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Sequence of Holy Communion events

Question:

“During the Lord’s Supper and feet-washing, did Jesus Christ wash the feet of Judas Iscariot?”

Response

The Scripture makes it clear that Judas Iscariot left the venue of feet-washing and communion after the dipping of sop in the dish (i.e. after the Lord had indicated he would be betrayed by one who would dip the sop with him in the dish). However, as I will shortly demonstrate, the dipping of the sop was not that of the Holy Communion but the ‘ordinary’ part of the supper.

To understand the answer to the above question we must establish when feet-washing was done: was it before or after the dipping of the sop? And most importantly, how do we reconcile the sequence of events as given in Luke which seem to suggest, contrary to records in the other Gospels, that Judas was present at the time when the Holy Communion was administered by the Lord?

Many Christians read John chapter 13 and believe that feet-washing was done after Holy Communion. However, a simple closer look at the passage actually reveals the opposite. The misunderstanding of placing feet-washing after the Holy Communion (or Lord’s Supper) arises because of this KJV English phrase, “And supper being ended”, found in   Joh.13:2-5. But verse 4 of this scripture  actually shows that when the Lord took the basin to start washing the disciples feet the supper was actually still going on. If supper had ended the Scripture would never have said “He riseth from supper” (v.4). Thankfully many other Bible versions have the correct phrase for John 13:4. Here is what some versions say: “The evening meal was in progress…” (NIV), “During supper…” (English Standard Version and also in Numeric English New Testament), “The evening meal was underway…” (Berean Study Bible).

Now, here is another important thing to note: the supper or evening meal doesn’t refer to the Holy Communion. The Holy Communion was done at a certain point DURING or AFTER the supper. Its occurrence was marked by the Lord taking bread and blessing it – “And as they were eating [the evening meal], Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body” (Mat.26:26). There is clearly no way for the benediction to have come after the disciples were already eating the bread and drinking the wine; what the Lord did signified that holy part of the supper or communion. Having established this, here should be the correct sequence of what happened:

  1. The Lord and disciples gather at the venue for the Passover meal. It is evening time and they are eating their evening meal.
  1. A contention arises among the disciples of who is the greatest among them; “And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest” (Luke 22:24). Do you remember that this contention had previously occurred among the disciples when the Lord had pointed to a little child to illustrate how they were supposed to be humble? The story is found in Luke 9:46-48. This time however, when they were on the supper table and the same conversation ensued again, the Lord stopped eating, moved away from the table and humbled himself as a servant to his disciples. Here is what Luke mentions: “For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth” (Luk.22:27). The Gospel of John went further to narrate how Jesus demonstrated servant-hood by taking a basin of water and  clean the feet of the disciples (Joh.13:5).
  1. When the Lord came to Peter and had admonished him saying, if he refused to be washed then he wasn’t a part of Christ and Peter then had desired for his hands and head to be washed too, the Lord said: “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all” (Joh.13:10). Ofcourse the one not clean was Judas. At this time Judas was still around as the Scripture says he only left after sopping into the dish with the Lord.
  1. In John 13:12 we read that after washing the feet of the disciples the Lord went back to sit on the table, and then he began to speak about one who would betray him – “So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?…Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he” (John 13:12, 16-19).
  1. Like in verse 10, there is every good reason to believe that when the Lord said “I speak not of you all”( in verse 18), a statement which came after he washed his disciples’ feet, Judas was present. Furthermore it was after saying that that he spoke about the person that would eat bread with him (sop it in the dish). And it was after the sopping that the Devil entered Judas and he left the room: “Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly” (Joh.13:26-27). After Judas was told, “That thou doest, do quickly” he left the room: “He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night” (Joh.13:30).
  1. It was after Judas left that the Lord administered the Holy Communion as shown in the other Gospels (read, Mark 14:20-23, Matthew 26:23-28). Note that Luke’s record seems to suggest Christ talking about the betrayer after the Communion (see v.20-23). However, the sequence of events as recorded in the other Gospels should help us see that Luke’s writing is more a sequence of subject matter than a sequence of events. Elsewhere Luke has done this. Consider this: when did John the Baptist baptize the Lord: Was it before or after he was jailed? Ofcourse it was before he was jailed but a casual reading of Luke 3:19-21 may seem to suggest otherwise. However, Luke is actually a kind of writer who first has to exhaust one subject before he moves to the next one: he has to mention all the necessary detail of John’s ministry before moving on to the ministry of the Lord. Thus, in narrating about John he goes further to talk about his imprisonment. But when he comes to talking about the Lord he has to mention that he was baptized by John. To carefully follow Luke you have to observe the sequence of the subject matter and not the time of events. I trust that if we look at events of Luke Chapter 22 in this light the problem of sequence disappears. When Luke begins to talk about the eating activity at the last Supper he tells everything at once of what happened about the supper. Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke does not distinguish the transition that occurred from the mere part of the evening meal to the administration of the Holy Communion. When he moves to the talk about who would betray the Christ, he narrates all conversations that related to that.

Although we delved into other matters in trying to answer the question, if my sequence of of 3, 4, and 5 above is Scripturally correct (which I believe is to the best of my knowledge), then Judas participated in the feet-washing done by the Lord. However, he never partook of the Holy Communion. A question which arises is, Does it mean Judas was part of the Lord, going by the Lord’s words to Peter – “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part  with me” (Joh.13:8)? Not so. The context of what the Lord said should be correctly understood in the context of what the act meant. That is, “Peter, if you can’t participate in this act of humility then you can’t identify with me. All those who claim to be my followers should accept this show of humility”. May I state further that if Judas had not moved out during Communion the Lord would surely still have gone ahead to also give him the bread to eat and the wine to drink. However, it is his hypocrisy and wrong heart that would have brought judgement on him.

Est-ce que Frère Ewald Frank, est “Le serviteur fidèle et prudent” de Matthieu 24:45?

Ceci est la traduction d’un message du Frère Andrew C. Phiri

Ce n’est pas faux si un prédicateur s’identifie comme étant  «un serviteur fidèle et prudent»  selon Matthieu 24:45, mais de penser et  dire, que le Seigneur prophétisait qu’un homme paraîtrait un jour, et  serait «le serviteur fidèle et prudent», est totalement faux. Et enseigner aussi, que le serviteur fidèle est le chef  de tous les autres serviteurs de Dieu, à cause des paroles suivantes: – «…que son maître a établi sur ses gens» (v. 45) – est une interprétation grossière de l’Écriture Sainte!

Lorsque l’interprétation des Écritures passe hors contexte, la confusion commence là, où il ne fallait pas y en avoir. Quand nous lisons  Matthieu 24: 45-51, et nous voyons à quel point la parabole relatée là-dedans est simple, et combien est évident le sens de l’expression «camarades», qui est mentionnée dans ce passage, on se demande comment une doctrine aussi étrange, naquit de l’Écriture sainte.

Matthieu 24: 45-51, était une simple parabole que le Seigneur a relatée et qui a également été enregistrée, par Marc et  par Luc. La manière dont la parabole a été racontée, indique qu’il ne s’agissait pas d’une prophétie, mais d’une illustration d’un serviteur bon par excellence, ou d’un serviteur perfide par excellence. Le Seigneur commence par demander: « Quel est donc le serviteur fidèle et prudent, que son maître a établi sur ses gens, pour leur donner la nourriture au temps convenable?” (V. 45). Il posa la question et indiqua qu’un bon serviteur devrait donner la nourriture à ses gens, au moment opportun. Et Il alla plus loin, en déclarant que : « Heureux ce serviteur, que son maître, à son arrivée, trouvera faisant ainsi! » (v.46). Maintenant, si vraiment, il s’agissait d’une prophétie selon laquelle, un certain individu paraîtrait à la fin des temps, alors les paroles citées dans Matthieu 24:46, veulent dire que cette personne-là, devrait rester en vie, jusqu’à l’avènement du Seigneur Jésus? Indépendamment de cela, la prophétie implique aussi, que le serviteur fidèle et prudent, finira par se transformer en un méchant  serviteur, qui commencera à battre ses compagnons – serviteurs: –  « Mais, si c`est un méchant serviteur, qui dise en lui-même: Mon maître tarde à venir, s`il se met à battre ses compagnons, … le maître de ce serviteur viendra le jour où il ne s`y attend pas (v.50). Mais nous sommes certains que cela n’annonce pas l’avenir d’un certain individu, car la prophétie n’est jamais formulée avec de telles conditions paraboliques, (le «si»). Lorsqu’on lit cette parabole dans le récit de Luc, on remarque clairement, que le «serviteur prudent » et le «méchant serviteur », ne sont pas deux personnes distinctes, mais, ces deux adjectifs se rapportent  en réalité, à une seule personne, qui peut devenir méchante – « Heureux ce serviteur, que son maître, à son arrivée, trouvera faisant ainsi!… Mais, si c`est un méchant serviteur, qui dise en lui-même: Mon maître tarde à venir, s`il se met à battre ses compagnons, s`il mange et boit avec les ivrognes, le maître de ce serviteur viendra le jour où il ne s`y attend pas et à l`heure qu`il ne connaît pas, » (Luc.12: 42-45)

Remarquez que le méchant serviteur frappe ses «compagnons de service»! Le mot “compagnon” indique qu’il n’est pas le seul individu ; mais qu’en fait, il est un, parmi d’autres compagnons de service ou de travail. Cela devient plus évident, lorsque nous lisons le passage où cette même parabole est relatée dans Marc. Marc a écrit: Il en sera comme d`un homme qui, partant pour un voyage, laisse sa maison, remet l`autorité à ses serviteurs, indique à chacun sa tâche, et ordonne au portier de veiller” (Marc 13: 33-37). Oui, les serviteurs de Dieu ont une seule autorité, la Parole de Dieu!

À ce stade-là, une question importante s’impose: quelle est l’origine de la doctrine de «The Wise-Servant» “Le Serviteur Prudent”?

D’où vient la doctrine du «serviteur prudent»?

Une fausse doctrine peut se découler d’une Écriture, ou d’une expérience spirituelle mal interprétées. La doctrine du serviteur prudent est née, de ce que je crois être une véritable expérience spirituelle.

Frère Ewald Frank, a eu une fois, une expérience merveilleuse. Dieu lui a parlé pour stocker la nourriture, parce qu’un projet est visé pour l’avenir. Lorsque frère Branham l’a rencontré, il lui a raconté l’expérience et son interprétation. La nourriture était le message, qui devait être stocké. Après la mort de frère Branham, frère Frank, a sûrement joué un rôle assez important, en veillant à ce que le message soit mis sous forme imprimée. Cependant, le fait qu’il soit nommé par Dieu pour stocker la nourriture en raison de la prochaine famine, ne veut pas dire, qu’il était le seul individu chargé de cette responsabilité. Cela paraît évident dans les paroles de la prière de frère Branham dans le message suivant: Le CHRIST EST LE MYSTÈRE DE DIEU RÉVÉLÉ (63-0728):

Bénis notre très cher pasteur, [Bro. Neville], le berger. Nous Te prions de l’oindre du Saint-Esprit de Ta Parole, de La révéler aux gens et de nourrir le troupeau. Un jour, il n’y a pas très longtemps, lorsque Tu as montré la vision du petit Tabernacle ici… : il était question d’emmagasiner la Nourriture; car il viendrait un temps où on aurait besoin de tout ceci. Alors nous avons vu Frère Sothmann et Frère Wood qui s’apprêtaient à faire la traversée pour se rendre dans un autre pays, afin de… Mais Tu as dit : “Emmagasinez cette Nourriture ici, pour ce temps-là (pour le temps convenable).”  Seigneur, avec beaucoup de respect, j’ai essayé de faire cela.

Si le frère Neville avait laissé l’orgueil s’emparer de lui, il aurait alors proclamé: «Je suis celui qui nourrit le troupeau, parce que le prophète a dit:« Nourris le troupeau».   Il est important de toujours se rappeler, qu’à chaque fois une pensée ou une idée  s’écarte du contexte, une mauvaise interprétation s’ensuit, et par suite, une confusion se produit là, où il n’y en aurait pas eu! Dans tout cela, il est toujours intéressant de noter que le prophète avait indiqué quel était le magasin de la «nourriture» – pas en Allemagne mais à Jeffersonville, dans l’Indiana. Voici ce qu’il a dit dans le message Se ranger du côté de Jésus (62-0601):

Vous vous rappelez ce qu’était ce rêve dont j’ai eu l’interprétation. «Retourne et emmagasine la nourriture.» Où était le magasin? Cette tente (ce tabernacle)… Et voici où la nourriture a étéemmagasinée.

Qui peut nier qu’en ce qui concerne la distribution des sermons imprimés de William Branham, Voice of God Recordings (à Jeffersonville dans l’Indiana), a effectué des efforts plus que tous les autres ministères réunis? Nous pouvons être en désaccord avec les croyances issues des enregistrements de « Branham Tabernacle », ou de la Voix de Dieu (Voice Of God), mais personne ne peut nier qu’elles sont le principal moyen de conserver et de diffuser les messages de frère Branham.

Mais qu’est-ce qui constitue réellement la «nourriture»?

Quelle est vraiment la “nourriture au temps convenable”, qu’un fidèle serviteur de Dieu, devrait donner à ses gens? Est-ce simplement, répéter les messages de William Branham sur les bandes magnétiques, ou lire les livres du Spoken Word (La Parole Prononcée)? Est-ce donner de la nourriture, signifie-t-il partager à plusieurs reprises le témoignage de ce que Dieu a fait lorsque son prophète était ici?

Nous savons que tous les prophètes de l’Ancien Testament avaient fait signe à la venue de la pleine manifestation de la Parole, en Christ. Mais après l’avènement du Christ, Son enseignement et Son ascension au ciel, est-ce que les apôtres avaient fait  le tour du monde, en ne répétant que mot pour mot, ce que le Christ, «la Parole complète», avait enseigné? Est-ce que la mission de Pierre, était de répéter sans cesse, comment il avait reçu les clés pour ouvrir le royaume des cieux? Était-ce  tout ceci, la «nourriture»?- Non, ce n’est pas ça. Nous trouvons dans les épîtres, beaucoup plus d’enseignements, que ce que Jésus avait enseigné, non pas, parce que le Seigneur n’était pas la Parole complète, mais parce que la vie de la Parole, était toujours présente parmi eux. De même, on peut lire un livre de la Parole Prononcée (ou Parlée), mais sans aucune inspiration, et notre âme mourra toujours de faim. La nourriture réelle, n’est pas les propos de William Branham parlés ou écris, mais ce que l’Esprit veut dire à travers ces paroles-là! Ainsi, sans l’Esprit, on peut écouter les bandes, mais on ne va pas manger de cette nourriture, qui peut subvenir aux besoins actuels. Cette nourriture ne peut provenir, que de la bouche de Dieu et seul, celui qui a des oreilles pour entendre l’Esprit, pourra vraiment entendre! Dieu utilise ses serviteurs pour donner cette nourriture et la servir, en temps opportun. C’est la nourriture en pleine saison! Ce ne sont pas des aliments pris aux micro-ondes d’une bibliothèque. Ainsi, « tout scribe instruit de ce qui regarde le royaume des cieux est semblable à un maître de maison qui tire de son trésor des choses nouvelles et des choses anciennes» (Mat.13: 52).

En conclusion, il est clair qu’il n’y a que Sept Âges d’Église seulement.  Soulever un homme en cette fin de temps, en tant que successeur du messager du Septième Âge de l’Église, nous mènera à la «Révélation (Apocalypse) Chapitre 23»! Puissions-nous donc prêter attention à l’avertissement de saint Paul: “ afin que vous appreniez en nos personnes à ne pas aller au-delà de ce qui est écrit, et que nul de vous ne conçoive de l`orgueil en faveur de l`un contre l`autre” (1 Co 4, 6).


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Does 1 Corinthians 7:14-15 mean babies of believers will be saved because their parents are holy, or that an unbelieving husband or wife is made holy by their believing spouse?

Question

“Shalom Sir, could you please explain 1 Corinthians 7:14-15 to me: Does it mean all babies of believers will be saved because their parents are holy?”


Reply

When 1 Corinthians 7:14-15 is read casually it surely seems to imply that an unbeliever who is married to a believer automatically becomes sanctified or holy in a salvational sense. Similarly, it also seems to imply that children born of such a union are also automatically holy. This idea is stretched further by some churches to justify the baptizing of infants. However, we know that salvation is never obtained by inheritance through a sexual or marital union. If a person is an adult, apart from God’s foreknowledge and predestination, he or she has to call on the Name of the Lord to be saved (Rom.10:13). So, what is the explanation?

It is important to note that the misunderstanding of 1 Corinthians 7:14-15 comes from looking at the words “sanctified” and “holy” in a wrong context. It is important to know that the two terms may mean different things in different passages of Scripture and so one has to understand the context of their use.

In Haggai 2:12-13 we find the term “holy” being used to describe meat as “holy flesh“. Just how holy was this meat: was it holy in a manner that a child of God has to be holy as God is (1 Pet.1:15-17)? Not so, it was holy in a ceremonial sense. It had been set apart according to the requirement of the Mosaic Law. This should bring us to analyzing another term closely related to holiness or sanctification, the term “righteousness”.

In Romans 3:10 (and also Psalm 14:3) we read that “There is none righteous, no, not one“. However, in Luke 1:5 there is a record of a couple – Zecharias and Elizabeth; “they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless“. Did Scripture contradict itself? Not so, it should be clear to see that there was that ceremonial or religious righteousness that required adherence to statutes or commandments. In Israel there were devout men who were determined to do what was right before God. However, sin was still in the blood and nature of mankind and it was only through the pure and sinless blood of Jesus Christ that we could receive the righteousness of God. Like apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ). Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Rom.5:17-19).

Note that the righteousness of a ceremony or of the Law was by works but that which is of Christ is called “the gift of righteousness” in Romans 5:17 because a true believer is dead to the flesh and lets the Holy Spirit live himself through them to manifest the holiness of God. That holiness comes by faith and not through a marital union.

Now, let us understand the subject Paul is dealing with in the sixth and seventh chapter of 1 Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 6:16-20 he admonishes believers to never defile themselves in sexual union with a harlot. Note that acts of fornication and adultery involves committing a right act with a wrong person. However, when a man and woman are married, the bed or their union is ‘holy’ so to speak – “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Heb.13:4). The word used for undefiled in Greek is amiantos and means to be pure and it is derived from miaino which is a verb meaning to ‘sully’, ‘taint’ or ‘contaminate’ in a ceremonial or moral way.

In the  seventh chapter Paul continues to teach believing couples on how to relate with each other. He tells a believing couple to never divorce and further warns  that if a marital relationship so much deteriorates that one spouse decides to leave, “let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband” (Rom.7:11). When Paul got done speaking to believing couples, he began to address those who were in mixed marriages (i.e. marriages in which one spouse was a believer but the other was an unbeliever). In 1 Corinthians 7:12-14 he explained that a believer who is married to an unbeliever should not consider divorcing his or her spouse on the excuse that their marriage is not acceptable before God. Whilst a believer who is single should only marry a fellow believer (cf. 1 Cor.7:39), there are those who came into the faith whilst already married. It is this category of people Paul was addressing. A believing spouse in such a marriage should know that their union (or ‘bed’) is not defiled; their marriage is ceremonially clean and acceptable, and through a godly and sanctified life of a believing spouse, the unbeliever and children may come to salvation. “For what knowest thou” Paul wrote, “whether thou shalt save thy husband ? Or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife” (Rom.7:16). Note that Paul wouldn’t have said these words if in verses 13 and 14 he meant spouses or children could automatically be saved through a relationship.

But, a question may be asked, “Where do babies go when they die?”

When a child dies prematurely someone may exclaim, “Oh, that child could have been doctor or a president!” That is true but there may very well be a possibility that the child  could have grown to be a murderer or a Hitler. No one knows the future of children. We can only dedicate our children to God and do our best to raise them in the right path. A time will come when their senses of judgement will be mature to make a decision. However, if they die prematurely I can only say God’s  Election will take course. If a child was ordained to Eternal Life by God’s foreknowledge he will surely be saved. “As many as were ordained to eternal life believed” the Scripture says (Act.13:48).

What is the “secret place” of the Most High in Psalm 91:1?

Psalm Chapter 91 presents the world as a battle ground where various evils occur. The passage mentions about the “terror by night“,”arrow that flieth by night“, “pestilence“, and “destruction“. Woe to him that walks about with blindness in such a terrible place. Apostle Paul described the situation as a war with evil spiritual forces of darkness-“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph.6:12).

In those ancient times cities or nations use to have fortresses or towers. These were places of safety. They  were characterized by thick walls and high raised portions on the wall wherein a watchman would stand to observe and alert people in case of any approaching danger.

In case of danger and you were outside the gates, you would run into the fortress for your protection.

As a Born Again child of God you also need to live in the fortress of God’s Word. This world is dark and our true protection lies in the revelation of God’s counsel to our lives. When one develops a closer walk with God he or she will live by the speaking of God in his life. When God reveals his counsel to you, that gives you joy and out of that joy comes strength. The revelation of God’s will gives you sight to see and walk not as a blind man but one who sees. That is not the situation for many people. Their lives are open for the devil to play around with. They are naked before forces of darkness. But a believer walks with God and is actually hidden in Christ – “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col.3:3).

When you live by the counsel God reveals to you, what you do is  being done in the name of the Lord. As a believer “whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col.3:17). That name is your protection and no amount of devils can defeat that. The name of the Lord is his presence and hedge around you; it is your ultimate tower of protection – “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Pro.18:10).

Now, having explained the above, let us read Psalm 91. Note that the word used in the Hebrew text for “secret place” is sether sithrah and refers to a shelter of protection. It is because of this that other versions like NIV states, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty“. When you read the whole chapter you will realise that the shelter being referred to is actually a fortress or tower. The Jerusalem Bible puts it very well as follows:

If you live in the shelter of Elyon and make your home in the shadow of Shaddai, you can say to Yahweh, ‘My refuge, my fortress, my God in whom I trust!

And verses 14 and 15 continues to say:

I rescue all who cling to me, I protect whoever knows my name, I answer everyone who invokes me, I am with them when they are in trouble; I bring them safety and honour.

These verses clearly strike a chord with what we read in Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe”.

Was the conception of Jesus the transformation of theophany into human flesh?

Question:

“I thought that the Word or Logos (the Theopany Body) became literally flesh and that was the flesh body of Jesus Christ. Does it mean that the Body dwelleth in a Human body which was Jesus’ body? Hope you will give me the difference between these two statements. God bless”

No, the Word did not transform itself into flesh as a foetus in the womb of Mary. Again no, at the baptism of Jesus it was not the Word Body entering another (human) body.

In the New Testament the Word Body vanished (i.e. ceased to exist) in order for the Word to now be expressed through a human body. That human body had to grow and feed. When Jesus was born as a baby he breastfed just like all babies. That was not a theophany breastfeeding; it was a normal human body being prepared. It had to grow in stature until such a time when the Spirit would indwell it so that it would now be the new mask of the invisible God (Col.1:15, Heb.10:5). When Jesus began his ministry the power and glory of the Word was manifest through his ministry. That was the Word becoming flesh! Like in the words of Paul, “God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim.3:16). On page 22 of his book on the subject of the Godhead Richard Gan puts it in this good simple way:

In the old, the LOGOS was expressed in and through a spirit body; in the new, the LOGOS was expressed in and through a human body…

And on page 24:

The newborn baby Jesus became a living soul and grew up to express the Life of God. From thence there was no longer any manifestation of the Spirit (Word) Body. Theophany ceased but the WORD was still with God.

In Hebrews 1:1-2 we read that “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son”. So, in that Old Testament era the Word would at one time take on a manner or form or body of what appeared like fire and at another time like a cloud. That doesn’t mean when it appeared like a cloud then the cloud was an incarnation of the previous manifestation of fire. The fire is ANOTHER FORM through which the LOGOS manifested or expressed itself. Hebrews 1:1-2 thus makes it clear that the body of Jesus was another (and actually the final) form through which the Word would manifest.

On his baptism we read that “the heavens were opened unto him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him” (Mat.3:16. That is what indwelt Jesus on his baptism, the Spirit of the Word, which is God (cf. Joh.1:1). When that Spirit was in Christ it manifested the Spoken Word of Life – “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him” (Joh.3:34); “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (Joh.6:63).

May I conclude with these words: if the body of Jesus was the theophany-turned-human, the question arises: what will become of that ‘theophany-turned-human’ when Christ hands the kingdom back to the father so that God may be “all in all” (1 Cor.15:28)? Please note that in the Old Testament when God manifested in form of fire, the fire wasn’t God. When God manifested in elements of dust fashioned into a human body like he did to Abraham, the dust or body of flesh was not God! When God was done with his use of that body, the dust went back to the ground, the theophany ceased until another time that there was need for its manifestation.

Was Jesus God when he was a baby?

Questions asked during India visit

Question No.5

“Was Jesus God when he was a baby?”

In Acts 2:36 we read that, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ”. This one passage of Scripture shows us that there is God and there is Jesus the man and it is God who made Jesus both Lord and Christ. Secondly, the verse also tells us that Jesus was not Lord and Christ from eternity or from birth but that he was made Lord and Christ at a certain time of his life.

It is important to know that Jesus was a ‘mask’, so to speak, or a body,  through which the invisible God manifested. Like Paul stated in his letter to the Colossians, Jesus was “the image of the invisible God” (Col.1:15). However, he did not become that body or mask right from birth. The body had to be prepared until such a time when the glory of God would manifest through it : “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith…a body hast thou prepared me” (Heb.10:5). Jesus grew in “stature” (Luk.2:52) and when he was about thirty years of age, he was ready to be endowed with that Spirit without measure (Joh.3:34).

At his baptism when the Spirit of God came into him God declared “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mat.3:17). From that time mankind saw the God of heaven living among them through Jesus. It was for this reason he was named Emmanuel which means “God with us” (Mat.1:23), and Thomas called him, “My Lord and my God” (Joh.20:28) . That was the mystery of godliness – “God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim.3:16).

It is when that glory of God began to manifest in Jesus’ life that the Word was made flesh. The Word being made flesh does not mean the Word became blood cells, skin, or muscles as a fetus! Rather, it refers to the manifestation of the power of the Word through the flesh, that is, “God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim.3:16).  The Amplified Version phrases it this way – “He (God) was made visible in human flesh“, and in the NIV it states, “He appeared in a body“. Yes, God appeared in that body WHEN it was fully prepared for its work (Heb.10:5). John wrote that “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, AND WE BEHELD HIS GLORY” (Joh.1:14). That refers to the power of the Word that began to manifest through the Lord and made people to behold the glory of God. That cannot be said to have occurred when Jesus was born as a baby or during his childhood years.

If it is wrong for Christians to wear earrings, why does Ezekiel 16:11-12 say that God decked Israel with ornaments and bracelets?

Questions asked during India visit

Question No.4

If it is wrong for Christians to wear jewelry, why does Ezekiel 16:11-12 say that God decked Israel with ornaments and bracelets?

The counsel of God is perfect. What God requires of us is and will always be right. However, time and again man always drifts from the original plan or perfect will of God. An example of this is how man started engaging in divorce. Divorce was never part of God’s perfect will but because of the hardness of man’s heart He permitted it (Mat.19:8). When God permits something, even a vain thing that is unprofitable to man, it is in hope of something better to come, and also for eyes of man to see and learn. “For the creature”, Paul writes, “was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope” (Rom.8:20). It is for this reason that although God knew about the imperfectness of the Old Testament Law He still let it take full course. He permitted the Law of Moses so “that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Rom.3:19)The Law was to show man that even when he knew the good thing to do he was insufficient to perform true righteousness (Rom.7:19).

Another example of God permitting something which is not His will can be found in the life of David. He had many wives. We know that God was never the author of polygamy. For “they twain shall be one flesh… they are no more twain, but one flesh” (Mat.19:1-8). But, how could God say to David, “And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom…and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things”? (2 Sam.12:8-9). Does this sentence mean God sanctioned the polygamous marriages of King David? How about the scripture which says that God had put a lying spirit in Ahab’s prophets (2 Chro.18:21-22); would God lie?

It is important to know that God is everywhere and sovereign and therefore, whatever He permits the free-will of man to do, even when it is a terribly evil thing, that is by implication His cause!  Is it any surprising then that in Isaiah He declared saying, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things” (Isa.45:7)?

In Genesis chapter 35 we read about God telling Jacob to go to Bethel. Jacob knew that the gods and type of garments his family wore weren’t  pleasing to God. So he commanded them saying “Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments” (v.2). Surely a spiritual person is able to discern the perfect will of God. When Jacob’s family heard the instruction, they did more than they were told for “they gave to Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand , and all their earrings which were in the ears” (v.4). Why did they put off the earrings if there was nothing wrong with wearing them? And would all Israelites follow the example of Jacob’s family through time? Not so. Later there was a nation of Israel which time and again got attracted to the vain beauty of pagan nations. Their hearts coveted after that and yes God gave them the vanity they desired but with consequences! Yes, God can permit an undesirable thing but there will always be consequences which follow.

Here is another case: wasn’t it considered a curse for women to lead people? “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” (Isa.3:12). But was it not God who raised Deborah, a woman, to lead the nation of Israel. Does that mean God is pleased with women being in leadership or being preachers? Many who are blind to the simple truth of Scripture would say so, but Deborah herself knew that this was against normal order when she said to Barak, “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” (Jud.4:8-9). The sins of Israel were many and God permitted that.

In the time of Ezekiel, the infidelity of Israel against God’s Law was thus illustrated: “I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head” (Eze.16:11-12). But what resulted from this beauty of Israel? The scripture continues: “But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was”(v.15).

In the New Testament Christ came to restore man to the perfect will of God. To all those who walk in the Grace God has given us through Calvary we have left the “shadows” of the Law behind us because the Light of God’s Truth has shined upon us. We don’t take pleasure in carnality. We are the Bride of Christ “whose adorning [is] not that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold” (1 Pet.3:3). We surely can never hide in shadows of the night like prostitutes and thieves when the Day-star has dawned upon us!

Be assured that if the family of Jacob upon conviction of the word they received from Jacob about some holy place they were to go to, gave up their earrings and garments, Eve who was in Eden, in the very presence of God, a pure daughter of God, would have never perforated her nose or ears to try to look beautiful! If the Fall had not occurred Eve would still have been alive today and there certainly wouldn’t be any paint on her lips or eyebrows!

Why was the Serpent cursed to become another animal (a snake)?

Questions asked during India visit

Question No.3

In the Bible we read about how God judged or cursed people with diseases, disasters, or how he caused death upon them. However, the judgement passed on the Serpent in Genesis Chapter 3 was strange: The Serpent was changed to a different kind of animal, a snake. Why was this so?

Note:The response below assumes that you know the truth about the Serpent Seed doctrine. If you don’t, please read a book by Richard Gan titled The Original Sin. It is available here or send us a request for a printed copy of the book (Email voiceoftheword@live.com).

We should first understand the truth about the sin that Adam committed in the Garden of Eden. We know that the woman was deceived by the Serpent and not the man (1 Tim 2:14), but the Scripture also states that through man sin and death entered the world (Rom.5:12-14). So, if Adam was not deceived but yet committed sin, what was his transgression?

It is important to remember that in Eden God had made a man and a woman  to become one flesh. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” says the Scripture (Gen.2:24). Becoming one flesh as husband and wife is accomplished through sexual intercourse; like Paul exclaimed to Corinthians, “know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh” (1 Cor.6:16). By this law it is gross confusion when a person commits adultery and this sin was punishable by death in the Old Testament. Although under the old covenant divorce was permitted a divorced woman could not return to again become wife of her former husband. That would be a great abomination which would pollute the land of Israel (Deu.24:1-4, Jer.3:1). All such undesirable things were brought about by the Fall. And events of the Fall in Eden have important lessons for the church which Paul illustrates as a bride of Christ.

In one passage of Scripture (2 Cor.11:1-3) apostle Paul expressed his concern over the prospective marriage between Christ and His Bride. He compared the espousal to that of Adam and Eve but he feared that what happened to Eve might also occur to the Bride of Christ. [Note: If the Original Sin committed in Eden merely involved the eating of a literal fruit from a tree (as traditional theology presents) won’t Paul be way out of context to compare eating a mango, guava or whatever fruit, to a nuptial matter?]

Our interest in 2 Corinthians 11:2-3 should be to ask, What was Paul’s “fear”? This is what we read in 2 Corinthians 11:2-3: “for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” Why is there an emphasis of “ONE husband“? Would it not have sufficed to only state that “I have espoused you to a husband” or “I have espoused you to Christ your husband”?

Paul’s fear was that the espousal to “one husband” would be spoiled like what had been done to Eve by the Serpent! Any reasonable mind listening to Paul’s words would next ask, “to whom was Eve espoused and what was the role of the Serpent in spoiling that espousal?” Well, in Eden Eve had been espoused to Adam but before he could come into her, she became one flesh with the Serpent. When that happened Adam lost her. However, to redeem her, he committed intercourse with her and hence was numbered with the transgressors.

In all this we should see that Adam was not deceived into the sin. He knew the consequences of what he had done, and he did it to lay the sin on himself and hence save Eve from destruction: Adam was a son of God and God’s program for Earth was to manifest through him. God would not destroy him. By taking the iniquity of Eve on himself he both polluted the land and brought death on it, but also took everything into suspense, so to speak, because the woman now had TWO HUSBANDS,  and one of them was a son of God! That could simply not be permitted.

How would God resolve this deadlock? To simply curse the erring serpent with a disease or even killing it would never erase both the memory and fact that Eve had become one flesh with the Serpent. In her blood Eve would still be a wife of TWO HUSBANDS. The only way to retain her status as a wife of “one husband” was to change the Serpent from one kind of specie to another. This transformation completely de-arranged the DNA of the Serpent so that whatever blood had become one with Eve no longer had a creature from which it came! That which was one with Eve had ceased to exist. The anatomy of the Serpent was so changed that no trace of it has been fathomed. Its the “Missing Link”; the serpent-kind was completely eliminated from the Earth, leaving neither root nor branch of its memory! In this way there was no more chance of further intermingling between human beings and serpent creatures. Clearly the intermingling between Eve and the Serpent had set a bad precedence which would have recurred between future children to come. That one curse halted all that.

How shall ‘unity of the faith’ in Ephesians 4:13 be accomplished if we are not all to rally behind one man?

Questions asked during India visit

Question No. 2

How shall “unity of the faith” in Ephesians 4:13 be accomplished if we are not all to rally behind one man? 

Many believers have been caught up in the delusion of mistaking unity of opinions for unity of the faith. When William Branham died many people crafted the idea that we should only say what the tapes say. Did unity come out of such endeavors? No. Today there are countless divisions among different Message groupings but who all profess to take the prophet as their absolute. We then had our beloved brother and apostle, Raymond Jackson, being used by the Lord in the teaching of the Word. With time the term “apostle” wasn’t enough; an idea of “Chief Apostle” was conceived and it was believed that for the unity of faith to materialize everyone had to believe and recognize brother Jackson as the chief. One man from Nigeria became so fanatical about this idea that he went ahead to proclaim that Jackson won’t die but would lead believers into the Rapture. Dreams and scriptures were used to justify the claim. After Jackson died no lessons were learnt, instead an unimaginable and more ridiculous thing followed – the Nigerian man proclaimed himself to be the successor of Jackson as  “the Lead Apostle”. Is it possible for a man with such a record to have any followers? Well, his disciples are now getting to be everywhere you go. God forbid, but suppose anything happened to the fellow and nothing of his predictions comes to pass would there be any lessons learnt? Believe it or not, more stupid ideas will pop up having more zealous followers! How long shall it take before people learn to “not to think of men above that which is written” (1 Cor.4:6)?

So, how will the unity of faith materialize if we are not to rally behind one man, someone asked.

First it is important to know that any unity founded on grounds of rallying behind a man will surely end up in a babel of confusion. Birth of confusions which lead to various splinter groups whenever a founder figure head dies testifies to this fact.  And is that not what happened one day when men said to each other,“Go to… let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (Gen.11:4)? The unity could not be accomplished when the language of the people got confounded. However, there is a record of a unity which God had blessed. It is found in Acts Chapter 2. The events of this passage of Scripture are opposite to what happened at the tower of Babel. In Jerusalem it is different languages that were present but which got unified, so to speak, by the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. Men who were not in the faith listened to the Words Peter proclaimed and were pricked in their hearts.

In Acts Chapter 10 we read about a Gentile who was prayerful, humble and devout. He did not know the good news of Jesus Christ, but because of his prayers and humility something wonderful was about to happen that would bring him into the faith and knowledge of the Son of God. It so happened one day that Cornelius started praying and fasting. On the other end was another man, Peter, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. He knew nothing about Cornelius but an angel had instructed Cornelius about Peter whilst he prayed. He sent for men to call him. As the men went on their way Peter had gone up on the housetop to pray and there he saw a vision. It is important to notice here how both Peter and Cornelius were caught up in the same spirit and vision.  When the men of Cornelius arrived to get Peter God had already done the work! Peter went to the house of Cornelius, preached the Word and the gentiles came into the one faith of Jesus Christ as they received the Holy Spirit baptism! Dear friend, this was the working of the Spirit to bring together men who were once apart both in distance, race, spirit, and faith!

The unity of the faith materializes when the flesh of man gets out of the way; when men and women yield their minds and hearts to the Holy Spirit; when men die to the flesh and their carnal will of the mind to look up to to the Lord Jesus. True ministers of Christ  – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers –  do not lead people to glorifying a man. They proclaim the Word of God and guide the flock to grow in the knowledge of Christ. Ministers who truly believed the Message of the prophet sent to this age will preach the Word with the same attitude of William Branham, and this was Branham’s attitude for which many seriously fall short of:

Not for one moment do I bring a message to the people that they may follow me, or join my church, or start some fellowship and organization. I have never done that and will not do that now. I have no interest in those things, but I do have an interest in the things of God and people, and if I can accomplish just one thing I will be satisfied. That one thing is to see established a true spiritual relationship between God and men, wherein men become new creations in Christ, filled with His Spirit and live according to His Word. I would invite, plead and warn all to hear His voice at this time, and yield your lives completely to Him, even as I trust in my heart that I have given my all to Him. God bless you, and may His coming rejoice your heart” (Exposition of the Seven Church Ages).

Now it is important to know that the knowledge that God gives through His ministry – whether it be an exhortation or revelation of a mystery – is never for the purpose of merely letting us know something we didn’t know. Neither is it for the turning of our ‘heads’ so that we can exclaim, “Oh, I didn’t know that!” and perhaps boast to a denominational Christian saying, “Hey, The Holy Trinity is a false doctrine, and do you know the mystery of the Seven Seals?” God’s Word is a life-transforming power. When He gave the revelation of the Seals for example, it was to show us how the spirit of pride and error entered the early church and with time got formalized until Christendom became so empty of the true counsel of God. Such a revelation ought to inspire the heart of a believer and turn them from their carnal passions and begin abiding and bearing forth fruit of the will of God in their lives. Isn’t that what ‘Elijah’ was sent for  – “he shall turn the heart of …the children to their fathers” (Mal.4:6).

There is one body, and one Spirit” Paul wrote, “One faith…And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints…Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ“. The “perfect man” shall never come about by merely trying to agree on a list of doctrines, and neither will it come by completing an alleged syllabus or curriculum of mysteries; the perfect man shall manifest when you continuously die to your flesh and allow Christ to fill your heart, leading you in your daily life. What translated Enoch was his close walk with God. When we walk closely with Him we shall grow in our knowledge of Him as our eyes get opened to mysteries of His Word.

If according to Matthew 12:31-32 it is possible to blaspheme the “Holy Ghost” but not the “Father”, isn’t that evidence of the Trinity in the Bible?

Questions asked during India visit

Question No. 1

If according to Matthew 12:31-32 it is possible to blaspheme the “Holy Ghost” but not the “Father”, isn’t that evidence of the Trinity in the Bible?

Before answering this question I should first point out a serious error in the question: Matthew 12:31-32 does not state anything about blaspheming the “Father”; it mentions “Son of Man”, not “Father”! Secondly, even if Matthew 12:31-32 had used Father or Son of Man, that would actually contradict the Trinity doctrine which assumes that the three persons of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are equal and the same and hence a sin against any of them would logically attract the same penalty! But putting that aside let’s clear the misconception.

This is what Matthew 12:31-32 says:

Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

We find these similar words in Luke 12:10, but here is how Mark recorded the same speech of the Lord:

“Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit” (Mar.3:28-30).

Notice how Mark generalizes his phrase: instead of “the Son of man” as stated by Matthew and Luke, he sates  “wherewith soever they shall blaspheme“. The difference in the phrases, and also what the Lord was clearly emphasizing, is this: Although as men (human beings) we may disagree on things we do or believe, and although others may even go as far as insulting another man or his works,  cursed is a person who over-steps his boundary to insult God! Such a person has spoken an unholy thing about the Holy Spirit.  Please note that throughout the Scripture, “Holy Spirit” is not another God apart from Yahweh.  “God is Spirit” (Joh. 4:24) and “He is…holy” (1 Pet.1:15) and is thus the Holy Spirit [If you believe in the Trinity consider this question: Whose child or son was Jesus: was he a child of the Father or the Holy Ghost? Read Mat. 1:18].

When the Lord Jesus used the term “Son of Man”, as recorded by Matthew and Luke, He in no way was referring to himself as another God who is more tolerant to insults  than ‘God the Holy Spirit’! The Lord was referring to himself as a human being. So, to put it another way : You may sin against men and may be forgiven, but to insult the Holy Spirit is putting yourself in danger of eternal damnation. That’s exactly what the pharisees had done: the Lord had delivered a man possessed by an evil spirit and they accused him of using an unclean spirit to perform the wonder. They blasphemed!