Matthew 13 - The 7 Church Ages, part 1

In Matthew Chapter 12, Jesus hinted about the Gospel going to the Gentiles.

2000 years of Christian history is then divided into 7 church ages according to Matthew Chapter 13.

Matthew Chapter 12 mentioned the opposition to Jesus from the Jewish religious leaders.

So Chapter 13 outlines the opposition of the church leaders to the Word of God because Jesus is the Word.

Church leaders would lead the church-goers away from what is written in Scripture until they would believe things that are not written in Scripture.

Jewish religious leaders were enmeshed in Roman politics. The Roman Catholic Church, as it developed, would get itself involved in the politics of Europe. The sea represented the restless masses of Europe. So Jesus sat by the seashore to illustrate the ongoing struggle between the land (the righteous) and the sea, the rebellious masses with their seething undercurrents.

MATTHEW 13:1

The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.

Jesus came out into the open as a symbol of bringing the church's future progress out into the open.

He wants us to be able to see how error has influenced and undermined the church.

The seashore is important in Scripture. It is the dividing line between land and sea.

The sea represents the unrighteous, restless multitudes of people who shift with the changing currents of fashion, popular doctrines, and political correctness. The sand on the seashore was chipped or worn off a rock at some stage by the forces of nature. Christ, the Word, is our Rock. Believers are born again of Him and remain part of His Word (Scripture). We have to be chipped off the Rock of our salvation, Jesus, by our rebirth.

I CORINTHIANS 10:4

And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Thus the sand on the seashore represents the righteous. The seashore represents the limits of the sea. God will only allow the sea (the unrighteous) to go so far in their attempts to undermine and destroy the righteous (the seashore sand). The righteous represent the limits that evil cannot go past.

Sea waves endlessly flow over the sea sand. But each wave reaches its high point and has to flow back down into the water.

So the sea sand survives the ceaseless battering of the waves. The sea waves help to keep the sea sand clean.

JOB 26:10

He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end.

This Earth has its limits. An Earth day is 24 hours. Light and darkness cut each other off so that each has a limited time. The sea cuts off the land. Life is cut off by death. Ultimately light will replace darkness, and the sea will disappear. Death, the sea, and the darkness of night are symbols of what goes wrong on Earth. These are essential for our growth. Hardship, grief, sin, error, deception, worldliness, etc. are essential to test us, strengthen us, punish us, and give us an adversary to struggle against. Struggle is the law of growth.

Defeat and difficulty are the hammer and anvil, where a person's character is hammered out and made strong. When we compromise with error, we simply become wishy-washy Tribulation fodder. Thus, what is wrong is simply an instrument that is there for a while to mould us into what God wants from our lives. That is far more important than what we want from our lives.

I CORINTHIANS 10:13    There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

God will never ask us to bear more than what we can cope with.

A big calamity is actually a compliment. God thinks that we are strong enough to survive the calamity.

REVELATION 21:1

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea

The first heaven is the Millennium, the 1000 years of peace. This will be the first taste of Heaven on earth because Jesus will be ruling.

The Tribulation ends with Armageddon, and then the Millennium starts. At the end of the Millennium is Judgement Day. Then the sea explodes to get rid of all the evidence of our scientific age. Thus, there will be no more sea. The crust of the earth will be destroyed, and the flames will go way out into space to burn up all the satellites. On the ashes of the Earth's surface, God will build His new Earth.

A mighty pyramid-shaped mountain will reach up into space with a slant height of 1500 miles. The Holy City, New Jerusalem, will descend onto this mountain. The Capstone will be Jesus, Who is the Light of the world. So there will be no more night there. A light on top of a pyramid means that all the sides will be in the light. There will be no darkness there.

REVELATION 21:25

And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

The time is coming when there will be no more sea and no more darkness.

Error and evil are temporary until they have served their purpose.

JOB 14:5

Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;

No one can go beyond the limits that God has set for them.

Fallen human nature needs to be cut off from its natural greed and selfishness. Each of us must learn to cope with the limits that God has set for us. These limits are essential for our survival.

Daniel saw the Greek king Alexander the Great as a he-goat moving from the west towards the east and conquering. When Alexander then made plans to conquer the west, then he would be moving towards the west. But the vision only spoke about moving from the west, not to the west. So when he planned on moving to the west, he died mysteriously. This should caution us to never move outside God's Word.

God's Word limits the Bride.
DANIEL 8:5   And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.

Each cell in our body is limited in terms of its size and function. Cancer is simply a cell that has rebelled against its limits, and it grows for the sake of growing. God uses evil and error to mould His church through seven different ages, but eventually, evil will be done away with. Until then, the Church must contend with and oppose the error of its age.

By preaching on the seashore, which remains in place despite all the sea waves, Jesus is actually telling the future church to stay within their limits, which are the Scriptures. He is also saying that the sea waves will endlessly wash over the Bride (the seashore), but the waves will recede, and the seashore will remain.

JEREMIAH 5:22

Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?

Good sets a limit to evil. Evil will never eradicate the truth. Believers can be dispersed, but the truth will spread due to their dispersion. Believers can even degenerate, but new ones will rise up in other places.

Salt limits the spread of decay. To save His children, God limits the spread and power of evil. Evil can only flow down the channels that God allows. So far, and no further.

(The Mongol horde overran Russia and eastern Europe under their military genius and general Subutai. The Hungarian army was eliminated. Western Europe was at their mercy because the Pope was wasting his efforts on fighting the Holy Roman Emperor, who was German. Then Ogedei, the Mongol Khan who was a son of Genghis Khan, died from excessive drinking after a brief reign of only 12 years. His son Guyuk then took the whole army back from Europe to Mongolia as a new Khan had to be elected. Helpless Europe was saved by one man’s death far away in Mongolia at this critical moment of time. Thus God pulls strings so that His Will triumphs).

ISAIAH 45:7

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

AMOS 3:6

Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?

To create depth in a picture, an artist uses light colours for highlights and dark colours for shadows. Light and dark are totally under the control of the artist. Each light and dark colour can only occupy a certain specific portion of the picture.

To make a light colour really stand out, it must be right next to a very dark colour.

So Christians who find themselves attacked by strong forces of darkness end up looking very bright. Hence our respect for those brave missionaries who ventured into the dark regions of evil. Their light really blazed brightly in the intense darkness.

To create depth of character in us, God has to paint our lives with light and dark events. So good and evil people are used by Him to mould us. Both types are totally under His control.

AMOS 3:7

Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

The Bible is a Book of prophecy, giving us clues to future events.

We must search the past to inform the future.

REVELATION 13:1

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

A vicious spiritual monster arising out of the restless nations of Europe in the Dark Ages.

The seven heads represent the seven hills that the original city of Rome was built upon.

A city had to be surrounded by a wall (shown as a red line).

The Capitoline hill had the Temple of Jupiter, the headquarters of the pagan Roman empire.

The Caelian hill has the Lateran complex, the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.

REVELATION 17:3

So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

A woman is a church. The Roman Catholic Church rose up to take control of these vicious spirits and slaughtered tens of millions of non-Catholics in the Dark Ages.

We can see Vatican City, which is an independent country, right next to the seven hills as if Vatican City, as a church, is riding on the seven hills.

REVELATION 17:9   And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

REVELATION 17:15

And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

Revelation Chapter 13 starts with John standing on the seashore. Why?

Chapter 13 ends with the mark of the beast which is linked to a man and his number 666. The sand of the seashores cannot be numbered.

This implies that the righteous, represented by the sea sand, will not take on the mark of the beast as that mark sweeps through the people on this over-crowded planet like waves sweeping through the sea, which represents the unrighteous. There is more sea than land. There are more sinners than saints on earth.

GENESIS 32:12   And thou saidst, I will surely do thee [Jacob] good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

The mark of the beast will sweep through the world.

REVELATION 13:16And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

     :17    And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

     :18    Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

The mystery number is 666.

What does it mean?

JOHN 6:66   From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

We get a clue from John 6:66.

The disciples walked away from the Word of God.

We take on the mark of the beast when we become unscriptural.

MATTHEW 15:8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

     :9    But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

This is the problem with church people.

They find their safety in a crowd and desperately want to belong to a church.

They move away from Scripture and accept the plausible traditions and doctrines of man.

Try finding the 25th December in the Bible.

Matthew Chapter 2 Verse 11  says the wise men went into a house, not a stable.

MATTHEW 2:11

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Joseph was not present. Jesus was not a baby in a manger, He was a young Child in a house.

They gave gifts to Jesus, not to each other.

Our Christmas shopping spree of buying presents for friends and family has nothing to do with the Bible.

December 25th is in the middle of winter. Shepherds could not be out with their flocks at night as they would freeze to death. It is cold and rainy, or else snowing.

Only shepherds went to the stable, not the wise men.

Rome could not try to tax people in the middle of winter and force Joseph and Mary to travel to Bethlehem when snow makes the roads impassable. Christmas cards are equally unscriptural.

Christmas is the gospel of greed and material gain as it is certainly not the Gospel of Matthew and Luke. Yet most people spend themselves poor, thinking that they must do this for religious reasons. Then January is a desolate month of recovery. Aptly named as Janu-worry.

Lenin, the Communist dictator, said that Christmas is the extension of Capitalism by religious means in order to get rid of all the year-end stock.

Our Christmas time is emotionally pleasant but very unscriptural.

Where does the date come from? The pagan Roman emperor Aurelian, a brilliant cavalry general, united the Roman empire that had split into three sections. He completed the task in the year AD 274  and returned to Rome, where he then declared the 25th December as the sun god's birthday, Sol Invictus, to celebrate the empire's reuniting. The Persian god Mithras also had his birthday on 25 December. So this date became widely accepted as a key festival (which basically meant it was honoured as a typical big pagan booze up and orgy). This date became such a widely accepted pagan festival that Christians also joined in. To stop the flood of Christians who were enjoying the pagan festival, the Catholic church, around AD 350,  just before Pope Julius 1 died in AD 352, created an alternative festival.  Julius hijacked the same date as the sun god's birthday and called it the birthday of the Son of God. And so Christianity merged into paganism and became Churchianity. Over the centuries paganism died out in Europe, and only the Catholic church version of 25 December remained, the so-called celebration of Christ’s mass. We are more concerned with following some emotional tradition or some great man and belonging to and being popular with some special church group or organization rather than following Christ, the Word. Special Events in the Catholic church are referred to as a mass. So they called Christ’s so-called birthday celebration Christ’s mass. This soon became known as Christmas. Then people realized it had nothing to do with Christ. So “Christ” was crossed out of Christmas, and it became known as  Xmas.

Nowhere in the Bible were we asked to celebrate the birth of the Lord.

A mass is a Catholic event. Protestants never take part in a mass. But they are fooled into taking part in Christ's mass, Christmas.

JEREMIAH 33:22

As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.

HOSEA 1:10

Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.

So the seashore represents the righteous which, like the sand of the sea, cannot be numbered and thus cannot take on the number or mark of the beast.

Staying with Scripture is the only way to avoid taking on the mark of the beast.

 

MATTHEW 13:2And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

The crowds gathered unto Him. The people on the seashore wanted to be close to Jesus. This illustrates that the Bride will always stay close to the Word of God.

Jesus was in a boat, so He was above the sea (the restless masses) and not in the sea. Fishermen pull fish out of the sea, which symbolizes being saved. The people stood on the shore and thus represented the righteous because they were listening to Jesus, Who is the Word. Listening to Scripture is the key to being righteous.

Jesus sat down.

He was not standing and jumping around in an arm-waving emotional manner.

He sat and spoke in a calm voice. His sermon depended on its deep content, not on an impressive delivery technique.

MATTHEW 13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

     :4    And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

The first church age began with the preaching of the Word.

The seed is the Word of God.

The fowls were the enemy that got rid of the Word. Replacing it with human tradition and philosophy.

    :5    Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

    :6    And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

Some make a good start but had a shallow conversion experience.

If times get hard, they give up on God.

     :7    And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

Some grow in the church world because they want to be accepted and popular. But church opinions and traditions replace the written Scripture. Thus they never achieve their potential.

     :8    But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

    : 9    Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Good ground is deep. Each seed can push out its own roots and develop its own potential. Not limited by church error and church ignorance of the Bible.

This parable represents the first church age that was influenced by the apostles. They sowed the seed, which represents preaching the true Word. The sower (the preacher) was not criticized. It was the soil, the hearts of the listeners, who were criticized.

The apostles wrote the New Testament that became the foundation of the first church age.

We must always stay with what they wrote.

MATTHEW 13:9    Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

This statement is basically repeated to each church age. It is repeated seven times in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3.

REVELATION 3:6   He that hath an ear, let him hear ....

This is the key verse of this sermon. Jesus is talking about the seven church ages who need to listen to God's Spirit as He reveals the Word for each church age.

LUKE 8:11

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

The first parable is lengthy, which means that much Scripture was preached while the apostles influenced the age. The fowls got rid of the seed, so they are the enemy. The sower is not criticized whether he sowed (i.e., preached) well or badly. The criticism is reserved for the soil, which represents the hearts of the hearers. Don’t complain that someone told you the truth in some inadequate way. How the seed was scattered is immaterial. The soil (the heart) where it falls is all that counts.

MATTHEW 13:10And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

Jesus had spoken a parable. The people did not understand, but they left anyway. They were not interested in understanding the truth. That was too much like hard work. They would have to think for themselves and risk disagreeing with the religious leaders.

Only the disciples came back to Him and asked for an explanation.

Today the churches read much Scripture that they cannot correctly understand. But they just move on and dismiss the difficulties as an irrelevant detail. Thus their Bible-ignorance remains.

MATTHEW 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Scripture is written in a way that cannot be easily understood by the casual reader. Only when a person is born again of the Holy Spirit can their inner eyes of insight be opened so that they can link the Scriptures together to arrive at the truth.

God must also send a messenger at the end time to reveal the mystery of God.

REVELATION 10:7But 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.

This angel or messenger will also be a prophet. That makes him a human messenger, not a supernatural messenger like the angel Gabriel. So we also need an inspired prophet, like Paul, Peter, and John were, to teach us the mystery of Who God is and what His salvation plan over 2000 years is, etc.

The first church age where Roman persecution of Christians was started by the emperor Nero who burned down most of Rome in AD 64 to rebuild it and then conveniently blamed and killed the Christians. Christians were forced to meet in secrecy, often in small groups. They looked to the apostles for leadership, and the influence and writings of the apostles were pre-eminent until after the death of the apostle John around AD 100.

Their goal was not to build up big church organizations.

ACTS 8:4Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

The destruction of the Jewish Temple in AD 70  removed any obvious centre of Christian worship.

The meetings being held in private houses, or in any rooms that could be obtained, or in the open air, no special buildings were required. (The Pilgrim Church by E H Broadbent  page 3)

But slowly, the wisdom of man began to replace faith in the Bible.

Justin Martyr (AD 100 – 165) began to interpret certain aspects of Scripture in terms of Greek philosophy. He also drew a clear separation and distinction between the Son and then the Father, Who alone is the Creator and the only true God. He never referred to Christ as the “one true God”. Christ as the divine Logos (Word) is another God beside the Father, according to Justin Martyr, who says “by other I mean in number, not in will”.  Thanks to the fame and influence of Justin Martyr, human opinion was beginning to replace the Scripture.

Then other men like Tertullian (AD 160 – 220) from Carthage in North Africa became famous and drew followers after themselves.  The opinion of these so-called church fathers began to replace Scripture. People quoted clever men rather than just quoting what the apostles wrote in Scripture. Tertullian was the first writer to present the Trinity doctrine. When writing of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit he said that “these three are one substance, not one person”. The word “Trinity” is unscriptural, but people no longer cared to stay with Scripture.

"Of one substance" is Greek philosophy, it is not written in Scripture.

People claimed that Father and Son were of the same essence (whatever that means). "Essence" is an unscriptural word.

Clever men began to dominate the people.

This is Nicolaitanism, the lifting up of holy men above the laity who are the ordinary people.

As more believers joined in, unscriptural rules were made in the interests of a more efficient church organization. Slowly the churches moved away from the Bible pattern of a group of elders and accepted the leadership of one man.

As each local church became controlled by one man instead of a group of elders,  it was just a matter of time before a bishop came to mean a man in charge of a local church group. The Roman empire had political Metropolitans who were in charge of certain regions. The churches copied this office, and church Metropolitans were promoted up to control a group of bishops in a region or province. These were lucrative positions, and ambitious men competed shamelessly for these positions.

In the interests of organizational efficiency, there needed to be one person in charge.

So as the church grew, a Cardinal had to be appointed to be in charge of a group of Metropolitans. The final step was to appoint a Pope to be in charge of the Cardinals. A very efficient, though unscriptural, organization had been established which would spread around the world. Nicolaitanism (Nico = conquer i.e., conquer the laity or congregation), the creation of an Aaronic priesthood between God and the laity  (the ordinary people) was here to stay. From a human perspective, this seemed a great way to serve God, but unfortunately, God hates this system.

REVELATION 2:6But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

MATTHEW 15:9   But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

However good an idea seems to us humans; it simply takes us away from God if it is unscriptural.

When we believe the unscriptural ideas that some man says, then we are actually not Christians. When Bible-error clouds our worship, then Jesus does not accept our worship. We worship Him in vain; we are simply wasting our time.

God wants us to believe the Truth as our first priority.

MATTHEW 13:12      For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

This is a very rewarding verse for the Bride and a very chilling verse for the foolish or fooled virgins.

If you believe the true patterns and symbols from Scripture, then there is no end to the deeper truths that God will reveal to you from the Scriptures. Previously difficult verses will just be unfolding as God deepens our insights into the basic patterns of the Bible. This is like the flowing River of Life. The same patterns keep repeating. We used the quotes to start understanding the Bible patterns. But then those revealed Bible patterns allow us to unfold even more of the Scripture.

The Bible believers keep understanding more of the Scriptures.

But for those who replace Bible patterns with interpretations of quotes, they end up in a puddle of quotes that are not reflected in Scripture, and thus their understanding of the Bible grinds to a halt. The more they build up their theory on misinterpreted quotes, the more they lose sight of Scripture. They soon lose sight of basic Scriptures that they once knew because those Scriptures no longer fit in with their manipulated quotes.

Eventually, "I have a quote" replaces, "It is written".

As quotes take pre-eminence over Scripture, so Bible-ignorance becomes the hallmark of message-churches.

The quote-preachers understand less and less of the Bible.

MATTHEW 13:13    Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

So Jesus teaches in terms of symbols and patterns. This filters out the Bible believers. Only the patterns of Scripture can then make sense of the parables. Those who rely on quotes and human opinions simply cannot puzzle out the meanings of the parables.

Jesus never wanted Scripture to be interpreted in terms of clever Greek philosophy (human opinions) nor did He want us to use unscriptural words like “Trinity” to explain the truth. So people read the Bible and then mess up their understanding by applying human intelligence and opinions which cannot interpret Scripture in terms of other Scriptures.

MATTHEW 13:14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

Isaiah warned that human opinions are very shallow and dumb us down so that we cannot see a deeper truth in Bible verses.

A deeper understanding of Scripture is called "insight" and is also referred to symbolically as your "right eye".

But you have to love Scripture more than any other human literature or human preaching in order to open this "right eye" of a deeper spiritual insight.

Then everything you hear has to be compared with Scripture and give you a deeper insight into Scripture. Then you must be able to establish this insight purely from Scripture verses.

MATTHEW 13:15   For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Studying the Bible is hard work. People are too lazy to do it.

Trying to understand a difficult Bible verse requires you to know all the other relevant Bible verses needed to explain that verse. That is time-consuming. Learning more about the Bible takes much time as the Bible has many pages. There are 31102 Bible verses.

So a quick-fix is to splice some quotes together to give a superficial answer. Then you do not need to read the Bible.

Lazy people prefer TV and videos as these are more entertaining. But they give us a very shallow insight.

Jesus does not want anybody in His Bride, who does not put the Bible first. He does not want us unless we regard the King James Bible as perfect and infallible. Our Absolute.

So the entertaining preachers and the quote-experts will attract all those who do not believe that the Bible is the Voice of God.

MATTHEW 13:16But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

The disciples stayed with Jesus. As apostles, they always stayed with the Scripture. Paul went to Athens to convert the Greeks, not to learn philosophy from them. The apostles never used the words Trinity, Christmas, Easter eggs or Easter bunnies, archbishop, cardinal, Pope, etc. They never applied the word “church” to a building. They never believed that Christ would come as a supernatural cloud in the desert.

Sunset Peak is in the great Sonoran desert in Arizona.
MATTHEW 24:26   Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: 

The cloud of 28 February 1963 was never at Sunset Peak.  It was visible only for 28 minutes after sunset just north of Flagstaff, and stayed at a height of 43 kilometers.

This was the sign in the heaven that the Son of man was about to be revealed in the Word by the revelation of the Seven Seals.

63-0818  THE  UNITING  TIME  AND  SIGN

Never before, since the early church age, did they ever see the things that we are seeing today. And this was only made possible when God sent the Seven Seals and give us a sign by It, and sent seven Angels down out of Heaven; and come to bring back that scattered Word in them denominations, and tie it back into the Word of God again, to bring down His Holy Spirit.

The 7 angels that met brother Branham 8 days later on 8 March 1963 at 8 o'clock in the morning near Sunset Peak, never formed a cloud. They gave brother Branham the Commission that he was to reveal the Six-fold mystery of the Seven Seals, because the Seventh Seal, representing the Coming of the Lord, is a total secret.

63-0803 INFLUENCE

Seven Angels come down, and said, "The complete revelation of the six-seal mystery of God would be unfolded."

63-1110   SOULS  THAT  ARE  IN  PRISON  NOW

The Lamb took His Book when, the Seventh Seal just ready for it to be opened, the Sixth Seal. Remember, He hid the Seventh Seal from us. He wouldn't do it.

 64-0719   THE  FEAST  OF  THE  TRUMPETS

The Seventh Seal hasn't opened yet, you know. That's His Coming.

Brother Branham then returned to Jeffersonville in Indiana and revealed the Seals of Revelation Chapter 6 between March 17 - 24, 1963.

Jesus, the Son of man, was revealed in His Word as the hidden mysteries of Scripture became known. Now, using what he said in his quotes, the Bride should be able to link up the relevant Bible verses to prove what they believe, just from the Bible. The 1769 Version of the King James Bible was confirmed as being the Absolute truth. There are no verses that must be changed in any way.

1963-1201  AN ABSOLUTE
That's the way it is in Christian life. There is a stopping place, and there is a going place. God's Word is that absolute.

Brother Branham said that calling him infallible was awful.

62-1007  THE  KEY  TO  THE DOOR
That's what gets things scrupled up, you see. That, they claim in here that some brethren up there that said that I sent them up there, and they're preaching that men should leave their wives and hunt for their spiritual mate, and that I am perfectly infallible. That there's nothing... And, oh, some of the awfullest things you ever heard.

Only the Bible is infallible. Only Jesus, revealed in His Word, is the Son of man.

65-0725  THE  ANOINTED  ONES  AT  THE  END  TIME
…"the seventh angel's Message, opening up the Seals."
What is it? Not the angel is the Son of man; but the messenger is revealing the Son of man.
Can you get it separated now?   

John the Baptist revealed Jesus as a Man walking amongst men. William Branham revealed Jesus walking through the pages of His Word.

64-0614  THE  ODDBALL

That's what the Angel told me, "Get the people to believe you."

And if I tell the Word of God, it ain't "believe me," it's "believe the Word."

63-0630   THE  THIRD  EXODUS

for they can hear plainly the God's Voice, calling, through His Word

...  Listen to the Bible, the Voice of God calling to you in this day.

The Bible is the Voice of God, William Branham is the voice of the seventh angel. Do not deify brother Branham. He is not Jesus Christ, he is one of the seven stars in the right hand of Jesus Christ.

64-0823  QUESTIONS  AND  ANSWERS.1

But those who can accept the Word in Its fullness, not me preaching It, because It's the Bible says so. Those who accept that is free, because they--the Word's already been judged.

62-0318 THE  SPOKEN  WORD  IS  THE  ORIGINAL  SEED.2
Now, all these things I've said, if they don't jive with the Bible, or dovetail with God's Word, they're wrong, they're wrong,

65-0801   THE  GOD  OF  THIS  EVIL  AGE

… so that the peoples that has believed the Message that the Lord Jesus has given me for this hour, might know what's taking place, and placing it in the Scripture.

63-1110  HE  THAT   IS  IN  YOU

Believe all the Message. Believe That. If it isn't written in the Bible, then don't you believe it.

John the Revelator twice fell down to worship the angel who showed him those great visions. He was twice told not to do it.

So we have been warned. No worshiping of angels. Do not worship the seventh angel.

COLOSSIANS 2:18   Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

The stars fade when the sun rises.

A prophet points to Christ but then fades as Christ rises when He is revealed in His Word.

61-0611  REVELATION  CHAPTER  FIVE.1

And, because of that, it forces me to say I am leaving the ministry, is because that there is something arose up amongst the people that's caused me to do it, that is, that I have been taken from my bracket of a "minister" or "brother" and being called Jesus Christ, and so call... and that would brand me as an antichrist. And I'll meet God as a quitter before I would meet Him as an antichrist to take away from Him.

61-0611  REVELATION CHAPTER FIVE.1

And the other day in Canada a brother showed me a little ticket of a thing he's packed in his pocket, said "William Branham is our Lord," baptizing in the name of William Branham. And a little... a precious... If it had been an enemy, if it had been my enemy I would have knowed it was a joke. But a precious, darling brother come up to confess his sins and his wrongs and say his faith in me as being Jesus Christ.

And I have got letters at home, and calls from Chicago and different places, asking me if I believe that dogma.

And I got all kinds of letters that's come in the last few days, and calls from different places, so, saying that I was Christ. Brethren, that is a horrible, disgraceful, ungodly lie of the Devil! See? See, I am your brother. Now, that would run any person from the field. That would make anyone that loves Christ run from the very thing.

56-0902 THE  HANDWRITING  ON  THE  WALL

I want you to notice that the beginning of the Gentiles, when God dealt with them, they got haughty in their heart and forced every man to worship the image of a holy man.

And the Gentile age was issued in with that; it will go out in the same way.

60-0804  AS  THE  EAGLE  STIRRETH  UP  HER  NEST

We know the Bible is right; that's not my voice; that's God's voice, speaking

65-0429  THE  CHOOSING  OF  A  BRIDE

But the Word of God attracts the Bride of Christ.

...  While, the true Bride attracts the attention of God, by keeping His Word.

63-0707   THE  INDICTMENT

I don't care what you believe; it's what the Bible says.

63-0707   THE  INDICTMENT

Where is He crucified at? From the pastors. You hypocrites.

64-0830   QUESTIONS  AND  ANSWERS.3

To make me the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, would be an antichrist

 

MATTHEW 13:17   For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

This verse is to tell us how highly we should regard the revelation of the Bible mysteries.

God hid the understanding from all the great prophets of the Old Testament.

Revealing these mysteries to the disciples was a huge privilege for the disciples.

But Judas preferred to focus on betraying Jesus, Who is the Word of God, as long as he made money out of the deal.

Modern preachers are paid to preach. To stay popular, they have to betray certain Scriptures.

For instance, no Scripture says a pastor is the head of the church. But six Bible verses condemn pastors.

The word "pastor" is only mentioned once in the New Testament which gives the pastor no authority to be the head of the church.

After the first parable, the next step was for Jesus to give the apostles the meaning of the parable.

This clearly indicates that Jesus was revealing the mysteries of Scripture to the apostles. They had to understand the truth because they had to establish the first church in the full truth. The concept of seven church ages was a hidden mystery that the Jews did not realize was part of God’s plan.

But Jesus was beginning to open the disciples' eyes to this profound truth.

Devoting this whole Chapter to the seven church ages meant that the church ages are crucial.

Look what Saint Paul said.

EPHESIANS 2:7    That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Paul knew that there were ages to come in the future.

He gives a very subtle hint by writing this in verse 7.

Seven ages to come.

This explanation of Jesus implies that the early church understood the truth of Scripture, thanks to the apostles' influence.

MATTHEW 13:18Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

 :19    When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

The fowls are classified as the wicked one, the devil. He comes in many disguises with one aim in mind, to stop us from believing the Bible. If you use unscriptural words to explain your beliefs, you are on the wrong track.

MATTHEW 13:20But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

     :21    Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Shallow Christians want truth as long as it is only accompanied by benefits.

Any difficulty and unpopularity or sacrifice is not acceptable.

They only believe in the Gospel of gain and easy living.

A prosperity doctrine.

MATTHEW 13:22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

This is the Gospel of Popularity and the Gospel of Greed. I will serve God with my friends and my family in my church. I will serve God while I pursue my ambitions and make money my way. (Any dubious deals and selfishness are just called “that is business”.)

MATTHEW 13:23But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Only one-quarter of the seed fell on good ground. One group was good. Three groups were not good. One versus three.

One God who is Jesus Christ versus the Trinity who is one God in three Persons.

The first church age ended around the year 170 AD as the influence of the apostles decreased and clever men with clever speculations took over the churches' leadership. Each church had to have a bishop in charge of it. A church organization was being established. This system replaced the rulership of the local church by the local elders.

Look how Paul established the first church in Ephesus as the foundation for the seven church ages.

ACTS 20:17   And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.

ACTS 20:28   Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Paul told the elders to feed the local assembly of Ephesus.

He did not put a pastor in charge.

Never was a pastor declared to be the head of the church.

ACTS 20:29   For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

Paul was killed by the pagan Roman emperor Nero who died in AD 68.

From AD 70 to about AD 120 is a silent age in the church because we have almost no letters or documents actually written at that time.

We rely a lot on Irenaeus, but he was only born about AD 130. We do not have his exact birth date.

If he was about 30 when he began writing, then that would be about AD 160. So the events from 70 to AD 120 rely a lot on hearsay. In this time, the legend emerged that Peter died in Rome. There is no historical evidence of that. During those strange silent years, the Bishop quietly and unnoticed emerged as the church's head in a city.

Paul spoke of wolves who would come in. A new definition of a church leader.

A man who insisted that everybody should follow him.

A bishop was just an elder. But now he suddenly claimed to be a one-man leader. He claimed to be the head of the church.

ACTS 20:30   Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

1965   AN EXPOSITION OF THE SEVEN CHURCH AGES    CHAPTER 5   NICOLAITANES

Now the truth of the matter is the word 'elder' signifies who the person is, while the word 'bishop' signifies the office of the same man. The elder is the man. Bishop is the office of the man. 'Elder' always has and always will refer simply to a man's chronological age in the Lord. He is an elder, not because he is elected or ordained, etc., but because he IS OLDER. He is more seasoned, trained, not a novice, reliable because of experience and long-standing proof of his Christian experience.
But no, the bishops did not stick to the epistles of Paul, but rather they went to Paul's account of the time he called the elders from Ephesus to Miletus in Acts 20. In verse 17 the record states, "elders" were called and then in verse 28, they are called overseers (bishops). And these bishops, (no doubt political-minded and anxious for power) insisted that Paul had given the meaning that 'overseers' were more than the local elder with official capacity only in his own church. To them, a bishop was now one with extended authority over many local leaders. Such a concept was neither Scriptural nor historical, yet even a man of the stature of Polycarp leaned toward such organization.

By AD 70, most of the apostles had been killed, and the early church had been established.

When the apostle John died about AD 100, he had collected the 27 Books which formed the New Testament. Only John was spiritual enough to know which Books to choose.

REVELATION 1:13   And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man,

The central candlestick had been lit when the Holy Ghost came down on the Day of Pentecost.

By AD 100, the New Testament had been written and approved by the apostle John.

All the church had to do was stay with the apostles' doctrines and keep spreading their doctrines around the world.

But it was not to be.

Paul and the apostles had kept the Devil at arm's length and thereby protected the early church from error.

But once they had died, ambitious men began to pervert Scripture to make it seem that one man should be the head of a church.

The slippery slide down into the Dark Ages began when a man elevated himself up to be in charge of a local church.

Nicolaitanes.

The spirit that God hates.

REVELATION 2:6   But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

REVELATION 2:15   So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

Evil deeds that are not eliminated remain in the church to become habits and they eventually become the accepted doctrines.

Historian Francis Sullivan claims that there was no single bishop of Rome until after AD 150.

By AD 170 the leadership of the church was changing, as well as the attitude towards the communion bread and wine. This date can be considered as the end of the first apostolic church age. Human leaders had taken over the church and were replacing apostolic doctrine with a church organization. One-man church leaders emerged as Bishops. They saved people by giving them the unbroken round wafer (called the Eucharist) that replaced the broken unleavened bread. Eating the wafer is what saved a person, according to them. People started to get used to this idea. Tell a lie often enough and people will believe it. So, by around AD 200 it became an accepted doctrine that you were saved by eating the wafer.

Only the Bishop, or an appointed priest, could drink the wine. This set the clergy above the people and gave the clergy great power as only they give the people the eucharist wafer.

IHS were the initials of the Egyptian trinity of Isis, Horus, and Seb.

Isis was the wife, Horus was the father, and Seb was the son.

Then the Egyptian trinity was modified by replacing the wife/mother Isis with the Holy Ghost to produce the Roman Catholic Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Greek philosophy introduced the unscriptural idea of one-God-in-three-Persons. But in the process, the Triune God lost His name because you cannot find one name for three Persons. So the Christian God became nameless and still remains nameless today. If you want to embarrass a Christian today just ask them to tell you the name of their God.

By AD 200 the eucharist had been officially changed from a memorial of salvation to being the means of salvation. Changed from a thanksgiving meal to a meal of salvation. Eucharist and baptism, instead of being an outward sign of redemption, became a means placed in the church to provide salvation.

Gift-based leadership of prophets, teachers, elders gave way to appointed leadership. An appointed bishop slowly emerged from the elders. Bishops were appointed and claimed to become a succession from the apostles. This was the easy way out for them, instead of having to prove the truth from vigorous Bible studies.

Only the bishop could perform the Eucharist, as the communion was now called.

 

Around AD 195, trying to gain supremacy over the other churches, Pope Victor 1 said that the Easter celebration of Calvary must not happen on the full moon as happened in the Exodus Passover, but must be held on a Friday. This became known as the unscriptural “Good Friday”. To spend three nights in the tomb before His Sunday morning resurrection, Jesus had to be crucified on a Thursday.

We do not have a record of a church building being built prior to AD 222 - 235.

Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, writing between AD 248 and AD 258, was the first writer to refer to saint Peter alone as the founder of the Roman church. Cyprian then claimed that the bishops of Rome were Peter’s successors. Cyprian was writing almost 200 years after Peter’s death.

This doctrine of Peter as the first Pope of Rome and the following Popes being his successors was officially adopted by Pope Damasus in AD 382, at a Roman council. This was more than 300 years after the death of Peter.

In that year of AD 382 the Roman Pope Damasus accepted the title of Pontiff, or High Priest of the Babylonian Mysteries from the eastern Roman emperor Theodosius.

By AD 450 Pope Leo I demanded to be recognized as the Pontiff because this gave him great authority amongst the pagan barbarians who were breaking up the pagan Roman Empire.

Pope Gelasius I, ruled from AD 492 to 496. He began to be called Vicarius Christi or Vicar of Christ.

Boniface in AD 722 referred to Pope Gregory 2 as Vicar of Peter, in the place of Peter.  Vicarius Petri.