John chapter 15 - Jesus carries the Church
As the vine carries the branches, so Jesus carries His church. But the branches have to be pruned and cut back.
JOHN 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Jesus, the Ideal Man, is the vine that carries the Christian branches.
"I am" is how God introduced Himself to Moses at the burning bush.
EXODUS 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM:
Although He is a Man, Jesus nevertheless also stresses that He is Almighty God.
As a Man He sets us the perfect example and lays down the truth as the Word of God. As God, He shapes our spirits and reveals His Word to us so that we can be obedient to Him.
Jesus is the visible Vine that carries the church because He is the Word of God that guides the church through its seven church ages.
The Father is the invisible Spirit of God that dwells in Jesus. From this Spirit comes the deep thoughts that are expressed by the Word.
PSALM 42:7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.
The deep thoughts of God create a deep response in those who love God's Word. Especially in times of trouble.
Jesus the Man is the Mediator Who has to reveal to us humans what the deep and mysterious plan of God is.
The deepest natural thing on earth is the sea. The deepest ocean trench is Challenger Deep which is almost 11 kilometers deep. The name says it all.
Deep things are challenging and not easily acquired. A deep-sea submarine once descended to the bottom in 196o, and then a second submarine returned down there only in 2012, piloted by a single man. Exploring deep things is not a common experience and is a very challenging task.
In 1960 brother Branham began searching out the history of the seven church ages in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 and the scene in Heaven after the Rapture in Chapters 4 and 5. This series was called the Revelation of Jesus Christ. This led to his fascinating revelation of six of the seven Seals in Revelation Chapter 6, in 1963. The Seals revealed the hidden spirits at work during the history of the church.
Now individuals should be returning to these deep Bible mysteries to understand for themselves what the early church believed. We should be searching out what God's Big Plan is for our day.
On 28 February 1963, a supernatural Cloud was briefly visible for 28 minutes just after sunset at a height of 42 kilometers above the city of Flagstaff in northern Arizona. This state is in the West of America.
No face was visible in the Cloud.
The Cloud was photographed from the Tucson observatory.
Eight days later, the seven angels, who had formed the Cloud, visited brother Branham 200 miles further south near Sunset Peak. They commissioned him to reveal the seven Seals. They came that day and left without forming a Cloud.
Brother Branham revealed the Seals in a week-long series of sermons that revealed the seventh Seal to be a total mystery. The seven Thunders were revealed in these 'Seven Seals sermons' to be a total mystery as well. This is because the seven Thunders and the seventh Seal refer to the top-secret Coming of the Lord. That is information that no man knows, except for those who are totally fooled and live in a bubble of self-delusion. Bubbles will quickly pop in the horror of the Tribulation.
But the revelation of the Seals opened up a deep understanding of Scripture.
So powerful was this revealed light of Bible truth that the Roman Catholic Pope died in 1963 as well as the only Catholic president of America, John Kennedy, who was shot later in 1963. The forces of darkness could not withstand the true light of the revealed Word.
The Cloud, which was photographed in the West, was then followed by a former rain or teaching rain of great Scriptural depth from 1963 to 1965.
This was to prepare the living Bride for the latter rain or harvest rain where the wheat seed is pulled off the plant. The dead in Christ from the seven church ages will be pulled out of their graves at the resurrection. Then the living Bride will be changed during the seven Thunders before being pulled off the earth to meet the Lord in the air.
LUKE 12:54 And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.
The Cloud was a sign of the times.
65-0718 TRYING TO DO GOD A SERVICE WITHOUT BEING THE WILL OF GOD
And then in that great observatory, so that the world will be without, they're still wondering what happened. In Tucson, them big observatories took the picture of it up there; still wondering what happened. What is it? They still put in the paper, "Does anybody know anything about what, how it could have happen?" There is no fog up there, there's no air, there's no moisture; thirty miles high in the air. Oh, my!
"There shall be signs in the heaven above. And when these things take place, earthquakes in divers places, then shall appear the sign in the heaven, of the Son of man."
The Husbandman looks after the vineyard.
God used the end-time Gentile prophet to teach us how to understand Scripture. The prophet left the scene in 1965.
His important task was to reveal Scripture, which he did by the end of 1965. Now we have had more than 55 years to listen to his voice from his recorded sermons.
REVELATION 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets
Thus "in the days of the voice of the seventh angel" refers to the years after 1965 when the prophet was no longer on earth. This is the time that God has left us to seek out deep Biblical truths for ourselves.
The purpose of brother Branham's message was to enable us to prove our beliefs by running them through the verses of the Bible.
Bible symbols were a revelation imprisoned in words, waiting to be released.
Most message-people have lost direction by speculating about quotes with their aimless guesswork that does not link Scriptures together. They have wasted these years. Now they are only zealous in opposing Bible truth. Therefore Bible ignorance and misinterpretation are rampant in message-churches.
The watchdogs who check for Scriptural accuracy are being slowly but effectively put to sleep.
If we want the truth, God has to cut our lives down to size, reducing our self-importance. Our church opinions that are not proven from Scripture must be chopped off. There are already far too many different types of message-churches.
Thus people are locked in a dungeon of their own mental construction as self-made prisoners.
God has to cut off unscriptural ideas based on interpretations of quotes.
Eventually, our thinking must begin to line up with God's thinking, as expressed in the written Bible.
This applies to people and preachers.
JOHN 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Usually, the majority of the grape branch is cut off.
The human self-will is of no use to God's plan.
The best thing we can do is die to ourselves.
I CORINTHIANS 15:31 I die daily.
When people allow selfishness, ambition, pride, arrogance, idleness, greed, spite, and revenge to control their lives, then those people are purged or removed from the Lord’s plan.
Greedy for personal gain or fame causes a falling away.
People think that belonging to a certain church makes them better than another Christian.
Only dead fish go with the flow.
The purpose of good preaching is to make the comfortable uncomfortable.
MARK 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Money, pride, selfishness – an unholy trinity.
Pursuing our own interests and ambitions is not the right way to serve God.
But those who sincerely try hard to please God will endure hardship.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
Pain is an indicator of growth and a sign you’re on the right path.REVELATION 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Be zealous to repent.
We obviously have a lot to repent about. We are doing and believing much that is wrong. But we have been fooled by our churches into thinking that all that we do is fine.
Excessive pride or self-confidence ruins our ability to see ourselves as we actually are.
So there is a lot that God has to trim off us as He purges or prunes us.
Quotes easily become a veil of “not quite Scriptures” that obscure our vision.
If we think we are pleasing God, we have misunderstood our condition.
The fruit on a vine that does not form properly gets cut off. A lot of fruit gets lost this way, but the remaining fruit has much better quality and is far more valuable.
More profit gets made out of a few high-quality grapes cut back to size (to fit Scripture) than many low-quality grapes that grow their own way outside of the written Scripture.
The prophet came for a few who would be restored back to an understanding of the original Word of the New Testament.
MATTHEW 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Today there are very few who search through the Bible to find the truth.
The good fruit that God looks for comes from His Holy Spirit in us.
GALATIANS 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
:23 Meekness, temperance:
Why does God prune us or hammer us? That is done to make us more careful to obey His Scriptures.
JOHN 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words:
We do not love God because we make emotional loving statements about our feelings towards God.
We only love God if we discipline ourselves towards obeying the Bible.
III JOHN 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
II PETER 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
Inner peace comes when we know we have walked in truth and carefully and diligently followed His Word, the Bible.
Then in the midst of the fruit of the Spirit we have longsuffering which is the ability to cope with hardship in a gentle and good way as this develops our faith. Faith is like muscles that get stronger when they are exercised. Suffering and affliction strengthen us spiritually. If we can come through the trials in a good and gentle manner then we know that God has helped us. This keeps us meek as we know it was not our own efforts but help from above. We thus cannot boast about ourselves.
Meek persons accept the intervention of God in their lives without doubting or worrying. We learn to accept affliction with the same attitude that we receive blessings because both come from the hand of God. Both are for our benefit.
ROMANS 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
God’s purging or pruning may not be seen as a blessing, but it is because it cuts away the error that makes us stumble.
The knife of sorrow carves out the cup that holds our joy.
The emphasis here is on being called according to God’s purpose, not helping our own ambitions. We need to discover God’s Big Plan in our age which is to sufficiently understand the mysteries of God so that we can be restored back to the original faith and beliefs of the apostles.
God wants us to stay calm and self-restrained so that our behavior can be mild when under stress or under success. This is called temperance. When God blesses a Christian then, very easily, that person begins to gain a sense of self-importance. That is a disaster. The richest men on earth are not Christians. The amount of money in your bank account does not indicate your closeness to God.
When people suffer disaster they very easily forsake God. We must not allow circumstances to dictate what our feelings are. Otherwise, our lives are in bondage to the events that we react to.
The Holy Spirit sees triumph and disaster as “imposters” that can easily trip us up. Our focus should be on following the Word of God in order to understand how to be ready for the Second Coming of the Lord.
We should not be too obsessed with whether we are making or losing money.
MATTHEW 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
We must take our eyes off our own circumstances, good or bad, and seek to understand and follow God’s Word so that we can fulfill His Will, not our self-will.
If we seek what God wants to be done, then He will solve our problems by providing what He knows that we need. That is better than spending our time chasing what we want, which is Satan’s main distraction whereby he lures us off the true path.
Pruning or cutting back a branch encourages it to put energy into producing new growth. This keeps the branch free from disease that may have started to form. The new growth will produce more fruit.
Overcoming hardship stimulates our faith.
Difficulty and defeat are the anvils on which character is hammered out and strengthened.
Cutting off overgrown branches allows sunlight to reach new leaves. With time we easily lose our first love for Jesus. The church takes the place of the Bible. We agree with people rather than with Scripture.
The unscriptural word “Christmas” on the unscriptural date 25 December with the decorated pagan "Christmas" tree tradition that Jeremiah Chapter 10 told us not to follow, shows how easily we are knocked off the Bible path.
We readily get into unscriptural ruts or else rely on our own abilities. Being chopped down to size helps us to depend more on the Lord.
JOHN 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Jesus keeps emphasizing keeping our faith strictly based on Scripture. We are not to start by getting saved by grace through faith and then drift off into pagan or man-made or scientific errors like the Big Bang and evolution.
Only by being Scriptural in all that we believe can we please God.
JOHN 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
We have to stay in Scripture. The Holy Spirit in us can only perform His function when we allow Him to guide us into all the truth that is hidden in the symbols of the Bible.
A branch cannot grow unless it is attached to the vine. The vine brings up the nutrients and water from the soil that the branch needs. The branch has no means to extract nutrients and water from the soil. Only the roots can do that. So we are totally dependent on the Bible to provide us with the information that we need to find the truth and avoid deception. The Holy Spirit within us is the only One Who can guide us through the different verses in the Bible in order to give us a revelation of the Truth.
JOHN 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
A chilling statement. Our human talents are worthless. Most charismatic preachers do little more than deceive the people thanks to their gift of being fluent speakers. They focus on the doctrines that will make them popular and keep the people entertained. They emphasize style instead of substance. Truth hurts and people do not want to hear it. Popular preachers thus present less and less truth.
We have to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in our own personal lives. None of those fruits enable us to dominate others.
But then we also have to bring forth the revelation of the mysteries of Scripture so that Jesus can guide us back to the early church.
To achieve this we have to link up Scripture with Scripture as we trace an idea through the Bible. All the Scriptures concerning a doctrine then group together like a cluster of grapes.
If your doctrine is based on a few Scriptures, then it is like a few grapes in a cluster. It is of no value and will be cut off by the pruner.
Our only value is to speak from the Scripture. We must explain what any Scripture means by referring it to other Scriptures. If we believe the truth then Jesus will show us more and more Scriptures that establish the doctrine in depth.
If we believe error then we will soon have to leave the Bible in order to explain our idea. Worse still, we will soon find Scriptures that contradict our belief. That is Jesus telling us that we are wrong. We should then cut off that belief from our thinking before He cuts us off from His Bride.
Remember, He only needs a few grape clusters of good quality.
LUKE 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
God is coming to take revenge on the 45000 different types of churches that spread their mixture of truth and error on earth today.
But very few people are staying strictly with the Bible. Faith only comes from Scripture, not from feelings. Not from regular church attendance.
JOHN 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
All the modern church traditions with their bits of Bible truth that are mixed in with human opinions are not the branches that Jesus is looking for. Science theories like evolution and Big Bang and pagan beliefs like Trinity are withered branches that doom church-goers to the fire of the Tribulation.
Churchgoers may be saved from hell by accepting Jesus as Saviour but unless they are strictly Scriptural they are heading for the Tribulation.
LUKE 8:18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
Those who stay with Scripture will be blessed with a greater eagle-eyed insight to see even more Scriptures confirming their beliefs. Those who deny revealed truth will follow human error until they lose sight of the truth that they once knew.
“You are only saved from hell if you are in the message or in this church” is a typical error that has lost sight of the fact that we are saved by grace through faith in God’s written Word.
65-0220 GOD'S CHOSEN PLACE OF WORSHIP
A man called me not long ago, in Beaumont, Texas. He said, "Mr. Branham, if your name is not on our church book, you cannot go to Heaven." Would you ever think of that? Don't you believe such a thing as that. They think you have to belong to that certain church or you cannot go to Heaven. That's wrong. To believe that, is antichrist. I'll say this: if you believe such a spirit, you're lost. That's a good sign you are lost,
JOHN 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Jesus again stresses our need to remain Scriptural as only then can we be in the Will of God.
Revealed prophecy and understanding of Scripture is a temporary time of beauty that we are fortunate enough to live in. If we seize the opportunity to learn.
We are only allowed to interpret a Scripture in terms of other Scriptures.
JOHN 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
The invisible Spirit of God is glorified when we believe only what is written in the Bible.
This is our testing ground in life.
We are offered 45000 different variations of church beliefs.
Each one is partly Scriptural and partly unscriptural, just like the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Our test is to refuse any belief that cannot be proven by joining the Scriptures together. The more Scriptures that we can join together to prove a point, the more fruit we bear.
We are free to make choices but we are not free to choose the consequences of those choices.
MICAH 7:13 Notwithstanding the land shall be desolate because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their doings.
HOSEA 10:13 Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.
Belonging to a big church that trusts in mighty preachers does not mean that we do not get lied to.
HOSEA 10:1 Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself:
This focus on self-gain is a symptom of spiritual emptiness.
JEREMIAH 12:2 ...thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.
Reins steer a horse. This is a symbol of human thoughts that steer our words and actions.
People easily say all the right words about loving God with their mouths. But their thoughts are far from His Word. They have no deep-down desire to be Scriptural.
JEREMIAH 6:19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.
If we do not obey the Bible, then the fruit of our thoughts is evil.
ISAIAH 37:31 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward:
In order to bear spiritual fruits upward, we need to dig our roots deep down into Scripture. You cannot please God spiritually unless you obey and believe the Bible.
PROVERBS 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
The fruit or consequence of speaking and believing Scripture is eternal life.
The fruit or consequence of believing church traditions and opinions is death, in the Tribulation.
Do we love the Bible, or do we love the church?
PROVERBS 8:12 I wisdom dwell with prudence,
:19 My fruit is better than gold,
The fruit of wisdom is wise, far-sighted, and sensible.
Wisdom concentrates on God's Big Picture.
Man-made efforts cannot produce eternity.
JOHN 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
The invisible God the Father expressed His thoughts as the Word of God.
The Word of God tries to express to us the deep thoughts of the love of God.
But words cannot express the full depth of God’s thinking.
Words cannot express the full and unfathomable love of God.
But the sacrifice of Jesus and the torment that he endured gives us a real glimpse of the depth of feelings that were in God’s thoughts.
If Jesus died for us then we should love Him more than our own lives.
We display this love for Him if we keep His commandments that are written in the Bible.
The invisible Spirit of God that lived within Jesus loved the sacrifice that Jesus made. Jesus really loved us in order to make that sacrifice. Nobody else can save us.
So we ought, if we have any sense, to obey Scriptural commandments out of an abiding love for God’s Word.
JOHN 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
The only way to prove love is to be obedient to the commandments that Jesus gave us.
Jesus never disobeyed that indwelling Spirit of God.
I SAMUEL 15:22 Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
JOHN 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
Our joy is full when we know that we have followed the path of truth through the Scripture.
Jesus experiences joy when He sees us following everything that is written in His Word.
JOHN 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
It is essential for Christians to love God by being obedient to the Scriptures. The Word is Jesus. So as we draw closer to Jesus, thus we automatically draw closer to one another.
The proof that we love God is when we obey the Scripture. The next evidence we have is that we love one another because we are so close to each other.
JOHN 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
The greatest demonstration of love is when a person is prepared to die on behalf of his friends.
Jesus said this just before He died at Calvary.
Thus dying for us at Calvary was the greatest demonstration of love for us that Jesus could make.
JOHN 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
If we have the sense to obey His commandments by unconditionally accepting Him as our Head, then He gives us the ultimate promotion. He calls us His friends.
This is staggering. To be called a friend of God.
JOHN 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
People who know little of God’s plan but desire to serve God are called servants.
They will get many things wrong because they do not know what God’s plan is. But they will also get certain basics right. This is typical of church-goers who only believe what their church says even when the church disagrees with, or ignores, or contradicts certain Bible verses.
But those believers who believe that all Scripture is their Absolute will allow God to reveal the mysteries of His Word to them.
They will have a revelation of God’s will for their age. Thus they can serve God better by believing doctrines that church-goers cannot understand.
REVELATION 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
Jesus wants the mystery of God to be finished so that we can return to the beliefs of the early church.
By duplicating the early church beliefs we have a definite Scriptural focus. When the early church resurrects from the dead, they will expect us to believe exactly what they believed.
The seed that is harvested is identical to the seed that was planted.
Jesus does not want the church-goers to continue in their denominational path that is partly true, partly false, and partly ignorant of the Bible. This has already produced 45000 different kinds of churches which means that the church-goers, by moving in so many different directions, have lost direction.
JOHN 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
The true disciples do not choose Jesus. Jesus chooses them.
The early disciples were to write the New Testament.
The Word of God produces Eternal Life.
The New Testament would remain until the end.
That is the foundation of everyone’s faith. Move off the New Testament and you build on sand which will collapse in the Tribulation storms.
The disciples had to ask God for the wisdom and inspiration to write the New Testament, especially the parts that refer to prophesy. Because only God knows the future.
In turn, we have to ask God for the wisdom and inspiration needed to understand what the early disciples wrote. They had the truth, not us. We must learn from them.
They are our spiritual fathers. When we return to what they believed, we become their spiritual children.
MALACHI 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
The day of the Lord is the Tribulation.
William Branham cams to reveal the mysteries that will enable us to escape the Tribulation. That happens when we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
ISAIAH 57:1 … none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.
MALACHI 4:6 And he shall turn … the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
A curse lingers. Think of the lingering radioactivity after a nuclear bomb explosion.
JOHN 15:17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
Jesus again insists that Christians must love one another. Tens of millions of believers were killed in the Dark Ages for disagreeing with the Roman Catholic church. That horror would have never happened if the Popes and Cardinals had obeyed this commandment to love one another, despite any differences.
But when the Popes focused on building up and dominating a world-wide church, then they had to get rid of any opposition. Their basic error was to focus on the church instead of focusing on Jesus.
The Protestants have copied this error of believing their church rather than believing the Bible.
When we concentrate on what the Bible says instead of on what the church says, then the size of the group becomes irrelevant.
MATTHEW 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Originally small groups met in houses. The domination of a church by a Pope was not the original pattern.
I CORINTHIANS 16:19 Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
JOHN 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
The truth will always be hated. People resent being told that they are wrong, and detest having their faults pointed out.
JOHN 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
The world loves error and protects those who attack the Bible. The press ridicules those who stand up for old fashioned standards.
Genesis is dismissed as myths. Scientists scorn those who believe in creation by God. Atheists want prayer and Bible readings banned in any public buildings like schools.
There is a strong current of hatred that condemns the Bible and Bible believers. But other religions are not attacked in the press and media with the same viciousness.
JOHN 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
Jesus said that the people would persecute Him, and they did.
So when He said that they would also persecute the disciples, then the people would also keep that prophesy in future years.
So the people did persecute the disciples. Of the original apostles, only John died of old age. But he twice was sentenced to imprisonment on Patmos island. Each jail sentence was of an unknown length and only ended when the Roman emperor who sentenced him died.
Emperor Nero started the persecution of Christians in 64 AD. John stayed in prison on Patmos until 68 AD when Nero died.
Domitian became Roman emperor in 81 AD and also persecuted Christians. At some time he had the apostle John boiled in oil but John survived. Domitian then again imprisoned John on Patmos island where John remained until Domitian died in 96 AD.
Jesus and the original apostles were persecuted. So the church has been persecuted through the seven church ages. If people believe and stay with the Bible then they find themselves not wanted in the church. That is the modern style of spiritual persecution. Shunned and ignored by the church-goers if they stand up for Scripture.
JOHN 15:21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
The Trinity doctrine has three co-equal People in the Godhead. But they cannot find one name for three People. So church-goers have no name for the Christian God.
Consequently, from Matthew 28:19, they baptize in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost because they do not know the name, the one name, of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. They use the three titles and fool themselves into thinking that that is God’s name.
Their error is revealed because they ignore Act 2:38 which tells us to baptize in the name of Jesus Christ.
Now Jesus is a name.
The only way to reconcile the two verses is to realize that Jesus is the human name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
God was above the Jews as the invisible Spirit of the Father. God then came down to dwell with us in the flesh as the Son. Then God returned to live in the church as the Holy Ghost.
The Father had many Old Testament names to describe His various characteristics.
The Holy Ghost has no name in the Bible.
Jesus is the only human name that God ever took on.
But since other humans have also called themselves Jesus, we have to specify which Jesus is God by giving Him at least one title.
So we must say Lord Jesus, or Jesus Christ, or Lord Jesus Christ.
In each case the human name is Jesus. The titles Lord and Christ just specify which Jesus we are talking about.
But the churches today, in their vast majority, reject baptism in the human name of Jesus.
They actually hate people and reject them if they raise this issue.
The Trinity God who has no name rules the churches and they demand to be baptized in His titles.
I CORINTHIANS 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
The Jews' baptism was when they went through the Red Sea that God opened up for them. They followed Moses and came out alive. Moses is a name.
The Egyptians followed Pharaoh into the Red Sea. They all drowned. Pharaoh is a title.
So the name of Moses in baptism led to life. The title Pharaoh in baptism was a disaster.
The only way we can take on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is in baptism.
Remember, the Bride has to take on the name of her Husband, Jesus.
Mister Jesus Christ is not married to Missus Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Baptism represents the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
If the Father and the Holy Spirit are two different People, they never died nor were they buried. Thus they play no role in the water baptism and should not be mentioned.
JOHN 15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.
Jesus came and revealed what was true and what was an error. What He said was written out in the four Gospels. This launched the early church which wrote the Book of Acts. The rest of the New Testament clarified the beliefs and prophecies for the church.
Jesus had spoken to the Jews and thus they had no excuse for not knowing the truth. Yet the Jews rejected Him.
In the same way, Jesus as the Word of God, the written Bible, has revealed the full truth to the end-time church age of the Laodiceans. Thus no church today has any cloak or any excuse to justify their ignorance of Scripture.
JOHN 15:23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
The people who ignore, or change, or contradict any verses in the Bible are actually ignoring, changing, and contradicting Jesus. They do this to the Word because they actually hate God's thinking, which produced the Word of God.
Instead of changing their thinking to line up with God’s thinking, they prefer to mutilate God’s Word to line up with their thinking. You cannot mutilate anything unless you hate it.
JOHN 15:24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
Jesus had performed a series of miracles that no other man had ever done. For any Jew to look at all those miracles and then refuse to believe that Jesus was God in the flesh, was impossible. So for the Jews who opposed Him, it simply meant that they were blinding themselves by denying the obvious truth. That was a serious sin. If someone naturally blinded themselves by plucking out their own eyes, we would classify them as insane. So anyone who blinded their own spiritual insight by rejecting the miracles was equally subject to a spirit of insanity. That is the price the Jews paid to stay loyal to their leaders. They preferred their religious leaders to Jesus.
Eventually, in their increasing insanity, they preferred the murderer Barabbas to Jesus.
At that stage, they could not even bluff themselves that they had not gone crazy. But such was their hatred of God’s thinking that they could only shout out their condemnation of Jesus, Who was the Man that God dwelled in.
COLOSSIANS 2:9 For in him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Jesus had done too much good. Rejecting Him was just ridiculous.
JOHN 15:25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
Jesus had only helped the people. Preaching, healing, feeding the crowds, raising the dead.
But the miracles of Jesus had out-performed the Jewish leaders.
When they tried to trap Him on Scriptures, his clever answers had wounded their pride and envy made them hate Him. But that was not a valid cause for hatred as Jesus had said and done nothing wrong.
JOHN 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
Jesus had already said that He would come to comfort them.
JOHN 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
The Father was the supernatural Spirit of God that was above the Jews in the Old Testament.
When God lived inside His Son, Who was the Man Jesus, then that enabled God to develop his Human individuality.
So the Holy Spirit that returned into the hearts of the believers was both supernatural and human.
Thus the Holy Spirit can start forming us into the human beings that God wants us to be, as well as giving us spiritual gifts.
The Holy Spirit proceeds from the thoughts of God.
His task is to reveal the deeper thinking of God. He will only tell us the truth as He guides us deeper into the truth that is revealed from God’s Word.
JOHN 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself;
This is the evidence of the Holy Ghost baptism.
The Holy Ghost does not just focus on His supernatural powers but gives preference to revealing the truth of the Word.
The Holy Ghost has great supernatural power but regards revealing the truth of Scripture as His main function.
The Holy Spirit does not speak of himself. A Spirit-filled person, like John the Baptist, points the people to Jesus, the revealed Word.
The emphasis is always on Jesus Christ, the Word of God, never on the anointed preacher.
JOHN 15:27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
The disciples were great men and brave men.
But they would desert the Lord when Satan released a spirit of fear upon the people. Everyone became scared to stand up for Jesus and had not the courage to oppose the religious leaders.
This humiliation of the disciples as they fled would ever remind them of how unimportant humans are, even the great leaders.
Having failed dismally, all the disciples could then do was point the people to Jesus because He had never failed.
Elevating a human leader above the congregation would be a fatal mistake that wrecked the future church.
Preachers must only point to Jesus as He is revealed by following the Bible verses that reveal the truth on an issue. Preachers must not point to themselves or other preachers.
A doctrine is not true because some famous man said so. A doctrine is only true if the Bible says so.
The Bible is Jesus, in Word form.
If Jesus appeared on earth today, He would not say anything different from what is written in the Bible.
Once the congregation follows a man, they become second-hand Christians.
The disciples knew Jesus from the start and also knew of their own personal failings. Thus they established a New Testament church that was focused on Jesus Christ.
God used them to do great things. But they were just the branches. Jesus was the vine Who carried them and gave them the power and the knowledge of His Word.
Thus the early church was established on a foundation where the Christians used their own lives just to bear witness to the power and glory of Jesus.
Today's preachers should never use His power to bear witness to their own importance. That would be a fraud.