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Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
I Timothy 6:12


Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15







The Supernatural Gospel

            As most of you know I was ordained in the Baptist Church. I thought I was a real preacher. You know how every young preacher feels; he sticks his Bible under his arm and thinks he's a preacher. Sometimes I would meet people and they would say, "Are you a preacher?" and I would say, "Yes sir, I'm a preacher," and I would reach down in my pocket and get my fellowship card and show them.

            But when I came over here to St. Louis to a tent meeting, I heard a Pentecostal preacher. When I heard that fellow preach, I never said anything about being a preacher again. That fellow would preach until he got red in the face and his knees buckled under him. He would do that all the way to the floor, and come back up for breath of air, but he was still preaching. You could hear him for a city block away. O my, I couldn't do that!

            That reminds me of my boyhood days when we lived out on the farm. My father was quite a rider and he used to break horses. He met my mother at the rodeo out West. They got married and moved to Kentucky and then to Indiana. I used to sit and watch my father ride. Out on this farm where we lived we had an old plow-horse with real big feet I would plow that fellow all day until he was so tired he could hardly move. Then I would lead him to the watering trough. Then when dad was off in the field I would slip in and get his saddle. I would put a handful of cockleburs under the saddle and then try to ride him. But the old horse was so tired he could hardly get his feet off the ground. But I thought I was a rider.

            When I got to be eighteen years of age I thought I was good enough rider to go out West and break horses. I arrived in Phoenix broke. My legs were so short I looked like a bantam chicken. But then let me inside at the rodeo. There were all the cowboys seated along the fence. I clombed up beside them, looked at them and then at myself to see if I looked as good as they did. They brought out a cowboy who said he was going to ride a famous horse. He grabbed the horse and climbed up to him. The horse made about two bucks and a cowbly went one way and the saddle went the other way. The pickups got the horse and the ambulance got the rider. Blood was pouring out of his ears. I knew right then that wasn't my old plow horse. After that a fellow came over and told us that he would give any of us fifty dollars (that was during the depression) if we could stay on that horse for a minute. At that moment he looked at me and said, "Are you a rider?" I said, "No sir." That's about the way it is about my being a preacher. I was a preacher until I saw a real preacher, and I was a rider until I saw a real rider.

            But what I know about the Lord I love to tell to others. He certainly is wonderful. I love to talk of HIm and tell of His goodness and mercy. In these times before I preach I usually keep to myself, go in a quiet room, don't eat but pray most of the day, or until I feel His presence. Then when I come to the platform I know He is close.

            The Almighty God gave a great ministry to His son Jesus Christ. That ministry He also gave to us. We are to carry it on until He comes. It is just a continuation. We are to keep teaching the same message with the same power. We are to carry it to the ends of the earth.

GOSPEL DIFFICULT TO SOME

            Tonight I want to point out something concerning the Gospel. To the educated man and to the scribes and leaders, God has made the Gospel difficult. It seems like something complicated. Jesus taught many times in parables and people were not able to understand him. Sometimes even His disciples couldn't understand, until right at the last they said, "Now thou speakest plainly and not in riddles." Jesus said, "I have hid it from the wise and the prudent and revealed it to babes."

            Why is this? Well you have got to be in love with Jesus before you can understand His words. My wife writes me a letter and she says, "Dear Bill: I'm sitting here tonight thinking much of you, etc." I read what she's talking about but in between the lines I read what she means. That's because I love her and know her. That's the way it is in reading the Bible. God hid it from the sharp, shrewd educator, but we that are in love with Him can know what He is talking about when we read His word. It is just like a love affair.

HOW JESUS CAME TO THIS WORLD

            Let us trace the birth of Christ a bit. He came into this world, born in a barn. He came by way of a barn door and went out through capital punishment. The very Lord of Hosts was born in a manger. He died on a Cross--the most disgraceful death anybody could die. His body was bruised and mashed. He hung there naked before an audience of people who were standing around. What a shameful price He paid for our sins. God did this to redeem us; then we spurn His love. After you once get saved, you wonder how you ever kept from being saved a long time ago. I can see that body; bruised, beaten and disgraced in order to take away our sins. What a price to pay!

EVERY TWO THOUSAND YEARS A NEW DISPENSATION

            Before any great event, God always forewarns us. In the Ante-diluvian Dispensation, He sent Noah. Before the close of the next dispensation, He sent Jesus. We are now at the end of another 2000 years. Every 2000 years something tremendous happens. The old world order meets its doom and a new one begins. Notice, when God makes these announcements. He usually sends angels to do the announcing.

            Some time ago a minister said to me, "Brother Branham, you are always speaking about an angel. You ought to keep that still." I replied. "Brother, don't you want me to tell the truth? I am talking not about the ministry of an angel but the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ with an angel as His servant." He said, "Brother Branham that was only in the Old Testament for the prophets. The Holy Spirit leads the Church in these last days." I said, "That's true brother, But angels ministered in the New Testament." He scoffed at that. I went on. "He revaled things to Mary." He said, "But that was before the Holy Ghost came."

            Then I said, "Do you believe Philip had the Holy Ghost?" "Sure, Philip had it," he replied. Then I said, "When Philip was down in Samaria for a great revival, who was it that appeared to him and told him to go out to Gaza? THE ANGLE OF THE LORD! You certainly believe that Peter had the Holy Ghost, but when he was in prison one night (and there was a prayer meeting at John Mark's house) who was it that appeared before him; came in like a light before him? Not the Holy Ghost, but an angel of God. Look at Paul (and you know he had the Holy Ghost). He was out on that ship for fourteen days and nights and saw not moon nor stars, and when he went down into the galley to pray, some one met him! He came back up and said, 'Be of good cheer for the angel of God, who's servant I am, stood by me this night and said, Fear not, Paul."

            You remember John the Revelator, when the Book of Revelation was revealed to Him? Jesus said to him, "I Jesus, have sent my angel to declare these things." John started to worship the angel. But a true angel will never recieve worship. It is not the worship of angels but the ministry of angels! Angels are ministering spirits sent from God.

            So when any great event is about to happen God sends forth an angel to announce it.

            God, at the time before Christ's birth, was looking for a good man. He found such a man in Zacharias. You will remember that he was a man walking in all the light that he had. God will bless any person who will walk in what light he has. Zacharias and his wife were very devout, keeping all the commandments and statutes of the Lord, blameless. Zacharias was an outstanding man in the Jewish religion. Now Zacharias was in the temple one day offering incense before the altar of the Lord while the congregation was outside praying. When he went to look on his right side, he saw Gabriel the archangel standing in his presence. Now God sends minor angels many times, but when you see Gabriel, you can know something major is going to happen. Gabriel announced the First Coming of Christ and he will announce the Second Coming. He will sound the trumpet of God.

            Gabriel standing at Zacharias' side said, "Zacharias, you have found favor with God. You have been praying a long time for a child. And your wife Elizabeth is old and past the days of bearing; but when you go home your wife will concieve a child and you will call his name John." Here is an example of a minister, a man of God, but who failed to recognize the word of God. Zacharias said, "How can this be, as I and my wofe are both old?" Gabriel then said, "I am Gabriel who stands in the presence of God and my word will be fulfilled in its season. But because you have doubted the word of God, you will be dumb until the baby is born," When Zacharias went out of the temple he couldn't talk to the people. He was dumb until the child was born.

            About six months later there was a little maiden who lived in Nazareth who had something happen to her. Although Nazareth was considered on of the meanest cities in the world she was a godly young woman. No matter how wicked the city is you can still live right. Now just a little drama, let us imagine that it was Monday, the wash day. Here is Mary. She is a little maiden who has been going with a man by the name of Joseph. This little virgin is going down to the well to get some water. (You can see this fountain if you ever visit Nazareth.) In those days the women would take a crock of water and walk with it on their heads. On her way back something happens. A light flashes! She is startled by the light. The angel speaks to her, "Hail Mary" (or in other words. "Stop Mary and take notice"). Blessed are thou among women." Oh! that frightened the little virgin. It would frighten you too, if the angel of God were to stand in front of you.

            Some folks say, "Brother Branham, why don't you ask the angel his name when he comes to you again?" You try it. You're so scared that you don't know what to say. He does the talking. YOu listen. So there he was, standing before Mary. Then he informed her about Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Mry were first cousins. Here was Mary. She didn't know what was going to happen. When the angel told her that she was going to have a child she said, "How will these things be as I have known no man?"

            The angel said, "The Holy Spirit os going to overshadow you. When this child shall be born of you, He shall be called the Son of God." Know here is where our faith lies... in the VIRGIN BIRTH!

INCIDENT OF THE SKEPTIC WHO DOUBTED THE THE VIRGIN BIRTH

            Not long ago up in the mountains, a fellow hunter tried to argue with me all day and up in the night. He said, "Brother Branham, you don't believe that the virgin birth is the truth?" "You never looked in the face of any one who believes it more than I do." I answered. He then said, "It's against the scientific rules. It just can't be. I'll go along with you that there was some power that made this world, but I just can't believe in the birgin birth. Jesus was a good man but nothing supernatural. Life must come by male and female."

            I said, "Well you see, in this case the Holy Spirit overshadowed this little virgin by creating the blood cells. The woman just bore the Child."

            And friends I want to say that the Church needs the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost--it needs members who have had a supernatural birth, the New Birth by the power of the Holy spirit. It won't be long now until spring comes and the birds will be nesting. The mother bird will lay a nest of eggs and if she hasn't been with the male, those eggs will never hatch. She can stay on that nest and turn those eggs over and over, and be so faithful to them that she will get so poor and hungry she can't fly off the nest, but they'll lay there and rot! That's what I think about a lot of these cold formal churches. Just a big nest of rotten eggs. They don't know any more about God than a Hottentot knows about a Christian life. You can baby them around and over over them and even make deacons of them but they'll rot. They can't believe in the supernatural because they have never been in contact with Christ. They know nothing about the new birth or how to be born again. You can say, "We have got a lot of members." You have got a lot of rotten eggs unless they believe in the supernatural. You might as well clean out the nest and start over again. Get a preacher that will preach the truth and God will bless you.

            This fellow that I had been talking to tried to tell me how we were first a polly-wog, and how we became a sponge, and that a planet came off the sun and started whirling around. He said it picked up a little dust.

            I said, "Where did the dust come from?"

            "And it picked up a little water."

            I said, "Where did the water come from?" He couldn't answer that.

            Then I said, "You have told me the sun was burning hot and the germ life came out of all this. How could it live in that heat. Brother, those arguments you have are about as thick as the broth from the shadow of a chicken that starved to death."

            They haven't a leg to stand upon, yet they are preaching it in our public schools. It's a shame and a disgrace. No wonder a poll recently showed 801 Protestant preachers who do not believe in the virgin birth of Christ. I said to this fellow, "You will admit Jesus had an earthly mother, but you will not admit that He had a Heavenly Father?" He replied, "That's right because there is no Heavenly Father."

            I then said, "I want to ask you a question. Where did the first man come from? Be he a tadpole or munkey or whatever, according to your argument he had to have a father and a mother." He hasn't mentioned that subject again to this day!

            The Holy Ghost overshadowed Mary and created the life. Jesus was the virgin-born Son of God. "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. When all around my soul gives way, He thin is all my hope and stay. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand." Nations will fail and fall and some day sin will heap up so high the oceans will weep their way into the deserts--but He'll still be Jesus Christ the son of God. When the kingdoms of this world have failed and are no more, He'll still be the son of God, the Saviour of humanity.

            When the Holy spirit overshadowed this virgin, he didn't keep quiet about it like zacharias. Zarharias had plenty of examples to go on because there was Hannah who came to the temple and Eli blessed her and she bore the son Samuel, although she had been barred until that time. There was Abraham and Sarah who had a son in their old age. But never had there been a virgin birth. Instead of trying to figure it out like the priest did, Mary took God at His word. She believed in something that had never happened before. She didn't wait until she felt life. She said "God said so and that settles it." Oh, if you are sick tonight, God's word says, "By His stripes ye are healed." And that settles it. Take God at His word and start rejoicing about it.

            Mary wanted to share the fellowship so she goes up to see her cousin, Elizabeth, who is already six months with child. Mary said, "Elizabeth, I'm so happy, I understand you are going to have a baby." Elizabeth answers, "Yes dear, I'm going to have a child, and it's already six months." Then Mary said, "The reason I know this, is because Gabriel came to me and told me I was going to have a baby without knowing any man, and that I was to call His name Jesus."

            As soon as that name Jesus was first spoken by human lips, the child John leaped in his mother's womb. That was the first time the name of Jesus was spoken by mortal lips and it caused an unborn child to leap in its mother's womb. As soon as John was born they began to train him in the things of the Lord They didn't send him away to some seminary to get a few degrees. (Don't misunderstand me--real true-to-the-Bible schools are doing a good work.) You can get theology there. But you get God by Kneeology, down on your knees. John went into the wilderness and was alone with God. When he was thirty years old the multitudes turned out to hear him. What was so different about him? What was there about him that startled the regions about Judea and Samaria? It wasn't his clothes. He was clothed in a camel skin. It wsa because he had the power of God to such an extent that the people were startled. God give us more Baptist preachers that will preach the Baptism of the Holy Ghost like John. That's just what we need.

            God has promised us that He will supply every need. When He delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt, He went before them to prepare the way and meet every need. I can see God as He opened up the way for His people to cross the Red Sea and then when the uncircumcised tried to cross over, God closed the water and they were drowned. Then the Spirit of God came upon Miriam and she grabbed the timbrel, and there on the banks of the Red Sea they had a real Holy Ghost meeting. Moses was there with his hands up praising God. I tell you when a man crosses over he knows something then!

            I notice that when the children of Israel were over the Red Sea, God promised that He would supply every need. The supplies they had brought out of Egypt were all gon. That night they went to bed fasting but when they got up the next morning there was mana lying on the ground! O what a glorious sight that must have been! They all went out and began to eat. When they picked it up it looked like a little water, but when they tasted it, it was like honey.

            This is a very beautiful type of the Holy Spirit today. God provides for us now as He did then. Their bread was natural, ours is spiritual. It comes from God out of heaven. When we come up out of Egypt, God will send manna from on high to fill us. But the children of Israel could not keep manna from one day to the next. It became stale. That's what's wrong with a lot of people today. They are relying on what they had a long time ago. Their experience has wiggletails in it. God commanded them to take an omer of the original manna and put it in the Ark, for the generations which were to come. So God gave the Apostles the manna of the HOly Ghost, but it has also been reserved for all generations which were to come--for all who enter the Ark, Christ Jesus. It is the same original manna like they had on the day of Pentecost--not something like it. It is the same real genuine Holy Ghost, the same power, the same joy, the same demonstrations, the same healing. The same Holy Ghost is for you and your children and as many as the Lord shall call.

            David said it tasted like honey in the rock. You know David was a shepherd and he always carried a scripbag for sick sheep. When the sheep became sick, they would spread a little honey on a rock. While the sheep were licking the honey they would get the limestone and it would heal them. I have a whole scripbag full and I am going to put it on the Rock, Christ Jesus, and I want all you sick sheep to start licking! Let the power of God saturate your soul. It heals you and brings you out of those cold formal churches. It heals you of your heart trouble. I put honey on the rock Christ Jesus for the Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and whosoever believes in Christ. O, there's honey in the rock. Lick! Lick! Lick! It has some good limestone in it!

            There was an old belief that when you got a mad dog bite, they would take you to what is called a mad stone. They would put that mad stone on you, and if it stuck you would live and if it didn't then you would die. About the worst mad dog I know of is the devil. If he bites you and you get sick, you just come to the Rock Christ Jesus, the double cure, and hold it. Stick to it! Don't turn loose! make that confession before God and you will come out of it. Hold to God's unchanging hand, regardless of what comes or what the doctor says. Hold on to what Christ says. He'll bring you through.

            What the church needs today is good old St. Paul religion and the Bible Holy Ghost. That's what the whole world needs. We have our fine churches and our new organs and buildings, but we need some fire. Can you imagine a man freezing to death and a great theologian showing him a picture of a great fire, saying, "There's a real fire. We took that picture." A poor freezing man couldn't get warm from a painted fire. Theologians don't make you warm. You must feel it. They tell you the Early Church had that. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever! we have the right to the same Holy Ghost and fore.

            Speaking of fire, when I was a young boy, my brother and I were walking down by the creek one day when we saw an old terrapin. I thought that he was the silliest looking thing I ever saw. when we got up to him, he put his head into his shell. That puts me in mind of a lot of people when you put the gospel on the line. They don't believe in miracles. "The day of miracles is past," They say. They just pull back in their shell.

            "Well," I said, "I will make him move." I really poured it on him but it didn't do any good. He stayed right there. Then I said, "I will fix him," and I took him down to the creek and threw him in and just a few bubbles came up.

            Brother, you can baptize some this way or that way. They go down a dry sinner, and come up a wet one. They're still sinners. You know what I did to that terrapin? I built a fire and stuck the old boy over it, and he moved then! He really got out and went somewhere. What we need today is preachers who won't compromise and will preach the Holy Ghost and fire back in the church.

            Let's return to the story of Jesus. When John the Baptist was baptizing in all the regions of Samaria, they came to him and said, "Herod's soming today. Don't you preach on marriage and divorce for he has got his brother Philip's wife."

            Can you imagine a man filled with the Holy Ghost compromising with such as that? "No sir," said John, "It's not lawful for him to have her as his wife." It cost him his head, but he went on to victory.

            When John was out preaching, he saw two men coming toward him. One of the men said to him, "Do you mean to tell me that there will come a day when the daily sacrifice in the temple will be done away with?"

            Just about that time, John saw Jesus coming and cried out, "Behold the Lamb of god that taketh away the sin of the world" Jesus walked down to the water and was baptized of John. God declared of HIm, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." Then Jesus went out into the wilderness and was tempted of the devil forty days and forty nights. He then went into His ministry.

            Now we are approaching our text. Jesus left the home of Lazarus and went out into the country. When Jesus leaves the hime, sickness and trouble come in. Brother, when He leaves your home, trouble is bound to come.

            After Jesus left, Lazarus became sick. They sent for Jesus, but He didn't come. If that had been a lot of people around here, and you had sent for your pastor and he didn't come, you would sure leave the Assemblies of God, and join the church of God or vice versa. I've seen so many people carry their church letter back and forth so much that it's worn out. Why don't you put it in the Lamb's book of life so that it can stay there all the time. Quit packing it around!

            But the dark hour came when Lazarus died. It was the darkest hour that little home had ever seen. The breadwinner was gone. I can hear the Pharisees as they say, "Uh huh, what became of that Divine Healer? Where is He? Let something happen around here and he slips off to get away from it." They took Lazarus out and embalmed his body and buried him. The first day passed, the second, the third and fourth. Then at the darkest hour that little home had ever seen, Jesus came. That's when He comes--just at the darkest hour. He always comes just at the right time, doesn't He?

            I recall in God's Word where there were three of God's children who wouldn't bow down and worship idols. They were going to be burned because they wouldn't bow down. That night before they were to be put in the fiery furnace. they prayed all night. They brought them out the next morning with their hands tied behind them. That old furnace was heated seven times hotter than it was ever heated before. King Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "I'll tell you what. We're going to give you one more chance. Do you think your God will deliver you?"

            And they said, "It's all right if He doesn't, we won't compromise."

            Then the old King said, "Do you want to take that back, you bunch of Holy Rollers?"

            They said, "No, our God's able to deliver us."

            Nevertheless they walked right into the fire. It looked like a dark day for the believer, didn't it? But remember there's something going on up there when something like that goes on down here.

            I can see the Lord in His glory, His priestly garments draped around Him, looking down watching the three Hebrew children. All at once, I see a big angel come rushing up to the Master. He draws his sword and says, "Master, have you seen what's going on in Babylon! Three honest-to-goodness believers are walking to their death. Let me go down there and I'll change the scene."

            Then Jesus said to him, "Gabriel, put your sword back in your sheath. You're a good angel and you have always obeyed me; but I can't let you go."

            Here comes another angel. He falls down before His master and says, "Look, Master, three believers are going to their death. Let me go down to Babylon and wash it off the face of the earth this morning."

            But Jesus said, "You, too, are a good angel and you could do it, but I just can't let you go." The angel stood at attention s the Lord said, "I'm going myself. This is a mansized job."

            One more step and the three Hebrew children were going to their death. I can see Jesus rise off His throne, and I can hear HIm say, "Come here, East Wind, West, North and South." (Everything in the heavens obeys Him.) There is a big black thunderhead rolling back in the west and I can hear Himsay, "Now thunderhead, roll over here. I've got to go to Babylon this morning." As the thunderhead rolls up to the throne, Jesus steps up on the thunderhead, gets hold of the zig-zag lightning and CRACK! HE GOES THROUGH THE SKY WITH THE EAST AND NORTH WIND, DOWN INTO THE FIERY FURNACE. He went right at the crucial moment. There was a fourth man in that fiery furnace, one like unto the Son of God. He stepped in and cut their hands loose and they had a conference down there. Jesus is always there at the right time.

            Now back to the little home of Lazarus. Jesus is coming and I can hear those old Pharisees say, "That HOly Roller's coming back again after the boy is dead and buried."

            But Martha knew God was in His Son. She Knew that if she could only get to Him, she would know what the reason was. She ran up to HIm. It looks like she would have a right to say, "Why didn't you come?" That would have been the modern approach. "Why didn't you come when we called you? We're going to change churches." But it never happened. It is your approach to God that brings results. Martha had love. She said, "Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother would not have died. But even now whatsoever you ask of God, He will give it to you."

            You may have been through every doctor's office, and clinic in the country, but even now whatsoever you ask of God, He will give it to you! Jesus is still on the right hand of God, making intercession according to your confession. That's right! Even now God will give you whatsoever you ask of Him.

            Martha said unto Him, "Yea, Lord, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day."

            Behold, the Lord as He pulled His shoulders back and said, "I am the resurrection and the life: He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

            Martha is in the right place, before the right Man. She is making the right confession, she has her faith in the right position. She said, "Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world." Something had to take place now.

            I met a woman recently who said to me, "Brother Branham, you preach so much on Jesus Christ. Why don't you talk about something that is going on today?"

            I said, "Lady, Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever."

            She said, "He was just a good man. I can prove to you that Jesus Christ was just a mortal man. I can prove it to you by the Bible."

            I said, "All right, let's see."

            She said, "It says in the Bible that when Lazarus was dead, Jesus wept. He was just a mortal man"

            "Yes, He was a man when He wept, but when He raised HIs voice and said, 'Lazarus, come forth,' He was God."

            I don't care what the world says. They can tell me anything they want to, but I know Him in the power of the resurrection. I can see that He was a man when He came from the mountain after being tempted of the devil, but when He said, "Lazarus, come forth," and a man that had been dead four days, came forth, that was more than a man. That was God speaking. Corruption knew its master and the spirit knew it's Maker.

            Yes, He was a man when He came down from the mountain, hungry. He was a man when He was looking for something to eat on the trees. He was a man when He was hungry, but when He fed five thousand with five little biscuits, He was more than a man. He was God-man. He was a man when He was lying in the bottom of the boat that night. That little old boat was bouncing up and down on the waves like a bottle stopper. Ten thousand devils of the sea vowed they would drown Him that night. He was a man so tired, for virtue had gone out of Him all day, that the washing of the waves didn't even wake HIm. His disciples came to Him and said, "Master, carest Thou not that we perish?" He got up and put His foot on the rail of the boat, and looked up and said, "Peace be still." AND LO, the mighty winds calmed. That was God in a man.

             He was a man on the cross, screaming for mercy, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" He was a man when He died, but on Easter morning when He rose up and broke the bonds of death, hell and the grave, He was more than a man! Then He was the Son of the living God! Believest thou this! I believe this. He is here even now. Take up thy bed (turning to the people on their cots) and go on home! (At that moment, a woman with advanced stage of cancer, afterward testified that she did not hear Brother Branham say this, but that she felt something happen; she arose from her bed by the healing power of God!)

CHAPTER II

THE DAYS OF THE RESTORATION

            I want to read to you from the book of Joel, chapter I, verses 1-3.

            "The word of the Lord that came unto Joel...

            "Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?

            "Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.

            That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten."

            Now in the second chapter of Joel, verses 25-27--God gives a promise:

            "I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

            "And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you; and my people shall never be ashamed."

            JOEL WAS SPEAKING about the tree of Israel, and saying that what one devourer had left, another had eaten.

ISRAEL--THE "FIG TREE"

            The Jews have always been likened unto the fig tree. I think Joel was referring to Israel when he spoke of it being eaten. They were eating up God's vine, His heritage. Israel was taken down until there was nothing left but a bare, bleeding stump. I think Jesus was speaking of this when He said, "Behold the fig tree and all the trees." When spring is here, and the trees begin putting out buds, you say summer is nigh. "Likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand." (Luke 21:31)

            An infidel said to me one time that he could prove that the Bible wasn't true. The first thing he mentioned was that Jesus was a thief because He went through the cornfields that did not belong to Him, and ate the corn. I answered that He was "the Lord of the Harvest," and it belonged to Him in the first place.

            He added that Jesus, in Matthew 24, told of many disasters and said, "this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." He said that all of that generation had passed away, and generations have passed since then. He went on to say that those things never have been fulfilled and neither had Christ come back. He believed that Jesus wasn't any more than any other man.

GOD'S SECRETS REVEALED TO "BABES IN CHRIST"

            I said, "That just shows, my friend that God hid these things from the eyes of the wise and the prudent and has revealed them unto babes who will learn." You will never understand these things by theology. It is a sad thing when they take theology and put it in the place of the Holy Ghost. Instead of teaching the Church theology, the Church ought to have the Holy Ghost leading it. They have taken the upper room out, where they used to go and pray and seek God and be filled with the Holy Ghost, and they have put the supper room in its place.

            The supper room is not God's way of supporting the Church. God said, "Bring ye all the tithes and offerings into the storehouse." (Malachi 3:10). The man who loves God will take pleasure in supporting God's work. You like to help those you love real well. When you help the Church, you are helping God because "inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40) Jesus said that.

"THAT GENERATION SHALL NOT PASS--TILL ALL BE FULFILLED"

            So I said to the man, "Look here, fellow; you misunderstood what Jesus said, "That generation shall not pass till all be fulfilled." What generation? The one that sees this tree putting forth its buds. What is that tree? It is the same tree that Joel spoke of. When you begin to see the Jews returning to Jerusalem, the fig tree is putting forth its buds. And that generation is not going to pass away till all be fulfilled.

            Just about the time that this great healing revival began moving through the world, the Jews were declared an independent nation, and the six-pointed star of David rose over Jerusalem for the first time in many centuries. The tree is putting forth its buds. The Jews are returning. God hardened Pharaoh's heart to run them out of Egypt. God hardened Hitler's heart, Stalin's heart, and the rest of the nations to turn them against the Jews. If you want to know what time it is, watch the Jew. He is God's calendar.

AS DID THESE JEWS--WE TOO, ARE REJECTING CHRIST

            Never will the Lord forsake Israel. He said in Jeremiah 31:37--

            "If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will alse cast off all the seed of Israel."

            These people were blinded for a time that we might have access to the light. But now we are turning down, rejecting, and crucifying anew Jesus Christ. With out theology we are explainging away the blood. We are explainging away the power of God. We are explaining away all miracles and signs. It is just as great a sin for men today to reject God's message of the Holy Ghost as it was to reject God that Father in the days of Moses, or Jesus Christ in the days of His flesh. When you reject this persecuted way of salvation, you are rejecting God flatly, and turning Him down. The Jews were zealous for God, but they rejected Jesus. The Holy Ghost, Who is with us tonight, is the same God that led the children of Israel through the wilderness. Rejecting is death. Judge yourselves!

SINCE PENTECOST "THE FIG TREE" HAS BEEN PERIODICALLY PRUNED

            Joel saw it coming--the restoration of the Church. "What the palmerworm left, hath the caterpiller eaten, what the caterpiller left, the locust hath eaten." What a picture of our time! But then God turns around and says, "I will restore! I will restore! I will restore what you ahd once." To restore anything is to replace it again. In John, the 15 chapter, He spoke of the vine, and how He had come to prune it. But the locusts and the other devourers had gotten in and eated it down to a stump. However, God said, "I will restore. I will put it right back exactly as it was in the first place." And brother, since the day of Pentecost, they have constantly cut off of that tree. What one group left, another has eaten. "But I will restore," saith the Lord. "I will bring her back in her beauty again. I will restore to him the same Holy Ghost that she had. I will put prophets in her midst. I will put sogns and wonders there. I will do just exactly that," saith the Lord.

            Yes, one group had the shout; another took it away. They did away with praising the Lord and the old-time prayer meetings. Because of hot weather, they have drive-in places that they call church. Nobody wants to go to church. It is because the caterpillers are eating on them.

GOD SAID--"I WILL RESTORE"

            They say Divine healing is a thing of the past, and shouting was for Grandma. These other blessings were for the disciples. They have taken all the blessings from the Church. But God says, "I will restore, I will bring her back again." Hallelujah!" "I will restore," saith the Lord, That's good enough for me!

            I think of David that night when he was a little weary, waiting for a sign to tell him when to go to battle. As he lay there, he heard he sound of the restling in the mulberry bushes. God was going before him. The wind of God, a sound in the mulberry bush, I hear today, bringing out, pulling together. Hallelujah! The power of God is binding up, breaking down the middle walls of partition, sending the Church out, robed in the beauty of Pentecost. Not a fanatic, not a cold starchy church, but a genuine baptised, Holy Ghost one, God working through her in signs and wonders, vindicating His presence. "I will restore," saith the Lord.

THE COMFORT OF GOD'S VOICE

            Some time ago while in Canada on a hunting trip, I came into camp, weary, 1,000 miles from a hard top road. I was way back in the wilds. I turned on an old radio I had there. You could get police calls once in a while. There was a group of about six ministers there. The first thing we heard was that they were calling for Rev. William Branham to report to Dawson creek as the Royal Mounted Police wanted him for an emergency call. Oh my! What could it be? I wondered if something had happened at home. We were three days journey from there. One minister said he would start with me right away. But I said it wouldn't do to go then as it was too dangerous at night. So I went out in the woods a piece, knelt down and asked God what was the matter. I prayed for about two hours. I fell into a trance, and the Lord said, "It is not your home, it is not your children. It is someone trying to get hold of you." Talk about a very present help in time of trouble! What comfort ! Oh, to hear the voice of God!

THE "RUSHING MIGHTY WIND" REVIVES!

            The next day when I was riding at a gallop on a horse, knocking the libs out of the way as we went, had to go through an old burned-over area. There were great stately lookiing trees, and the wind was blowing a mournful sound through the branches. I thought, "What a spooky looking place." Every time the wind would blow, the trees didn't give, but just moaned and groaned. I stopped my horse, tied him up, then walked down a little bit and looked at the trees. I said, "Praise God. I see what Joel was talking about. "It puts me in mind of some of those old formal churches today, standing up like great big stately towers that were once alive, but now are dead. The bark has burned off of them, the termites have eaten them, and, when that mighty rushing wind (The Holy Ghost) comes along, all they can do is complain and moan and groan. They can not understand anything about. Once a mighty forest, once a great towering church, but now dead!

THERE IS A RESTORING THROUGH THE HOLY GHOST

            "What the palmerworm hath left, the caterpiller hath eaten." Sure, they are churches, and they stand there like tombstones, mournful-looking. The pastors inside say, "The day of miracles is past." When a rushing mighty wind comes down over them, they say, "Those things are of the defil." Yet they are trees. They are churches. They can look back and say that their past leaders did this and that. But what is the Holy Ghost doing in them today? They look like trees, but are dead. I thought, "Oh, God is this forest going to always be loke this? Then I watched the wind blowing agin and I noticed there was an undergrowth coming up. Everytime the wind would hit it, it would just frolic and dance and give with the wind. I said, "There is the old-fashioned restoring again, with the power of the Holy Ghost coming down like a rushing mighty wind. It's got life in it. Hallelujah!"

            This new growth doesn't deny God's power; it just says that "all things are possible."

GOD IS PREPARING "A GLORIOUS CHURCH!"

            I noticed another thing. Every time those little trees would shake, it looked like they would pull out of the ground. What were they doing? Just loosening up the ground so they could grow deeper. Every time a blessing comes to a born again man, it shakes him so he can dig deeper. It gives him another experience. When the wind comes, they don't stand there stiffly, and moan and cry; they enter into it and take what comes along. Loosen up. God some life in you so that you can move with the wind!

            "I will restore," saith the Lord. What did He mean? He will restore a people that will believe. If they want to stay dead and moan and groan and say that the day of miracles is past, they can. But there is still some undertrowth coming up. God is going to have His Church complete--standing in her beauty, clothed in righteousness, and kept by the Holy Ghost, with signs and wonders following. Just moan on, Pentecostal  rain is falling. Praise the Lord it fell on me. I'm so gland that I can say I'm one of them. God is still God. The Holy Spirit is restoring again. He is shaking the undergrowth down here. The church isn't standing in her full strength yet, but she is coming up just the same. The rains fall on her, the winds blow and twist her and shake her. She keeps right on growing. One of these days, God will come and recieve her.

WE MUST ENTER THE GREAT REVIVAL NOW!

            They used to have big revivals with the power of God present. I was just reading about John Wesley preaching Divine healing. A minister didn't like it, and he turned a fox and fox hounds loose in his meeting. John Wesley turned to him ans said, "The sun shall not set on your head three times until you have called for me to pray for you." The man died that day, as the sun set, calling for John Wesley to come pray for him.

            We are having these big revivals again, and God is with us. Yes, friend the words of your Lord, "I will restore," are coming to pass before our very eyes. Throw away your doubts and fears and GET INTO THIS GREAT REVIVAL NOW!

CHAPTER III

JESUS AND THE LEGION OF THE DAMNED

            I want to read to you this afternoon about the man possessed of the legion of evil spirits. It could be truly said that this man dwelt with the legion of the damned. I am reading from Mark 5.

            "And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when he was come out of hte ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains; (Please read verses 4-13):

            I can see Jesus that night as they were crossing the sea, with the waves roaring. Why did He take that chance of choosing the sa that night, after teaching during the day and haling the sick? Because over in another land, in Gadara, one soul was calling for Him. Just think of crossing a sea like that just to save one soul--to heal one person. He will come from Glory this afternoon to set any one of you free! Just let Him find the sincere heart that He can get into, and He will come any hour of the day or night. I am happy for that; to know He is my refuge--a very present help in time of trouble.

            We do not have any record of anyone wlse in the land of Gadara being helped at this time but this maniac. Think of that poor man in that condition. Perhaps at one time he had been a good citizen. Let us draw on our imagination. Perhaps some of the crowd came along and got him to stay away from church, or to go away from God. Next thing you know, the devil had him on the next step and maybe he started drinking. And so he just kept on backsliding. After a time the devil drove him insane. There he was, insane, and living in the tombs. He must have been a terrible character. They bound him with fetters, but he could break them as though they were mithing. It was not his human strength. It was the devil's strength doing it. The devil is powerful, but God is more powerful.

            I remember seeing little sister Carter, whose limbs were not much larger than a broomstick. She had been lying there for about nine years and eight months. When the power of God struck her, she got up and ran over to the organ and played, "Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross." She is living today, eleven years after she was healed. She hasn't been bedridden once since then. Someone asked, "How did she walk?" I replied, "The power of the living God held her up." She submitted to the power of God.

            When you see me, your brother, having a vision, that is nothing else but my submitting to the Holy Spirit. You who are sick can submit yourself to the Holy Spirit and no affliction can hold you. You are well, and you can give your testimony. You who are sinful can be set free. Just yield yourself completely to God, and see what takes place. That's the essence of the whole thing. There is no secret to it. When you submit yourself to God, it is not you any longer, but it is the Lord who does it. Arn't you happy that we have that opportunity today?

            Possibily Legion would come to himself once in a while, and he would wonder, "What am I doing here?" Chains would be on him and his body all cut. Then the devil would throw him into another spell. Perhaps he might think of his wife and children during his rational moments.

            When Jesus' boat reached land and they started up the shore, here came this man from the graveyard. Notice where the devil make him live. That is a good hangout for the devil--around a dead place. It is true today; the person who is dead in trespasses and sins, and who does not believe in the power of the resurrection of the Lord, is living in a graveyard.

            Some of these formal churches which have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof are like that. They might say about the power of God, "That's all worked up. It's all mental and psychological." The devils that drive them to that conclusion are shrewd. The high priests and scribes in Jesus' day who denied Jesus Christ, were highly polished Bible scholars. That same religious devil influences people today.

            Now as soon as Jesus came, this man came running up and wanted to be very religious. That's the way the devil does. The devil can be religious, smart, scholarly, and polished.

            Then this maniac fell down and worshipped Jesus. You might ask, "Would the devil do that?" Why, Judas even kissed Jesus when he betrayed Him. Religious spirits. The Bible says to try the spirits to see whether they are of God.

            You will find this religious spirit down through every age. The devil's spirit has always denied the real genuine Spirit of God. Every time that the Spirit of God comes, signs and wonders follow.

            When Balaam went down to curse Israel, he built seven altars and made a sacrifice. That is exactly what the Israelites did. Now the Lord tried to restrain Ballam from doing this, through the dumb ass, but he came down anyway and built the seven altars, just as Jehovah required, and seven clean sacrifices. But where Balaam failed was that he did not see the pillar of fire that was with the Israelites, Ballam through to himself, "Well, I am fundamental, so I will sacrifice what Jehovah requires and then go and put a curse on those people--those people who were having those healing services. Moses put a serpent on a rod and whosoever looked at it was made well. They had all kinds of signs and wonders from God. That is what made them what they were--children of God.

            Balaam thought that he would curse them. Fundamentally speaking he was as fundamental as they were, and so he make his sacrifice and brought the doctors of divinity around, and they stood around the sacrifice saying, "Great Jehovah, you know that we are scholarly, a great nation; stop these people." But God had spoken to Balaam and told him only to say what God would put in his mouth, so down he went and when he saw Israel, he said, "He had not beheld iniquity in Israel... and the shout of a king is among them." Hallelujah!

            What was the difference? The Moabites were just as fundamental as the Israelites, but the difference was that God was vindicating Israel with signs and wonders, following.

            Paul said that in the last days people would have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof, and from such, turn away. And Jesus said, "These signs shall follow them that believe: In my anme shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

            Oh, my brother and sister, be encouraged, for I hear the sound of abundance of rain. One of these days God will roll back the curtain of Heaven and pour out of His Spirit without measure upon those people who have fought their way through bloody seas, and what a meeting we will have. But back to our demoniac.

            This man of Gadara had a religious devil. How do we know? He ran down and worshipped Jesus. Now perhaps you are all right. Wait a minute. The devil worshipped Jesus. And he confessed Him publicly and said, "Jesus, thou son of the most high God."

            Jesus commanded the devil to come out of him. Now the devil had a good home there so he didn't want to leave that country. And that is how it is with devils. When they get settled down among a group of people, they don't want to leave. They are stubborn. If you say you don't believe in divine healing, it is a devil making you believe that.

            Then the legion of the damned asked Jesus that if they had to leave, could they go into a bunch of hogs there, and Jesus gave them leave. when it was noised abroad what had clothed and in his right mind. I tell you that when you get the baptism of the HOly Ghost and get Christ in you, you are in your right mind. He was in his right mnd to worship. Look where he was then--sitting at the feet of Jesus. What a wonderful place to sit.

            Then the people came and asked where their gogs were. They told Jesus to get out of their land. If revival was going to cost them that much money, they didn't want it. When I get the glory I want to find out how much effect Legion's testimony had on hog raising around those parts after that.

            The people of that land felt more at home with hogs than they did with the lovely Jesus. They felt more at peace with the devils and the hogs and so you know it is the same today? They minute some people feel they have enough religion to give some money into the church, or stand up and give a confession of faith, why they would just rather not hear any more about religion. They would rather have their hogs and the legion in their midst than Jesus.

            I was in Gary, Indiana some time ago, and they were showing me through one of those big steel mills. The men were working and then a whistle blew and they stopped. The shavings were swept into the aisles. And the man who was showing me around pushed a button and a big magnet came down the aisle on a track, and all the shavings just leaped up to the magnet and were carried out to be magnetized and dropped back into the cupola to be molded over again.

            My guide asked, "How do youlike that?"

            I said, "Hallelujah."

            He asked, "What's the matter:"

            I said, "I was just thinking about something."

            He said, "You must have been. What is it?"

            I said, "I am thinking of a Great Magnet up in Glory.

            One of these days He is going to come down, and this old frail body He will take out and make over again."

            "Why didn't the magnet pick up all the shavings?"

            "Some of them are aluminum--they are not attracted to the magnet."

            I said, "Hallelujah! But why didn't that piece of iron go up?"

            He answered, "Because it was bolted down."

            Brother, I am glad to cut loose every fetter. Let go of everything and lose yourself in Christ Jesus. Be born again, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. Be magnetized by His power, that when He comes, you will go with Him. I want to say as Paul did, "That I may know Him in the power of His resurrection!" When He calls me from among them. Leaving these things behind, I am pressing toward the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, leaving the world behind. Hallelujah!