Placing the Church in History

We have an exciting program for you today:-

* we'll be rehearsing what we spoke about last week concerning the Seven Church Ages and their messengers.

* mentioning some recent discussions on Bible Believers' web Site.

* but we'll commence our program with an offer you can't refuse.

I'm looking for feedback and suggestions from listeners. So I want you to write to me with any Bible questions. But especially on the PRESENT Truth: what Jesus is doing now, and what He'll be doing in the immediate future. I'll answer your questions on-air, and give away a whopping 381-page book, by William Branham - 'An Exposition of the Seven Church Ages' - to the first three listeners who write to me this week with their questions and suggestions for the Bible Believers' program.

Last week we said that the Seven Church Ages were represented in the Old Testament by the Pentecostal Feast of Leviticus 23. The Gentile dispensation commenced on the Day of Pentecost. The first division called 'Pentecost', was typed by the remaining SIX days of the Jewish Feast of Unleavened Bread. Pentecost overlapped the Jewish Feast of Unleavened Bread, so you can see why its members were mainly Jewish converts. Bread is the staff of natural life. Jesus is that Bread from heaven, the Word of God, or spiritual Life, which if a man partake, he shall never die. In the Bible, 'leaven' symbolized sin. So you can see how the remaining six days of the Jew's Feast of unleavened Bread typed Pentecost, a period lasting perhaps twenty years, where the saints held and understood the pure Word of God UN-leavened by creed or tradition.

The Feast of Pentecost, also known as the Feast of Weeks, followed the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the Jewish religious cycle. It included seven sabbaths.

Now a sabbath is a 'rest'. Isaiah said, 'To whom shall God teach knowledge? and whom shall God make to understand doctrine? Then answering his own question says, 'Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts'.

In other words, those who are mature in the faith and able to eat strong meat. 'For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little (that's how we grow from childhood to maturity). For with stammering lips and another (ie. Gentile) tongue, will He speak to this people (Israel, who refused to be weaned from substitutes of the Law and sacrifices, which were only a school teacher to guide them to the real true rest). To whom He said, this is the rest by which you may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear' (Isaiah 28:8-12).

Jesus said, 'No man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him'. (Praise God, in another place He said that the Church would be built upon Spiritual revelation of the Word)!

'Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, (How? By revelation from the Father), and I will give you rest. (Sabbath). Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest (sabbath) unto your souls' (Matthew 11:27-29). That's the new birth, the sabbath for Christians is a sabbath for the soul. When we enter our spiritual Promise, we have ceased from our own works. But our sabbath can only be observed if we are in God's provided Place of worship, in the new Covenant: in Christ, the living Word for this day.

Our sabbath is 24-hours a day, seven-days a week. Israel had no sabbath for their soul, but a natural sabbath for their body and spirit. They could only keep their sabbath in the place God had provided for them, that is, in the Promised Land. Any Jew living outside Israel today is outside the Covenant God gave Israel, and cannot observe the sabbath.

The Pentecostal Feast, which types the Gentile dispensation, has within it seven rests, or sabbaths. And as we've just read, we enter our Spiritual rest, or new birth by Spiritual revelation, or faith from God. These rests are called in the New Testament, Seven Church ages. As there were seven distinct and different rests, or Church Ages, the saints predestinated to each Age entered their rest, or were born-again by seven different and distinct new births. Seven different portions of the Spirit by seven successive measures of faith, as God built His Church, the Body of Christ, 'line upon Line, revelation upon revelation, Word upon Word.

These seven rests or Church Ages are followed by another rest, called in Leviticus, the fiftieth day. Here the end-time Bride is brought to maturity by agreement with the fullness of the Word, for the manifestation of the Sons of God and the translation.

***

The Fullness of the Gentiles described by Paul in Romans is called by Jesus in Revelation, Seven Church Ages. They're one and the same. The seven churches located in Asia Minor, contained certain natural characteristics within them, which would be replicated spiritually as the mature fruit of later ages.

The Spirit speaks to the messengers of the Seven Church Ages. These are all Gentile churches. At no time does the Spirit speak of the church at Jerusalem, which is a Jewish church. For God has left off dealing with the Jews. A few Jews, through election, will come in, but these will belong to the Gentile Bride.

It took a prophet of God to fix with certainty the dates, their duration, and to identify the messengers and other characteristics pertaining to the Seven Church Ages. God only reveals His secrets through prophets. Therefore the messenger to the last or Laodicean Age must of necessity be a prophet, for Jesus said, 'In the days of the Voice of the seventh angel, the mystery of God, as declared to His prophets, should be finished' (Revelation 10:7). The name of this prophet was William Branham.

Since Christ has not yet taken His Bride Home, it's evident that the Gentile dispensation is still current. However, as we'll presently see, all Seven Church Ages have passed into history. Now if we can identify these past Ages with history, we'll know what Scriptures are already fulfilled. And by studying Scripture in the light of history, verify our day and God's present promises.

This is essential, in order for the church to know exactly where it is in relation to Bible prophecy. The Church can't be born by the Light for an Age gone by. It's already history.

This explains why nobody can be born-again under denominational Light today. The true Church is not commemorating past history. She is writing history by Her own life. That history will never be written in books, because we're at the end of time.

We must recognize our day, and see that part of the Word manifesting through us. With the perfect combination of history, Scripture and Divine Revelation, we'll assuredly know the truth of the Seven Ages, and recognize what God promised He would do now. He sent His prophet in these last days, to reveal this mystery of the Seven Church Ages, and the Seven Seals, in order that we may know and do the whole Counsel of God, and to call His elect out from the world systems.

We must come under total pre-eminence to God into complete harmony with His Word, if we're to have part in the first Resurrection. Praise God for sending us a prophet in this day. Since the mystery of God is finished, that which is perfect has come, Christ, the fulness of the Word. We now have the perfect Interpretation of the Bible. Not guesswork, but THUS SAITH THE LORD.

Now we'll review the Ages in the light of past history, to find out where we stand in relation to Bible prophecy. To begin with, we know from Scripture, that the first Church Age was the Ephesian Age, and the messenger was Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles. It was through Paul that the complete revelation from God came to the Gentiles.

Galatians 2:6-8, 'Those of reputation added nothing to what I was preaching; on the contrary, they saw how greatly God had used me in winning the Gentiles, just as He'd used Peter in his ministry to the Jews. For the same Spirit that worked in Peter's apostleship to the Jews, worked in me toward the Gentiles'. Paul's revelation was more abundant, than any given to Peter, or to the other apostles, relative to the Gentiles.

Paul's manner of ministering set the pattern that all future messengers were to aspire to, and actually sets the pattern for every true minister of God, though he would not attain to such heights in the prophetic realm as did Paul. Paul's ministry had a THREEFOLD quality: FIRST of all, Paul was absolutely TRUE to the Word. He never deviated from it no matter WHAT the cost (Galatians 1:8-9). He was unorganized, but Spirit-led, as when God moved upon Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt. SECONDLY, his ministry was in the POWER of the Spirit, DEMONSTRATING the spoken and written Word (Acts 14:8-10; I Corinthians 2:1-5). THIRDLY, he had the evident fruit of his God-given ministry (II Corinthians 12:11).

Paul founded the Church at Ephesus about the middle of the first century. This enabled Brother Branham to set the date of the beginning of the Ephesian Church Age about AD 53. The pure Word of God, which had been CLEARLY understood by the Pentecostal saints, began to be LEAVENED, with Jewish RITUAL and pagan TRADITIONS, introduced by the MIXED multitude, which joined themselves to the assemblies of the saints. Thus, the power of God abated through unbelief, even in the early years. He that's guilty in one point of the law has broken the whole law. Don't fool with that Word. That's what happened in the Ephesian Age before it ended in 170.

Like all of God's Dispensations, the Church Ages do not overlap. But the blessings to the overcomers and the curses of unbelief are cumulative.

The SECOND or Smyrna Age, lasted from 170 - 312. Using our God given rule of choosing the messenger for each age, we unhesitatingly declare that IRENAEUS was exalted by the Lord to that position. He was the disciple of that great saint and warrior of faith, POLYCARP. And it's no doubt, as he sat at the feet of that great man, he learned the Christian graces that flowed from his consecrated life, for Polycarp was one of the truly illustrious saints of all ages, when viewed in the light of a blameless life.

Polycarp was martyred. Too old to flee, and too sincere a man to allow another to hide him, and then suffer a penalty for doing so, he gave himself up to death. But before he did, he asked for, and was granted, permission to pray two hours for his brethren in the Lord, for the governor, for his enemies and his captors. Like the great saints of ALL ages, and desiring a better resurrection, he stood firm, refusing to deny the Lord, and died with a free conscience. He was placed at the stake (untied at his own request) and the fire was lit. The flames bent AWAY from his body, refusing to touch him. He was then pierced through with a sword. As this was done, water, gushed from his side, dousing the flames. And his spirit was actually seen to depart, in the form of a white dove, released from his bosom. Yet for all this great testimony, this student of John the Revelator was not militant against the Nicolaitane system, for he himself leaned toward organization, not realizing that the desire for fellowship, and what appeared like a good plan to foster the work of God, was in reality a trick of the enemy.

With Irenaeus this was not so. He was militant against any form of organization. Also, his life history, wherein he served the Lord, was one of much manifestation in the Holy Spirit; and the Word was taught with unusual clarity and conformity to its original precepts. His churches in France were known to have the gifts of the Spirit among them, for the saints spoke in tongues, prophesied, raised the dead, and healed the sick by the prayer of faith. He saw the danger of any kind of organized brotherhood among the elders and pastors. He stood solidly for a unified, Spirit-filled, gift-manifesting local church. And God honored him, for the power of God manifested among the saints.

Did you know, Brethren, that every local Church is sovereign under its own pastor? If he's ordained of God, not some organization, he answers to no man. There's no greater authority than the local church. The only link between two assemblies, is the Holy Spirit, Who guides all the saints into the common faith, or understanding of God's unchanging Word.

Irenaeus was also clear on his understanding of the Godhead. And since he was the disciple of Polycarp who in turn was the disciple of Saint John, we can know for sure he had as perfect teaching as is possible on this subject. We have this statement by him on the Godhead. 'All the other expressions, likewise, bring out the Title of one, and the same being, the Lord of Power, the Lord, the Father of All, God Almighty, Most High, Creator, Maker, and such like, these are NOT the names and the titles of a succession of different beings, but of one and the same' (Vol. 1, page 412, Ante Nicene Fathers). He pointed out clearly that these are but TITLES as is Rose of Sharon, Bright and Morning Star, Fairest of Ten Thousand, etc., Irenaeus was NOT a Trinitarian. Neither is there but ONE God. His Name is Lord Jesus Christ.

The THIRD Age was named after Pergamos. Jesus called it, 'Satan's seat'. Here the ancient Babylonian religion of Satan was added to Christian teachings. This hybrid religion, which has opposed the Word of God from the time of Cain, invaded the nominal church, introducing pagan rites and holidays following the Nicean Council of 325. It lasted from 312 to 606. And by uniting the apostate church with the state, and persecuting the true believer, prepared the ground for the Dark Ages.

For those with eyes to see, this is precisely what is happening in Australia and around the world now. We've yielded our sovereignty, and our assets to the evil force behind the UN. We've allowed evil to control our minds, abandoning our liberty and freedom of speech to thought control, or 'political correctness'. The false church will establish a covenant to unite with these people, and with the state in the coming NWO, as Daniel and Jesus foretold. Then you'll see a new Dark Age: far worse than anything in history. The messenger to Pergamos was MARTIN.

The FOURTH Age lasted from 606 - 1520. Thyatira, knew the depth of Satan. Man had usurped the position and authority of God. Rome's greed and powerlust, had damned countless souls. And in the name of Christ, blasphemed the very Name and Word of God. Its messenger was COLUMBA, for his ministry most closely resembled the power and glory of God in the pattern of Paul's.

The Word calls the FIFTH Age a REFORMATION. Had it been a restoration, Sardis would have been another Pentecostal Age. It was not. The BEST that could be said of it was, 'Strengthen that which remains, that is ready to die'. There was something missing. This Age had JUSTIFICATION, but it had missed sanctification, and the Baptism with the Holy Ghost.

That's what God's original plan was. That's what they had at Pentecost. They were justified, they were sanctified, and were filled with the Holy Ghost. Why, listen to me, the reason for being justified and sanctified is to the end that you might be baptized with the holy ghost. that is the reason that there is a church. It is the temple of God filled with God, even the Holy Ghost. The same Spirit that was in Jesus while He was here on earth, causing Him to do the mighty works which He did, came back upon the Church at Pentecost, so that they did the works that he did. This Age did not have those works. Oh, they had the written Word, but not the revealed Word. This was the Reformation period. But fear not little flock. God said, 'I WILL restore'. And this reform was going to be the start of it. According to His promise, He was going to take the church back from the depth of Satan in the Dark Ages, to the Depth of God that they had at Pentecost, and in the first few years of the existence of the Church.

This Age lasted from 1520 to 1750. The messenger was Martin Luther. According to Sauer's history, 'Dr. Martin Luther was a prophet, evangelist, speaker in tongues, interpreter in one person; endowed with all the gifts of the Spirit'. Whilst this is true, Luther was not a prophet. There has never been a Trinitarian prophet. A Trinitarian would fail the test for a prophet.

The SIXTH or Philadelphian Age was the Age of the open door: great teachers, missions, and tremendous revivals, and ran from 1750 to 1906. The Messenger to the Age of brotherly love was John Wesley.

In order to understand the wealth of meaning involved in "behold I set before you an open door, and no man can shut it," we must now recall what has been said about the works of each Age running over into another Age. There is an overlapping, a melting or fading into, rather than an abrupt end and a clear cut start. This Age in particular flows into the next. The last Age is in many respects simply a carrying on of the SIXTH age. The SEVENTH Age (a very short Age) gathers up into itself for one QUICK work, all the EVIL of EVERY Age, and yet all the REALITY ' of Pentecost.

Once the Philadelphian Age has about run its course, the Laodicean Age quickly came in, bringing both the tares and the wheat to harvest, 'first bind the tares to burn them; but gather the wheat into My barn' (Matthew 13:30).

Remember, please, that the Sardis Age started the reformation that must continue, until the grain that was planted at Pentecost, goes through the full cycle of planting, watering, and nourishing, until it comes right back to original seed (Malachi 4:5-6). While this is going on, the tares that were sown will have to go through their cycle and be harvested also. That is exactly what we see happening. If you just think of the seasons, you can picture this. The plant that you see growing in full strength in summer suddenly appears to be going to seed. You can't tell exactly when summer became autumn - it just faded into it. That's how the Ages are, and especially these last two.

Behold, I come quickly! And the vast majority of Christians, so-called, will know nothing about It.

This brings us to the last Age. Today Israel is a nation, with its own government and all that pertains to nationhood. The 'fullness of the Gentiles' will soon come in. God's timepiece has already struck the Gentile's midnight hour. The Bridegroom came at the end of the Laodicean Age, through the revelation of the Seven Seals. He came in WORD Form, through the MOUTH of a prophet, and church systems 'know it not'.

According to the Word of God the messenger to Laodicea was a PROPHET, like Paul, the angel to the FIRST Age. His Message RESTORES the elect back to the faith once delivered by Paul - away from denominational teachings. It FINISHES the mystery of God, and as Jesus promised, calls the faithful into Itself. This Message is the FULLNESS of the Word. It IS Christ, in WORD Form.

Can you see It? The REVELATION of the SEVENTH Seal brought Christ BACK to earth in WORD Form. We're NOT to look for a Man, we unite by faith WITH the FULLNESS of the Word, for the manifestation of the Sons of God and the translation.

This morning we've fixed the Ages historically, and established a foundation for our subject over the coming weeks, which will deal with the Messenger, rather than the Ages themselves.

***

Send in your Bible questions. I'll reply on-air; and the first three listeners who write this week will receive the fantastic 381-page book, by William Branham - 'An Exposition of the Seven Church Ages'. Address your letters to: Bible Believers Program,

Anyone on the 'Net can call Bible Believers', 24-hours a day, seven-days a week. Teaching sermons, Freeware Bibles, Concordances, Books, Bible games and much, much more is available for download. Users may participate in Conferences with other believers across Australia and throughout the world, for the cost of a local call.

We have time for just one brief question from the Net:-

Dear Brother, How can I live above sin?

Get into Christ. He's already overcome Satan, sin, and the world. If we're in Him, we can live above sin.

Christ is the Anointed Word. We receive Him by faith, or Spiritual understanding of the Word of God. To receive Him is to receive the Spirit which is to be born again. The New Birth is a clear understanding of the Word for your day.

Sin is unbelief in the revealed Word. Smoking, drinking, adultery, lying, stealing, murder, etc., are not sin, they're the fruit of unbelief. People do those things because they're sinners.

A life lived by the Word is the Word expressed, and that puts you above sin.

It's impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly Gift, and made partakers of Christ, to fall away, because they're sealed to the first resurrection.

"Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin (or disbelieve the revealed Word), for the revelation remains in him, and he can not unbelieve, because he's born of God".

You're either a sinner, or a saint (Mt.24:24; Eph.4:30; He. 6:1-8; IJn. 3:9-12; 5:17-20). radio016.html

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