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Does the Bible allow women to preach?

1 Corinthians 14:34 says, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law”. This is a “take it or leave it” scripture for many. But to those who believe in the divine inspiration of Scripture (2 Tim.3:16) and earnestly give heed to Paul’s admonition in Galatians 1:8 which stated that “though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed”, it is a very important matter.

It is interesting to note that often when 1 Corinthians 14:34 is brought into discussion with many who wantonly disobey it, they quickly try to look for other scriptures to support their view. But if there is truly another scripture that supports women preaching in church, then either the Bible contradicts itself or it is carnal man who, wittingly or unwittingly, misinterprets the simple truth of Scripture. I hope at the end of my explanation you will see that the latter is the case.

I shall approach this subject by listing the different reasons used in support of women-preaching and examining each reason in the light of God’s Word. May I point out here that there are many Christians who are into the error of women preaching either due to plain ignorance of scriptures or  because of having an indifferent attitude towards Bible doctrines. And there are many women who are sincerely involved in the preaching ministry; they have a sincere desire to serve God and do some work for Him. However, sincerity does not define truth because a person can be sincerely wrong. No matter how we claim to try to please God; if we have no regard to His Word, our fate has already been pronounced – “Because thou hast rejected the Word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee” (1 Sam.15:23).

Common views & scriptures used to support women preachers

The following are the common reasons used to support the view that God can use women in preaching:

  1. “The verse of 1 Corinthians 14:34 was written by Paul to deal with a local problem which occurred at the church in Corinth and is thus not applicable to all Christian churches”

If this view is correct, why did Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:34 emphasise his admonition by using the words “as also saith the law”?  These words clearly indicate that Paul was not introducing some new teaching or a special order suitable for that particular local church; “as also saith the law” is a reaffirmation of an already existing order from the Old Testament era. This can never be overemphasised as there is no record anywhere in the Old Testament of women priests or teachers in synagogues.

In verse 37 of the above scripture apostle Paul further warns that, “If any man thinks himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord”. So, what we read in 1 Corinthians 14:34 was not Paul’s opinion but a commandment of the Lord for the church.

Here is another important thing to consider: If Paul forbade women to preach in the Corinthian church because of an alleged local problem of the church at Corinth, why was the same instruction given to Brother Timothy, the pastor of the church in Ephesus (1 Timothy 2:11-14)? Here are the words of the instruction: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence, for Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression”. Please note that in this instruction a reason was given for why women cannot be in authority of preaching or teaching God’s Word: FOR Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression”.  The word “for” is a conjunction which means “because”.

Reminiscence

One day during a discussion on radio, two clergymen (one a lecturer at a Bible College and another, a female reverend)  challenged my belief in 1 Corinthians 14:34 by stating the following:  When reading scriptures like 1 Corinthians 14:34 we should consider cultural contexts.  Furthermore the issue of ‘women preaching in church’ should be considered as a relative doctrine, not an absolute one. Relative issues are subject to change with times and people’s cultures. During the radio interview the Bible lecturer posed this question with emphasis: Is there anything really wrong in a woman for us to be able to think that they cannot preach?

With all due respect to the reverend I must say that his question would have made sense if it had either come from an atheist or a person of another religion who doubts the inspiration or infallibility of Scripture. If the reverend feels he knows women better than God, he should go on and ask the author of Scriptures this question: “Is there anything really wrong with a woman that she still has to bear birth-pangs pronounced on her in Genesis 3:16” Any sincere person knows the fact that women are weaker vessels and easily fall for deception, sensationalism and fanaticism. That is one simple reason why God established an order forbidding them to hold the authority of the preaching or teaching ministry in the church –  “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7).

Take note that Paul, when dealing with the subject of women preaching in church (1 Timothy 2:11-14), gave reference to the events of Genesis chapter 3 in which God had established the law to put a woman under the headship of a man, after her deception by the serpent. In Genesis 3:16, God said to the woman: “In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee”.

Two things are note-worthy in this verse:

FIRST: If God has now forgotten about the headship of man over a woman and that she now can hold the authority of preaching the Word, then WHY does the curse of great pain in child bearing still occur on women? Were not both the cursing and the giving of headship to a man consequences of her succumbing to the Serpent’s deception? Therefore if any person claims that the grace of God has now annulled the forbiddance of women preaching in church let him explain why that Grace hasn’t taken away birth pangs which were part of the judgement God pronounced on a woman. And are not the verses forbidding women to preach found in the New Testament of Grace? So, women preaching in church can never be a fruit of grace but disgrace!

[NOTE: Some theologians foolishly claim that a woman can be a preacher in church and still submit to the headship of her husband at home. This claim is a serious disregard and bypass of 1 Cor.14:34 which clearly connects (and does not in anyway separate) the issue of preaching in church and submission at home. How can a woman be a preacher without usurping authority over men in her congregation? A person can never be a preacher without possessing the authority of His master to feed His flock. The ascension ministry of Ephesians 4:11 are positions of authority – not carnal authority of proud men, but the authority to teach, expound doctrine and be a wise guide, judge and steward in the household of God (cf. Matt.24:45-46, Heb.13:17, 2 Cor.5:20).]

SECOND: In addition to pronouncing birth-pangs on a woman, God said to the woman that “thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Gen.3:16). Thus, God established the headship of man over a woman right from that point. The question is: TO WHOM WAS THE LAW ESTABLISHED – Hebrews, Arabs, Africans or Americans? Is it hard to see that Adam and Eve were the first parents of all mankind? If a theologian wants to dismiss the headship of man over a woman as a mere cultural, racial, or relative issue, he or she must first establish what race, tribe or culture Adam was! It takes simple common sense to understand that even nature testifies that women folk should be under the headship of a man. By nature they are weak and require the strength and protection of a man. The trouble is we are living in a world in which common sense is no longer common; truth sounds bizarre, and nonsense is rational. Give this world another 100 years and the whole world will discard distinguishing genders of male and female altogether! If we will live up to that time, public toilets will no more have captions of “Gents” and “Ladies”.

  1. “Galatians 3:28 says that ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus’ so women can preach just like men.

Is it not surprising that all processes of nature – the formation of starch in the green vegetables, the process of respiring by all living things, the formation of minerals in the earth – occurs by following prescribed processes (laws). Imagine what chaos would be there if the chemical elements that make water, Hydrogen and Oxygen, also demanded for ‘water rights’ to be allowed to divorce or to have a feel of becoming paraffin. What ‘chaos’ would be there to the fish in the rivers, the water we drink in our homes, the rain that waters our fields and forests? God has created everything in the state it is in for a purpose. Try to challenge the purpose and things will fall out of place.

Now, if Galatians 3:28 means there is literally no difference between a man or woman, then why can’t men also start becoming pregnant to share the burden of women? If this sounds ridiculous, then the verse should be understood in its proper context. Paul, in Galatians 3:28 is explaining of how through Grace salvation no longer belongs to the Jews only and neither is it based on the preference of men to women. In other words, anyone who sincerely repents and accepts the Lord Jesus as his or her Saviour will be accepted before God. Here is what is contained in the scripture beginning from verse 27: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus”. Is it really difficult to see that the subject of this scripture is salvation AND NOT the ministry of preaching or teaching.

  1. “Women can preach because Joel 2:28 says that ‘it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy’”.

Joel 2:28 is another scripture that is usually overstretched, exaggerated and quoted out of context. Some theologians take the word “prophesy” and generalise it to mean “proclaiming God’s Word as in teaching or preaching”. Such people have no reverence for God’s Word and would make it say anything they want it to say as long as it satisfies their theological or doctrinal appetites. If prophesying and preaching of God’s Word is the same thing then how could Paul forbid women to preach and then turn around and allow them to prophesy in church? Would he not be contradicting himself?

One does not require a degree in Theology to understand the usage of the word “prophesy” in the Bible. Its usage in the Bible – not according to Oxford or other modern dictionaries –  refers to the act of God speaking using a person’s mouth or voice. The person being used does not plan what to speak. It is God speaking using a human vessel and that is why prophecy is often accompanied by the words, “THUS SAITH THE LORD”. However, today there are so many false prophets and prophetesses who mistake the anointing of God for their self-made sensationalism and hysteria. But that does not rule out genuine gifts which operate in some people.

Now, preaching on the other hand is different from prophesying; it may involve planning and studying what you will preach or teach about, using the wisdom God has given you. Of course one should spend time in prayer and seek God’s inspiration. But yet, even when God speaks to your heart about what to preach, you will use the wisdom God gave you to plan and select the words you will use to build up the sermon for the understanding of the people. Prophesying on the other hand is strictly “THUS SAITH THE LORD”!

Here is another important thing to note: if the prophecy of Joel 2:28 meant that women shall become preachers when the Holy Ghost comes on them, let us go to Acts chapter 2 and examine the events which transpired when this prophecy got fulfilled on the day of Pentecost and the years that followed recorded in the book of Acts.

When the Holy Ghost fell on the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up and proclaimed to the crowd that; “THIS is THAT which was spoken by the prophet Joel; ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy…’” (Act.2:16-18).

If what happened on the day of Pentecost fulfilled Joel 2:28 and if the word “prophesy” has the same meaning as preaching or teaching the Word, can anyone mention one woman who stood up and began to preach as the result of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost and in the years that followed recorded in the book of Acts? No woman preached following the outpouring of the Holy Ghost in the entire book of Acts. The only thing we read is that of women who prophesied as in the case of the daughters of Philip (Acts 21:8-9).

  1. “Phoebe, a woman, is referred to by Paul as a ‘servant of the church’ (Romans 16:1). Also Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned to be helpers of Paul.”

A carnal person knows no limits of extents to overstretch scriptures in order to satisfy an ego and ambition. Some theologians will read a statement like “Paul a servant of God” in one place of scripture, and another one  like, “Phoebe a servant of the church”, and then equate the ministries of Paul and Phoebe. That is quite illogical. Here is an illustration.

Person X is described as B in a verse of scripture;

Person Y is also described as B in another verse of scripture.

Do the above statements make person X and Y the same in every aspect, capacity and role? If yes, try to make sense out of the following this:

The sky looks grey

That cat looks grey.

Is the sky and the cat the same thing. That would be ridiculous, isn’t it? But that is how some educated theologians read scripture. They can define a prophetess as “a female prophet”. I  wonder if they would define a prophet as “a male prophetess”.

Phoebe was not a servant of the church in the role of preaching the Word. Reading the whole passage explains what Paul meant when he called her “servant”. Here it is: “I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also” (Rom.16:1-2). Is it not clear to see that Phoebe was described as a servant of the church because of her charity works. There are other examples of women who fall in this category –  Dorcas who was full of good works and alms deeds (Acts 9:36) and the women who accompanied Jesus and his disciples as they went about preaching the gospel. These women, the Bible says, “ministered unto him (Jesus) of their substance” (Luke 8:1-3). These women were probably engaged in businesses and honoured God by trying to support the ministry of Jesus through their substance. Such women can be called co-workers in ministry but that does not make them preachers!

  1. “Deborah was a prophetess and judge in Israel (Judges 4:4); this shows that God allows women to be preachers and teachers of the Word.”

Women preachers and those who support them should ask themselves this question: “Was it God’s perfect will for a woman, Deborah, to lead Israel? In what spiritual state was Israel in at a time when God raised a woman to lead the nation? Was it an ideal state to take for an example in our spiritual matters? We will let Deborah speak for herself. When it was time for Israel to go for war she said these words to Barak: “And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh” (Judges 4:9). Why did Deborah emphasise her reply with these words “for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman”? Can you not see that it was a shame? If you still can’t see that it was not God’s perfect will for Israel to be ruled by a woman here is what He said in Isaiah 3:12 when Israel was again in a backslidden state, “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.”

 The above scripture clearly points out the fact that when a woman ruled Israel it was a shameful thing and only indicated that the nation of Israel was backslidden! And this is exactly so for Deborah became a Judge in Israel when Israel was backslidden and left the ways of God. So, how can any spiritual person point to the permissive will of God in letting Deborah rule Israel when Christ has come to restore us to the perfect will. To use Deborah as justification for women preachers would be the same as justifying polygamy simply because men like David or Solomon had many wives in the Old Testament. Old Testament people were living in the permissive will of God because of the fallen nature of man. But in the New Testament of Grace the Lord Jesus Christ came to restore the perfect will of God. The Pharisees in trying to justify divorce, simply because Moses permitted it, had the Lord Jesus tell them this: “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matt.19:8-9).

  1. “God used women as evangelists; for example, the women who announced the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the woman at the well who went about testifying of what Jesus had done to her (Matt.28:5-7, John 4:1-39)”

How can any sincere person equate giving a testimony to preaching and teaching the Word? When the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4) was discerned by the Lord Jesus and He revealed her troubles, she went about testifying of what the Lord Jesus did for her. As stated in the foregoing, every child of God (whether man or woman, boy or girl) is free to testify of what God has done for them. When the people heard of the Samaritan woman’s testimony, many came to Jesus. Did that make her an evangelist? If a person has been sick of cancer and gets healed of God and then testifies to her family of how true God’s power of healing is, by which they get converted and become Christians, will that make her an evangelist or pastor. Was she preaching or simply narrating what God has done for her? Similarly did the announcement of Jesus’ resurrection by the women to the disciples make them preachers? What were they preaching and teaching about? To suggest that the Samaritan woman became a preacher when she testified portrays, not only an extreme case of trying to twist scripture to suit one’s views but also, a lack of simple and intelligent reasoning. If giving a testimony of what God has done makes a person a pastor or evangelist then there is no meaning to the words “pastor” or “evangelist” for every child of God has something to testify about the goodness of God in his or her life!

About notable gifted women

Although we live in a time of much falsehood, fanaticism and fake prophets and prophetesses, I believe that there have been women who rose up in the early days of the American Pentecostal movement with genuine gifts of healings. Many times an anointing of prophecy could genuinely come upon a woman, but as pride and ego took a hold of that person she would begin to think of going further than just prophesying but also teaching the Word. Although the gift could operate, it does not mean God sanctioned it. Through time many women preachers have arisen especially in the Pentecostal movement. Strange as this may seem, the Lord Jesus already warned us about this in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

So, having a gift is one thing and using it in the proper way according to the will of God is another. Every man shall be judged according to what he or she has made of the gift of God – from the basic gift of life that we all have to the different spiritual gifts God has given us (Read 1 Cor.3:8-15).

The Place of a Woman in God’s Family

 There is certainly a wonderful place that God has kept for women in his household. A woman in her rightful place is a great blessing.

  • God can use elderly women to teach younger women the right way to conduct themselves – “The aged women… that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5). Doesn’t this verse even make it more plain of what god expects women to be?
  • A sober and virtuous woman takes pleasure and delight in raising up children in the noble and sober way. God has given a woman the blessing of the fruit of the womb, for a woman “shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety” and “her children arise up, and call her blessed” (1 Tim.2:15, Prov.31:28). So as apostle Paul admonished, let the women “marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully” (1 Tim.5:14).
  • God can use a woman in a gift of prophecy as in the case of Anna, the daughters of Philip and other prophetesses (cf. Luke.2:36, Acts 21:8-9).
  • God can use women in charitable works as in the case of the women who accompanied Jesus – Dorcas and Phoebe (cf. Luke 8:1-3, Acts 9:36-39).
  • A woman, like any other child of God, can testify of what God has done for her and through that others may be edified and some can even come to Christ – “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did” (John 4:39).

A spiritual man doesn’t abuse his God-given headship over a woman but he loves and respects his wife and together they relate as a bond of intimate friends, raising their family in the happiness and joy of serving the Lord. Husbands should love their wives and wives should respect and submit to their husbands (Eph.5:25-29).

Conclusion

God is a God of order. He has made the sun to shine during the daytime and the moon during the night time, that in no way amounts to God loving the sun more than the moon. Everything is beautiful in God’s eyes when it abides in its place. The moon has a special role which the sun cannot perform, likewise the sun also has its work. Can you imagine how life would have been if everything else wanted to be anything else? Disorder and confusion would reign. It’s only among human species, of all the things that God created, that you find female species wanting to be males, and vice versa. May you keep yourself pure from falsehood, deception and fanaticism that is so rampant in this day we live in is my prayer.

 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev.2:7). And “if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Gal.1:9).


Download a PDF Copy of this article here:

You can listen to the radio discussion Pastor Phiri had with two prominent Pentecostal reverends here

Can a Believer be affected by a pandemic?

I have been asked: “Can a believer who walks in God’s will get infected during a pandemic?

Well, dear Christian friend, remember that although you are not OF the world you are IN the world (Joh.17:15-16). Our Faith in God should never be based on benefits of provision and protection that He often offers us. Remember Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego when they were threatend to be thrown into the fire? They declared that God was able to save them from the fire but if He would choose not to they would still worship Him (Dan.3:16-17). Have you not read that the great prophet Elisha died of a sickness? (2 Kin.13:14-). But, is it not strange that his dead bones raised a dead man (2 Kin.13:21)? How about Apostle Paul who prayed to God for the healing of his painful sickness and the answer to his prayer was “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor.12:9). So, “NO” can also be an answer to a prayer.

Lastly, are you aware that the twentieth century prophet – William Branham – a man greatly anointed of the Lord was affected by the Aisan Flu pandemic of 1957-1958? In the sermon Sirs We Would See Jesus (57-1211) he said:

“And now, to be here with my good friend, Brother Hutchins and Brother Joseph Boze… And this was supposed to be my vacation. This fall I started a vacation, and I like to hunt real well, so I went out west to go hunting. The party that I went with, including myself, all broke down with this here Asian flu. We didn’t even take our guns from the cases, and come back home”.

Dear friend, in this trying moment trust in God’s protection even as you observe your personal hygiene (remember that God never takes care of carelessness), but fear should not be your portion: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom.8:35-39).

Why do people use old ‘KJV’ English when prophesying?

Question

“Why is it that many  people when prophesying like to use the old KJV English words and phrases of ‘saith’, ‘thou’, or ‘thy’? If it’s really the Spirit of God speaking why can’t the prophecy be spoken in normal modern English?”


Well, in the Scripture the Holy Spirit is likened to water (Joh.7:37-39). May I use this symbol of water to illustrate my answer. Water quenches thirst. Water gives life. Water cleanses. All these wonderful properties will still be true whether the vessel containing the water is rectangular or  spherical in shape. The water simply takes the shape of the vessel it possesses. Even so, the vessel never takes away any truth of what the water is. Similarly, when the Spirit of God possesses a person to reveal the mind of God, it will be expressed through that ‘shape’ – that is to say constraint, vocabulary or expressions – of the human vessel.

It is important to know that when the Holy Spirit comes upon a person to speak through him or her, what will be imparted through that vessel is the mind of God. That mind will have to be expressed through words of a language. The words are only ‘vehicles’ to drive the ‘parcel’ (message of God) to the heart of the hearers . In other words, God ‘borrows’ the vehicle of a man’s mouth to speak. And although the ‘vehicle’ may be blue, black or white, the important concern for the receiver of the ‘parcel’ should be the parcel, not the colour or shape of the vehicle that brought it . Let it be known that if a person is inclined to, or has admiration of old KJV Engllish, that will be the vehicle through which the mind of God will be expressed. Thus, although it is the Spirit of God speaking, the person may still be in control of the language. Although he may not be using that KJV English in his or her normal conversations, his spiritual inner man or subconscious may have an admiration or  inclination to it. That one can be in control of his language, thoughts, and actions whilst God has revealed his mind to them is evident in Scripture – “And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop.  For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.  The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets” (1 Cor.14:30-32).

One day I was invited to preach in a certain church in Zimbabwe. The Lord granted us grace in the teaching of the Word. Just as soon as I ended my sermon the Spirit of God came upon a woman in the audience who prophesied in Shona, a language I don’t understand. When she was done speaking, someone  interpreted the words of the prophecy to me. The prophecy declared – “This is the Word (referring to the teaching that had been given) that delivers”. To this day I don’t remember how that sounded in Shona, and I don’t even remember the appearance of the person who spoke it, but to this day I still remember the message that was conveyed. That’s what is important, keep your mind on the Message being delivered. Amen.

A C Phiri

How did John receive the Spirit from the womb before Jesus was glorified?

Question

“Did John receive the Holy Spirit?  If yes I think the scripture has been broken because Jesus was the one who unveiled the indwelling of the Spirit.”


Reply

Look at these two statements: 

The sky is grey.

The cat is grey. 

Do these sentences mean the sky is the cat? Does the same description of “grey” make the two objects the same in terms of what they are?  Of course not, but many commit this fallacy when they equate one word or phrase in the Bible to another one appearing elsewhere in Scripture. With this approach, many find themselves in a forest of confusion by failing to reconcile some verses. For example in one place they read “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 Joh.1:5) and He is “dwelling in the light which no man can approach” (1 Tim.6:16), but in another place they find this: “The Lord said that He would dwell in the thick darkness” (1 Kin.8:12).  If the disciples of the Lord had the same misperception of words they would certainly have had prematurely claimed to receive the Baptism of the Holy Ghost when the Lord breathed on them and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:20, compare with John 7:39). 

If one is trapped in the ‘Sky and Cat’ analogy error given above, he will read the words “filled with the Holy Ghost” in Acts 2:4 and equate them with the same words found elsewhere in Scripture. For example in Luke 1:41 “Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost” and in Acts 4:31, the disciples, Peter and John and other believers, after a prayer of asking God for boldness “were all filled with the Holy Ghost”. What are we to make of these words? Well, first  we should beware that spiritual things are spiritually discerned – “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor.2:14).

It should not be difficult to see that the infilling of the Holy Ghost that Elisabeth experienced was not the same as the one which occurred on the Day of Pentecost in Acts Chapter 2. It is very clear in John 7:39, and other places in Scripture, that the Baptism of the Holy Ghost could only come after the Lord was glorified. Likewise, Peter and John had already received the Baptism when they got “filled with the Holy Ghost” in Acts 2:4. Later, when their lives were in danger they prayed and the place where they were shook and they “were all filled with the Holy Ghost” (Act. 4:31). Certainly, that doesn’t mean they received the Baptism twice, and because the Baptism of the Holy Ghost is what constitutes the New Birth it also doesn’t mean they were ‘Born Again’ again!

Let us give close attention to the record of John:  “He that believeth on me , as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living  water. (But this He spake of the Spirit , which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given because that Jesus was not yet glorified)” (John 7:38-39). This means that whatever one may read regarding a person being filled with the Holy Spirit prior to the glorification of the Lord Jesus, does not refer to the New Birth experience, which occurs by the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

John 7:38-39 refers to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, an experience which could only occur after the glorification of the Lord Jesus. The experience is for the conversion of the heart and it is what had been prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel (Jer. 31:33, Eze. 36:26-27, compare with Luke 22:31-32). The experience of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost IS MORE THAN an infilling to give someone boldness to proclaim the Word (Micah 2:8), and it is MORE THAN an infilling to sanctify or cause a fetus to kick in the womb of Elisabeth to give her a testimony of the working of God (Luke 1:41). We are speaking of spiritual things and they are spiritually discerned!

Another very important thing to be aware of is that the experience of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit can never bypass a person’s free-will. The baptism of the Holy Spirit causes the New Birth. With that comes the conversion of a heart, to cause a man to walk in the ways of God – “Repent, and be baptized…and ye shall receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit” (Act.2:38). In the beginning mankind fell into sin when he used his free-will to live by his way. God let him taste of the fruit of his own way (Pro.1:29-31). The Holy Spirit Baptism involves man realizing that his own way leads to death and hence surrendering his will to God’s will. When that man gets Born Again he begins to get led by the Spirit. He goes where the Spirit leads even when he doesn’t understand it – “the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof , but canst not tell whence it cometh, and wither it goeth, so is everyone that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). So, the Holy Ghost baptism can never bypass the free-will of  a man; a  person has to decide to give up their own will and surrender it to God in order to be led by the Spirit. The act of repenting to surrender one’s own will to God is simply impractical for a fetus. Even the Lord Jesus had to grow in “stature and wisdom” before the Spirit took a hold of Him (Luke 2:52).

God bless.

A Phiri

Why did God create mosquitoes and flies?

Two children, Josh (9 years old) and Terry (4 years old), asked two interesting questions but the answers given may interest adults. The question asked by the younger boy is too complex for his age and so not much was explained to him.

The Questions

  • First audio: Josh and Terry asks the question
  • Second audio: Question asked by Terry explained

Bro Richard Gan answers

  • Why did God create Mosquitoes and flies?
  • How did God know the future of young boys that they will be bad men and so ended up killing them whilst young?

“Are Christians required to give tithe in the New Testament?” – By Bro. Richard Gan

Note: Bro. Richard Gan wrote the following in response to an article on a social media platform which stated that tithe is not applicable in the New Testament. The article also emphasized that Old Testament saints never paid their tithes in form of money but instead gave their farm produce.

RGan

Bro. Richard Gan

I have been a Bible student from the age of 12 (come January, I’ll be 72), and have studied what Christianity believes in. When it comes to tithing, many who argue against it are those who are not pastors. They might be preachers as they called themselves, and most have a secure job.  Yes, there are a few pastors who preach against tithing, only because they have a secure job and/or perhaps even have a farm that provide their family food. If these pastors are called of God and ordained into a full time ministry in which they would spend much of the time ministering the Word, and ministering to the Lord in prayer, would they have time for secular work?  Of course, some may say YES. That I leave to you to have your own opinion and argument over the kind of Gospel minister many of them would make (I know of pastors who hurriedly prepare their Sunday sermon at the last minute on Saturday because of their secular job).

Truly, TITHING has been mistaught and MONEY misused by covetous pastors and preachers for their own belly.  To say that TITHING is not taught in the New Testament Church is true.  There is no teaching on the subject.  So, then how are the pastors supported?  What will keep a pastor and his family alive?  Prayers, water and air alone? The Church started with Jewish converts.  They had their own collection of money, a tithe.  To say that minted coins were not used, is foolish thinking.  The collection helped in spreading the Word.  Of course, Peter and those disciples of Christ who were fishers could go fish and feed their families.  But when it came time that they had to travel far and wide, were there no support for them and their families while they were away ?  Did all the expenses come from the apostles’ own pockets?

The Levitical Priesthood, those chosen were Aaron and his sons to serve in the Tabernacle or Temple before the LORD.  They had no inheritance, except God Himself. God was their source of sustenance (Read Deu.18:1-8; Num. 18). The Law was then given to Israel to PAY a tenth part of whatever came into their hands.  That’s the Law — PAY!  But wait a minute, did Abraham PAY?  Or did he GIVE?  Abraham was never under the Law.  He was the first to GIVE A TENTH of what God had given him in his victory over the four kings who took his nephew Lot.  God did not asked Abraham for it.  Abraham just gave it back to the LORD who had so graciously blessed him.  Ha! Abraham’s natural descendants were not like him.  They were rebellious in many ways, and hence when the LAW was given at Mt. Sinai, then came the law of PAYING TITHES.  PAY!  Those who did not pay were under a curse.

Now, we are not under the LAW but under GRACE.  Praise the LORD!  So, we do not have to PAY!  Wonderful!  Hmm…which is greater: Law or Grace?  If Abraham be our Father of the Faith, how can we behave as FOOLS to say that we are not under the Law to excuse ourselves from TITHING?  And even to say that the Apostles did not teach Tithing?   Granted, yes, it’s true, they did not teach Tithing.  Of course, BECAUSE Abraham DID NOT PAY TITHE, HE DID NOT TITHE; HE GAVE A TITHE.  He could have given the LORD two tithes, or even three tithes of all that he had.  Isn’t it?  So, the usage of the word “TITHING” is a misnomer.  IT IS ABOUT GIVING. Abraham GAVE ten percent; he could have given twenty percent or even thirty percent.  (We should be glad that he gave only ten percent, otherwise many more believers will grumble.)

Jesus and the Apostles taught about GIVING.  We are not forced into keeping a Law/Commandment.  It should be as what Abraham did, if we be his children of the Faith. Freely we receive, freely we give. The more we give, the more we receive; the more we receive, the more we give.  If Grace be greater than the Law, then our GIVING should surpass the LAW in giving — of ten percent.

So, CHOOSE — to give a tenth or not…it’s your choice.  It’s no use arguing and debating about TITHING/GIVING — whether it was or was not taught in the New Testament.  There is none so blind as he who refuses to see.

The Blessing of Tithing

As I have said, TITHING is a misnomer.  Tithe means a tenth part, ten percent, of what comes into one’s hands. Christians do know that it means paying or giving ten percent of their wages to the church where they worship.  Depending on how they are taught, and because of the religious usage of the word for generations, most Christians think that they are PAYING a tenth part of their wages to the church.  Surely, overtime, some Christians or members of churches would show their displeasure for they feel that ten percent of what they earned is a lot of money.  So, they might find ways to justify not to part that amount of money to the church; excuses are aplenty.

A reality I have come to notice in my earlier years of missionary trips to the Philippines, India and Africa, is that TITHING, or I should say “GIVING A TENTH PART”, was hardly taught, or worse, erroneously taught. Yes, I have noticed that some pastors were nagging at their sheep as if the sheep were criminals who had robbed God and them (the pastors). Then there were the pastors who felt not to preach on the subject because they felt that by so teaching the subject would make them look like beggars.

Now, pastors who do not teach the subject to the congregation are robbing them of God’s blessings.

In 1982, I was invited to teach at a church convention in Butuan City, Philippines.  The church had been around for a good number of years before I was invited there.  I discerned a problem in that church; many of the believers were not giving.  I was led to teach on the subject of GIVING.  Of course, the word TITHING was used because we are so used to the word.  After the service was over, a small group of believers, men and women, gathered around me. A question was posted to me. “Bro Gan, I earn only 3,000 pesos a month. For me to give 300 pesos is a lot of money.”  I replied, “As long as you refuse to give what belongs to the Lord, that 300 pesos, then for the rest of your life you will continue to earn that wages of only 3,000 pesos a month. I challenge you to give and see if God will not bless you.”

On the last day of that convention, I gave the church an open challenge on giving no less than a tenth of what they had every month. I pointed out to them about the condition of their neglected church building. There was a service one morning and when it rained, rain drops were coming down from the holes in the roof. Pots and pails were brought out to contain the rain drops as much as possible, for the floor was just plain earth and mud.  The wooden walls were old and in bad shapes. I told the church that I would contribute $100 USD to have them put concrete on the floor, and that it would be up to them to have the roof and walls fixed.  Well, many were nodding their heads in approval.

The following year I returned to the same church to find a concrete floor, a new roof and new boards for the walls. They were many happy faces.  Then something happened that I least expected.  After the first service, and away from most of the congregation, an elderly sister came up to shake my hand; I felt something in my palm where our hands met.  I knew what it was, and I quietly said to her, “Sister, I don’t need it. You need it more than I do.”  She said, “Bro Gan, I have been blessed by your teachings. I believe what you taught, and God have blessed me.”  I was humbled by her offering.

The following years, in each of my almost yearly trip to the church, I noticed the building was enlarged and the Faith of the believers was built up.

Those unhappy Bible believers who PAY tithes (by a force of law/by a nagging pastor) to the church are under a curse. God hates murmuring. Those Bible believers, who know to GIVE tithes to the Lord and refuse to do so, and even murmur, are also under a curse. God hates murmuring. Many give to churches which propagate false doctrines, or to pastors and preachers who are just self-styled, self-ordained, who have no anointing to handle the Word, but go about spreading false doctrines, lies, and casting words of doubts and controversies over doctrines. It is important to know what, where and how your giving is being used.

“What about those who cannot but give, perhaps, only five percent?” Simply, YOU GIVE AS YOU LIKE; YOU GIVE AS YOU WANT; YOU GIVE AS YOU FEEL; Etc.  But anything less than ten percent is FAITHLESS GIVING.  Am I talking nonsense?  Look at this widow in Mark 12:42-44,

And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living“.

Question:  Was the widow in her giving gave under the LAW?  Notice, she gave two mites. If two mites was a tenth part in her giving, then she must have eighteen mites or nine farthings left in her possession. But Jesus said, she gave all that she had.  That’s the Faith of God in her.

Well, some might say that her casting of one farthing into the treasury had nothing to do with TITHING. Granted, tithing, offering, or giving, what difference does it make?  The fact is: she GAVE HER ALL.

When a believer truly has the Faith of Abraham, and freely gives a tenth and more, just watch the blessings that come from heaven above.  I can testify to this.  In 1978, my wife resigned from nursing. I was still in nursing. My salary was S$200. Out of that I gave my tithe, and left with S$180.  I gave my wife about S$100 (for groceries), and out of that S$100, she gave a tenth and she was left with S$90.  Well, the total in giving was 15 percent.  After our two children grew up and entered primary education, Zoel being at age 9 and Zoe at age 6, they were each given pocket money from whatever the amount I gave to my wife (after she had given her tenth). My children were taught to give a tenth of their pocket money. Now, think of the total percentage of the amount given to the Lord and His ministry. It was no less than 20 percent. Yes, there were times when the going was hard, but the Lord always met our needs, not our wants. We were happy and lacked nothing.

Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again“. What we give to God is return to us and more; the same goes in giving to others.

Yes, it is sad to find preachers and Christians asking, “Give me; give me” instead of “Let me give of my best (not my least) to the Master.”

God bless.

R Gan

http://www.propheticrevelation.net

 

Did apostolic ministries cease with the early church?

Question:

Brother Phiri, I have come across an article in which the author explains that apostolic and prophetic ministries ended with the early church in the Bible. I not sure if you have written about this subject but I want help on this matter. This is [an excerpt of] what he wrote:

“Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone” (Eph. 2:20). 

As seen [in Eph.2.20] above, Paul explains clearly why apostles and prophets existed; to lay a foundation for the church. Which foundation was this? It is the fundamental doctrines on which the whole church is built, to put it simply it is everything about Christ. It is clear as day to anyone who uses their common sense that a foundation can never to laid more than once, rather; once the foundation is laid the job of whoever comes next is to build on that foundation. The only reason ofcourse that would cause one to lay the foundation again would be if the first foundation was poorly built, for anyone to claim that they can lay a better foundation than that of the apostles is not only pride, but is a fundamental insult on Christ who is Himself that foundation, besides the scriptures speak better than I: 1 Corinthians 3:11 King James Version (KJV) “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

To be an Apostle in a true sense of the word, not merely a sent one (which we all are since we all carry the great commission) these are the qualifications:

You must be selected by the Lord (Mark 3:13, Acts 26:16). Some object to this and say Mathias was not selected by the Lord, but if you read carefully Acts 1:20 you will see that God had predestined for Judas to be replaced by another, He being sovereign even superintended the lot to fall on him instead of Joseph (Proverbs 16:33). 

You must have seen the resurrected Christ (Acts 1:22, Acts 9:1-9, 1 Corinthians 15:8). Furthermore, for anyone to claim to have seen the risen Lord after Paul or today they must regard Paul as a liar since He exclusively states that he was the “last of all” to [see] the resurrected Christ. 

You must be authenticated by signs of an apostle including miracles and mighty deeds (2 Corinthians 12:12, Hebrews 2:3-4). This means your miracles must measure up to those of the apostles, meaning obvious instantaneous healing of known diseases that cannot be disputed and not merely headaches and backaches. They must raise the dead in obvious daylight with unbiased witnesses present (Acts 3:7-10; Acts 9:36-42; Acts 19:12). I am yet to find anyone who has genuinely done these acts today. All there is are rumours here and rumours there without any clear evidence. Where there are videos and recordings they are quickly proven to be fraud and faked miracles. 

It must be noted that I am not saying that one needs just one of the above to qualify as an Apostle, I am saying he needs all the above. We have in scripture people who might have seen the risen Lord and performed miracles (Acts 6:8; Acts 8:6-8) but were not selected by the Lord to be apostles and so we never hear them being referred to as apostles.


Response:

The above article is full of false assumptions. Note the following:

#1. “Having apostles today would mean early church apostles laid a faulty foundation”

The author of the article explains that apostles and prophets  “existed to lay a foundation for the church” and then goes on to state that “the only reason of course that would cause one to lay the foundation again would be if the first foundation was poorly built. For anyone to claim that they can lay a better foundation than that of the apostles is not only pride, but is a fundamental insult on Christ who is Himself that foundation.” Well, what about the foundation of the temple that was being laid in Ezra 3:10, what happened to the one of the earlier temple? Was it faulty? Not at all but simply because the earlier foundation had been ‘lost’ to destruction that time when Jerusalem got besieged by Babylon. Now, didn’t the same thing happen to Christianity? Note: 

The first group of Apostles spoke the Word and established the Church on 12 foundational stones. All the revelations of Christ were spoken and revealed then. They were later written and laid down in the epistles. But with the departing of the Apostles, cunning and deceitful men came into the midst of the Church and began to tear away the foundational stones of the Apostles. Over time the Apostolic foundations were so displaced and broken up that the Church became nothing more than an institution of man-made religious traditions … For this reason, the Bride must separate herself from this leavening lump and get back into the Original Word — not just the “survival” tool of the Written Word but the Spoken Word that will perfect her and bring her to complete maturity in Christ for the translation. Since the Church of Christ began with, and was established by, the Apostolic Ministry, so she will end with, and established by, the same Ministry. The Endtime Apostles will hold the reins on the Word and set the Church in line with the revelation of the Word. They will put back in place the 12 Apostolic Foundations (Richard Gan, SPEAK THE WORD, P.33).

Yes, God will use the same kind of ministry to accomplish in the end-time what he had began in the early church. There is an example of this in the Bible, it is the example of the spirit or ministry of Elijah. At a time when Israel had gone into apostasy there was one man with a bold and non-compromising personality who got anointed by God to turn the hearts of the people. “Hear me, O Lord” Elijah prayed, “that these people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again” (1 Kings 18:37). Many years later when a similar situation arose in Israel God raised a man with a spirit of Elijah again to “turn the hearts” (Luke 1:17). So, did God use the same ministry more than once because at an earlier time the ministry was faulty?

#2. “To be an apostle one must have been directly called by the Lord Jesus Christ”

The author of the article uses Mark 3:13, but  being aware that there is apostle Paul who was not among the twelve disciples of Christ he refers to Acts 26:16 to argue that Paul had actually been directly called by the Lord. That is ridiculous; can’t the author of the article see that Acts 26:16 actually indicates that men continued to be called into ministry even after the earthly ministry of the Lord? What shall we make of Barnabas who also had an apostolic ministry but was not among the twelve disciples and we don’t have a record of any supernatural encounter he had with the Lord Jesus? What do people holding such beliefs make of Revelation 2:2 which was a eulogy for Ephesian believers for having “tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars”? If there were only 12 apostles, would there have been such deceptions, considering that the only testing criteria would be to ask, “Is this man truly Peter, James, John, or Andrew?” Or was the test to ascertain if truly one had seen the resurrected Lord? That would be impractical. Or were Ephesians to look for miracles in a man’s ministry? Only a carnal person, void of the true knowledge of spiritual things would suppose such were the ways of discerning a ministry! Thankfully, there is no place for speculation over how the Ephesians were able to test and reprove false apostles. Paul had once held a meeting with the elders of the church in Ephesus and he warned them saying, “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themTherefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Acts 20:17,27-31). Yes, for three years Paul established and equipped the believers with the Word and he was admonishing them to be able to discern a man if he truly spoke the Word of truth and if he truly had a concern for people or he was merely proud, wanting to draw disciples after himself. It goes without saying that if there were false apostles there  certainly were also true ones!

#3 To be an apostle you must have seen the resurrected Christ”

1 Corinthians 15:8 is used to explain that “for anyone to claim to have seen the risen Lord after Paul or today they must regard Paul as a liar since he exclusively states that he was the ‘last of all’ to the resurrected Christ.” What an interpretation of words!

Did Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:8 really present himself as the last person to whom the Lord had decided to ever show himself again on earth? That is as far as the West is from the East. A simple look at 1 Corinthians 15:1-9 shows that the author is writing a letter to an audience whom he wants to assure that truly indeed there was once a man called Jesus Christ who had died and resurrected and this was not a made-up testimony. Paul is telling his audience that the testimony is true and there are actually living people who saw Christ alive after his death. The emphasis of the passage is on post-resurrection appearances of Jesus after his death.

Paul demonstrated the surety of the testimony of the resurrected Christ firstly by mentioning traceable names and numbers of witnesses, secondly by narrating the sequence of appearances of the resurrected Christ, and thirdly by presenting he himself also as a witness. In presenting himself as a witness Paul clarifies that his experience did not happen at around the time when Christ was resurrected as was the experience with all the other people he mentions; his experience was a little late – “Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him” (NLT).

But there is more to the phrase “Last of all”. In the sequence of known witnesses  – there could have been a few others the Lord may have revealed himself to – Paul referred to himself as “last of all”. His statement is nowhere close to suggesting that he was the last person the Lord Jesus decided to reveal himself to! Paul is simply stating a sequence of known appearances of the resurrected Lord. And to further appreciate his usage of “last of all” we should read verse 8 with verse 9. When we do that we will actually realize that Paul expressed his humility in being the least among those called into Christ – “And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Corinthians 15:8-9). 

In looking at all this, haven’t we heard testimonies of people who have seen the Lord in our time and have experienced a healing miracle or a call into ministry? Yes, much as there are many false testimonies around there are also genuine and sincere ones. But sadly, because of so much falsehood,  someone’s mind may become so prejudiced and treating  as hogwash any testimony they may hear. But we are not discouraged for we know what we have seen and have experienced!

#4. “Signs of an apostle are miracles”

2 Corinthians 12:12 says, “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds”. What is a sign of an apostle? Performing miracles, is that really what this verse states? Not when you read and understand it correctly.

The sign of an apostle may express itself IN patience, but that doesn’t mean patience is the vindication or litmus test of an apostle; the sign of an apostle may express itself IN signs but that does not mean signs are a decisively indicative test of an apostle. The sign of an apostle may express itself in mighty deeds but yet the deeds are not the proof for an apostolic ministry. Is it not true that water quenches thirst and this thirst-quenching power of water may express itself itself through the sweet juice of an orange or a watermelon fruit, but shall we say sweetness is the sign of water? Isn’t pure water itself without sweet? Dearly beloved, the sign of an apostle is the power of the Word (cf. 2 Timothy 3:5). The living (anointed) Word that is spoken from a man with an apostolic ministry can convict the sin in people, establish believers on the foundation of Christ, or heal physical illness. The power of the Word will only meet people at their point of need.

As I conclude let me say this: Often the human mind  can see a manifestation of God and then theorize it as the standard experience for verifying other kinds of works of God. Consider the ministry of Elijah. Elijah was known for great supernatural acts. He once called fire from heaven. He once smote Israel with a drought until he called for it to rain again. Before being taken up by the fiery chariots he smote the waters of a river and  walked on dry ground with Elisha. That was such a mighty ministry. When we read about Elisha having received the double portion of the spirit of Elijah we also read accounts of great miracles which Elisha wrought. Now, in the light of what we know of the spirit of Elijah as expressed in the life of Elijah the Tishbite himself and in the life of Elisha who received  a double portion of the spirit, consider the prophecy that was given to Zecharias stating that his son would have the spirit of Elijah – “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). If you were Zecharias, what would have been your expectations of John’s ministry? Many who may have come to know about the prophecy most definitely expected to see great miracles as ‘a sign‘ of the spirit and power of Elijah! But on the contrary  the scripture tells us that John performed no miracle (John 10:41). Only a spiritual mind can understand what exactly the spirit and power of Elijah actually is.

Shalom

A C Phiri

Were Seven Thunders of Rev.10:3 revealed? Are they the Seven Seals?

Question:

Brother Phiri, what do you say about the following words? The quote shows that William Branham said  Seven Thunders were revealed as Seven Seals.

“John knew what the thunders were, but was forbidden to write, because the Bible said, in the days of the VOICE of the seventh ANGEL. The seventh ANGEL is a messenger of the Seventh Church Age. When he begins to sound, that’s when the SEVEN  MYSTERIES of the SEVEN THUNDERS would be revealed. These divinely revealed ‘mystery truths’ literally turn the hearts of the children to the Pentecostal fathers. The Malachi 4 prophet precedes the second coming and  John the Baptist preceded the first coming. NOTICE that both are MISTOOK for BEING THE MESSIAH.


Response

The quote you have given is a concatenation of sentences taken from two books. The first 53 words in the quote  were taken from Conduct Order and Doctrine (Volume II, page 1161), and the rest from An Exposition of the Seven Church Ages, page 327. I am stating the sources because it is important to emphasise here that the Seven Church Ages book is a heavily edited version of what William Branham actually taught on the subject. Brother Branham had sent messages he had taught on the subject to brother Lee Vayle for him to grammarise them. But when you read the original messages of the prophet and compare them with what came out of the edited book it is clear to see that not all the words in the book were of William Branham. However, I will still approach your question taking the words to have been written by William Branham.

Many people have argued over the prophecy of Seven Thunders, about whether or not it was already fulfilled. The arguments and contentions often result into more carnality and ungodliness – schisms, anger, and even breakaway churches (1 Cor.3:3). Often it’s a case of two men looking at a seed, one says it’s of an apple tree and another insists its of a lemon tree. Well, until that seed is sown, grows, and manifests itself, the two may argue forever. But shall we afford leaving the Seventh Seal to the soil? Not so. Its fulfilment holds a  promise which is very crucial for the rapture of believers. The question is, Has this promise already fulfilled? Woe to us if the blessing is already here and we cannot see it! But on the converse, What if the revelation, and its resulting power of translating our mortal bodies, is yet to happen? If the latter, then fools are treading with hob-nailed shoes where angels, with awestruck silence (Rev.8:1), fear to tread!

Now, there is so much of what Brother Branham said or what he did not say, what he meant or did not mean. What adds to the confusion is that  both the “What he said” and “What he did not say” are often retrievable from his words. Cosnider this: in the Seals book on page 52 and paragraph 384 brother Branham said the following:

“…the angel of the Lord will break them Seals forth to it. Remember, it’s [i.e. the book] sealed with them Seven mysterious Thunders.”

Using this quote and other similar ones many have equated Seven Seals to Seven Thunders. However, in the evening of the same day he had spoken the words above, brother Branham said the following:

The book is absolutely a sealed book until the Seven Seals is brocken. It is sealed up with Seven Seals. Now, that’s a different from the Seven Thunders. See? This is Seven Seals on the book“.

The one clear thing to notice in the second quote is the emphasis on Seven Seals being not Seven Thunders. The preacher first states “It is sealed up with Seven Seals” and then adds “that’s different from the Seven Thunders” and then emphasises further with “See? This is Seven Seals on the book“! Clearly the preacher seems to be very much aware of a possible misperception of Seven Seals being Seven Thunders!

That is not the only time when brother Branham gave dual-statements on a topic. He made contradictory statements on some other topics. For example on the subject of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel in one message he taught that it is seven years which will  remain after the Rapture but elsewhere indicated that it will be three and half years. The question is which teaching do we take of the two? Well, if one has ears to hear what the Spirit speaks through a man (and  not what the man is speaking in trying to convey the mind of God) it is easy to sift through such discrepancies. True understanding begins when one realises that words of a man may point to the Truth but yet the Truth is not to be sought in his words.  Like the old adage says, the finger pointing to the moon doesn’t make the finger the moon itself. Did not John under inspiration point out to the Lord as he declared, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Joh.1:29)? Some people heard that, believed and followed the Lord. But at another time the great prophet doubted and questioned, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Mat.11:3). One wonders what confusion the latter words of John may have had on some of his devout followers. Yes, he had a great ministry with the spirit and power of Elijah on him but one thing is sure, his words of doubt were not of God, it was his mind speaking. It is because of this that  people ought to be spiritual. One has to know and discern when God is speaking through a man and when a man is merely expressing his opinion. Is it not strange that way after the Lord Jesus had died, resurrected and the Holy Spirit had been poured out, there were still certain followers of John’s ministry who said, “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost” (Act.19:2)?

This reminds me of one time when brother Branham referred to an incident in the book of Kings when God had said to Elijah, “I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal” (1 Kin. 19:18). During preaching brother Branham had said seven hundred instead of seven thousand and that made someone to ask this: “Brother Branham, did you mean to say seven thousand who had not bowed their knee to Baalim, or seven hundred?” Believe it or not, if that question had not been asked and he never had the chance to clarify, there would have been people today teaching that it was seven hundred prophets and not seven thousand! What would cause such a terrible state of mind in some people? This one simple thing: not knowing how to hear! Didn’t the Lord admonish us saying, “take heed therefore how ye hear” (Luk.8:18)? Here is what brother Branham said in asnwering the question about the seven thousand prophets:

“Forgive me…I knowed that was seven thousand. I just happened to say seven hundred…I just didn’t read it out of the Scripture. It just come to my mind while I was talking…I make them mistakes all the time…I didnt mean to do that” The Revelation of the Seven Seals, Questions and Answers on the Seals (p.441-442). 

Dear friend, when I look at these words of brother Branham I wonder: how many other things did he speak which had “just come to [his] mind while [he] was talking” but yet people presumed them to be inspired words? He said, “I make them mistakes all the time“, So how many other mistakes were in his words which he didnt have the chance to clarify? Is that a problem? No, if you understand that spoken words of a servant of God are merely a vehicle for conveying Truth. The vehicle may be faulty and incosistent but not the Truth it carries! Confusion of faces belongs to those who make the vehicle and the truth it carries to be one.

Concerning Seals, the Seven Seals of Revelation Chapter 6 can never be Seven Thunders of Revelation 10:3. One night, in Namibia, a minister told me “Seven Seals are Seven Thunders” and we talked for over 6 hours (from about 9:00 PM to 03:00 AM). The minister was loud, emotional, and so agitated. He did most of the talking and throughout the talk my words were the same, I kept repeating the question – “if Seven Seals are Seven Thunders, tell me the contents of the Seventh Thunder?” He could not give the answer. At last when he realised the meaning of my question he said something to this effect, “It’s a mystery and we may never understand these things”. I was surprised to hear him say those words after trying to defend his position for hours. He talked at great length, dodging and meandering about my question and at the end only to express his ignorance of what the Seven Thunders actually mean.

You may wonder what exactly my question to the minister in Namibia meant, well, here was the question in full:

  • If “Seven Seals” = “Seven Thunders” then,
  • First Seal = First Thunder = White horse revelation
  • Second Seal = Second Thunder = Red horse revelation
  • Third Seal = Third Thunder = Black horse revelation
  • Fourth Seal = Fourth Thunder = Pale horse revelation
  • Fifth Seal = Fifth Thunder = Souls under the altar
  • Sixth Seal = Sixth Thunder = revelation of  the travail to fall upon the earth
  • Seventh Seal = Seventh Thunder = Uttering of the Seven Thunders

Pay attention to the last line, it takes us back to the question: What are the utterances of Seven Thunders? And how can the Seventh Thunder be the one uttering them? That is the question which kept the man iterating in his explanations until I think he saw the confusion of his own words. I further asked this:

If in Revelation Chapter 6 the seals or thunders were already written, why should the angel treat them as a secret and forbid John to write anything about them in chapter 10?

Well, until God opens someone’s eyes no amount of logical arguments can do anything. When one reads the Seals book and other messages the prophet preached in 1963, 1964, and 1965 (the year he died), it is very clear to see that the mystery of Seven Thunders contained in the Seventh Seal was never revealed to brother Branham and he actually was waiting for the revelation even in the year that he died.  He rightly explained that even the apostle John was forbidden to write what the Thunders uttered because God has kept it a secret which will only be revealed at the time of the coming of Christ. Here is what he said:

“As certain as I stand in the platform tonight, I had the revelation that revealed…Those Seven Thunders that he heard thunder and was frobidden to write; thats what the mystery is, laying behind those Seven consecutive Thunders rolling out.”

“Now, what this great secret is that lays beneath this Seal, I do not know it. I don’t know it. I couldn’t make it out. I couldn’t tell it, just what it – what it said, but I know that it was them Seven Thunders uttering themselves right close together, just banging seven different times. And it unfolded into something else that I seen. Then, when I seen that, I looked for the interpretation. It flew across there, and I couldnt make it out. That’s exactly right…the thing for you to do is to remember that I speak to you in the Name of the Lord. Be prepared , for you don’t know what time  something can happen.”

“Now, we have in the completion here now, by the grace of God, all the mysteries of the six Seals that’s been sealed up, and we understand and know here that the Seventh Seal is not to be known to the public…It is a complete mystery, therefore, we’re this far, and the rest of it will be known right around about the time that Jesus appears on earth again, for His Bride…until that time, let’s just all pray, live good, straight, Christian lives, looking forward for His coming.” (Revelation of the Seven Seals, The Seventh Seal, Paragraphs 248,  323-324, 397-400)

Yes, the prophet admonished us to remember that he spoke in the name of the Lord but how many people have kept the instruction to remember? Many are playing with quotes and have gone into territories that angels wouldnt go.

Now here is a question you may want to consider:

Could William Branham have changed his view on Thunders after 1963?

On August 30 of 1964 somoene asked brother Branham this question (find it in COD Vol.II, Page 1161):

“Have the Seven Thunders which equals seven mysteries already been revealed? Were they revealed in the Seven Seals, but are ye- but are yet not known to us as the Thunders yet?”

And this is what brother Branham answered:

No, they were revealed in the Seven Seals; that’s what the Thunders was about…The Seven Thunders that had uttered their voices and no one could make out what it was…John knew what it was , but he was forbidden to write it. He said, “But the seventh angel, in the days of his sounding, the seven mysteries of the Seven Thunders would be revealed’. And the seventh angel is a messenger of the Seventh Church Age. See?”

Like I earlier pointed out, brother Branham was a kind of man who would say a word here at one time and at another explain it somewhat different. And what have some men done, they grab what I call a ‘flying’ word or sentence and build upon it a doctrine. In taking a  one or two-minutes flying Word, often they can throw away what the man taught  for over two to three hours or a whole week! On that unstable flying word they can erect a huge structure of a doctrine. How unsafe! Like I have always said, many times to undersand what brother Branham said or meant one may require to read or hear an entire message or even a combination of sermons he preached during a week or a month. When you do this regarding his words on Seven Thunders it immediately becomes easy to see that the “No” in the above answer of the prophet was in reference to the fact that Seven Thunders are not Seven Seals. Please, in the quotes that follow next observe what he said in the same month of August. The question above was asked on 30th August, 1964. The quotes I show below (under 1964) are taken from sermons preached on 19th July and 16th August. When you check what brother Branham taught in March of 1963 (when Seals were revealed), and what he kept saying about the Seventh Seal and Seven Thunders, through 1964 and also 1965, it is very clear that he still believed that Thunders were yet to be revealed.

In 1963

  • “Jesus, when He was on earth, they wanted to know when He would come. He said, ‘Even the Son Himself don’t know when it’s going to happen.’ See, God has this all to Himself. It’s a secret. And that’s the reason there was silence in heaven for a space of a half hour. And Seven Thunders uttered their voices, and John was even forbidden to write it (See?)—the coming of the Lord. That’s one thing He hasn’t revealed yet, of how He will come, and when He will come. It’s a good thing that He doesn’t. He has showed or revealed it in every type that’s in the Bible” Christ is the Mystery of God Revealed (28th July 1963).
  • “The Lamb took His Book when the Seventh Seal, just ready for it to be opened–the Sixth Seal. Remember, He hid the Seventh Seal from us. He wouldn’t do it. When the Angel stood day by day telling it, but then He wouldn’t do it on that one. Said, ‘There’s silence in heaven.’ No one knew. It was the coming of the Lord”  Souls that are in Prison Now (11th November 1963).

In 1964

  • That Seventh Seal hasn’t opened yet, you know that’s His coming” Feast of the Trumpets (19th July, 1964).
  • “The seventh angel was to open the six-seal mystery. It’s all to be gathered up in the Son of man, His fullness of time has come to the Fullness of His Word to manifest the fullness of His Body”  Proving His Word (16th August, 1964).

In 1965

  • “Now, in doing this, I have come here for the purpose of teaching the last vials, last seven vials, and the last seven trumpets, and the last seven thunders of the Book of Revelations, tying them together in this hour that we’re now living to follow the opening of the Seven Seals, the Seven Church Ages. So we couldn’t get room to do it, so I–I hope that soon as I can, we’ll can get a place sufficient for that either here, or in Louisville, New Albany, or either put up a tent, so we can just stay as long as the Lord leads us to do” The God of this Evil Age (1st August, 1965).
  • “And to see this nervous age that we’re living in… And last week’s tapes, I think, will reveal to you the great hideous things that we’re going to speak on one of these days when we can get a place sufficient, of the opening of those last plagues to be poured out upon the earth–those Vials, rather, pouring out of the Vials, and the Seven Thunders… And those hideous sights that’s coming upon the earth…” Christ is Revealed in His own Word (22nd August, 1965).
  • “But we’ve got one of the most dreadful times to go through that ever laid before human beings. Now, I’m just waiting for the hour and when we can get–everybody can get a chance where you can get off from work and spend a few days, and we can get set up somewhere where I can speak on those plagues and things that’s to fall in the days, and throw about two or three weeks together, and bring that together, if the Lord let’s me live to do it and will inspire me to do so. See how those things will be dropped in and those thunders, then you’ll find out what that man and them people has been dreaming about and all these things there; it’ll come to pass. See? You’ll notice what them revealed, that great thunder a-coming forth out of the–out of the skies. Now… Of course, the whole bunch of you, you know that I know what that–what that means. You see? And… But let’s just wait till the time comes (You see?) for it to…?… Now… And it’ll be more in season” Christ is Revealed in His own Word (22nd August, 1965).

I hope this reply to your question is of help. If you still cant understand the explanation, lay it before the Lord to grant you the understanding.

Shalom,

A C Phiri

Why did the angel who revealed the Apocalypse to John identify himself as a prophet (Rev.22:8-9)?

Question:

The angel who showed John the visions in the book of Revelation identified himself as a prophet. He said to John, ‘I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets’ (Rev.22:9). Which prophet could this have been? Was it Elijah, Moses? And why was the prophet described as an angel? Could this justify the belief that when some holy people die they become angels?


Response:

Some believe the angel was one of the Old Testament prophets, and others have an extreme cultic view of presenting their beloved preacher to have pre-existed as an angel who revealed the Apocalypse to John [There is one in Puerto Rico who holds such a claim. I have heard of some people who believe that angel to have been William Branham]. Well, in the absence of true light (knowledge), speculation and strange teachings thrive.

Here is what Revelation 22:8-9 says: “And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” A wrong understanding of this passage  may arise by a misunderstanding of the English used in the King James Version Bible. Reading other versions like NIV, Amplified or the New American Standard makes plain what the verse states. NIV:

I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book”.

The Jerusalem Bible is even more clear:

I am a servant just like you and like your brothers the prophets and like those who treasure what you have written in this book.”

It should be clear here to see that the angel was telling John that he too was merely a servant of God just like John, the prophets, and all those who keep the Word of God; he did not identify himself as a prophet but as a fellowservant like the prophets are also servants. Now, even when we read the angel’s words as “I am of thy brethren the prophets” (see Rev.19:10) this is what it would come to:

First, it is important to know that a phenomenon which occurs in the world, whether in the realm of politics, religion, or among God’s people, is influenced by spiritual forces. In the scriptures we read about the nation of Israel having an army which had a captain but whose victories were actually influenced by angelic beings.  In Joshua 5:13 we read about the commander of the army of Israel meeting a soldier whom he asked, “Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?” The soldier he met turned out to be an angelic being. He answered: “as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come” (v.14, NIV). What was this “army of the Lord” that the angel presided over? Let’s look into the book of Samuel for we find the same term there.

In 1 Samuel 17 we read about the story of Goliath of Gath challenging Israel. He called out saying, “I defy the armies of Israel this day” (v.10). Now notice the following words in the response of David: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he could defy the armies of the living God?” (v.26). Yes, the armies of Israel were armies of the living God, not merely by description but because there was actually a spiritual army (host) led by the angel Michael, who fought against spiritual warlords of the Gentile nations  (Dan.12:1). The visions of Daniel make this clear.

When the prophet Daniel had fasted for 21 days and at last angel Gabriel came to him, he explained: “Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia” (Dan.10:12-13). Please note that what Gabriel calls princes (or kings) are not earthly ones but angels of darkness that ruled over earthly empires. Now, just as Gentile nations have principalities (or captains of spiritual armies over them), the nation of Israel also has angel Michael. In Daniel 12:1 Michael is described as “the great prince  which standeth for the children of thy people”. By this statement we would certainly be in order to describe angel Michael as being of the armies of Israel because that’s what he has been anointed of, to fight for that nation’s army!

It is in the same light, as what has been explained above, that we can read  Revelation 22:8-9. Just as Michael can be described to be of the armies of Israel, so the angel who ministered to John can be said to be of the prophets.

Are these words of Brother Branham scriptural?

Question:

Shalom Bro. Phiri. How do you understand the below quote, especially the part in bold

THE WORD THAT FELL ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST WILL NOT WORK THIS DAY . No, sir. That was for Pentecost. This is for the Bride, going Home of the Bride. WE GOT SOMETHING DIFFERENT. The Pentecostals represented that, again. We’re in the Bride age. No more than the Word of Noah would work in the days of Moses; no more than Moses’ law would have worked in the time of Paul here. He tried to tell them, “You are dead to that, and you cannot have that.”

(Rev. William Marrion Branham, 65-1125, THE INVISIBLE UNION OF THE BRIDE OF CHRIST)

Is it Scriptural?

God bless you.


Reply:

Shalom dear Brother,

When the above words of William Branham are analysed separate from the whole text where they are drawn from, one can easily dismiss them to be wrong and misleading. In this way many people (Branhamites and Anti-Branhamites alike) have mispresented William Branham’s words.

It is important to know that Brother Branham was uneducated and often misused words in trying to convey his thoughts. Many times it would take ears that can hear the Spirit to correctly understand what the humble man tried to speak.

William Branham was aware of his limitation of vocabulary and grammar. Here is what he said one day during preaching:

I hope you get it. I haven’t got no education. I know what I’m talking about, but maybe I can’t explain – explain it, to make sense to you. But I hope that God takes the words that’s mixed up, and divides them out right, and lets you know what it is. (p.496, REVELATION OF THE SEVEN SEALS).

It is God who saw it fit to use a man with limited vocabulary to express his Word and Works. Often,  in order to understand what William Branham said or meant, you may have to hear or read a whole portion of a message he  was preaching. For example, before he spoke the words you quoted in your question, William Branham was explaining the history of church revivals from the time of Luther, Wesley and then through the Pentecost revival which occurred at the beginning of the 20th century. He likened the various stages the church went through to what a grain of wheat goes through when growing. As growth progresses what remains behind (such as the husk) is lifeless and drops off. This continues until the seed comes forth. Brother Branham referred to the dying off remains as denominations. He also denounced the Pentecostal movement to have died as it couldn’t move on to receive the Present Truth that God was revealing. This is what he said:

Now, you take a grain of wheat, when the wheat is first coming forth…You look at it. You say, ‘We got a grain of wheat’. Be careful. It’s just exactly like the grain, but there’s not a bit of grain in it. It’s the shuck…Then what happens? When the grain begins to grow, and to get bigger … the denomination pulls away from it…God has separated us from all the dead religions…Separated us, and opened to us a new land, a new message for this day. Pentecost dried up and died, like Luther, Wesley, and the rest of them. It’s no more than a bunch of churches pulled together.

Notice that when he said “Pentecost dried up and died”! he was clearly referring to the Pentecostal blessing which had began in the early twentieth century and was a successor to Luther’s reformation and Wesley’s revival. This should be clear to see if you hear or read the whole sermon. All who are acquainted with William Branham’s sermons know that he placed the history of the revival in the endtime as follows: (1) Luther’s reformation and message of Justification, (2) Wesley’s message of Sanctification, (3) Pentecostal blessing or restoration of gifts, and (4) The ‘restoration’ of the Word in the Endtime. It is for this reason that in the above quote he said, “God has separated us from all the dead religions…Separated us, and opened to us a new land, a new message for this day. Pentecost dried up and died, like Luther, Wesley, and the rest of them”. Throughout this sermon Brother Branham kept talking about the fall of pentecostals from the true spiritual experience to being a denomination. It is in this context that one should read and understand these words – “THE WORD THAT FELL ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST WILL NOT WORK THIS DAY”. The meaning of his words become quite evident in the sermons he preached that same week:

Now it’s begin to pull away, the wheat’s begin to be seen. This is not a Pentecostal age, this is the Latter-day age, this is the Bride Age, this is the Evening Light, this is when Malachi 4 must be fulfilled to follow God’s pattern, this is Luke 17:30 to be fulfilled, this is the book of Jeremiah and all the rest of them, that Joel has spoke of these days. This is that day! “I have heard, Lord, and It was coming, but now I see It with my eye!”

We’re not living in a Pentecostal age, we’re living in another age. See, we’re not living in a Methodist age, we’re living in another age. We’re living on up here to the Bride age, the calling out of the Church and getting It together for the Rapture. That’s the age that we’re now living. To my honest opinion that’s exactly the Truth.

(I HAVE HEARD BUT NOW I SEE: 65-1127, MODERN EVENTS MADE CLEAR BY PROPHECY: 65-1206, LEADERSHIP: 65-1207)

Many times Brother Branham proclaimed that the true church of God has to be restored to the Pentecost of the book of Acts. This is what he said during his preaching on the Seventy Weeks of Daniel:

Aren’t you glad ? back to the Message brother! Back to the Original! Back to Pentecost! Back to the real blessing! Back to the Name of Jesus Christ! Back to the Baptism of the Holy Ghost! Back to signs and wonders! Back to Pentecost! Away with your organisations! (SEVENTY WEEKS OF DANIEL)

Preaching on “Pentecost” was among the highlights of William Branham’s message and there is thus no way he could have dismissed it. So, “were his words in the quote scriptural?” No, if we just focus on the letters or grammar of what he said. But, Yes if one is acquainted with his language and mind.

I hope this helps.

A Phiri