpretation of the dream. I just kept it in my heart waiting for the time.
One afternoon, sometime at the end of 1979, after the decease of my mother, as I knelt down in my room to pray for God's guidance and about the issue of the Seven Thunders, the answer came. He spoke to me saying, “My son, you are living at the time of the fulfillment of the Seven Thunders.”
Since that time, I have been satisfied to know that we are living in the time that the Thunders — when they shall utter their voices — will give Rapturing Faith to the Bride of Christ. I am very convinced that the Thunders are here today, waiting for the anointing from the Lord to begin their ministry. May we be found ready when the Seven Men (Thunders) utter their voices for the change of our bodies and then the going home of the Bride to glory.
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Pastor Charles Obwoon,
“Eagle's Wings” Tabernacle,
P.O.Box 70, Katakwi,
• Sometime around the month of May 1995 I decided to pray seriously that God would reveal to me the Truth concerning the “Seven Thunders”. I had heard different teachings. One teaching was that the Seven Thunders had been revealed and that they were the seven virtues listed in one of the epistles of Apostle Peter. Another was that they were supposed to be the messages of Bro. William Branham. One thing taught by these people was that these “thunders” should be “thundering” in a believer's life in order that he would be identified as a true elect and a member of the Bride of Christ. I had also come across Bro. Gan's teaching in which he stated that the Seven Thunders would actually be seven anointed servants of God who would come and utter the final word to the Bride to give them rapturing faith.
But a personal revelation was what I needed. And it was not long after that time I had an experience in a night vision. I dreamed that I was walking alone on a road. Then all at once I saw a large sheet of white paper floating down from the sky and it landed on the road directly in front of me. I was curious to know what it contained, so I picked it up. The large sheet of paper was folded. I unfolded it and spread it out. There were some words written on it. There were also a row of seven pictures of certain men printed on it.
At first the written words were unrecognizable to me as they were in an unknown language. But astoundingly, the words slowly became apparent to me and I was able to read them in English. It was really plain English to me. The words were written in bold black capital letters on that white sheet of paper.
I stared at the row of seven pictures on the paper. I strained my eyes to see if I could identify the men on the pictures. The pictures were the size of passport photographs and very clear. Though I knew they were seven different men in those pictures, yet I just could not make out who they were.
Of the words written on the paper, they were written above the row of seven pictures in two lines. The first line was “SEVEN THUNDERS” and the second was “THUNDERS REVEALED ON THE WAY”.
The paper then disappeared from my hands and I came out of the experience.
• In another separate dream that I had, I found myself in a classroom where a group of “Message Believers” had gathered for their fellowship. (I personally know this assembly and the pastor. They have their church in a town called Jinja.) The pastor was seated at the teacher's desk. He had a number of “message books” on the desk and he was teaching out of those books trying to prove that the “Seven Thunders” were already revealed. The people began to gather around him, by his sides and back, all anxious to see what he was seeing in those “message books”.
After a while, something happened. Seven men, in a single file, came walking in and stood directly in front of the desk of the pastor (teacher). But the strangest thing was that the pastor and the people who crowded around the sides and the back of the pastor did not notice the presence of those seven men standing there in front of them. A while later when they left, a voice from somewhere spoke saying that the pastor and his group “have not even seen the Seven Thunders”.
[Sometime later, after this dream, I went to a meeting in Kampala (capital city of Uganda). The place was filled with “Message Believers”. When the time came for the preaching of the Word, the pastor introduced the preacher. And the preacher was the very pastor that I saw in the dream! He started to preach from a number of “message books” which he had brought with him in his briefcase. And did you know what? He took two hours trying to prove that the “Seven Thunders” were already revealed and that they were the “seven virtues”!
After the service, I shook his hand, talked with him a little and walked away. If that isn't amazing grace, I do not know what.
I would also like to say that God has revealed to some believers the errors of the so-called teaching of the “Seven Thunders Revival” and have delivered them out of that spirit of delusion which inspired the teaching.]
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Evangelist S. Sundarraj,
“Voice of The Word”,
42-B, Asumbu Road, Opp. C.B.H.,
Nagarcoil, Kanyakumari, 629 001,
• I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for saving my soul. He had led me out of my wayward ways and from a life full of sins into His marvelous Gospel light of salvation. He had done many wonderful works in my life, guiding me even by dreams and visions into the Endtime Message, and showing me the Seven Stars, especially the Seventh Angel — who he was and what he looked like — before I ever heard of or knew him. I am glad to serve the Lord Jesus.
Concerning the teaching of the Seven Thunders, many believers in the Endtime Message are simply quoting what Bro. William Branham said in many of his messages to try and establish their own view. They do not search the Scriptures at all for the Truth. Many are merely saying that the Seven Seals are opened and that the Seven Thunders are revealed in the Seals because the prophet was sent to do that. They said that the prophet brought all mysteries to an end. Such teachings are Scripturally wrong, and I knew it.
Sometime in the middle of 1990 God gave me a vision. I was praying in a room in the early hour of the morning after holding some gospel meetings in a village. In the vision, I saw Bro. Branham preaching, looking eastward. He was preaching about the 7th Seal. The presence of God was around him. When he was about to preach the 7th Seal, he disappeared from the scene. Then I saw an awesome scene unfolded. And the Lord with His glory came down to that place. (I testify of this with reverence before the Lord. I have been given visions and dreams of the Lord some 30 times.) Then I heard great sound of thunders. With great fear I cuddled the pillow tightly and closely to my chest because my heart was beating very fast. I could even hear my heart pounding loudly. I thought I was going to die, and I was afraid. Then I felt a hand upon my shoulder. It was the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, “Do not fear. You will see that in your lifetime.”
Then I prayed and asked the Lord for the Word concerning it, and He showed me the words of Micah 5:5-6. I began to be enlightened that the “seven shepherds” reflected the Seven Church Age Messengers. But then came a question: who were the “eight principals”, what did they signify, and when would they come? Then as I prayed, the Lord gave me some other Scriptures — Zech.9:14; Joel 2:11 and Mic.2:13. Of the “eight principals” Christ Jesus would be the eighth. He will stand with the seven in the last days when the mystery will be fulfilled. As we see Christ reflected in the Book of Revelation as the Mighty Angel (Messenger) with the Seven Church Age Angels (Messengers), so we see Him reflected in Micah 5:5-6 as the eighth principal with the seven.
Yes, Jesus Christ will anoint seven men and stand with them as the final principals to the Bride, and they will give the final word of God to the Bride.
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