As we see end-time prophecies being fulfilled, one cannot help but think that we are living in borrowed time. What is going on around the world, especially in the United States of America, brings to mind the seven visions William Branham had in 1933. These visions, he said, would be fulfilled before the coming of the Lord Jesus:
The first vision was that Mussolini would invade Ethiopia and that the nation would “fall at his steps”…
The next vision foretold that an Austrian by the name of Adolph Hitler would rise up as dictator over Germany, and that he would draw the world into war. It showed the Siegfried line and how our troops would have a terrible time to overcome it. Then it showed that Hitler would come to a mysterious end.
The third vision was in the realm of world politics for it showed me that there would be three great ISMS – Fascism, Nazism, Communism, but that the first two would be swallowed up into the third. The voice admonished, “WATCH RUSSIA, WATCH RUSSIA. Keep your eye on the King of the North.”
The fourth vision showed the great advances in science that would come after the second world war. It was headed up in the vision of a plastic bubble-topped car that was running down beautiful highways under remote control so that people appeared seated in this car without a steering wheel and they were playing some sort of a game to amuse themselves.
The fifth vision had to do with the moral problem of our age, centering mostly around women. God showed me that women began to be out of their place with the granting of the vote. Then they cut off their hair, which signified that they were no longer under the authority of a man but insisted on either equal rights, or in most cases, more than equal rights. She adopted men’s clothing and went into a state of undress, until the last picture I saw was a woman naked except for a little fig leaf type apron. With this vision I saw the terrible perversion and moral plight of the whole world.
In the sixth vision there arose up in America a most beautiful, but cruel woman. She held the people in her complete power…
The last and seventh vision was wherein I heard a most terrible explosion. As I turned to look I saw nothing but debris, craters, and smoke all over the land of America.
When you read about what happened to Ethiopia at the hands of Mussolini, the advent of Hitler and the second war, and the recent inventions of egg-shaped bubble automatic vehicles which made headlines on news around the world, you and I should know that William Branham’s prophecies were not a “Made in Nigeria” charismatic drama. Among those who have followed his ministry and the messages he preached, there is an excitement of talking about current events in the light of the seven visions, especially concerning the sixth and seventh visions. On the other hand, there is a world of Pentecostals who know next to nothing concerning things that are to be. Their “watchmen” are busy entertaining them with sermons about ‘getting rich’ and ‘positive thinking’ when they are supposed to be in tears of repentance and introspection.
Now, for those who have received the end-time prophetic word, excitement shouldn’t be about the knowledge of the prophecies. It is important to know that during the first coming of Jesus Christ, the chief priests and scribes knew about the prophecy of Christ and where he was to be born but that didn’t amount to making them partakers of its fulfillment. The word was only manifested to those whose lives were worthy of God’s promises: Remember the shepherds? Remember Anne the Prophetess who served God with prayer and fasting? Remember Simeon, a devout believer who earnestly waited for the coming of the Lord? The lives of these people are examples for us to know that only those with a personal relationship with God shall experience the power that shall transform and translate the believers. It is one thing to find yourself gathered among believers but quite another to be sure of your place in His calling.
Called to the ‘Wedding’
Our calling in Christ is like an invitation to a wedding where every person has to dress up accordingly for the occasion. In this wedding ceremony we feast on God’s Word. We feed on that Word not to get puffed up with knowledge about this and that mystery, but that our lives be transformed to manifest the life of Christ. The question each one of us should ask is: since the Lord called me and revealed His Word to me, what manner of life have I lived? Have I lived a fruitful Christian life or I have been ever learning but never coming to spiritual maturity? See, what will take us into the Rapture is not knowing that there is a certain prophecy about to be fulfilled, but having a life that manifests the life of God’s Word. The Lord Jesus once spoke a parable (in Matthew 22:9-13) that strikes a chord with this sharing:
So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Surely, different people have come into the fellowship of saints in different ways. For some it’s been through a true conviction of Truth, and for others, they are in church to practice a social norm. There are many believers who found themselves in a church simply because they were born and raised in a family of believers. However, a true believer is one who has received the revelation of God’s Word. It is God’s Word which is our right clothing. Any other dressing – social norm, tradition, religious opinions – are not the right garments.
Your dressing testifies of your life
Physically speaking, what we dress can exhibit our life and our beliefs. “God doesn’t mind about what I dress outwardly because it’s my heart which matters” has become a common sentiment by women who dress inappropriately and yet want to call themselves Christians. If dressing really never matters, we should ask ourselves why it mattered to saints of old in the Bible. In Genesis 35:1-4, the household of Jacob, upon being called by God, had to change their garments and they also removed their earrings.
And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments… And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.
In the New Testament we also see an emphasis on modest dressing:
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array (1 Timothy 2:9).
It is surprising to note that here in my country of Zambia, when it is at a funeral gathering, women want to dress modestly. Those with short skirts or trousers carry a piece of cloth called Chitenge which they use to wrap around themselves to cover up their immodest outfits. Why is there this foolishness of revering the dead with proper dressing but yet dishonoring oneself’s body to the living public? I gather there are some who dress immodestly on purpose to cause men’s heads to turn and others who are simply taken with the wind of what is trending. It is important to be aware that in this life you are following somebody. Yes, there is someone who influences your beliefs and manner of life. This happens whether you aware of it or not. Sadly many people are following after some Hollywood models without knowing it.
Now, speaking about dressing and how it can express who is leading you in life, or what you believe in, I am reminded of Nelson Mandela.
Mandela’s Kaross at the Rivonia Trial
Nelson Mandela once gave a dramatic expression of what dressing entails and this angered and threatened the Apartheid-whites. This was at the famous Rivonia trial when he was sentenced to imprisonment. In his autobiography he recounted: I entered the court that Monday morning wearing a traditional Xhosa leopard-skin kaross instead of a suit and tie. The crowd of supporters rose as one and with raised clenched fists shouted “Amandla!” and “Ngawethu!” The kaross electrified the spectators…I had chosen traditional dress to emphasise the symbolism that I was a black African walking into a white man’s court. I was literally carrying on my back the history, culture, and heritage of my people… When I was on my way back to the cell, a very nervous white warder said that the commanding officer, Colonel Jacobs, had ordered me to hand over the kaross. I said, “You can tell him that he is not going to have it.
Mandela addressed the court, saying:
This case is a trial of the aspirations of the African people, and because of that I thought it proper to conduct my own defense…Why is it that in this courtroom I am facing a white magistrate, confronted by a white prosecutor, escorted by white orderlies? Can anybody honestly and seriously suggest that in this type of atmosphere the scales of justice are evenly balanced?
Believers need to know that through the ages, true God-called people have only had one kind of dressing – the revelation of God’s Word. To borrow Mandela’s words, our dressing should bear “the history, culture, and heritage” of God’s people over the ages. Anytime we try to adopt some new fashion of the compromised ecclesiastical world we should remember that we are going back to a system that imprisoned us into tradition and dogma. And is it not the case that many believers who were delivered from Babylon came out of the system only to turn around and end up in a more serious ‘Babel’ of confusion? When you look at their spiritual dressing, it certainly is not the required one and one day someone will have to answer the question, “how camest thou in hither?” There is ONLY ONE WAY to enter God’s fold and that is through the revelation of His Word. Any other religious method is false.
On Mandela again
Nelson Mandela gave his life completely to the struggle for the freedom of South Africans. The struggle became his obsession. Other people who felt a responsibility to fight against the Apartheid system found themselves living the same kind of life. They went in and out of jail but that did not matter to them. Something – a great cause – kept the frames of their spirits lit. At one moment, recounts Mandela, they were imprisoned and discouraged. But someone started to sing a song and a revival began:
We sang at the top of our lungs, and it kept our spirits high. One time, Masabalala Yengwe…the son of a Zulu labourer…draped himself with a blanket, rolled up a newspaper to imitate an assegai, and began to stride back and forth reciting the lines from the praise song [this was a song in praise of Shaka, the legendary Zulu warrior and king – Ed]. All of us, even those who did not understand Zulu were entranced. Then he paused dramatically and called out the lines “Inyon’ edl’ ezinye! Yath’ isadl’ ezinye, yadl’ ezinye!” The lines liken Shaka to a great bird of prey that relentlessly slays its enemies. At the conclusion of these words, pandemonium broke out. Chief Luthuli, who until then had remained quite, sprang to his feet, and bellowed, “Ngu Shaka lowo!” (That is Shaka!), and then began to dance and chant. His movements electrified us, and we all took to our feet…Some moved gracefully, others resembled frozen mountaineers trying to shake off the cold, but all danced with enthusiasm and emotion. Suddenly there were no Xhosas or Zulus, no Indians or Africans, no rightists or leftists, no religious or political leaders; we were all nationalists and patriots bound together by a love of our common history, our culture, our country, and our people. In that moment, something stirred deep inside all of us, something strong and intimate, that bound us to one another. In that moment we felt the hand of the great past that made us what we were and the power of the great cause that linked us all together (p.277-278).
When I read these words, I started to think about what happens when someone receives a true conviction of the Holy Spirit. The conviction in his heart becomes his life and he gets free from tradition. And it seems to happen naturally that when people are confronted with reality, their false traditions crumble and fall apart. This reminds me of one time when a Jehovah Witness once approached me asking me about why in my church everyone prays together in a Pentecostal way. “Prayer should be quite and orderly” he chided. “How can God hear you when you are all making noise?” I opened my Bible and read to him Ezra 3:11-13 which says that the people “sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout…But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers…wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off”. I asked the gentleman, “Do you think these were Jehovah Witnesses?”
Religion makes people have two ‘faces’ or lives – one they exhibit when they are in church and another when they are truly themselves elsewhere. When at home watching soccer, for example, some people will scream and yell and dance in expressing their emotion. Now, that’s the real them! That’s their life. It is filled with the ‘spirit of football.’ That’s what they enjoy! Well, it goes without saying that a person whose mind has become obsessed with the Spirit of the Gospel also lives to the full expression of its joy. It is interesting to know that when reality strikes even the most traditional people discard their norms and yield to the emotion and cry of their spirits. This reminds me of one time when some students at a college I once worked were trying to come up the building using an elevator. They were about five of them on their way to the eighth floor when suddenly the elevator stopped and smoke started to sip inside the small cell. Panic and confusion set in. One student tried to dial my number as others started to scream. Then the Jehovah Witness, the Catholic, and the Seventh Day Adventist began to pray the pentecostal way of shouting and calling on the name of Jesus. I remarked to them, “Now, that was the real you praying. In that moment even a Catholic realizes that going through the beads of the rosary may not be helpful.”
Dear saints, God has called us to sincerity. The Word that we have received inside our hearts should be our clothing outwardly. Whoever comes into the fold of God through the one door of Revelation understands this – “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).
 William Branham in Exposition of the Seven Church Ages, 1960. Voice of God Recordings, Jeffersonville Indiana.
 Nelson Mandela in Long Walk to Freedom, 1994. Backbay Books, New York.