I know the Kingdom of God is at hand. But I know
also that the Kingdom came when John proclaimed it, and the Lord Jesus
continued to proclaim it, and to manifest it in the earth when He was here.
And that when He rose again and ascended into the heavens, He was enthroned
with all the power and glory of the Kingdom of God—which is really a priestly
ministry, forever nullifying all former sacrifices and offerings and priestly
activities after the order of Levi. For it is very clear in the book of
Hebrews, which we might call the book of Better Things, that our Lord
is now on the throne that was promised to David, "a High Priest for ever after
the order of Melchizedek". He will reign on His throne until all enemies
are subdued under His feet. This Kingdom was planted in the earth when the
Seed was faithful to go down in the ground and die—and it has been flourishing
ever since—appearing first as the blade, then as the ear—and is now taking
the form of the fruit, the full corn in the ear. The Kingdom did not come
with observation, even as our Lord told us. I know it seems absurd to
people, including many Christians, that God’s Kingdom is growing in the earth
now. But it must yet come to maturity in a harvest of many kernels of wheat
like the Seed that was planted. For this is the Law of the Seed—it must
bring forth after its kind. With our natural eyes we see corruption abounding
everywhere, in the church as well as in the world—and we fail to understand
that God has tolerated all these tares and noxious weeds, as they grow along
with the pure grain, until the time of harvest. Then He will deal with
the false, and the corrupt and the unclean—and will continue to purge the
church and the earth, until Righteousness shall prevail, in the earth
and in the heavens. For even the heavens are contaminated with evil
hosts of wickedness, evil principalities and powers—and God will have a church
that shall prevail against them.
The Branch of Christ
have been speaking about the Branch that Isaiah saw. . .the Branch of Christ,
in union with many other sons. Of Him it is said:
"His delight is in the fear of the LORD, And He
shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His
ears; But with righteousness He shall judge the poor. . ." (Isa. 11:3, 4 NKJV).
are inclined to say, "What else can I go by?" This is sufficient evidence in
the courts of men: "I saw it happen! I heard him say it!" But this is not
enough for God’s people in the church. . .because we are involved in spiritual
warfare, and we must see and discern with faculties that are beyond the
natural. We must see and understand by the Seven Spirits of God. Our minds
must be renewed by the Spirit of Jesus, as we abide in Him and He in us. Only
then can we judge righteously, and become that Testimony of Jesus in the
earth that God desires.
Jesus was invited to the home of
Simon for dinner. This Pharisee had no doubt heard Jesus speak, and had seen
His miracles, and he was impressed. But while at dinner a woman came in. .
.evidently looking for Jesus. She came over to Him and fell down at His feet,
washing His feet with her tears, and wiping them with her hair. Simon looked
on, and thought to himself: "Now I will be able to decide if this man is a
prophet or not, because I know that woman, and she is a sinner. . ." So he
waited to see if Jesus would prove Himself a prophet by condemning the sinner
who sat at His feet. But instead of that, the Prophet discerned Simon’s
accusing heart, as well as the contrite and broken heart of the woman at His
feet. Simon was just thinking those thoughts. . .he wasn’t saying them out
loud. But Jesus heard what he was thinking, and "answering said unto
him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee" (Lk. 7:40).
He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes.
O how we need that Spirit of Wisdom
and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Might, the Spirit of Knowledge
and of the Fear of the Lord, if we are going to judge righteous judgment
as Jesus intended! And that is why He is now enthroned in the heavens—that
the same Spirit that was in Him might be poured out upon His church. . .that
there might be a continuation of His anointed ministry here in the earth.
The Apostles Judged with Inner Light
not difficult for us to recognize that Jesus walked with this inner Light
abiding in His heart and mind. But it is thought to be unscriptural to teach
that God wants His people to walk in the same Light, that we might be as He
is in this world (see 1 Jn. 4:17). How else will He be glorified,
except it be the same glory that was on Jesus, resting on His people? "And the
glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as
We are one". Let us be assured of this: our Lord Jesus wants to share His
glory with His people—for it is this, and nothing short of this, that will
cause the world to know that "Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as
Thou hast loved Me" (Jn. 17:22, 23).
early church walked and shone in the world about them with this inner Light.
They were nothing in themselves. But Peter was able to say, "In the Name of
Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk". Stephen shone with that Light. .
.and they saw his face as the face of an angel. As the false leaders of
religion stoned Stephen to death, the heavens were opened: and those Seven
Lamps of Fire before the throne shone upon him, with the Light of the Lamb of
God. Saul of Tarsus saw this martyr fall at the feet of those who slew him,
and held their garments—indicating that he was giving his consent.
Relentlessly this zealous Pharisee pressed forward in his cause, which
was to wipe the church off the face of the earth. Then one day the same Light
that shone from the face of Stephen, burst forth upon this enraged man and
smote him to the ground. He saw the Light that was brighter than the noonday
sun. . .and so brilliant a Light that it blinded his eyes. But that Light
penetrated deeply into his heart and soul. . .and gave him a deep inner
vision, and he was born anew by the same Light that had blinded him.
Eventually the Light he carried made a mighty impact on nations who sat in
darkness. We are not going to make an impact on nations by telling them about
the Light that visited planet Earth and who is now up there in Heaven. We must
see the Light for ourselves, and walk in that Light, if we are going to sweep
away the darkness that overwhelms the world in which we live.
The Lamb Conquers the Wild Beast
"With righteousness shall He judge the poor, and
reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth
with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the
wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness
the girdle of His reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the
leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the
fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear
shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat
straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ (viper’s) den. They
shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be
full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (Isa. 11:5-9).
must be changed. . .our minds must be renewed in the Spirit. Jude said "What
they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves"
(Jude 10). Unless the man is enlightened by God’s Spirit, he will go on
resisting the Light of God, and perish in his own corruption. Paul gives a
detailed account of this beastly nature that exists in the hearts of men. (see
Rom. 3:10-18). "Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they
have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips. . ." (vs. 13). There
is nothing more venomous than a religious system that has gone into darkness,
and Christianity so called is no exception. One can hardly imagine the
atrocities that have been perpetrated in the name of God by leaders of the
apostate church—all the while thinking they were doing God a service. If
that’s the way they promote their religion, I’d far sooner die at their hands
than join them. Join a den of vipers, just to stay alive? No wonder there have
been so many martyrs in church history—and some of these drained the poison of
asps from the lips of their enemies, by saying: "Kill me if you wish, but I
will not deny my Lord, just to save my life". I recall the story of a young
man who cried out to his parents, when he feared his father or mother might
give way to their tormentors, and recant: "Don’t do it, mom and dad. . .don’t
deny your Lord for my sake. . .Stand true to Jesus. . .I couldn’t stand to
live with the thought that my dad and mother saved their lives by betraying
bleeding Lamb also has Seven Horns. . .and with those seven horns He
will conquer over all the mighty ravenous beasts and birds that walk the
earth, or fly the heavens. When the Lamb shines forth from a people in the
earth who follow Him—then will they begin to subdue the hate, and the anger,
and the malice of ferocious beasts that come to kill and scatter and destroy.
Then shall the wolf dwell with the lamb, because the Lamb has conquered the
wolf. Think of it! A Lamb is going to tame the lion. . .and all the other
wild beasts that abound in the hearts of men. But let us never forget how they
overcome: it is by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their
testimony, and because they loved not their lives unto the death.
the leopard shall lie down with the kid". The Lamb shall tame the leopard, and
remove his ugly claws. Those wicked men who would tear out the
hearts of lambs
and eat them, are subdued and conquered by the love and mercy of Jesus. . .and
become as docile and gentle as a young goat or sheep.
"And the calf and the young lion and the fatling
together; and a little child shall lead them". When the angel told John that
the Lion of Judah had overcome, and had been given authority to open the book
of God’s awesome judgments in the earth. . .he looked, and He saw "a Lamb as
it had been slain". All through the Book of Revelation, in 28 places, He is
seen always as the Lamb. We must emphasize that our victory over the ferocious
beast. . .out there in religion, or in the political and social world, or in
our own hearts. . .is in the Lamb of God, and those who take up their cross
and follow Him, and love not their lives unto the death. Saul of Tarsus, the
ravenous wolf of the tribe of Benjamin, went about to kill and to destroy
those who loved the Light. But he was blinded by that Light on the Damascus
Road, by the same Light that shone forth through Stephen. God tamed this
wolf, and gave him the heart of a lamb, and he too became a bleeding
lamb. Then God sent him as a flaming minister of the gospel of love, and
of truth, and of righteousness. He taught the people how to overcome God’s
way, as Jesus did: to overcome evil with good, to overcome sin with the blood
of Jesus and His righteousness, to overcome slander and rejection with mercy
and patience and longsuffering, to overcome hatred and bitterness, with
forgiveness and love. He is clothed with "the whole armor of God".
"Righteousness" is "the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of
his reins". He fights the beast wherever he goes, because the Light that was
in Stephen the martyr, is now in him. The poison of asps is no longer
under his lips. No longer does he tear the church apart with the claws of the
leopard, or the fangs of the lion. But he needs armor for his protection, as
he fights with beastly men. He needs to walk in truth and in righteousness,
when he is thrust into the ring to contend with "wild beasts at Ephesus". But
he carries "the sword of the Spirit" at his side, and he knows that sword is
mighty in God. Some Jews from the synagogue of Satan were so impressed
with Paul’s power, that they tried to copy it for themselves. . .to promote
their own perverted religion. But it backfired on them—the beasts in the demon
possessed man turned against the seven sons of Sceva, and "leaped on them, and
overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house
naked and wounded". This brought great fear on the people, "and the name of
the Lord Jesus was magnified". There was much demonic activity in Ephesus, and
Paul found himself contending with wild beasts, and God was working in
mighty operations of His Spirit. Those who believed began to realize
the source of their demonic activities, and came to the disciples of Jesus,
and confessed their evil practices. They wouldn’t dare sell their books to
others, knowing the bondage they had come out of. . .so they counted the
cost, and it was a very high price in their currency. Then they started a
fire "and brought their books together, and burned them before all men" (Acts
We scarcely hear of happenings like this in our
day, because the church in most cases has been normalized by the infiltration
of worldly and senseless activities. But God has every provision for us, to
make us to be the shining and glorious church that He has in mind—if we too
are ready to count the cost, and burn our useless, and sometimes
demonic books and programs.
The Creation Groans for
We are told that "the earnest
expectation of the creature (creation) waiteth for the manifestation of the
sons of God". Paul tells us that the creation was "made subject to
vanity". . . not of its own will. But when man who was put in charge of planet
earth, lost his fear of God—God subjected the rest of creation to vanity. Yet
He did so in hope. For He purposed that this defiled creation would arise in
new splendor, and into "the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom.
8:19-21). Creation does not know why it is groaning, or if there is any hope.
But God knows why, and He tells us why: it is because they have hope of
the unveiling of the sons of God. . .which is
nothing less than the Son of God Himself being revealed and shining forth in
His many brethren. And it is for this
unveiling that creation is groaning and travailing. For these sons will
radiate the glory of the Son, not their own glory. Their glory must come to
ashes, that the Son alone might be glorified in them. They must become weak
and foolish in the eyes of the world and in their own eyes. . .that the wisdom
of the cross might shine forth in the Lamb that was slain.
It was not the fault of the lower creation that
the animals became wild and fierce, and the land of fruitfulness became dry,
and barren, and desolate—it was man’s fault. The animals only tear and rend
their prey because man lost his fear and respect for God, and in so doing his
authority over the animal world and over nature, has been greatly eroded.
many places of scripture we see how the lower creation became wasted and
barren when God’s people lost their fear of God. In Haggai’s time when the
people forsook the welfare of the House of God, to indulge in their own
pursuits—God said to them: "I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the
mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and
upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and
upon all the labor of the hands" (Hag. 1:11). The living creatures in the air,
and in the seas, and in the land—are being harassed with the plagues of the
curse that started when man sinned against God. "Therefore shall the land
mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of
the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea the fishes of the sea also shall
be taken away" (Hos. 4:3). All this is happening now, and men of science fear
for the survival of the forests, and the rivers and lakes, and the fowl of the
heaven, and the beasts of the earth, and of his own existence on this planet.
And why is it happening? "Because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge
of God in the land" (vs. 1). And to make the irony of it all the more
severe—many of these men and women who cry out and scheme and push their
agendas to save planet earth—very often "there is no fear of God before their
encouraging to know that when there is a turning back to God—God is faithful
to heal the land which He had left desolate—and He promises: "Behold, I will
send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith" (Joel
2:19) And to the beasts, He says: "Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for
the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the
fig tree and the vine do yield their strength" (Joel 2:22).
Creation fears Man—When Man fears His Creator
the hearts of men are changed, so are the hearts of the wild beasts. And so
are the responses of the vegetable world about us. We see a touch of this from
time to time—as a foretaste I believe, of the glory of the Kingdom that is yet
to be revealed, when the fear of God returns to God’s people, and His sons
begin to radiate His glory in the earth.
years ago I read this story about Sadhu Sundar Singh, a man of India who
ministered in the early part of the last century. One evening he was sitting
outside on a log, near the mission home where he was staying—and the people
inside suddenly saw something that startled them. It was getting dark, and a
leopard was climbing up the hillside, and coming toward the Sadhu who was
sitting there enjoying the evening air. They saw the leopard walk over to him,
and the Sadhu reached out his hand and gently stroked his fur. Why should wild
beasts fear a man such as this, who was walking in the fear of his Creator—and
heard William Branham tell a story something like that. When he was a park
warden he had occasion to go into a certain wilderness area. He left his truck
and walked some distance, then suddenly he saw this wild bull charging him.
The owners had transferred the bull to this wilderness area because he was a
valuable animal—but he was a killer. He reached for his gun. . .but he had
left it in the truck. Then he said something very unusual happened.
Immediately there came over him a tremendous wave of the love of God for that
poor creature—not a
prophetic word of power, but a surging of God’s love for
this ignorant beast. Then he turned to the bull and apologized: "I am sorry
for having disturbed you this way—now go and lie down". We call situations
like this miraculous. . .because they are infrequent. But when man returns to
God from disobedience and rebellion, the authority that he once had over the
planet will return. Our Lord Jesus already has this power and authority, and
reigns as a conquering Lamb on the throne. And He will share His
dominion with His many brethren, in the day of His power.
Perhaps many who read these words are asking,
When will God manifest His sons in this manner? But the real question is not
WHEN it will happen—but HOW must we prepare our hearts for it to
happen? How senseless it would be if we could tame the wild animals that sneak
around our home—and have no power to conquer the wild beasts in our own
natures, or subdue the beastly hearts of men that fight against the Lamb and
His people? But this we must know: Our Lord Jesus when He walked on planet
earth, was Lord of all creation; yet it was in the will of God that He assumed
garments of flesh and humiliation—that He might live and die in our midst as a
sacrificial Lamb. Yet even in the days of His mortality, there rested upon Him
the full glory of the Father. On more than one occasion this Lamb tamed the
wild beasts in the hearts of men—and there would certainly have been no
problem in taming wild animals, if God had any purpose in that. He spoke to
wind and wave and sea, and walked on water, and turned water into wine, and
multiplied loaves and fishes, and tamed the wild unruly minds of men who were
bound with demonic spirits. In the days of His mortality He was manifested as
God’s Son—in humility, and meekness, and in power.
The Resurrection and the Life—Revealed in
Why should it be any different
with others whom He is disciplining as sons of God, and preparing them
for glory? Even here in our humanity God is pleased to manifest His sons with
power and authority in the earth—for God is greatly glorified in revealing His
power and glory in garments of mortality. The very same resurrection Life
that raised Jesus from the dead, abode within Him in the days of His humanity.
He was the Resurrection and the Life while He walked on earth. He had power
over death, even in the days of His own mortality. So it was with the
apostles—before they had finished their Testimony in the earth. Paul
discovered that the more he suffered in his mortality, the more did he partake
the Resurrection Life of Jesus.
"Always bearing about in the body the dying of
the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our
body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that
the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh."
Certainly in this body we groan, as the apostle said—and it is because
we dwell in mortality, and we look for a release from mortality. But while we
wait for that, God is pleased to manifest the Resurrection Life of Jesus, here
in our mortal flesh. Therefore we ought not to be chafing in our spirit
for a quick exit from our state of mortality. Do we not desire to partake of
the full measure of the suffering of Christ, in this time of our
mortality—that in these sufferings we might know the manifestation of the
Life of Jesus in our mortal flesh? And do we not realize that it is only
in this life that we may suffer with the sufferings of the Lord Jesus? I am
not speaking of the diseases of sin that are rampant in the human family. .
.for these are the sufferings of Adam’s transgression; and because of the work
of redemption the Last Adam has provided healing for all of these diseases.
And the reason we see so very little of divine health, is because of the
broken cisterns that we keep digging, rather than returning to the Fountain of
Life that Jesus said would flow from one who is filled with the Spirit. But
the sufferings of Jesus are different. The sufferings of Jesus are the
sufferings of a true disciple, who follows the Lamb wherever He may lead. They
are the sufferings of those who have the Testimony of Jesus, who love not
their lives unto death, as they follow the Lamb. It is only in this life of
our mortality that we are able to assume our share of the sufferings of
Christ. May God give us needed grace to take up our cross now, for it is in
suffering with Him that we may also be glorified with Him—and there will be no
cross to bear on resurrection morning.
we look for the full manifestation of Christ in His church, and the
manifestation of the sons of God must begin in these days of our
mortality, as it was with Jesus. Then, having partaken of our share of
suffering for Christ, and with Christ—may we have the confidence to say
with the apostles and with Jesus: We have finished the work that God gave
us to do in the earth. Be it little or great—it is faithfulness that He
requires. And we can be assured that God judges according to quality, and not
according to quantity. For it will be the fire of God in the Day of Christ
that will "try every man’s work of what sort it is", not how much
it is (1 Cor. 3:13).
Born Anew by the Father of Lights
are thankful for every good and perfect gift that we receive from
the Father. . .and for the various ministrations of wisdom, and knowledge,
and truth, and faith, and healing—and all the other gifts, that He has
bestowed upon us in the body of Christ. But have we noticed that the gifts
proceed from the Father of Lights (Jas. 1:17)? And if the Father of
Lights is our Father—then we are the children of the Light. And He has
given us these wonderful gifts—that we might be strengthened, edified and
enlightened to walk in His way.
He does not want us to become so preoccupied with the gifts, that we fail to
become acquainted with the Father who gave them. For the Light that shines
from the gifts tells me that His purpose in giving us these gifts, is to cause
us to grow and mature together in the unity of the faith, and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, until we come to perfect love, even unto the
stature of the fullness of Christ. (Eph. 4:13-16).
so as we hear and see the Light that emanates from the gifts—we follow the
rays upward and higher, until one day we find ourselves totally occupied with
the Source of the Light, and the Giver of the gifts—as we behold "the Light
of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor.
4:6). Then we understand why He gave us the gifts—to cause us to turn our eyes
toward the Father of Lights, and to understand that he has birthed us into
Life and Light, so as to remove from our hearts and minds all the shades of
sin and darkness.
But for a season He has left us in a world of
darkness, because Jesus the Light of the world, is no longer here. He now
dwells "in the Light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen,
nor can see" (1 Tim. 6:16). He is now the Light and Glory of Heaven. And
as our High Priest on the throne He is pouring streams of Light upon us,
that we might shine as lights in the world, "blameless and harmless,
the sons of God without blemish, in the midst of a crooked and perverse
nation" (Phil. 2:15). Heaven is already full of Light, for Jesus is
there—and He doesn’t take us there to birth us into Light. He wants us to walk
in Light here, that those who dwell in darkness here, might see
the Light here.
firstborn Son is Life, and that Life is the Light of men. And the other
sons that He is bringing forth must be conformed to His image, and
shine with the same Light that is in Jesus. He is the Father’s Firstborn Son,
and walked in pure Light while He was here on earth. Then having accomplished
our redemption on earth, He went back to the Father—that from the throne of
Light and Glory He might beget a whole family of sons and daughters in the
earth—whom He calls the children of Light, and the children of the day
(1 Thess. 5:5). And He will continue to shine upon us with His glory. .
.until we too are filled with His Light, having no part dark (Lk.
until the whole earth is "full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters
cover the sea" (Isa. 11:9).