This-morning, we'll continue our examination of the history of the past Seven Church Ages. If we can identify the Scripture with past history, we can know what Scripture is already fulfilled. See what remains to be fulfilled. And know which part of His Word, God is fulfilling now.
Once we've recognized what God promised He'd do in our day, we lay aside all else. We don't rest, until we can see that part of the Word manifesting through our life. Only then we can say, like Paul, the life I now live is not me, but Christ living in me.
A special 'Hello' to all of our new listeners.
There were Seven Church Ages. Seven earthly angels: messengers, or major apostles, one to each of these Ages. And being messengers, of course they each had a Message. And there were seven different and distinct Messages inspired to these seven men. We find them in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3.
Illustrated by symbols, they were revealed to each messenger, by the Holy Spirit in God's time. These seven Messages were the 'the KEYS to the kingdom of heaven' Jesus gave to Peter. And these keys were FAITH keys.
Do you remember Jesus' solemn declaration to Peter in Matthew 16? 'Blessed art thou, Simon son of Jona: for flesh and blood (that is - man, books and learning) has not revealed to you Who I am, but my Father which is in heaven has revealed Who I am. And I say also unto you, That you're Peter, and upon this rock (of the Spiritual revelation of Who I am: a clear understanding, or faith in the revealed Word), I'll build My Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against faith in the Word.
And I'll give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven'. Providing, of course, it's bound or loosed by faith. Because God's Word does not return to Him void, but accomplishes that for which it was sent. And if we abide in His Word, and His Word abides in us, we can ask anything in His Name, and He'll BIND or LOOSE it.
So you see, the KEYS Jesus gave to Peter were FAITH Keys. If you'd like to see the FIRST time they were used, turn to Acts chapter 2. After the Church was inaugurated by Jesus Christ, on the Day of Pentecost, the 120 original Christians emerged from the upper room and their spokesman, Peter, addressed the huge crowd of Jews who'd come from all over the Roman world, to observe the Feasts of Passover and Pentecost, at the Temple in Jerusalem. Beginning with the prophet Joel, Peter preached to Israel the PRESENT Truth.
He identified Jesus in the Scripture. Those Israelites saw plainly that they'd killed their very Messiah. And in desperation cried, 'Men and brethren! What shall we do? We've sacrificed our God'.
Then Peter replied, 'Repent, and be baptized, in the NAME of the LORD JESUS CHRIST for the REMISSION of sin, and you SHALL be born-again!' Oh my! The KEY turned right then, and about three thousand souls entered the kingdom of heaven, which is, the NEW-BIRTH.
Peter unlocked the kingdom of heaven, or new birth, to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost. Until Peter turned the keys, or IMPARTED the faith, no Jew, other than those in the upper room with him, could be added to the Kingdom.
But the kingdom is not restricted to the Jews. For Moses and the prophets and Psalms had spoken beforehand concerning the Gentiles (Genesis 9:27; Deuteronomy 32:43; Isaiah 11:1, 10; Psalms 18:49; 117:1, etc). In Acts 8:14-17, we find Peter turned the FAITH keys once again, to unlock the Kingdom to the Samaritans, who were half Jew and Gentile. And in Acts 10, Peter turned the Faith Keys, and God admitted Gentiles from about three different nations into the Kingdom by the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which IS the new birth.
The keys to the Kingdom of heaven are faith, or a clear REVELATION of the Word for YOUR day. 'For by ONE Spirit we're ALL baptized into one Body, whether we be Jews OR Gentiles, whether we're bond or free' (I Corinthians 12:13). And we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is the new-birth, by FAITH. Paul said, 'We receive the Spirit by the HEARING of Faith' (Galatians 3:3; 14). And 'Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing (or UNDERSTANDING) the Word of God' (Romans 10:17). Jesus said, 'Except a man be born-again, he cannot see (or understand) the Kingdom of God' (John 3:3; I Corinthians 12:3).
Now I wish to draw our attention to a very important observation, which will help us better understand this-morning's lesson. Notice that Jesus gave Peter the keys (PLURAL) to the Kingdom (SINGULAR).
What does this confirm? but Paul's teaching of I Corinthians 12. That the true Church or Body of Christ, like your body, and my body, is made up of several different parts and though each member has its own function, all members of the body are interdependent; necessary to one another, and equally members of the body. Without any one of them, our body, or the Body of Christ, the true Church of all Ages, would not be complete and perfect.
Now the Body of Christ is made-up through the Gentile dispensation by the seven DIFFERENT Portions of the ONE Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, as in the Book of Revelation (which only employs Old Testament symbols), these portions are called 'the seven lamps of Fire which burn before the throne of God'. And they represent the Seven Church Ages. The seven Church Age messengers or angels were each anointed with a Portion of the Spirit. So it should be clear that the Body of Christ was made up by FAITH in their Messages.
According to the Pentecostal Feast of Leviticus 23 which TYPES the Gentile dispensation, there were NINE distinct divisions of the Church. This agrees with Matthew 24, and Revelation 1 to 3 which describe them as Alpha, or Pentecost, which had ALL the KEYS, or faith ONCE delivered unto Peter; Seven Church Ages of PART Word with ONE specific Key (or portion of Spirit) revealed to EACH Age. And TODAY, the Omega Age wherein the apostolic faith has been RESTORED by the prophet of Malachi 4:5-6 and Revelation 10:7.
Both Jesus and Peter PROMISED: 'Elijah truly SHALL come BEFORE the great Tribulation, and RESTORE the Word spoken by ALL God's holy prophets since the world began'.
Once again, we have in THIS day, ALL the KEYS (plural), that Jesus gave unto Peter. Paul called It 'That Which is perfect': the FULLNESS of the Word.
If you CATCH what I'm saying, you'll appreciate what we've been reviewing in our study of the Seven Church Ages. Each Church Age is a DISTINCT dispensation. A DIFFERENT part of the ONE Body, made up by DIFFERENT baptisms of the Holy Ghost - DIFFERENT measures of the ONE faith of Jesus Christ.
When one part of the Body was completed, God added ANOTHER line, ANOTHER precept, ANOTHER Word, a GREATER measure of Revelation or Spirit; (as foretold by the prophet Isaiah). The REVELATION which gave the new-birth, or baptized one Church Age into the Body, could NOT give the new birth in any of the succeeding Ages. It could make a foolish virgin, but NOT a saint.
Oh, we should search the Scriptures, for IN them is eternal Life. Jesus said, 'You can discern tomorrow's weather, or NATURAL things, but you CAN'T discern the SPIRITUAL Signs of the times'.
People FAIL to see these DIFFERENT dispensations. They FAIL to see that denominations are tombstones - memorials to past Moves of God already fulfilled. There's no Life in them - they formed AFTER the Revivals they represent.
I John 1:7 says, 'UNLESS we're walking in the Light, or REVELATION of the Word, that God's fulfilling NOW, we ARE not and CANNOT come under the blood, or be born-again'.
We have to recognize OUR day and ITS Message, or we're NOT in the economy of God. God's ONLY making written epistles of the PRESENT Truth.
Now we're going to continue our review of the Seven Church Ages which are ALL fulfilled. The Seventh or Laodicean Church Age ended in 1963, when Christ came forward, claimed the Book of Redemption, tore open the Seven Seals, and revealed their mystery to us, through His prophet, the late William Branham, who was the angel or messenger to Laodicea.
Last week we covered the Thyatira or DARK Age. This week, we'll examine the Fifth Age; the FIRST of THREE Ages of the REFORMATION of the Roman Catholic SYSTEM of worship.
After what seemed an interminable time, wherein Truth must surely die, men began to protest the vileness, of the Roman Catholic church, because by no stretch of the imagination, could God be in such teaching, and such conduct. These protests were disregarded, and died from failure to arouse attention, or were quashed by Rome.
Then God in His sovereign grace, sent a messenger, by the name of Martin Luther to start a reformation. He worked in a climate where the Roman Catholic church had been given so much rope, that she was about to hang herself.
When Luther preached JUSTIFICATION by faith, the true vine, for the first time in many centuries, began to grow in a bountiful manner. As the nominal church had used state power to back it up, now state power began to flow against it. This is where Luther made his mistake, and the true believers made their mistake. They allowed the state to subsidize them. So this Age did not launch out very far on the Word. Thank God that it went as far as it did go. But because it leaned on political power to a great extent, this age ended in organization. And this very group, that in Luther's generation, had broken from the false vine, now turned back, to become a daughter of the harlot, for she went right into nicolaitanism and Balaamism. This era had scores of factions within it, and to prove how far they were from true seed is merely to read history, and see how they persecuted each other, even unto death in some cases. But there were a few names amongst them, even as there always are in every age.
We rejoice in this age for this one thing. Reformation had started. it was not a resurrection, but a reformation. Neither was it a restoration. But the corn of wheat that had died at Nicea and had rotted in the Dark Ages, now sent up a shoot of Truth, signifying that at some future date, at the end of the Laodicean Age, just before Jesus came, the Church would go back to being a wheat Seed Bride again, while the tares would be harvested, and burned in the lake of Fire.
Praise God! Jesus said, 'The generation that sees Israel restored to the Promised Land will not pass away, before the millennium is ushered in'.
We're living at the climax of Christian history. Soon cometh the earthquake that marks the end of the Gentile dispensation. Soon the Seventh Trump will sound, to call the sleeping saints out of the dust and change the living Bride in the atoms. Then we'll be caught up with them in the Clouds, to meet the Lord in the Air for the Wedding Supper.
We're living in the harvest time. Waiting for the resurrection.
Jesus said the seven stars in his right hand, meaning 'in his control', represented the angels to the Seven Church Ages. Those men were: Paul, Irenaeus, Martin, Columba, Luther, Wesley, and Branham. If you wish to learn a little about the life and work of these mighty saints, check them out in an encyclopaedia. God will bless you and strengthen your faith as you 'prove all things, hold fast that which is good'.
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Each week hundreds of letters come into Bible Believers' by the information superhighway. You know, electronic communication via the computer network, is a wonderful tool for God. So is radio, television, film, publishing, and recorded music. Sadly, the Devil's children are more numerous than the children of God. And it doesn't take him long to pollute the media with filth.
Once upon a time, Christians didn't go to the movies. For the eye is the window of the mind. But Satan brought his filth right into the living room of billions, via television. Brother Branham said, 'Christians don't have a television set in the home'.
Once an image enters your mind, it's forever there. There's a recording made, and every now and again it'll re-play, and we've got to put it out of our mind. Be careful what you allow your eyes to see, and your ears to hear.
People who've lived sinful lives, always have those memories with them as regrets. No matter how long they've been serving the Lord, those images are always there. Remember Paul, that mighty prophet to the Gentiles? His past, wherein he'd persecuted Christians to death, was a constant burden of grief, for the rest of his days.
Though God had forgiven, and forgotten his past, and Paul was just in His sight, those memories were always with him.
All of your thoughts are recorded, as is your life. That recording starts once you reach the age of accountability; it becomes louder and louder. When you die, God puts it back in the rack, and unless you're a Christian, it'll be played back to you at the judgment.
As the Bible says, the sinners will be speechless. They'll have no place they can hide.
You know what it's like when you're drowning, or in an accident? It seems as if your whole life is replayed - in a split second of time. It's all recorded, the color of your clothes, the scenery, and the circumstances, in the finest detail. And unless you meet Christ now in a new-birth, it'll be played back at the Judgment. radio025.html
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