Help keep this website online for another 12 months

Greetings all in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

It is that time of the year again when we are reminded by WordPress to pay our annual subscription fee of US$300.00.

This website is now five (5) years old and in this short span of time its impact around the world has exceeded our expectations. It now has constant viewership in Israel, China, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Vietnam, Russia, Japan, United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Turkey, and India, just to mention a few countries. What has been most encouraging is that there are some believers living in places with no church to go to and they rely on sermons posted on the website for their spiritual food. In June this year we further introduced a Whatsapp Group where the Word is taught everyday. Again testimonies have come through from people who depend on this group for their fellowship.

Apart from the Sermons and Questions and Answers pages, the most referenced resource on the website in 2019 this far has been the “Notes on Daniel” series, an in-depth study of prophecy and history. To-date the website has recorded 45,262 views. To all my friends, brothers and sisters, who have supported us in the needs of this little ministry (you know yourself), all this wouldn’t have been possible without your commitment and love!

It is such positive and encouraging results that encourage us to press on and keep the website going. If you would like to help in contributing towards our annual subscription fee, send an email to voiceoftheword@live.com and you will be advised on how you can transact  the offering. We will post an update as soon as the target amount is achieved from contributions.

Yours in Christ

A C Phiri

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.

Zimbabwe Meetings

Report by Jesse M. Nzima

We had a four days visit to Chitungwiza Zimbabwe from the 28th of June to 2nd of July 2019. Chitungwiza is a small municipality located about 20 km southeast of Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe.

We traveled using Brother Phiri’s car. From Lusaka to Chitungwiza is a distance of about 480 km, taking about 8 hours of drive.

Day of Travel – Friday, 28th June

We started off from Zambia at around 3:30 pm local time. We were initially scheduled to leave Lusaka early in the morning the very day but my wife’s passport was misplaced at the passport office and so she had to resubmit her documentation. We therefore decided to let her sort out the paperwork and later link up with us in Zimbabwe. To our surprise this whole delay on her apart was actually a fulfillment of a dream she had early this year, which she had shared during a prayer meeting and which we had emailed to Bro. Phiri.

Note: This is the dream which was shared during a prayer meeting and was emailed to my inbox on 29th March, 2019. The details of the dream were remarkably fulfilled but with only one detail we do not understand – that of two Filipino children.

ON THE BUS

Dream by sister Moudy Nzima

In the dream I was on a long journey on a bus and on the opposite row of the bus sat our pastor (Bro. Phiri) and next to me was a lady whom I couldn’t make out who she exactly was.

After we disembarked from the bus, I gave directions to the place the pastor needed to go and it appeared like we were all heading to different directions. However, immediately Brother Phiri left, I found myself at the same destination he was heading to and at this time I could not see the woman I had sat next to in the bus.

Once I  got to the place I saw Brother Phiri seated next to three other brothers whom I couldn’t identify . I then by passed them without greeting them and went straight into the house where I found two kids in the living room. The children where Filipinos. I then saw sister Norah coming from the bathroom towards me. I was surprised to see her and I then asked her , “You are already here?” and that is how I woke up.

This was the first time for Sister Nzima to travel to Zimbabwe. She testified to us that Pastor Veremu’s house and the environment was what she had seen in the dream. What is interesting in this whole testimony is that of all the three people accompanying me on this trip – Brother Nzima, Sister Nzima, and my wife, Sister Nzima was the one who had submitted the passport application earliest. Her travel document was suppose to be the first one to be ready but against all odds her papers got lost and she had to do the entire application and interviews on the same day we were scheduled to travel. Her papers got ready long after we had left. We made arrangements for her to travel by bus and join us in Zimbabwe! All this while she got discouraged and was almost giving up and none of us remembered the dream which had foretold this event! 

We reached Chirundu border at 5:00 pm . The clearance process delayed by almost two hours and by 7:30 pm we were cleared and we finally crossed over into Zimbabwe. We had to drive the 350 km stretch for six and a half hours. We arrived Brother James Veremu’s residence at exactly 1:00 am. We had no trouble finding his place as we used the GPS system for directions.

Second Day, Saturday, 29th June

We had our first meeting on Saturday 29th June. The meeting started at 2:00 pm local time and ended at 6:00 pm. Bro. Phiri spoke on the subject Only Believe. He read from Mark 5:36 – “As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe”. He emphasized the importance of relying on God in all we do.

He further highlighted the complexities in nature and how everything in nature adheres to God’s established laws. This is different with man who was endowed with free will and used that to disobey his creator. He also pointed out that in the absence of knowledge fear is the dominant emotion in the journey of life.

He also read from Matthew 14:22-33, stressing that like Peter, we have to stand on the Word in order to walk on the uncertain ‘waters’ of life.

Third day, Sunday, 30th June

We had two services on this day. In the first service Brother Phiri preached on Peter’s  Journey of faith. The scripture reading was taken from the book of Luke 5:8 – “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord”. The focus was on the call of Peter. When the miracle of the great catch of fish was performed, Peter was not excited at the abundance of fish as something that signaled financial prosperity for his business. Instead the miracle brought fear and the conviction in his heart. Peter saw something deeper than what others may have seen. He discerned the message of God to his heart. That day Peter was actually to leave his nets and trade. But with no job, how would he now take care of his family and how would he pay the often burdensome Roman taxes? Well, what could this miracle mean but that the God who caused the unexpected great catch of fish would supply Peter’s needs? This sermon took us through other trials Peter went through with regards his calling (the sermons are available on our YouTube channel. Go to the Sermons tab above and locate the titles).

Chitungwiza church building

In the afternoon the title of the sermon was The trying of your faith. The Bible reading was taken from Matthew 3:11 – “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire”. A deep thought was shared on the fire that God sends to cleanse his people for perfection!

In the evening we drove some 10 km to a house of brother and sister Tindilika. Sister Tindilika is the  daughter of Brother James Veremu, our hosting pastor.

Brother Phiri with Brother James Veremu

We had a wonderful meal and a good time of fellowship on the table. And as is the case it was time to say our good byes.

Fourth day, Monday, 1st July

This day was the last stay of our visit. We took time to relax and have a walk around at Bro. James Veremu’s farmland. It was interesting to learn the process of successful farming and characteristics of plants. I was particularly interested in the grafting process of plants. Pastor Veremu showed us a number of fruit trees that were grafted. One interesting thing I learnt about the process was that it did not matter how young the stump of a tree was as long as the branch being grated in is old enough the plant would start producing the fruit.

We visited the house of Brother Isaac Veremu and his wife. Our sisters had a wonderful time of fellowship with Sister Veremu junior ( Bro. Isaac’s wife). Later in the afternoon we visited the house of Brother Peliah Veremu, another son of Pastor Veremu. We then had a drive around Chitungwiza municipality.  Thereafter we drove back to the house of Bro. Peliah where we were served dinner.  The daughter of Brother Peliah sung us a wonderful song. The title being Be not afraid , tying in well with the message we heard earlier in the day. It talks about the time the Lord Jesus Jesus came walking on  water and the disciples were afraid and then he shouted to them that it was he and that they needed not be afraid. After dinner we headed back home to where we were keeping up at the pastor’s house.

Fifth day, Tuesday, 2nd July

We started off back to Lusaka on this day. In the course of our driving back home we reflected on the wonderful time of fellowship we had with the brothers and sisters in Chitungwiza . We reflected on the lessons that could be drawn from the life of Peter.  We reached Lusaka around 6:00 pm local time.

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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