It is with much rejoicing and thanksgiving that we have received the revelation of the Mysteries sent to us by our Lord through His Prophet, William Branham. Our faith has been increased by the understanding of the sin in Eden, the Serpents Seed. To see one person in the Godhead has let us understand that our God did not send someone to die for us, but He came, Himself, and paid our price. Understanding Water Baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ has opened the way for us to receive the true Holy Ghost Token. The revelation of a Pope of Rome becoming the Anti-Christ has stopped our guessing as to his identity. Seeing the sin of denominationalism has saved us from the systems who are being marked by the Beast.
To understand that our God planned the Fall in
We could go on listing the revelations that have changed our lives and expressing our gratitude for each one, but this book is about a revelation that has not been so widely understood, even by the Bride, Herself. I speak of the age-old question about, “Why do Christians suffer?” the chapters in this book were taken from sermons preached at different periods of time in the author’s life as he was experiencing sickness, sorrows, and trials of different kinds. During these times of suffering, he was in desperate need of some answers from the Lord and was therefore driven to the Scriptures to find them.
This study has resulted in a far greater understanding of why our Father uses His chastening rod to chasten and correct us, even thought it results in the suffering of our flesh. God does find things in us that need to be rebuked, for the Scripture says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (I John 1:8) Chastisement for our sins is a sign that we are in the Family of God, a proof of His love and mercy. We must be very careful at this point and not confuse the scriptures. We are accepted by Him and saved, but still need some correcting!
It is true that the Scripture says we are, “Complete in Him,” (Col. 2:10) and that we are, “Accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6). We are washed in the “Water of the Word” and “Justified by our Faith in Him,” (Rom. 5:1) and clothed “In His Righteousness” (Rom. ). Nevertheless, we cannot set aside other scriptures that tell us we have need to be corrected by use of His chastening rod. Heb. 12:5, “My son despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him; for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.”
While it is blessedly true that our soul is not in jeopardy because of our sins, and that they are covered by the Blood, it is just as true that God has promised that He will correct us by chastening with the rod, and that we are not to despise it. How do we know that the Lord is not charging sins against our soul? We know it because His Word says so, is that not right? Then by the same token, His Word promises that we will be chastened for our sins, and by now we should understand that both sets of Scripture are true. To suffer at the Hand of the Lord is to be brought more and more into obedience. Feel sorry, therefore, for those who are left to continue in their wrong doings, for there will come day of reckoning!
In the chapters in this book, we will show at least to some degree, why God has ordained a certain amount of suffering for His Elect Bride, and the blessed effects of it. We will give a Prophet’s revelation of the scriptures concerning the subject and hope to enlighten the understanding of some who have been greatly disturbed by some of the circumstances of their lives. God does not allow us to suffer needlessly, but has a very positive and loving motive behind it. We must, in the end, be found with a character fit to rule and reign with Him. This character is not a gift, but must be obtained through tribulation and trials, and this amounts to suffering.
Pastor C.W. Wood
In our Foreword we stated that the character God desires to see in us is not formed without suffering, and the scriptures and the Prophet point this out, however at this point, there is a warning that must be given, lest some misunderstand. We are not at all teaching that we should lay passive in the hands of the enemy. One of the great paradoxes of scripture is that God assigns a Messenger of Satan to buffet us (II Cor. 12:7), then in James 4:7 tells us to resist him, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the Devil and he shall flee from you.” The revelation is this, we submit ourselves to God by giving Him the right to deal with our flesh in the way that will lead to its crucifixion. Then we build our Faith muscles by resisting all Devil things that come to us. This includes sickness.
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him from them all.” (Ps.34:19) It is our steadfast resistance of these afflictions that causes the enemy to flee.
To understand why Christians are allowed to go through suffering, will give us peace of mind and hold us steady through the hardest of Life’s trials. Every Christian who was ever used of God was called upon to suffer in the flesh. Paul suffered greatly, and our Prophet, William Branham suffered, and both of them taught on the subject. The Lord, Himself, suffered from the manger in the stable, to the Cross of Calvary. How shall we not follow our example?
QUOTE: SHALOM PAGE 34-36, “Suffering for His Name's sake is growing pains of His grace. Yeah, yeah. Suffering for His Word (See?) is growing pains of His grace. Yes, sir. Just remember, it's the grace of God has been given to you. Oh, my.
Like Paul said (Hallelujah.), he had an infirmity, something was bothering him. He'd... The Devil would--would buffet him, blow after blow. And he consulted the Lord three times to take it away from him, said, "I don't want this, Lord. Take it away from me."
And then one night the Lord spoke to him, said Saul, or, "Paul, My grace is sufficient."
He said, "Then I'll glory in my infirmity. I'll glory in it. I know You're the Healer. I've seen You heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out devils, open the eyes of the blind. But if I've consulted You, and You tell me it's Your grace is sufficient, then this devil that bothers me is--is the growing pains of Your grace. Then I'll glory in my infirmities. Why? If lest I get exalted above the abundance of the revelation." See?
See, he--he had something the other disciples didn't have; he saw Him after His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. He saw Him. Some of them say, "Well, I walked with Him." So did everybody on the street. But after He was dead, buried, rose, and ascended up, and returned back in the form of a Pillar of Fire, He talked to Paul. That was more than any of the rest of them had. Amen.
He said, "Except I get exalted and want to build great big seminaries and everything else, and great big something another, lest I get--get exalted above the abundance of this revelation, God let a messenger of the Devil keep me beat down." He said, "Then when I'm weak, I'm strong." Amen. Amen. Growing pains of grace... Amen. We could stay on that a long time; an hour and forty-five minutes has passed, and--and we're suffering His grace pains.
Oh, He may permit crossroads. He may permit crossroads to try us, to perfect us for His service. He may permit that now, church, both here and on tape. He may permit the crossroads for our service.
Like He did Daniel. He give Daniel a little crossroads one day. You know,
he was a great man down in
He may permit cross words, let them laugh at you for having long hair, let them laugh at you for saying why you become a holy-roller or whatever more. It may, they may let you laugh. They may laugh at you for that, that--that's all right. That's a crossroad; that's a little junction. That's to prove something.
See, the only thing that the crossroad did to the Hebrew children that stood on the Word, it only loosed them from the bands they had around their feet and legs.
And sometime it takes hard trials to break the bands of the world off of us. Sometimes God lets us have a little trial, you know, to see what we'll do, to take you out of the world. Or other words, let you have a little trial and knock you out of that organization, and that idea that "the Methodist is the only one, the Baptist, or the Pentecostal, or that's--that's the only group they got. If you don't believe it like my church believes it, you don't believe at all." Sometimes He lets a little trial happen. Maybe you got a sick baby. Maybe something takes place right at the hour of death, maybe someone taken from you, or something. What's it to do? To break you away, to show you something, open your eyes. Maybe you come to criticize, sometime. Maybe you're listening to this tape just to criticize. Maybe God's doing that to break some of the worldly bands that's got you bound down.” (End quote)
Brother C.W. Wood
THE MYSTERY OF
“Does God’s Love Mean
Within the scope of what we call the End Time Message, there have been many mysteries revealed. No doubt many more await God’s timing and God’s Spirit to quicken them to us. In this study we will ask the gracious Lord to shine His powerful light of revelation on one of the most perplexing problems facing the Bride of Christ in this hour. I refer to the very real fact of SUFFERING in the lives of God’s own Elect Children.
What born-again Christian (And I refer to those with the true Holy Ghost Token.) has not been greatly perplexed by the circumstances of his life? These circumstances are often worse than those of his neighbor who has no thought of serving the Living God. How are we to take stock of our sore sufferings and make them to harmonize and be compatible with the scriptural fact that God LOVES us with undying LOVE? Does our suffering disprove that Love?
It would seem to the carnal mind that there is a great contradiction between what the scripture says about God’s love for us, and in what we are actually experiencing. It is at this point that we desperately need to understand the PRINCIPAL GOAL of God’s love as it is poured out upon us. First, let it be said that God’s love is never given, “To make provision for the FLESH.” (Rom.13:14)God’s love is sent, not to open up a way for us to fulfill the lusts of the flesh, but just the opposite. God’s love is poured out to SAVE us from our FLESH (ourselves).
This then is the lesson we must learn, and learn quickly, if we are to keep our heads above the raging tide of circumstances that seemingly have come to destroy us. God’s love has as its number one goal the GROWTH OF THE INNER, SPIRITUAL MAN, and has nothing at all to do with the pampering of the flesh. That is not to say that our Father is not concerned with our flesh and its sufferings, but we are saying that He stands ready at anytime to put it through whatever suffering it must needs suffer, in order to reach His true goal of blessing us SPIRITUALLY. During these times of His chastening rod being applied, we are often tempted to doubt what the scriptures SAY about His love.
God’s LOVE is not regulated by emotion, as ours often is. At times, in a spasm of emotion, we give our children things, and allow things that we honestly know are not good for them. God will never be guilty of such so called love. His love is not controlled by passion or sentiment but always by PRINCIPLE. And, as has already been stated, that PRINCIPLE has as its first goal the perfecting of the CHARACTER of the Inner Man.
QUOTE: CHOOSING ABRIDE, PAGES 28-29, “Character, there never was a character like Jesus Christ. It lives in Him. (It) manifests Him. We see it true. (We see that His character is true.) It is not worldly beauty of Him that attracts the Bride, it is His CHARACTER, and the character of the Church is what Jesus looks for. Not whether it is big buildings or whether it is great denominations, whether it is big membership…..He is looking for Her character, the character of Christ. (In Her)
Page 29, “He chooses a Bride to reflect His character, to which the modern churches of today certainly misses His program here a million miles, because they deny this to be the truth. Now, He is looking for the day for that Bride to be formed just exactly like He was......until the Church becomes that, they are not One.........She must be molded like He is.” (End quote)
Here the prophet gives us abundant reason to trust our Father and be patient under Divine affliction. His ultimate goal is to produce in us the same Character that is in Himself. At first we may exclaim, “Impossible. I could never have the character of Christ Jesus.” Oh, but we can! Not that we could ever produce this within ourselves, but with God all things are possible.
There is, at this moment, being produced in every Holy Ghost filled Christian the very character of Christ. The veil of flesh keeps us from recognizing what is being done, in that very often this Inner Character is so affected by the outer flesh man that we confuse the two and fail to keep them separate.
In teaching on this vital subject, Brother Branham once said to a Godly little woman who complained about having so many things wrong in her life, “But Sister, you are not suppose to look at the wrong things you do and say (This is after repentance.), but you are to look at what your DESIRE is. Look at the things your Inner Most Being would like to do, and at what you would like to be.” (End quote)Character then is judged by our heart’s desire.
The real truth is that even now there are those people of God who have a character that if separated from the drag of their fleshly body and united with their Theophany, would immediately begin to manifest the exact character of Christ. This must be so because no Bride member is taken out until this is accomplished in them. And we do know that some Bride out of this age are regularly crossing over.
As we look into the scriptures and the Prophet’s message, we learn that God’s love is not a soft, weak thing that bows itself before the carnal, fleshly prayers of His untrained children. But it is strong in that it will not overlook sin even in His own Elect. His love is pure enough to cause Him to “Scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.”(Heb. 12:6) Though it is not always so in the human family, God’s correction of His family is His love in action.
Many of us in times past have preached about the Love of God but without the revelation of what God’s love really is. It is not just that God loves, but that He is Love itself. Love is His very nature. We have talked about the Love of God without being acquainted with the God of Love and how He demonstrates it to us.
In our natural minds we have compared God’s love with our
own human love, which most often is a sort of good-natured weakness, and a kind
of indulgence geared to keep the peace at any cost. But God’s pure love is no
sickly sentiment patterned after our human emotions. The Love of God cannot be
influenced to give those things which would not add to the perfecting of our
character. We are here to regain the character that Adam lost in
We can say then that God’s love is measured, given out and
controlled, so that it accomplishes the purpose He had in mind from the
beginning. (II Tim. 1:9),“Who
hath saved us and called us with an Holy calling, not according to our works,
BUT ACCORDING TO HIS OWN PURPOSE ANDGRACE, which was given us in Christ Jesus
before the world began.”
According to His own Word then, His eternal purpose was to PERFECT THE SAINTS, “till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man(in character)unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”(Ephs. 4:12-13)
With these things in mind, we can begin to understand that we are not here to be turned over to the fallen nature that we acquired from Adam, but rather to be saved from it through the manifold dealings of God. These dealings are absolute proof of His eternal love. His is a love that will not tolerate any interference with His perfecting process being brought to bear on His children.
We sinful, depraved, human beings, masses of corruption with no good thing in us, should never cease day nor night to praise and give thanks to the One whose love is completely unmoved by our wrong, carnal prayer. “Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lust.”(James 4:3) How tranquilizing for the soul to understand that the love of God is under no obligation to the fallen nature of man, but that it is sovereign and acts always according to His own Holy desire to bring His Children back into perfect oneness with Himself.
Our Prophet, William Branham, was moved upon to explain how God’s love is manifested toward us in the following statements:
QUOTE: CHURCH AGE BOOK, PAGES116-117, “Now the Lord
God Almighty says, ‘I know’. There He is walking in the midst of His people.
There He is, the Chief Shepherd of the flock. But does He hold back the
persecution? Does He stem the tribulation? No, He does not. He simply says, ‘I
know your tribulation......I am not at all unaware of your suffering.’ What a
stumbling block this is to so many people. Like
CONT. QUOTE:, “That is what they asked in Malachi
1:1-3, ‘The burden of the Word of
the Lord to
CONT. QUOTE:“........He may commit you to death as He did Paul. He may commit you to suffering as He did Job. That is His prerogative. He is sovereign. But, it is all with a purpose. If He did not have a purpose, then He would be the Author of frustration and not of peace. HIS PURPOSE IS THAT AFTER WE HAVE SUFFERED AWHILE, WE WOULD BE MADE PERFECT, BE ESTABLISHED, STRENGTHENED ANDSETTLED............You see, He Himself suffered. He learned obedience by thethings He suffered. He was actually made perfect by the things He suffered.”(Heb. 5:8-9)
CONT. QUOTE:“.........In plain language, the very character of Jesus was perfected by suffering. And, according to Paul, He has left His Church a measure of suffering, that they, too, by their faith in God while suffering for Him, would come to a place of perfection.”
CONT. QUOTE:“.......Why does He stand by? (And
allow us to suffer) The reason is in Rom. 8:17-18, ‘And if Children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with
Christ, if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified
together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy
to be compared with the Glory that shall be revealed in us.”
CONT.QUOTE: “Unless we suffer with Him, we cannot reign with Him. You have to suffer to reign. THE REASON FOR THAT IS THAT CHARACTER SIMPLY IS NEVER MADE WITHOUT SUFFERING. CHARACTER IS A VICTORY, NOT A GIFT. A man without character can’t reign because power apart from character is Satanic...............Think it not strange concerning the fiery trials that come to try you. That is what Peter said. Is it strange that God wants us to develop a Christ-like character that comes through SUFFERING? No sir! And we all have trials. We are all tried and chastened as Sons. Not one but goes through that. THE CHURCH THAT IS NOTSUFFERING AND IS NOT BEING TRIED HASN’T GOT IT. IT ISN’T OF GOD.Heb.12:6,“For whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, and scourgeth every Son whom He receiveth. But if ye be without chastisement, whereof we are all partakers, then are ye bastards, and not Sons.”(End quote)
And so we see Children of God, real Saints with the Holy Ghost Token often suffering sorely and are brought to their wits end. How strange this is and how opposed to most religious teaching. To see true Joint Heirs with Christ kept poor in this worlds goods, and at times even made to wonder about the next meal, and for wherewith to pay the bills that are due, this causes a real strain on the mind not renewed by the scriptures.
To be an object of God’s everlasting LOVE, and to have been chosen to be His ELECT BRIDE, and yet to be tossed up and down upon a sea of trouble, with the circumstances often bearing witness that our frail ship will capsize at any moment, is hard to understand. Hard that is, until we receive the revelation of what the Prophet meant when He said, “She (the Bride) must be molded like HE IS.” If He learned obedience through the things He suffered(Heb. 5:8) can we do any less?
For one who has been truly BORN AGAIN and now has the Spirit of Jesus Christ indwelling his flesh body, to be daily harassed by Satan and buffeted blow after blow, (See IICor.12:7) and at times overcome by indwelling sin so that the things we hate, that we do (Rom. 7:15), this is indeed a mystery to the carnal mind.
To be so loved of the Father that He came down Himself and redeemed us with His own blood, yet to be left in this sinful world year after year, to suffer affliction and persecution, to mourn and be broken hearted over our many failures, to face one trial after another, to sigh and cry for relief, yet at times for the suffering to only increase, how can these things be explained?
Only one thing will explain the suffering that our Father God is subjecting His Bride to, and that is the revelation of what the love of God has as its main goal and purpose, which is perfecting of a CHARACTER in her that will allow her to spend eternity with Him.
When we see Him, we will be LIKE HIM. When we meet Him in the air, we will have lost forever the drag of a sin-cursed flesh body. The character that He is now perfecting will have been transferred to our first created body which was made in God’s own Image. (See Gen. 1:26-27) Back in our Theophany, we will have reached “The stature of the fullness of Christ.”(Eph. 4:13) This is not to say the Inner Man does not reach that place in his CHARACTER while still in the flesh, but we speak of the time when we will loose the downward pull of the flesh and will be all together as our lovely Lord.
In the meantime, how can we that are so weak in ourselves bear up under our trials that are so numerous and at times so long lasting and crushing? We could not, and therefore, Divine Grace has sent us a COMFORTER. Without His help (the Token), we would have long ago been defeated. His spirit in us enables us to look forward to the Glory that is to be ours later. In the long periods of waiting to be delivered from some trial or other, the Spirit supports our poor hearts and keeps Faith in Grace alive in us.
Frail and helpless we are in ourselves, for “All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field.”(Isa.40:6) We are compassed with infirmity (Heb. 5:2). When trials and troubles come, we are often bewildered and “Think it strange” that these fiery trials have come upon us and are greatly tempted to faint before them. (IPet.4:12)
When family and friends come against us for our belief in an end-time message, and persecution breaks out against us, we are staggered. Often when the chastening rod of our Father falls upon us we fail to understand that it’s His love being manifested, and we fret and fume. “The curse cometh not without cause.”(Pro. 26:2) There is a lesson, or lessons, to be learned from every circumstance of our lives, and we must be constantly striving to learn from each one.
How easily disturbed we are by the “little foxes” that
spoil our vines. How little it takes to cause our souls to be cast down and the
promises of God forgotten. We forget the glorious future that awaits us in the
Here is a divine revelation that comes to us from the Word, for we would never understand it except God had set it forth in the scriptures: GOD DOES NOT TAKE AWAY THEMESSENGER OF SATAN SENT TO BUFFET HIS ELECT. The Spirit of God does not lead us around our trials, but rather does He lead us through them and upholds us during them. Is not this the scripture? Did not the first church age messenger (Paul)pray to have his infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions and distresses removed, and was refused? (II Cor. 12:9) The reason being that God’s strength (character) was made perfect in Paul (and us) through the weakness (suffering) of the flesh.
But during all the troubles and trials of life that His Love subjects us to, that same Love that cannot be expressed by the human tongue watches over us, and He places His mighty arm underneath us and tenderly sustains us through each one. Although we have failed Him a thousand times, and though He has been grieved at our biting the Hand that has come in Love to perfect us, He still places beneath us those arms of everlasting Love and keeps us from sinking into hopeless despair.
Therefore, we should never call into question God’s love
when we are subjected to painful afflictions and hard trials, but realize they
are the result of His love, sent with the purpose of blessing us in our
Spiritual Man. To God be all the glory, Amen!
SUFFERING CHRISTIANS (NO.2)
“Divine Chastisement is a
Part of God’s Plan”
In our November issue of the Teaching Series we wrote on the subject of “Suffering Christians”, but the truth is, we only scratched the surface concerning this all important matter. The scriptures and the prophet have much to say about it and we have felt a definite leading to study further. The subject of Divine Chastisement could well be the least understood of all the mysteries Brother Branham brought. Who is actually in charge of all our trials and sufferings, God or the enemy?
This writer, having come into this message out of Pentecost in the mid 60’s, well remembers a teaching I received there. The general essence of which was, “If it’s GOOD it came from the Lord, and if it is BAD it came from the devil.” I have often heard it said that there are some things in Pentecost that should not be brought over into the Message. This is one of those things. God sends both GOOD and BAD, as we shall see.
There can be no real faith in God, and no true peace in the Christian’s
heart, until he learns that all things that touch his life have proceeded from
the Hand of a Loving God. The Bible teaching on the absolute control of heaven
and earth by our sovereign God is foundational doctrine for all Christian faith.
(Refer back to the Sovereignty of God sermon
When we learn that Satan is only a tool in the hands of his Creator, and understand that he is no longer a free moral agent destroying as HE CHOOSES, and when the revelation comes that he was defeated in Heaven, and defeated on earth in the wilderness by the God-Man, then totally crushed at the cross, then all fear of him leaves. It is then that we can stop being “Devil fighters” and only fear Him “Who hath power to destroy both the Soul and the body and cast into Hell.” (Lk. 12:4-5)
What is needed is to acknowledge Satan’s total defeat by our Lord Jesus Christ, and to stand in the revealed knowledge of his inability to do anything at all to us without direct permission from our Father. What need then is there for us to fight? The fighting is over; the battle was won for us.
You may say, “But we are told to resist him.” James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Please notice that this scripture also tells us HOW to resist him. It is by submitting ourselves (our all) unto God. We resist him by living for God. Otherwise, it does no good to shout at the devil. It does no good to hurl words of rebuke at Satan unless there is an OBEDIENT life behind the words. John 7:17, “If any man will do His will he shall know of the doctrine...” That is, he will receive revelation knowledge which results in faith. It is our faith in what has already been accomplished that defeats the enemy.
Satan’s favorite doctrine must undoubtedly be that the way to resist him is to enter into a war with him. But God’s doctrine is that the war is over, and that we resist Satan by submitting ourselves to God and by holding the ground already won.
QUOTE: POSSESSING THE ENEMY’S GATE, PAGE 11, “Aren’t you glad this morning that we stand more than a conqueror? THERE IS NOTHING TO FIGHT THE DEVIL ABOUT. THE FIGHT IS OVER. THE WHISTLE HAS BEEN BLOWN. THE VICTORY FLAG HAS BEEN RAISED. In the midst of every sin pile the old rugged Cross is planted by the blood of Jesus Christ, a Conqueror. The only thing we have to do is BELIEVE IT.” (End quote)
Heb. 2:14, “ For as much
then as the Children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself took part
of the same, that through death He might DESTROY HIM that had the power of
death, that is, the Devil.”
According to a prophet, to resist the devil is simply to, “Turn him
down.” There is no war connected with simply refusing what he comes to us
with. There is a vast difference between standing behind the walls of a fort and
refusing to open the gate to an enemy, and in going out to fight for some new
ground. All ground is already ours! Our fort is the Word. Let us stay behind its
This is not to say that we should not speak to our enemy. Certainly we
confront him with the Word. Our testimony must be right. We are only saying that
to fight with him over that which is already ours is to doubt I John 3:8,
“....for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might
DESTROY the works of the devil.”
That settles it. Satan’s power over our lives is broken. We stand and claim it by faith until we see it brought to pass. By faith we are in God’s hands. There is a great difference between laying passive in Satan’s hands and in laying submissive in God’s hands. We resist Satan by being submissive to God.
In saying what has been said above, we have not departed from our subject of “Divine Chastisement.” To believe the teaching that all bad things come from Satan and all good things come from God sounds good to the unspiritual mind, but it is a “Doctrine of Demons” geared to destroy faith in our loving God because His chastening rod is laid upon us.
The enemy hopes to deceive us into believing that if a thing is bad he is the author of it and has the ability thereby to disrupt our lives and the plan of God. As always we go to the scripture to uncover his schemes.
Isa. 45:7, “I form the
light and create darkness. I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these
Many things that come to us from the Hand of God in the form of chastening, scourging and rebuking for corrections sake are laid to the charge of Satan. How sad this is. In so doing, we completely miss God’s lessons. We only see the hand of evil men moving against us and are not at all aware that our Great Teacher and Trainer is the agent behind it all, and that it is meant for our good.
How the enemy does want us to believe that he is constantly scheming against us, and that he, himself, has the authority to strike us at will. He would have us to believe that all these things are against us. We do not wonder that the poor people that believe this are discouraged and fearful.
Someone may ask, “But what about the teaching that Satan is the God of this EVIL AGE?” Doesn’t that mean that he has the world in his hands and manipulates it as he wills? The Bible contradicts that from Genesis to Revelation, and the prophet did not teach that either!
Pro. 21:1, “The kings
heart is in the Hand of the Lord (not Satan’s hand),
as the rivers of water He turneth it whithersoever he will.”
QUOTE: CHURCH AGE BOOK, PAGE 334, “It is as if we majored in believing in a Great Creator, who having created, lost personal interest in His creation. Now I say, that is how too many people are apt to think. But, that is wrong thinking, for GOD IS GOVERNING IN THE AFFAIRS OF MEN RIGHT NOW. HE IS BOTH CREATOR AND SUSTAINER.” (End quote)
It is true that Satan is the God of those who choose to serve and obey him, but it is just as true that for those who choose to serve and obey God, their faith takes them out of the hands of Satan, and places them in the hands of God.
Rom. 6:16, “Know ye not
that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom
ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.”
The all important question is, “Where is our faith anchored?” Whose power do we trust? Sad to say, but many Christians have more faith in Satan than in the God that created him!
To destroy Satan’s teaching that he, himself, hatches up evil then sends it as he wills; let us go to the scriptures. They are very clear about our God being in control of all evil.
Judges 9:23, “Then GOD SENT AN EVIL SPIRIT between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech.” (God controls and gives orders to the evil spirits.)
I Samuel 16:4, “But the
Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit FROM THE LORD
“Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you
which the Lord your God promised you, so shall THE LORD BRING UPON YOU ALL EVIL
THINGS, until he has destroyed you from off this good land which the Lord your
God has given you.”
Ps. 78:49-50, “He (God) cast upon them the fierceness of His anger, wrath, indignation and trouble by SENDING EVIL ANGELS AMONG THEM. He made a way to His anger; He spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence.” (It made no difference how many magic portions they mixed, or how many medicines they took, they were no match for the supernatural devils that God sent. They still died! The same is true today.)
II Samuel 12:11, God said to David through the Prophet Nathan, “Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I WILL RAISE UP EVIL AGAINST THEE out of thine own house.....” (God controls all evil. He sends the evil spirits or He holds them back. Satan is following orders.)
I Kings 22:20-22, “And
the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at
Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And
there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade
him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I
will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And He (God) said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do
Satan and his demons take orders from our Creator and theirs. No evil thing can be done except it first passes through the hands of the One who controls it all, and makes all things work together for good to those who love the Lord. (Rom.8:28)
Amos 3: 6, “Shall a trumpet be blown in the City and the people not be afraid? Shall there be EVIL in a City, and the Lord hath not done it? The implied answer is definitely not. No evil comes that is not ordered and controlled by our God.
Ps. 76:10 is a powerful scripture pertaining to our subject of who controls evil, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee. The remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.” Do we understand this powerful word? No evil can happen that will not be made to praise God and turn out for His glory. The last part of the verse declares that if any man, or devil, hatches up evil, that God does not choose to use for his glory, He restrains it. (Stops it before it happens) How clear and definite has the Holy Ghost declared that God controls all evil?
Many other scriptures could be set forth showing God’s control over Lucifer and his evil spirits, but we are limited as to space. If any be not yet convinced, we suggest that you look up the word “evil” in a good concordance and read the scriptures under its heading.
In saying all that has been said above, it has been our motive to show that our merciful God has been, from the day of our conversion, carrying out His promise in Heb. 12:5-6, “My son despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou are rebuked of Him, for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” The grand truth of Divine Chastisement is blessed indeed, and if ignored, or not studied, can only result in great spiritual loss.
Brother Branham taught on this Divine chastisement at length in the sermons on Adoption.
QUOTE: ADOPTION, PAGE 54, “Oh that’s My son! That’s My boy. Well, do you think he is well matured? ‘Yes, I sure do.”, said the Holy Spirit. I’ve given Him tests...tried him this way and tried him that way. I’ve thrown him down sick, I’ve put him under. I stomped him, I LET THE DEVIL do everything to him he could do, and he came right back up again. He came (back to Me) just the same. See, (He) came up again. I MADE HIM SICK. I DID THIS. I threw him in the hospital. I took him out here and I did this and I did that (to him). I turned his wife against him, I turned his neighbors against him. I turned everything (against him). That didn’t make a bit of difference. He said, ‘Though He slay me, yet I’ll trust Him.’ I killed his family, I took this (away). I did this (to him). I did all this, I did this and that and the other. Still he stood right up (and said) ‘Though He slay me yet I’ll serve Him.’ He is Mine (Said the Holy Spirit).
CONT. QUOTE: “Oh well, I believe we ought to call him out somewhere to a little special place, and have an adoption. Now, when the Father, in the old testament, understood that His son was come of age and had been seasoned out unto adoption,... they’re borned a child (of God)...just an ordinary son, until they mature and show what they are. Then he calls him out.” (End quote)
Please notice that the prophet fully agrees with the scripture when he says in the above quote that it is the Holy Spirit that leads the Sons of God through the troubles and trials of life. A parable might help us to better understand. If I go to my woodshed, take up my ax and split a load of wood, who was it that split the wood? Can the ax boast of what it has done, or was it the hand that held the ax? In the same manner, our Lord uses the enemy to do his chores, but, it is His mighty Hand that controls every movement.
Oh blessed truth! Every blow has been studied, planned, then allowed by the One who has naught but good in His great heart for His Children. What good does it do us then to have a controversy with the ax? It is the one who holds the ax that we must appeal to. This is not to say that our Father does not lead us to speak to the enemy. Certainly He does, but let us be sure He has sent us the faith, and that it is His time for our deliverance. Let us be sure we have learned the lesson He intended out of each time of testing and trial. Patience is a must!
The scriptures and the prophet teach that every trial is brought to us by the One who is leading us to the place of adoption.
QUOTE: HEBREW BOOK, PAGE 126, “You mustn’t question anything
to God, for the footsteps of the righteous are ordered of the LORD, and every
trial is put upon you to try you. And the Bible says they are more precious than
gold. Every son that cometh to God must first be
chastened of God and tried. There are no exceptions. It’s every Son that
cometh. These afflictions are to see what attitude you will take. SEE IT’S
Please note, He said it’s God, not Satan. Think of it this way, Bride of Christ. Can you picture the ax lifting itself from the shelf where it is kept and splitting the wood while the owner is away? Not probable! But even more impossible is it for the enemy of our soul to strike us a blow without the loving Hand of our Father guiding him.
II Chron. 20:5-6, “O Lord God of our Fathers, art not Thou God in Heaven? And rulest not Thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? And in Thy hand is there not power and might, SO THAT NONE IS ABLE TO STAND AGAINST THEE? (How can we get around the scriptures? They teach that the Lord Jesus Christ rules and reigns over all that He has created.)
QUOTE: THEN JESUS CAME, PAGE 17, “He sits tonight as the Majesty. He looks down on the earth. There is not even a ripple can come on the water without Him. IT’S BY HIS PERMISSION. The sea can’t move, a leaf can’t move, a bird can’t fly (without His permission). He is above all principalities and powers.....He is so high until He has to look down to see Heaven.” (End quote)
God has been taking great pains with us who sit in Message Churches. He has planted us in the fruitful soil of a great Prophet’s message. He has given us understanding, “Line upon line and precept upon precept” and yet could He not say of some of us as He said of His vineyard, “I looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.”? (Isa. 5:2)
Where is the fruit that He expects to produce in us through His manifold dealings, through His chastening and scourging? Often, His mercies are lost on us as we give the enemy credit for what Father is doing in our lives. Rods and afflictions are lost upon us unless we see His hand in it all, and are open to the lessons He would teach.
Jer. 5:3, “O Lord, are not Thine eyes upon the truth? THOU HAST STRICKEN THEM, but they have not grieved; THOU HAST CONSUMED THEM, but they have refused to receive CORRECTION: They have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.” Many blessed promises are made to us believers in Christ such as His unchanging loving kindness and His faithfulness wherein He said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” But stripes and the rod are also promised! We dare not try to separate the rod and the stripes from the other blessings that WE consider good. How do we know that the good things come from our Lord? It’s by the testimony of the Holy Writ, is it not? Very well then, by the same unerring testimony we also know that evil comes from and is controlled by Him. Isa. 4:5-7, “....I make peace and create evil.
May the Lord show us that the afflictions, trials, troubles, and
heart aches that come upon us are soul purging medicines from Himself. By them,
He intends for us to be changed in character
until we are fit to spend eternity with Him.
He takes our infirmities, our reproaches, our necessities, our persecutions, and our distresses and turns them into a refining process. The Apostle Paul prayed to be free from the “Messenger of Satan” sent to buffet him, but the Lord refused to take him away. He was to go the whole journey with Paul. He was the instrument God used to purge and chasten His servant. II Cor. 12:7-10. So does each Bride member have a Messenger of Satan assigned to him, or do we consider ourselves less needful than Paul?
Carnal reason can see no more than the hand of Satan. Our senses perceive nothing but physical pain and material losses, but FAITH will see the hand of God. Our Christian duty is to “Endure chastening as becometh Sons of God.” (Heb. 12:7) It is then that we will come into the “Peaceable fruit of righteousness.” (Heb. 12:11)
Having this revelation then, let us apply ourselves in seeking to learn from every circumstance that our Lord puts us through. Our whole life is a training course, and we do not graduate until the Rapture. May we leave off glorifying Satan and worship the One who created him. Amen!
SUFFERING CHRISTIANS (NO.
“Divine Chastisement is
Hope of a Rapture”
We may have had the mistaken idea that God’s correction (chastening) of us is just for a few months, or at the most a few years. Not so! The Apostle Paul thought the same thing as he, in desperation, prayed for the messenger of Satan to depart.
In reality, he was asking that his infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions and distress be removed. In God’s answer to Paul, lies the revelation that we are seeking for ourselves. God’s answer was a definite NO! Paul’s road was not to be smoothed out. There would continue to be hindrances of all kinds: ship wrecks, danger from robbers, danger from his countrymen the Jews, and danger from false brethren working behind his back. He would be without food at times, be in pain at times and cold at times for lack of proper clothing.
We need to see that the Lord was using all these things to correct His apostle and keep him in line. He must not be exalted above measure because of the many great and wonderful revelations. In simple language, the Lord was chastening His servant using His pruning hook to lop off unfruitful branches. He was burning out the dross by sending him through the fire. He was fanning Paul with His fan of tribulation to blow away the chaff. He was perfecting his character by the means of chastisement! May God’s grace do the same for us as He prepares us for Rapture.
These dealings were not to be for a few months, or a few years, but God’s dealings with Paul, through the messenger of Satan, was to last as long as he lived. But how glorious was the final outcome of God’s dealings with His servant. When it was Paul’s time to depart, he could turn to the messenger of Satan and ask in triumph, “O, death where is thy sting? O, grave where is thy victory?” (I Cor. 15:55)
God’s fires had burned away his dross. His big fan had blown away the chaff. His pruning hook had cut away the unwanted branches. His pride had been subdued, patience had been learned, and his doubts concerning God’s dealings with him had been replaced with a great faith. Yes, Bride of Christ, chastisement is God’s way of saving us from our flesh and preparing us for Rapture.
So then, when the Apostle Peter was teaching about the suffering that our Lord Jesus went through he said, “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, ARM YOURSELVES LIKEWISE WITH THE SAME MIND.....” (I Pet. 4:1) That is to say, “Make up your mind that God has appointed His Elect a certain amount of suffering, and that by faith in Him we must go through it, even as He did.”
There is a type in the Old Testament that is so precious to the Bride in this hour concerning the purging she is experiencing. It has to do with the candle stick of beaten gold in Ex. 25:31. “And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold; OF BEATEN WORK SHALL THE CANDLESTICK BE MADE.....” In referring to this scripture, the Prophet made the following statement:
QUOTE: CHURCH AGE BOOK, PAGE 81, “But not only is the candlestick of gold, it is of BEATEN GOLD. Hand-crafted of beaten gold, according to her blue prints which were SPIRIT GIVEN. Outside of her Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, was ever a people so beaten and purged as the Bride of Jesus Christ? Surely, she is filling up the sufferings that Christ has left behind. Her goods are despoiled. Her life is in jeopardy. She is accounted as sheep for the slaughter. She is killed all the day long. She suffers much, but in it all she retaliates not, neither does she cause others to suffer. Worthy of the Gospel is this lovely Bride of Christ. And as Gold is malleable, whereas brass will break with the beating, this GOLD OF GOD will bear her suffering for the Lord, not bowed, not broken, not destroyed, but formed as a thing of beauty and a joy forever by the trials and testings of life.” (End quote)
Did you notice that the prophet referred to the blueprint GOD gave for the making of the candlestick? He said the directions were SPIRIT GIVEN. So are the directions SPIRIT GIVEN for the ordering of the steps of the good people of the Bride. Each step is ORDERED by the Lord (Ps. 37:23) so as to rid her of all dross. She will end up pure gold, beaten on the anvil of God until her character shines forth in the gross darkness of this evil age.
This then, answers the questions so often asked, "Why do we have to go through so many things that seem to be so against us? Why does the Christian life have to be such a strain, at least when considered with our natural mind?”
Here we get a glimpse into the great infinite mind of God. What human mind could have conceived the thought of joining together the Eternal Soul and Spirit of God with a lump of clay? What two things could be so little alike as the spirit of Satan in the clay, flesh part of man, and the soul of God that would be in his inner being by the New Birth?
Two opposite spirits in one body! Now the answer to our question concerning the warfare that rages within us comes into clear view. Never will the Spirit of God and the spirit of Satan agree. We are pulled in two different directions, but our God gets glory by proving that He that is in the soul is greater than he that is in the flesh.
To prove His power and wisdom, God allowed Satan to place his spirit in
the human race through the sexual sin in
Although Satan’s plan to destroy the human race seemed to be working,
it fell immeasurably below the sacred mystery of God’s plan, which plan was a
John 14:20, “At that day
ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.”
I Cor. 6:17, “He that is
joined to the Lord is one Spirit.”
Eph. 5:30-32, “For we are
members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. This is a great MYSTERY, but
I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
Satan could not have known that our great God would take the very
bodies that he had perverted and indwell them Himself, and save them from
destruction by uniting them to Himself in a
Adam, and all other Elect, had been connected
or related to God from before the
world was. This
One would think that after we had received the Holy Ghost, Himself, and had been shown the Redeemer, King Jesus in His Glory, that we would henceforth seek no other attractions. We would think that once we had quenched our thirst at the “Fountain of Living Waters”, we would no longer desire to drink from the “Broken Cisterns.” Surely, now that we have received a foretaste of Heaven, we will not desire anything that the world has to offer! But, the “OLD NATURE” is still in us unchanged, and though the power of our first Love subdues his activities to a degree, still he is very much alive, and we sometimes fail.
It is because of this that our Father God must set out to “Crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts.” This He does in various ways through His chastening and scourging. He must tear us away from the world and point our hearts toward Heaven. He must make the grapes of earthly joys bitter to our taste so that we no longer seek them. It is earthly disappointments and being disillusioned in our worldly pursuits that turns our hearts to God.
While the Hebrews could enjoy the
Hosea 5:15, “In their affliction they will seek Me early.” Whoever was the looser by seeking the Lord? Then surely afflictions are for our profit! Trials and troubles drive us to our knees. Sickness and sorrow make us seek the Lord in desperation. These things are bitter indeed to the flesh, but they are a tonic that God has chosen to use to separate us unto Himself.
This truth is vividly set forth in Psalms 107. Please read verses 11- 28. Note that it is when men are “brought down”, when they are “afflicted”, when they are “at their wits end” that they cry unto the Lord in their trouble. When in deep trouble our prayers are no longer MECHANICAL and FORMAL, but they become EARNEST indeed. It is the “Effectual, fervent prayers of a righteous man that availeth much.” (James 5:16)
When I discover that the fire in my wood stove has died down, I do not always put in more wood, but simply stir it with a poker. And so does our all wise God, in mercy and grace, use His poker of adversity in order that the flames of our love and devotion may burn more brightly.
It is a fact that we all delight in the good times. The times when we are made to “Lie down in green pastures” and the periods when we are led beside “the still waters.” Yet, it is also a fact that the green pastures and the still waters by themselves would not be for God’s glory or our highest good. And why not? Because, our hearts and minds would soon be more occupied with the blessings rather than the Blesser, Himself.
At times, the sheep of His pasture must be brought into the dry and desolate wilderness that they may be made more aware of their dependency on the Great Shepherd. It was his painful and troublesome “Thorn in the flesh” that taught Paul the blessedness of the text, “My Grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (II Cor. 12:9)
This writer spent two and one-half years aboard ship during World War II,
the most of which was in the
If then, trials and tribulations, as controlled by our Father God, produce such delightful fruits of the Spirit as love, joy, peace, long-suffering and etc., then why do we not welcome chastisements that are for our profit? Why do we fret and fume under the Hand of His love that is come to perfect us in our character? Why indeed, except that we have failed in the revelation of the Word that tells us it is Himself, and not Satan, controlling our troubles. Why, except that we fail to see His loving purpose behind it all.
If we were drowning and another pulled us safely to the shore by our arm, would we turn and sue him if he dislocated our shoulder? If towed to shore by the hair of our head, would we turn and sue for the loss of our beautiful hair? Then, would any Christian in his right spiritual mind, dare to pray, “Lord, don’t ever let me be afflicted, or tried, or distressed in any way, no matter what spiritual good it would produce in me. And, if we would be unwilling, or afraid, to pray in such a manner, why should we do so much murmuring when these things come?
Why should we fear the dark valleys of tribulation in which the Lord afflicts our body in order to better the soul? After all, He has promised to deliver us out of every affliction! “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him from them all.” (Ps. 34:19)
Heb. 12: 11, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous. Nevertheless, afterwards it yeildeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
In Isaiah 27:9, our afflictions are compared to a physic (laxative) that purges poisonous materials out of the body. In Jer. 4:3, they are compared to plowing up and breaking ground so as to receive seed that it may grow. Should not we rejoice in the fact that God will not leave us alone in our carnality? Should we not praise Him for making us fit to spend eternity with Him? Ought not we to love Him and kiss the Hand that is making us holy?
When Christians become sick, they will swallow the bitterest kind of medicine trying to heal the flesh. They will lay down for an operation that is to cut out and remove diseased parts. But, how we fret and fume when called on to endure Divine Chastisement that is sent to burn out the dross, blow away the chaff, and prune away unproductive branches from our spiritual man.
What is needed first is a revelation that makes us conscious of our indwelling corruptions. I John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” On the heels of this first revelation, we need a second one that convinces us of our inability to change ourselves by the power of our own will.
Rom. 7:18, “For I know
that in me (That is in my flesh.) dwelleth
no good thing, for to WILL is present with me, but how to perform that which is
good I find not.”
Jer. 13:23, “Can the
Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good,
that are accustomed to do evil.”
The all important thing to see is that if the Believer is left to himself, he would never seek grace to patiently endure the trials. Still less, would he ever see that his hardships would produce the “Peaceable fruit of righteousness.” (Heb. 12:11) If left to ourselves, we would never have the faith to say concerning our chastisements, “Thy will be done.” When left to ourselves we continue to chafe and kick like “A bullock unaccustomed to the yoke.” (Jer. 31:18) If left to ourselves, we would do as Job and “Curse the day of our birth.” (Job 3:1) If left to ourselves, we would never understand that our sufferings are among the “All things” working together for our ultimate good. (Rom. )
No, dear Bride, such Holy exercises of heart are not the product of our fallen nature, but they are the gracious and lovely fruits of the Holy Ghost. And consider the miracle of it, that He would bring them forth in spite of our often unfriendly and uncongenial soil. Our attitude toward God’s ordering of our steps (Ps. 37:23) is the key to spiritual growth. To understand His loving motive, is to bow before His wisdom and His ordering of our lives so that we benefit from every circumstance of life. To rebel, is to miss the spiritual benefits intended.
QUOTE: HEBREWS BOOK CHAPTER FOUR, PAGE 126, “You mustn’t question anything unto God. (In an accusing sort of way.) For the footsteps of the righteous are ordered of the Lord. And every trial is put upon you to prove you. (Notice who is the Author of the trials, GOD, not Satan.) And the Bible said, “They are more precious to you than gold.” So if God lets a few light afflictions happen to you, remember, it’s for your correction. Every Son that cometh to God must first be CHASTENED of God and TRIED, child trained. There’s no exceptions. It’s every Son that cometh. AND THESE AFFLICTIONS ARE DONE, OR BROUGHT ABOUT TO SEE WHAT ATTITUDE YOU WILL TAKE. SEE, IT’S GOD ON THIS PROVING GROUND. THAT’S ALL EARTH IS, A PROVING GROUND, AND WHERE HE’S TRYING TO PROVE YOU.”
In closing, it needs to be said that there must be a balance between God seeing no sin in His Bride, as far as the souls being endangered is concerned, and in His seeing our sins of the flesh and being duty bound to correct them through chastening and scourging with the rod.
It is a blessed fact beyond compare that we are already “Accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6) and “Complete in Him.” (Col. 2:10) At the same time, it is just as much a scriptural fact that in Heb. 12:7-10 it is the saved and righteous Sons that are chastened. It is the fact of their Son-ship that brings about the chastening.
And so, we must conclude that even though our iniquities
are forgiven and our sins covered, and the Lord will not impute sin unto us (
Ps. 89:29-34 relays God’s thoughts to us on this subject. “His seed also will I make to endure forever, and His throne as the
days of Heaven. If his children forsake My law, and walk not in My judgments,
THEN WILL I VISIT THEIR TRANSGRESSIONS WITH THE ROD, AND THEIR INIQUITY WITH
STRIPES. NEVERTHELESS, MY LOVING KINDNESS WILL I NOT UTTERLY TAKE FROM HIM, NOR
SUFFER MY FAITHFULNESS TO FAIL. MY COVENANT WILL I NOT BREAK, NOR ALTER THE
THING THAT IS GONE OUT OF MY LIPS.”
May we receive chastisement and learn the lessons they are sent to
teach us. Amen.
OUR DUTIES AND PRIVILEGES
IN CONNECTION WITH
SUFFERING AND TRIALS (NO.
In I John 5:4 we read,
“For whatsoever is born of God
overcommeth the world, and this is the victory that overcommeth the world, EVEN
OUR FAITH.” We thank our God that there is a God sent Faith that
overcommeth all things of the world. But, we wonder if the Bride of Christ has
paid enough attention to the teaching of our Prophet, and the scriptures,
concerning what true VICTORY is? It goes without question, that Born-Again
People should have constant victory, but the pertinent question is, “What is
VICTORY?” If Faith is our victory, does this faith raise us to a spiritual
plane from which we look down into the lowly valleys of failure, pride, sin,
suffering and sickness, yet never having to tread these deep ruts ourselves? May
I hurry on to say that if any of our readers have supposed that this is the
meaning of Spiritual Victory, and if you have been waiting to climb to such a
high spiritual plane before you dare to claim VICTORY, then your quest has been
in vain, and will continue to be in vain. Victory in Christ Jesus is not a place
ABOVE the trials and failures of life, but rather it is a stand we take on the
Word of God while the storms of life are raging. Victory is trusting our God in
the midst of daily failures. It is trusting Him to remain faithful while facing
the impossiblity of ourselves being always so. It is holding to our trust in Him
when our health has failed us and we are suffering on a bed of affliction.
Victory, that the Bible
teaches, is a positive KNOWING that
our Christ has not forsaken us when our days and nights are filled with pain and
suffering because our God has seen fit to move His Hand back a fraction from
over us! It is to be feared that an unbalanced fanaticism has moved from the
worldly churches into our Message concerning what true victory is.
We must never, never accept the false teaching that there is a faith that
can lift us above the trials of this Life. We must never believe that the presence
of trials means the absence of the faith which is our victory. No! We can
be wrapped in the “Robe of
Righteousness” (Romans 5: 17) with all our sins dropped into the
precious Blood of God, our faith can be perfect in our perfect God and still He
will lead us through suffering that is meant to perfect are character. Do we
understand that to have perfect faith does not mean that our character is as yet
We are given Perfect Faith that will hold us steady while He leads us
through those things geared to perfect our character. Our God is constantly
requiring of us that we humble ourselves. A spirit of Selfishness, the allowing
of Pride, the workings of Self-will, the stirrings of Rebellion when Divine
Providence crosses our will, and the exercise of Self-righteousness, these are
the dark spots in our character that need purging. Our Faithful Father will
never fail in His responsibility to chasten us and purge us from such.
No amount of praying will change His mind, He will finish His work in us!
When we become careless, which it is the nature of our flesh to do, then we must
not be surprised if we are placed on our backs for a season, that there may be
time for reflection in prayer, and an opportunity for deeper dealings between
the soul and God, that the hidden things of darkness may be brought to light and
faithfully dealt with. II Chron.
7: 14, “If my people which are called by my name
shall humble themselves, and
pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from
heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal all their land.”
The above scripture has much bearing on our subject at hand, and contains
important instructions for us. First,
it shows that God sends physical judgments on us because of our
transgressions. Next, it shows what we are to do when
the divine chastening rod falls. Third, it holds a precious promise for
faith to lay hold of, “I will heal
their land.” (And their bodies) First, we must humble ourselves. And what
is meant by that? The same as in I
Cor.11: 31, “Judge ourselves.” A
word in Lev. 26:41 helps us to understand, “If
then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the
punishments of their iniquity, then will I remember my covenant.” To
humble ourselves beneath the rod of God
is to stop asking, “What have I done to deserve this?” It is to stop giving
the devil credit for what is happening to us and believe with all our hearts
that the chastening is meant unto us for good.
Pro. 16:4, “The Lord has
made all things for Himself, yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”
Isa. 45: 7, “I form
the light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil.
I the Lord do all these
things.” Victory is the revealed knowledge that the enemy
of our soul has been forever defeated,
and remains only a tool in the hands of our all powerful God. True
victory has nothing at all to do with the circumstances of our lives. It does
not depend on continuous health, neither does it falter when one of the “Many
afflictions of the righteous” is directed our way. Neither poverty or
wealth moves it from its foundation, and persecution only provides an
opportunity for victory to prove itself.
The “Peacable Fruit of righteousness” only comes as we submit to divine chastisement, it comes to those who are exercised thereby. (Heb. 12:11) King David humbled himself when he admitted, “I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right, And that Thou in Faithfulness hast afflicted me.” (Ps. 119: 75) To judge ourselves is to take sides with God against ourselves, and not until we do so does His rod of correction begin to have its desired affect. When we have heard the rebuke of our Lord, we must declare the righteousness of his voice to us. God will not gloss over our sin; neither will He allow us to do so.
We must pray for a deeper sense of His holiness, which will
in turn result in a deeper sense of our own vileness.
Victory is a deep revelation of Faith in His Mercy and Grace.
We must pray for a contrite and broken spirit, for more faith in His
grace, for constant cleansing that never allows for a break in our fellowship
with Christ Jesus. Such prayers do
not come from the Pharisee, but they are the breathings of humility that issue
from the Elect Bride. The Omniscient One cannot be imposed upon by mere lip
service, He requires the heart. He
requires a true repentance, which is something more than sorrowing over the
past. It includes the resolution
that, by His grace, there will be no repetition of our sins in the future. Our
idols must be destroyed, not put away in a closet from which they may be taken
out again. Then He has promised, “I
will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
The natural man always wants everything to be made smooth and easy for him. But, God’s way is to stain our human pride, pluck from us our proud peacock feathers, to make us very aware of our insufficiency, and to drive us to our knees. He will not abide our pride, but He will exercise us through the use of His chastening rod.
QUOTE: POSSESSING THE ENEMIES GATES, PAGE 6, “It was Moses, after being also in the line of this Royal Seed, the Seed of Abraham, that when he was sent down into Egypt to deliver the children of Israel, and God had give him signs and wonders to perform….Yet when he led them out by the hand of Jehovah there came a time when he met the gate between him and the Promised Land, there was the Red Sea, a bar across the way. But Moses stepped forward and possessed the gate of the enemy….It was a only a few years later when the trials come, and the church got all shook up, as is so easy for a congregation of people to do when something just don’t seem to happen the way that is supposed to be. (In our minds) GOD MAKES IT THAT WAY. GOD BRINGS TENSIONS IN TO THE CHURCH, FOR EVERY SON THAT COMETH TO GOD MUST BE TRIED AND PROVEN, AND TESTED. He lets sickness strike you. He lets diseases come on you, to test you and to prove you, to show the world that you’re truly the Seed of Abraham. He permits it by His own will. He permits disasters; He permits friends to turn against you. He permits all these things and turns the devil loose to tempt you, and he’ll do all but take your life. He could throw you on a bed of affliction, he could turn your neighbors against you, he could turn the church against you. He can do most anything and it’s God’s will for him to do it. We are taught that it is more precious than gold to us.”
CONT. QUOTE: PAGE 6-7, “What about Abraham with Isaac, on the mountain, the one the promise was given to, and by his loyalty and his knowing, and his faith in Jehovah, it’s through that and that alone that God looked down and said, “His seed shall possess the gates. I’ve sworn by Myself that I’ll do these things….then if He let Abraham be tested to that final point, He’s got to test you and me to that final moment, that time of decision when everything is away from you, you have to stand alone there. Hallelujah, that’s it!” (End quote)
We’re waiting for a full-blown Bride revival, but I wonder if we realize all that is involved in preparing our hearts for it? As we look into the scriptures in Act’s chapter nine, we see God calling a man named Saul into His kingdom. His name would be changed to Paul and the Lord was going to use him to spearhead a mighty revival in the Ephesians Church Age. In speaking to one of his disciples at Damascus concerning this new convert, the Lord told Ananias not to be afraid to meet him and pray for him because, “He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and Kings, and the Children of Israel; For I will show him how great things He must suffer for my namesake.”
We often read about the powerful ministry that the Apostle Paul had, but, do we consider the paths down which God ordered the steps of this man in order that the power of Christ could rest upon him? It was a way that involved much suffering, and in the beginning of his ministry, the apostle did not understand why he was being subjected to a messenger of Satan who constantly buffeted him, causing infirmities (sicknesses), reproaches, necessities, persecutions and distresses. But after he prayed three times to be delivered from such sufferings, and had been denied his request three times, then he was given a revelation and shown that the suffering in his flesh was a must in order to keep him from being exalted above measure. God will not suffer His Elect to be ruined by pride; it is a thing He hates.
Paul was told that the suffering would not be taken away, the trials would continue, but that the Lord would send more and more grace as it was needed. When the full revelation of what God was doing for him struck, Paul cried out, “Most gladly will I therefore Glory in my infirmities, THAT THE POWER OF CHRIST MAY REST UPON ME.” Only when our flesh has been struck blow after blow and actually crucified, will our pride be subdued. Only after all our own “knowing” has been proven wrong, and after our own “strength” has failed, will we fall at His feet and await His orders. Out of this kind of weakness comes the strength and power of God upon us. (IICor. 12:10) Then will come to pass in our lives this scripture, “My soul wait thou only upon God for my expectation is from Him.” (Ps. 62: 5)
No doubt, this teaching on suffering is confusing to the carnal mind, but we write not to those who would be spared all trials and suffering, but rather to those who would partake in a Bride revival by having the power of Christ to rest upon them! It is a very scriptural teaching that this power only comes after the flesh has been subdued through suffering. We must all ask ourselves, “Do I really want to pay the price of having personal revival?” Jesus spoke of this when He advised every man to “Count the cost” before he starts to build a house.
Suffering marked the lives of every person in the scriptures who was used of God. Our prophet, William Branham, whose power with God cannot be questioned by the honest investigator, lived a life that was marked by much suffering. In his teenage years, his legs were severely damaged by a shotgun blast. He had a stomach ailment that was only healed the last few years of his life. A rifle blew up in his face imbedding pieces of steel behind his eyes and into his skull. He once suffered near to the point of death for six months for following preachers rather than the Lord. He suffered the want of material things, being in poverty for years. Brother Branham taught that suffering in the flesh is to be a part of our Christian walk.
QUOTE: IDENTIFIED WITH CHRIST, PAGE 19, “Identify yourself with some movie queen and see where you will be. Identify yourself with some cowboy or some teenager and see where you’ll be. But, I challenge you tonight; identify yourself with Jesus Christ in His death and in His Resurrection and see where you’ll be at the resurrection. For if we SUFFER with Him, we shall reign with Him. God has made us this promise. Take me O Lord, and mold me and make me, shape me over again. And like the prophet that went down to the potter’s house, BREAK ME UP AND REMOLD ME.” (End quote)
Dear friends, to be broken up and remolded, involves much suffering in the flesh.
QUOTE: WORKS IS FAITH EXPRESSED, PAGE 2, “One of our precious brothers, so dear to us all, he just crossed over in that land. And, every time I come to this platform, I’ll think of Brother Lyle. I looked over there last night and saw little Judy sitting over there, and my heart was just pounding, I was just thinking of how she felt. And, I know when Dad died how (I felt). But we only have to go through those schools of sufferings to know how the other fellow feels.” (End quote)
QUOTE: HE CARES, DO YOU CARE? PAGE 33, “God I pray today that each one of us would take the sorrows of Christ into our own heart, Take His suffering upon us, to realize that we must suffer also, the reproach of His name, that we must suffer. (End quote)
Some may ask, are you teaching that we must give in to our infirmities? No! But, we must remember that it is our God that is sovereign and not the enemy of our soul.
We must have a revelation that we’re not in the hands of the evil one, but in the hands of Him who controls all evil. Jesus came and destroyed the works of Satan (I John 3: 8). More and more this writer sees the meaning of James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” How do we resist the devil? Is it by shouting and repeating orders to him? This was the general teaching in Pentecost, but wisdom began to teach some that shouting verbal commands at the devil was not the full meaning of how to resist him. Now the revelation is coming forth to the Bride that we resist Satan by, “Submitting ourselves into the hands of almighty God.” We use our faith in God’s sovereign control and declare that all things that come to us have come by His own hand. I Thess. 5:18, “In everything give thanks, for this (Circumstance) is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” By faith, we take ourselves completely out of Satan’s hands and place ourselves in the loving hands of our Father. In this way then, we resist all lies from the devil concerning what he is doing to us.
We declare to this liar that he is only a tool in the hands of the one who has total power, wisdom, knowledge and love, and that He is using all his great resources to order our steps through the exact things needed to prepare us for Rapture. How the enemy hates the revelation that is being given to the Bride, the truth that he is only a defeated, bluffing lion, roaring out threats that he can’t back up.
QUOTE: JUST ONE MORE TIME LORD, PAGE 3, “And the devil that put
you in the pawnshop, Jesus came and redeemed you and opened up the doors, and
the only thing you have to do is walk out and claim your liberty. That’s all.
You have a receipt from God that the debt is paid.
Jesus said in His last words, “It
is finished.” Every redemptive blessing was completely finished. God’s
great wrath, when He became sin for us, it was, the debt was settled.
Satan has no more power, only as he can bluff with it. If he can bluff
you into it, all right, you’ll have to have it.
But, legally he has no power at all, every power he had was taken from
This then is how we scripturally resist the devil: we rule him totally and completely out of our lives by submitting that life into the hands of God. We believe that Satan cannot move against us except it be ordained of God, and if it be ordained of God it must, in its final end, work together for our good. (Rom. )
Resisting the devil in this manner must become a way of life with the Bride, and this is a far cry from believing the devil is still a free moral agent, and that we must exert some power of our own to try and stop him. To resist the devil is to have the revelation of his total defeat, of his helplessness before his Creator to do other than follow orders. To resist the devil is to stop giving him credit of any kind, it is to believe that our God has stripped him of all his power, it is to believe that our Father rules over this evil one, causing his wrath to end up praising God. (Ps. 76: 10)
OUR DUTIES AND
IN CONNECTION WITH
AND TRIALS (NO. 2)
We felt led to continue the subject of last month’s sermon concerning
the victory that faith gives us. We have stated that there is a wrong teaching
that is come to confuse God’s Elect. It is that there is a faith that can
elevate us above the trials and tests that God has ordained for us. But, the
truth is, no amount of praying can change God’s mind about the crucifying of
this flesh that is His enemy. “For the flesh lusteth against the
Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the
other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal. 5:17)
How then does God crucify this flesh of ours? He has ordained certain
trials and test for us as individuals that are geared to bring us to the end of
trusting self. My trials may well be different from yours and yours from your
neighbors, but the Lord knows every heart and the exact things that are needed
to purify each one. But, we can be certain of one thing: this crucifying, or
purifying, is not brought to pass by the Master skirting us around our furnaces
that have been heated just for us. “He will have a tested and a tried
) We, through much tribulation, enter into the
To declare that God will always pacify our flesh at the expense of our spiritual man is far from the teaching of the Scriptures, and it seems to this writer that some are teaching this when they say, “No harm can come to a Son or Daughter of God whose faith is holding.” We ask again, “What is harm?” Is that which adds to faith and produces character harmful? Certainly not. But, as we have stated, it might well be considered so by the carnal mind whose concern is for flesh only.
Let us look in the Scriptures and see what God considers to be good for the Inner Man. It may be quite a shock to some who suppose that His goal is to “allow no suffering” or “harm”, to come to the flesh. We could say that, in one way, there are two God’s in the church today. The God of the Scriptures and the God that carnal man thinks He is. A prophet came and said, “We need to know the God of the Bible, what His ways are, so that we may be able to face the problems of life with real assurance.” (Found in “Be Certain of God.”)
To be able to face the problems of life with real assurance, we must understand God’s goals for us and the means that He uses in order to accomplish these goals. His dealings with His own are very plain in the scriptures and cannot be ignored except to our own hurt. Since He never changes, we can know that the Bible examples of His ways are still in effect today. Deut. 8:2, “And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart….” In I PETER 1:7 Peter said, “God will try our faith with fire.” In Ps. 81:7 God said, “I proved thee at the waters of Meribah.” The God of the Bible always PROVES His People. His program is to keep the flesh under subjection to the Spirit, while man’s carnal program is to preserve the flesh.
God calls us to fulfill certain parts of His great overall plan, then He
prepares us for that particular work. By far, the largest percent of the time we
do not even know what that work is until we are some distance down the road of
life. Nevertheless, the Great Creator and Planner has been ordering our steps in
such a way that we will be fitted for it. So it was in the life of a young man
named Joseph. He was a spiritual man and obedient to the God he served. So
spiritual in fact, that it caused resentment and hatred in his brothers who cast
him into a pit, and later sold him as a slave. Down in
It is certain that Joseph’s flesh suffered during these trials, but it is just as certain that the sufferings were ordained of God for the spiritual benefit of His servant. By faith we can say today that in the life of the Elect, the things that would seem “harmful” to the natural mind have been ordained of God for our spiritual good. And this is true even when our suffering in the flesh is involved. Is it then harmful? It depends on whether or not we are looking at it through our natural eyes, or through the eyes of the Word.
Spiritual man will go to the Bible and learn about the God whose “Thoughts are as high above ours as the Heavens are the earth.” (Isa. 55:9) Our goal is to know our God. The Greeks worshipped an unknown God, but an unknown God cannot be worshipped properly, nor trusted fully.
QUOTE: BE CERTAIN OF GOD PAGE 13, “This poor little woman, she knew He was God. As that (meal) barrel went down, down, down, and circumstances got worse and worse. BUT GOD WAS LETTING IT GET THAT WAY.” (End quote)
Do we understand this kind of a God, or do we only know the God that our natural mind has conjured up, the One who sends only things that bless the flesh? God’s way is to try us and test us. He will prove us to see if we are real Believers or only Make-Believers. He sets out to make Believers out of us Unbelievers! What Grace! What Mercy and Love!
CONT. PREVIOUS QUOTE: “He will let you be anointed and prayed for, then make you worse and say, “Come on Satan, put him to the test. Put him to a test now, I know he took my word for it. He puts our faith to the test to see if we really believe He is God.”
PAGE 14: “Daylight broke. She said the little fellow (her son) cried all night for something to eat. What will I do with one little handful of meal?
PAGE 15: “Oh how gloomy it must have been, death laying at the door. Her and her son had to eat one little piece of the hoe-cake and die. That was all of it! And sometimes, right in the midst of gloom we hear His voice. (End quote)
Do we know that kind of a God? The natural mind will rebel against the God of the Bible! Do we know the kind of a God that will let death come to the door? If not, then we still have some things to learn about Him. Do we know the kind of a God who will let a man be desperately sick for so long that he is in total despair, and cries out, “It would be good if I had never been born?” Job learned about Him. Was Job “harmed” by the dealings of God? It depends on whether you are looking at his flesh or his spiritual man. His flesh suffered perhaps more than any man except Christ Jesus, but his spiritual man became giant size in the end.
Do we know the kind of a God who would promise His Prophet, Moses, that He would deliver the Israelites, then harden Pharaoh’s heart concerning the making of the bricks, so that the Israelites had to gather their own straw for them, which action turned Moses own people against him? This is the God of the Bible, and He is a far cry from being like the God we have imagined in our minds. We want a God who will preserve the flesh at all costs, but He is a God who is going to preserve the Soul at all cost.
Do we know the kind of a God who would send His faithful maiden, the
Virgin Mary, on a long tortuous trip by mule to pay taxes, and her ready to go
into labor at any minute? Apparently, she was in labor when they arrived in
Do we know the kind of a God who told Daniel he should never stop praying, then have him thrown in the lion’s den for obeying? What kind of a reward was that for an obedient servant of God? It was God testing His Prophet, and He will test all His called-out Children. He has a right to prove us. Daniel, being a man like the rest of us, was no doubt praying, “Lord, you wouldn’t let them throw me in that den full of hungry lions, would you?” But, God did let them! Then He went right in the den with him and stood as a Pillar of Fire between Daniel and the lions. God never promised to keep us “from” the trials, but He did promise to save us “out” of them.
Do we know the kind of a God who would lead the Israelites to a bitter water hole, and let their children cry for water? No doubt the Israelites said, “Why did you stop here Moses? We can’t drink this water! But, it was not Moses’ plan to stop there. He stopped because the Pillar of Fire stopped there. It was God on His proving ground.
Do you and I know the kind of a God who let the Israelites scream in fear
Three Hebrew men went as far as they could go and then they went a step further. The King had said bow to the image I have made or you will be thrown into the furnace. They said our God can deliver us, but if He chooses not to, we will not worship a false God. Dear Friends, do you believe that God is still looking for those who will go as far as they can go, and then take the last step? It is the opinion of this writer that God is calling upon His Bride to go as far as they can go, and then take one more step!
Abraham went as far as he could go, and then he took the last step. He took his son to the mountain. He took wood for a burnt offering. He built an altar, and then, when he could go no further he took the knife to plunge it into his son’s heart. God so honored that man’s taking that last step, that he made an unconditional covenant with him, telling him that all his spiritual seed would overcome the enemy!
We know that Abraham was God’s Elect. God chose him to be the very Father of Faith to the Elect of all ages. But, did we know that this same God was duty bound to test every Elected Son and Daughter of God to the same degree that He tested Abraham? There may come a time in the life of the Bride member when they will be tested to that final point. They may be required to take one more step after they have gone as far as they can go.
QUOTE: POSSESSING THE ENEMY’S GATES PAGES 6-7, “What about Abraham with Isaac, on the mountain, the one the promise was given (to), and by his loyalty and his knowing, and his faith in Jehovah, it’s through that and that alone that God looked down and said, ‘His seed shall possess the gates.’ ….Then if He let Abraham be tested to that final point (the point of slaying his own son), HE’S GOT TO TEST YOU AND ME TO THAT FINAL MOMENT, that time of decision when everything is away from you, you have to stand alone there. Hallelujah! That’s it. (End quote)
In calling upon Abraham to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering, God submitted his faith to a time of terrible, fiery, ordeal. God’s promises to Abraham centered in Isaac. Ishmael had been cast out and Isaac’s descendants alone were to be the blessed seed among whom God would have His Church. How could Abraham believe the Divine Command to slay his son, and at the same time believe the Divine Promise that Isaac would bring forth seed? The command to slay Isaac was not only against natural affection, but it was against all natural reasoning.
What some may not be aware of is the fact that, in like manner, God still tests the faith of His Elect today. He calls on them to perform acts of obedience which are contrary to their natural affections, and which are opposed to natural reasoning. At times, God has allowed a Son or a Daughter of His to be attracted to an unbeliever, even to the point of considering marriage, then has come to them that piercing Word, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” (II Cor. 6:14) It is a time of great testing.
Some have had membership in a church where they were “born and raised,” so to speak. Their whole family tree has been connected to that same denomination, and then God has shown that His Word is being dishonored, and He has spoken, “Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate saith the Lord.” (II Cor. 6:17) He has commanded to leave those who are very dear to us in the flesh, it is a time of great trial, but the call of God cannot be disregarded.
But, you may ask, when are we put to the trial of actually offering up our Isaac, as was Abraham? It can happen when God asks us to submit to His strokes of providence, as when He takes away our dearly beloved ones. Our Prophet, William Branham, was asked to “Give up his Isaac” when the Lord took his wife, Hope, then his baby daughter. What a time of terrible trial he was put through, but look at the benefits you and I have reaped from his obedient submission. He went on to be used of God to open The Seven Seals and bring the Bride to rapturing faith through The Message. God struck His Prophet in the place where his love was set, in the very place where the trial would be the greatest. Do we know that kind of a God? Would some in the message declare that Satan was the Author of this trial? Then, I would respectfully say to you, “You need a revelation of the Sovereignty of the Mighty God we serve.”
Let us notice that God did not call upon Abraham to submit to the final
test until He had prepared him to take the final step of faith. Gen. 22:1
“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt
Abraham.” After what things? After the things that he had already
endured! He had been called on to leave his home and his people, his journey to
God educates His Children a little bit at a time. As we grow in Grace and Faith, harder tasks are assigned to us. We must pass through deeper waters that, in previous years, would have drowned us. More and more opportunities are presented to the Elect for manifesting an increased faith in their Lord. It is not the raw recruit who is called upon to face the kind of trials of which we speak, but the scarred veteran. Think it not strange then, Message Believer, if the Lord is now sending you severer tests than He did some years ago. Often, it is when not a cloud appears on our horizon that God sends a severe test. It is like a heavy clap of thunder out of a clear sky that some of our hardest trials come. It was when the cup of Abraham’s joy was full that God gave him the seemingly inhuman command to offer up his son. He had seen God’s Word fulfilled through the miracle birth of the son, he had given a great feast to celebrate his being weaned from the breast, he had seen Ishmael cast out, and his horizon seemed clear, as far as the promise of his seed through Isaac was concerned. But, it was at that very time that the thunder rolled and the very ground must have shook under Abraham’s feet. He was commanded to kill the son!
It was just after God had pronounced Job to be a perfect man that Satan was loosed on him. It was after Paul had been caught up to the third Heaven, where he received abundance of Revelations, that a Messenger of Satan was assigned to buffet him. It was just after Jeremiah had obeyed his God and preached to King Zedekiah that his city would be delivered into the hands of the King of Babylon that he was placed in a dungeon where there was no water, but mire, and Jeremiah sunk in the mire, where he stayed many days.
Why would a loving Father put His own offspring through such terrible trials? It is for our own sake, to discover to us what is in our hearts, to show us whether or not we really trust Him. God is trying His Bride today and putting to the proof the Grace and Faith that He has delivered to us through an End-Time Message. He does this for our benefit and for His own Glory. He is determined to make it known that He has a people on Earth who will forsake any comfort, and endure any misery before they will forsake their number one duty, which is to trust their God. He will show to the enemy and to the worldly church, that His Bride loves Him more than their own lives. He will hold Her up before the world and say, “She is willing to trust Me in the darkness of the night, while I hide Myself from Her.”
We never have more clear proof of His Love and Grace toward us than when we experience Him delivering us from the sore trials He puts us through. Trials are God’s stepping stones to rapturing faith. They are the best way to prove to an unbelieving world that it is absolutely safe to trust in our Heavenly Father.
At this point in the Bride Christian’s walk before the Lord, there is great need for warning against the subtle sin of Spiritual Pride. Like a creeping paralysis, this sin that God hates will come and attempt to poison the mind of those who would live by faith. The trap presented is that the person, by their own merit, has somehow been able to conjure up the faith that he is living by. Forgetting what the great Apostle Paul said in Gal. 2:20, “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by THE FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD”, we can be made to think more of ourselves than we ought. We can be made to boast of the faith God sends.
Rather than hold to the scripture in Rom. 12:1 that allows that our best obedience is only our, “Reasonable service”, and that by our greatest efforts we have not earned the faith that is being “Delivered to us” (Jude 3), we are moved to look down on and condemn those who have not been delivered such faith. God well knows that folly is bound up in the hearts of all His Children, but the unsuspecting Child may not be aware of God’s frown. It is quite possible for us to continue down the road of false pride, condemning, criticizing, and judging those who cannot seem to walk in our footsteps, until our all-wise Father will allow us to go no deeper into this sin of sins.
As a Son or Daughter of God, we must be disciplined for wrong doing. The Rod is necessary to rebuke, to subdue, and to humble. At whatever cost it may be to the flesh, our Father will produce in us a meek spirit. Chastisement has as one of its main goals the breaking down of False Spiritual Pride. It is well to remember that Father is correcting us in Love and not smiting us in wrath. It is one of the greatest blessings for which we have to thank Him.
God’s wrath that flows out of His anger toward the unrepentant and
unsaved is a different thing than His chastening which flows out of His Love
towards the members of His own Family. Chastening is sent to teach us the
plagues of our hearts, and show us our hidden transgressions. God will certainly
chasten us to save us from being unduly lifted up because of the faith He has
given us. There was some self-satisfaction and self-righteousness in Job at the
beginning, but at the end, when he was brought face to face with the Holy God,
he “abhorred himself.”
This writer can testify that when we are shown to be guilty of this false pride, we also will hate ourselves. We will repent before the people, and before the Lord, and fall back on His mercy. Grace and Mercy are our only hope, and when that is forgotten, we must and we will be, reminded.
This then is the Word that must be kept constantly before us, “For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? (From God) Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? (I Cor. 4:7) Amen!
I would like to call our attention to a statement made by our Prophet, William Branham, and then use it as a foundation for this sermon. No doubt, many of us are quite familiar with it, but I wonder if we have truly considered the drastic importance of what was said. It has to do with Perfect Love!
REJECTED KING, JEFF. 5-15-1960, PAGE 21-22, “And I looked this way and that way, and they were coming by the thousands. And I said, ‘I don’t understand this.’ I said, ‘Why they…..’ And here come Hope-that was my first wife. She run and never said, ‘My husband.’ She said, ‘My precious Brother.’ And when she hugged me, there was another woman standing there that’d hugged me, and then Hope hugged this woman, and each one….I thought, ‘This has to be something different, it can’t be. There’s something…….’ Oh, would I ever want to ever go back to that old carcass again. I looked around there and I thought, ‘What is this?’ And I looked real good, and I said, ‘I can’t understand this.’ But Hope seemed to be like a ….oh a guest of honor.’ She was no different, but just like a guest of honor.
And I heard a voice then that spoke to me that was in the room, said, ‘This is what you preached was the Holy Ghost. This is perfect love. And nothing can enter here without it.’
I am more determined than ever in my life that it takes perfect love to enter there.” (End quote)
I would call our attention to the last paragraph in the preceding statement. Brother Branham said, “I heard a voice that spoke to me that was in the room, (It) said, ‘THIS IS WHAT YOU PREACHED WAS THE HOLY GHOST, THIS IS PERFECT LOVE, AND NOTHING CAN ENTER HERE WITHOUT IT.” We who believe the Prophet believe that he did hear such a voice. He did not say who it was that spoke, but we know the Holy Scriptures back up what Brother Branham said he heard.
In I Cor. 13:1-3, Paul said, “Though
I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become
as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of
prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all
faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the
poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it
profiteh me nothing.”
If we read this whole chapter, we see that Paul’s subject is PERFECT LOVE and that he understood that no matter what else we could lay claim to, in the way of seeming to be spiritual, if this PERFECT LOVE was missing we have accomplished nothing. This is a hard pill for the natural mind to swallow, and let it be said that this writer does not preach this because he supposes he has arrived at this place, but rather because he sees his own hardness of heart and lack of compassion, and has therefore been called to task by the Holy Ghost! This sermon is for the writer first, and then for whomever else may need it.
I would like to relate some other things Brother Branham said about LOVE before we go into detail about how this Love comes.
QUOTE: “WHEN LOVE PROJECTS” PAGE 2, “I think if one thing is
needed in the great universal
Love should govern the home….a home that is not disciplined by love is not much of a home. If the husband and wife do not solemnly love one another, they cannot trust one another. Remember, love is the strongest force in the world….and instead of resting our faith upon some emotion, which is alright….or on some gift, which is alright…like shouting or speaking in tongues, etc., we should rest our faith upon the Love of God. We must come back to this principle…..love first, then those other things. If we did this, our churches would progress much faster, for God is love.” (End quote)
QUOTE: “WHEN LOVE PROJECTS” PAGE 3, “Nothing is greater than love….it brings trust, it brings faith, it brings pardon. Love has no fear, love casts out fear. I have found a great deal of fear among Christians…..this is not right and should not be so. Fear is the lack of confidence, but if you love and have confidence, you will cast away fear. God wants you to have love and confidence in Him…this will cast away your fears and bring you to serve Him with a greater love.” (End quote)
QUOTE: “WHEN LOVE PROJECTS” PAGE 6, “I am going to tell you something else………you may class me a fanatic after this, but I’ll tell you anyhow. All my ministry has been wrapped around love…..….if I can love, or be in sympathy with whatever is before me…...something happens!” (End quote)
Much more could be written concerning what the Prophet and the scriptures say about Love, but knowing that this sermon is for the Bride, who already knows the Message and the scriptures, we will now seek an answer to the question, “How does this love come?” When a Bride member is BORN-AGAIN, he is at once placed in God’s Holy Ghost Training School. These Elect of God are destined for ruler ship with the Lord Jesus Christ, not only in this life (Rom. ), but in the Kingdom that is to come (Rev. 20:6). Since AGAPE LOVE is the number one qualification for exercising authority in God’s domain, both here now and in the one to come, then this school is for bringing the Bride into this LOVE!
Again we ask, “How does this love come?” Do we automatically have it when we are born-again? Does the changing of the soul, our old one for God’s own Soul, place this Perfect Love in us? We do not say that we don’t receive a certain degree of it at this time, but we point out that there is a great difference between “Purity of Heart” which comes at once, and in the “Maturity of Spiritual Growth” which can only come over a period of time and which is a result of God’s Love coming in. We believe that the Prophet and the scriptures teach that the depth of this Love only comes in the School of Suffering.
Realizing that many in the Message are not at this time seeing the need for any suffering, and in fact preach that it is unnecessary, we want to be very careful how we teach this asking the Lord to put words in our mind as we write. We are in no way coming against God’s plan of Divine Healing, nor are we teaching that we are not to have the victory over all Devil things. What we will ask, and seek to answer is, “What is victory?” Is it a place that we can reach in exercising faith where we can avoid all infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecution, and distresses (II Cor. 12:7-10)?
The answer is NO! For a time in his walk with God, the Apostle Paul supposed that he would reach such a place. He prayed three times (And I am sure he prayed desperately!) for the Lord to elevate him to this place. At first, he evidently thought that victory meant no more failures, no more attacks by the enemy, no more distressing times, no more needs that were not met instantly, no more sickness that was not healed instantly, and no more times of total weakness where all he could do was lean on the Lord Jesus.
I say that this was Paul’s line of thought for a time, but then he had
a most powerful revelation and one that the Bride must have today. He saw that
he had misunderstood what victory really is. It is not reaching a place above
all the trials and temptations of life, rather is it the Faith to trust the Lord
God in the midst of whatever suffering our Father may choose to put us through.
After his revelation, he said in II Cor. 12:10, “Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in
necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake, for when I am
weak, then am I strong.”
In Rev. 2:9, God said, “I KNOW thy works and thy tribulations, and poverty, but thou art rich, and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the Synagogue of Satan.” In teaching on this verse, the Prophet said as follows:
QUOTE: CHURCH AGE BOOK, PAGES 116-117, “Now the Lord God
Almighty says, ‘I KNOW.’ There He is walking in the midst of His people.
There He is, the Chief Shepherd of the flock, but does He hold back the
persecution? Does He stem the tribulation? No, He does not. He simply says, ‘I
KNOW your tribulation….I am not at all unmindful of your suffering.’ What a
stumbling block this is to so many people. Like
CONT. QUOTE: “Why does He stand by? The reason is in Romans 8:17-18, “And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Unless we suffer with Him we cannot reign with Him. You have to suffer to reign. (The reason for this is that character simply is never made without suffering.) Character is a VICTORY, not a gift. A man without character can’t reign because power apart from character is Satanic. But power with character is fit to rule.” (End quote)
It is the writer’s prayer that we may all be brought to a place of BALANCE in the Message and the scriptures concerning what true VICTORY is. In our Message, we are hearing some wonderful powerful sermons stressing the fact that we are to return to the place Adam held before the fall. In the sense that we are to have total and complete victory over the enemy, I agree. But, if it is being implied that we can dodge all things that would produce suffering, then I must draw back. I hear warning bells going off in my Spirit when I hear Brothers preaching the same thoughts that Paul had about suffering, before his revelation. (He desired to dodge them all. He prayed to dodge them all.)
There is being a strong emphasis placed on the fact that the ideal
Christian life is one of constant peace, unbroken joy, no infirmities, no
distresses, and no bumps in the road, and steady material prosperity. It’s
true that the flesh wants all problems instantly solved, and it’s also a
fleshly thought that if they are not, then our faith is faulty. Dear Friends,
this is simply not true! The Spirit-filled life is not one great big picnic; it
is a WARFARE that calls us to press the battle. It calls for the crucifying of
self, which is only accomplished by suffering and pain. II Tim. 2:3, “Thou
therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
In Hebrews chapter eleven, we see a group of people whose names have been placed in God’s “Faith Hall of Fame.” But, I am afraid that if some of us in the Message today were called upon to give an opinion concerning some people who were experiencing the same things those people did, we might conclude they did not have the victory. Heb. 11: 37-38 says of these mighty warriors of faith, that they, “Wandered about in sheepskins and goat skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented… they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” Who would like to accuse these Elect Souls of not having faith when the Bible says they were people of great faith?
And so we ask again, what is Victory? Let it be said that it is not the absence of hardships, trials, afflictions, or the accumulation of property and wealth. Victory is that kind of faith that continues to trust God when confronted with all the things that these people in Hebrews eleven were confronted with. It is trusting God in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, in the abundance of material things and also in the absence of them. It is kissing the Hand that is ordering our steps through sorrow and heart-break, as well as through mountain-top experiences. Faith is our victory, no matter what circumstances our Lord has ordered for us.
May we bow before our sovereign God and accept His all-wise dealings with us, though it be through much tribulation that He leads. Our bounden duty is, “Trust Him anyway, though He slays us.”
If God healed everyone immediately, where would be the opportunity for us to exercise patience and cause our faith to grow stronger? It is true that He does heal some immediately, but if we want to be completely honest, we will admit that many times He does not. This is God’s business, He knows what we each one need and when! If God delivered all of us from conflict, pressure, and all kinds of suffering at our first prayer, how could we ever persevere as the scripture says we must?
If the Lord Jesus, in His human body, could not be perfected with out
suffering, can we be brought to the place of the Perfect Love He had without it?
When we remember that the Prophet was told that no one can enter that other
dimension without it, we should be seeking it with all our hearts. But, the
question is, “How do we come into it?” There is in all of us (in our flesh)
that Law of Sin Paul spoke of in Rom.
-23, that causes us to be proud and boastful. This haughty spirit that
came to us through the fall in
And so our all-wise God has prepared for us a “Satan’s
WHAT IS VICTORY?
In our End-Time Message today, there is great emphasis being placed on
the idea that Victory, or the ideal spiritual life, is one that is above the
trials, tribulations, distresses, infirmities, and perplexities that the Saints
of old endured. The flesh man is thrilled at the prospect of reaching such a
place, for he is directly opposed to any kind of suffering. The natural mind is
quick to take hold of this human idea of what Victory is for it promises a life
of unbroken joy, peace, and constant material prosperity. But in all honesty,
and in all truth, we must stop and ask ourselves the question, “What is
Victory?” The answer to this question is vitally important, because the wrong
answer will turn our minds against God’s way of dealing with our flesh, which
He has set out to crucify! The right answer will give us the right attitude
toward the trials of life which have been ordained to come our way.
And so we ask, “WHAT IS VICTORY?” At this point, we want to be very
careful and not come against the teaching of some wonderful Brothers who have
great faith, and who are teaching that we can overcome. With this we whole
heartedly agree, our enemy has been placed beneath God’s feet, and not only
so, but beneath ours also! But our question is this, “Does this mean that our
Creator does not still have a use for Satan?” We know his end when God has
finished with him, but why has not the Lord already put him in the
In studying carefully the life of Job, the man that God Himself testifies
to being a perfect and upright man, and one who feared God and hated evil, we
see that God had a work for Satan to do in Job’s life. Though Job was perfect
in his heart attitude toward God, his flesh needed to be crucified, even as does
mine and yours. This is one main reason for the Devil not as yet being
destroyed. But, though not destroyed, he is no longer a free moral agent, he
sinned away his day of Grace and we know this is so because sentence has already
been passed on him. His chances to repent and obey his Creator are past and
gone. You and I are still free to choose, but not so with Satan. He threw away
his last chance and was put out of Heaven. Now he is only a “tool” in the
hands of his Creator. It must bring much distress to Satan’s heart to know
that this powerful revelation concerning himself is being revealed to the Bride.
She knows he cannot do other than help our God instill a character in Her that
will be fit to reign with Christ!
The fires of adversity are used of God to burn out the dross (self), and
Satan, in the Hands of his Creator has his part to play! God’s wisdom is such
that it always turns evil into good. (Rom.
The Bride knows that every circumstance of life, both good and bad, have
been weighed in the scales of God’s Perfect Love before being allowed to touch
their lives. She knows that the whole universe is under God’s control and is
being manipulated for the purpose of saving, and then training all who are to be
His Bride. What then does this training program consist of? Does Father raise us
to a place in faith where we can pray our way around all the trials and
temptations of life? Or, does He do with us as He did with the Apostle Paul, and
actually assign us a “Messenger of Satan” to buffet us blow after
blow? (II Cor. 12:7) If it took this buffeting for Paul and for our own Prophet,
Brother William Branham, as well as for every Saint in the Bible that was used
of God, will it not take the same for His modern day Bride? Surely it will!
If then, victory is not a faith that can lift us above all tests and
trials, what can we conclude that true victory is? The answer is very simple
when seen in the light of the scriptures! The Bible does say, “This is the
victory that overcometh the world,
even our faith,” (I John 5:4) but please notice the word OVERCOMETH!
Victorious faith is a faith that endures every trial and test that our Father
sees fit to send our way. Not that our faith can skirt us around them, but that
it holds us up during them, so that we become overcomers.
Before some misunderstand, let me say that we are by no means implying
that we are not to resist the evil one. We are not to be passive before the
Devil things that come our way. One of the greatest paradoxes of the Bible is
that our God sends the messengers of Satan to buffet us, then commands that we
resist them through the power of His Name. (James 4:7)
But least we fall into the trap of some modern day theology concerning
what true Bible victory is, we need to be warned that it is not, as some say, a
life of unbroken peace, joy and happiness, where all problems are instantly
solved, and every sickness is instantly healed by the prayer of faith. Faith can
be in full exercise and the answer not yet given. Abraham’s faith was in full
force as he traveled toward the mountain where he had been commanded to kill his
son. The ram that was to be found caught in the brush was not yet seen, yet
Abraham traveled several days intent on obeying God. His faith was allowed to
work for awhile before God sent the ram that would save his son.
QUOTE: POSSESSING THE ENEMY’S GATES, PAGES 6-7, “What about
Abraham with Isaac, on the mountain, the one the promise was given, and by his
loyalty and his knowing, and his faith in Jehovah, it’s through that and that
alone, that God looked down and said, ‘His seed shall possess the gates.
I’ve sworn by Myself that I will do these things…….’ Then if He let
Abraham be tested to that final point (while his faith continued to work) He’s
got to test you and me to that final moment, that time of decision when
everything’s away from you. You have to stand alone there. Hallelujah!
That’s it.” (End quote)
It is while our faith is holding that it is tested by our Father. How
could He test a faith that was not there? A favorite lie of the enemy is, “If
your faith was working, your answer would have already come, therefore, you do
not have faith.” What a liar he is, how contrary to the God’s Word he
speaks. The Apostle Paul was a man of great faith. Who would like to stand and
accuse him of being lacking? Yet, his life was one of constant troubles as far
as the natural world was concerned. His great faith did not lift him above
suffering. Let him testify.
II Cor. 11:23-28, “……in labours more abundant, in stripes
above measure, in prisons more frequently, in (places) of death oft,
……in perils of waters in perils of robbers, in perils of mine own
countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the
wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren. In weariness
and painfulness….in hunger and thirst….in cold and nakedness.”
Was Paul then a second class Christian, lacking in real faith? I think
not! What a contrast Paul’s life was compared to some modern day preaching
that insists that the Christian life is a roller coaster ride, all down hill, a
life of ease and a bed of roses. Scripture states that the Born-Again Christian
must be nailed to his cross daily and self must be crucified. Self does not die
on its own, but must be buffeted blow after blow. There will be the bitterness
of persecution, unavoidable weariness, toil, desperate days and dark nights of
distress with pain.
Reginald Heber wrote:
The Son of God goes forth to war,
A Kingly crown to gain;
His blood red banner streams afar;
Who follows in His train?
Who best can drink his cup of woe,
Triumphant over pain,
Who patient bears His cross below,
He follows in His train.
Sister Amy Carmichael wrote the
“Soldier’s Prayer” as follows:
From prayer that asks that I may
Sheltered from winds that beat on
From fearing when I should aspire,
From faltering when I should climb
From silken self, O Captain free
Thy Soldier who would follow Thee.
From subtle love of softening
From easy choices, weakening,
Not thus are spirits fortified,
Not this way went the Crucified,
From all that dims Thy Calvary
O Lamb of God, deliver me.
Give me the love that leads the
The Faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like
Let me not sink to be a clod,
Make me Thy fuel, flame of God.
Our prophet, Brother William Branham, has taught that the Holy Ghost in
the life of a Believer will lead him to sacrifice self, which life will result
in suffering. The true believer will become wiling to suffer the tensions that
God chooses to bring into his life, realizing that they are working together for
II Cor. 4: 17-18, “For our light affliction, which is but for
a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while
we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.
For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen
QUOTE: POSSESSING THE ENEMY’S GATES, PAGE 6, “God brings
tensions in to the Church, ‘For every son that cometh to God must be tried and
proven, and tested.’ He lets sickness strike you. He lets diseases come on you
to test you and prove you, to show the world that you’re truly the Seed of
Abraham. He permits it by His own will. He permits disasters; He permits friends
to turn against you. He permits all these things, and turns the Devil loose to
tempt you, and he’ll do all but take your life. He could throw you on a bed of
affliction, he could turn your neighbors against you, he could turn the Church
against you. He can do most anything, AND IT’S GOD’S WILL FOR HIM TO DO IT.
WE ARE TAUGHT THAT IT IS MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD TO US.” (End quote)
Some teach that God does not use physical sickness to discipline a Saint
gone wrong, or one who needs further child-training. But, this is contrary to
Paul’s teaching in I Cor. 11: 28-32, “A man ought to examine
himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats
and drinks without recognizing the Body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on
himself. THAT IS WHY MANY OF YOU ARE WEAK AND SICK, AND A NUMBER OF YOU HAVE
FALLEN ASLEEP. But if we judged ourselves we would not come under judgment. When
we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be
condemned with the world.” (NIV)
David said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I
kept Thy Word. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn
Thy statutes.” (Ps. 119:67-71) Suffering for the Saints of God may well be
the most misunderstood of all Bible doctrines.
In our natural way of thinking, suffering is no doubt the last thing that
we would consider needful in our Christian life. Our natural way of thinking is
that our God has no part in our suffering, and that when we are overtaken by it
we have been overcome by the enemy. I say this is the natural man’s thinking,
but the man who knows and believes the scripture thinks differently. He knows
suffering is not an accident, nor something that the Devil planned for him, but
rather that it is a GIFT TO BE CHERISHED, for it is the very thing that attends
to the building of our God-like character.
I Thes. 3:3-4, “But of course you know that such troubles are
a part of God’s plan for us Christians. Even while we were still with you we
warned you ahead of time that suffering would soon come….and it did.”
In this Satan’s
He permits it because He knows that it is the only thing that will work
for us “An Eternal Weight of Glory.” (II Cor. 4:17) When suffering is
looked at in the proper light, it is the pathway to Glory. This then is at least
part of the answer why every Saint is not healed instantly, even though his
faith is intact. It is why we are not carried to the skies on a flowery bed of
ease. It is why we must fight to win the prize and sail through bloody seas. God
sent us a Prophet who said, “You will have to fight for every inch of ground
you gain.” He knew this from the scriptures and from personal experience.
The love of God that was portrayed in Brother William Branham’s life
was not there by happen-stance, but was produced by a life-time of suffering. In
his childhood, he suffered the want of the very necessities of life. He suffered
from sin that was in his own unchurched family. In his limited school days, he
suffered extreme poverty before his classmates and teacher. He suffered from
accidents and from being socially unaccepted in his community. He suffered the
loss of a wife and a child, which loss broke his heart into many pieces. Called
into the ministry, he suffered the loss of his private life that he might
minister to the peoples of the world. Having a second family, he was separated
from them most of the time, as he gave up his life with them to serve his God.
He suffered sicknesses and reverses during his 30 odd years of ministry. But the
results were glorious indeed. The Spirit of the Lord Jesus was so manifested in
his life that many people were unable to restrain from weeping when coming into
his presence. It was not the spirit of the Prophet that caused the weeping, but
the Spirit of Jesus in the Prophet. It was not the spirit of the Prophet that
caused devils to tremble and flee, but the Spirit of Jesus in the Prophet. It
was not the spirit of the Prophet that caused the sick to be healed, but the
Spirit of Jesus in the Prophet. And that Spirit of the Lord was there because
suffering had so tendered the heart of this one that more and more room was made
for the Chief Sufferer, Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus Christ identifies Himself with the suffering Saints of the
world. This is because He, Himself, suffered throughout His life, not only on
the Cross, but for the full time of His stay on Earth, from His birth in a
stable, to His misunderstood preaching, to His casting out by the Church and on
to the Cross, He suffered. He suffered all kinds of temptations, even as we do.
He suffered from the sin that was all around Him, but never committing a sin
Himself. Our God knew that His plan to allow mankind to fall into sin would
involve a Redeemer coming to save them. He knew that this Redeemer would have to
suffer the sins of the people, yet He did not hesitate to come. He did not sit
on His Throne, high and lifted up above the suffering, for 33 years He
experienced it, and even learned obedience because of it.
We are taught that a Bride revival will come before the Rapture, but I
wonder if we understand that suffering must come before the revival? Revival
comes to those who have softened hearts and broken wills. It comes to those who
have been broken in their own ambitions and ideas, and oft times broken in
reputation, and despised by those who should love them. “The lame take the
prey.” (Isa. 33:23) That is to say those who have been crippled in all
their human efforts will then lean on Jesus Christ and by this leaning, will
gain the most for His Kingdom.
Brokenness is God’s plan for His Elect Bride. He will see to it that
SELF in us is reduced. This is because self-confidence must be destroyed in
order to make room for complete God confidence. We must be brought to the end of
ourselves, and this simply cannot be done except through suffering. In the life
of our Brother William Branham, as we have stated, can be seen years of crushing
heartache and sorrow. From a young man who had been raised in a family without
God, and knowing only one law, which was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a
tooth, he was transformed, through suffering, into one through whom the Love of
God flowed like a mighty river. This anointing did not come cheap, and it will
cost the Bride also. At this time our Father is seeking those who will submit to
His remolding of the clay.
How can we read the scriptures and not understand this crucifixion of
self in the lives of God’s Elect? Watch David as he hides out in the
wilderness like a criminal, running from King Saul. He was to be King, but not
until self in him had been reduced. See Joseph, a spiritual man who already had
heart purity, but who was put through God’s furnace of suffering to take him
deeper into the death of self. Job, who was perfect in his heart, and dead to
sin (Scripture says he hated it.) had to be put through great suffering to die
out to his own religious life. He had to die to his earthly ties, to his own
theology concerning his views of God’s providence. Perhaps these things were
not sin in themselves, but they hindered his greater walk with God.
To those in the Message who feel free to read material other than Brother
Branham’s, I would recommend a book entitled, “Don’t Waste Your Sorrows”
by Paul E. Billheimer, published by CLC Publications,