William Marrion Branham
This article is an excerpt from a book entitled An Exposition Of The Seven Church Ages...
I doubt very much if any age truly knew the messenger that God had sent unto it, except in the first age where Paul was the messenger. And even in that age many did not recognize him for what he was.
Now the age in which we are living is going to be a very short one. Events are going to transpire very rapidly. So the messenger to this Laodicean Age has to be here now, though perhaps we don’t know him as yet. But there will surely have to be a time that he becomes known. Now I can prove that because we have Scripture that describes his ministry.
First of all, that messenger is going to be a prophet. He will have the office of a prophet. He will have the prophetic ministry. It will be based solidly on the Word because when he prophesies or has a vision, it will always be "Word oriented" and it will ALWAYS come to pass. He will be vindicated as a prophet because of his accuracy. The proof that he is a prophet is found in Revelation 10:7, "But in the days of the voice of the seventh messenger when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished as He hath declared unto His servants, the prophets." Now this person, who in this verse is called an "angel" in the King James version is NOT an heavenly being. The sixth trumpeting angel, who is an heavenly being, is in Revelation 9:13, and the seventh of like order is in Revelation 11:15. This one here in Revelation 10:7 is the seventh-age messenger and it is a man, and he is to bring a message from God, and his message and ministry is going to finish the mystery of God as declared to His servants, the prophets. God is going to treat this last messenger as a prophet BECAUSE HE IS A PROPHET. That is what Paul was in the first age, and the last age has one, too. Amos 3:6-7, "Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it? Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secrets unto His servants, the prophets."
It was in the end-time period that the seven thunders of Jesus came forth. Revelation 10:3-4, "And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not." What was in those thunders no one knows. But we need to know. And it will take a prophet to get the revelation because God has no other way of bringing out His Scriptural revelations except by a prophet. The Word always came by a prophet and always will. That this is the law of God is evident by even a casual search of Scripture. The unchanging God with unchanging ways invariably sent His prophet in every age where the people had strayed from Divine order. With both the theologians and the people having departed from the Word, God always sent His servant to these people (but apart from the theologians) in order to correct false teaching and lead the people back to God.
So we see a seventh-age messenger coming, and he is a prophet.
Not only do we see this messenger coming here in Revelation 10:7, but we find that the Word speaks of Elijah coming before Jesus returns. In Matthew 17:10, "And His disciples asked Him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?" And Jesus said, "Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things." Before the coming of our Lord, Elijah must come back for a work of restoration in the church. This is what Malachi 4:5 says, "Behold I send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." There is absolutely no doubt that Elijah must return before the coming of Jesus. He has a specific work to accomplish. That work is the part of Malachi 4:6 that says "he will turn the hearts of the children to their fathers." The reason that we know this is his specific work to do at that time is because he has already accomplished the part that says "he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children," when the Elijah ministry was here in John the Baptist. Luke 1:17, "And he shall go before Him in the Spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the Just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." In the ministry of John the "hearts of the fathers were turned to the children." We know that because Jesus said so. But it does not say that the hearts of the children were turned to the fathers. That is yet to take place. The hearts of the last-day children will be turned back to the Pentecostal fathers. John got the fathers ready for Jesus to welcome the children into the fold. Now this prophet upon whom the Spirit of Elijah falls will prepare the children to welcome back Jesus.
Jesus called John the Baptist, Elijah. Matthew 17:12, "But I say unto you that Elijah is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him what they listed." The reason that he called John Elijah, was because the same Spirit that was upon Elijah had come back upon John, even as that Spirit had come back upon Elisha after the reign of King Ahab. Now once again that Spirit will come back upon another man just before Jesus comes. He will be a prophet. He will be vindicated as such by God. Since Jesus, Himself, in the flesh won’t be here to vindicate him, (as He did John) it will be done by the Holy Spirit so that this prophet’s ministry will be attended by great and wonderful manifestation. As a prophet, every revelation will be vindicated, for every revelation will come to pass. Wonderful acts of power will be performed at his commands in faith. Then will be brought forth the message that God has given him in the Word to turn the people back to truth and the true power of God. Some will listen, but the majority will run true to form and reject him.
Since this prophet messenger of Revelation 10:7 will be the same as Malachi 4:5-6 he will be naturally like Elijah and John. Both were men set apart from the accepted religious schools of their day. Both were men of the wilderness. Both acted only when they had "Thus saith the Lord," straight from God by revelation. Both lashed out against the religious orders and leaders of their day. But not only was that so, they lashed out against all who were corrupt or would corrupt others. And notice, both prophesied much against immoral women and their ways. Elijah cried out against Jezebel, and John rebuked Herodias, Philip’s wife.
Though he will not be popular, he will be vindicated by God. As Jesus authenticated John, and the Holy Ghost authenticated Jesus, we can well expect this man will be first of all authenticated by the Spirit working in his life in acts of power that are indisputable and found nowhere else; and Jesus Himself, in returning, will authenticate him, even as He authenticated John. John witnessed that Jesus was coming, --- and so will this man, like John, witness that Jesus is coming. And the very return of Christ will prove that this man indeed was the forerunner of His second coming. This is the final evidence that this indeed is the prophet of Malachi 4, for the end of the Gentile period will be Jesus, Himself, appearing. Then it will be too late for those who have rejected him.
In order to further clarify our presentation of this last- day prophet, let us particularly note that the prophet of Matthew 11:12, was John the Baptist, who was the one foretold in Malachi 3:1, "Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me; and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant, Whom ye delight in; behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts." Matthew 11:1-12, "And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding His twelve disciples, He departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto Him, Art thou He That should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me. And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written. Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." This has already taken place. This has happened. It is over. But note now in Malachi 4:1-6, "For behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear My Name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts. Remember ye the law of Moses My servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." See, immediately after the coming of THIS Elijah, the earth will be cleansed by fire and the wicked burned to ashes. Of course, this did NOT happen at the time of John (the Elijah for his day). The Spirit of God that prophesied the coming of the messenger in Malachi 3:1 (John) was but reiterating His previous prophetic statement of Isaiah 40:3 made at least three centuries previously. "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." Now John, by the Holy Ghost, voiced both Isaiah and Malachi in Matthew 3:3, "For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight." So we can well see from these Scriptures that the prophet in Malachi 3, who was John, was NOT the prophet of Malachi 4, though indeed, both John and this last-day prophet have upon them the same Spirit Which was upon Elijah.
Now this messenger of Malachi 4 and Revelation 10:7 is going to do two things. One: According to Malachi 4 he will turn the hearts of the children to the fathers. Two: He will reveal the mysteries of the seven thunders in Revelation 10 which are the revelations contained in the seven seals. It will be these Divinely revealed "mystery-truths" that literally turn the hearts of the children to the Pentecostal fathers. Exactly so.
But consider this also. This prophet-messenger will be in his nature and manners as were Elijah and John. The people of this prophet-messenger’s day will be as they were in Ahab’s day, and in John’s. And since it is "ONLY THE CHILDREN" whose hearts will be turned, it is only the children who will listen. In the days of Ahab only seven thousand true seed Israelites were found. In the days of John there were also very few. The masses in both ages were in the fornication of idolatry.
I want to make one more comparison between the Laodicean prophet-messenger and John, the prophet-messenger who preceded Jesus’ first coming. The people in John’s day mistook him for the Messiah. John 1:19-20, "And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ." Now this last-day prophet-messenger will have such power before the Lord that there will be those who mistake him for the Lord Jesus. (There will be a spirit in the world at the end time that will seduce some and make them believe this. Matthew 24:23-26, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the desert; go not forth; behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not.") But don’t you believe it. He is not Jesus Christ. He is not the Son of God. HE IS ONE OF THE BRETHREN, A PROPHET, A MESSENGER, A SERVANT OF GOD. He needs no greater honor bestowed upon him than that which John received when he was the voice that cried, "I am not He, BUT HE IS COMING AFTER ME."
Before we close this section on the messenger of the Laodicean Age, we must seriously consider these two thoughts. First, this age will have ONE Prophet-Messenger. Revelation 10:7, says, "When he (singular) shall begin to sound." There has never been an age where God gave His people two major prophets at one time. He gave Enoch (alone); He gave Noah (alone); He gave Moses (he alone had the Word though others prophesied); John the Baptist came ALONE. Now in this last day there is to be a PROPHET (not a prophetess --- though in this age there are more women purporting to give God’s revelation than men), and the infallible Word says that he (the prophet) will reveal the mysteries to the end-time people, and turn the hearts of the children back to the fathers. There are those who say that God’s people are going to come together through a collective revelation. I challenge that statement. It is a bald, invalid assumption in the face of Revelation 10:7. Now I do not deny that people will prophesy in this last age and their ministries can and will be correct. I do not deny that there will be prophets even as in the days of Paul when there was "one Agabus a prophet who prophesied of a famine." I agree that is so. BUT I DENY UPON THE INFALLIBLE EVIDENCE OF THE WORD THAT THERE IS MORE THAN ONE MAJOR PROPHET-MESSENGER WHO WILL REVEAL THE MYSTERIES AS CONTAINED IN THE WORD, AND WHO HAS THE MINISTRY TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE CHILDREN TO THE FATHERS. "Thus saith the Lord" by His unfailing Word stands, and shall stand and be vindicated. There is one prophet-messenger to this age. On the basis of human behavior alone, anyone knows that where there are many people there is even divided opinion on lesser points of a major doctrine which they all hold together. Who then will have the power of infallibility which is to be restored in this last age, for this last age is going to go back to manifesting the Pure Word Bride? That means we will have the Word once again as it was perfectly given, and perfectly understood in the days of Paul. I will tell you who will have it. It will be a prophet as thoroughly vindicated, or even more thoroughly vindicated than was any prophet in all the ages from Enoch to this day, because this man will of necessity have the capstone prophetic ministry, and God will shew him forth. He won’t need to speak for himself, God will speak for him by the voice of the sign. Amen.
The second thought that must be impressed on our hearts is that the seven church ages started out with the antichrist spirit as well as the Holy Spirit Who is to be blessed forever. I John 4:1, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." Did you notice it? The antichrist spirit is identified with false prophets. The ages came in with false prophets and they will go out with false prophets. Now of course there is going to be a REAL FALSE PROPHET in the grand sense of that man mentioned in the Revelation. But as of now before his revelation there are to appear many false prophets. Matthew 24:23-26, "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the desert; go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not." These false prophets are earmarked for us in various other Scriptures such as the following. II Peter 2:1-2, "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord That bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." II Timothy 4:3-4, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." I Timothy 4:1, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." Now in every case you will notice that a false prophet is one who is outside the Word. Just as we showed you that ‘antichrist’ means ‘anti-Word’ so these false prophets come perverting the Word, giving it a meaning that fits their own devilish ends. Have you ever noticed how the people who lead others astray bind them closely to themselves by fear? They say that if the people don’t do what they say, or if they leave, then destruction will follow. They are false prophets, for a true prophet will always lead one to the Word and bind the people to Jesus Christ and he won’t tell the people to fear him or what he says, but to fear what the Word says. Notice how these people, like Judas, are out for money. They get you to sell all you have and give it to them and their schemes. They spend more time on offerings than the Word. Those who attempt to operate gifts will make use of a gift which has a margin of error in it and then ask for money, and neglect the Word and call it of God. And people will go to them, and bear with them, and support them, and believe them, not knowing it is the way of death. Yes, the land is full of carnal impersonators. In that last day they will try to imitate that prophet-messenger. The seven sons of Sceva tried to imitate Paul. Simon the sorcerer tried to imitate Peter. Their impersonations will be carnal. They won’t be able to produce what the true prophet produces. When he says the revival is over they will go around claiming a great revelation that what the people have is exactly right and God is going to do bigger and more wonderful things amongst the people. And the people will fall for it. These same false prophets will claim that the messenger of the last day is not a theologian, so he ought not to be heard. They won’t be able to produce what the messenger can; they won’t be vindicated by God as that last-day prophet is, but with their great swelling words and with the weight of their world-wide notoriety they will warn the people not to hear that man (messenger) and they will say he teaches wrong. They are running exactly true to their fathers, the Pharisees, who were of the devil, for they claimed that both John and Jesus taught error.
Now why do these false prophets come against the true prophet and discredit his teaching? Because they are running true to form as did their forefathers when in the days of Ahab they withstood Micaiah. There were four hundred of them and all of them were in agreement; and by them all saying the same thing, they fooled the people. But ONE prophet --- just one --- was right and all the rest wrong because God had committed the revelation to ONLY ONE.
Beware of false prophets, for they are ravening wolves.
If you are still in any doubt about this ask God by His Spirit to fill you and lead you, FOR THE VERY ELECT CAN’T BE FOOLED. Did you get that? There isn’t any man can fool you. Paul could not fool any elect, had he been wrong. And in that first Ephesian Age the elect there could not be fooled for they tried the false apostles and prophets and found them to be liars and put them out. Hallelujah. HIS sheep hear His voice and they follow HIM. Amen. I believe it.