Speaker: Pastor Norman Martin
Series: November 2014
Scripture: Ephesians 3:9-11
Before reading out the scriptures, the visiting minister, Pastor Norman Martin, encouraged the congregation to be in intimate fellowship with God. From the words of the song Shut In With God the preacher went on to emphasise that when we are shut in with God in the Holy of Holies, we are like dead people. A dead person is not able to hit back if they are attacked. We will be able to shake hands with the enemy as there will be no malice in us. And God deliberately tests us to see how we will react. He even allows family to go against a believer. Even more striking is the point made by the Prophet that God even allows one’s Pastor to go against the believer just to try them. God will be trying to see if the prayer life will change with each trial that comes along.
When the scripture says that we must pray for those who despitefully use us, it means that God will raise such people in our lives just to see what we will do. After all, character is a victory. It comes only after a battle has been won.
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 3:9 – 11; 1 John1: 3 – 7; Rev 10: 1 – 7
After scripture reading, the minister announced that he is a bona fide senior citizen, having turned 60 years. He was glad to see old faces (old not in years, but familiar people he had seen before). The minister remarked at the welcoming spirit in Spoken Word Tabernacle. He acknowledged his family members, his mother who is 80 years old (showing the blood line is characterised by long life), and noted how she worked hard for the family in the garment factory, and how, in the process, she raised them up while the father, due to the nature of his work as a driver, was travelling all over the country. The minister introduced his elder brother (who despite his age, has not greyed yet), and further saluted his sister in law who is looking after his mother. Then he defined what it means to have a strong church. When 90% of the congregation attends church each service day, that means the church is strong.
The preacher commented that ministers are for the people. He further saluted brother John Massie, a childhood friend whom he played soccer with in the old days before their conversion.
We are rapture-bound, the minister exhorted the congregation. And whatever we have, be it cars or other assets, we must use them to help prepare for the rapture. For example, cars are merely toys that God has given us to use while we prepare for the journey back to heaven.
God wants us to overcome. He wants us to pass the test. If we do not pass the test, God will repeat the test until we come out right. And God does not explain or warn us of what will come in between any promise he gives out. For instance, he told the children of Israel to leave Egypt and go to the Promised Land. He kept quiet about the trials they will come across in between. Therefore whatever trial we encounter, it has a beginning and an end. We must know how to use the correct weapon when we are tested. Let us see how God used a Lamb to overcome Sin. What this means is that if we want to overcome, as believers, we need that same lamb-like nature.
God gave us prophets, who are designed to speak God’s mind to the people. The Prophet is the voice of God. When we listen to the tapes or read the books, we are actually communing with God. We will be fellowshipping with God. And we are called to fellowship by revelation.
We thank God that salvation is what God has already done. It is not a big DO but DONE. God took the perfect picture of us. This picture is not the one stained by drinking, smoking, adultery etc. God will never forsake us, regardless of how circumstances turn out – whether the South African Rand falls in value or whatever situation. God remains the same. Even the weakest Christian is able to conquer the enemy. God is trying us in order to make us get beyond the veil.
For example, a husband may be stingy. But what should be wife do? She must kiss him before he goes out to work and, when he is gone, kneel down in prayer and plead with God. God will work on that man such that when he comes back, he will hand over the bank card to the prayerful wife. The same applies with a husband who is quiet, one who does not communicate. They should be loved all the same, and prayer will do the rest. Furthermore, we must give each other space, that is, room to grow. We must understand one another.
The Prophet is God’s interpreter of the Word. And there is no true fellowship outside the Spoken Word interpretation of God. When we eat the books and the tapes, that is life coming to us. Therefore we must not move away from the Spoken Word, nor allow ourselves to be moved away by others. Those who strive to distance people from the Spoken Word are actually operating under the same spirit which kept the Word away from the people, the spirit of the Catholic hiearachy.
Today, we are the Word made flesh. Anyone who rejects us is actually guilty of rejecting mercy because the Word is in us. To really know who we are, we must go back to the seed chapter of Genesis. The Prophet William Branham is the only one who could inteprete God’s word. After the new birth, God can trust us. God can adopt us and place us. It is the season of adoption today, and we are hearing from our theophany, having moved away from sin.
The Prophet is the revealer and interpreter of the Word. He is designed to go into the mind of God. And we must eat the book so that we end up looking like the book. We become the book in flesh.
There is a big battle going on. The battle is to see God in our fellow brethren, which is the difficult part. Although we have faults, and although we make mistakes, God has already ordained us regardless of those things. And God does not take away our salvation because of the bad mood on a particular day, or because someone is not greeting us or we are not greeting them.
It is the divinely revealed mystery truths of God, under the interpretation of prophetic insight, that cause us to be changed for the rapture.
Notice how Paul was not at Pentecost but met the Pillar of Fire in its fullness. That is the same with the Prophet William Branham, who was not at Pentecost in our day but similarly had the full Pillar of Fire experience in his life. Before the Prophet we did not know that we come from God, we did not know that the new birth is a process and we did not know that Adam is a direct descendent of God.
The preacher narrated an incident in which he was asked How are you brother Norman? He replied I am blessed. For God to come down from glory and die for me on earth, that is a great cause for joy.
We know Revelations 10: 1 – 7 was fulfilled in 1963. We know that Luke 17:30 was fulfilled in our day. That is why the Prophet could preach titles like This Day This Scripture Is Fulfilled.
The Prophet operated under different annointings, from rebuking Pentecost to placing the Bride. It is striking to note that there were no Message Churches on earth until after the Prophet left the scene, yet in the tapes he says that there are some people in the denominations who will receive the Holy Ghost, and that prophetic utterance pointed to us, the believers of today, who received the Message for our day and believed the Messenger of the day also.
Although we have had wrong teaching in the past, God is creating a situation where we have to move beyond the veil. Indeed, wrong teaching leaves a believer looking up to a man, which is idolatry, and we had had a lot of idolatry within the framework of the Message of the Hour. We do not have to idolise a man, much as God might use them. After all, no man has a ministry of their own. This preaching which preachers are doing today is not a new ministry but just an act of following in the footsteps of a ministry which has gone on before, and which has already been vindicated. That explains why the Prophet is quite different from a lot of the preachers today. God told him not to smoke, drink or defile himself in any way. And the Prophet did not do those things which he was instructed not to do. Yet we have ministers who smoked, drank and did about anything before the Grace of God called them out of the old sinful life. How can we compare such ministers with the Prophet, who was a special and chosen vessel, one who was especially set aside for use by the Almighty God himself?
God is calling us to a relationship. He is calling us to intimacy. Just look at how a minister feels when he travels overseas. His mind will be thinking of the flock, whether they are in good health and whether no distraction has come amongst them. A pastoral heart always thinks about such things. If we are intimate with Jesus Christ, it helps us to be able to handle difficult situations. For example, if you are hurt, you will need a lot of the Lord Jesus Christ in you, in the form of The Holy Ghost, to be able to forgive and over-ride the hurt.
The Message of the Hour destroys the amnesia in the believer. The Message helps us know where we came from before we found ourselves here on earth today. There is a popular story the Prophet tells of how soldiers coming from the war frequently suffered serious bouts of amnesia. It was commonplace to find soldiers losing all memory of where they came from. The story is told of how a truck packed with soldiers moved about the country, from place to place. Then when it reached a particular place, a certain young soldier alighted from the truck. All the other people just stood by with the intention to observe what this young soldier was up to. Then he took a road down a certain street, made a few turns and finally stood before a house. Shortly after, a man came out of the house and ran to the young soldier. It was the young man’s father. On seeing his parent, the amnesia syndrome departed from the young soldier. That is exactly what the Message of the Hour has come to do with us.
There is a lot of things rising up against the Prophet William Branham. Certain quarters voice out that the Prophet made mistakes. Yet these same people love to quote biblical characters like Moses, whom they conveniently forget that he killed an Egyptian and further disobeyed God when told to speak to the rock. They claim to be the spiritual seed of Father Abraham, another character who also had his shortcomings – he lied in order to save his neck. But why does God allow such things. God allows his men to make mistakes so that we do not hang on to men, but rather have a direct relationship with God.
We need to respect the Prophet, seeing the revelation of the Seven Seals was done through angelic ministration. It was not the man talking, but God behind the man. As a dispensational Prophet, God even decided to have his picture taken side by side with his mouthpiece, a fact which is an undeniable declaration that God is saying This is My Voice, Hear Ye Him. He is the Voice of God for the day. And we will only be able to get into the rapture through the Message preached by this Prophet, Brother William Marrion Branham. Yet despite God using him mightily, the man remained humble. This tells us that true revelation is the actually the life of God. With respect to the Pillar of Fire photographic vindication, the Prophet merely says I was only privileged to be around when God decided to have a photograph of himself taken on earth. This is the voice that we must listen to. And as we listen to the tapes, we will be growing – that is how we mature in the Word.
Before the fall, there was gender equality, which means that God spoke individually to the male and the female as he wished. But after the fall, there was a hierarchy instituted by God, thus the woman in now subject to the man.
God loves fellowship with men. We need to be in fellowship with God. On Mt Sinai, the people refused to talk to God directly and asked for God to use a man, a fact which established the use of Prophets by God thereafter. Therefore when a Prophet comes, he is actually speaking in the shoes of God. The Word he brings is not his own, but that of God. And it is the Word which creates that Edenic atmosphere in the believer’s life.
And the Word for this day is in the flesh of the bride. If that Spoken Word is taken away from us, we automatically go back to denominationalism. Without the Prophet, there is no Word. Without the Word, there is no revelation, no fellowship, no restoration, no power, no authority, no dominion. It is the revelation of the Word by the Holy Ghost which brings deliverance. With revelation of the Word, we overcome worldly cravings. The desire for cigarettes, for example, actually vanishes on its own without us making an effort to stop. The ability to forgive, too, comes on its own without our conscious effort.
We need to take note that the Word is supreme. Even the Prophet himself did not bring a Message of his own. He only brought together the scattered Word.
When Paul encountered Christ on the way to Damascus, he was asked why he was persecuting Jesus Christ. Yet it was the people that he was tormenting. That goes to show that each believer is the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ at individual level.