A Prophet to the Gentiles
(based on the book by Terry Sproule)
— Chapter 1 —
God has to judge the world someday and the Catholics say He will judge it by the Catholic church, but which one, there are so many of them? They have two opposing trinities, and in addition to the pope in Rome there is one in Egypt, one in Greece, one in Armenia, one in Syria, another in Russia, and perhaps more. But if God is going to judge the world by the Protestant church, He has hundreds if not thousands from which to choose—each preaching a different gospel. If the Methodist is right, the Baptist is lost. If the Protestants are right then the Catholics are lost. God said He will judge the world by Jesus Christ who is the Word and physical manifestation of His eternal thoughts (John 1:1; Colossians 2:9).
All denominations have departed from God's Word, adding to it here and diminishing from it there in order to establish their own creed. Not one of them can receive the full Gospel and they will not receive the present Truth —what Jesus is doing now, and having organized under human headship are unable follow the Leading of the Spirit (John 3:8). God deals with individuals—one at a time, not organizations. He has never spoken through two prophets in the same time and place.
As the Word of God comes only to a prophet, we must receive His vindicated prophets for God will judge the world by the iron rod of their unchanging Word. God's first prophet was His first son, Adam, who named all of the animals by inspiration before the fall. Sin entered the world when the first woman disregarded God's Word and her prophet husband's headship to listen to the Serpent ncarnate by Satan, to whom Adam surrendered his dominion when he took Eve back to himself, and brought death on the whole creation (Romans 5:17-18).
II Peter 1:20-21, "No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation because no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men moved by the Holy Ghost spoke from God." His voice is one man under pre-eminence. He had a Noah once; He had a Moses, a Jeremiah, an Elijah, an Elisha, and a John the Baptist at the end of the dispensation of the Law. Only John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ's first Coming, was inspired to identify Scriptures such as Isaiah 40:1-3 that were being fulfilled. Only John was ordained to identify the Lamb. So in this day at the end of dispensation of grace, with multitudes of Scriptures coming to pass, God needed one man under pre-eminence through whom He could speak the Word to introduce His second or 'parousia' Coming, indict the world church system and condemn the world.
In the days of John the Baptist the priesthood and Temple service were corrupt and the faith of Moses and the prophets lacerated into denominations of Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, Essenes and Zealots whose conflicting doctrines "made the Word of God on no effect to them" (Matthew 15:9). And today at "the 'parousia' Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to gather the Bride of all ages to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb in the sky," we witness "the prior apostasy" foretold by Paul whereby the church in Laodicea is materially "rich and in need of nothing, but spiritually wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked of the Blood".
"Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18). For this reason God promised to send a vindicated prophet with THUS SAITH THE LORD to restore the apostolic faith (Malachi 4:5-6; Matthew 17:11), "finish the mystery of God" (Revelation 10:7), and call the wise and foolish virgin out from Rome and her (once) Protestant harlot daughters to maturity "in the unity of the faith for the manifestation of the Sons of God" and the great translation (Matthew 25:6; Ephesians 4:13; Romans 8:19; I Corinthians 15:46-57). Over the centuries "the faith once delivered to the saints," such as the true oneness of the Godhead, Scriptural water baptism, the mystery of the baptism of the Holy Ghost without sensation but the Person of Christ performing in you the same works He did, and the original sin, had been lost through Jewish and Judaeo-Catholic martyrdom, while other mysteries essential to the end-time Bride, like the revelation of the Seven Church Ages, Seven Seals, Seven Thunders, Seven Vials and the rapture, that had never been revealed.
His disciples asked Jesus, "What will be the sign of Your 'parousia' Coming and what will be the sign of the end of the world order." Matthew recorded Jesus' response from the perspective of the 144,000 elect Israelites in a lengthy dissertation on events that must take place from the end of God's dealings with Israel as a nation, to Daniel's Seventieth Week, the consummation of Life, the Millennium, White Throne Judgment, and the disposition of sin prior to the renewed heavens and earth (Matthew 24 – 25).
There is little dispute among Bible students, that the fig tree represented Israel and that Jesus was indicating the restoration of the modern state would be the key sign to awaken the elect to the imminence of His second or 'parousia' Coming and the end of the world order (Matthew 24:32-34). This along with independence granted to the former colonies has seen its fulfillment only since the end of the Second World War (Luke 21:29-33).
The signs of the end of the Ages and the Coming of Christ for His Bride also include a repetition of the natural, spiritual and moral characteristics of the days of Noah and Lot; city building, an exponential increase in knowledge, violence, promiscuity, homosexuality, lawlessness, the rise of anti-Christ in religious union, and a global economy preparatory for Lucifer's one world government, international travel, wars and earthquakes. Soon cometh the earthquake.
— The Sign of the Prophet —
Our purpose is to alert the reader to one more vitally significant sign which, likewise, has found its fulfillment in our day. This is God's promised warning before any major, Scriptural happening, and is at once His most vivid yet most overlooked and misunderstood sign.
Amos 3:7, "Truly the Lord God will not do anything without first revealing His secret to His servants the prophets." God's pattern of dealing with His people has always included sending prophets. Amos states emphatically, "God does nothing without a prophetic forerunner" as disclosed by the most rudimentary study of Scriptural history.
Tragically, history also reveals that seldom was a prophet greeted with anything but skepticism and abuse. No matter how great their Divine vindication, they suffered at the hands of those to whom they were sent. Jesus told the Pharisees in Matthew 23:31-36, "Your forefathers were guilty of the blood of all the prophets from Abel to Zechariah," identifying them with the lineage of Cain (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, XIII, 9:1).
In maintaining the consistency of His Word, God promised the world a prophetic messenger to announce His Second Coming. Only one ministry over the past century could qualify as that vindicated Prophet of God. William Branham was recognized by his contemporaries as a major prophet, then rejected by this wicked and adulterous Laodicean generation, whose churches put Christ without the camp, "crucifying to themselves the Son of God afresh" (Hebrews 6:6).
— What say the Scriptures —
Before discussing the life and ministry of William Branham, we will list some of the Scriptures which establish that a prophet was to forerun the Second Coming of Christ. It is commonly considered that since the first advent of Jesus Christ, God no longer uses prophets to minister to His people. A carnal interpretation of Scriptures such as Luke 16:16, "The Law and the prophets were until John," and Hebrews 1:1, "God, who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers in the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us in His Son. . ." is taken as proof of this. Let it be clearly understood, these Scriptures do not point to a cessation of prophets (I Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11). They state only that the partial Word each Old Testament prophet uttered was fully expressed in Christ, the Logos (Word), when He appeared in flesh. The New Testament abounds with prophets after Christ, even aside from the prophetic ministries obviously manifest in the Apostles such as Peter, Paul and John.
Let the reader consider Ephesians 3:1-5:
"For this cause I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ, for you Gentiles—If you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me toward you: how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men [or prophets – Ezekiel 2:1], as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit".
Here Paul shows that New Testament prophets not only exist but are ordained to carry mysteries the Old Testament prophets (sons of men) under the Law could only see as a shadow. "In these last days God has spoken to us by His Son," defines the first advent. The Son is still speaking through His ordained messengers.
The Scriptures are equally clear that a prophetic ministry would be focal at the end of the world to restore the Gentiles to the apostolic faith or true Message of the Son, (the Logos or Word), and after the translation of Christ's Bride of all Ages, to carry the Message of Messiah to Israel during the great tribulation (Revelation 11). The following Scriptures point to this Gentile forerunner:
Amos 3:7, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, without first revealing His secret to His servants the prophets".
Remember—before any significant, Scriptural event, God always speaks to a prophet to deliver warning and a way of escape for believing souls. He spoke with Noah before the flood, Abraham before the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah; Moses to deliver Israel; John the Baptist before Christ's first advent, and Paul to write and deliver the New Testament revelation to we Gentiles.
Malachi 4:5-6, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he will turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse".
The Spirit of Elijah is here prophesied to precede the Day of the Lord. Any Bible student understands the great and dreadful Day of the Lord is Christ's Second or 'parousia' Coming to Israel in power and judgment after the end of the Gentile dispensation (Isaiah 2:12, 19; I Thessalonians 5:2-3; II Peter 3:10).
Notice this twofold prophecy, Elijah will come:
1. To turn the heart of the fathers to the children,The following Scriptures show us where this prophecy was partially fulfilled:
2. To turn the heart of the children to their fathers.
Luke 1:17, "He shall go before Him in the Spirit and power of Elijah; to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord".
This speaks of course, of John the Baptist, but notice: the Holy Spirit divided the prophecy of Malachi and showed John fulfilling the first part only; John did not precede the great and dreadful Day of the Lord, but the earthly ministry of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.
Matthew 17:10-12, "His disciples asked Jesus, Why do the scribes say that Elijah must first come? Jesus answered, Elijah truly will come first, and restore all things, but I tell you, that Elijah has come already and they knew him not. . ."
Notice how Christ maintains the continuity of the previous Scriptures, also dividing the prophecy concerning the Elijah ministry. Jesus indicates that part of the Elijah ministry is already fulfilled and part remains to be fulfilled. In this further aspect of the Elijah ministry, He declares he will "restore all things".
II Thessalonians 2:3, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, until first there comes a falling away and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition".
Paul was stating the Lord's Day would not come until there was a "falling away." The Greek word is 'apostasia' and means a forsaking of the faith. If the reader continues through II Thessalonians 2, noting particularly verses 12 to 15, it becomes evident that Paul was warning of a falling away from the Word of God as brought by the Apostles. This is precisely what occurred from about the fourth century after the Roman Catholic church was organized at the first Nicaea Council. By about 1200 it had replaced the authority of Scripture with the authority of the church and married Christianity with paganism. Since that time there has been a partial reformation of the Roman Catholic system of false worship, and more recently a relapse by the once Protestant churches into the apostasy of which Paul was speaking.
Acts 3:20-21, "And He will send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began".
Peter identifies the fact that before Christ can return physically for the Millennium, there must be a rectification of all the disorders of the fall. This demands the prior restoration of the fullness of the Word and completion of the mystery of God in the revelation of Christ's 'parousia' Coming to His end-time Bride, and afterwards, to 144,000 elect Israelites. Notice the similarity to Matthew 17:11. Both indicate a "restoration of all things." Peter identifies these things as: "All things which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." It is a restoration of all the Word of God (I Corinthians 13:10; Revelation 10:7). What else is spoken through His prophets (II Peter 1:20-21)?
Now, let us now apply this Scriptural picture to our concluding text to establish:
1. Elijah is to restore "all things" (Matthew 17:11).
2. All things are to be materially restored before the second physical return of Christ (Acts 3:21).
3. All things refer to God's unchanging Word as it was inspired and delivered through His prophets, which is the revelation that must be restored before the first resurrection (Acts 3:21).
Revelation 10:7, "In the days of the Voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God already declared through His servants the prophets should be finished".
This seventh angel is identified as the messenger who would unveil the mystery of God that has already been declared to the prophets. It is the mystery of Christ, which according to I Timothy 3:16 is God manifest in flesh. That incarnation was the whole Message of the early church prophets and apostles. This seventh angel then will reaffirm this same Word or Logos to the Gentile church, which is the continuation God creating Himself in the flesh of His glorified Family as Eve was a continuation of Adam (John 12:24; Revelation 3:14).
The first three chapters of the Book of Revelation describe the condition and characteristics of seven Gentile churches once located in Asia Minor. It is erroneous to presume that this discourse only had an application to John's day. The first verse of the Revelation describes its contents as "things which must shortly come to pass" (in the future), thus the entire Book is prophetic, beginning with the immediate future and continuing through the Gentile dispensation to the calling of the 144,000 Israelites, the millennium, the White Throne Judgment and even the new Jerusalem.
These seven churches then were also prophetic and their characteristics applied to seven Ages which would make up the whole dispensation allotted by God to we Gentiles. From Ephesus to Laodicea, each Age had an angel who would bring it a Message from God. The word "angel," means messenger and here it refers not to heavenly messengers but to earthly through which "the Spirit speaks to the churches." (See Appendix I—Angels). Over the past two thousand years, God raised up a succession of great, spiritual leaders such as Paul, Irenaeus, Martin, Columba, Luther, Wesley and Branham to preserve the faith, from Age to Age.
The Message of each of these angels brought rebuke and correction to the church that had fallen from the faith delivered by the messenger to the previous Age and delivered the Message to the new Age. The Message of each angel brought new birth to those whose lives became written epistles of the Message to their Age. Jesus called the full revelation of each of those Messages, "Seven Thunders," for in the Bible a thunder signifies the Voice of God (Psalm 29:3; John 12:28-29; Revelation 4:5; 10:10:1-4).
After the Dark Ages, God anointed men, most notably Luther and Wesley, to begin the reformation of the Roman Catholic system of worship, and blessed their ministries with mighty revivals as the Light of His Word was reopening to them. The followers of these messengers, however, refused to keep walking in the Light as God continued to unveil it, stopped at a partial restoration, organized, denominated, then died and assumed the identical formalistic characteristics of the very church from which they were once delivered. Hence Revelation 10:7 indicates that the ministry of the seventh angel, or messenger to the Laodicean Church Age, would be to reveal the complete mystery of how God has veiled Himself in the flesh of His glorified Family as He redeemed the saints in each Age. When this final messenger arrives, he will declare all the Word—"all things," from which the early church apostatized and reveal the mysteries surrounding the threefold rapture and the second appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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