The Parousia [Presence]
Brian Joseph Kocourek
Pastor Grace Fellowship Tabernacle, 2380 Jefferson St, Highland Heights, Ky. 41076 USA. (513) 932-2156
- preface -
During the ministry of William Branham there were two points of doctrine that caused more controversy among the denominational and Pentecostal churches than anything else, and these were:
Brother Branham's use of the term Vindication: "That God has a one man Message and He deals with one man only." This caused much of the clergy to alienate Brother Branham, not understanding God's sovereignty and the office of a prophet, and for professional jealousy.
Brother Branham's teaching on the Godhead: He did not teach as the Oneness or Jesus Only, nor did he teach a Trinity. He said, "I stand in between them. I do not believe in a Trinity where there is three persons, and neither do I believe that Jesus is One like your finger in One." These two doctrinal issues were the "Rock of Offense" that kept Brother Branham from being accepted by the Church world in His day. Why is it that the Trinitarian Cult chasers brandish Brother Branham as a Oneness and yet the Oneness think he is Trinitarian? It is because he was neither of these two schools of thought. He stood right between them, and they could not discern the revelation, but they knew he didn't preach it like they do. He was not Oneness, neither was he Twoness or Threeness. But he believed there is One God who had a Son. Not God the Son, but the Son of God.
It should come then as no surprise that amongst the very followers of William Branham, these same two major doctrines have caused more controversy and have been attacked more than all others.
Again Vindication is the issue: Not so much that it was God who backed up William Branham's Message, for all Pentecostal people believe that God works out of heaven and does fantastic things. And they will even allow for God to come down to do certain things, but the understanding that this Vindication comes in the Form of God's Personal Presence with His Prophet, and that this Presence was referred to by Brother Branham himself as the Appearing of Christ has become the central doctrinal debate among "Message clergy" because it conflicts with their understanding of the Second Coming of Christ as they have always perceived it, and this is due to the fact they do not understand Godhead correctly.
Godhead: Again, most that have come into the Message have come from a Trinitarian background, but although they left the Trinitarians perhaps 99% of those who claim to follow the Message today are now Pentecostal Oneness in understanding owing to the fact they have failed to carefully listen to what brother Branham taught us on the Godhead. And because of professional jealousy amongst the clergy we see the same alienation of those who have stood by what Brother Branham has taught pertaining to the correct understanding of the Appearing and Godhead.
Brother Branham said, "The Presence of Jesus Christ, which ought to illuminate the church, to know that in this last days where creeds and denominations and isms and everything has got the Word all smothered out, and Jesus the Word on the outside of the church, [Revelation 3:20; James 5:7-9; John 12:48; II Thessalonians 1: 7-10; Matthew 16:27] and to see Him come right back among the people and identify Himself as He promised, "in the last days when the Son of man is being revealed." He was revealed in the baptism; He was revealed in divine healing; here He is in His last attribute. Remember, that was the last thing that Abraham saw before the fire fell and judged the Gentile world, and before the promised son came on the scene, Isaac. This is the last thing that the Christian church will see, in the sign of miracle, until the appearing of Jesus Christ. If God has give me favor before you, believe me in the Name of the Lord, there is nothing else left in the Bible to be done but take on the mark of the beast; and you have the Seal of God" (The Identified Christ of All Ages," p. 26:202). And what did Abraham call him? He said, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? So we see that the Judge has once again come down in the Form of The Word to judge amongst the Living and the dead. For if He must bring forth a resurrection, then He must have already chosen who will come forth and He is here to execute this Judgment. This is why in his Message "Perfect Faith" he could say, "I'm standing here right before the white throne now" (p. 34:189).
And notice Brother Branham's gift of discernment. And what is discernment but a judging. And Who Judges but a Judge. And this is why Brother Branham made such a point in showing the people the Picture in "Life Magazine" of the Cloud of angels which made up God's White Wig, which he called the "Supreme Judge." Unless the people can see that the Judge is here, they won't understand the last attribute that God is manifesting to them before we are caught up to meet Jesus His Son in the air. We shall study this more in the Glory (Gk.) Doxa of Christ.
"This is my ministry, see, to declare Him, that He is here!" (From that Time, p. 44:227).
These eleven words could well be Brother Branham's most profound statement, yet most who claim to follow his Message simply pass over these words and do not understand what he was trying to tell them.
In Acts 13:41 Paul made the same observation, but he let us know that this was speaking of a future time. He prophesied that there would come a ministry in the end time that would declare the very Presence of the Resurrected Christ among the people, and although Christ would vindicate His own Presence among them at this time, they would still refuse to believe it. "Behold you scoffers, be astonished and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall utterly refuse to believe, though a man fully declares it unto you".
The Scripture tells us a man will fully declare the ministry of the resurrected Lord Christ among the people, yet the people who hear him will refuse to believe this declaration. "He came to His Own and His own received Him not." The Message of Christ's Appearing went forth from the lips of God's anointed servant William Branham to the Pentecostal people and God Himself backed up this Message of His own Appearing, showing infallible proofs of His resurrection and Presence, yet even those who claimed to receive Brother Branham and to believe every word he said, reject the very Message he brought. I have heard these same men on their own tapes call this Presence of Christ, "just another doctrine" and some have even called it "Puke" because in their ignorance they could not pronounce the word "Parousia." Others have even called it "garbage." To think that these men know what this word means and yet would call the very Presence of God, "Garbage or Puke!" Jesus Himself said, "To speak one word against the Holy Ghost when He comes will never be forgiven, no not in this world or the world to come."
The Scripture says, "Had they known who He was, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory." So in their own ignorance they crucified Christ. And since the Scriptures cannot be broken, Hebrews 6:4-6 tell us that this will repeat again in this last days. "For it is impossible for those who have been once for all enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly Gift [The Lord Christ Himself] and were made partakers [companions] of the Holy Ghost, having fallen away, it is impossible for them to renew themselves again seeing that they crucify the Son of God afresh and put Him to an open shame [public disgrace]".
Now Brother Branham taught us that Hebrews 6 refers to Christ in the Form of the Word in the last days. So we see then that these men will be judged for their blasphemous words, yet they claim that they have always known Christ is here, for say they, "He's always been here. I know He's here because I can feel Him in my heart." They are simply deceived by their own indoctrination and as the Scripture calls them, "Ignorant in their own conceit." In "A Deceived Church" Brother Branham said, "But as Israel was bound by their Kings that they could not follow the real King; and the real King, when He came, they didn't recognize Him. So is it today, oh, Lord. The King of Glory has appeared in the form of the Holy Ghost and Lord, They don't know it. They don't recognize it. They're so organized so tight, that they do not understand it, because it's not in their organization. Lord this is a work of the Devil that's done this to the people. May the Samson of God, may the True in heart, those who are longing and crying and pleading and holding on, may they stay with it, Lord, until this new crop grows out. Until there comes forth a joy in Zion, and there comes forth a group that can recognize and understand. That can see the Messiah and the hidden power that's hid from the world that they will not understand now. Grant, Lord, that they'll see this, for we ask it in Jesus Name, Amen" (p. 81:83-84).
Brother Branham said that his ministry was to declare that Christ is here among us. Now, if Christ has always been here, as some people preach, and if the people also knew it, then why would God send a prophet forth to declare something that was already known. God has never wasted His time sending forth a Messenger with a Message that the people already knew. In "The Token" he said, "When you see signs going on, and no Message behind it, just the same old school of theology and on down, that wasn't from God. But where there is a sign showed, a Message follows it" (p. 11:73).
He said, "My Ministry is to declare Him, That He is Here!" Now most of the people that follow the Message of God's servant William Branham believe the Message of the hour is, "God sent a prophet!" They believe that the Message was to get you to see who Brother Branham was. Now, I would like to ask, since when has God sent forth a Messenger to declare himself. Since when has any Messenger of God come forth with a Message, "Look, here I am. God sent me!" Even Jesus said, "If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true." So for Brother Branham to come and preach about himself would make himself not true just as Jesus said. So then what is the Message? He said, "My Ministry is to declare Him, that He is Here!"
Now this is a twofold Message. 1: To declare Christ, and 2: To declare His very Presence among us. I am sure that he said what he meant and he meant what he said. He didn't come to pass on more Pentecostal teaching as some would like you to believe. His whole Purpose in Life was to declare Christ, that He has come down with "a shout," which he said was a Message to gather the Bride to Christ the Word, to get her ready for a rapture.
Now in examining what he said, we must know what it means to declare something. Declare (Gk.) exegesis, means to lead forth into view; to make clearly known, to reveal. The Scripture speaks in various places that the Son of Man is to be revealed in the last days, yet why is it that they will accept the fact that God has sent a prophet, but they will deny the very ministry that the prophet says he is sent to bring? Brother Branham's Message was surely greater than the Pentecostal message that had preceded him by many years. If you would just stop for a moment and examine the theme of His Message to the End-time Bride, you will find even the titles of his sermons a sure give-away as to his real purpose.
A Greater than Solomon is Here. Now why would he preach this? What is his purpose? Was he pointing the people to Himself, or to the same One to whom John pointed the people? Christ among us. John said, "He's standing in your midst and you don't know it".
Identified Christ of All Ages. What does it mean the Identified Christ? How is Christ to be identified? Who does the identifying? How does it take place? When is it to take place? Why is it to take place?
The Mighty God Unveiled Before Us. The word unveiled lets us know that which was hidden comes into plain view, that which was a mystery is now revealed. So the Mighty God must now be in plain view. And if in plain view, then He must be here on display to be viewed. Then we must ask the question, How is He unveiled? The answer lies in that very Message Brother Branham preached.
Who Do You Say This Is? And that is the question. Many don't know who is here. Who was Brother Branham speaking about? It could not have been himself, because when he uses the word THIS it refers to another, not self. Who was that other if it wasn't Christ Himself? Also you will note, if he spoke of Jesus back there he would have said, Who do you say that was? But he is bringing it into present tense.
The Unrecognized Presence of God. This title alone ought to let you know that He is here but unrecognized. Why is He unrecognized? Because they expected Him to come another way.
Who is This Melchisedec? Notice the emphasis is on WHO IS THIS, which signifies that he was pointing to someone. If he was speaking only in a historical sense he would have said, Who was That?
Look. Brother Branham preached this Message shortly after he preached the Seven Seals and he began by saying, "now a person says "LOOK" when he wants you to see something that he see's but that you don't".
Christ is the Mystery of God Revealed. The emphasis is not that Christ was the Mystery but that He is the mystery that is being revealed here now, among us. If this was referring to a historical Jesus of 2,000 years ago, he would have said, "Christ was the Mystery of God Revealed".
What shall I do with This Jesus Called Christ. That is a fair question to ask you today as you read this. What will you do with this Jesus Who is here?
Looking Unto Jesus. Now how could we look unto Jesus if He is somewhere else and cannot be seen?
Jesus keeps All His Appointments. And what appointment do we expect in this last hour. He's here keeping His appointments as He declared in His Word. As you read this you shall see many of the things we shall examine in detail later.
Christ Revealed in His Own Word. The answer as to how He has revealed His Presence and Himself to us in this last hour is exactly what this Message declares. He is revealed in His own Word.
As we can see, the central theme of His entire Message was to declare CHRIST and His Presence among us. But the Pentecostals have rejected His Message in favor of their old worn out message.
In "Q & A on the Holy Ghost" (COD, p. 425:75), he said, "Now when the Holy Ghost comes in and reveals the Truth of anything and proves it by His Presence and by His Word, you can't expect the Pentecostal people to say I'll agree with it! You've got to stand alone like Luther did".
Now he said that His ministry was to declare that Christ was here among us, and the word "declare" means: To make known openly by an explicit or clear statement to show or reveal. So what was he saying when he said, "My ministry is to declare Him, that He is Here."
Brother Branham is telling us that His whole ministry was for one purpose and one purpose only, and that was to introduce or declare Christ's Presence. His great commission was thus, "As John the Baptist foreran My first Coming, so shall your Message forerun my second." John the Baptist's ministry was for one purpose and one purpose only, to introduce Christ. Now, would John's ministry even be needed if everyone had already known that Christ was present? Wouldn't Brother Branham's statement be considered absurd if he came with a Message to tell us what we already knew? Does not the word Declare tell us by definition that it is to "Make fully known" something that wasn't known? Brother Branham was saying, "My ministry is to declare Him, that He is Here".
Just before he said these most notable words, he said the following. "How many knows there's a difference between the Appearing of Christ and the Coming of Christ? It's two different words, Now's the Appearing; the Coming will soon be. He's Appearing in the midst of us, doing the works that He once did, in His Church." Now if we truly believe that Brother Branham was God's ordained Messenger for this age, then we must examine carefully what he was trying to tell us. If in fact Christ has always been here, then what do we need a prophet to tell us what we already know. In John 1:18 we read "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." As Scofield noted, "He hath literally led Him forth into full revelation. The example we see of this declaring is in Jesus' answer to Philip in John 14:9, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." Jesus went on to say that this declaring of the Father would repeat.
Again we see in I John 1:1-3, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life. (For the Life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that Eternal Life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard we declare unto you, that ye may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ." The purpose for this study then as now is to invite you into this fellowship which comes from the "Presence" of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who has once again in this last day come down to earth and manifested His PRESENCE among us in a way He has not done for over 2,000 years. He has returned, once again veiled in the Pillar of Fire. Misunderstandings surrounding this "PRESENCE" have resulted in many questions being asked throughout the circle of "The Message." Hopefully this study shall answer some of these questions and quell some of the commentary as well. This study is in no way all conclusive and is meant only as a help to those who have questions concerning this Great event: "His Presence".
We shall refer to the Greek word Parousia throughout this study by its English equivalent (Presence). The word "Parousia" actually means "the act of arrival and subsequent presence." It focuses the attention not on the arrival but on the events after the arrival, or the Presence. It has been used to refer to Christ's Presence here among us. It has been called a new doctrine by some, but it is not. Actually the doctrine of the Parousia or more commonly known as "The Presence" is as old as the Bible itself. Jesus, in the Book of Matthew spoke of it, Luke spoke of it, Peter and John both spoke of it and so did Paul. This Revelation of Christ and His divine Presence that was to strike the earth in one final Glorious manifestation to the Gentiles before His second Coming, was lost during the dark ages of church history. The Catholic church did the most to hide this Glorious Truth during her thousand year reign in which she taught that Christ was here ruling through her, Vicariously. The Pope was to be God's mouthpiece to man on earth, and it was through this blasphemous pretense that Christ's Presence was displayed and established in the earth. This was man's darkest hour.
As the Light started coming back after Martin Luther, we see in the age of [the living creature with the face of a] man, various ministries rise up that began to understand that Christ was to come in the form of the Holy Ghost in the closing hours of humanity. In 1897, the notable Christian author J. B. Rotherham of Cincinnati, Ohio, wrote a Bible translation he called "The Emphasized Bible." In his translation he noted the following, "In this edition the word Parousia is uniformly rendered "Presence" ("Coming," as a representative of this word being set aside). He continued "The Parousia, . . . is still in the future, and may therefore be enshrouded in a measure of obscurity which only fulfillment can clear away: It may in fine be both a period, more or less extended, during which certain things shall happen, an event, coming on and passing away as one of a series of divine interpositions, Christ is raised as a first fruit, that is one event; He returns and vouchsafes His "Presence," during which time He raises His own. That is another event, however large and prolonged; and finally comes another cluster of events constituting "The End." Hence after all, "Presence" may be the most widely and permanently satisfying translation of the looked for Parousia of the Son of Man".
Another author, Israel P. Warren D.D. of Portland, Maine, wrote in His book "The Parousia" (1879, pp. 12-15), "We often speak of the Second Advent, the second coming, etc., but the Scriptures never speak of a second Parousia. Whatever was to be its nature, it was something peculiar, having never occurred before and being never to occur again. It was to be a Presence differing from and superior to all other manifestations of Himself to men, so that it's designation should properly stand by itself, without any qualifying Epithet other than the article, "The Presence".
"From this view of the word it is evident, I think, that neither the English word 'coming' nor the Latin 'advent' is the best representative of the original. They do not conform to its etymology; they do not correspond to the idea of the verb from which it is derived; nor could they appropriately be substituted for the more exact word, 'Presence,' in the cases where the translators used the latter. Nor is the radical [root] idea of them the same. 'Coming' and 'advent' give most prominently the conception of an approach to us, motion toward us; 'parousia' that of being with us, without reference to how it began. The force of the former [coming or advent] ends with the arrival; that of the latter [Presence] begins with it [i.e. arrival]. Those [words coming and advent] are words of motion; whereas Presence shows rest. The space of time covered by the action of coming or advent is limited; it may be momentary; that of Presence is unlimited . . . . Had our translators done with this technical word 'parousia' as they did with 'baptisma,'transferring it unchanged,or if translated using its exact etymological equivalent, "Presence," and had it been well understood, as it then would have been, that there is no such thing as a 'second Presence,' I believe that the entire doctrine would have been different from what it now is. The phrases, "second advent," and "second coming," would never have been heard. The Church would have been taught to speak of THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD, as that from which its hopes were to be realized, whether in the near future or at the remotest period,that under which the world was to be made new, a resurrection both spiritual and corporeal should be attained, and justice and everlasting awards administered." . . . He continued, "The word Parousia became the official term for a visit of a person of high rank, especially Kings and Emperors visiting a province."
Before we move on to other authors of ages gone by who knew that there was to come a Parousia of Christ, I want to just stop here and reflect upon a few things already said. First of all Rotherham said, "It was still in the future but we would know it by it's coming to pass." This is almost verbatim what brother Branham said, when he said, "God interprets His Word by bringing it to pass." Also Warren said the Word Parousia or Presence implies rest. Brother Branham said, "When the Seventh Seal is opened there is relaxation time," which is rest. Warren also said, "If we had understood that this word is not coming but presence it will change our total perception of the Parousia of Christ." Which it does. He also said, "The church would have been taught to speak of the "Presence" of the Lord, as that from which its hopes were to be realized. From his Message called "Unrecognized Presence" (p. 1:1, 76), Brother Branham said, "Working for this one purpose; for you to recognize the Presence of Jesus Christ, See? If He is present then, why everything is settled. He made the Word; He's here to confirm it." And then he said in the same message, "If we could realize He is Appearing to us in these meetings for one purpose and that's to release our desires that we have in Him to us. But we've got to recognize His presence".
In 1909, Scofield wrote in His Bible edition (p. 1,212) that the Word Parousia speaks of Christ's Personal Presence. Also, any Greek Lexicon will give you the same definition. Brother Branham used the word "Presence" himself quite often in referring to this great Appearing of Christ in this last hour. But as always, there are some who would throw off and say, "His Presence" is only some doctrine. But I say it should not be looked upon as merely a doctrine as it is dealing with the very Person of Christ Himself. It should be referred to as a doctrine only in the same way we would say that "JESUS" is "The Doctrine." You cannot say that Jesus is only a doctrine, anymore than you could say "His Presence" is only a doctrine.
The fact is God HIMSELF has come down in this last hour in a very special way in which He has not been here for 2,000 years. Brother Branham said, "Just think, the very Lord Jesus that was back in the days of the Apostles is right here now. And it's just winding up the end of the Gentiles. A great move is going on amongst the Supernatural believers because we believe that God is Here" (COD, p. 102:263).
You might ask, "How was He here in the days of the Apostles?" People tend to misunderstand Brother Branham in this area the most. Their thoughts go back immediately to Jesus in His flesh walking the shores of Galilee, not to the One Paul met on the road to Damascus. Yes, Paul did meet the very same ONE that walked in Galilee, only in another form. Paul met Him in the form of the Pillar of Fire. The same ONE Brother Branham referred to (above) "as in the days of the Apostles." Now remember, Brother Branham did not say "in the days when Jesus walked upon earth in His flesh." But he said, "in the days of the Apostles." People have a tendency to read the Word with their minds already made up by previous learning. Brother Branham is not saying that Jesus is here in His Corporal body. In fact Brother Branham said, "There's only one thing different in Him being here this morning than He was amongst the people at Galilee, that would be His own body of His flesh" (The Message of Grace, p. 30:176).
In "Spiritual Food in Due Season" (p. 24:167) he said, "Now, if He Appeared here as a physical body, looked just exactly like Hoffman's head of Christ at 33, and blood running out his hand, and so forth, nail scars all over Him, I wouldn't accept it." He goes on to say, "We don't believe these cults and clans. We believe God is the Word".
In his Message "The Trial (p. 16:80) he said, "We don't look for nail scars, we look for the Word made manifest." He continued preaching on the same subject (in Tucson, #64-0427), "The Life of Christ returns in the form of the Holy Ghost, not a nail scar. The corporal Body's sitting at the right hand of God to make intercession. But the Holy Ghost has come to carry on His Work." Brother Branham even quoted people who were looking for Jesus to come in bodily form and said, "I thought He was a man, has scarred hands; that they claim is Appearing in meetings now, with nail scars in His hands and His head. No, No, not that Body, not in that body. See? He's now a Light . . . He was the Angel that led the children of Israel in this Light through the wilderness. He returned back to that same Light, and Paul saw it out of the Old Testament. He said, 'I am Jesus, the Angel of the Covenant'."
William Branham was neither Oneness, nor was he Trinitarian. He quite often used the phrase, "God changing His mask." In our opening statement to this study I quoted from I John 1:1-3. The very Source of Life that John spoke of is the very Presence of God Himself, and He is here. Notice what John was trying to tell the people of his hour, "That Eternal Life that was with the Father and was manifested unto us." The very Life of God had come down and literally manifested Himself to the people. GOD declaring Himself. And how did He do it? Through a body (a mask, a veil) called Jesus. This is exactly what Jesus was telling Philip in John 14 when He said, "He that has seen Me has seen the Father," then He said, "Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the very works [vindication] sake."
Again in I John 1:3, "That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that you may have fellowship with us." John tells us that the only way we can have true fellowship is to receive the declaration of God's Presence and the manifested Life (through vindication) which has come down into our midst. God's very personal Presence among His people. I believe the reason people miss this, has to do with expectations. Why did the people miss Messiah at His first Coming? They didn't expect Him to come the way He did. And today, not many people will argue and say God is not here, but when you tell them He is here in a different way than He has been through the Church Ages, they will habitually fall back to their past theology that says, "He's always been here." But, as we see in I John 1:1-3, The Fountain of Life Himself has once again returned to earth in the same way He was Present in the first Church Age.
From "I Know My Redeemer Liveth" (p. 6:46-47), Brother Branham said, "Then when every creature has heard the Gospel, then Jesus will return again. Did you ever stop to think this morning, as far as returning, that is to become visible. He's already here with us now. Now, today, just imagine that, His Presence being here today. The Lord Jesus is with us now, in another world or dimension, right here today in form of Spirit. Our eyes can't see Him because they're physical yet unless there would something happen that we could see vision. But He is here just as visible, just as real as He was the day He spoke to Mary at the grave, or He met Cleophas on his road to Emmaus. His Presence is here. It can be felt with the inner charge that's on the inside of the human body called the new birth."
Notice here, Brother Branham is telling us that it takes the new birth to be able to recognize His Presence. People have a difficult time being able to separate the Baptism of the Spirit from the Baptizer Himself. Ephesians 1:13-14 speaks of the Baptism that is needed to prepare us to receive the very Presence of God which Paul speaks of as the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the knowledge of Him in verses 15-17.
One of the greatest Keys to understanding our day and its Message was introduced in the "Seven Church Ages" Book. That key is Alpha has become Omega. Let me use an illustration from the Scripture as we read from John 1. Now this lets us know that His Presence among us is more than mere Doctrine, for it says, "In Him was Life and the Life was the Light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God whose name was <Wm. Branham>. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. [The Angel told him, "If you can only get the people to believe you"]. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the World was made by Him, and the World knew Him not. [Didn't Brother Branham teach us that the Logos that went forth from God as a Light created the world?] "And this is the condemnation, That Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than That Light, neither cometh to the Light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he, that doeth Truth, cometh to the Light, [submits his own thinking to the Light] that his deeds may be manifested, that they are wrought [or have their source] in God."
From "The Masterpiece" (p. 30:172-173) Brother Branham said, "On the Isle of Patmos, Jesus spoke to John by vision and said, 'I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.' He never said anything in between. I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last! That's it! The First ministry and the last ministry is the same. The First Message and the last Message is the same thing." Then what was the first Message? For if we knew what the first Message was, we will then know what the last Message is to be. People have been debating this question for over 2,000 years. What was the Message to the first age? From "Sirs, is this the Time" (p, 33:1, 3) we read, "Paul was the first Messenger . . . Remember, Paul come at the end of the Ageall Messengers come at the end of the Age." So the question then remains, "What was Paul's Message? To find the answer let's turn to Paul's own testimony in the Book of Acts. Here he tells us that the Pillar of Fire came to him and he heard the Voice of Jesus which spoke and said, "I have Appeared unto thee for this Purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, [The Pillar of Fire returning to earth] and those things in which I will Appear unto thee" (Acts 26:16).
We see then, the Message of Paul was the declaration that Jesus Christ not only had risen from the dead, but that the Spirit of God that had been in Him had returned back again as the Pillar of Fire. Brother Branham said, "How many know that Jesus today, is the Pillar of Fire that followed the children of Israel? I come from God and I go to god. Is that what He said? When Paul met Him on the road to Damascus, what was He? The Great Light! The Pillar of Fire! He is the same One today! The Holy Spirit of God! The Body of Jesus sits at the right hand of God on His throne in heaven, but His Spirit is here on earth completing and finishing His work. That same Spirit that was in that Angel that lived in the Body of Jesus Christ was the same Spirit that was in the Angel that come to Sodom and Gomorrah." Do you believe that? The same One that followed the children of Israel, the Same God!"
Again in "The Uniting Time and Sign" (p. 22:97 he said, "Never before since the early church Age was the Pillar of Fire ever among the people. Never since the early Church Age, did they ever see the things that we are seeing today. And this was only made possible when God sent the Seven Seals and give us a sign by it and sent Seven Angels down out of Heaven and come to bring back that scattered Word in them denominations and tie it back into the Word again, to bring down His Holy Spirit."
Now, these statements surely must cause us to ask some questions. For instance, why would Brother Branham say, "To bring down His Holy Spirit"? If the Holy Spirit has always been here throughout the Seven Church Ages? Again, why would Brother Branham say "My ministry is to declare Him, that He is here," if He, [God's Presence], has been here all along? In fact Brother Branham also said, "After almost 2,000 years He has visited us again." Why would he say such a thing unless He hasn't been here for the past 2,000 years in the same way that He is here now?
Now if you are looking at the Message with the glare of another age, you will say that he was talking about the Jesus of 2,000 years ago and your mind will picture the Body with nail scarred hands. But, if you have correctly believed Brother Branham when he told us to not look back, and to not look forward but to see what God is doing right now, then all of these Message titles point to one thing. He's here, Alpha has become Omega. The One who Appeared to Paul in the first age has come back again in this last age to wind up His work. From "The Message of Grace" (p. 30:176) he said, "There's only one thing different in Him being here this morning than He was amongst the people at Galilee, That would be His own Body of flesh, His Corporal Body."
In "Just One More time Lord" Brother Branham said, "Man is always thinking back on what God did, and looking forward to what God will do, but ignoring what God is doing." And he also said in his audio letter to Brother Vayle, "If they only see it in the hour past there's no hope for the church. The church must see it in the present tense. So God sends His prophet to manifest its present tense." And He also said from His Message "Anointed Ones at the End-Time," "I AM sent me." I AM, not I was, or will be, I AM, present tense, the Word now. Not the Word that was or Word that will come, the Word that's now. . . . and then he said, "For it is impossible for those which were once enlightened and didn't move on with the Word as it come to pass . . . They're dead." This is why it is so important to understand the Alpha and Omega principle that Brother Branham laid out for us. He said this was the very first principle he learned as a Christian. What God did in the first age He is obligated to do in this last age. Then, if we can look at what God did in the first age under the Pillar of Fire ministry of Paul, and how He did it, we then will see what He has done under the same Pillar of Fire ministry of William Branham in this last hour, and what He is continuing to do after brother Branham went off the scene.
Remember he taught us that there were Three Exoduses and all three were under the Pillar of Fire and leadership of a Vindicated Prophet. Moses, Paul and William Branham. And as you can see the people have missed the whole purpose of this last time Exodus. William Branham was concerned for the people because they were not recognizing what God was doing in their midst, but they were looking forward to the Second Coming and backwards at a Pentecostal glare of another age and they were failing to see the very Presence of God in their midst, as we have already explained. If memory serves you right you will recall that when Brother Branham was caught up beyond the curtain of time he was told that He and His Message would be judged. And He asked the question, "Will Paul and His Message be judged?" And the angel answered, yes. Then Brother Branham said, "I only preached what Paul preached," and all those people who were looking on said, "we're counting on that Brother Branham." Now as Paul said in Galatians 1:8, "if we or an angel [a messenger] from heaven preach any other Gospel than that which has already been preached, let him be accursed." Then Brother Branham's Message to us in this hour had to be the same Exodus Message. In fact in II Thessalonians 1:10 Paul tells us there is coming a day when Christ will come in a way in which He will be glorified in His saints, because he says, his (Paul's) Gospel will be believed in that day. So here we see that day and that Message is William Branham's Message today.
Now in following up with this thought on Alpha and Omega we read in Luke 4 concerning the beginning of Jesus' Own Ministry in the first age, "And when the Devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season and Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee. And there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto Him the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the Book, He found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prisons to them that are bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord".
Now you will notice, at this point Scripture tells us he closed the Book and handed it back and said, "This day this Scripture is fulfilled in your ears."Notice, Jesus never continued reading where the Scripture continued. It read, "To proclaim the acceptable year of our Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God." Notice how the first part of this sentence pertained to His first Coming but the second pertains only to His second Coming and therefore He could not possibly have read it. He paused and said, "This day this Scripture is fulfilled in your ears." 2,000 years separated by a comma.
In referring to Christ's presence here among us Brother Branham said, "I've read the Scripture with a dozen or more evidences that we're living in the last days, the generation that will see Jesus return to earth, and I say to you tonight, 'This day this Scripture is fulfilled in your sight'." Again we hear Brother Branham saying in another Message, "The Appearing of Christ and then the coming. That's two different things altogether, the Appearing and the Coming. He's Appearing now, working with us in the form of the Holy Spirit, making it just perfect; the church. It has to." And so, we must ask ourselves, if God has come in what Brother Branham and Scripture calls an Appearing, in what way is it perfecting the church as He says here. And of course we find in Scripture that the Word of God perfects the Church or Bride. So it is in the form of the Word that perfection comes. And when that which is perfect comes, then that which is part must cease. And Brother Branham in quoting this in the COD book, he said, "When that which is perfect is come . . . and we have today by God's help the perfect interpretation of the Word with Divine vindication." Then later in the same series of questions he said, "When that which is perfect is made known." And then he said, "Now is there anything perfect but God? And then he said, "And the Word's still God." So we can see once again His focus was to get the people to see God in the form of the Word in our midst has come. And that is why he said, don't look back and don't look forward but look to what God is doing now.
Now we know that we cannot worship God apart from Revelation. But what if our revelation is a wrong revelation. In Romans 12 we are told that we receive our transformation by the renewing of our minds. So we can see we are dependent upon a Word to give us a change of the body. That is what I Thessalonians 4:15-17 is all about. The Lord Himself descends with a shout which is the Message getting us ready for a rapture. Brother Branham said, "When Word is piled upon Word, upon Word, it will take a hold of every fiber of our bodies." So we are dependent upon the piling Word upon Word to take a hold of every fiber of our bodies in order to get our change. But what if our minds are renewed by a wrong understanding. By a corruptible word rather than an incorruptible one. Then won't our change also be corruptible? That is why it is essential to have a word come forth that is vindicated by God to be incorruptible. I Peter 1:23 tells us "being are born again not of a corruptible seed, but by an incorruptible, by the Word of God which lives and abides forever." So we see here a person can be born of the corruptible seed (of creed and dogma). And we know that Mark 4 and Luke 8 tell us that the Word is a seed which the sower sowed. But we are told two sowers went forth sowing seed or Word. The Son of Man and the Devil. So then One sowed perfect Word Seed and the other corruptible word seed. And this word corruptible comes from the (Gk.) word 'Phthartos' whose root word is 'phtheiro' which means something that is liable to decay or perish being deathdoomed and refers to the "withdrawal of Life".
Without the Shout there will be no change of the mind which means there could be no change of the body which means there could be no resurrection of the dead nor could there be a catching away. So the Shout starts the whole thing in motion. And Jesus said, "As a man thinks in His heart so is He and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." So then if God Himself comes forth with a shout, this can only be a declaration of Himself. And that is exactly how we are to receive our change. In I John 3:2 the Scripture tells us, "Beloved, now we are the sons of God, but it does not Appear what we shall be, but we know that when He Appears [At His Appearing] we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He really is." So we see here that we receive our change by seeing Him as He really is. In fact in Colossians 3:4 we read, "When Christ who is our Life shall Appears, then shall we Appear with Him in Glory." So we see again that it takes His Appearing to bring out of us who we really are. This Appearing then is instrumental to our change. Seeing Him changes us. Earlier we quoted Brother Branham telling us when that which is perfect comes and he told us He has come. It is God in the form of the Word. Now in I Corinthians 13:12 we are told, "For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face: [When? When God comes!] Now we know in part, but then shall we know even as also we are known." We also see in II Corinthians 3:18 that as we look into the mirror of Gods Word we only see Christ and the more we look upon Him the more we are changed from image to image and from Glory to Glory.
So we see that the Word is what brings about our change and if we are to receive a change that is incorruptible it must come by a Word which also is incorruptible. That is why it is so important for God Himself to come down. Brother Branham told us that Christ Himself is our Elijah of today. He said Christ is the Messenger to this Age. And as we know he speaks to us through the lips of His Prophets. So God comes down with a "Shout" which is a Message which is a declaration of Himself. As He is He speaks. And we are caught up into the Revelation of Himself and this brings about our change. In Ephesians 1:17 Paul tells us that God will send forth the Spirit of wisdom and Revelation in the knowledge of Him, that we might know what the hope or earnest expectation of this calling from God is. Brother Branham defines this for us in the Series, "The Seventy Weeks of Daniel" (p. 15:68), "The Spirit of Wisdom comes into the church by the Revelation of the Holy Ghost bringing the church in and revealing what day that we are living in. Just the same as Gabriel come to Daniel, the Holy Spirit comes to the church in the last days to reveal these deep great secret things. Do you understand now?"
In II Corinthian 1:4-10 we see that Christ sends us a special dispensation of Grace also spoken of in I Peter 1:13 that is to enrich us as fertilizer does other seeds. It is to help us to grow up into Him in all things. He tells us that this is to help us so we come behind in no spiritual gift which is a spiritual endowment or understanding in order that we might be able to see and perceive what is taking place "at the Unveiling or Revelation of Christ." So we see the essentially of Christ among us in the form of the Holy Ghost bringing forth His Word to quicken us and change our mortal bodies to immortal. We also find that the Word will bring forth a righteous Bride for a Righteous God. And the Word righteousness comes from an old English word, right-wise-ness. So then if we are a righteous people it is because we are a rightly wise people, or a people with a correct Word. Again, He said, "Who is perfect but God" and what is God but the Word, that's John 1:1. And we see that it is by this same Word that we are to be changed and caught up.
The emphasis is not on the baptism any more but the Baptizer, Himself. Paul spoke in Ephesians 1:15-17 about the Spirit of Wisdom coming to ones who were already prepared by the baptism in verses 13-14. So then we can see the Message Brother Branham spoke in this hour takes us beyond the baptism of the Holy Ghost right into the very Presence of the Baptizer Himself, who is the Holy Ghost. In fact that is why there is so much flack amongst the Pentecostal element in the circle of this Message. In "Q & A on the Holy Ghost" (COD, p. 425:75) Brother Branham warned us this would come. "Now, when the Holy Ghost comes in and reveals the Truth of anything and proves it by His Presence and by His Word, you can't expect the Pentecostals to agree with it. You've got to stand alone like Luther did."
I hope by now that you can see clearly by Scripture and by God's vindicated prophet that Christ is here now, in a way He hasn't been for nearly 2,000 years. The next few paragraphs will deal with eleven reasons why He is here now.
He is here to make ready a prepared people. (Luke 1:17; Ephesians 1:3-6, 17-21; I John 3:1-3; II Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 3:4; I Corinthians 1:4-10; I Peter 1:10-13, 23).
He is here to gather His Elect and claim His Inheritance. (Matthew 3:11-12, 13:28-31, 41, 24:31 Mark 13:27, Luke 3:17, Ephesians 1:10, II Thessalonians 2:1).
He is here to save the righteous from perishing. (II Thessalonians 1; 2:13; I Peter 1:5, 9-10end time revelation bringing salvation II Peter 2:12-13 while they feast with you; II Peter 3:9; I Thessalonians 5:9; II Thessalonians 2:13; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 2:1-4; Hebrews 9:28).
He is here to save the Elect from deception. (Matthew 24:3-5, 11, 24; Mark 13:5-6;, Ephesians 1:17-18; 4:14; II Thessalonians 1:7-12; 2:2-3, 10-12; II John 8-10; I John 2:19-20, 28; Luke 21:8; II Timothy 3:13; Revelation 13:4-10, 14-16; 19:20;, Matthew 13:1-17; Mark 4:11-12; Luke 8:10; I Timothy 4:1-2;, II Timothy 3:1-9; 4:3-4, 8).
He is here to seal in the wise Virgins. (Matthew 25:1-13; Ephesians 1:13-18; 4:30; I Peter 1:3-7; ordained to pass the end time Faith test). Faith is a revelation, there is only one faith or revelationThe Revelation of Jesus Christ. These ordained to pass the test [Godhead etc.,] but those who fall away from the Faith, The Revelation of Jesus Christ are reprobate concerning the Faith, The Revelation.
He is here to separate the chaff from the wheat. (Matthew 3:11-12; 7:15-23; 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-49; 25:1-11; II Thessalonians 1:7-12; 2:3, 10-12; I Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 6; I John 2:19-21, 28. Two groups, Luke 17:26-37; II Corinthians 4:3-6; 11:1-4; Galatians 1:6; II Timothy 3:1-9; 4:3-4, 8).
He is here to raise the dead. (I Thessalonians 4:15-18; I Corinthians 15; all Ephesians 1:17-23; Galatians 2:1; Acts 1:9-11; Matthew 27:51-53; Colossians 3:4; Deuteronomy 30:3; Luke 20:36children of the resurrectionJohn 11:24-25; Acts 24:15, 21; Romans 6:5; Philippians 3:10-11; II Timothy 2:18; Revelation 20:5).
He is here to change the living. (I Thessalonians 4:15-18; I Corinthians 15: all; II John 3:1-3; II Corinthians 3:18; Roman 12:1-2; Colossians 3:4; I Corinthians 13:9-12; II Thessalonians 1:7, 10-12; Acts 3:19-21; I Peter 1:7-9, 13; II Peter 1:1-4, 10-12; I Corinthians 1:4-10; Matthew 24:30).
He is here to put us in a rapture. (I Thessalonians 4:15-18). See also transformation and change.
He is here to Glorify His saints. (II Thessalonians 1:7, 10-12; 2:14; II Corinthians 3:9-10, 18; 4:6; I John 3:1-3; I Corinthians 1:4-10; 13:9-12; Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 16:27; 24:30; 25:31; Luke 2:32; 21:27; John 17:5, 22, 24; Acts 22:11; Romans 5:2; 8:18; 9:4, 23; I Corinthians 2:7; 15:43; Ephesians 1:14, 17-18; Philippians 4:19; I Peter 1:7, 8, 11, 21; 4:13-14; 5:1, 4, 10; 5:10-11; Colossians 1:27. Why should there be this hope of Glory? Colossians 3:4; I Thessalonians 2:12; I Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:3; 2:7, 9, 10; Jude 24).
He is here to Judge the Living and the dead. (Investigating Judgment) A Judge! (Revelation 3:14-21; James 5:7-9; John 12:48; Matthew 3:12; 7:15-23; 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-49; 25:1-11; II Thessalonians 1:7-10).
Now there are various other questions that have risen as a result of certain people trying to teach this Message of Christ's Appearing without really understanding it. As a result many fanatical doctrines have been superimposed which have caused much distress among Message believers. The following questions and answers should help to quell some of these questions that have arisen as a result of wrong understanding.inhis.htm
QUESTION: "Some people have said that the second coming is taking place right now. Is this true?
ANSWER: "Yes, but not per se! What is taking place now is the Appearing which Brother Branham said "it's a sign of His Coming. Brother Branham said in the Seven Seals (p. 308), "He comes three times. Christ is in three." . . . He then states in the last paragraph," Watch Christ. First Coming, He come a mortal to bleed and die. Is that right? That's His first Coming. The second Coming is the Rapture. We meet Him in the skies-Immortal. His third ComingHe's the Incarnate God. Amen! God Emmanuel to reign on earth. That's right. Only three".
So, the second Coming in itself must be as His first one was and the third one will be and that is in His Corporeality. In other-words, He will come in a physical manifestation just as He did His first coming. Notice the type in Genesis 18: when "Elohim" Appears" to Abraham. The sign of discernment is performed. Then after the burning of Sodom the promised son comes to earth. Luke 17:30 says this is to repeat. However, many of the Scriptures we've associated with His second coming are actually referring to His Appearing, which is essential to the actual fulfillment of The Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Notice at His First Coming, He comes to earth a mortal. He is on earth when God descends like a dove from heaven and incarnates Him on earth. God then leaves Him in Gethsemane to die a mortal. His Second or "parousia" Coming is the fullness of the Word through the mouth of His prophet in the Shout of the Message which calls both wise and foolish virgin out from all man-made religious systems, baptizing the wise into Christ; the Voice of the Archangel which is Himself in the heart of the Bride, confirming the Message from Genesis to Revelation, and bringing her to maturity in the unity of the faith for, the Trumpet which marks the close of the Gentile dispensation with a massive earthquake sinking Los change, the start of the resurrection of the Church Age saints and the manifestation of the living Sons of God until we are caught-up to the Wedding Supper in the sky (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; "The Rapture). All of this is in preparation for the Meeting in the air. Jesus' physical body is in heaven. As God gathers together His Bride II Thessalonians 2:1 and catches her away to meet Jesus in the air, He draws her up as He did the Apostles on Mount Transfiguration and incarnates Jesus again, this time midway between heaven and earth (Matthew 17:1-2). His third Coming will be His second physical Coming when He returns to earth with the glorified saints of all ages to step out upon the ashes of the wicked for a thousand years of peace (Malachi 4:1-3; Revelation 20).
QUESTION: You say, He must return in a physical form as He did the first time. If this is true, what was Paul telling us in II Corinthians 5:16 when he said, "Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him so no more?"
ANSWER: Remember the disciples on the road to Emmaus? Also when Jesus appeared to Peter and the Brethren who were fishing? What did these appearances have in common? The Bible tells us they did not recognize Jesus. But then He did something that made Him manifest in His true Character. He broke the bread a certain way. Now today He has come and has broken the Bread of Life in His own certain way. But many have missed Him because He did not come in their way but in His own way and according to the Scripture.
If you'll notice further down in II Corinthians 5:18-21, Paul is speaking of a relationship which does not exist by mere acquaintance only, but rather is a ministry imparted to us which reconciles us back to Him. Now this ministry of reconciliation is needed because we have been separated from Him. The word 'reconcile' is from two words "Re": a prefix meaning (anew or again), and the word "Conciliate": which means to (assemble, unite). This then is a Word ministry which will unite or assemble us again. This Word of reconciliation then places us in a position of Ambassadorship as we see in verse 20.
Thus as Ambassadors, we represent our Sovereign while resident on foreign soil, thus separated from the one whom we represent. Therefore, it is a Word of reconciliation because the reconciliator Himself is not physically present. Thus by Word we are brought into a relationship with our Sovereign. As we have at His first Coming a reconciliation of man to God or (The Word). God used Jesus (the complete manifestation of His Word) to bring man back to His Word. Now He has come as Word (Logos) to assemble or unite us to the Complete manifestation of His Word namely Jesus. When Jesus was here in flesh at His first Coming, no man knew Him, or Who He represented, by looking at His flesh. Some Greeks had heard that God was descended and they went to meet Him, but when they saw only a man, they went away discouraged. The Bible tells us that after His resurrection, He appeared unto many. If you will notice, on many occasions He was not identifiable in His flesh, it was what He said that made them take note that "This was the Christ." If they did not know Him after the flesh then, how is it that they will know Him by His flesh now? "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he," and "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." So we don't really know any man by his flesh but rather by what he says, for this is what bears witness to what he is and what he stands for. So we do not know, and will not know Jesus after the flesh but by a perfect Word description. After all He is the Word. In fact He is the complete manifestation and the perfect interpretation of the Word.
QUESTION: Are you then saying, that unless we somehow are given a clear description of Jesus by word that we wouldn't really recognize Him if He was to make Himself visible in flesh?
ANSWER: Precisely. That is what the ministry of His Appearing is all about. God has come down in the form of Logos to reveal or unveil Himself to us. In this ministry He, as the Spirit of Truth, is to lead us into all truth. He is The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation that gives us The Knowledge of Him. Without this ministry, we could not be caught away, for we would not even be aware of the day or season of the catching away and thus would not be prepared for such a great event. We'd still be holding onto our own ideas of what is to take place and we would surely miss it. Let me use an illustration to bring out my point. Eliezer was sent to bring a bride home to a promised son Isaac. He met a woman at the well who received him and his ministry. By word he proceeded to tell her of this groom who had sent him to bring her home to him. The more he spoke of this groom the more she longed to meet him. By word then, she received this promise and was caught away to meet her future husband that she had been prepared for. When they arrived, she lighted off the camel and ran into his awaiting arms. Now this woman was a virtuous woman, and a woman does not keep her virtue long by running into the arms of complete strangers. This then would truly be out of character for her to do, had she not already known Him, before she actually met him in flesh. . ."
QUESTION: Are you then saying that the Appearing is an introduction to His Coming. And without it we would still be wondering how, when, where, by what etc.
ANSWER: Yes, you are very perceptive. The Appearing is that portion of time or season, an epochal season whereby we are ushered into a transitory state, a rapture. It is the season where after coming out of Egypt, so to speak; Israel had to reach a point where their coming out turned into an entering in. To come out of Egypt was not enough. They had to enter in. It took the Holy Spirit in form of Pillar of Fire to lead them into the Promised Land. As John the Baptist's ministry foreran the first Coming, so too this ministry of Elijah in our day was to forerun the Second Coming of Christ, an introduction. John's ministry was not The Coming, but The Coming of Christ was subsequent to it.
QUESTION: Then, What you are saying is there is a difference between the appearing and the coming.
ANSWER: Yes, Brother Branham said it in various places, for example in the Message "The End Time Evangelism" "he said "Now, we have already seen and are witnessing the appearing of the Lord. Now remember, appearing and coming is two different words, to appear and then to come. Now is the appearing, He's already appeared in these last days, right here with us in the last few years. Now, it's a sign of His Coming." Notice that he cautions us to remember that these are in fact two different words and two different events. He says that "it is a sign of His Coming." Remember the parable of the thief? If the good man had known what hour the thief was coming he would not have suffered his house to be broken into. This sign of the appearing is evidence that an epochal season is in process or in motion. But remember, it is only a sign; it is not the event itself.
QUESTION: Well, if our Lord Himself is here in the form of a Pillar of Fire or shall we say as Logos, what more could we want. What more can the actual body of a man add to us.
ANSWER: First of all we have two questions here. Let's take the last one first. You ask what more could the Body of Jesus add. Apparently you are aware that we receive our change under the Shout, Voice and Trumpet which are three stages of the rapture. This is true. However the Seventh Seal goes plum into Eternity as a continual unfolding, or as Brother Branham put it, like a Roman candle, one ball of fire goes up and out of it comes another and another and on it goes plum into Eternity. Now also remember that we are changed from Glory to Glory and thus the meeting in the air is a further Glory from the Appearing and the wedding supper is a further glory from the meeting in the air. The whole thing is an adding Word upon Word upon Word or from Glory to Glory beginning with the Appearing and swinging right into the Second Coming. The Millennium is a Glory beyond the Wedding Supper and New Jerusalem is a further Glory beyond the Millennium.
Now the first question which we chose to answer last is "If God in the form of the Logos or Pillar of Fire is now on the scene, what more could I want?" Remember, God was also on the scene in the days of Abraham, and Abraham still longed to see his Promised Son. The promise to Abraham was not complete until the actual physical arrival of His son, Isaac. We are still under the promise as we have not actually crossed the Jordan yet. To say, "If I have His Logos, what do I need the physical body for?" shows a lack of understanding concerning the actual body of Jesus. This then is the real question, and must be answered first in order for us to really appreciate this great revelation of what God is doing in these last days. The revelation of Godhead is one which is truly misunderstood. No one wants to admit that they do not understand the Godhead but the fact is that very few people really do. The whole of Christendom is primarily a trinity-believing people. They are very wrong. On the other hand, the Oneness people, though few in number are closer yet still way out in left field. Where the trouble seems to lay is what to do with this Corporal body. Trinitarians want to deify the body and make it a second person in the Godhead while Oneness want to eliminate it all together and put its importance only in a historical sense (in other words since He came from God and went back to God they feel that the body is of no further use or importance in the economy of God. It is this lack of understanding which caused the Jews to kill Jesus. The answer to this understanding is in the Word of God. God being invisible wanted to show His love for His children. As an invisible one He knew that they would have trouble receiving His love. He then, in order to show forth His love, made a body in which He might outwardly express His Love for His Children. The invisible God thus became visible. In other words, Jesus Christ is the full and complete interpretation of the expressed thought of God. God expressed; the outward manifestation of God. Every characteristic, every attribute, every thought that God ever had, He formed into a sperm and egg and placed it in the womb of Mary. As this body began to grow it took on the full character and complete fullness of what God had in His thoughts to begin with. Therefore the Word which began as a thought one day became flesh and God child now made visible His expression of Love for His children. He now can receive our love in a way in which we could not love Him as an invisible One. It gives a direction to channel our love, a focal point. Then the body of Jesus being man is more than just man, it is God manifested or made visible. Thus the One who created this body is gathering a bride to bring to this body and He thinks so much of this body, He will incarnate it again at the meeting in the air.
QUESTION: What you are saying then, is that we have had our thinking all wrong for many ages, so God had to Appear on the scene once again to straighten out the mess we had gotten ourselves into and to bring us to a place where we could truly receive Jesus as our Head and Husband.
ANSWER: My, how quick you learn. Yes, Even at His first Coming He was looking for a Bride but the church was in no condition to really be received as one. Paul reprimanded them in Galatians for returning back to Law so soon after they had come out from under it. It took more than a prophet to return the hearts of the children to their first love. It took the God Prophet Himself. He wanted our hearts and our minds. How ironic in an age where women strive for personal freedom that He has come for a Bride who has completely, willfully, and joyfully surrendered all of her rights to Him. She has even come to a state of letting her thinking go: perfect rest because of perfect trust.
QUESTION: My, what a beautiful picture! So what you are saying is that He is here to ensure that she doesn't fall like the first Eve fell.
ANSWER: Correct! As she becomes more aware of His Presence she enters more and more into a state of rest. She completely trusts Him to bring her into a state of rest. She completely trusts Him to bring her in and fulfill every promise that He has given to her. In the first Exodus, Moses commanded the people to "Stand still and see the salvation of God." But they became anxious and wanted to do something themselves. Ruth, another type of the Bride was told by her bridegroom Boaz, to "rest until the morning." And in this third exodus we are told to be at rest also. Brother Branham said that there is "relaxation under the Seventh Seal." He said, we must "Let go and let God."
QUESTION: Then, what about winning souls to Christ and all these things that have been so important to us all these years? Where does this fit in if we are to be resting?
ANSWER: Well, that's just the point. Jesus said I do nothing unless my Father shows me first. How often have we tried to do God a service became a manifestation of the promised word of the hour. In this hour too, the without it being His will? Jesus told the Pharisees that they would compass land and sea for one proselyte and the result would be someone who was now twofold more a child of hell than he began. Brother Branham said, "The Bride will have Thus saith the Lord or she will keep still." She is to "lie in the Presence of the Son to ripen." So, if God is truly in it, we will definitely see results. Now remember, results are not numbers. What were the results of Jesus' preaching to the totally lost?
QUESTION: I'm beginning to understand more clearly now than ever before. This last day Bride is not concerned with trying to work her way into favor with God, she knows she is already in His favor, so she is resting in what He has done for her and she ministers back to Him what He has shown her already as Jesus did when He was here in flesh.
ANSWER: Yes, she loves Him so much that she is only concerned with pleasing Him. As any good wife will do, her first service is to her husband. She is not interested in what her neighbors got going. She then becomes in perfect image of Jesus Christ for that is exactly what He did while here on earth in flesh.
QUESTION: Oh, I see! And we must come into this same image of Him before we can leave this world. Well, how does this come about? I mean, how does the Holy Spirit who is in our midst bring this to pass?
ANSWER: Brother Branham said, "The right mental attitude toward any divine promise of God will bring it to pass." This is not works. Remember, God must show it first, and then your attitude toward it will bring the result. Just before the children of Israel entered into the Promised Land they were given last minute instructions. They were told to claim every step that they took, and every place that they stepped, was given to them. Parallel this then to Abraham and you will notice that God first gave Him the revelation of the land of promise. He received the promise first and then started to walk toward it. Every step that he took was an outward show that He believed God. He thus received it from God and He offered it back to God. The journey then was his offering or sacrifice to God. His every step toward the Land of Promise then Bride becomes the manifestation of her revelation, the Word becoming flesh. As she receives the revelation of the rapture, or appearing, she is transformed by the renewing of her mind. And thus becomes the fulfillment of II Corinthians 3:18 which states that she is changed from Glory to Glory, which indicates a progressive change from a progressive revelation.
From His Message, "I Have Heard but now I See" (p. 32:182), Brother Branham said, "Now, He promised that He would do that same thing again, just before the world would be burnt, and the world would be in a Sodom condition. The New Testament, the Prophet, the God-prophet, the Prophet of prophets, the God of all the prophets, the fullness of the Godhead bodily, God manifested in a flesh, the Creator, of Genesis. Hallelujah! It's His Word! He said it would happen! And we see Sodom condition, we see the world in that condition, now we see Him come down and do exactly what He said He would do. Now, we've heard of Him, now we see Him! "I've heard of You with my ears, now I see You with my eyes." Amen! "I see Him with my own eyes." What a hour it should be! What a time it should be! The confirmation of His Word! Always when the Word is confirmed, that's God speaking in His Word, making Hisself visible that you can see".
(Brother Brian Kocourek Pastors Grace Fellowship Tabernacle, 2380 Jefferson St, Highland Heights, Ky. 41076 USA. You may call him on (513) 932-2156).