“See thou hurt not the oil and the wine”
In the book of Proverbs 31:6-7 we read these words about wine: “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.” Natural wine can only make a depressed person forget his misery for a short while. When he sobers up the problem will still be present to trouble him. So, although the above scripture says he will “remember his misery no more”, the “no more” has to be rightly understood as occurring within a short period of time. It is here that we see the limitation of what natural wine can do. It can only help man “in part”, so to speak, for a short period of time. However, “when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (1 Cor.13:10). We are thankful to God that the New Testament came with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the “perfect” and real wine, for the soul of man. It is for this reason that we are now admonished “not [to be] drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but [to] be filled with the Spirit” (Eph.5:18).The Holy Spirit gives the real stimulation which can heal a heavy heart just as the Lord promised saying, “Come unto me, all ye that … are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mat.11:28).
Sadly, there are people who still consume alcohol in an effort to relieve themselves of depression but only to find themselves ruining their lives into more confusion. When drunk they experience what seems like ecstasy but when reality strikes back they realise that all they had gone through was but just a temporal experience. That is the state of a person who hasn’t received THE REAL SPIRITUAL WINE!
Spiritual wine gives real enduring joy and out of that joy comes real strength that will enable a believer to stand even in moments of trial even as our Lord “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Heb.12:2). Do you remember the disciples of Christ who were at one time all cowards and fled from their master when he fell into the hands of the authorities who mistreated Him? Peter had denied the Lord three times. However, on that day when the Holy Ghost came and “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues,” we see Peter boldly “standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” (Act. 2:6, 14-15). These seemingly drunk people were experiencing a new kind of “refreshment” which had been foretold by the prophet Isaiah – “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear” (Isa.28:11-12). The disciples of Christ had gotten drunk with the spiritual wine and that is what gave them the joy, and out of that joy came the strength (boldness) to proclaim the Word of God.
He gives wine to the heavy in heart
After the crucifixion of Christ, the disciples were in a state of depression and confusion of thought. Remember the two who walked to Emmaus with sad faces? More trouble followed after the ascension of Christ as believers increasingly got persecuted. But thanks be to God who gives “wine” unto those that are of heavy hearts. God gave the disciples such unction and such rest in their hearts that no amount of persecution could separate them from the joy of salvation. The good news is that even unto you today the invitation is still given: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mat.11:28).
Have you ever felt discouraged at one time, and as you decided to start praising and worshiping God in the closet, then came a joy deep inside your heart that gave you strength to face whatever challenge was before you? Dearly beloved, it is in waiting upon the Lord in His presence that your heart can receive joy and that joy in turn gives strength because “the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Neh.8:10). The spirit of prophecy in Isaiah proclaimed that “they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (40:31).
Oil and Wine in the Dark Ages
During the Dark Ages believers experienced extreme trial and persecution and the hindrance to access the true Word of God. During this period the papacy ruled with tyranny. The Catholic system held people in fear and superstition. The people who were bound in the system were too afraid to confront and challenge the system. What they had was fear. This fear existed because of the absence of the truth of the Word. Without the true Word there can be no true joy, and without joy, there can be no strength. Where the Word is absent, there will be nothing to stimulate the joy and strength of the Lord in a believer. The believer will become intimidated, fearful, and ultimately get deceived. However, the Lord who is rich in mercy always provides His protection upon people who have ears to hear what the Spirit is speaking.During the Dark Ages God raised men who received the revelation of the Word. The prominent one was Martin Luther. He proclaimed that “the just shall live by faith” at a time when all sanity was lost and people’s minds were seared with a hot iron of superstition and traditions of the Church. But when God speaks and His voice penetrates into the heart of a man who has ears to hear THE VOICE, no amount of tradition can hinder that person from seeing the light. That is exactly what happened during the time of the Reformation.
The Revelation of the Third Seal
When brother Branham received the revelation of the Seals in 1963 he explained that the famine of God’s Word during the Dark Ages is what constituted the Third Seal. This is not what Clarence Larkin taught! In saying this, we are not trying to raise arguments against Larkin’s teachings. He wrote and taught what he understood to the best of his knowledge. But, as is common in all fields of study, time always brings to light more truth about a matter.
Comparing what Larkin and Branham taught about the Third Seal
This is what Clarence Larkin said about the Third Seal:
The ‘BLACK HORSE’ signifies famine, and the Rider the ‘Conserver of Food.’ When all able bodied men are drafted for war, and no one left to sow and harvest the crops, then famine is sure to follow. So great will be the famine, that it will take a ‘denarius’ a day’s wages, to buy a ‘choenix’ (2 pints) of wheat, the daily ration of a slave. What is meant by not hurting the oil and wine, may be, that as the Olive tree and grapevine do not bear their fruit until some months after the wheat and barley harvest, and grow without much attention, their crops would not be so much affected by war, and therefore the olive trees and grapevines were not to be ruthlessly destroyed by invaders for they were needed for medicinal purposes.
Like he does to all the other seals, Larkin placed the fulfillment of this seal in the future during a war that will occur. He explained that because able-bodied men will get involved in the war there will be no one to pay attention to agriculture and this will bring about famine. Furthermore, during the war crops will be destroyed but olive trees and grapes will be preserved because of their medicinal purposes.
Dear brothers and sisters, it is inconceivable how someone could have been reading brother Branham’s books for over three decades and then come to the conclusion that the interpretation of the Third Seal (and other seals) by William Branham is the same as that of Larkin! What the two men taught about the seals is just so plainly different. It is quite deceptive to pick on isolated words and phrases which seem to match in the two men’s writings and then try to raise a case of plagiarism. Let us see what brother Branham taught about the Third Seal.
The revelation of the Third Seal as given to Brother Branham
The following words have been quoted verbatim from William Branham’s sermon on the Third Seal:
Now here is the mystery of the black horse, according to what it was revealed to me. He has started riding him in the time of the dark ages. That’s what the dark horse represented, the dark ages, for it was a time of midnight to the true believers that was left. Watch now in that church age, that middle church age, the dark church age. Watch how He says, “You just have a little strength.” It was a midnight to them, for the true believer. Now watch. Practically all hope had been taken from the true Church, for this fellow controlled both church and state… Now, all hopes gone; no hope at all. Everything looked dark, for the little believers. Now, that’s the reason it’s called, represented, the dark horse. “His balances, or his scales, in his hand,” you see. Calling out, “Measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny.” See, actually, that is, wheat and barley is natural staff of life. That’s what bread and stuff is made from. But, you see, he was charging for this. What it means, that, he was charging his subjects for the kind of the hope of life that he was sending out to them, by making…
He started in that very time, of making them pay for prayers, charging for prayer. They still do it; novenas.… Now, oil typifies Spirit. And wine symbolizes stimulation of revelation… When the Truth of a promised Word of God has been truly revealed to His saints that’s filled with Oil, they all get stimulated. Wine is a stimulation. Glory! I feel it right now. Stimulated with joy, shouts! See? And, when It does, It has the same effect upon them that-that wine does upon a natural man. Because, when the revelation has been given, of a Truth of God, and the true believer filled with Oil, and the revelation is revealed, the stimulation becomes so great that He makes him behave hisself un-normally…“For with stammering lips and with other tongues will I speak to this people. And this is the refreshment.” This is the wine that’s poured out. What is wine, in the Bible? Refreshments. “This is the refreshments that comes from the Presence of the Lord.”
Surely, when God reveals himself through His Word there is a refreshment that comes upon our souls. The refreshment may make one shout “Hallelujah!” It may cause you to dance and sing before the Lord. Again, it may simply give you rest in your heart that assures you that all is well even when danger approaches. In that moment of danger, when God’s anointing is present, faith (the revelation of God’s will) will enable you to stand and believe in God for “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 Joh. 4:4).
In the face of gross darkness, superstition, and the tyranny of papal Rome, the believers of that time could not have seen the truth and be converted had it not been God’s grace. Amidst all the deception and confusion, they were able to hear the “small still voice.” The voice spoke and they firmly stood on God’s Word.
What’s the Attraction on the Mountain?
When a person hears the anointed Word and gets excited by it, no matter how long he may linger in trying to stay around the Word, as long as he has no firm foundation in the truth he has received, sooner or later his mind will waver away as it seeks other things that may interest it. It is important to know that usually when a spiritual revival breaks out, it always comes with phenomena that attracts different people in different ways. Some people will come to see the “fire”, and others the “wind.” But let’s see what attracted Elijah: “And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?” ( 1 Kings 19:12-13).
What do you think modern day Charismatics would have experienced and testified about had they been with Elijah on the mount? What would many Endtime Message believers have talked about? And, what would have the critics focussed on? I see charismatics running down the mountain all emotional and in ecstasy talking about the “Wind.” “Did you feel it?” one asks another. “Yes! Oh, what a supernatural manifestation!” they would exclaim. On the other slope of the mountain comes down another group with pictures of the pillar of “fire” and talking about how Elijah is a vindicated prophet of God. Then comes the critic with his barometer, windsock, and a group of journalists. “There is an explanation to the wind and the fire that broke out!” he exclaims. “My analysis shows that the wind is coming from this direction and must have toppled some rock which in turn struck another one causing a spark!” Dear friends, all these differences in reaction and opinion will arise because people were motivated by different things to go and see the ‘attraction’ on the mountain. Some went to seek for signs whilst others went to prove their skepticism. Usually only a handful would be still to hear THE VOICE OF THE WORD! Elijah’s experience went beyond witnessing the fire or the wind. He heard the voice of God and came down that mountain with a testimony that was way deep into his soul and no man could shake him away from the joy in his soul.
The Geologist, The Zoologist, and the Believer
There are many things in this life that you are going to learn through observation or research and God is not one of them. One wise man put it this way: a geologist learns about rocks by studying them. That’s fairly easy because the rocks will not run away from you when you see them. You can pick or dig them up and investigate them with all your liberty. All the initiative lies with you and not the rocks. For a zoologist however, it’s a different story. Animals run away when they see him and he has to be tactful to be able to capture their pictures. Although animals may use the initiative to run away when they see the zoologist, being an intelligent being, a human has more initiative to explore more ways to hide and be able to capture the images. Now, a stage higher. What would it take to know a human being? A human being is neither a stone nor an animal. He is a free moral agent who can choose not to reveal his mind to you even when you sit close to him. For him to disclose his heart to you, you will have to win his confidence. “In this case the initiative is equally divided” explained C.S. Lewis in the book MERE CHRISTIANITY. He explained further:
When you come to knowing God, the initiative lies on His side. If He does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him. And, in fact, He shows much more of Himself to some people than to others – not because He has favourites, but because it is impossible for Him to show Himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong directions.
These words are true. I would add that if you were driving East when your targeted destination was in the North, no matter how fast you would drive your car, it would not bring you any closer to the intended destination. Sadly, many times human ego can be so deceptive. A person can crowd up his mind with all sorts of ideas which may seem interesting and persuasive. What the person may not realize is how far his mind has gone into fantasy and speculation. In life it is not safe to be over-confident about matters one has little (or no) facts about. May we always give heed to these words of Scripture: “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Pro.16:25). Amen.
CONTINUED IN PART V.
PDF Copy of this Message: fyeoilandwine
Believers’ Assembly Fellowship | Lusaka – Zambia