GOD'S MASTER PLAN SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH
From Calvary until now
The roots of the Christian Church reach back to the Patriarch Abraham, father of the Jewish Nation. He too lived under a dispensation of Grace that was in place long before the Levitical Law was given and like the Christian Church, he "looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (Heb 11:10). It is
therefore significant, that Abraham found favor with God simply because he had faith in God (Gen 15.6). Many centuries later, Jesus Christ confirmed the same prerequisite of faith when He declared that "if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8:24) and the Apostle Paul stated plainly that "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
Three Works of Grace
In the New Testament, we further discover that after a man has been justified from sin by believing in Christ's atonement, God promised to sanctify (cleanse) him “with the washing of water by the Word" (Ephesians 5:26) until in obedience to Acts 2:38, he is "baptized … in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." He then inherits the promise of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, by which means, a portion of Christ's Spirit comes to dwell within his very own being by a literal personal experience, because the promise of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, was made to "as many as the Lord our God shall call." (Acts 2:39).
We see then three stages of Christian growth, namely; Justification by faith, Sanctification (cleansing and renewal) and the Baptism of the Holy Ghost (the indwelling of the Holy Ghost to guide and empower a believer). These are often referred to as the 'Three Works of Grace.'
The Christian Church was born with the outpouring of the Holy Ghost and accompanied by great power on the Day of Pentecost but this blessing was rejected by the majority of the Jews, and the Gospel soon turned to the Gentiles (non Jews) under the Apostle Paul's ministry. However, despite it's powerful beginning, this same Gentile Church would gradually decline and experience a long period of spiritual darkness wherein the original empowering Gospel truths would be almost completely lost during the period from about 600 to 1500 AD.
History shows us that following this period of spiritual decay, a long slow process was begun through the early 'Reformers' that would finally result in the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and the Gifts of the Spirit being restored to the Gentile Christian Church, along with the same unadulterated Gospel Truths that were known to the early Church. This in turn would prepare a people for Christ's return; an overall experience that may be likened to a 'death, burial and resurrection' in a manner that paralleled the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. The objective of this restoration as indicated above, would be to ultimately empower an elect people (sometimes referred to as the 'Wise Virgins' or 'Christ's Bride') and transform them into Christ's very likeness so they can be ready for His return.
We know that before Christ's crucifixion, the Gentiles had no call on Him because He was sent to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel," (Mat 15.24). However, when certain Greek citizens (i.e., Gentiles) desired to meet Him as recorded in St John 12:20-24, He did not turn them away, but responded to them by linking His impending death, burial and resurrection to the future 'death, burial and resurrection' of the Gentile Church that we have just discussed. This was his reply;
"Verily, verily I say unto you, except a 'corn of wheat' fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth 'much fruit'.
He then went on to state in John 12:32, that if He was 'lifted up' (i.e., lifted up upon a tree at His crucifixion), He would "draw all men to Him".
Christ's referral to the 'corn of wheat' that was to 'fall into the ground and die', spoke of His body that was soon to be put to death by crucifixion and in this context, it becomes clear that the 'bringing forth of much fruit' referred to when He later began to, "draw all men to Himself' in the centuries that followed His resurrection. Although it was not then time for Him to reveal Himself to the Gentiles, He indicated in His answer to their question, that they would 'see' Him in the Ages ahead, as He drew His children from among the Gentiles and literally fulfilled the words that He had just spoken.
The analogy of the corn of wheat that must first be planted and die before it can bring forth new grain, was to hold true for both Christ and His Church. Christ's own ministry had begun in power, only to be rejected and end in His death, burial and glorious resurrection. Similarly, the Gentile Church would also begin in power under the leadership of the Holy Ghost, until this Divine leadership was finally deposed by the leadership of men in the form of organised religion. In consequence to Christ’s words, the Church steadily declined until it too experienced a spiritual 'death' and virtual 'burial', i.e., a long period of spiritual poverty and darkness but few have perceived that God then began to restore what the true Church had lost after the same manner and order of the work that accompanies personal salvation: namely the restoration of the truths of Justification, Sanctification and the Baptism of the Holy Ghost which will culminate in Christ's triumphant return.
Beginnings of the Restoration by Grace through faith
The restoration started in the Sixteenth Century when Martin Luther began to proclaim his timeless Message of 'Justification' or the First Work of Grace; i.e., that God accepted a man on the basis of his faith in Christ's atoning work on the Cross without consideration of his personal good works. This truth had been lost to the Church which had become enslaved and disempowered by the man made doctrine and accompanying uncertainty that insisted that our salvation was based on the quality and quantity of our own good works in addition to our faith in Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. If this were true, it would but establish that Christ had died in vain. Martin Luther boldly declared that, "The just shall live by faith," and through his preaching, the Holy Ghost re-established this foundational truth in the lives of those called of God in Luther's generation.
The restoration (or 'Reformation' as it is known) was under way, but Christendom had to wait nearly two hundred more years before the next great truth of restoration and deliverance would break upon men's hearts. John Wesley would build on Luther's foundational doctrine of Justification by Faith and start a remarkable revival by proclaiming the doctrine of Sanctification, or the Second Work of Grace. He declared that if God had done a work in a man's soul, then He would also renew the man's heart and indeed his very nature, so that the life that he then lived would fully reflect his professed faith and allow him to hold a good conscience before God. Through the unveiling of His Word, God was slowly restoring believers to their rightful place as heirs to all His promises and the legacy of Wesley's revival remains with us yet today.
These early 'reformers' however did not live long enough to usher in the Third Work of Grace to the Church (the Baptism of the Holy Ghost) which would not unfold until the beginning of the 20th Century.
The Recent Past
A spiritual hunger in the hearts of His people has always been the prerequisite for any God given revival and we can observe that the most significant movement in Christendom since the days of the Apostles up until the beginning of the Twentieth Century, came after some 20 years of an increasing yearning amongst believers who wanted to experience more of the things of God. This hunger can be traced across USA and on to England and to as far back as 1885. In particular a Scotsman, John Alexander Dowie, who was greatly used of God during this period to bring Divine healing to America and by the turn of the century, there were many to respond to his invitation to settle in his ‘Zion City’ near Chicago, Illinois. He intended this new city to be a model Christian community; a kind of 'heaven on earth'. Although Alexander Dowie died in 1907, he lived long enough to see God Himself beginning to answer the cries of the hungry and expectant hearts, not with the promise of an earthly city, but with another outpouring and empowerment of the Holy Ghost as had happened some 1900 years earlier on the Day of Pentecost.
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost (more particularly the restoration of the Gifts of the Spirit to the Church) began to flow in earnest at Azusa Street in Los Angeles in April 1906 where the outpouring resulted in meetings that went on continuously for weeks, was accompanied by great conviction of sin upon the people and the restoration of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, all in a manner that had not been experienced since the time of the Apostles. The Divine healing ministry that arose from this revival spread quickly and many thousands of souls were saved, healed and filled with the Holy Ghost.
God Clears the Gospel Stage
This "Pentecostal" movement that began at Azusa Street, blossomed in many countries and a number of men and women were highly influential in it's growth including Smith Wigglesworth, John G. Lake, Fred F. Bosworth, Charles S. Price, Raymond T. Richey and Aimee Semple McPherson. These leading ministries, although hampered by World War I and then the Great Depression, nevertheless fanned the flame that had wondrously burst alight at Azusa Street.
As the years passed, time took it's toll and the first of the leaders to depart was John Lake who died in 1935. By the 1940's, Raymond T Richey was conducting only sporadic campaigns and Aimee McPherson died in 1944. When Wigglesworth and Price died within days of each other in 1947, of all the original major ministries, only Fred Francis Bosworth remained active. This venerable gentleman had held large and successful Divine healing revivals across the USA during the first half of the 20th Century but as 1947 drew near, the decline that
accompanies advancing age found him in what proved to be premature retirement. Remarkably, God had cleared the gospel stage of all the major ministries that had carried His Word forward from Azusa Street. They had however, prepared the way for something far greater that would usher in the final curtain call before the Gospel returns to the Jews.
1947 - The Healing Revival erupts upon the world
For three decades and far from the public eye, God had been preparing an unsophisticated Kentucky hillbilly for a work that would be without precedent since the time of Christ Himself. By 1946 this young man was pastor of a small Church in Jeffersonville IN. He was an uneducated, poor and unlikely minister of Christ, but in his humility, he was to spearhead a healing revival that would literally explode onto the world stage and dwarf anything achieved by his predecessors or that would ever be done again. The miracles accompanying the revival would surpass all that had come before in proliferation, if not in wonderment. Cripples would walk and the blind would see, missing limbs would grow, even instantly in some cases to become normal again, the dead would be raised and the ministry would inspire and give rise to the other notable evangelists of the period such as Oral Roberts, Tommy L Osborn, O L Jaggers, Gayle Jackson, Jack Coe and others.
A prophet to the Gentiles
Historically, the prophets that can be considered major in Biblical terms, have all been mentioned within the pages of the Bible down until St Paul. By any Biblical yardstick, William Branham's Ministry was major and literally reshaped Christianity. It would be extraordinary therefore if we could find no mention of it in Scripture.
Alexander Dowie had perceived that Jesus had spoken of a future prophetic ministry to be sent to "restore all things" (Mat 17:11). Indeed, Jesus had made this statement before the gospel had been rejected by the Jews and before the Holy Ghost had turned to the Gentiles. The promise of restoration therefore did not apply to the Jews, and was made long before the Gentiles had time enough to actually lose any truth that might later need to be restored. In the next breath, He told His generation that John the Baptist (the first forerunner) had "come already and they knew him not." (Mat.17:12).
Could history have repeated? Are we as enlightened as was Alexander Dowie or like those in Palestine, might we have missed the day of our visitation?
Had you lived then, would you have realized that by the time John the Baptist was beheaded, he had already fulfilled Luke 3:5 which told that through his ministry, "Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth."? Would you have known what this meant and what to look for or if not, is it also possible that you have also missed the forerunner of Christ's Second Coming?
The Bride of Christ makes herself ready
William Branham has taken his place in history but even now, few perceive the scriptures, shadows and types that speak so clearly and extensively of his end time prophetic Ministry. These scriptures have been fulfilled to the letter and plainly tell us that after his death, the Bride of Christ (the wise virgins) would embark on a journey through a spiritual wilderness, wherein church activities would continue, but few would attain to a victorious life in the Holy Ghost and live in accordance with His true Word. William Branham was commanded to lay up spiritual food in 'the Storehouse' to sustain the Bride of Christ on the wilderness journey while she prepared herself to meet her Lord. That spiritual food is contained within the recorded sermon Messages that are all presented in the William Branham Storehouse Collection.
The Coming Revival
William Branham left us many scriptural promises of a glorious revival that only the Bride of Christ would experience just as Christ's return draws near. It will culminate with a power that will take the Bride in the rapture. This vital knowledge and timeless spiritual counsel is for all Christian believers who are earnest in their desire to walk closer with Christ, coming as it does from the man who spearheaded the Divine Healing revival of the late 1940's and early 1950's and who manifested the love, humility and power of Christ as never before since the Master Himself walked the shores of Galilee. Would it not be prudent to consider and take heed of what he said?
The Evidence of our Visitation
The William Branham Storehouse Collection sets out in comprehensive detail, the undeniable, tangible and Biblical first hand evidence that God has indeed sent a major prophet to the Gentile Christian Church, mighty in both word and deed. The contents of the Collection detail those relevant scriptures that declare that the ministry would come in our day but be rejected or ignored by the majority. It also details why the world must now stagger on into ever increasing darkness and ultimately to a time of trouble such as there never was since there has been a nation.
Are you ready for Christ's return?
God did not send us the phenomenon that was William Branham's ministry to no purpose. What times are we living in? Has our spiritual eyesight become so filmed over that we are unaware of the urgency to make ready for Christ's return?
The answers to these vitally important questions and much more are waiting for you to explore within the William Branham Storehouse Collection series of DVD's.
May God bless you abundantly,