Men replace Christ as the head of the church
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Pastors often dominate their churches with Quotes. Is this really Truth?
- Truth is established by proving a quote from Scripture
- We need the 2 witnesses of Scripture verses and quotes
- The local elders rule the local church
- The five Bible ministries do not form a priesthood
- Local elders must rule the local church
- All quotes must refer to what is written in the Bible
- Only Jesus is the Head of the church which is His Body
Truth is established by proving a quote from Scripture
Pastors often dominate their churches with quotes or their interpretation of quotes. Is this really Truth?
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.
Babylon forced everyone to bow down to an image of Daniel, the holy man.
The apostle John fell down to worship the prophet who revealed these things to him.
REVELATION 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God:
He was corrected, but soon afterward made the same mistake.
REVELATION 22:8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
:9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
A strong spirit is unleashed at the end time to force people to worship brother Branham as the Voice of God, the Son of man. The Absolute. The infallible.
That spirit was manifest in the last chapter of the Bible, right at the end. We are right at the end, so do not fall into that trap.
Brother Branham's quotes can reveal the Scripture, they cannot replace the Scripture.
Certain quotes of brother Branham contradict each other.
How then can you be sure which one is right?
Only by establishing which quote is backed up by Scripture or history.
For example :
Now, now, Jesus, Messiah, rode into the city of Jerusalem, triumph, on the back of a white mule on Palm Sunday, April the 2nd, A.D. 30. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, A.D. 30.
"The Seventieth week of Daniel" 06 August 1961
Jesus was crucified later that week on a Thursday.
EXODUS 12:3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
:6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
The Passover lamb, in Exodus Chapter 12, was chosen on day 10 and killed on day 14.
Jesus was chosen on Palm Sunday, which would be the 10th day. Thus He had to be killed on the 14th day, a Thursday. That way He could spend three nights in the tomb before He rose early on Sunday morning.
Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night.
MATTHEW 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and
three nights in the heart of the earth.
But the original church begin in Jerusalem, A.D. 33, on the day of Pentecost.
That's where we'd have to go back to. I'm trying to get back there. But see that antichrist move, trying to make that antichrist, when the real Spirit of God's trying to move them back to the original faith again?
"The uncertain sound" 14 July 1962
Pentecost was 50 days after the resurrection.
So did Calvary occur in AD 30 or in AD 33? If you accept one quote, you have to ignore the other one.
To settle the issue you need to run the dates through Scripture. Only one of these dates will hold up to that test.
The correct date is AD 33 as Jesus was about 30 when He was baptized towards the end of the year AD 29 to start His 3.5-year ministry which was the first half of Daniel's 70th week.
LUKE 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age,
As another example:
There was a prophet named Moses. And one day God called him, and wouldn't let him go over the land, and he died on a rock. The Angels took him away and buried him.
There was another man, a eagle, didn't even have to die. He just walked across Jordan, and God sent a chariot down; and this robe of flesh he dropped, and rise and caught the everlasting prize.
Eight hundred years later, eight hundred years later, on Mount Transfiguration, here stood those two man. Moses' body had been rotten for hundreds of years,
but here he was in such a form till even Peter, James, and John recognized him.
"Who is this Melchisedec" 21 February 1965
Which, Moses was never ... No, his body was packed away. The Angels took him;
he did not mortify; he did not corrupt.
He was a perfect type of Christ. He died, and the Angels packed him away, and even the devil don't even know where he's buried, and tried to dispute with Michael the Archangel about his burial. That's what the Bible said. God took him up in the rapture.
Questions and Answers on Hebrews 3 COD 06 October 1957
We cannot establish whether the body of Moses was corrupted or not, from quotes alone.
So quotes alone are not the key to Truth.
Certain quotes are factually wrong.
If you just accept quotes without checking, you have a huge problem with five incorrect statements made near the beginning of the Serpent's Seed message.
The corrected statements have been written in square brackets [ ].
The first denominational church... We looked it up this afternoon in the "Nicene Fathers," history of the Nicene church. After the death of the apostles, there what come the Nicene fathers, and they went on for several years, three hundred and twenty-five years, finally came to Nicaea, France,
[Nicaea is a city in Asia Minor which is a little north of the city of Pergamos]
where they had the great Nicene Council. And in there they formed these dogmas that the Catholic church has now, and also that's handed down to the Protestants.
And as I said it in the teaching this morning, each one of those church ages on up to that Thessalonica church age,
[There is no Thessalonica church age. When the Thyatira church age ended, that was the end of the dark ages]
the fifteen hundred years of dark ages,
[the dark ages lasted for about 1200 years. The dark ages started around AD 325 at the Nicene Council, when Trinity entered the church to destroy truth, and ended about in the year 1520 when Martin Luther in Germany condemned the Pope]
there was not one time but what He said, "You still have My name."
[The second church age of Smyrna does not mention "name" ]
And on this other side, they wasn't in Christ any more that come out in a denominational name: Catholic, Luther, Wesley, Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, on down. But just before the closing of the age He said, "I've set before you an open door." See? And that's the age that we believe we are in right now, the open door age, between the last going out of the Laodicean church.
And it's exactly three hundred and twenty-five years to the Laodicean council.
[it was actually the Nicene council in AD 325]
"The Serpent's Seed" 28 September 1958
There was a Laodicean Council but it was from AD 363-364. This Council changed the Sabbath day from Saturday to Sunday and removed the Book of Revelation from the Bible. Mainly because Revelation Chapter 17 exposed the Roman Catholic church.
...then come the Nicolaitanes who wanted to form an organization. The dignitaries got into it. This was at Nicaea, Rome, when they had the Nicene Council. And what did they do? They organized the church, then it begin to persecute the Christians. Then in the next church age, it almost, Christianity in the way of the baptism of the Holy Ghost was all wiped out.
"The Seventieth Week of Daniel" 06 August 1961
Here brother Branham says Nicaea, Rome. What is he getting at?
Nicaea is a city in Asia Minor. It is not in Rome.
But the Council of Nicaea was used by Emperor Constantine to shift political power to the Roman bishop Sylvester. This was to counteract the Roman senate's political influence who were mainly pagan and were keen to see Constantine go. By declaring himself a Christian, Constantine took over the leadership of the church. He felt he had more chance of forcing the church to serve his will than trying to get the pagan senators to obey him.
Constantine had given the Roman bishop the Lateran palace in Rome, which was the most beautiful palace in Europe, as well as huge financial gifts. This gave the Roman bishop huge prestige and set him up to be the emperor's loyal strong man in the West when Constantine moved East to build the new city of Constantinople.
By becoming a Christian, Constantine was able to confiscate all the wealth in the pagan temples. The church had just gone through 10 major persecutions and thus did not have public church buildings. They were basically oppressed and persecuted. By stopping the persecution and giving them wealth, he swung the Christians' sentiment onto his side. Now he could control the churches, especially as he gave them pagan temples that they could turn into church buildings.
The Council of Nicaea launched a church-state marriage with the political emperor in charge. Promotion in the church hinged on political correctness. Constantine enforced a creed on the bishops, which left them believing in a Trinity as the church's official view. The mysteries of Babylon were now entrenched in the Lateran Palace in Rome. They were spread by the bishop of Rome in his ambitious rise to be the head of the universal church.
So do not just parrot "Nicaea, Rome", as that phrase will not help much. Study the history and try to see what brother Branham was getting at.
In today's message-groups there is too much self-congratulation and too little objective analysis of the facts.
We need the 2 witnesses of Scripture verses and quotes
A quote is a witness. The Bible is a witness. You must have two witnesses.
You have to prove your quotes from Scripture in order to have two witnesses.
We also need to check the quotes against history or the types in nature if we are to learn the Truth.
If you just recite a quote, without understanding, you are a little better than a parrot.
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
2 Timothy 4 : 2
At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death;
but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
Deuteronomy 17 : 6
One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth:
at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
Deuteronomy 19 : 15
- Quotes are only one witness.
- But one witness is not sufficient. You cannot establish Truth from quotes alone.
61-0808 THY HOUSE
Now, in the last days, we come to a place when Titus in A.D. 70 taken the walls of Jerusalem, and tore down the walls of Jerusalem.
54-0515 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
And Titus besieged the walls of Jerusalem in A.D. 96, and burnt the city.
Did the Roman General Titus destroy Jerusalem in AD 70 or in AD 96? History teaches us that it was AD 70.
In other words, we had to use History as another witness to enable us to determine the truth.
- You need another witness in the form of Scripture to establish which of the two quotes is true.
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.
- A third witness is "types".
- The natural types the spiritual.
- A three-cornered piece of glass breaks up white light into 7 dominant colours that overlap each other at their edges.
This confirms the idea of breaking up the 2000 years of Gospel light into 7 distinct periods of time which we can call "Church Ages".
If a wheat seed is planted (in the first church age by the 12 apostles) it first dies (in the Dark Ages) and then grows through different stages. First, the leaves (the reformers), and then the tassels blowing pollen through the field (the missionary age). Towards the end a husk that looks like the original seed (Pentecostals, looking good in terms of power but lacking parts of the original Truth of the New Testament church. They do not take communion at night nor do feet washing. The early church in the Bible does not mention the word "Trinity". The Pentecostals do not baptize in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, etc).
Finally, the original seed that was planted begins to form inside the husk and ripen in the sunlight for the harvest.
Consider maize seed.
The final seed that is harvested is identical to the original seed that was planted.
Thus today, we must take the early church of the Book of Acts as our model and get back to the New Testament way of believing and doing things.
This is the third time I am coming to you.
In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
2 Corinthians 13 : 1
Don't just take a quote. Find where Scripture and types from nature back it up.
The local elders rule the local church
Show me by the Bible what's greater than a local elder to a local church?
This is a quote made by brother Branham.
Notice how few rules James the Apostle imposed on the Gentile converts.
13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
Acts 15 : 13,14 & 20
For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting,
and ordain elders in every city,
as I had appointed thee:
Titus 1 : 5
The early church spread the Truth by means of men who went all over preaching and teaching.
They learned Truth from the apostles, but the apostles exercised very little control over them. The apostles never stayed too long in one place and most of them were killed. Some apostles moved far away. Thomas went to India where he was killed.
The local elders were to run the local assemblies.
We must continue this example today.
But I believe in the
supreme authority of the local assembly.
Yes. Let each church be its own, choose its pastors, its deacons, its, whatever it is. And then, that way, the man in there has
no bishop over him.
The Holy Spirit wants to speak something to that church,
they don't have to ask anybody about whether they could do this or do that.
It's the individual in contact with the Holy Spirit.
Show me by the Bible what's greater, in the Bible, than a local elder to a local church?
That's right, yes, sir,
the sovereignty of the local church,
each church in itself. Now, brotherhood, that's wonderful. All churches ought to be in a brotherhood like that, together. But the sovereignty of local church!
"Hebrews Chapter Five and Six" 08 September 1957
The congregation, in full, has all the authority.
It isn't... A deacon board is just the policemen here in this church, just to keep order and so forth.
But when it comes to rules, the whole church has to say so. This church is built upon the sovereignty of the local church.
Therefore, I have nothing to say in moving this pastor, or putting one in. I own the property; it's given to the church.
You all are the church. You people are the one who control.
You're the church, yourself.
And if the congregation votes, "Forgive him, and let him go on yet," that's the way it has to stand. See? That, isn't that fair enough the way to run a church? That's what the Bible said.
We have no bishops and overseers, and boards and so forth, moves this one in and got a lot of authority.
There's nobody got authority here but the Holy Ghost.
That's right. He does the moving.
And we take Him as the majority of the people, the way the people go.
"Hebrews Chapter Seven" 22 September 1957
The majority will of the people, not the pastor's opinion, is God's will.
Pastors of course will often try to browbeat the assembly into agreeing with the pastor's opinion. That is the pastor's will, not God's will. There is no record in the New Testament of a pastor running or dominating a church.
That wasn't God's plan in the beginning. He never sent one of them to any seminary. He sent them to an upper room to wait there until the Holy Ghost came upon them to be ordained ministers of the Lord. But hybreeding, bringing the church to theology, instead of letting the Holy Spirit lead it,
they bred in bishops, general overseers, when the Holy Spirit is God's original Leader of the church.
But they hybrid the church like they did the chicken, like they did the mule, like they did everything else:...
"Condemnation by Representation" 13 November 1960
Martin Luther came out, to switch out, to give the true church a chance; Wesley; on into Pentecost;
and every one of them went right back to that Nicolaitane idea of organizing with general overseers,
and everything else,...
"The Pergamean Church Age" 07 December 1960
Human beings always want to organize God's church.
There are always men who love to be boss and give the orders to set up a system in which they benefit.
The name on the door is Christian. The business inside is deception.
You will recall that I brought out in the Ephesian Age that the word, Nicolaitane, comes from two Greek words: Nikao which means to conquer, and Lao which means the laity.
Nicolaitane means, "to conquer the laity".
Now why is this such a terrible thing? It is terrible because God has never placed His church in the hands of an elected leadership which moves with political mindedness.
He has placed His church in the care of God-ordained, Spirit-filled, Word-living men who lead the people through feeding them the Word.
He has not separated the people into classes so that the masses are led by a holy priesthood.
It is true that the leadership must be holy, but then so must be the whole congregation.
Further, there is no place in the Word where priests or ministers or such mediate between God and the people,
nor is there a place where they are separated in their worship of the Lord. God wants all to love and serve Him together.
Nicolaitanism destroys those precepts and instead separates the ministers from the people and makes the leaders overlords instead of servants.
Now this doctrine actually started as a deed in the first age. It appears that the problem lay in two words: 'elders' (presbyters) and 'overseers' (bishops).
Though Scripture shows that there are several elders in each church,
some began (Ignatius among them)
to teach that the idea of a bishop was one of preeminence or authority and control over the elders.
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.
Thus, that which started as a deed in the first age was made a literal doctrine and so it is today.
Bishops still claim power to control men and deal with them as they desire,
placing them where they so will in the ministry. This denies the leadership of the Holy Ghost Who said, "Separate Me Paul and Barnabas for the work where-unto I have called them" This is anti-Word and anti-Christ.
"The Pergamean Church Age", Church Age Book Chapter 5
"Scripture shows that there are several elders in each church".
This was the key to the early church.
No single man was in charge. A group of elders looked after the interests of the congregation.
This effectively blocked the one-man domination that was to arise in the Catholic churches.
The weakness of one-man-in charge is that people read their delusions into a quote.
We’re so good at ignoring our repeated failures.
Power over others leaves us blinded by ego and trapped by our own arrogance.
Now Protestants, following the example of their Catholic mother church, also prefer the "one-man-in-charge" model.
25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said,
Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
26 But it shall not be so among you:
but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Matthew 20 : 25-28
The word "minister" means a servant, not a dominating boss or pastor.
Leadership means giving control not taking control.
Sad to say the true vine was not exactly immune to this doctrine. By that I do not mean that the true vine ever did establish the Nicolaitane ideas as a doctrine. Far from it. But that little worm of death kept sucking at the true vine hoping that it might fall.
Even within the true church, men whom God had called as overseers were holding that title to mean a little more than just a local responsibility.
It was not the clear understanding of Paul that existed in the church at this time. For Paul had said, "And they glorified God in me." No matter what authority Paul had, he kept the people looking to God from Whom is all authority.
But the clergy was always looking to Divine Leadership PLUS HUMAN,
and thus in giving honor where honor was not due,
we find that the true church was spotted with humanism.
With Nicolaitanism established--apostolic succession,
placed ministers--pastors voted in, etc., it was only one step for the false church to proceed to Balaamism. The second step to the 'depth of Satan' was now in full progress.
"A Resume of the Ages", Church Age Book Chapter 10
Human beings struggle to stay in their appointed local places.
Humans love to be important and spread their control over others.
This is a common affliction amongst Catholics and Protestants.
Now, "All wars," as I say, "are fought for principles." Now, if you have a little war in church, it must be the right principle. You must be fighting for the right thing. And each member of the church is supposed to do that...
Don't never let nothing hinder this church. If it does, you're guilty, each one of you. And you, in your different churches,
if something is going wrong in your church, you're guilty, because you're the overseer of that church.
It ain't up to the pastor. It ain't up to the deacon board. It's up to you, you individual, to go to that brother and see if you can have him reconciled...
"Hebrews Chapter Seven" 15 September 1957
Spiritual authority rests with each individual in their local fellowship. The church is simply made up of the people who attend meetings and fellowship together. Once they have grown up in the faith, each individual is responsible for overseeing that the congregation stays with the truth.
There is nothing higher in the Bible, in the church, than the elder of that church.
It's a sovereign church, and the Holy Spirit works in any way He wants to. He dwells among His people.
But we have another absolute, some general overseer somewhere, tells us what we can do.
And if it doesn't just cope with what they think, or something like that, then,
"That's out. That's not of God."
Oh, my! What a horrible thing it is! What a twist we got into! No wonder we're out here crying for revival. And the sky is full of Pentecostal power, and we can't get to it. That's right. Is because we've rejected God's Absolute. Right.
The revelation of Christ, "Upon this rock I'll build My Church, and the gates of hell can't prevail against It." It's the Absolute.
And the Word of God is His Absolute.
"Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father which is in Heaven has revealed this to you. And upon this rock I'll build My Church." See? A real absolute!
"An Absolute" Sunday 27 January 1963
A mature believer is an elder in his congregation, however big or small it may be.
There is no higher authority, no human priesthood above him.
This is critical. Men can have different ministries but this does not promote them above other people.
We are all equal. We just have different functions. The elders take care of the church as a group. The sum total of their combined wisdom is obviously better than a single person's limited wisdom.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,
an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
1 Peter 2 : 9
This is important. Each believer is part of the new priesthood of Melchizadek.
There is no-one above you, except the High Priest, Jesus Christ.
The Aaronic priesthood of priests who mediated and stood between the people and God has been done away with.
The five Bible ministries do not form a priesthood
Don't replace the Aaronic priesthood with the five-fold ministry priesthood.
Do not promote any human being above yourself. You only look up to one Person, Jesus Christ.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
1 Timothy 2 : 5
Only Jesus stands above you. No other man. No other ministry. A minister is a servant. The fivefold ministry are just servants to help you grow in Christ and find your position in Christ. They are servants, not bosses.
What does the Word say? ...
"There will be high bishops, and if any authority is to be said, they will be the one who say..." No, no.
"They that are sons of God are led by the Spirit of God." All right. What will it say about Divine healing? "He was wounded for our transgressions; with His stripes we were healed." It's a finished work.
What if any man desires salvation? Who could give it to him? The pope? The bishop? The cardinal? No, sir. No, sir. The pope of Rome could have nothing to do with it. The archbishop of Canterbury would have nothing to do with it. None of the rest of them, there's none of them could have nothing to do with it.
It's your own individual, personal faith in a finished work of Christ at Calvary. That's the Bible.
That's what the Bible said.
"God keeps His Word" 15 January 1957
You'd still be unsaved until you accept and believe that Jesus died in your stead, and you accept Him as your personal Saviour. Every minister in here could lay hands on every sick person in here and pray from now until day after tomorrow night. There'd never be one thing happen until you accept what Jesus did for you. So therefore it doesn't lay in ministers, in one another, but it lays in our own individual faith in a finished work that Christ did for us at Calvary.
"Be not afraid, it is I" 14 April 1961
Your faith is directly between you and Jesus.
There is no man in-between.
But see what was happening back there.
That false vine was getting a hold and it was
teaching that rulership by man was right. It taught that the church had to be governed.
It taught a control over the people, but instead of doing it God's way,
they simply took authority and vested all the spiritual power in their own hands and came out with a holy priesthood standing between God and the people.
They went right back to the old Aaronic system.
They became antichrist for they disposed of His mediator-ship and imposed their own. God hated that.
The Ephesians hated that and any true believer will hate it too.
We would have to be stone blind not to see that same thing at work all through the ages and
right now it is the worst of all.
What it was, was organization.
That separated the people. God's people are supposed to be one. By ONE Spirit are they ALL baptized into one body and
EVERYONE is to be moved upon by the Holy Ghost and EVERYONE is to participate in the worship of God.
But men wanted the preeminence, so they took over control,
and bishops became archbishops, and with imposing titles they by-passed the Word of God and taught their own doctrines.
They got the people to obey them
until the time came that
their way of worship did not in any way at all resemble the early days after Pentecost.
These deeds were the beginning of apostolic succession.
From apostolic succession it was one easy and quick step to
"church membership" as the means of saving grace.
The Word was reduced to a creed. Antichrist by his spirit was predominating the church.
"Ephesian Church Age", Church Age Book Chapter 3
"They got the people to obey them
until the time came that
their way of worship did not in any way at all resemble the early days after Pentecost."
The early church did not rely on tape recorders to do all the preaching.
If we only listen to tapes we are not resembling the early days after Pentecost.
But have men heeded this truth? Have they esteemed His Person Who alone has the full sovereign authority over His church? I say, "NO".
For in every age the church has been governed by a hierarchy--a priesthood--an apostolic succession--closing the door of mercy and grace to whom it will,
and instead of assuming the love and responsibility of the church it has with mercenary lust preyed upon her and destroyed her.
The clergy lived in luxury while the poor church fed on the husks of abuse.
And not one age did any different.
Each bound itself to organization and put the government upon men and committed the church to that government.
Dare let the people rise up, and they were brutally suppressed or cast out.
Every denomination has the same spirit.
Every denomination swears that it has the key to the government of the church.
Every denomination claims that it opens the door. But that is not true. It is Jesus and Jesus, alone. He sets the members in the Body.
He endows them with their ministries.
He puts the gifts at her disposal. He cares for her and guides her. She is His sole property and He has no other one but her.
"Philadelphian Church Age", Church Age Book Chapter 8
- "Every denomination swears that it has the key to the government of the church"
Sadly, power corrupts good people.
Just as pastors rise up to dominate their churches, so some of the more influential pastors rise up to dominate other lesser pastors. Always there is the urge for someone to assume authority and tell others what to do.
Where does this spirit end? When some universal figure rises who can control what everyone else can or cannot do.
Dominate is the key to denominate.
- "He endows them with their ministries."
- "...closing the door of mercy..."
Pastors use this technique to try to crush people who disagree with their doctrines. This makes them a little better than spiritual bullies. This is the same spirit that made the Popes excommunicate those who disagreed with them.
Some things never change.
The word "pastor" is only mentioned once in the New Testament, in the following verse.
EPHESIANS 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Pastors are listed as the fourth out of five ministries. Not a very high ranking. Thus, there is no Bible authority for a pastor to be in charge of a church.
This verse in Ephesians indicates the order in which the ministries work. What the apostles wrote as the New Testament has supreme authority. A prophet who guides the church has to restore us back to the New Testament by revealing the mysteries that the apostles wrote. The prophet directs us back to the foundation of the apostles. The evangelist is used as if he is an explosive charge in a quarry of stone in order to knock people out of their unbelief and get them saved. The pastor exercises pastoral care to get the people to build up their faith in Christ and counsel them on the problems they have in life, work, family, etc.
He takes the rough stones that the evangelist blasted out and the pastor shapes them into smooth bricks and blocks.
Then the teacher takes these blocks and helps to place them into their position in the Body of the Lord by revealing the deep mysteries of Scripture to them. When a person can prove what they believe from Scripture, then they are finding their place in the Word which is Christ.
63-0724 GOD DOESN'T CALL MAN TO JUDGMENT WITHOUT FIRST WARNING HIM
But, you see, in the church there is the pastor, and that pastor is a special person. He's built to where he can--he can put up with the fusses of the people. He's a burden-bearer, he's the ox of the team. He's a man that can sit down when somebody's got something against somebody else, and sit down with them two families (and take neither side) and reason it out and bring it right back into sweetness. See? He--he's a pastor, he knows how to take care of things.
The evangelist is a special man.
He's a man that's burning like a fireball. He runs into a city and preaches his message, then gets out of there somewhere else. See, he's a special man.
The teacher is a special man.
He sits back under the anointing of the Spirit and
is able to take the Words and put them together by the Holy Spirit, that, the pastor or evangelist either one could not compare with him.
A teacher can join the Bible verses together to reveal a deep mystery far better than a pastor or an evangelist can.
I CORINTHIANS 12:28 And God hath set some in the church,
first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
When God set the church in order, He never even mentioned pastors.
He relied on Bible teaching. If people knew what was written in the Bible and just stayed with that, the church would not have fallen.
You are only a Bible teacher if someone learns to be Scriptural from you.
Local elders must rule the local church
Where Bible truth is taught, the local church would be run by local elders.
Paul left the church of Ephesus to be run by the local elders of Ephesus.
Ephesus is the foundation-church 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.
Peter agreed with Paul and also emphasized that the local elders should run each church.
That way all the men involved are equals.
There is no ministry elevated above another to introduce the doctrine of the elevated Nicolaitans, who suppress the congregation or laity and thereby conquer them.
I PETER 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
:3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
All saved Christians are part of the royal priesthood which means every saved Christian is a priest.
I PETER 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,
No priest is above another priest.
Only the High Priest Jesus is above the priests.
I TIMOTHY 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
Some elders preach as they are part of the five-fold ministry. Other elders do not preach. But all elders are equal and all play a part in the running of the local church. An elder with a ministry is in no way superior or above an elder who has no ministry.
Today pastors dominate their churches. How did this non-Scriptural authority get assumed by them?
The ministry of "pastor" is mentioned only once in the New Testament and now it dominates the churches.
Something has got out of place.
When one of their so-called saints got the revelation that anybody that disagreed with the Roman church should die as a heretic... That just set them around then. Boy, he went to spilling the blood.
"The Third Seal" 20 March 1963
Augustine, around the year 400, decided that eliminating people who disagreed with the Catholic church was the right way to do things. About 50 years later Pope Leo the Great made the elimination of dissenters the official Catholic law.
Now Protestant pastors have got in on the character assassination act. Contradict them with Scripture and see what they say about you.
For Thomas Aquinas and Alverus Pelagius formulated and stated that: "The Pope seems to those who view him with the spiritual eye, to be, not a man but a God. There are no bounds to his authority.
He can declare to be right what he will and can take away from any their rights as he sees fit.
To doubt this universal power leads to being shut out from salvation. The great enemies of the church are the heretics who will not wear the yoke of true obedience."
"Thyatirean Church Age", Church Age Book Chapter 6
God must be free to set up a man as a teacher in his local church.
Or to teach over the internet.
The Popes stopped many teachers in the past. As the Catholic spirit spreads, do not be surprised when Protestant leaders also take away from people the right to teach.
Then we must follow Luther's example when he burned the Pope's order to stop him teaching.
Now, I will admit that the Catholic church, the denominational church begin in Rome. Denominations started in Rome, and that's where they're going back, the old mother harlot, and her daughters. It's truly. He will go back there.
"The Uncertain Sound" 14 July 1962
No Protestant should go back to doing things the Catholic way. Who wants to be a daughter of the harlot?
All quotes must refer to what is written in the Bible
10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily,
whether those things were so.
Acts 17 : 10-11
The early converts did not just believe what Paul said. They searched the Scriptures to check that his teachings lined up with Scripture.
We must continue this example today.
Believe all the Message.
Believe That. If it isn't,
if it isn't written in the Bible, then don't you believe it.
"He that is in you" 10 November 1963
In the Old Testament,
before a prophet's word could be made manifest, it had to be examined and proved.
They wasn't loose with it, like we are today.
"Hebrews Chapter Two" 25 August 1957
If that Angel of the Lord told me anything that wasn't Scriptural, I wouldn't believe Him.
"The Third Seal" 20 March 1963
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.
"The Spoken Word is the Original Seed" 18 March 1962
I don't care who he is; any other man,
myself or anybody else,
"If he speaks not according to the law and the prophets, there is no Light in him." See? That's what the Bible said. "Let every man's word be a lie, and Mine be true," regardless who it is.
"The Anointed Ones at the end time" 25 July 1965
We're too close for anything, any foolishness, or any presuming, or halfway believe.
I've got to see it first.
And then when I see it,
it's got to be in the Word too.
And so far, by the grace of God, they perfectly... I've took it from all the way through; you know that; it's just blended right together.
It's got to be, THUS SAITH THE LORD, 'cause it's not only as to say it from me knowing it myself, but the Word of the Lord is THUS SAITH THE LORD.
And here is the Word taking what He has give to me and blending it together
and showing you, so you know yourself it's THUS SAITH THE LORD. See?
"The Sixth Seal" 23 March 1963
Brother Branham would take the vision that he saw and then run through the Scriptures to ensure that the vision he had seen was Scriptural.
If somebody gets a little something the Lord's revealed to him,
and it doesn't coincide with this Bible plumb through the Bible from Genesis to Revelations,
becomes a doctrine, then we will not accept it. See?
It's got to come from the Bible. And it can't just become by somebody's revelation.
If a revelation is right with the Word, all right.
"The Baptism of the Holy Spirit" 28 September 1958
The quotes give us ideas.
Before you believe a quote, run that idea through the Bible and see if you can prove the idea using Bible texts alone.
If you cannot prove that idea from Scripture alone, then you have made a mistake.
The Roman Catholic Church imposed a centralized organization under the domination of a human leader. The priests dominated the laity or congregation. A priest became the head of each congregation. Influential priests became bishops who then dominated the other priests. Overseer meant that one man could dominate a number of congregations. Thus a hierarchy developed until one man, the Pope, controlled the whole religious system.
Any disagreement was throttled. Excommunication got rid of dissenters.
Money poured into this central organization at Rome, making it wealthy and even more powerful.
This was the false vine.
Only Jesus is the Head of the church which is His Body
No mortal man, no pastor can claim that position.
For the husband is the head of the wife,
even as Christ is the head of the church:
and he is the saviour of the body.
Ephesians 5 : 23
The Head of the body is also the Saviour of the body. No mortal man can save the church, only Jesus.
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
Colossians 1 : 18
The Head of the church is the firstborn from the dead. Only Jesus died and came back from the grave in a new Body that cannot die again.
No other man can claim this ability.
Jesus must have pre-eminence. But there are men who love the preeminence and they will also claim to be the head of the church.
Some pastors claim this exalted rank to promote themselves above the congregation. But the New Testament nowhere declares the pastor to be the head of the church.
Never forget this key fact.
Only Jesus is the Head of the church.
Each part of the body is connected to the head by the nervous system. Thus the head directly controls each part of the body. Your faith must be directly between you and Jesus. Jesus alone must control your life as He alone knows what His will for you is. Others can guide you and help you, but He alone must control you.
But Jesus is the Word, so everything you believe must be Scriptural.
The early church is the model that you must try to be like. Do not be different from the early church.
Whatever you think you have learned from quotes, make sure that you can prove those ideas from the Bible.
But the original church begin in Jerusalem, A.D. 33, on the day of Pentecost. That's where we'd have to go back to. I'm trying to get back there.
But see that antichrist move, trying to make that antichrist, when the real Spirit of God's trying to move them back to the original faith again?
"The Uncertain Sound" 14 July 1962
Aim for the original faith of the early church and you will not go too far wrong.