Why are most Message groups heading for the Tribulation rather than the Wedding Supper?
Daniel saw a Gentile image that split into two legs and then fragmented into ten toes, as the quality of the metals deteriorated from the head of gold, that cannot rust, until it became legs of iron that are a much stronger metal but cannot stop rusting.
The legs represent the split of Christianity into the western Roman empire dominated by the Roman Catholic church denomination, and the eastern Roman empire dominated by the Byzantium Greek Orthodox church of Constantinople that spread out to give rise to the Russian Orthodox church.
Then came the Reformation of Martin Luther, and the Protestants moved out of Catholicism but then they fragmented into numerous different denominations. Some reports estimate that there are about 45 000 different types of denominational churches today.
So the chances of your church being right is about 1 in 45 000. Not very good odds.
Now stand back and get an overview of the Message churches.
They have gone down the same path of splitting and fragmenting. The numerous different Message groups have different doctrinal viewpoints, that are so strongly entrenched that many leaders excommunicate dissenters by making them feel very unwelcome. There is no healthy debate about doctrinal differences, but rather an enforced conformity to each leader’s viewpoint. Message pastors do not encourage a second opinion in their congregations.
People now feel safe only when they “belong to a certain pastor’s church”.
I CORINTHIANS 1:12Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
Paul was not impressed.
The death of a strong leader can remove the glue that veiled and masked the underlying dissensions, and that Message church then splits further. The recent resignation of a pastor in America indicates clearly that doctrinal differences run deep.
If these differences are so intense, then obviously they cannot all be right.
So the majority of the Message assemblies will not make the Bride because they all differ from each other and thus differ from the one Message assembly that is fortunate enough to have got it all right, assuming there is a Message assembly that has got it all right.
Each different Message group strenuously claims that they are right. But such a claim is simply an illusion, as all the different Message churches with their wide divergence of belief on so many topics are all claiming to be the “correct” church.
So now comes the vital and scary question: Has any Message group got the full truth, or have Message groups simply adopted the organizational techniques of the denominational churches, and thereby become denominations themselves, despite protesting vigorously that they are not a denomination?
Remember that every denomination has some doctrines and beliefs that are correct. The problem lies with their other beliefs that are not correct.
To judge where we are, we have to review our attitude towards the Bible (the King James version), and our attitude towards brother Branham.
The Bible prophecies are not very encouraging about our end-time conditions.
REVELATION 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write;
REVELATION 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:
Christ stands outside the church and knocks. Every church. This must include every Message church as well, because He mentions no exceptions. So this includes your Message group, and mine.
Christ is the Word. So the written Word of God is no longer preached in the church. Quote a Scripture to a pastor which contradicts his viewpoint, and you will soon find yourself outside that church. The written Word is no longer welcome on certain topics.
REVELATION 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
The church is lukewarm. Some Scripture is preached (making us hot), but this is mixed up with other Scriptures that are either not preached or are contradicted (making us cold).
God’s Word comes out of His mouth. So we are no longer in God’s mouth. We no longer stand for His Word. We no longer stress what is written in the Bible. The interpretation of quotes has taken over.
An interesting reality check was the election of Donald Trump. Message preachers interpreted some quotes, and predicted that Hillary Clinton would win. They got it completely wrong. So much for relying on quotes. They made the same mistake with the end of America in 1977. Also based on quotes.
Despite getting these major quote predictions wrong, they remain in charge, and continue interpreting quotes. The spineless congregations just move on as if nothing happened.
The message preachers who backed Hillary are far removed from God’s thinking. We have been warned. But we do not heed the warning. We will continue to listen to their interpretation of quotes, and these leaders will continue to mislead us. "Churchianity" rumbles on as usual, heedless of the facts that Trump threw into our faces, that our church leaders do not know how God thinks.
REVELATION 3:17 ..... and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched,... and blind:
Message churches feel that they are in no need of anything, especially correction.
The church is blind (your church and my church) because a blind eye cannot see light. So every church today is consciously or unconsciously rejecting certain Scriptures. Eve only rejected one Scripture and she fell. But each message church loudly insists that it is not blind. That they alone have the truth. That is why they cannot be corrected, because they are convinced that they are so right.
Message churches (as well as all the other denominational churches) brag about all the good things they do for God. This is all fine. But when God speaks to Laodicea He does not compliment our age, but rather says that we should repent. That means that we are doing things wrong. He says we should be zealous to repent. That means we are doing a lot wrong.
REVELATION 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
If God loves us, He says that He will rebuke and chasten us. We must be doing something wrong if He needs to rebuke us. We are doing something seriously wrong if He needs to chasten or punish us. Yet we feel that we are fine and on track. So we are obviously seriously missing something.
So what are we doing wrong, since we keep claiming that “my church is right”? Everyone claiming that they are right, despite all the differences, means that no-one wants to be corrected.
God does not say we are insincere.
He just says our main focus should be on repentance. And because we do not know what we are doing wrong, He tells us to get eyesalve so that our eyes can open so that we can see our errors. Then we will know what we need to repent of.
REVELATION 3:18 anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
But we prefer to stay in the safety of our holy huddles, where the charismatic pastor assures us that we are fine as long as we keep on believing his viewpoint. We reject anyone outside our group who dares to disagree with us, and thus we cannot be corrected. We especially do not want to be corrected by an outsider.
Actually, we are so insecure about proving our beliefs, that we do not want to meet anyone who disagrees with us because we know we will not do a good job of proving what we believe. So we prefer just to stay in the group where we all believe the same. That way we are never challenged, and our ignorance of Scripture remains safely hidden.
REVELATION 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched,
We have need of nothing. We rely on material success to prove our closeness to God. That means we think we are fine, and that we have got it all figured out correctly. Thus we automatically feel that we do not have to listen to anyone outside our group as we are in no need of correction. But we can only make “wretched” attempts to try to prove our beliefs from Scripture. Many message people pride themselves in how little they know of Scripture. The Syrian eunuch listened to Philip, an outsider, and got corrected. So we still do not know what God wants us to repent of, of or even why He is telling us to be zealous and enthusiastic in our admissions of error as we repent. No message believer believes that God is outside “my church”. No message believers believe that they are blind, despite the Bible saying that we in this last age are all blind, and we don’t know it. Thus He remains outside our church. And we blindly continue on our way inside, ignoring certain Scriptures because they contradict our beliefs.
And our leaders discourage us from looking for what is wrong, because they ban dissenters, and assure us that we are all right as long as we follow our human leader, who unfortunately, according to Scripture, is also just as blind as what we are.
Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
When the leaders preach quotes and opinions instead of proving their beliefs from Scripture, then they are blind on those topics. The followers that they lead, who are happy to follow the leader’s interpretation of brother Branham’s quotes, are also blind as they can no longer prove what they believe from Scripture. They will all fall into the ditch, which is the coming Tribulation.
LUKE 18:8 … Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
ROMANS 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
When Jesus returns, there will be very few who prove what they believe by Scripture.
Believing what is written in the Bible is the only source of true faith.
Message believers now rely on quotes and their interpretation of quotes which they cannot prove from Scripture.
They have even changed “the voice of the seventh angel” (which was promised in our day) into the “Voice of God”. This dramatic elevation of a man was not promised to us in Revelation 10:7.
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, (this is definitely not the “Voice of God“).
Now there is much distress when sharp-eyed critics, who refuse to be intimidated by blustering pastors, have pointed out mistakes that brother Branham made. This proves that brother Branham was not infallible. The uncovering of these mistakes has created two extreme viewpoints.
First, the dedicated disciples of brother Branham stubbornly claim that he made no mistakes. They have elevated his quotes to the level of Scripture, and even above Scripture. Thus, thinking that they are protecting brother Branham, they are giving the critics plenty of ammunition. You cannot defend a mistake.
Take an example from the sermon “Serpent Seed”:
58-0928E THE SERPENT'S SEED
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, 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, the fifteen hundred years of dark ages, there was not one time but what He said, "You still have My 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.
There are four factual mistakes in this brief passage. Trying to defend them would involve us telling lies.
- Nicaea is not in France, it is in Asia Minor, just below Constantinople.
- There is no Thessalonica church age. There was a Thyatira church age from about 606 AD to about 1520 AD, called the Dark Ages.
- These Dark Ages lasted about 900 years. They finished around the year 1500 AD. If the Dark Ages lasted 1500 years, then Jesus would also have been in the Dark Ages.
- There was no Laodicean council in 325 AD. It was the Nicaean council. (The Laodicean council met from 363 – 364 AD and left the Book of Revelation out of the Bible.)
So these mistakes need to be corrected and we need to move on. William Branham was not infallible. Check his quotes against Scripture, history, and geography.
This is a warning to us. Don’t think you have the truth because you are hanging onto a quote. Some quotes are wrong.
Then message preachers assume the right to interpret or modify his quotes, and thus hang on to their errors of the interpretation of his quotes, like “The seven thunders have uttered” and “The Cloud of 1963 was the Coming of the Lord”, or “The Cloud of 1963 was the coming down of the Angel of Revelation Chapter 10”. But these statements were never made by brother Branham. He was not even hunting on Sunset peak in southern Arizona when the Cloud was photographed, as the hunting season had not yet opened. He arrived almost a week after the Cloud was photographed. The Cloud was never over Sunset peak, it was 200 miles north, in the vicinity of the city of Flagstaff in Northern Arizona.
Secondly, another extreme viewpoint is that brother Branham is elevated above being the seventh angel or end time prophet. There are two reasons for this.
His sermons and books are now published as if he is the “Voice of God”. This promotes brother Branham far too high, and cannot be reconciled to any Scripture, nor to the mistakes that he made. God is obviously infallible, and only He does not make mistakes.
We were promised the “voice of the seventh angel” - we were never promised the “Voice of God”.
So this unscriptural promotion generates confused thinking.
Remember, God hates the Nicolaitanes who elevate a holy man.
REVELATION 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Nebuchadnezzar made an image of Daniel in the first Gentile age, and forced all the people, except Daniel, to bow down to it. Daniel could obviously not bow down to his own image.
There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar;
Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.
This is the typical Gentile error, worshipping a prophet, and promoting Daniel to the godhead.
But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods:
So history repeats, and in the last Gentile age people are being forced to bow down to the quotes and the interpretation of the quotes of brother Branham, our end time prophet. His quotes, and their interpretations of his quotes, have been elevated to the level of Scripture, and sometimes even preferred to Scripture. This is exactly what the Roman Catholics have done with the writings of their church fathers and their councils. The sayings and opinions of man have taken preference over Scripture.
Jesus only withstood the Devil by saying “It is written”. Very few today follow His example.
An Exposition of the Seven Church Ages . The Ephesian Church Age. The Seed of Nicolaitanism
Every time God gives a visitation of the Holy Spirit and people get free, after awhile they bind themselves right back to the very thing they came out of. When Luther came out of Catholicism, the people stayed free for awhile. But when he died, the people simply organized what they thought he believed and set up their own creeds and ideas and repudiated anyone who said opposite to what they said….
Oh, yes! In Revelation 12, that old whore had many daughters. These daughters are just like mother. They set the Word aside, deny the work of the Spirit of God, subjugate the laity, and make it impossible for the laity to worship God unless they come through them or through their pattern, which is nothing but a blueprint of unbelief from Satan himself…..
Martin Luther’s followers organized what they thought he believed, and set up their own ideas.
William Branham’s followers organize what they think he believed and then set up their own ideas.
Here are some unscriptural ideas that William Branham never said. Nevertheless many of his followers believe them.
“The seven Thunders have uttered”.
“We know the new Name of Jesus”.
“Mercy is over, except for the Bride”.
“John bowed down to William Branham at the end of the Book of Revelation”.
“The Cloud of 1963 was the coming down of the Angel of Revelation Chapter 10”.All of these "genetically modified" quotes have one thing in common - brother Branham never made any of these statements. So those who believe these statements now have a hybrid religion.
60-0515M THE REJECTED KING
So then when they did that, when the great defeat come, then Saul cut up two great ox and sent them to all the people. And I wished you would notice here. When Saul sent the pieces of the ox to all Israel and said, "Let every man that will not follow Samuel and Saul, let him, this ox be as this." Do you see how deceitful he tried to represent Himself with the man of God? How unchristian it was. The fear of the people was because of Samuel. But Saul got them all to follow him, because that the people feared Samuel. "Let them come after Samuel and Saul."
Today pastors force people to follow their interpretations of brother Branham’s quotes. The people think brother Branham made these statements and thus they have to believe them.
That is why the Message of William Branham has splintered into so many conflicting doctrines. Each group has a certain bunch of quotes, which they interpret in a certain way. Ask one of them to prove his viewpoint by using only the Bible, and the conversation usually ends, because they know they cannot do it.
The sayings of a man can be interesting and attract my attention, but only what is written in the Bible can command my faith.
In the days of Enoch, before the Flood, only Enoch made it. Just one man. He was the only man in the world who was caught up to Heaven before the tribulation of the Flood hit. So God goes for quality, not numbers.
Jesus preached a warning that the catching up of the church, like Enoch, is an individual affair.
LUKE 17:34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
:35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
:36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.These instances sound like different times of the day. The Coming of the Lord is at one moment in time. Thus these examples represent different parts of the world. One from this part, one from that part. Not many will be going.
ISAIAH 1:9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
Ex-president Obama used his position to spread gay rights. The rise of gay rights simply fulfils this prophecy.
A very small remnant will remain true to Scripture.
2 THESSALONIANS 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
At the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD the Trinity entered the official church, and truth got buried. The Dark Ages that followed were a sad falling away from the doctrine of the apostles. Then Luther arrived in 1520 AD with getting saved by faith, Wesley in 1750 AD with holiness and outreach, and Pentecost in 1906 AD with the return of the spiritual gifts. They started to restore the church back to the doctrine of the apostles.
Brother Branham revealed the seven Seals in 1963 to finish the mystery of God, the Bible. He unfolded what we need to know to prepare for the second Coming of Jesus. We were supposed to take his quotes back to Scripture, and then prove our beliefs from the Scripture. But in the fifty-odd years since his death, the message believers have also moved away from Scripture in their obsession to reveal what is not written in Scripture, like the seven Thunders, the seventh Seal, the Coming of the Lord, and the new Name of Jesus.
Thus message groups have also fallen away from being Scriptural in what they believe.
MATTHEW 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
The moment we believe anything that is not Scriptural, we cease to be on the narrow path. We go with the flow, but that path is always downhill.
EZEKIEL 14:14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.
Daniel, Job, and Noah would only be able to save themselves. Noah did not make the catching away before the Flood. So what standards does God require of His Bride? Very, very high.
God wants no man between Himself and His Bride. God does not want any member of His Bride to listen to some man. A man only has the right to preach when he says, “It is written...”. Then we are following the Bible, not the man.
Nicolaitanes elevated a holy man above the laity, the congregation. This gave them a pre-eminence that they loved.
Diotrephes was the first such church leader. He had the power to cast people out of the church. He had the authority to ban John - who wrote Scripture. He prated against him. As a church leader he did not want a Scriptural man like John to correct him.
3 JOHN 1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
:10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
This is a role model for a modern day Message pastor.
The true Word of God earns you expulsion from the church.
So just before the New Testament ended the church was already degenerating as a result of human leadership. Today, the man who has the authority to cast people out of his church is the pastor. Yet a pastor’s authority over a church has no Scriptural basis, as the word “pastor” is only mentioned once in the New Testament. There is no Scripture that says that a pastor is a shepherd. So our church structure is not Scriptural. To make it worse, the pastor claims to be the head of the church. That is another reason why Christ, the true Head of the church, stands outside the church. No body of believers can have two heads.
Notice the trend at the end of the Bible, in the last three Books.
III John warns us about church leaders like Diotrephes who loved pre-eminence. "Notice me. I am important. I am above you. Listen to me or else". (This sounds like today’s pastors).
This is followed by Jude who warns us to contend for the original faith of the apostles.
Jude 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
Jude warns of fallen angels from the beginning, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Cain who lied and murdered, and then the rebel leaders Balaam, who wanted more money, and Core (Korah) who wanted leadership. The end-of-the-Bible message keeps coming back to corrupt ideas, spread by dominating leaders.
This is how the Bible ends just before the Book of Revelation, where the Devil takes his ride on three horses that finally unite to form the fourth pale horse , and thus leads the way using the spiritual deception of "churchianity" and its church leaders, political power of a man in control over the congregation, and making money out of the Gospel. All three of these awful deceptions unite at the end to produce Death in the great Tribulation.
Our biggest problem thus lies with elevated church leaders, and their intimidated and supine congregations who are scared of disagreeing with the leader.
REVELATION 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation,
John is so concerned about corrupt church leadership that in the Book of Revelation he introduces himself as a brother. Not even an elder. Not as an apostle. He makes no attempt to elevate himself above us.
Then he ends with a fatal mistake. Falling down to worship a 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,
Such is the power of a wrong spirit, to make us worship a prophet.
And, after being reprimanded, John did it again.
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.
So the Bible ends with the worship of a prophet. This is a sad state. We are required to only keep the sayings that are written in the Bible. We are not required to elevate and worship prophets.
Where did it go wrong?
The church moved away from the New Testament pattern. It no longer stayed with “It is written”.
We accepted certain denominational ideas and methods, especially in terms of church leadership.
We wanted a pastor to be in charge and tell us what to believe. That is how other churches do it.
Look at Paul’s advice.
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 said exactly the same thing. He calls himself an elder when speaking to other elders. There is no emphasis on calling himself an “apostle”, as if that elevated him above the elders.
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.
The five fold ministry in the Scripture was not elevated above the people. It was just a part of the group of elders.
1 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 preached, as part of the five-fold ministry, and others did not, but the elders were all equal, as they were all elders.
The elders ruled the local church.
HEBREWS 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
There was no one-man rulership of the church. “Them” is plural, speaking of the elders.
HEBREWS 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
A group (or team) of elders ruled the local church.
HEBREWS 13:24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.
This is Italy where the dictatorial Pope would arise. Paul is emphasizing that the elders rule as a group. There is no one man leadership. No one man dictatorship. When Italy started putting a man in charge of each church, they ended up with a Pope. That was not the way to go.
57-0908M HEBREWS CHAPTER FIVE AND SIX 1
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!
I PETER 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,
In the Old Testament there was a priesthood that was elevated above the people. There is no such thing in the New Testament. Every Christian is part of the priesthood. The newest convert is just as much a priest as the greatest living Christian. We are all equal before God.
I PETER 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood.
Peter puts an emphasis on equality. He emphasizes brotherhood.
In the New Testament, never does one of the titles of the five-fold ministry (except for the ministry of a prophet) get attached to a man’s name. And then only three prophets from the Old Testament are so mentioned.
The Bible says “Paul an apostle”. It never says “Apostle Paul”.
Never does the Bible say, “Pastor Somebody”. If you address a man as “Pastor Bill” or “Apostle Jim”, you are deviating from Scripture. That means you have not been restored to the early church.
So the early church was run by elders.
In the New Testament, only three men from the Old Testament have the title of prophet attached to their names : the prophet Isaiah, the prophet Jonah, and the prophet Joel. No living New Testament prophet is referred to as “Prophet Somebody”. So attaching titles to a person’s name to elevate them was not a New Testament habit.
MATTHEW 21:11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
Even Jesus did not have the title of “Prophet Jesus”. He was content to be called “Jesus the prophet”.
So our obsession with calling a person “Pastor John” is very unscriptural!
To make it worse, in all four Gospels, while He was alive Jesus never has any title attached to His name before He rose from the dead. He is just called Jesus. They never called Him “Lord Jesus”, even though they acknowledged Him as their Lord.
LUKE 24:3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
This is the only reference to “Lord Jesus” in the four Gospels. And it comes after His resurrection.
An emphasis on titles attached to a person’s name merely encourages Nicolaitanism, the elevation of a holy man above the congregation - who then become the laity that just have to obey human leadership. The word “laity” is not in the Bible. A congregation submissive to a human leader is not in the New Testament pattern.
In Romans Chapter 16 Paul greets 27 Christians just by referring to their names, with no titles being mentioned.
So do not stick a title onto any person’s name.
Even the title “brother”, which is harmless as it denotes the equality of the believers, is only used five times in the New Testament. Only twice is it used when speaking to a person. Ananias said “brother Saul” when he spoke to Saul. This is the only time in the New Testament that a person was spoken to with the title “brother” attached to his name.
ACTS 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
ACTS 22:13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.
The other three references are when Paul and Peter are speaking to people and referring to someone else as a brother.
I CORINTHIANS 16:12 As touching our brother Apollos,
HEBREWS 13:23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty;
II PETER 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
So never say more than “brother Somebody” when speaking to somebody. Any other title takes you out of Scripture, and into a Nicolaitane (conquering the laity or congregation) system.
Remember the Trail of the Serpent as it wraps its coils around us, and slowly suffocates us until we can no longer follow truth. The Trail of the Serpent is to make sure that we cannot be restored back to the early New Testament church.
Paul says we must be in subjection to what he and the apostles and the Bible writers taught.
GALATIANS 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
But after that, there is no New Testament Scripture that says we must be subject to some man. Nowhere does the New Testament say we must be subject to some pastor.
EPHESIANS 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
We only need to be subject to the Word of God, the Bible.
I PETER 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
We must all be subject to every Scripture, no matter who quotes it. As Christians repeat what is written in the Bible, so the other Christians obey. They are not in subjection to the one who quoted the Bible, but rather they are in subjection to the Bible that he was quoting.
COLOSSIANS 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
:21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
:22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
We are not required to obey the religious 'church rules' that men have made up.
Let us look at the parable of the mustard seed. It started small, but instead of growing into a shrub, it just kept growing. This is like a cancer cell which just grows for the sake of growing. That is not how things are supposed to grow. All natural growth has its limits.
MATTHEW 13:31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
:32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
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:
MATTHEW 13:19 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.
So birds represent evil spirits in these parables.
Mustard shrubs are usually about four feet high, but one or two varieties can get to 8 or 10 feet (about 3 metres). But even these big plants do not have strong branches that can support the weight of birds who want to lodge and make nests.
Thus this mustard plant in the parable has grown abnormally big, with its branches filled with birds, representing an overgrown, apostate, church system built by human leadership. The early church met in homes. God never wanted any church to grow too big.
Then top-down commands and controls take over, and the church moves down a path of human choosing. Money, numbers, and organizational control become the key to success. Clever ideas infiltrate and the church deviates from the doctrines of the apostles. A church starts small in faith but then grows too big and becomes subject to human opinions and control by ambitious leaders. “My church is bigger and better than yours”. Competitive Christianity takes over - which is abnormal.
So this system of denominational churches which took off after 312 AD, when Constantine stopped persecuting Christians and proceeded to implement something far more dangerous, church 'capture'. The denominational system of top down control would enable men to roost in the higher levels of the church hierarchy, and make sure that the people would be deprived of most of the Word of God. They would be fed a little to keep them happy in terms of their individual relationship with God, but deprived of God’s big plan which is to restore the end time church back to the early church of the apostles. Human leadership would always control the church down through history. Today the Message believers debate about quotes in a pastor-dominated environment. This is far removed from the early church.
The birds are used as a picture of evil where Babylon is said to be a cage for every unclean and hateful bird.
REVELATION 18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
Thus the Lord lets us know in this parable that the church would soon manifest a big change, and from its original low estate it would grow in earthly grandeur and influence.
But is a large natural mustard plant big enough to support birds? Not really.
So this is not a natural mustard plant. It is some kind of monstrosity.
The church was never intended to grow into something big.
As soon as that happens, ambitious human leaders take over with elevated titles and Nicolaitanism is born. Holy men are elevated above the people. This is not God’s plan.
Since the birds are plural, perhaps we should see them as Satan's agents, the instruments through which he acts, doing his bidding.
This tree casts a shadow, blocking out much of the sunlight. The birds, which we have seen are the agents of Satan, prefer lodging in the shadow. They are the exalted leaders.
This "lodging in the shadow" blinds them and their hearers to the truth.
With this parable, Jesus was warning us of this so we could be prepared to expect the large, visible church and its branches, not to be the church that He established.
The agents of the wicked one, the leaders, are skilled in distorting the truth and keeping people under their thumb. People are no longer learning the simple truth directly from God's Word, and fellowshipping in local churches in homes.
ROMANS 16:5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house.
COLOSSIANS 4:15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house...,
PHILEMON 1:2 And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house
Under the New Covenant, there are no sacred places
JOHN 4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
JOHN 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed is that the original faith that Jesus planted was to be transformed into a big, man-made system that Satan's agents would use to keep people in darkness, while making them think that the institution they belonged to was the Christian church to which they could entrust their salvation. It is, in fact, the Christendom that we see around us. It is the big and influential church that is visible in the world today. It is Satan's master stroke, his application of the proverb, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em", with the intent of subverting them to his way.
And he has succeeded in deceiving multitudes of people into corrupted Christianity as error conquers the church.
Most Christians today get saved, and then settle back comfortably in the church of their choice. Complacency, not fear, is the product of regular church attendance.
PHILIPPIANS 2:12 work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
We forget that the early church were few in number, poor in this world's goods, and despised by the important people of the earth as unpretentious and insignificant.
This denominational church system is still with us today, copied by many message churches who protest vigorously that they are not a denominational system.
“It is written....” is heard less and less. But this is what we should be believing.
“The prophet says...” has taken over in Message circles, as if he is the “Voice of God”.
He is actually supposed to be the voice of the seventh angel, restoring us back to the doctrine of the Apostolic fathers that is written in the Bible. He is not supposed to bring any new doctrines.
MATTHEW 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
The same religious leaders who endlessly quoted the prophet Moses as their source of authority, were the same religious leaders who persuaded the Jews to reject Jesus, who was the Word of God.
Those church leaders who derive their authority from brother Branham's quotes also reject those who speak from the Bible.
So History repeats itself.
Is William Branham infallible, or is the Bible our Absolute? You must decide.
62-1007 THE KEY TO THE DOOR
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.
63-1226 CHURCH ORDER
It's got to come to one final absolute, and my absolute is the Word, the Bible.
Brother Branham said he was not infallible. He said the Bible is our Absolute. So take his quotes and line them up with Scripture.
65-0725M THE ANOINTED ONES AT THE END TIME
So we'll know, to prove this, back and forth, by the Word; not by some man's idea, some theory.
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.
No one can contradict the Bible.
54-0719A GOD'S PROVIDED WAY OF HEALING
And the Urim Thummim from that priesthood was taken away, but here is the Urim Thummim of the priesthood today, the Word of God. If a dreamer, or a prophet, or a preacher, or anything teaches contrary to this Bible, it's wrong. Let him be accursed.
No prophet can teach different to what the Bible says.
56-0426 JESUS CHRIST THE SAME YESTERDAY TODAY AND FOREVER
If anybody teaches anything contrary to the Word, I wouldn't believe it. See, see? This Bible is God's Foundation and There's no other foundation can be laid but that which is already laid, Christ Jesus.
If it is not written in the Bible, do not believe it.
58-0927 WHY ARE WE NOT A DENOMINATION
.... but anything that teaches contrary to this Bible is a false prophet
63-0323 THE SIXTH SEAL
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?
We have to take his quotes and blend them in with the Bible verses. Prove them from Scripture.
If you say anything different to the Bible, then you are in the camp of the enemy. Do not condemn those who quote Scripture, and thereby disagree with you. The Scripture is always correct.
EPHESIAN CHURCH AGE - CHURCH AGE BOOK CHAPTER 3
Here it is in Galatians 1:8,
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have (already) preached unto you, let him be accursed."
It was the apostles who brought the original Word to the people. That original Word could not change, not even a dot or dash of it. Paul knew it was God Who had spoken to him so he said, "Even if I come and try to give a second revelation, try to make one little change in what I gave originally, let me be accursed." You see, Paul knew that first revelation was correct. God can't give a first revelation, then a second revelation. If He did, He would be changing His mind. He can give a revelation and then add to it, as He did in the Garden of Eden when He promised the Seed to the woman, and then later designated that Seed had to come through Abraham, and then later said it would come by the same blood lines in David. But it was the same revelation. It only gave the people more information to help them receive and understand it.
But God's Word can't change. The Seed came exactly as revealed. Hallelujah. And see what those false apostles were doing. They came with their own word. Those Ephesians knew that Word as Paul had taught it. They were full of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of Paul's hands. They looked those false apostles in the eye and said, "You are not saying what Paul said. You are, therefore, false." Oh, that sets my heart on fire.
Get back to the Word! It is not you that really tries the apostle, and prophet and teacher, IT IS THE WORD THAT TRIES THEM.
One of these days there is going to come a prophet to the Laodicean Church Age and you will know if he is the real one sent from God or not.
Yes you will, for if he is of God HE WILL BE IN THAT WORD EXACTLY AS GOD GAVE IT TO PAUL. HE WON'T DEVIATE FROM THAT WORD FOR A MOMENT, NOT BY ONE IOTA.
In that last age, when there will be many false prophets appearing, watch and see how they keep telling you that if you don't believe them and what they say, you will be lost; but when that LAST DAY PROPHET comes on the scene, if he is truly that prophet, he will be crying out, "Get back to the Word or you are lost."
He won't build on a private revelation or interpretation, but on the Word. Amen, and Amen!
These false apostles are the grievous wolves that Paul spoke of. He said, "Once I am gone they will try to come and claim equal revelation; but their purpose is not to help you, but destroy you."
"For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things (their own word and ideas, not God's) to draw away disciples after them.
Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
John knew of them, also, for he said in I John 4:1,
"... many false prophets are (already) gone out into the world."
That antichrist spirit was already infiltrating the church, and it was doing it by going against the Word.
Why here is where it all started. Right here in the first church age.
Already they were denying the Word and setting up their own creeds and philosophies instead of the Word.
That is antichrist, for Jesus is the Word. To be anti-Word is to be anti-Jesus. To be anti-Word is to be antichrist, because the Spirit and the Word are ONE.
If you are anti-Word, you will have to be antichrist. AND IF IT STARTED IN THE FIRST CHURCH IT WILL HAVE TO GROW UNTIL THE END WHEN IT TAKES OVER.
And that is exactly what you will see as we cover all the ages. It starts out real small in the Ephesian Age and it grows in every age until the anti-Word, antichrist system takes over entirely and the infallibility of the Word is repudiated by the false apostles of the false church.
(Unquote: False apostles claim that the Word, the Bible, is not perfect)
Now it is easy to get a wrong impression of what we are talking about because I am making this so strong. It could sound to you as though this anti-Word, antichrist spirit, is a complete repudiation of the Word, a denial of the Bible culminating in its rejection. No sir. It is not that.
What it is, is Revelation 22:18,19,
"For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
It is the changing of even just ONE word by taking away or adding to it. It is the original trick of Satan in the Garden of Eden. He just added one little word to what God had said. That did it. It brought death and destruction. And in Ephesus, it was just the same. Just a word added, just a word taken away, and the anti-Word, antichrist spirit began to flourish.
Big churches are not necessarily the answer.
That's the way it goes always. The first years of the Pentecostal church, it was wonderful. Right away there was a persecution come in the second year and scattered them everywhere. The third and fourth years they begin to find people, just a little bitty groups: like there was five men besides four or five woman; that was a church.
See how it is? It's always that way. Just God sends out a great gospel net, and He throws it... The Kingdom of heaven is like unto a man who went to the sea and threw in a net. And when he drew the net in, he had everything that--that wallowed in the sea. He had it in the net. He had fish; he had turtles; he had water spiders; he had serpents; he had everything.
Now, it's not our business as preachers to say, "This is fish, and this is that." We just pull the gospel net, and then it isn't long when you see a revival go on, many people get saved and praise the Lord. But see, some of those are fish, and some of them are, we'd say, turtles. It isn't very long till you'd say, "Well, I didn't believe there was anything to it after all." And here he goes running right on back into the puddle again.
59-1004M WHO IS THIS
And it does me good to get into a little church like this where we can just get close together. I have had the privilege, by the grace of God, to speak to congregations which is larger. But I don't say this that I enjoyed it any more, because the best meetings I've ever had is when we had even little house meetings where we just... I get me a chair and get in the corner, and jump off and on the chair. And I just have a wonderful time of fellowship, where the saints can get together, and, "Wherever two or three are gathered in My Name, I'll be in their midst." That's the promise. No matter the size of the church, God promised to meet with us, and He will do that.