—Don't Give Up Too Soon!Portugal, 22/5/77DO1763
—An Acts 4 Bible Study!
—What to Do After the Persecution!
1. I'M REMINDED OF THE TIME WHEN THEY FIRST BEGAN THE PERSECUTION OF THE EARLY CHRISTIANS. You know they jailed Peter & some of the Apostles—then they scolded them, forbade them to witness & let them go. It was the time they preached in the Temple after Peter healed the lame man.
2. THE ENEMIES HAULED THEM IN‚ put them in jail overnight, scolded them‚ forbade them to witness in Jesus' name & then let them go. It's in the third & fourth chapters of Acts. With Peter's first sermon he had 3,000 converts‚ & for his next sermon he had 5,000 in one day! Nowadays preachers preach 3,000 sermons & get one convert, but he preached one sermon & got 3,000 & another one he got 5‚000!
3. PETER WAS HAVING SUCH TREMENDOUS SUCCESS IN CHAPTERS 2 & 3! In chapter 2 he had 3,000 converts, & Chapter 3 resulted in 5,000 converts in one day through the healing of the lame man!
4. THEN CAME ENEMY REACTION IN CHAPTER 4: "And as they spake unto the people, the priests & the captain of the Temple & the Sadducees came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people & preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead."
5. THE UNBELIEVING SADDUCEES at this time were in control. The Sadducees were the rich Jewish modernists who didn't believe in the Resurrection‚ miracles or anything supernatural. We've got some of those guys around today yet!
6. THE PHARISEES WERE THE JEWISH FUNDAMENTALIST EVANGELICALS: They believed every jot & tittle of the law & the whole works & wouldn't change it, but they had no real love—much like modern fundamentalists today!
7. OUR BITTEREST ENEMIES TODAY ARE BOTH! Just take a look at the front cover of Christianity Today. The Family members ought to have seen that. I finally made the front cover of a magazine! Thank God it doesn't look like me, it's a horrible monster! It was an interview with two of our backsliders. The one guy was never really one of us—a preacher boy from Bible College & only with us a few months, the husband of one of our colossal backsliders, Gracie! The other guy we had to finally kick out of South America for persistent homosexuality. So what do they do?
8. THEY GO STRAIGHT TO OUR ENEMIES for consolation & to attack us! So that's what that article is about. But in spite of that there's a lot of truth in the article—it publicised the doctrine just the same.
9. OUR ENEMIES ARE SO DUMB! They'd get so much further if they'd just keep their mouths shut! If they didn't attack us the way they do we wouldn't get so much publicity! It's the controversial issues that make us such a hot subject in the newspapers, & the papers fight each other over us!
10. SO HERE THESE MODERNISTS‚ apparently the religious party in power in the Temple at that time, "Being grieved that they taught the people & preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead, they laid hands on them & put them in hold unto the next day, for it was now eventide.
11. "HOWBEIT, MANY OF THEM WHICH HEARD THE WORD BELIEVED, & the number of the men was about 5,000!"—Including how many women & children? They only counted the men in those days, so it might have been 10,000 for all we know! In spite of it all, Peter got the message across & they believed.
12. THEN CAME THE PERSECUTION! The disciples had really made the religionists mad because they were having such success! "And it came to pass on the morrow that their rulers & elders & Scribes & Annas the High Priest & Caiaphas & John & Alexander & as many as were of the kindred of the High Priest‚ were gathered together at Jerusalem." I'm reading this because I don't remember exactly what happened myself, but it came to me when I was thinking & praying:
13. ARE WE DOING THE RIGHT THING TO REALLY SOCK IT TO THEM in spite of persecution, to come out even stronger than before? Well, let's see what they did. "And when they had set them in the midst they asked‚ "By what power or by what name have ye done this?"
14. THE APOSTLES' DAY IN COURT! That's one of the first things that judge asked me, three-fourths of his questioning was about religion & religious doctrine & all that churchy stuff! "Do you believe in Mary? Do you believe in Mary? Do you believe in the Saints?" Can you imagine? He said, "How can you, a Jew, believe in Jesus?" I said, "It's easy, my Jewish forebears have been Christians for 2,000 years!" "Ah," he said, "you're going to Hell!" He said, "You're not going to see any of them where you're going, Buddy!"—Or that's the idea. In fact, he acted like he was anxious to send me there as quickly as possible!
15. "THEN PETER, FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST‚ said unto them, Ye rulers of the people & elders of Israel‚ If we this day be examined of the good deed"—that was a smart twist, wasn't it? "What are you examining us for‚ all the good we've gone, the good deed we did?"—"Done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole, be it known unto you all & to all the people of Israel, that by the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth who ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead! "
16. THEY'RE GOING TO OUTLAW THE NEW TESTAMENT YET! The way [they] are getting the laws made now in the United States & England, actually the New Testament is already an illegal book because it's very anti-Semitic, & it's illegal & unlawful to publish anything against the Jews. They've got the laws really lined up now, both in the U.S. & Europe, & when they've got the thing really sewed up legally, watch & see if they don't try to ban the New Testament!
17. DID YOU KNOW THAT CARTER CAME OUT IN A WISHY–WASHY, WILLY-NILLY, MILK-&-WATER‚ STRING-FOR-A-BACK-BONE BACK-DOWN COMPROMISE?—Because in a Bible class he taught in Washington he said, "Then the Jews were determined to kill Him after that." [Mat.26:3,4] Whew! There was a furor from the Jews & they forced him to back down & deny that it was the Jews that killed Jesus! "No, it wasn't really the Jews‚ it was the Romans, it was Pilate & blah blah blah!" Listen to what Peter said:
18. "WHOM YE CRUCIFIED!" [Acts 2:14,23‚36]—And if he hadn't said it there, it's said dozens of times all the way through the Book of Acts & all the way through Paul's writings, that it was the Jews that did it! [Acts 4:10; 7:52; 13:14,15,28; 1Thes.2:14-16;] The Jews had Him condemned, the Jews had Him killed! What the Hell difference does it make whether they dirtied their own hands with His blood or not‚ they had it done! Isn't that a ridiculous little legal technicality, the Jews trying to get out from under the blame for it? But they're still chafing at that blame, isn't that something?
19. IF THEY WEREN'T RESPONSIBLE, WHY THE HELL ARE THEY SO WORRIED ABOUT IT? Why are they working so hard to get out from under the blame? "Whom ye crucified, Whom God raised from the dead, even by Him does this man stand here before you whole!" "By the power of the Man that you killed‚" that's what Peter says. "This is the Stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the Head of the corner." Did he pull his punches when they called him on the carpet to court?—He slapped them right in the face with it! He had to be filled with the Holy Ghost to do that!
20. "NEITHER IS THERE SALVATION IN ANY OTHER, for there is none other Name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved!" In other words, "You can't get saved though Moses, Buddy!" This latest film we saw about Moses the prophet, it makes Moses out to be kind of a saint & the poor guy that had all the problems & troubles. It gives him the credit for the Law & all the decisions & the wisdom of getting them through the desert & everything & blames God for all their troubles. "Well‚ we saved ourselves, God‚ You didn't help us!" That's exactly what Moshe Dayan said after the war, did you know that? When people were thanking God he said, "Listen, God didn't do it, we did!"
21. "NOW WHEN THEY SAW THE BOLDNESS OF PETER & JOHN & perceived that they were unlearned & ignorant men, they marvelled!" Huh! They weren't graduates of the local Bible College, they didn't have any papers, & yet they were outsmarting the smartest! "And they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus!" The only reason they could see for it was they had been with Jesus! HAL! TYJ!
22. "AND BEHOLDING THE MAN WHICH WAS HEALED STANDING WITH THEM, THEY COULD SAY NOTHING AGAINST IT." What could they say? Thousands of people knew that it happened, thousands of people were there when it happened! There was the proof, behold, the man! What a beautiful, beautiful picture‚ huh? Behold the man! "And when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves saying, What shall we do to these men, for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem & we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further "
23. THAT'S THE WAY THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT US! The judge forbade me to speak to the newspapers or publicly any more, & I figured‚ "Well, it's no use getting myself in jail here for doing it, I'll get out of the country first, then I'll sock it to them"—which is what I do in "The Evil Horse!", or the Lord does, & in "The Wrath of God!" & several other things now. (See Nos.578, 577.) We're socking it to them now, praise God! I think it's a little wiser in my case at my age, however, to be at a little safer distance. Anyhow, Peter was younger than I am, he could take it. So they were told not to do it any more at all. This is just what the court is probably going to do with the girls, try to forbid them to do any more witnessing at the clubs.
24. BUT PETER & JOHN ANSWERED & SAID UNTO THEM, "WHETHER IT BE RIGHT IN THE SIGHT OF GOD TO HEARKEN UNTO YOU MORE THAN UNTO GOD‚ JUDGE YE! For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen & heard! So when they had further threatened them they let them go." Just like they're doing to our girls!—"Finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people." They're only taking us to court down there & going through the motions because of the people, that's all, making a pretence of justice‚ a pretence of legal formalities.
25. "FOR ALL MEN GLORIFIED GOD FOR THAT WHICH WAS DONE. For the man was above 40 years old on whom this miracle of healing was showed." Think of that, miracles can even happen to people who are over 40!—Ha! You see all these magazine ads about men over 40, well praise God, it hasn't happened to me yet! I'm still doing pretty good, thank the Lord!
26. NOW WHAT DID THEY DO AFTER THEY'D BEEN TO COURT & BEEN FORBIDDEN? "And being let go‚ they went to their own company & reported all that the chief priests & elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord & said, Lord, Thou art God which hast made Heaven & Earth & the sea & all that in them is, Who by the mouth of Thy servant David hast said"—David! I never noticed that!: —"Why do the heathen rage & the people imagine vain things? The kings of the Earth stood up & the rulers were gathered together against the Lord & against His Christ. For of the truth against Thy Holy Child Jesus‚ whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod & Pontius Pilate with the Gentiles & the people of Israel were gathered together for to do whatsoever Thy hand & Thy counsel determined before to be done."
27. IN OTHER WORDS, WAS THIS PERSECUTION OF GOD? Was it the will of God? Did God allow it?—It probably publicised the message all the more! The more they attacked, the more it got out! But now what are they praying for? Well, they want to know what to do next: "And now Lord, behold their threatenings. "What did they threaten them with? What did they forbid them to do?—They forbade them to do any more witnessing!
28. "GRANT UNTO THY SERVANTS THAT WITH ALL BOLDNESS THEY MAY SPEAK THY WORD‚ by stretching forth Thine hand to heal & that signs & wonders may be done by the Name of Thy Holy Child Jesus!" What were thy praying for? Were they praying, "Lord, show us some way to get out of here! Lord, show us some way to quit! Lord, show us some way to keep from having to go back to court!" He said, "Lord, help us now to really sock it to'm!" What guts, huh? They didn't even pray, "Well, what'll we do next?" They just prayed the Lord would give them even more boldness to preach the Word!
29. "AND WHEN THEY HAD PRAYED, THE PLACE WAS SHAKEN WHERE THEY WERE ASSEMBLED TOGETHER"—We shook them up down there‚ didn't we? "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost & they spake the Word of God with boldness!" Did they quit? Did they taper off? Peter-out? Did they soft-peddle it then or hush it down? "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart & of one soul, neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things common. '
30. WHAT WAS THE RESULT OF THIS FIRST PERSECUTION? "AND WITH GREAT POWER GAVE THE APOSTLES WITNESS of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, & great grace was upon them all." It made them pitch in & give more right there to each other & take care of each other, & I imagine their fish & their friends all pitched in to help them out: "Well, we're going to have to support these Apostles & keep them going"—& they pitched in & shared! TYL!
31. "NEITHER WAS THERE ANY AMONG THEM THAT LACKED: For as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them & brought the prices of the things that were sold, & laid them down at the Apostles' feet: & distribution was made unto every man according as he had need." We've quoted this passage so many times, but how many times have we brought out the fact that this material result was the result of their boldness in going ahead & witnessing in spite of persecution? Did the Lord bless them for it? Apparently almost immediately He blessed them financially!
32. WELL, PRAISE GOD! "THAT WITH ALL BOLDNESS THEY MAY SPEAK THY WORD"—THAT'S THE KEY IN THIS WHOLE PASSAGE! (Acts 4:29) TYL! And in the 31st verse too: "And they spake the Word of God with boldness." How come I don't have that marked? You ought to keep your Bibles well-marked, kids! Mine's a mess, all marked up! You should have seen the last one! Finally it just fell apart & pages were falling out. I must have pressed too hard with my pen, they just fell apart. I'd hold up a page & it was hanging in tiers! I hope you do read the Bible once in awhile, not just MO Letters. There's a lot of Bible in them, but I'm just giving you the latest.
33. BUT LOOK WHAT AN EXAMPLE THAT IS, WHAT AN ENCOURAGEMENT THAT IS!—WHAT GUTS, WHAT POWER, WHAT SPIRIT‚ WHAT FAITHFULNESS! So what was the result of persecution? More or less witnessing? (Family: MORE!) More witnessing! And if they stop the club witnessing what are we going to do?—More! Well, probably some will suffer a little for it, that's what happened in the 7th Chapter. There's this business about Ananias & Sapphira & then about organisation of the deacons‚ etc., & in the 7th Chapter we have Stephen really sockin'm & hitting'm where it hurt!
34. DID YOU EVER NOTICE HOW FAR HE GOT & ON WHAT WORDS THEY FINALLY ATTACKED HIM & ran at him & gnashed on him with their teeth? They bit him like dogs & then stoned him to death! Did you ever notice what the thing was that really got them? I mean, the New Testament doesn't pull any punches & neither does Stephen! Besides all this other history he gave which condemned them, he finally throws the punchline (Acts 7:52):
35. "WHICH OF THE PROPHETS HAVE NOT YOUR FATHERS PERSECUTED? And they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One, of whom ye have been now the betrayers & murderers!" That's what God's Word says. We Jews ought to know, we know them pretty well. Today they have gotten to where they have persuaded the Catholic Church to back down & the Protestants to back down & gotten them all to sign declarations that the Jews were not to blame!
36. LOOK WHAT PETER SAID: "WHOM YE SLEW!" Look what Stephen said‚ look what he said: "Of whom ye have been now the betrayers & murderers"—of the Just One, Jesus, in other words. But that didn't even make them as mad as the next statement. They're still trying to get out from under the blame of being the murders‚ but the next thing was the thing that really did it!:
37. "WHO HAVE RECEIVED THE LAW BY THE DISPOSITION OF ANGELS & HAVE NOT KEPT IT!" They didn't even mind being called Jesus' murders, that didn't bother them at all! But when he told them they didn't even keep the Mosaic Law which they prided themselves on doing—they were the legalists—that was more than they could take! When we tell these Evangelicals & Protestants & Catholics & religionists & Fundamentalists that they don't even keep the Bible that they brag about keeping, that's what gets them! Why should Christianity Today be so furious at us? Why should they still hate us so?—We have exposed them! Our doctrine has exposed their lack of love & their lack of liberty & their disobedience! We've completely exposed them!
38. SO WHEN HE SAID THAT‚ "YOU'VE NOT KEPT THE LAW!" WHEW! THAT WAS MORE THAN THEY COULD TAKE! "When they heard these things they were cut to the heart & they gnashed on him with their teeth"—just like the dogs they were! "But he (Stephen) being full of the Holy Ghost looked up stedfastly into Heaven & saw the glory of God & Jesus standing on the right hand of God." Isn't that beautiful? Think what a reward the Lord gave him, a grand entry!—Grand exit, grand entry!
39. HE SAID, "BEHOLD, I SEE THE HEAVENS OPENED & THE SON OF MAN STANDING ON THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD!"—That's while they were biting him‚ they hadn't started tossing the stones yet! When they heard that, then they really cut loose! "They cried out with a loud voice, & stopped their ears!" Think of it! Why did they have to stop their ears? They couldn't stand to hear it‚ couldn't stand to hear the truth, just think of it! They stopped their ears "& ran upon him with one accord & cast him out of the city & stoned him, & the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet whose name was Saul."—Later to become the Apostle Paul!
40. THEY KILLED ONE GOOD PREACHER & THEY GAVE BIRTH TO ANOTHER‚ THINK OF THAT! Stephen was a good preacher, he knew the Word, obviously, but apparently Saul was even better. So praise God, God was picking him for the job. Well, we could go on & on, Acts is one of my favourite Books.
41. SO DO YOU THINK WE'RE MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION? They're acting like they're going to forbid us to witness so we might as well sock it to them & witness all we can before they put out an injunction or a court order or a restraining order or something. And then, if & when they do, let's hope they word it so that it doesn't say anything about literature! They haven't got much time to do it. You know what it says over in Revelation, the 12th Chapter, 12th verse:
42. "WOE TO THE INHABITERS OF THE EARTH & OF THE SEA, FOR THE DEVIL IS COME DOWN UNTO YOU HAVING GREAT WRATH, BECAUSE HE KNOWETH THAT HE HATH BUT A SHORT TIME."—The time of the Tribulation! I think that's one reason they're so angry, so mad, is they know their time is almost up‚ the jig is just almost up, & if they've got to sock it to us they have to do it now because they're not going to get another chance. So praise the Lord! TYL! Do you like these little times of fellowship together? I hope I'm not taking too much of your time? (Family: No!) PTL! Amen! TYL!
43. AMEN, HAVE THY WAY, LORD, KEEP THE FAMILY! Have Your way here & there, Lord, & all around the World, everywhere we are. Thy sun never sets upon us, Lord, all around the World! We thank Thee for the glorious reports we've been reading in the new NNNs, such a thrill, Lord‚ how marvelous You work! No matter what nationality, language or place on Earth, it's all the same—the same love, the same miracles, the same marvelous wonder working power, the changed lives! TYJ! Bless & keep us all safely now as we go about our various tasks, Lord.—Continue to keep us & give us a good night's rest tonight. Help us who remain to confer on some of these business matters. Thy will be down, You know what's best, in Jesus' name. TYL! As we thank You together & pray the prayer You taught us to pray: (Prays the Lord's Prayer.)
44. AND LORD‚ WE AGREE RIGHT NOW TOGETHER FOR THOSE DEAR GIRLS DOWN IN TENERIFE & ALL THE FOLKS THERE. Keep them, strengthen them in spite of persecution, Lord, & deliver them, Lord! Deliver Thy Word most of all, that they may speak the Word of God with boldness‚ even more boldness after this persecution than before, in Jesus' name we ask for Thy glory! Amen! PYL! God bless you all! Isn't that encouraging? (HAL! GB'm!—And they're still there today, witnessing away! Don't give up too easy!—Just go underground & keep going as long as you can!—Amen?—Then flee to another! GBAKY, in Jesus' name, amen!)