His Word shall prosper “in the thing”

God is faithful in keeping the promises of His Word. Jeremiah had prophesied of how Israel would be taken into captivity by Babylon. The Babylonian captivity was to last for seventy years after which Israel would be released – “For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place” (Jer.29:10). During the years of the Babylonian captivity Daniel prayed and fasted for the restoration of Jerusalem. One day the angel Gabriel came to him and revealed that the restoration shall begin with a proclamation. The angel explained that there shall be a “going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” (Dan.9:25).

The word of God had been spoken and it had to fulfil. Concerning the fulfilling of God’s words we read this in Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it”. Notice the two things that happen when God’s prophetic Word goes forth: first, it shall be accomplished, and second, it should prosper!

Accomplishing and Prospering

To “accomplish” is to fulfil an objective. To “prosper” is to succeed, flourish, or produce fruit. When God sent Moses to tell the Israelites that they would be delivered from Egypt, surely that was accomplished when they crossed the Red Sea and moved into the wilderness. But did the Word prosper in those people’s lives? Not so.

When the prophecies of Jeremiah and Daniel got fulfilled and the people were liberated from Babylon, prophecy was accomplished, but was it everyone who knew that specific thing for which the Word was to prosper in? As we will shortly see, it was not so!

In this day a message went forth to call people out of Mystery Babylon. The Word was accomplished when they came out, but has the Word produced fruit? Has it prospered “in the thing” for which it was sent? Sadly again, it is not so!

“Prospering” is characterised by the continuity of a work which God has begun. Notice that God sends His prophetic word to accomplish a specific thing. However, when His word fulfils, people often get lost in the many other things! See, a prophetic word is a seed. When it “goeth forth” into the ground, so many things can grow out of it – the stem, branches, leaves and flowers. Those things can look great but they are not the ultimate for which the seed was planted.  The flower may add colour and beauty to the outlook of a plant but yet does not hold the life (continuity or prosperity) of the seed!

The prosperity of a seed is in the multiplication of its ‘image’ and ‘likeness’, found in the fruits that proceed from it. That is the specific purpose for which the seed was sent into the ground. The question that now lies before us is this:

Are we a part of the specific purpose, and hence the prosperity, for which the Word was sent? Well, let’s learn from how the prophecies of Jeremiah and Daniel became accomplished. In the first chapter of the book of Ezra we find the fulfilment of the proclamation to rebuild Jerusalem: “that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah” (Ezr. 1:1-2).

The Stirring of the Spirit

In this portion of Scripture we have read (Ezr.1:1-2) we should see that prophecy is never fulfilled by man’s programme, enthusiasm or emotion, but by the Holy Ghost stirring people. It is the Lord who stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus. Cyrus ordered people to begin rebuilding the house of the Lord but it is the Spirit of God that stirred them to start the building works – “Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem” (Ezr.1:5). Trouble begins when people think they can build by only relying on the Holy Ghost on ‘Cyrus’, without them also having the same Spirit! When this happens it means that people have faith in a servant of God but yet do not have the faith of the servant of God. When that happens it is not God building the house but man, and be warned that “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain” (Psa.127:1).

Dearly beloved, that is exactly what has happened in our time. We had a Cyrus who gave a proclamation – a shout, a message – to call us out of Babylon and be built and established as a true temple of the Holy Spirit. But what happened to Israelites has repeated itself in this end time: some people have been truly restored and others haven’t! Let us look closely at what characterised restoration-events which followed after Cyrus made the proclamation.

In the second book of Ezra we read a lengthy list of details of people who returned to Jerusalem from Babylon. The people were identified by their fathers and they were also counted. The children of Parosh were 2,172, the children of Shephatiah, 372, the children of Arah 775, and on and on the list goes. To an outsider, like you and I, that’s a long boring list. But to a person who was there and was listed and confirmed, it was so very important!

Census trouble for some people

The census that was being conducted for the journey back to Jerusalem wasn’t a haphazard exercise. For one to be restored to Jerusalem there had to be evidence that they had a place there. They had to have the evidence that they knew their father’s house. There had to be evidence that they were true Israelites! So, whilst some people may have grown and lived among some Jews in Babylon and others may have even identified themselves (and were perhaps believed) to be priests, the register would now confirm and declare the true identity. Some people were in trouble: “they could not show their father’s house, and their seed, whether they were of Israel” (Ezr.2:59). There were also children of priests who “sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood” (Ezr.2:62). One may wonder, just how many people have become preachers in the Message simply because they ‘felt’ a calling whilst in Babylon. We have so many polluted altars in many assemblies because of such carnality!

All priests who were not found on the register were forbidden to minister until they stood before the Urim and Thummim. Until that was done they could not eat of the holy things apportioned for priests (2:63). Surely many claim to be part of the restoration message of William Branham, but when you look closely, their ministries can’t point to the place we have been restored to. They cannot show their “father’s house.” They are lost in the many messages of the prophet and don’t know the one thing it came to accomplish. Listen, William Branham, our Elijah, preached hundreds of sermons but he only proclaimed ONE MESSAGE – Back to the homeland of the Word! The pentecostals saw the prophetic gift in William Branham and got excited by the many “things” it accomplished, but the Elect perceived “the one thing” for which it was sent to prosper in and they were restored. Yes, His Word “shall prosper in the thing whereto” He sent it!

“The thing”

The ministry of Elijah (the shout and proclamation which called us out of Babylon) was sent to “turn the heart…of the children to their fathers” (Mal.4:6). And like John’s ministry it was sent “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luk.1:17). Whatever other things (visions, healings and miracles) came with that ministry, its mission was to point people back to the Word of God. To bring about a change of heart and enable us to have a closer relationship with God. The revelation of Seals and Church Ages was not to make us big-headed and boast of the much knowledge we have. It was to enable us see, repent, and have a new life of walking with the Lord. Thus, no matter how knowledgeable one becomes of mysteries, unless a true change of heart occurs by the power of the revealed Word, he or she has only got a religion, “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof” (2 Tim.3:5). Such a person has only transferred from Babylon to Jerusalem but hasn’t experienced a transformation.

May the peace of God  be with you. May the Word of this Hour prosper in you is my prayer. Amen.

Being right

By Watchman Nee

Watchman Nee (1903-1972)

Nothing has done greater damage to our Christian testimony than our trying to be right and demanding right of others…We ask ourselves, Have we been justly or unjustly treated? and we think thus to vindicate our actions. But that is not our standard. The whole question for us is one of cross-bearing…

A brother in South China had a rice field in the middle of the hill.In time of drought he used a waterwheel, worked by a treadmill, to lift water from the irrigation stream into his field. His neighbour had two fields below his, and one night, made a breach in the dividing bank and drained off all his water. When the brother repaired the breach and pumped in more water his neighbor did the same thing again, and this was repeated three or four times. So he consulted his brethren. “I have tried to be patient and not to retaliate“, he said, “but is it right?” After they had prayed together about it, one of them replied, “If we only try to do the right thing, surely we are very poor Christians. We have to do something more than what is right“.

The brother was much impressed. Next morning he pumped water for the two fields below, and in the afternoon pumped water for hiw own field. After that the water stayed in his field. His neighbor was so amazed at his action that he began to inquire the reason, and in the course of time he, too, became a Christian.

So, my brethren, dont stand on your right. Dont feel that because you have gone the second mile you have done what is just. The second mile is only typical of the third and the fourth.

(Excerpt from Sit, Walk, Stand).

“Is it true that we should use ‘Yeshua’ not ‘Jesus’, because ‘Jesus’ is a pagan term which was contrived to make us worship Zeus?”

Advocates of the Yeshua doctrine argue that because a name of a person is a proper noun it cannot change when spoken in another language. So, although the New Testament was written in Greek and the Messiah’s name was in Hebrew, it has to be written and pronounced in Hebrew. It is further argued that the letter “J”, or the sound it represents, never existed at the time of the Lord, and so no one could have called Him by the pronunciation with a “J” sound. Extremists further claim that Iesous, the Greek rendition of the name Yeshua, from which the English word Jesus was derived,  is a compound word consisting of  names of pagan gods –  IEU and SUS (Zeus). Here a conspiracy theory is at play to suggest an evil scheme by Bible translators. And talking about conspiracy theories, the Internet is so full of them. Unfortunately, many Christians (including preachers) get whatever they find exciting on the World Wide Web, without carrying an objective analysis of facts.

A simple study on challenges of translation shows various difficulties that are often encountered when translating proper nouns from one language to another. The translation process of the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into English presents a typical example of this.

Translation & Transliteration

It is important to note that there is translation and there is also transliteration.

The aim of translation is to ‘transfer’ the meaning of words from one language to another. Here a challenge rises when there is an objective to let words be pronounced correctly in the target language. This is achieved by transliteration.

Transliteration involves changing letters of a word in one language into letters of the alphabet of  the target language in order to preserve its pronunciation. This may seem a simple process when dealing with sentences but problematic when you encounter proper nouns.

How Yeshua became Jesus

Note that Yeshua was transliterated as Iesous in Greek to preserve its pronunciation. But when further translated into English a completely different pronunciation came up. How did this happen? Was it a conspiracy to make people worship a pagan god? Not so. Let us look at the history of how Yeshua became Jesus.

  1. The name Yeshua is a Hebrew transliteration which begins with the sound of “Y” as in the word “Yes”.

Note: The New Testament was written in Greek. In this language the “Y” sound is represented by the letter “I”. So, in order to convey the same pronunciation in Greek, Yeshua had to be transliterated starting with the letter I and hence the name Iesous.

2. In the name Yeshua, after the “Y” sound comes the “e” sound, as in “Yes”. There was no problem in transliterating this sound as there was an equivalent letter in Greek to represent it, Iesous.

Note: The “e” in Yeshua is pronounced as in the word “Yes”, not as in “See”. However, when the name was transliterated into Iesous and then into Jesus, English speakers pronounced the “e” as in “See” and hence the modern mispronunciation of Jesus. Even so, a number of languages have retained the correct pronunciation of the name.

3. Next we come to the “sh” sound in Yeshua. This is where translators encountered a problem because whilst this sound exists in Hebrew it does not exist in Greek. So, translators went for the letter in the Greek alphabet which is close to the “sh” sound and that was the sigma which gives an “s” sound as in “Sad.

Note: If the English Bible translators had transliterated the name Jesus straight from Hebrew, the name would have maintained the “sh” sound found in Yeshua because English language has the “sh” sound. But they transliterated Jesus from the Greek Iesous and hence the disappearance of the “sh” sound in English.

4. The “u” sound in Yeshua is the same as in “rule” or “true”.

Note: The English language provides two ways of pronouncing the sound of letter “u”. It can be pronounced as in the word “true” or as in the word “cut”. In Iesous it is correctly pronounced with the “u” sound as in “true”. But English speakers mispronounced it as in the word “cut.

5. The asound at the end of Yeshua is replaced with the “s in Iesous.

Note: The Greek language has genders for nouns so that all names that end with the letter s are male names. It is for this reason that although Iesous was an attempt to transliterate the name Yeshua, it never ended with an usound (as in the word true) but with  s to denote its masculinity. An example of this in the Scripture is how the Hebrew name Isaiah appears as Esias in the New Testament (Luk.4:17). Note that the New Testament was written in Greek.

6. When translating Iesous into English, the “Y” sound of “I (as in Yes) was at first retained but  later was lost to the “J” sound as in Jam.

Note: Letter J at one time was just another style or shape for writing letter I.  In Roman numerals it was used to show the end of a series of Is. For example, number 13 when written as a Roman numeral is XIII but would be written with the last I having a serif tail, XIIJ.

In the alphabet the two letters “I” and “J” were also used interchangeably and were both pronounced with the “Y” sound as in “Yes” so that a Hebrew name with the “Y” sound like Yeshua became Iesous in Greek or Iesus in English. This can be seen in the Tyndale version of the Bible, known to have been the first English translation. A verse in this Bible reads: “She had brought forth hir first sonne and called hys name Iesus” (Mat.1:25).

In later English versions of the Bible names starting with the Y-sound were transliterated with letter J because then it had the Y-sound. So words such as Yerushalaim and Yarden became transliterated as Jerusalem and Jordan respectively.

It was in the year 1524 when  an Italian scholar, Gian Trissino (1478–1550), distinguished the two letters to represent two different sounds so that J now had the ‘dg’ sound as in the word “Jam. However, the English language Bibles were never updated to take into account the new sound of J. Gradually the Y-sound was lost to the new J-sound. Over  the decades and a century people became used with reading and pronouncing “J” as in “Jam” . Thus, words like Jerusalem and Iesus were now pronounced with the ‘dg’ sound as we know them today. In the year 1611 a new version of the Bible, the King James Version, had the objective of acknowledging the vulgar (common) pronunciation of words. The purpose of this was to use words in Scripture that people were familiar with. As noted in the Britannica Encyclopaedia:

An elaborate set of rules was contrived to curb individual proclivities and to ensure the translation’s scholarly and nonpartisan character. In contrast to earlier practice, the new version was to use vulgar forms of proper names (e.g., “Jonas” or “Jonah” for the Hebrew “Yonah”).[1]

In the book of Acts we read about a group of young men who saw apostle Paul casting out demons and they started imitating his ministry. They started a ‘deliverance ministry’ and were using the Jesus-Name formula to pray for people. (Isn’t this typical of many young people today who have enthused themselves into starting ministries which the Lord has not commissioned?).

The sons of Sceva began to pray over people “in the name of Jesus”. One day things didn’t go well when an evil spirit spoke from a man asking, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” (Act.19:15).

Now, what pronunciation did this demon use when speaking the name “Jesus”? Well, whatever it was, whether  in Hebrew as Yeshua or in Greek as Iesous, one thing should be certain: the demon was not afraid to speak the name! That tells you and I that the power of the name of the Lord does not lie in speaking or mentioning it as is commonly believed among many Christians. However, there was something different when Paul mentioned “in the name of Jesus.” Demons trembled. So, what was the difference?

The difference was that when  Paul addressed the demons by saying, “I command you, in the name of the Lord Jesus, to come out of the man”, he truly was speaking  in the name of the Lord. God sent him and His presence accompanied him and that was what evil spirits feared. To do things in the name of the Lord is to perform them in accordance with His will and power.

When you pray to God, He does not sit still waiting to hear if your vowels and consonants are coming out right.  What God is able to do when we pray is not a question of whether we pronounce the name of Jesus Christ correctly but whether we have the power of Christ inside our hearts – “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph. 3:20).

[1] Britannica Encyclopaedia (2016). King James Version Sacred Text.[Online] Available from: https://www.britannica.com/topic/King-James-Version [Accessed 17th November, 2016].

“I felt a thing run away…” (Remembering brother John Mark Louse)

Testimony of Healing by Bro. Jesse M. Nzima

Jesse and Moudy Nzima

I remember one Saturday morning, during the period of brother John Mark’s visit to Lusaka, in the year 2014, I suddenly developed stomach pains. The pains didn’t seem serious at the time but as the day progressed the discomfort intensified.

We were scheduled to have meetings at brother Andrew Phiri’s home later that Saturday  afternoon. The home was about 10 kilometers away from where I lived. I then realized I would not be able to make it for the gathering because of the sickness. I told my wife and the young girl we kept in the house (her niece) to proceed for the gathering.

I went to bed that night with the same problem and I was hopeful it would improve by morning. Sunday morning came and there was no improvement. We were scheduled to have a double service that Sunday. I again advised my wife to go to church without me as my condition was not improving. The brothers at church learnt of the problem the previous day. Since I’m a very expressive and noisy person, it was apparent that my absence was felt.

When my wife left for the service that is when Satan buffeted me and the real battle with diarrhoea started. I would not last five minutes before racing back to the toilet. This went on for about six hours continuously.

This kind of diarrhoea was unusual. I later noticed that the appearance and smell of stool changed. There was now a very bad stench of non-stop black stool. I lost strength and my anal area was burning. I started feeling weak and drowsy.

I lay back on my bed and started asking God to have mercy on me. I remember praying as if I was dying as the situation proved helpless. I prayed for so many things including many people I knew and family members. I asked God to have mercy on them. I also asked Him to forgive me for the things I had not done right and for the people I had not helped in my walk with God to witness my faith.

Then between 1 and 2 PM in the afternoon, something happened to me (before this I had desired for Brother John Mark to come pray for me as he was scheduled to pray for people with different needs). I heard some faint voices and laughter approaching my gate and I knew it was brothers coming over to see me during the lunch break. My heart suddenly leapt for joy. As soon as I heard the voice of Brother John Mark, I felt a thing run away (literally running away!) from my stomach through my anal area. Immediately my problem left me and I knew I was healed. This happened just before the brothers entered the house.

After entering the house brother John Mark offered a simple prayer. I told him that I would accompany the brothers to church after that. After I said that, Brother John Mark told me that I had done a good thing to obey God’s voice by not staying in bed after the prayer. Now you know that when you have severe diarrhoea, the public is one place you don’t want to hang around. Thoughts started flooding my mind and I asked myself if I knew what I was doing but my heart was too overwhelmed with joy to entertain that kind of reasoning. I went on to attend the second service and to my surprise I didn’t have the problem again. I started thinking that maybe it would start in the evening but it didn’t. I remember Brother John Mark looking at me after the service and assuring me that the problem was over and that it would never trouble me again.

On the way home I was carrying my wife’s bags and one of our twin boys in my hands. Brothers John Mark and Andrew Phiri looked at me from brother Andrew’s car, and brother John Mark jokingly said. “Look at how this man is confidently and energetically carrying bags, who would know he had diarrhoea a while ago?” I could not hold back my laughter.

The Lord did a miracle that day. But all this was on the basis of my faith, I had confidence in the gift God had put in brother John Mark. I believe he can do it for you. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb 11:6).

|| Read about the Call and Ministry of John Mark Louse here.

Approaching Holy Scripture…

“For the Bible, like the great God Himself, is not to be approached with chatter and clatter and bustle, a la modern ‘Introductions’, Bible Dictionaries, or Cyclopedias Biblical; but with contrite spirit, bruised heart, and prostrate form; but above all with shoes off the feet, rather than shod with the boots of modern ‘criticism’ of patent leather, and high heeled, and creaking at that”  

Ivan Panin

Past the boundary of Time

Announcing new book

“…as we went past the boundary of Space and Time, the cool dew on the surface of our aircraft evaporated, with it our  adjectives, nouns,  verbs, and the entire language we would use to describe the Timeless dimension! We are only left with a faint memory of words that we now want to try to describe the indescribable” – I am hoping to be done with this new book (Mystery of His Will) this month or in January. I am scheduled to be in India soon and I hope this subject will uplift us and inspire us into a deeper walk with God.

A heavenly people on Earth

Let us be clear that the Body of Christ is not something remote and unreal, to be expressed only in heavenly terms. It is very present and practical, finding the real test of our conduct in our relations with others. For while it is true we are a heavenly people, it is no use just to talk of a distant heaven.Unless we bring heavenliness into our dwellings and offices, our shops and kitchens, and practice it there, it will be without meaning…We may be surprised, for I fear many of us who say we are seated in the heavenlies in Christ display a very questionable walk in our homes” – Watchman Nee in Sit, Walk, and Stand.